Area: 357,027 sq
km (137,849 sq miles)
of Germany: 82,536,680 (official estimate 2002).
Population of Berlin: 3,392,900
(official estimate 1999).
Population Density: 231.2 per sq km
The Federal Republic of Germany shares frontiers with Austria, Belgium,
Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland
The northwest of the country has a coastline on the North Sea with
islands known for their health resorts, while the Baltic coastline
in the northeast stretches from the Danish to the Polish border.
The country is divided into 16 states (Bundesländer)
including the formerly divided city of Berlin.
The landscape is exceedingly varied, with the Rhine,
Bavaria and the Black Forest being
probably the three most famous features of western Germany.
In eastern Germany, the country is lake-studded with undulating
lowlands which give way to the hills and mountains of the Lausitzer
Bergland, the Saxon Hills in the Elbe
Valley and the Erzgebirge, whilst the
once divided areas of the Thuringian and Harz
ranges in the central part of the country are now whole regions
again. River basins extend over a large percentage of the eastern
part of Germany, the most important being the Elbe,
Saale, Havel, Spree
Northern Germany includes the states of Lower Saxony
(Niedersachsen), Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-West
Pomerania and the city states of Bremen
The western area of the country consists of the Rhineland,
the industrial sprawl of the Ruhr, Westphalia
(Westfalen), Hesse (Hessen), the Rhineland-Palatinate
(Rheinland-Pfalz) and the Saarland.
In the southern area of the country are the two largest states,
Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria
(Bayern), which contain the Black Forest (Schwarzwald),
Lake Constance (Bodensee) and the Bavarian
Alps. Munich (München), Stuttgart
and Nuremberg (Nürnberg) are the major cities.
The eastern part of the country is made up of the states of
Thuringia, Saxony, Brandenburg,
Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin. The
major cities in eastern Germany are Dresden, Leipzig,
Erfurt, Halle, Potsdam,
Schwerin and Rostock. Apart from
Leipzig and Rostock, these are
also all recently reconstituted state capitals.
Head of State: President Horst
Köehler since 2004.
Head of Government: Chancellor
Gerhard Schröder since 1998
English is widely spoken and French is also spoken, particularly
in the Saarland. In the north of Schleswig-Holstein, Danish is spoken
by the Danish minority and taught in schools.
In Brandenburg and Saxony, Sorbic is spoken by the ethnic minority
called the Sorbs and is also taught in about 50 schools. Regional
dialects often differ markedly from standard German.
Approximately 34 per cent Protestant, 34 per cent Roman Catholic,
with Jewish, Muslim and other non-Christian minorities.
Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last
Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 230 volts AC,
50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs are in use. Lamp fittings
are screw type.