Germany: Overview

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Updated: 2017-06-01.

Federal Republic of Germany | Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Germany is a country in central Europe that is bordered by the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France to the west, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria to the south, Czechia and Poland to the east, and Denmark, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea to the north. The capital and largest city is Berlin, and Germany is the largest member of the European Union, with about 82 million inhabitants. Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993.

Germany is about as central as you can get in Europe, and thus easily-accessible. With many major cities throughout the country, it makes it relatively economical and simple to head to many cities in the country and neighboring countries, both via air and train travel. All major cities are linked by DB’s InterCity Express (ICE) and normal InterCity trains. Major airports are also found in every large city, with connections all around the globe. Lufthansa, Germany’s flag-carrier airline, is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and is Europe’s largest airline by fleet size and overall passengers.

Germany is made up of 16 Länder (plural; Land  is singular; colloquially called Bundesland, for “federated state”) which are semi-sovereign constituent states of Germany. Land literally translates as “country”, and technically, according to the German constitution, each is a constituent country. The term Land (yes, always capitalized) is sometimes translated as “federal state” in some publications. The states of Bavaria, Saxony, and Thuringia officially describes themselves each as a state (Staat) and more specifically as a free state (Freistaat). The cities of Berlin, Hamburg, and Bremen are called Stadtstaaten, or city-states. The other 13 states are called Flächenländer, or area-states.

Germany has cast a large shadow throughout history in their remarkable engineering and innovation, and they continue to do so. Nowadays, if something is stamped with a seal that it was “made in Germany,” it is usually said with pride and confidence.

flag of Germany

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