Germany extends from the North Sea and the
Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south.
Germany, with over 80 million inhabitants, is Europe's
largest nation and has one of the world's strongest
economies. The German government is leading the EU and
Germany's influence is also growing globally.
Brief profiles of Germany, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Germany extends from the North Sea and the
Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south and to
the surface is slightly larger than Finland. Within this
area, one can roughly distinguish three different types
of landscape: the northern German lowlands, the middle
German mountain country and the alp area.
The German part of the Alps is confined to
three smaller areas with mountain peaks of 2,000–3,000
meters. Further north, the alpine landscape gradually
descends towards the Danube river and transits
into the middle German mountain country with smaller
mountain ranges and valleys.
The northern German lowlands are characterized by
moraines, melting water valleys, gravel plateaus, small
lakes and moors. Along the coast there are shelters to
prevent flooding. Inside, fertile marshland is
Germany is in the transition zone between the western
European coastal climate and the central European inland
climate. The North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts have mild
The further south and east one gets, the greater the
temperature differences between summer and winter. The
hottest area during the summer is the low-lying Upper
Rhine Valley. The coldest is the Alps.
Humid western winds from the Atlantic dominate and it
often rains in the north and northwest; mostly during
The Baltic Sea coast is, like the North Sea coast,
torn apart by deeply penetrating bays. Parts of the
coast are flat with sandy beaches, but there are also
cliffs and limestone slopes.
The whole of Germany is crossed by rivers. The
largest are the Danube, the Rhine and the
Elbe. The Oder and Neisse rivers
form an eastern border with Poland. In the southwestern
corner of the country, the Rhine follows the border with
Switzerland and France. The largest lake, Lake
Constance, is shared between Germany,
Switzerland and Austria. The largest island is Rügen
in the Baltic Sea, with popular beaches and ferry
services between Sassnitz and Sweden, among others.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
357 000 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France,
Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland
Capital with number of inhabitants
Berlin 3 460 000 (2011)
Other major cities
Hamburg 1 790 000, Munich 1 350 000, Cologne 1 010
000, Frankfurt am Main 670 000, Stuttgart 606 000 (2011)
Zugspitze (2962 m asl)
Rhen, Elbe, Danube, Main, Weser
LAKE OF CONSTANCE
Average Precipitation / month
Berlin 74 mm (July), 33 mm (April)
Average / day
Berlin 19 °C (July), 0 °C (Jan)
Protests by Pegida
Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) gather
17,500 people at a protest meeting in Dresden just before Christmas. It is the
largest so far of the actions the group has organized every week since October,
in protest of immigration. Several counter-demonstrations have also been
Head of Government from the Left in Thuringia
It will be Bodo Ramelow from the Left who will lead the state government.
AFD advances in state elections
The party is increasing its share of the mandates in the parliaments of
Thuringia and Brandenburg after the state elections there. In Brandenburg, the
SPD gets the most seats while the CDU wins in Thuringia. (14/9)
Prohibited from supporting IS
A ban is introduced to carry out acts in support of IS, including recruiting
soldiers for the movement.
Military training for Kurds
Military personnel are sent to Iraq to train Kurdish soldiers who are
fighting the Islamic State (IS) extremist Islamist movement.
State elections in Saxony
CDU becomes the largest party with 39 percent of the vote. The Eurosceptic
Party Alternative for Germany (AFD) surprisingly wins a seat in the state
Economic statistics show that Germany's gross domestic product decreased by
0.2 percent during the second quarter of 2014.
Support for Kurds
Germany sends military equipment to Kurdish forces in Iraq to support efforts
to protect refugees there (see Iraq: Current Policy). The German government will
supply military weapons sufficient for a brigade of 4,000 men. Weapons should be
used in self-defense. On the other hand, no German attackers will participate in
any air strikes.
Arms deal with Russia is canceled
Germany repeals an order to provide Russia with a combat simulation system
for EUR 120 billion. The deal was put on ice in March following Russia's
annexation of Crimea.
New sanctions on Russia
Germany, along with the EU's other 28 member states, tighten sanctions on
Russia because of Russian support for separatists in Ukraine. Despite the fact
that the country's energy supply to 38 percent consists of Russian gas, the
German government is driving the decision.
A 31-year-old man who works at the German intelligence service is arrested
and detained. The man is accused of selling secret information to the US spy
organization CIA. The information provided includes information on the
parliamentary committee that will investigate the interception activity that the
US NSA has engaged in in the country (see January 2014). The spy deal leads to
the CIA boss in Germany being asked to leave the country.
Minimum wage is introduced
The Bundestag voted for Germany to introduce a minimum wage of EUR 8.50 from
1 January 2015. However, the minimum level should not apply to minors, trainees
or apprentices. Long-term unemployed must work six months in a workplace before
they are entitled to the minimum wage.
Possibility of dual citizenship
A new law makes it possible for immigrant children born in 1990 or later to
have dual citizenship. Previously, they had to resign one of the citizenship at
the age of 23.
Criminal investigation begins on the interception of Merkel's mobile phone
German State Prosecutor Harald Range wants to investigate the information
that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone was intercepted by the US
signal tension organization NSA. The disclosure was made by American computer
engineer Edward Snowden.
The CDU becomes the largest party in the European Parliament elections
The CDU receives about 35 percent of the vote. The SPD receives about 27
percent of the votes.
Former US President Christian Wulff is set free
A Hannover court exonerates former federal president Christian Wulff, who was
a close ally of Merkel, from all charges of corruption. The suspicions led Wulff
to resign as president in February 2012 (see December 2012). Some analysts are
now questioning whether Wulff should have left office. For Merkel, the free
judgment is a success, as she gave her support to Wulff throughout the "affair".
Minister of Agriculture Hans-Peter Friedrich resigns after he is accused of
leaking information about an ongoing criminal investigation against the
Socialist Member of the Confederation, Sebastian Edathy.
Strengthening efforts in Mali
The government announces that the German contribution to the EU military
training force in Mali is planned to be increased from 180 to 250 men.
Discussions are also underway to support the French-led troop operation in the
conflict in the Central African Republic.
The US regrets data monitoring
US President Barack Obama said in an interview with German TV channel ZDF
that US surveillance of data communications should not damage US-Germany
relations. The heavily criticized interception of Angela Merkel's mobile phone
was a mistake and will not be repeated (see also October 2013).
Former Nazi prosecuted
An 88-year-old former Nazi soldier is being prosecuted by German prosecutors
for the notorious massacre in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane in 1944.
The charge concerns the involvement in the murder of 25 people and the
assassination of hundreds of others.