Germany

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 82.6
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 88%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.1%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 357,03


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
German95
Turkish 2.5
Italian 0.6
Other 1.9



Main Cities Population
Essen 5 746 018
Berlin 4 200 072
Stuttgart 2 625 690
Hamburg 2 549 338
Munich 1 940 477
Frankfurt 1 915 002



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Berlin (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: German.
Business languages: German and English.

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free English-German-English translator of texts and web pages

Systran
Free English-German-English translator of texts and web pages

Eurodicautom
The European Union Dictionary (12 languages avalaible)

Leo
German-English-German dictionary with over 300,000 entries





Religion
Religious practises : Protestants 45%
Catholics 37%
Moslems 3%
Others 15%


Political context

Germany is a federal Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Germany (official name: Federal Republic of Germany) unified with East Germany (earlier called German Democratic Republic -GDR) in October 1990. Germany has 16 states or provinces with their own local governments and legislatures, which enjoy considerable decentralisation from the federal government. However, the segregation of power between states and federal government has been well defined in the country's constitution.
The chief of the state is the President who is elected for a five-year term by a Federal Convention (which includes members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the provincial legislatures).President's role is largely ceremonial. The head of the government is the Chancellor who is elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Assembly for a four-year term. The Chancellor holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Federal Ministers (the cabinet) is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chancellor.
The legislature in Germany is bicameral. The parliament consists of two chambers: the Federal Assembly (the lower house) having 613 seats, its members elected by popular vote under a system combining direct and proportional representation to serve four-year terms; and the Federal Council (the upper house) having 69 seats, its members being the delegates of the country's 16 provinces to serve 4-year terms. There are no elections for the Federal Council; its composition is determined by the composition of the provincial governments. The government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Chancellor cannot directly dissolve the parliament but he can recommend the same to President in case a no confidence motion is carried out in Federal Assembly. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The people of Germany have considerable political rights.
The judiciary in Germany is independent. The main source of the law is the constitution of May 1949 known as Basic Law which also became the constitution of the unified Germany. The country's legal system is based on the civil law system with indigenous concepts, as well as the judicial review of various legislative acts by the Federal Constitutional Court. Germany has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Germany being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. The judicial language in the country is German, having an interpreter is always possible.
Germany is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can enjoy equal treatment from the country's judicial system. Corruption is very much under control in Germany, especially corruption in the government sector is almost non-existent.


Major political parties

The main political parties in the country are:
- CDU (Christian Democratic Union) – conservative,
- CSU (Christian Social Union) –conservative,
- SPD (Social Democratic Party) – social democrat,
- FDP (Free Democratic Party) – libera,l
- Left Party, Alliance '90/Greens - green.


Major political leaders

President: Horst KOEHLER (since July 2004) – CDU
Chancellor: Angela MERKEL (since November 2005) – CDU, heading a coalition backed by CSU and SPD


Next political election dates

Presidential: May 2009
Chancellor: November 2009
Federal Assembly: September 2009




Climate

 

 

Over the winter, the temperatures may vary between 0°C and 5°C, and between 18°C and 21°C over the summer, on average. But distances are important between the North of the country, Berlin and Hamburg for example and the South, Münich for example.

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Germany 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 20,137 21,500 23,569 8
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Germany counts many tourist places. The capital, Berlin, is famous for the Brandenburg Door, the Charlottenburg's castle. On the Postdamer Platz, a huge shopping center can be found, which is very much appreciated by both tourists and Berliners. Hikers will appreciate to walk through the Black Forest. Louis II of Bavaria's castles, Art gallery (Museum München) and the beer festival also attract numerous tourists in Bavaria. Tourists can also appreciate the Elba banks, notably in Dresden. The cathedral in Cologne is famous for its Gothic architecture.

For more information about tourism in Germany , check out the following web site(s) :
German Tourism Board



Food


Traditional dishes
The German culinary specialties can vary depending on which region you are. For example, the North of Germany has a culinary tradition inspired by the Scandinavian, the Russian or even the Polish food.
Some of the German specialties are:
Wurst and Schinken which are very renowned in Germany: these are the famous sausages and the large variety of cooked pork meats (about 1,500 different ones).
Brot: these are the famous German bread, 200 different kinds.
The Sauerkraut is the dish par excellence: it is sauerkraut with meat.
Finally, Germany is obviously renowned for its large variety of beers. Germany is the second producer of beers and the first exporter (exports to about 140 countries) in the world. There are 1,800 breweries throughout Germany and there are about 5,000 different beers. In the South of Germany, the annual consumption per inhabitant reaches 250 litters.


Last modified on December 2006

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