Germany - Alemania

Federal Republic of Germany
Member State of the European Union

Flag of Germany.svg
Coat of arms of Germany.svg

Motto : Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
(in German : "Unity and Justice and Freedom") [ 1 ]
Hymn : Das Lied der Deutschen
( German : "The song of the Germans")


(and most populous city)
50°44′02″N 7°05′59″E / 50.733888888889, 7.0997222222222Coordenadas: 50°44′02″N 7°05′59″E / 50.733888888889, 7.0997222222222 View and modify data on Wikidata
Official languages German [ 2 ]
• Spoken Languages ​​of Germany
Demonym German, -na
German, -na
Tedesco, -ca [ 2 ]
Teuton, -na colloq. [ 3 ]
Form of government Parliamentary federal republic
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Legislative body Bundesrat
Bundestag View and modify data on Wikidata
Foundation :
German Empire / Unification

• Federal Republic of Germany (partition) foundational milestonesHoly Roman EmpireConfederation of the RhineConfederation GermanicConfederation of the North • Abolish the monarchy Weimar RepublicNazi GermanyReunification

January 18, 1871

23 of maypole of 1949 on February 2 of 962 December of July of 1806 8 of June of 1815 16 of April of 1867 9 of November of 1918 November of August of 1919 30 of January of 1933 3 of October of 1990

Surface 62nd position
• Total 357,578,17[4]km²[5]
• Water (%) 2,416 %
Borders 3 714 km [5]
Coast line 2 389 km [5]
Highest point Zugspitze View and modify data on Wikidata
Total population 16th position
• Census (2019) 83,149,300 hab.
Density 232 hab./km²
Start ( PPA ) 5th position
• Total (2020) 4.626 trillion dollars
Per capita 52,801 dollars [ 6 ]
START (nominal) 4th position
• Total (2020) 4.212 trillion dollars [ 6 ]
• Per capita 50,842 dollars [ 6 ]
IDH (2020) Increase0.947 [ 7 ] ( 6th ) - Very high
Gini coefficient Green Arrow Down.svg 29,7 (2019)[8]
Currency euro (€, EUR) [4]
Time zone CET (UTC +1)
ISO code 276 / GOD / OF
Internet domain .de Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Telephone prefix +49
Radio prefix DAA-DRZ, Y2A-Y9Z
IOC Code GER View and modify data on Wikidata
  1. ^ Currently, the hymn is the third stanza of the poem Das Lied der Deutschen ("The Song of the Germans"). It is also known as Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit ("Unity and Justice and Freedom").
  2. ^ Danish , Low German , Sorbian , Romany, and Frisian are also officially recognized and protected as minority languages .
  3. ^ Before 1999, the currency was the German mark (DM, DEM).

Germany (in German , Deutschland , pronounced / ˈdɔʏtʃlant / ( listen ) ), officially Federal Republic of Germany (in German , Bundesrepublik Deutschland pronounced / ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant / ( listen ) ), is one of the twenty-seven sovereign states that make up the European Union . Constituted in a social and democratic state of law , its form of government is the parliamentary and federal republic . Its capital is Berlin . It is made up of sixteen federal states ( Bundesländer ) and is bordered to the north by the North Sea , Denmark , Sweden (maritime border) and the Baltic Sea ; to the east with Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south with Austria and Switzerland ; and to the west with France , Luxembourg , Belgium and the Netherlands . The city of Büsingen am Hochrhein , located in Switzerland , is also part of Germany. The territory of Germany covers 357,022 sq km extension [ 5 ] and has a temperate climate. With almost 83 million inhabitants, it is the most populous country among the member states of the European Union , and is home to the third largest group of international migrants. After the United States, Germany is the secondmost popular migration destination in the world. [ 9 ]

The words "German" and "Germany" are Latinizations of the Old Germanic allmanis (composed of all (all) and man (man), that is, "all men"); Roman historian Amiano Marcelino was the first to speak of Alamannia in the 4th century to refer to a confederation of Germanic tribes. [ 10 ] But these names were also used in ancient times by the Romans to refer to the Alamanni tribe (not the same as Germans ), the Germanic people.closest to the territory of the Roman Empire. Hence it was used to name the entire country. [ 11 ] In addition to German , the use of the Germanic gentilicio is also widespread , derived from the name by which the Romans referred to the neither Roman nor Celtic tribes of central Europe , whose territory they called Germania . [ 11 ] From the year 962, the German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire , which lasted until 1806. During the 16th century , the northern regions of the country became the center of the Protestant Reformation..

As a modern nation-state , the country was unified at the time of the Franco-Prussian War of 1871. After World War II , when Nazi Germany was defeated by the Allies , Germany was divided into two separate states along the lines Allied occupation in 1949; the resulting states were the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic , which were reunited in 1990. It was a founding member of the European Community (1957), which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen zoneand adopted the common European currency, the euro , in 1999.

Germany is a member of the United Nations , NATO , the G7 , the G4 nations , and has signed the Kyoto Protocol . It is the fourth largest world economy in terms of nominal GDP , the first in Europe, and was the world's largest merchandise exporter in 2007. In absolute terms, it allocates the third largest annual budget for development aid in the world, [ 12 ] While its military expenditures ranked ninth in the world in 2012. [ 13 ]The country has developed a high standard of living and established a comprehensive social security system. It has a key position in European affairs and maintains a close relationship with various associations worldwide. [ 14 ] It is recognized as a leader in the scientific and technological sectors. [ 15 ] [ 16 ]


The name Germany comes from the Germanic people known to the Romans as alemanni or alamanni ; attested for the first time by Dio Cassius in the context of a military campaign of the Emperor Caracalla in 213. The Byzantine historian Agatías ( 6th century ) quotes Gaius Asinio Cuadrado who would have written that the Alamanni were "a mixed and mixed people", which is what his name means. Indeed, alamanni comes from Proto - Germanic * Alamanniz; Al , "all" and manniz"Men" (that is, all men). Walafrido Strabo , a monk of St. Gallen , wrote in the 9th century that peoples who called themselves Swabians were known as Alemanni to foreigners. In Spanish and other Romance languages, the name of this town was used to designate the other Germanic peoples and finally the German Empire that emerged in 1871.

The name of the country in German is Deutschland , originally diutisciu land , both with the meaning of "German lands" in Spanish, but literally "of the people" in allusion to those who spoke a Germanic language and not Latin. Diutisc , "of the people" comes from the proto-Germanic þiudiskaz "of the people", the corresponding noun, þeudō , from the Proto-Indo-European * teuta , gave rise to the gentilicio Teutones , used for a Germanic people and in Spanish, poetically, as a synonym for Germans. [ 17 ]

The Italian gentilicio for the Germans, tedesco , also has this origin, through the Latinized form Theodiscus . [ 18 ]

Germania (and its English form Germany ) comes from Latin and was used by Caesar to name the peoples who lived east of the Rhine. [ 19 ] This place-name seems to be of Celtic origin , gair ; with the meaning of "neighbors" or gairm ; "Battle cry", an etymology related to Middle High German has also been proposed : gēr , "spear." [ 20 ] Neither of these proposals is conclusive. [ 21 ] In Germanic Spanish it is used historically, « Germanic peoples"," Germanic Roman Empire ", or literary:" Germanic poetry ", sometimes including other German-speaking peoples such as Austrians and Swiss.


Strictly speaking, Germany did not exist as a state until 1871. Thus, this section also includes previous history: what happened in the territories that later became part of the German state.

Prehistory and antiquity

Expansion of the Germanic tribes between 750 a. C. and the year 1 d. C.
The Nebra Sky Disk has about three thousand six hundred years old.

The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is believed to have occurred during the Norse Bronze Age or, at the latest, during the pre-Roman Iron Age . From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began their expansion to the south, east, and west in the 1st century BC. C., coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul , as well as Iran, the Baltic and the Slavic tribes of eastern Europe. Little is known about the early history of the Germanic peoples, except what is known through their interactions with the Roman Empire and records of archaeological finds. [ 22 ]

The 5th century migrations in Europe .

During the rule of Emperor Augustus , the Germanic peoples became familiar with Roman war tactics, while maintaining their tribal identity. In the year 9 d. C., three Roman legions led by Varus were annihilated by the Queruscos and their chief Arminio in the battle of the Teutoburg forest . Thus, modern Germany, as far as the Rhine and Danube were concerned , was kept out of the Roman Empire. In the time of Tacitus , Germanic tribes settled along the Rhine and the Danube, occupying most of the modern zone of Germany.

The 3rd century saw the rise of a large number of West Germanic tribes: Alamanni , Cathous , Franks , Frisians , Saxons, and Thuringians . At that time these peoples undertook the period of great migrations (or barbarian invasions, from the point of view of the Roman Empire ) that lasted for several centuries. [ 23 ] The Franks established the Frankish Kingdom , which conquered several western territories of present-day Germany. Frankish rule was consolidated during the reign ofCharlemagne (768-814), whose Carolingian Empire absorbed Saxony , Bavaria, and Bohemia . [ 24 ]

Holy Roman Empire (962-1806)

Martin Luther (1483-1546) started the Protestant Reformation .

In 843, the Carolingian Empire was divided between Charlemagne's grandsons. The Francia Orientalis —which included present-day Germany— continued to be ruled by the Franks until 919, the year in which Henry I of Saxony was crowned . [ 25 ] The new Germanic Kingdom , which became the Holy Empire in 962, continued to exist in different forms until 1806. At its maximum territorial extension, it encompassed all of central Europe, stretching from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the South.

Under the reign of the Saxon dynasty (919-1024), the duchies of Lorraine , Saxony , Franconia , Swabia , Thuringia and Bavaria were consolidated. Following Otto I's coronation as emperor in February 962, [ 26 ] his new empire encompassed these regions plus the Kingdom of Italy . [ 27 ] Under the reign of the Salian dynasty (1024-1125), the Holy Empire consolidated its power over northern Italy and Burgundy., although the emperors lost their influence in said territories as a result of the Investiture Querella , a conflict that pitted the Holy Emperor against the Pope . Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138-1254), the German princes increased their influence to the south and east, in the territories inhabited by the Slavs. Prosperous cities like those of the Hanseatic League emerged in northern Germany .

Map of the Holy Roman Empire in 1648 , after the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years' War .

The edict of the Golden Bull of 1356 was the basic constitution of the empire that lasted until its dissolution. The election of the emperor by seven electing princes was codified . [ 28 ] Beginning in the 15th century , emperors were chosen almost exclusively from among those from the House of Habsburg .

In 1517, the theologian Martin Luther wrote his ninety-five theses , documents in which he criticized the Catholic Church . This event gave rise to the Protestant Reformation , which acted, in the political sphere and especially in its origins, as a unifying factor among the multitude of German principalities and, consequently, as a determining factor of what could be called the "German essence" . [ 29 ] The Lutheran Church was recognized as the representative of the new official religion in many German states beginning in 1530. The resulting religious conflict led to the Thirty Years War(1618-1648), who devastated German territory. [ 30 ] As a result of the war, the population of the German states was reduced by 30%. [ 31 ] The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended the religious war between the German states, but the Empire was de facto fragmented into numerous independent principalities. From 1740 onwards, the rivalry between the Habsburg monarchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Prussia - both parts of the Empire - dominated German history.

In 1795, in the midst of the French Revolution , an attempt was made to save the Empire through the mediatization and secularization of the imperial states. However, this was to no avail. In late 1805, the Empire was invaded and defeated by Napoleon Bonaparte , who established the Confederation of the Rhine . The Last Emperor, Francis II , was forced to abdicate and formally declared the dissolution of the Empire on August 6, 1806. [ 32 ]

Restoration and revolution (1814-1871)

States of the German Confederation (1815-1866).
Origin of the Black-Red-Gold : The German Revolution of 1848 (Berlin, March 19, 1848).

After the last monarch of the Holy Roman Empire abdicated , a disparate quest to create a unified German national state began in the former states that comprised it. The " German Question " was torn between the creation of a "great Germany", including German-speaking territories (promoted by Austria ), or a "little Germany" made up exclusively of other states (supported by Prussia ). Added to this dilemma was the institutional question about the distribution of power between the people and the crown.

The question arose concretely after the fall of the First French Empire . Napoleon , the emperor of the French , was defeated, but ending foreign rule did not give the Germans a united Germany within the German Confederation , established in 1815.

In March 1848, the revolution broke out in Germany . Turning Germany into a national and institutional state meant having to define what would belong to Germany. The first freely elected parliament , in Frankfurt am Main , found that it was not possible to force the establishment of a pan-German national state , including Austria. This fact posed the solution of "little Germany", in the form of an empire under the hegemony of the Kingdom of Prussia .

Parliament demanded that, as German emperor, the King of Prussia would have to renounce his divine character and conceive himself as executor of the will of the people, a demand that the monarch rejected in 1849, thus preventing unification from taking place. German.

In the 1860s Chancellor Otto von Bismarck favored the executive branch in Prussia against Parliament. The question of external political power was resolved with the Seven Weeks War in 1866, in which Prussia finally defeated its Austrian rival.

German Empire (1871-1918)

Proclamation of the German Empire at the Palace of Versailles in 1871.

Germany was unified as a modern nation-state in 1871, when the German Empire was forged, with the Kingdom of Prussia as its main constituent. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War , the German Empire ( Deutsches Kaiserreich ) was proclaimed at Versailles on January 18, 1871. The Hohenzollern dynasty of Prussia led the new empire, the capital of which was established in Berlin. The empire was a unification of the scattered parts of Germany, except Austria ( Kleindeutschland , or "little Germany"). Beginning in 1884, Germany began the establishment of several colonies outside of Europe .

Map of the German Empire (1871-1918), with the dominant kingdom of Prussia in blue.

In the period after Germany's unification, Emperor Wilhelm I guided foreign policy by guaranteeing Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances to isolate France through diplomatic channels, and prevent war. However, during the reign of William II , Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialist course that caused friction with neighboring countries. Most alliances in which Germany had previously been involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country. Specifically, France established new relations by signing the entente cordiale with the United Kingdom and obtaining links with the Russian Empire. Apart from its contacts with the Austro-Hungarian Empire , Germany became increasingly isolated.

At the Berlin Conference , Germany joined other European powers in claiming its share of Africa . Germany obtained ownership of several African territories in the eastern part , the southwest , Cameroon and Togoland . The struggle for Africa caused tensions between the great powers that may have contributed to the conditions that led to the First World War .

The Sarajevo attack in 1914, in which the heir to the Crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was killed, triggered the First World War . Germany, as part of the Central Powers , suffered defeat against the Allied Powers in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. The November Revolution broke out in 1918, and Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated. An armistice ending the war was signed on November 11 and Germany was forced to sign the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Defeated Powers in contradiction with traditional post-war diplomacy were excluded from its negotiation. The treaty was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war by other means and its harshness is often cited as a factor that facilitated the subsequent rise of Nazism in the country. [ 33 ] Today, the Hohenzollern dynasty remains dethroned, although it continues to exist in the figure of George Frederick of Prussia as crown prince.

Weimar Republic (1919-1933)

Economic adversity, due both to the conditions of peace and the great world depression , is considered one of the causes that provoked the support on the part of German opinion leaders and voters for anti-democratic parties. In addition to this, during the war and until its end, German society had been maintained with the idea that victory was almost certain and the lack of an invasion fed the theory ( Dolchstoßlegende ) that it was the democratic (and communist , as well as the Jews ) those who betrayed the country and brought about defeat.

In the extraordinary elections of July and November 1932, the German National Socialist Workers' Party (NSDAP, "Nazi party") obtained 37.3% [ 34 ] and 33.0% of the votes, respectively. Political instability and the inability to create a strong government forced the president of the government had to appoint the chancellor ( Präsidialkanzler ), which source was the task of parliament. On January 30, 1933, under pressure from the NSDAP, President (Head of State) Paul von Hindenburg (Chancellor during the First War) appointed Chancellor ( Head of Government) to the leader of the NSDAP: Adolf Hitler .

National Socialist Germany (1933-1945)

Adolf Hitler , Führer of Nazi Germany (1933-1945).

Following Hindenburg's death in 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed head of state, marking the beginning of Nazi Germany. On February 27, the Reichstag was burned down . Some fundamental democratic rights were later abrogated under an emergency decree . Shortly after, a law gave the government full legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party of Germany voted against it; the communists could not present opposition, since their deputies had been assassinated or imprisoned. [ 35 ] [ 36 ]A centralized totalitarian state was established by a series of initiatives and decrees, making Germany a one-party state . The public works and the balance between income and expenses of the state diminished the great unemployment that existed, and the rest of the unemployed found employment in the nascent war industries.

In 1936, German troops entered the demilitarized Rhineland , and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain pursued his policy of appeasement that ended when he left office. Hitler's policy of annexing neighboring lands - such as Austria and Czechoslovakia - to seize Lebensraum ("living space") led to the outbreak of World War II . Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, at which time Britain and France declared war on it. Initially Germany achieved military successes quickly (hence the term Blitzkrieg: 'Blitzkrieg'). Control was achieved over the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, northern and western France, and later over Denmark , Norway , Yugoslavia, and Greece in Europe, and Tunisia and Libya in North Africa. It also had as firm allies the Empire of Japan (which made its own invasion of Asia and Oceania) and Italy (which had already invaded Albania and Ethiopia, controlled Libya together with the Germans and attacked Malta and British Egypt). His allies, or rather satellite states , were the Vichy Government (the southern French part controlled by MarshalPetáin and some of the African and Asian colonies), Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Potsdamer Platz after the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

Other states had to collaborate with the Germans so that there was no retaliation and they were not invaded. In the summer of 1941, an army of more than three million men invaded the Soviet Union , breaking the non-aggression treaty signed two years earlier. The Germans were supported by huge troops from Finland, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Hungary and Spain [ 37 ] among others. Finally, the undefeated German was stopped at the Battle of Britain , during which the Luftwaffe was defeated by the RAF.. The attack on the Soviet Union showed that the Nazi army was insufficient to cover a territory of this size. His failures in the Russian campaigns of 1941 (against Moscow ) and 1942 (to obtain oil from the Caspian Sea ), as well as the entry of the United States in December 1941, gave a turn in the conflict that led to the destruction of the country under the bombing of the allies , which only stopped after the capitulation of the Nazi regime on May 8, 1945.

In what later came to be known as the Holocaust , the Nazi regime enacted government policies to subjugate various sectors of society: Jews , Communists, Gypsies , Slavs ( Generalplan Ost ), homosexuals, Freemasons , political dissidents, priests, preachers , religious opponents and people with disabilities, among others. During the Nazi era, some eleven million people were methodically murdered as part of the Holocaust. The Nazi war and genocide were responsible for around fifty million deaths , including six million Jews and three millionPoles . The Soviet Union suffered greatly during the war, losing approximately 27 million people. [ 38 ]

Division and reunification

Occupation zones between 1947 and 1949.

Germany lost a considerable part of its territory, which was also occupied and divided between the allies for about 4 years . It is estimated that between 12 and 14 million ethnic Germans and their descendants were displaced from the former possessions of the Empire. [ 39 ] In 1949, after a new Constitution was approved in the west , the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was created, which eventually would regain part of its sovereignty, including the ability to maintain an army, and would become integrated, in the West, as a member of the European Communities and NATO . For its part,The German Democratic Republic (established in 1949 in response to the founding of the FRG) would from the outset become part of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet bloc .

In this way, he embodied the situation that existed worldwide in the framework of the Cold War . Berlin , the former capital, was divided into two blocks. The eastern part of the city, under communist control, builds a wall to prevent contact and the flight of its population towards the western part , a phenomenon that had intensified throughout the 1950s, as a consequence of the economic miracle German .

The lukewarm persecution of the criminals of the Nazi regime provoked the rejection, on the part of the new generations of the FRG, which contributed to the outbreak of the protests of 1968. The GDR, on the other hand, saw itself as a new state, created by anti-fascist fighters and in no way associated with the Nazi regime. For that reason, and for fear of unleashing political discussions that would endanger the supremacy of the single party, a comprehensive reflection on what happened during the war was not carried out. This lack of self-criticism has determined that the majority of xenophobia today occurs in the former GDR. [ 40 ] [ 41 ]

The fall of the Berlin Wall made possible the integration of Eastern Europe into the European Union.

After a history of incidents and disagreements between the two German states, the Berlin Wall was opened to circulation on November 9, 1989, after the massive escapes of GDR citizens to western territory, which occurred through Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the summer of that same year. Germany was reunited on October 3, 1990, regaining its full sovereignty, when the regime of political and military control of the victorious powers of World War II was definitively abolished. [ 42 ]

The German reunification had consequences in all areas of German life, as German participation in UN operations for peace enforcement, an attitude more critical of the contribution of foreigners to German life, and huge costs for taxpayers from the old states.

The reunified Germany preserves traditions that date back to the 19th century : universal suffrage and the parliamentary structure, developed in Reichstag times . A certain spatial continuity has also been preserved: the Two Plus Four Treaty , the international founding act of reunified Germany, reaffirmed the "little Germany" solution. The accords established the gradual withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany with the guarantee by NATO not to locate forces in the east of unified Germany. [ 43 ]

Since in 1950, Robert Schuman , the French minister of German origin, [ 44 ] delivered his famous declaration , both countries, France and Germany, are considered the engine of the European communities that have given rise to the current European Union .

government and politics

It is a federal , democratic, representative and parliamentary republic . The German political system operates under a framework established in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). By calling the document Grundgesetz, instead of Verfassung (Constitution), the authors expressed their intention that that text would be replaced by a Constitution, once Germany was reunified as a state.

Amendments or reforms to the Grundgesetz generally require a two-thirds majority of both houses of parliament . But the articles that guarantee fundamental rights, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the right to resist attempts to overthrow the constitutional and democratic order are intangible; that is, they cannot be modified. [ 45 ] Despite the original intention, the Grundgesetz continued in force after German reunification in 1990, albeit with some modifications.

The Bundeskanzlerin ( Federal Chancellor ), currently Angela Merkel , is the head of government and exercises executive power . His constitutional role is similar to that of a Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies , although reinforced by the investiture that the Bundestag grants him personally, and above all by the so-called "constructive vote of no confidence", by virtue of which the parliament cannot remove him if at the same time he does not choose his replacement.

The legislative power rests with the Parliament made by the Bundestag (Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council), which together form a unique type of organ legislature . The Bundestag is elected through direct elections , with a proportional representation system. The members of the Bundesrat represent the governments of the sixteen federal states and are members of the cabinets of each state. The respective state governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time. Voting in the Busdesrat is en bloc, that is, all the representatives of a Land must vote in the same direction.

Reichstag building , seat of the German Bundestag .

Since 1949, the party system has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), although smaller parties, such as the Free Democratic Party (FDP, which have had members in the Bundestag since 1949) and Alliance 90 / The Greens ( Die Grünen , which has won seats in Parliament since 1983) have also played an important role. [ 46 ] After reunification , the post-communist Die Linke (The Left) party also gained parliamentary representation .

The German head of state is the Bundespräsident (federal president), elected by the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), an institution made up of members of the Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates. The second highest German official in the order of precedence is the Bundestagspräsident (President of the Bundestag), which is elected by the Bundestag, being responsible for supervising the sessions of the body. The third and highest official of the Head of Government is the Federal Chancellor, who is appointed by the Bundespräsident after being elected by the Bundestag. The federal chancellor can be removed constructively through a motion of no confidence by the Bundestag, where a successor is simultaneously elected.

External relationships

Chancellor Angela Merkel as host of the G8 summit in Krün , Bavaria (2015).

Germany has a network of 227 diplomatic missions abroad and maintains relations with more than 190 countries. [ 47 ] [ 48 ] In 2011 the country was the third largest contributor to the UN (provides 8%). [ 49 ] Germany is a member of NATO , the OECD , the G7 , the G20 , the World Bank, and the IMF .

On the other hand, Germany's development policy is an independent area of ​​foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, being carried out by the implementing organizations. The German Government regards development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community . [ 50 ] The country was the third largest aid donor globally in 2009, after the United States and France. [ 51 ] [ 52 ]

European Union

Germany has played an influential role in the European Union (EU) since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France and its neighboring countries since 1990. The country has the largest representation in the European Parliament , [ 53 ] by virtue of of its condition as the most populated state in the bloc, and since 2017 it has led the project to re-found the European Union . [ 54 ] Furthermore, each year it is the Member State whose contribution is the largest to the Community budget . In addition to this correlated contribution to national wealth ("resourceGross National Income "), each State collects part of the VAT on behalf of the Union, as well as customs duties on imports from third countries, which also makes Germany the main net contributor to the EU budget . [ 55 ]

Within the EU, Germany exercises the position of "central power". [ 56 ] This was demonstrated by the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2007, it was the twelfth time that Germany assumed the Presidency since this process began in 1958. As usual, although the head of government of Germany is Angela Merkel , it was Frank-Walter Steinmeier , the Federal Foreign Minister , who served as President of the Council of the European Union . [ 57 ] The most outstanding aspect of this Presidency was the writing of the Berlin Declaration, [ 58 ] but the greatest achievement was the agreement that gave rise to the European Treaty of Lisbon . Consequently, other EU member states have high expectations for the German presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020 , [ 59 ] as on this occasion the German government must manage the EU post-Brexit and the pandemic of disease by coronavirus .

Armed forces

The Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the Heer , the German army.

The armed forces are called the Bundeswehr ; comprised of the Army ( Heer ), Naval Force ( Deutsche Marine ), Air Force ( Luftwaffe ), Central Medical Services, and Joint Service Aid Command Branches . The Bundeswehr is commanded by the Defense Minister in peacetime. When the country is in a state of war, the chancellor is commander-in-chief .

The compulsory military service was abolished in 2011, [ 60 ] lasted nine months and the government earmarked 1.6% of the GDP for national defense. Due to its high degree of civil technological development in the field of nuclear and aerospace engineering , it is capable of developing nuclear weapons if its government decides to do so. Its military industry produces weapons ranging from tanks , aircraft, and armored vehicles , to artillery , submarines, andcombat ships . Most of the weapons are manufactured for the Federal Armed Forces or for allies in NATO .

According to article 24 GG Germany can limit itself in its sovereignty to preserve European or world peace and work in conjunction with an international organization. Germany is part of NATO and as such has participated in Afghanistan , Kosovo and in the Second Gulf War , among others. In addition, together with the European Union, he worked for peace in Darfur .


Landespolizei patrol car of the state of Hesse .

The Courts of Justice are independent of the executive and legislative branches . They have a civil status that is based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law . The Bundesverfassungsgericht ( Federal Constitutional Court ), based in Karlsruhe (600 km from Berlin), is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters , with the power to declare unconstitutional the laws of the parliament, the government and the federal president, what in the United States system is called "judicial review." [ 61 ]

This Court is the highest judicial authority in the country, and its objective is to ensure that the acts of the legislative and judicial powers comply with the Basic Law . It acts independently of the other organs of the State, but cannot act on its own initiative.

The German justice system consists of more than one supreme court . For civil and criminal cases , the highest court is the Federal Court of Justice, based in Karlsruhe, Leipzig . Other supreme federal courts in their scope of action are the Federal Labor Court in Erfurt , the Federal Social Court in Kassel , the Federal Finance Court in Munich and the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

The criminal law and private law are codified at the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. The penal system is directed towards the rehabilitation of the criminal , its secondary objective is the protection of the general public. [ 62 ] To achieve the latter, the convicted criminal can be placed in preventive detention (Sicherheitsverwahrung), in addition to regulating the sentence if he is considered a threat to the general public. The Völkerstrafgesetzbuch regulates the consequences of crimes against humanity , genocide andwar crimes .

Legislative power is divided between the federation and the states. The Basic Law stipulates that states must follow the provisions of the legislative power at the state level, except in cases designated by said Law. Federal law prevails over the laws of each state, since the legislative power resides at the federal level. The Bundesrat is the federal body through which the states participate in national legislation. Each state has its own constitutional courts.

Human rights

Regarding human rights , with regard to membership of the seven bodies of the International Bill of Human Rights , which include the Human Rights Committee (HRC), Germany has signed or ratified:

UN emblem blue.svgStatus of major international instruments of human rights [ 63 ]
Flag of germany
International deals
CESCR[64] CCPR [ 65 ] CERD [ 66 ] CED[67] CEDAW [ 68 ] CAT[69] CRC[70] MWC[71] EARL [ 72 ]
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Territorial organization

Germany comprises sixteen states that are collectively referred to as the Länder or the Bundesländer . Each state has its own constitution and is largely autonomous in its internal organization. Due to the differences in the size and population of the subdivisions of these states vary, especially between city- state ( Stadtstaaten ) and states with larger territories ( Flächenländer ). For regional administrative purposes five states, namely Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria , Hesse , North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony, consist of a total of 22 government districts ( Regierungsbezirke ). As of 2009 Germany is divided into 403 districts ( Kreise ) at the municipal level; these consist of 301 rural districts and 102 urban districts.

Federated state % Surface Hab./km² Capital Map
1 Baden-Wurtemberg 10,01 300 Stuttgart
2 Bavaria 19,76 177 Munich
3 Berlin 0,25 3812 Berlin
4 Brandeburg 8,26 87 Potsdam
5 Bremen 0,11 1642 Bremen
6 Hamburgo 0,21 2317 Hamburg
7 Hesse 5,91 288 Wiesbaden
8 Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 6,49 73 Schwerin
9 Lower Saxony 13,34 168 Hannover
10 North Rhine-Westphalia 9,55 529 Düsseldorf
11 Rhineland-Palatinate 5,56 204 Mainz
12 Sarre 0,72 407 Sarrebruck
13 Sajonia 5,16 231 Dresden
14 Sajonia-Anhalt 5,73 120 Magdeburg
15 Schleswig-Holstein 4,41 180 Kiel
16 Turingia 4,53 144 Erfurt


Physical geography of Germany.

Its population is the second largest in Europe (after European Russia), and it is the seventh country by area. Its territory covers 357,022 km², [ 5 ] consisting of 348,672 km² of land [ 5 ] and 8,350 km² of water. [ 5 ] The terrain ranges from the high peaks of the Alps in the south, where the highest elevation is the Zugspitze at 2,963 m, [ 5 ] to the lowlands bordering the shores of the Baltic and North Seas . In the center of the country are the forest highlands and to the southwest theBlack Forest . It does not have overseas territories .

Some of its most important rivers are the Rhine , the Elbe , the Danube River and the Main . Among the lakes, the one of Constanza and the Müritz stand out .


Map showing types of weather in Germany

Most of Germany has a temperate climate dominated by westerly winds . The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Current , which is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream . This water warming affects the areas bordering the North Sea including the Jutland Peninsula and the area along the Rhine, which empties into the North Sea. Consequently, in the northwest and north, the climate is oceanic , rains occur throughout the year with a maximum during the summer . The winters are cold temperatures from -15 to 0 ° C summers tend to be fresh, withMaximum temperatures between 20 and 24 ° C and minimum between 6 and 16 ° C for prolonged periods. In the east, the climate is more continental , winters can be very cold with temperatures between -15 to -1 ° C, summers can be warmer with temperatures between 21 and 26 ° C, so they are often recorded long dry periods. The central part and the south are transition regions that vary from moderate to hot climate. Again, the maximum temperature can exceed 30 ° C in summer. The highest temperature recorded was 41 ° C in Munich and Bavaria in 2003 while the lowest temperature recorded was -53 ° C in Dortmund and in Frankfurt in 1965.[73][74]

Effects of climate change

The German Federal Government monitoring report (“Monitoringbericht 2019”) shows the following image for Germany: [ 75 ]The last few years were very hot and characterized by long periods of drought and extreme weather events, such as storms and heavy rains. Summers in 2003, 2018 and 2019 were the warmest since the beginning of meteorological records. The air temperature increased 1.5 ° C from 1881 to 2018. In recent decades, a trend of increasing extremes of heat is emerging. In particular, the number of hot days (> 30 ° C) has increased significantly. For example, in 2003, some 7,500 people died more than would have been expected without a heat wave. Months with below-average groundwater levels become significantly more frequent. In the summer months, the rivers contain less and less water. Sea levels in the North and Baltic Seas are rising significantly. This causes an increase in the intensity of storm surge. The duration of the vegetation periods is getting longer. An example is the apple blossom season. The proportion of beech trees has decreased compared to the tree species best adapted to drought in hot and dry nature forest reserves. The effects of increased warming are also evident in the significant increase in water temperatures in lakes and the North Sea. The proportion of beech trees has decreased compared to the tree species best adapted to drought in hot and dry nature forest reserves. The effects of increased warming are also evident in the significant increase in water temperatures in lakes and the North Sea. The proportion of beech trees has decreased compared to the tree species best adapted to drought in hot and dry nature forest reserves. The effects of increased warming are also evident in the significant increase in water temperatures in lakes and the North Sea.

Fauna and Flora

The red fox .

Most of the mammals live in forests where you can find animals such as roe deer , red deer , wild boar , red fox , European fallow deer and many mustelids . The beavers and otters are increasingly rare inhabitants once in rivers.

Other large mammals that once lived in Central Europe were exterminated, such as the aurochs , brown bear , elk , wild horse , European bison, and wolf . Recently some moose and wolves have emigrated from Poland and the Czech Republic in search of better provisions, but in the case of the reestablishment of the wolf and the bear it is very problematic due to the bad reputation of these animals among the population.

The golden eagle is only found in the Alps in the Bavarian area and the bearded vulture that was once in this area was exterminated. The most frequent raptors of prey are the common buzzard and the common kestrel , unlike the peregrine falcon which is less numerous.

As the country is in an area with a temperate climate, its flora is characterized by extensive wood and coniferous forests . The ample existing wood is mainly from red beech . In addition, other trees such as oak , birch or pine are common . Large areas of flora such as the alpine (Bavarian Alps) or the subalpine ( Black Forest or Harz ) stand out.

Currently 29.5% of the state surface is forested. This makes it one of the richest countries in forest in the European Union. Among the plants, the white-flowered acacia has a great acceptance in the population, its presence being common. There is also a growing interest in the production of bee flora and mainly cereals ( barley , oats , rye , wheat ), potatoes and corn . In the valleys that are next to the river, among others the Moselle, the Ahr and the Rhine, the landscape was reformed for the production of wine .


Germany has important wind farms and is one of the countries with the largest solar energy capacity in the world. In 2014, renewable energies generated 30% of the country's total electricity consumption . [ 76 ]
Solar district of Vauban , in the German town of Freiburg .

It has the highest carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union (in 2014 it emitted almost 23% of the continent's total CO 2 emissions ). [ 77 ] . In 2018, emissions per capita were [ 78 ] 9.2 in tCO 2 , almost double that of France (4.96 tCO 2 per capita) and much higher than those of Spain (5.9 tCO 2 per capita). Much of its electrical energy comes from coal (it has 7 of the 10 most polluting coal plants in Europe) that use lignite and to extract it, one of the largest primary forests [ 79 ] in Europe is being destroyed .

Germans believe that action against global warming is necessary, but are more divided than people in other countries on the urgency of such action. [ 80 ] It is committed to the Kyoto Protocol from which they clearly benefited by taking the emissions of 1990 as a reference [ 81 ] (Germany is allowed per capita emissions higher than those of Spain). Germany has signed several treaties to promote biological diversity, low emission standards, recycling , the use of renewable energy and supports sustainable development worldwide. [ 82] However, between 1990 and 2017, Germany lost 75% of its flying insects. [ 83 ]

Sewage pollution in the Baltic Sea and industrial tributaries of rivers in the former East Germany have been reduced.

Since the beginning of the 21st century , Germany has strongly supported the implementation of renewable energies such as photovoltaic solar energy and wind energy , contributing significantly to the energy mix of the country where the largest contribution comes from coal plants. Germany has set itself the target of producing 35% of electricity from renewable energy by 2020 and reach 100% by 2050. [ 84 ]


The three main rivers are:

  • Rhine (Rhein in German) with a German part of 865 kilometers has several important tributaries such as the Neckar , the Main and the Moselle .
  • Elbe with a German part of 727 kilometers that flows into the North Sea .
  • Danube (Donau) with a German part of 687 kilometers.

Other important rivers are the aforementioned Neckar and Main and others such as the Isar in the southeast, or the Weser in the north.


Due to the development of its economy, it is considered in general terms as the fourth world power and the first in Europe. In 2006, its gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 3 trillion US dollars . Its industrial assets are diverse; the main types of manufactured products are means of transport , electrical and electronic equipment, machinery , chemicals, synthetic materials and processed foods. It is a source of wealth and this is reflected in the growing economy of central Europe. With extensive road infrastructure and an excellent standard of living, it is one of the most developed nations in the world .

In the words of former Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer , Germany is "world export champion," given the favorable movement in the country's foreign trade since 2004, which has given the Germans an export surplus. [ 85 ]

France is Germany 's most important trading partner and vice versa. [ 86 ] In 2005, France, with 10.2%, was once again the main destination for German exports and the origin of 8.7% of imports. [ 87 ] In 2006, more than 14% of French exports went to Germany and about 17% of total French imports came from Germany. [ 88 ]

The countries of the European Union are the main buyers of German products ( United Kingdom 7.8% and Italy 6.9% in 2005 [ 87 ] ). Germany's main trading partner outside Europe is China , a country to which it made 5.7% of its exports in 2011 and from which it received 9.7% of its imports. [ 87 ]

The Deutsche Bundesbank ( Central Bank ) and the European Central Bank (ECB) are headquartered in the city of Frankfurt am Main . In 2006, the construction of the European Central Bank building was undertaken .

Inequalities are among the highest in Europe and are reflected in low wages in many sectors. Thus, 22.5% of workers earn less than 10.50 euros per hour, compared to only 8.8% in France. [ 89 ]

Since 2004, Germany has been facing a rise in rental prices, which could cause a housing bubble to burst . Between 2016 and 2017, prices in Berlin increased by more than 20% (more than 100% in ten years). [ 90 ]



The ICE 3 train on the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line .

Since the construction of the first large-scale motorway network in the world in the 1930s by Nazi Germany , [ 91 ] the country has rapid communication routes ( Autobahnen ) that add up to about 12,000 km covering the entire Of the territory. It also has more than 40,000 km of roads, which makes it the country with the highest density of roads for vehicles. All of the country's highways are free for private vehicles; As of 2005, cargo trucks must pay a toll that is automatically deducted via satellite , once the truck leaves the route, and that is proportional to the number of kilometers traveled.

The major causes of CO 2 emissions come from transportation, particularly from cars. In this sense, in all EU countries there are speed limits except on German motorways, probably because in Germany there are the parent companies of brands that manufacture the most powerful cars that have acted to give the image of few emitters, it is known the case of dieselgate .

Hamburg is the second largest port city in Europe.

Germany is also a world leader in canal construction . This kind of ancient construction took a renewed momentum from the 19th century . The Kiel Canal , which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea, is one of the most impressive. Numerous river channels, such as the Rhine-Main-Danube , the Dortmund -Ems or the Elbe-Seitenkanal, provide the country with a complete network of canals.

Cities such as Freiburg im Breisgau have modern facilities for harnessing solar energy . Large industrial regions, such as the Ruhr area , the Rhine-Main region or Cologne , have developed an economic dynamism that maintains its industrial base and that has also been able to implement itself in the area of ​​services.


Germany is the largest television market in Europe, with some 34 million households that have television. The numerous regional and national public channels are organized according to the federal political structure. About 90% of German households have cable television or satellite television , and viewers can choose from a variety of free public access and commercial channels.

The country is home to some of the largest media conglomerates, including Bertelsmann and publisher Axel Springer .


German population growth since 1800 .

With more than 82 million inhabitants, it is the most populous country in the European Union . However, its fertility rate of 1.40 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world, and the Federal Statistical Office estimates that the population will decline to between 69 and 74 million by 2050 (69 million assuming a migration +100,000 per year, 74 million assuming a net migration of +200,000 per year). [ 92 ] Germany has a number of large cities, with Berlin being the most populated, however the largest urban agglomeration is the Rhine-Ruhr region .

Since December 2004, some seven million foreign citizens have been registered, and 19% of the country's residents are foreigners or have some foreign origin. The largest group (2.3 million) is from Turkey , [ 93 ] and most of the rest are from European countries such as Italy , Serbia , Greece , Poland and Croatia . [ 94 ] The United Nations Organizationranks Germany as the third largest recipient of international emigrants worldwide, around 5%, or 10 of the 191 million emigrants, or around 12% of the country's population. [ 95 ] As a result of the restrictions, the number of immigrants seeking asylum justifying origin ethnic German (mostly from the former Soviet Union ) has been declining steadily since 2000. [ 96 ]

The population pyramid of Germany (13.3% young, 66.1% adults and 20.6% elderly), is one of contraction, common in highly developed countries with low birth rates and mortality. Usually this indicates that there is a long life expectancy, a high level of education, and good medical care.


The Cologne Cathedral on the banks of the Rhine River is part of the World Heritage .

The Christianity is the majority religion, with 45.8 million adherents (55.1%). [ 97 ] [ 98 ] The second most widespread is the Islam , with 4.3 million followers (5.2%) [ 97 ] followed by Buddhism and Judaism , both with about 200,000 followers ( 0.25%). The Hindu has followers 90 000 (0.1%). All other religious communities have less than 50,000 (or less than 0.05%) adherents. About 32.3 million Germans (38.8%) have no religious denomination. [ 97 ]

The Protestantism is concentrated in the north and east and Roman Catholicism is concentrated in the south and west. Each of them comprises about 29% of the population; 1.7% of the total population declare themselves Orthodox Christians , among them Serbs , Russians and Greeks are the most numerous. [ 99 ] Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was born in Bavaria.

The number of people without religion , including atheists and agnostics , amounts to 38.8% of the population, and they are especially numerous in the former East Germany and the main metropolitan areas. [ 100 ] Of the 4.3 million Muslims , the majority are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey, but there are a small number of Shiites . [ 101 ]

According to the 2005 Eurobarometer survey , 47% of German citizens answered "I believe there is a God", while 25% answered "I believe there is a kind of spirit or life force" and 25% said "I do not believe that there is any kind of spirit, God, life or force ". [ 102 ]


Knowledge of German in the European Union .

German is the official and main language spoken in Germany. [ 103 ] It is one of the 23 official languages ​​in the European Union , and one of the three working languages ​​of the European Commission , along with English and French . In addition, there are other minority languages ​​that are recognized as native: Danish , Sorbian , Romany and Frisian . These are officially protected by the ECRML. The foreign languages ​​most used in the country are Turkish , Polish , the languages ​​of the Balkan Peninsula and theRussian .

Standard German is a West Germanic language and is closely related to English, Dutch, and Swedish . Most of the German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. [ 104 ] Important minorities of words derived from Latin , Greek , and a smaller amount of French. German is written using the Latin alphabet . In addition to the standard twenty-six letters, German has three vowels with Umlaut , that is, ä, ö, and ü, as well as the Eszett or scharfes S (strong s) ß.

Worldwide, German has approximately one hundred million native speakers and also about eighty million non-native speakers. [ 105 ] German is the primary language of nearly ninety million people (18%) in the European Union. 67% of German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language, 27% at least in two languages other than their own. [ 103 ]


The University of Heidelberg , founded in 1386, is the oldest in Germany and one of the most reputable in the country. [ 106 ]

The responsibility for educational oversight rests primarily with individual federal states, while the government has only a secondary role. The kindergarten is optional, and provides education for all children between three and six years later, schooling is compulsory for at least ten years. [ 107 ] The primary school usually lasts four years and public schools are not stratified at this stage. In contrast, secondary education includes four types of schools based on student ability as determined by teacher recommendations: the Gymnasium, which includes the most intelligent children, prepares students for college and is in attendance for eight or nine years, depending on the state; The Realschule has a wider range of special interest to intermediate students and lasts for six years; the Hauptschule prepares students for professional teaching , and the Gesamtschule combines all three approaches. [ 107 ]

The PISA Report assesses the abilities of 15-year-old students in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and a number of partner countries. In 2006, German schoolchildren have improved their position compared to previous years, ranking (statistically) significantly above average (rank 13) in science , and not significantly above or below average in mathematics ( rank 20) ​​and reading skills (rank 18). [ 108 ] [ 109 ]Socio-economic differences are high, and student performance is more dependent on this factor than in most other countries. [ 110 ] [ 111 ]

To enter a university, high school students need to pass the Abitur exam , similar to the Advanced Level , it is also possible to enter the university with a Fachabitur, which is an Abitur specialized, for example, in economics . Students holding a diploma from a vocational school can enter a University of Applied Sciences . [ 107 ]Most German universities are state-owned. In all universities you have to pay administrative taxes, which are between 50 and 200 euros. In some states, you also have to pay for tuition fees that amount up to 500 euros per semester. [ 112 ]

Universities are recognized internationally, indicating the high level of education in the country. According to the QS World University Rankings 2013, thirteen German universities are among the top two hundred best universities in the world. [ 113 ]


The top fifteen German cities by population (2010) are as follows:

Hamburgo ( Hamburg )
Múnich ( Munich )

Town Condition Population

Colonia ( Cologne )
Fráncfort (Frankfurt am Main)

1 Berlin Berlin 3,543 676
2 Hamburg Hamburg 1,724,309
3 Munich Bavaria 1,388,308
4 Colonia North Rhine-Westphalia 1,013,665
5 Frankfurt am Main Hesse 676,533
6 Stuttgart Baden-Wuerttemberg 591,015
7 Düsseldorf North Rhine-Westphalia 589,649
8 Dortmund North Rhine-Westphalia 571,403
9 Essen North Rhine-Westphalia 565,900
10 Bremen Bremen (State) 544,043
11 Dresden Saxony 525,105
12 Leipzig Saxony 520,838
13 Hannover Lower saxony 509,485
14 Nuremberg Bavaria 495,121
15 Duisburg North Rhine-Westphalia 487,470


The German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).

The country is often called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). [ 114 ] German culture began long before the emergence of Germany as a nation-state and encompassed the entire German-speaking area. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by the main intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. As a result, it is difficult to identify a particular German tradition separate from the broader framework of European high culture. Another consequence of these circumstances is the fact that some historical figures, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Nicolás Copernicus, among others, although they were not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, they must be considered in the context of the German cultural sphere to understand their work.


Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859).

Germany has been home to some of the most outstanding researchers in different scientific fields. [ 115 ] Thus, about 100 Germans (of nationality or origin) have been awarded the Nobel Prize . The work of Albert Einstein , Max Planck, and Otto Hahn was crucial to the founding of modern physics and nuclear chemistry , which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born further developed. [ 116 ] They were preceded by physicists like Hermann von Helmholtz ,Joseph von Fraunhofer , and Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays , an achievement that made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. [ 117 ] In Germany and other countries X-rays are called "Röntgenstrahlen" (Röntgen rays). The work of Heinrich Hertz in the field of radiation electromagnetic was instrumental in the development of modern telecommunications. [ 118 ] Wilhelm Wundt is famous for having developed the first laboratorypsychology , to which he gave the category of science . [ 119 ] Alexander von Humboldt and his work as a natural scientist and explorer was foundational to biogeography . [ 120 ]

Many important mathematicians were born in Germany, including Carl Friedrich Gauss , David Hilbert , Bernhard Riemann , Gottfried Leibniz , Karl Weierstrass, and Hermann Weyl . Germany has also been home to famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg , who is credited with inventing movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger , the creator of the Geiger counter , and Konrad Zuse , who built the first fully automatic digital computer . [ 121] Inventors, engineers, and industrialists such asCount Ferdinand von Zeppelin,Otto Lilienthal,Gottlieb Daimler,Rudolf Diesel,Hugo Junkers,andKarl Benzcontributed to the modern shape of theautomobileand air transport technology. [ 122 ] [ 123 ]

Important research institutions are the Max Planck Society , the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Fraunhofer Society . They work independently or externally connected to the university system, contributing to a considerable extent to scientific production. The prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is awarded to ten scientists and academics each year. With a maximum award of 2.5 million euros, it is one of the most highly endowed research awards in the world. [ 124 ]

Literature and philosophy

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900).

German literature dates back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach . Various German authors and poets have gained great renown, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller . The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularized German folklore internationally. Influenced 20th century authors include Thomas Mann , Bertolt Brecht , Hermann Hesse , Heinrich Böll, and Günter Grass .

Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant, and many notable German philosophers have helped shape Western philosophy since the Middle Ages. Gottfried Leibniz and their contributions to rationalism , Immanuel Kant , Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Johann Gottlieb Fichte who forged idealism , Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels formulated communist theory , Arthur Schopenhauer developed the metaphysical pessimism composition ,Friedrich Nietzsche developed Perspectivism , Martin Heidegger's work in Being and Time, and that of social theories Jürgen Habermas were especially influential.


Numerous German painters have enjoyed international prestige through their work in various artistic currents. Lucas Cranach the Elder , Hans Holbein the Younger , Matthias Grünewald , and Albrecht Dürer were important artists of the Renaissance , Caspar David Friedrich of Romanticism , and Max Ernst of Surrealism .


Germany has experienced throughout its history the influence of different architectural styles that have been incorporated and adapted to regional tastes. German contributions include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles , which were important precursors to the Romanesque . The region later became a site for important works in styles such as Gothic , Renaissance, and Baroque . It was especially important in the early modern movements, especially thanks to the Bauhaus founded by Walter Gropius . Mies van der Rohehe became one of the most renowned architects in the world in the second half of the 20th century and the use of glass facades in skyscrapers is his idea. [ 125 ]

The German architectural heritage is extremely important. There are 41 places in Germany distinguished as World Heritage Unesco , most of them with important architectural works.

History of German architecture

From Carolingian times, under the impetus of the emperor and the prelates, Germany was endowed with numerous religious buildings, of which very few remain. We can mention the palatine chapel of Aix-la-Chapelle of central plant, due to Eudes de Metz , is heir to antiquity. Its plan is reminiscent of that of San Vital in Ravenna or the churches of the East, although it is not clear whether Eudes himself would have seen those buildings or simply sketches that would have been sent to him. [ 126 ] The other specific innovation of the Carolingian period is the western massif or Westwerkof the churches. It is a quasi-autonomous building body in relation to the nave and located to the west that consists of a massive multi-storey tower, often framed by two stair turrets. The ground floor comprises a vaulted entrance porch that houses relics. The first floor, which acts as a chapel, is an open gallery over the nave through openings. [ 127 ] The most famous example is the Corvey Abbey Church . The latest jewel of Carolingian architecture is the Fulda Abbey Church , which is almost the size of a Gothic cathedral. It was built by the architect and abbot of the monastery, Ratgar. [ 126 ]

The restoration of imperial authority in the 10th century was accompanied by a renovation of religious architecture. Great timber-framed churches of harmonious proportions were built, such as San Miguel de Hildesheim and San Ciriaco de Gernrode .

The Mainz Cathedral view from the southwest. In the center is the west tower, tower of the baroque transept by Franz Michael Neumann. To the left, flanking the choir, are two small stepped towers. Between them, set back towards the main tower, the statue of the knight Martin de Tours stands out against the sky.

Beginning in the 11th century , the Rhenish Romanesque style developed . It is characterized by the existence of three apses that form a clover, as in the church of Santa María del Capitolio in Colonia. It was at that time that the Espira and San Martín de Mainz were built . Little by little, the architecture of the churches was influenced by the Gothic style: the Naumburg Cathedral and the Limbourg churches of Andernach , although they maintain their Romanesque appearance, have a structure closer to the Gothic. [ 128 ]

Gothic art did not really spread in Germany until the middle of the 13th century . Erwin von Steinbach was the first master builder of the Strasbourg Cathedral , then an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire . The Cologne Cathedral is one of the masterpieces of the German Gothic with its two tall ships and two towers facade French fashion. The German originality appears in the use of brick, mainly in the north of the country ( Church of Santa Maria de Lübeck , Schwerin Cathedral ). The adoption of hall churches ( Hallenkirche ), inspired by Cistercian architecture, is another characteristic of German Gothic. The aisles rise to the same level as the central nave and are separated from it only by pillars as in Sainte-Élisabeth de Marbourg . Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries , late Gothic dominated with the erection of the Church of St. Anne Annaberg-Buchholz , a beautiful example of Flamboyant Gothic in Saxony, and the Cathedral of Ulm . In the bourgeoisie, houses with a pinion are built ( Regensburg [ 129 ] ), half-timbered houses ( Goslar ) or fitting out of towers in the Italian fashion. [ 130 ]

During the Renaissance , Germany was influenced by Italy to the south and Flanders to the north. The Renaissance architect Heinrich Schickhardt has marked Germany ( Herrenberg - Freudenstadt ), but also France ( Montbéliard ) with his style . The baroque architecture , which appeared in Italy at the beginning of the century XVII , spread to Germany after the Thirty Years' War . The masters of Baroque Germanic art were Johann Michael Fischer ( Zwiefalten , Ottobeuren ), the Asam brothers andDominikus Zimmermann Steinhausen, Wies ). In Bavaria, Johann Balthasar Neumann carried out the Würzburg residence in a specific style of German Baroque. In Dresden, Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann built the Zwinger Palace . The Frederick Rococo was developed in Prussia, led by the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff whose main work is the Sanssouci Palace . [ 131 ] Andreas Schlüter worked on many monuments in Berlin.

From 1750, the excavations of Pompeii put the focus on Greco-Roman art. The century saw the advent of neoclassical architecture . This architectural style, whose main theorist was Winckelmann , advocated a return to classical Greek architectural lines in response to the more loaded style of Baroque and Rococo. Leo von Klenze drew the plans for the Munich glyptothek while Carl Gotthard Langhans erected the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. French art was in vogue and many French architects were employed by German princes.

Since 1850, the architects E. Ludwig and A. Koch claimed an art form more adapted to their time. The architecture of the 19th century is marked by the diversity of styles. Karl Friedrich Schinkel is a representative of Prussian neoclassicism. The neo-Gothic style , born in England in the mid-18th century , was echoed in Germany in the early 19th century. Associated with romantic nationalism , it strengthens the Germans in their national sentiment. The reconstruction of the Cologne Cathedral (1842-1863) is a perfect example. In the mid-nineteenth century , Biedermeier architecture, highly appreciated by the bourgeoisie, defended an elegant style, but sober both in the facades and in the furniture. It corresponds to the French Louis Philippe style . At the end of the 19th century , art nouveau , and more precisely Jugendstil , flourished in Germany. The movement called for a renewal of forms and materials. The facades were decorated with plant motifs.

Contemporary architecture

The Worpsweder Kaseglocke (bell cheese Worpswede ), built in 1926 by Bruno Taut

At the beginning of the 20th century , twelve industrialists and a dozen artists, including Peter Behrens , Richard Riemerschmid , Henry van de Velde , grouped around the theories of Hermann Muthesius founded the Deutscher Werkbund. The notion of industrial aesthetics was emphasized as shown by the aims and philosophy of the movement: “Choose the best representatives of the arts, industry, trades and commerce; coordinate all efforts towards the achievement of quality in industrial production, create a meeting center for all those who have the capacity and the will to make quality products [...]. There is no fixed boundary between the tool and the machine. Quality jobs can be created indifferently with the help of tools and machines as soon as man takes control of the machine and turns it into a tool. " [ 132 ]

In 1919, Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus , a school of art and architecture that also taught design and theater. It taught how to use modern materials and reflected on what art should be in the hour of industrialization. The Bauhaus hired renowned architects to serve as directors and teachers. Among them, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - director of the Bauhaus in 1930-1933 and organizer of the Weissenhof project - and Erich Mendelsohn , [ 133 ] - creator of the Einstein Tower -, founded in 1926, the architectural movement Der Ringthat reflected the functionalist aspect of the buildings. The Bauhaus also allowed the emergence of highly talented designers, including leading designers of the modernist movement, such as Marianne Brandt , Marcel Breuer , Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand , the Dutchman Gerrit Rietveld , author of a famous cubist chair. The Bauhaus also influenced photography, costumes, and dance.

After 1945, the urgency in the country was to rebuild a war-torn Germany. It was about quickly offering new accommodations: functionality and economic criteria were privileged at the expense of the quality of the habitat. This sad architecture is still very present in the German territory and Alexander Mitscherlich speaks of an "inhospitable environment" [ 133 ] to describe this anonymous architecture. It was not until the mid-1970s that a renovation took place and priority was given to designing a more humane architecture.

After reunification in 1990, Germany wanted to make its capital a city of international stature. He invited architects from all over the world. Norman Foster ( Reichstag Palace ), Renzo Piano (Debis tower at Potsdamer Platz ), Richard Rogers , Daniel Libeskind , Rafael Moneo , Helmut Jahn transformed Berlin with their buildings that gave the city an international and resolutely modernist dimension. Axel Schultes designed the new Chancellery. But architectural innovation exceeded the limits of this city: buildings in the new style were erected in Munich (Pinakothek der Moderne ) in Herford (MARTa museum), near Neuss ( Langen Foundation ) and Leipzig ( Museum of Visual Art ). [ 134 ]

Far from prestigious projects, Germany is also at the forefront of green construction (solar energy and non-polluting materials such as wood, energy saving ...). In this area, the aging architect Frei Otto is famous for his flexible suspended ceiling constructions. German civil engineering is currently a leader in this emerging field. [ 133 ] There are also examples of modern and innovative architecture in Germany designed to meet the needs of man. [ 134 ]


Johann S. Bach
Toccata e fuga
Ludwig v. Beethoven
Sinfonía n. 5
Richard Wagner
The Valkyrie

Some of the most renowned composers of European classical music have developed in Germany , including Johann Sebastian Bach , Georg Friedrich Händel , Ludwig van Beethoven , Johannes Brahms, and Richard Wagner . As of 2006, Germany is the fifth music market in the world and has influenced music, becoming a pioneer of some genres such as electronic music , industrial metal , pop , rock through artists such as Modern Talking , Rammstein , Lacrimosa ,Kraftwerk, Scorpions, Accept, Helloween y Tokio Hotel.


German actress Marlene Dietrich .

German cinema was especially influential during the Weimar Republic years, with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari) and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau . The Nazi era produced significant works such as the film Münchhausen (1943) or the controversial work of director Leni Riefenstahl .

During the period 1970-1980 directors such as Volker Schlöndorff , Werner Herzog , Wim Wenders , Rainer Werner Fassbinder brought German cinema back onto the international scene with their often provocative films. More recently, films like Das Boot (1981), Lola rennt (1998), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (2004), Der Untergang (2004) and Das Leben der Anderen (2007) have enjoyed international success.

The Berlin Film Festival , held annually since 1951, is one of the most prestigious film festivals. The annual European Film Awards ceremony is held every two years in the city of Berlin, where the European Film Academy is located . The Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam are the oldest large-scale studios in the world and constitute an international center for film production.


Cheese and sausages , typical foods of German gastronomy.

German cuisine varies from region to region. The southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia , for example, share a culinary culture with Switzerland and Austria . Pork , beef , and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed, with pork being the most popular. Throughout all regions, meat is frequently eaten in the form of a sausage . More than 1500 different types of sausages are produced in the country. So-called organic foods have gained a market share of around 3.0% and this is forecast to be a growing trend. [135]

The breakfast is usually a selection of cereals and honey or jam with bread . Some Germans eat cold cuts , eggs, and / or cheese with bread for breakfast. More than 300 types of breads are known throughout the country. Being a country of immigrants, it has adopted many international dishes. Dishes Italian as pizza and paste , or Turks and Arabs as kebab are well established, especially in large cities. Restaurants Chinese and Greeks they are also considerably widespread.

Although wine is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of Germany, the national drink is beer . Beer consumption per person in the country is declining, but at 116 liters per year it is still among the highest in the world. Of 18 western countries surveyed, per capita consumption of soft drinks was found to be below average (14th on the list), while consumption of fruit juice is one of the highest (third on the list).


Date Name in Spanish Local name
January 1 New Year New Year
Holy Friday Good Friday
Easter monday Easter Monday
May 1 Labor Day Labor Day
Ascension of Jesus Christ (Ascension of Christ
Pentecost Whit Monday
October 3 German Unity Day Day of German unity
December 25th 1. er Christmas Day 1st Christmas Day
December 26 2nd day of Christmas 2nd Christmas Day

Germany launched the ' Land of Ideas ' marketing campaign in 2006 to promote itself during the final phase of the 2006 FIFA World Cup ™ . In 2008 the project was resumed. "Land of Ideas" focuses on recent innovations in public and private institutions, in universities and research institutes, in companies and even in social and cultural projects.

Since the World Cup celebrations in 2006, the internal and external perception of the country's image has changed. [ 136 ] In global surveys known as the GMI Anholt Index , the country ranked second. Economic criteria, the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, its citizens and its tourist attraction were taken into account. [ 137 ]

Germany is both legally and culturally a tolerant country towards homosexuals . On June 30, 2017, homosexual marriage was approved, with the votes in favor of the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Left. [ 138 ] Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's children.

During the last decade of the 20th century , Germany considerably changed its attitude towards immigrants . Despite the fact that approximately 10% of the population was foreign, until the mid-1990s, public opinion was that Germany was not a country of immigration. However, asylum laws were considerably toughened in that decade to prevent their abuse.

Germans invested € 58 billion in international travel in 2005, making them world champions in travel. The most popular destinations were Austria , Spain , Italy and France .


Germany's participation in the Olympic Games has been one of the most outstanding since this event took place. The country organized two summer editions in Berlin 1936 , another in Munich 1972 and a winter edition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 .

Germany won the most gold medals and total medals during the 1936 Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics in Turin 2006 , [ 139 ] Salt Lake City 2002 , [ 140 ] Nagano 1998 , Albertville 1992 and as East Germany in Sarajevo 1984 .

The German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) has more than 27 million members. [ 141 ] According to data from this organization, approximately one third of the country's population engages in sports through a club or association in one of the more than 200,000 sports facilities that exist in the territory and in the 2400 clubs in the country. [ 141 ] For its part, the German Football Federation (DFB) has more than 26,000 clubs, totaling 6 million members, the largest membership of any sports federation in the world. [ 142 ]

The German soccer team has won four World Cups (those of Switzerland 1954 against Hungary in the so-called Miracle of Bern , West Germany 1974 against the Netherlands, Italy 1990 and Brazil 2014 against Argentina) and three European Cups (1972; 1980 and 1996). On three occasions he reached the final of the European Championship without winning it ( 1976 , 1992 and 2008 ). The country also hosted the 1974 and 2006 world championships.. On July 2, 2017, the German national team became champion of the FIFA Confederations Cup for the first time, this being the last missing trophy in their ranks. For its part, Germany also stands out in women's football , a category in which it has won two world champion crowns in 2003 and 2007 and is the top winner of the continental tournament . This makes Germany, to this day, the only nation in the world of all FIFA affiliates to have become world champions for both men and women.

The national league, (known as the Bundesliga) is considered one of the 10 best leagues in the world. Clubs such as Bayern Munich , Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg SV are the only clubs from their country to be European Cup champions; while there are other historical clubs such as Schalke 04 , Werder Bremen , Bayer Leverkusen , Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt . Footballers like Franz Beckenbauer , Karl-Heinz Rummenigge , Lothar Matthäus and Matthias SammerThey are the only ones from their country to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or. Other world-famous stars are Gerd Müller , Sepp Maier , Bernd Schuster , Jürgen Klinsmann , Oliver Kahn , Michael Ballack , Marco Reus , Thomas Müller , among others.

The selection of Germany after winning the World Cup for the fourth time. The football is the most popular sport in Germany.

When it comes to motorsports, Germany is one of the leading nations in the world. With numerous race winning cars as German drivers. Precisely the most successful Formula 1 driver in history is the German Michael Schumacher . Sebastian Vettel also stands out with four world titles with the Red Bull team in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 plus two runners-up in 2009 and 2017, the latter with the Ferrari team and Nico Rosberg world champion in 2016. Among the German drivers it is worth highlighting to Nicolas Hülkenberg or Christian Vietoris , who were crowned champions in the A1 Grand Prixin the 2006/07 season. Germany is also known for its most famous Formula 1 team , Mercedes-Benz , and for its winning rally race cars such as Audi , Porsche , BMW , Volkswagen , among others.

Also cycling is a popular sport in Germany and one of the best cyclists of recent times, Jan Ullrich , Olympic champion in the time trial world champion in 2001 and winner of the Tour de France in 1997 and finished second five times. Germany also stands out in track cycling , a modality in which it has won several world championships .

In field hockey , Germany has won two gold medals in the men's field hockey world championship tournament , one in the 2002 men's field hockey world championship and one in 2006 ; and two other gold medals in the women's tournament, one in 1976 and one in 1981.

Tennis has been very successful. Steffi Graf is considered one of the best tennis players in history, occupying the number one position in the WTA ranking in 1987 for a total of 377 weeks (current record), in addition to having a total of 22 Grand Slam titles. , a historical record in the Open Era . He also won the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics . Boris Becker is another prominent tennis player who rose to number 1 in the ATP rankings in 1991 and has six Grand Slam titles.

Other prominent German athletes are rower Andreas Dittmer, athlete Dieter Baumann , golfers Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer , swimmers Kristin Otto and Michael Gross , boxer Max Schmeling, or NBA MVP award-winning basketball players Dirk Nowitzki. in 2007 and 2011 NBA champion and 2011 Finals MVP, Detlef Schrempf , Shawn Bradley , Chris Kaman and Dennis Schröder .

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