General information: As the richest and most numerous Western European nation, Germany is a key component of the economic, political and defense organization of the continent. The struggle for power in Europe involved the country in two devastating wars in the first half of the 20th century, as a result of which the country was occupied in 1945 by the victorious powers: the USA, Great Britain, France and the USSR. With the beginning of the Cold War, in 1949, two German states were formed: the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the west and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the east. Democratic Germany entered the key economic and military blocs of Western Europe, the EU and NATO, while the communist GDR was at the forefront of the Soviet Warsaw Pact. The weakening of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed Germany to unite in 1990. Since then, Germany has spent heavily to bring East German productivity and wages up to West German standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries created a common European currency, the euro.
Location: Central Europe, coast of the Baltic and North Seas between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark.
Geographical coordinates: 51° 00′ N. latitude, 9° 00′ E
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 357,021 km2; land surface area: 349,223 km2; water surface area: 7,798 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Montana.
Land borders: total: 3,621 km; with neighboring states: with Austria 784 km, with Belgium 167 km, with the Czech Republic 646 km, with Denmark 68 km, with France 451 km, with Luxembourg 138 km, with the Netherlands 577 km, with Poland 456 km, with Switzerland 334 km.
Coastline: 2,389 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: temperate and maritime; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; rare warm foehn wind.
Terrain: lowlands in the north, highlands in the center, Bavarian Alps in the south.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Lake Frepsum -2 m; highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m.
Natural resources: iron ore, coal, potash, timber, brown coal, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, fertile land.
Land use: arable land: 33%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 15%; forests and plantations: 31%; others: 20% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 4,750 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: floods.
Current environmental issues: Emissions from coal combustion contribute to air pollution; acid rain resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions damages forests; pollution of the Baltic Sea due to the discharge of sewage and industrial waste into the rivers of East Germany; dangerous waste dumps; the government is now trying to determine a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear energy; The government is working to meet EU requirements for the establishment of a wildlife protection zone against poaching, as provided for by the EU directive on flora, fauna and natural habitats.
International agreements on environmental protection: participant: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1985, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1994, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Environmental change, Hazardous waste, Law of the sea, Marine pollution, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling fishing; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Kyoto Protocol.
Note to the section “Geography”: strategic location on the North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
Population: 83,029,536 (July I 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 15.57% (male 6,635,328; female 6,289,994); 15 to 64 years old: 67.82% (male 28,619,237; female 27,691,698); over 65: 16.61% (male 5,336,664; female 8,456,615) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.27% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 9.16 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 10.42 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 4 pers. /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1.03 male/female; over 65: 0.63 male/female; for the general population: 0.96 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 4.71 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 77.61 years; men: 74.47 years; women: 80.92 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.38 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.1% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 37,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 600 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: German; adjective: German.
Ethnic groups: Germans 91.5%, Turks 2.4%, other 6.1% (mainly Serbs and Croats, Italians, Russians, Greeks, Poles, Spaniards).
Believers: Protestant 38%, Catholic 34%, Muslim 1.7%, non-denominational or other 26.3%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 99% (1977 est.); men: no data; women: no data.
Common long form: Federal Republic of Germany;
conventional short form: Germany; local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutsch-land; local short form: Deutschland
State structure: federal republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about Germany government and politics.
Administrative division: 16 lands; Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Schleswig-Holstein.
Independence: from January 18, 1871 (creation of the German Empire); was divided into 4 zones of occupation (Great Britain, USA, USSR and France) in 1945 after World War II; The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany) was proclaimed on May 23, 1949, it included the former zones of occupation by Great Britain, the USA and France; The German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) was proclaimed on October 7, 1949 in the former occupation zone of the USSR; the unification of West Germany and East Germany took place on October 3, 1990; all four powers officially renounced their rights on March 15, 1991.
National holiday: Unification Day, October 3 (1990).
Constitution: adopted on May 23, 1949, is called the Basic Law; became the constitution of the united German people on October 3, 1990.
Legal system: civil law system with local peculiarities; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court is possible; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Johannes RAU (since 1 July 1999)
head of government: Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (since 27 October 1998);
Government: the cabinet is appointed by the president on the proposal of the chancellor; elections: the president is elected for 5 years by the Federal Assembly, which includes all members of the Bundestag and an equal number of delegates elected by the parliaments of the federal states (landtags); elections last held 23 May 1999 (next to be held 23 May 2004); the chancellor is elected by an absolute majority of the Bundestag for a term of 4 years; elections last held 27 September 1998 (next to be held in autumn 2002); election results: Johannes RAU elected president; percentage of votes won in the Federal Assembly: 57.6%; Gerhard SCHROEDER elected chancellor; percentage of votes won in the Bundestag: 52.7%.
Legislature: bicameral parliament consists of the Bundestag (usually 656 seats, but has increased to 669 since 1998; members are elected by popular vote under a combined system of direct and proportional representation; a party must win at least 5% of the popular vote nationwide or three direct mandates to gain representation in parliament; term of office – 4 years) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council) (69 votes; directly given to the land governments; each government has from 3 to 6 votes depending on the population, all votes from one land are cast in solidarity); elections: Bundestag – last held 27 September 1998 (next to be held in autumn 2002); note – elections to the Bundesrat are not held; its composition is determined by the composition of the land governments; the composition of the Bundesrat may change, when elections to the Landtag are held in one or another of the 16 federal states; election results: Bundestag, distribution of votes between parties: SPD 40.9%, Alliance-90/Greens 6.7%, CDU/CSU 35.1%, FDP 6.2%, PDS 5.1%; distribution of seats among parties: SPD 298, Alliance-90/Greens 47, CDU/CSU 245, FDP 43, PDS 36; Bundesrat, current council, distribution of votes among parties: Länder led by SPD 26, Länder led by CDU 28, Länder led by grand coalitions 15.
Judiciary: Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), half of the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat.
Political parties and leaders: Alliance-90/Greens (Alliance-90/Greens) (Renata KUNAST [Re-nate KUENAST], Fritz KUHN [Fritz KUHN]); Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (Angela MERKEL); Christian Social Union (CSU) (Edmund STOIBER, chairman); Free Democratic Party (FDP) (Wolfgang GERHARDT, chairman); Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) (Gabi ZIMMER); Social Democratic Party (SPD) (Gerhard SCHROEDER, chairman).
Political influence groups and their leaders: employers’ organizations; associations of deportees, refugees, trade unions, groups of veterans.
Participation in international organizations: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, CBSS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Juergen CHROBOG; office: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone:  (202) 298-8141; fax:  (202) 298-4249; consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco; Consulate: Wellington (American Samoa)
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador John C. KORNBLUM; embassy: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5, 10117 Berlin; mailing address: PSC 120, Box 1000, APO AE 09265; phone:  (30) 238-5174; fax:  (30) 238-6290; consulates general: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich.
Description of the flag: three equal horizontal stripes of black (top), red and gold.