Geography & Climate
Germany is located in Europe bordering Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxemburg, France, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic. It is the 6thlargest country in Europe, while only the 62ndlargest country in the world. Germany has over 2500 kilometers of coastline bordering the Baltic and North Seas. Approximately a third of the country is forest and woodlands — the highest point is located in the Alps, at the Zugspitze to the lowest point, Wilstermarsch, located in the lowlands in the northern section of the country. Glaciers can be found in and around the Alps as well as many rivers crisscrossing through the country such as the famous Danube, Rhine and Elbe.
Berlin is the country’s capital while also being the largest city in Germany with an approximate population of 3.4 million. The country consists of 16 states, including Berlin. The approximate population of Germany as of 2011 is just over 81 million residents.
Germany’s climate is diverse as it is located between Western Europe and the continental Eastern Europe. The temperate seasonal climate fluctuates between mild winters and warm summers in the western half to very cold winters and hot summers in the eastern half. Rainfall is year round with no specific dry season, but eastern Germany can have longer periods of no precipitation. However the uplands which have a primarily mountain climate have lower temperatures and much greater precipitation.
Germany is the most populous country in the European Union, after Russia, with a density of 225 inhabitants per square kilometer. Germans, as a whole, have a lengthy life expectancy of approximately 80 years with females just surpassing males with 82 years. However, the birthrate of Germany is a mere 1.4 per woman while the death rate has been significantly higher since the late 1970s. If this trend continues, experts hypothesize that the population will decrease to 60-70 million by the year 2060.
Approximately 90% of the population is German nationals while immigrants comprise the other 10%. Immigrant residents from English-speaking nations, not including military members, are from the following in order of largest to smallest population in Germany: Unites States, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia/New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa.
Christianity is the largest religion in the land while being divided among the following subsets: Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians. Islam is second largest religion with 5% of the population. Other major religions include: Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism.
German is the official language with only five recognized native minority languages. Protected by the government those five are:
· Low German
The German culture is vast and deeply rooted —known as the land of thinkers and poets (Das Land der Dichter und Denker); Germany has a long history of producing famous writers and philosophers. These scholars have greatly influenced Western thought and culture. Germany believes culture to be an important aspect of society and the government has subsidized theaters, museums, symphonic orchestras and libraries — although the country’s influence extends to various types of cultural areas such as: art, music, architecture, literature and philosophy.