Geographic and Governmental Profile of Germany

Background
As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro. In January 2011, Germany assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.
Location
Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Geographic coordinates
51 00 N, 9 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Europe
Area
total:
357,022 sq km
rank:
63
land:
348,672 sq km
water:
8,350 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundaries
total:
3,790 km
border countries:
Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 815 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km
Coastline
2,389 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
Terrain
lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point:
Zugspitze 2,963 m
Natural resources
coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
Land use
arable land:
33.13%
permanent crops:
0.6%
other:
66.27% (2005)
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Irrigated land
4,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
188 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
38.01 cu km/yr (12%/68%/20%)
per capita:
460 cu m/yr (2001)
Natural hazards
flooding
Environment - current issues
emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea
Country name
conventional long form:
Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form:
Germany
local long form:
Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form:
Deutschland
former:
German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
Government type
federal republic
Capital
name:
Berlin
geographic coordinates:
52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wurttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen (Hesse), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thuringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat)
Independence
18 January 1871 (German Empire unification); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
Constitution
23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united Germany 3 October 1990
Legal system
civil law system
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Joachim GAUCK (since 23 March 2012)
head of government:
Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet:
Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor
elections:
president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Diet (Bundestag) and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 19 February 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Diet for a four-year term; Federal Diet vote for Chancellor last held after 27 September 2009 (next to be held 18 March 2012)
election results:
Joachim GAUCK elected president; received 991 votes of the Federal Convention against 126 for Beate KLARSFELD and 3 for Olaf ROSE; Angela MERKEL reelected chancellor; vote by Federal Diet 323 to 285 with four abstentions
Legislative branch
bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each has three to six votes in proportion to population and is required to vote as a block) and the Federal Diet or Bundestag (622 seats; members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition)
elections:
Bundestag - last held on 27 September 2009 (next to be held no later than autumn 2013); note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results:
Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 33.8%, SPD 23%, FDP 14.6%, Left 11.9%, Greens 10.7%, other 6%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 239, SPD 146, FDP 93, Left 76, Greens 68
Judicial branch
Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat); Federal Court of Justice; Federal Administrative Court
Political parties and leaders
Alliance '90/Greens [Claudia ROTH and Cem OZDEMIR]; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]; Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]; Free Democratic Party or FDP [Philipp ROESLER]; Left Party or Die Linke [Klaus ERNST and Gesine LOETZSCH]; Social Democratic Party or SPD [Sigmar GABRIEL]
Political pressure groups and leaders
business associations and employers' organizations; trade unions; religious, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Niels Peter Georg AMMON
chancery:
4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone:
[1] (202) 298-4000
FAX:
[1] (202) 298-4249
consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Philip D. MURPHY
embassy:
Pariser Platz 2, 14191 Berlin
mailing address:
PSC 120, Box 1000, APO AE 09265, Clayallee 170, 14195 Berlin
telephone:
[49] (030) 2385174
FAX:
[49] (030) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general:
Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold; these colors have played an important role in German history and can be traced back to the medieval banner of the Holy Roman Emperor - a black eagle with red claws and beak on a gold field
National symbol(s)
black eagle
National anthem
name:
"Lied der Deutschen" (Song of the Germans)
lyrics/music:
August Heinrich HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN/Franz Joseph HAYDN
adopted 1922, restored 1990; the anthem, also known as "Deutschlandlied" (Song of Germany), was abolished in 1945 because of the Nazi's use of the first verse, specifically the phrase, "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" (Germany, Germany above all) to promote nationalism; since restoration in 1990, only the third verse is sung
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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