Germany (i//; Template:Lang-de, Template:IPA-de), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (Template:Lang-de, listen (help·info)),<ref group="lower-alpha">IPA transcription of "Bundesrepublik Deutschland": Template:IPA-de</ref><ref>Mangold, Max, ed. (1995). Duden, Aussprachewörterbuch (in German) (6th ed.). Dudenverlag. pp. 271, 53f. ISBN 978-3-411-20916-3.</ref> is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular immigration destination in the world.<ref>"Germany Top Migration Land After U.S. in New OECD Ranking". Bloomberg. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.</ref><ref>"Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision". United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. 2015.</ref> Germany's capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr (main centres: Dortmund and Essen). The country's other major cities are Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Bremen, Dresden, Hannover and Nuremberg.
Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.<ref>The Latin name Sacrum Imperium (Holy Empire) is documented as far back as 1157. The Latin name Sacrum Romanum Imperium (Holy Roman Empire) was first documented in 1254. The full name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, short HRR) dates back to the 15th century.
Zippelius, Reinhold (2006) . Kleine deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte: vom frühen Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart [Brief German Constitutional History: from the Early Middle Ages to the Present] (in German) (7th ed.). Beck. p. 25. ISBN 978-3-406-47638-9.</ref> During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. The remains of the Holy Roman Empire formed the German Confederation in 1815, while the German revolutions of 1848–49 established major democratic rights first.
In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states were unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. In 1933 the Nazi seizure of power quickly led to the establishment of Nazi Germany which was built upon a dictatorship and consequently led to World War II and the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded: the democratic Federal Republic of Germany (commonly known as West Germany) and the socialist German Democratic Republic (commonly known as East Germany). A wall encircling West Berlin was created on August 13, 1961, and was torn down on November 9, 1989. On 3 October 1990, the country was reunified.<ref name="SLyE6YJEn0C page 52">The Lost German East.</ref>
In the 21st century, Germany is a great power and has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled and productive society. It upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection and a tuition-free university education.<ref>"How US students get a university degree for free in Germany". BBC. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.</ref>
The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD. The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, philosophers, musicians, sportspeople, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and inventors.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine.<ref>Schulze, Hagen (1998). Germany: A New History. Harvard University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-674-80688-3.</ref> The German term Deutschland, originally diutisciu land ("the German lands") is derived from deutsch (cf. dutch), descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" (i.e. belonging to the diot or diota "people"), originally used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular" (see also the Latinised form Theodiscus), derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word "Teutons" also originates.<ref>Lloyd, Albert L.; Lühr, Rosemarie; Springer, Otto (1998). Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen, Band II (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 699–704. ISBN 3-525-20768-9. (for diutisc) Lloyd, Albert L.; Lühr, Rosemarie; Springer, Otto (1998). Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen, Band II (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 685–686. ISBN 3-525-20768-9. (for diot)</ref>
The discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago.<ref>"Radiometric dating of the type-site for Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer, Germany". PNAS. 107: 19726–19730. 27 August 2010. doi:10.1073/pnas.1012722107. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2010.</ref> The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen where three 380,000-year-old wooden javelins were unearthed.<ref>"World's Oldest Spears". archive.archaeology.org. 3 May 1997. Retrieved 27 August 2010.</ref> The Neander Valley was the location where the first ever non-modern human fossil was discovered; the new species of human was called the Neanderthal. The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans, similarly dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm. The finds include 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments ever found,<ref>"Earliest music instruments found". BBC. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.</ref> the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man which is the oldest uncontested figurative art ever discovered,<ref>"Ice Age Lion Man is world's earliest figurative sculpture". The Art Newspaper. 31 January 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2013.</ref> and the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels which is the oldest uncontested human figurative art ever discovered.<ref>"The Venus of Hohle Fels". donsmaps.com. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.</ref> The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artifact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt. It is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme.<ref>"Nebra Sky Disc". Unesco memory of the World. 2013.</ref>
Germanic tribes and Frankish Empire
The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age or the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south, east and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Central and Eastern Europe.<ref>Claster, Jill N. (1982). Medieval Experience: 300–1400. New York University Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-8147-1381-5.</ref> Under Augustus, Rome began to invade Germania (an area extending roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains). In 9 AD, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius. By 100 AD, when Tacitus wrote Germania, Germanic tribes had settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus), occupying most of the area of modern Germany; Austria, Baden Württemberg, southern Bavaria, southern Hessen and the western Rhineland, however, were Roman provinces.<ref name="9-13">Fulbrook, Mary (1991). A Concise History of Germany. Cambridge University Press. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"., pp. 9–13.</ref>
In the 3rd century a number of large West Germanic tribes emerged: Alemanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisii, Sicambri, and Thuringii. Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands.<ref>Bowman, Alan K.; Garnsey, Peter; Cameron, Averil (2005). The crisis of empire, A.D. 193–337. The Cambridge Ancient History. 12. Cambridge University Press. p. 442. ISBN 0-521-30199-8.</ref> After the invasion of the Huns in 375, and with the decline of Rome from 395, Germanic tribes moved further south-west. Simultaneously several large tribes formed in what is now Germany and displaced or absorbed smaller Germanic tribes. Large areas known since the Merovingian period as Austrasia, Neustria, and Aquitaine were conquered by the Franks who established the Frankish Kingdom, and pushed further east to subjugate Saxony and Bavaria. Areas of what is today the eastern part of Germany were inhabited by Western Slavic tribes of Sorbs, Veleti and the Obotritic confederation.<ref name="9-13"/> Template:Clear left
East Francia and Holy Roman Empire
In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor and founded the Carolingian Empire, which was later divided in 843 among his heirs.<ref name="f11">Fulbrook 1991, p. 11.</ref> Following the break up of the Frankish Realm, for 900 years, the history of Germany was intertwined with the history of the Holy Roman Empire,<ref>The lumping of Germanic people into the generic term 'Germans' has its roots in the Investiture Controversy according to historian Herwig Wolfram, who claimed it was a defensive move made by the papacy to delineate them as outsiders, partly due to the papacy's insecurity and so as to justify counterattacks upon them. See: Wolfram, Herwig (1997). The Roman Empire and its Germanic Peoples. California University Press. pp. 11–13.</ref> which subsequently emerged from the eastern portion of Charlemagne's original empire. The territory initially known as East Francia stretched from the Rhine in the west to the Elbe River in the east and from the North Sea to the Alps.<ref name="f11"/>
The Ottonian rulers (919–1024) consolidated several major duchies and the German king Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. In 996 Gregory V became the first German Pope, appointed by his cousin Otto III, whom he shortly after crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy under the reign of the Salian emperors (1024–1125), although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy.<ref>McBrien, Richard (2000). Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. HarperCollins. p. 138.</ref>
In the 12th century, under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), German princes increased their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs; they encouraged German settlement in these areas, called the eastern settlement movement (Ostsiedlung). Members of the Hanseatic League, which included mostly north German cities and towns, prospered in the expansion of trade.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, pp. 13–24.</ref> In the south, the Greater Ravensburg Trade Corporation (Große Ravensburger Handelsgesellschaft) served a similar function. The edict of the Golden Bull issued in 1356 by Emperor Charles IV provided the basic constitutional structure of the Empire and codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, p. 27.</ref>
Population declined in the first half of the 14th century, starting with the Great Famine in 1315, followed by the Black Death of 1348–50.<ref>Nelson, Lynn Harry. The Great Famine (1315–1317) and the Black Death (1346–1351). University of Kansas. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref> Despite the decline, however, German artists, engineers, and scientists developed a wide array of techniques similar to those used by the Italian artists and designers of the time who flourished in such merchant city-states as Venice, Florence and Genoa. Artistic and cultural centres throughout the German states produced such artists as the Augsburg painters Hans Holbein and his son, and Albrecht Dürer. Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing to Europe, a development that laid the basis for the spread of learning to the masses.<ref>Eisenstein, Elizabeth. (1980). The printing press as an agent of change. Cambridge University Press, pp. 3–43.</ref>
In 1517, the Wittenberg monk Martin Luther publicised The Ninety-Five Theses, challenging the Roman Catholic Church and initiating the Protestant Reformation. In 1555, the Peace of Augsburg established Lutheranism as an acceptable alternative to Catholicism, but also decreed that the faith of the prince was to be the faith of his subjects, a principle called Cuius regio, eius religio. The agreement at Augsburg failed to address other religious creed: for example, the Reformed faith was still considered a heresy and the principle did not address the possible conversion of an ecclesiastic ruler, such as happened in Electorate of Cologne in 1583. From the Cologne War until the end of the Thirty Years' Wars (1618–1648), religious conflict devastated German lands.<ref name=Philpott>Philpott, Daniel (January 2000). "The Religious Roots of Modern International Relations". World Politics. 52 (2): 206–245. doi:10.1017/S0043887100002604.</ref> The latter reduced the overall population of the German states by about 30 per cent, and in some places, up to 80 per cent.<ref>Macfarlane, Alan (1997). The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap. Blackwell. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-631-18117-0.</ref> The Peace of Westphalia ended religious warfare among the German states.<ref name=Philpott/> German rulers were able to choose either Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism or the Reformed faith as their official religion after 1648.<ref>For a general discussion of the impact of the Reformation on the Holy Roman Empire, see Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany, The Reformation, Princeton N.J., Princeton University Press, 1959, chapters 6–9 (pp. 123–248).</ref>
In the 18th century, the Holy Roman Empire consisted of approximately 1,800 territories.<ref>Gagliardo, G (1980). Reich and Nation, The Holy Roman Empire as Idea and Reality, 1763–1806. Indiana University Press. pp. 12–13.</ref> The elaborate legal system initiated by a series of Imperial Reforms (approximately 1450–1555) created the Imperial Estates and provided for considerable local autonomy among ecclesiastical, secular, and hereditary states, reflected in Imperial Diet. The House of Habsburg held the imperial crown from 1438 until the death of Charles VI in 1740. Having no male heirs, he had convinced the Electors to retain Habsburg hegemony in the office of the emperor by agreeing to the Pragmatic Sanction. This was finally settled through the War of Austrian Succession; in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, Charles VI's daughter Maria Theresa ruled the Empire as Empress Consort when her husband, Francis I, became Holy Roman Emperor. From 1740, the dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated the German history.
In 1772, then again in 1793 and 1795, the two dominant German states of Prussia and Austria, along with the Russian Empire, agreed to the Partitions of Poland; dividing among themselves the lands of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. As a result of the partitions, millions of Polish speaking inhabitants fell under the rule of the two German monarchies. However, the annexed territories though incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Realm, were not legally considered as a part of the Holy Roman Empire.<ref>Bideleux, Robert; Jeffries, Ian (1998). A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change. Routledge. p. 156.</ref><ref>Batt, Judy; Wolczuk, Kataryna (2002). Region, State and Identity in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge. p. 153.</ref>
During the period of the French Revolutionary Wars, along with the arrival of the Napoleonic era and the subsequent final meeting of the Imperial Diet, most of the secular Free Imperial Cities were annexed by dynastic territories; the ecclesiastical territories were secularised and annexed. In 1806 the Imperium was dissolved; German states, particularly the Rhineland states, fell under the influence of France. Until 1815, France, Russia, Prussia and the Habsburgs competed for hegemony in the German states during the Napoleonic Wars.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, p. 97.</ref> Template:Clear left
German Confederation and Empire
Following the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna (convened in 1814) founded the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund), a loose league of 39 sovereign states. The appointment of the Emperor of Austria as the permanent president of the Confederation reflected the Congress's failure to accept Prussia's influence among the German states, and acerbated the long-standing competition between the Hohenzollern and Habsburg interests. Disagreement within restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, followed by new measures of repression by Austrian statesman Metternich. The Zollverein, a tariff union, furthered economic unity in the German states.<ref>Henderson, W. O. (January 1934). "The Zollverein". History. 19 (73): 1–19. doi:10.1111/j.1468-229X.1934.tb01791.x.</ref> National and liberal ideals of the French Revolution gained increasing support among many, especially young, Germans. The Hambach Festival in May 1832 was a main event in support of German unity, freedom and democracy. In the light of a series of revolutionary movements in Europe, which established a republic in France, intellectuals and commoners started the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, leading to a temporary setback for the movement.<ref name="state"/>
King William I appointed Otto von Bismarck as the new Minister President of Prussia in 1862. Bismarck successfully concluded war on Denmark in 1864, which promoted German over Danish interests in the Jutland peninsula. The subsequent (and decisive) Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled him to create the North German Confederation (Norddeutscher Bund) which excluded Austria from the federation's affairs. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German princes proclaimed the founding of the German Empire in 1871 at Versailles, uniting all scattered parts of Germany except Austria. Prussia was the dominant constituent state of the new empire; the Hohenzollern King of Prussia ruled as its concurrent Emperor, and Berlin became its capital.<ref name="state"/>
In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck's foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war. Under Wilhelm II, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course, leading to friction with neighbouring countries. Most alliances in which Germany had previously been involved were not renewed. This resulted in creation of a dual alliance with the multinational realm of Austria-Hungary, promoting at least benevolent neutrality if not outright military support. Subsequently, the Triple Alliance of 1882 included Italy, completing a Central European geographic alliance that illustrated German, Austrian and Italian fears of incursions against them by France and/or Russia. Similarly, Britain, France and Russia also concluded alliances that would protect them against Habsburg interference with Russian interests in the Balkans or German interference against France.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, pp. 135, 149.</ref>
At the Berlin Conference in 1884, Germany claimed several colonies including German East Africa, German South West Africa, Togoland, and Kamerun.<ref>Black, John, ed. (2005). 100 maps. Sterling Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-4027-2885-3.</ref> Later, Germany further expanded its colonial empire to include German New Guinea, German Micronesia and German Samoa in the Pacific, and Kiautschou Bay in China. In what became known as the "First Genocide of the Twentieth-Century", between 1904 and 1907, the German colonial government in South West Africa (present-day Namibia) ordered the annihilation of the local Herero and Namaqua peoples, as a punitive measure for an uprising against German colonial rule. In total, around 100,000 people—80% of the Herero and 50% of the Namaqua—perished from imprisonment in concentration camps, where the majority died of disease, abuse, and exhaustion, or from dehydration and starvation in the countryside after being deprived of food and water.<ref>Olusoga, David and Erichsen, Casper W (2010). The Kaiser's Holocaust. Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism. Faber and Faber. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".</ref><ref>Olusoga, David (18 April 2015). "Dear Pope Francis, Namibia was the 20th century's first genocide". The Guardian. The Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 11 June 2016.</ref>
The assassination of Austria's crown prince on 28 June 1914 provided the pretext for the Austrian Empire to attack Serbia and trigger World War I. After four years of warfare, in which approximately two million German soldiers were killed,<ref>Crossland, David (22 January 2008). "Last German World War I Veteran Believed to Have Died". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 25 March 2011.</ref> a general armistice ended the fighting on 11 November, and German troops returned home. In the German Revolution (November 1918), Emperor Wilhelm II and all German ruling princes abdicated their positions and responsibilities. Germany's new political leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In this treaty, Germany, as part of the Central Powers, accepted defeat by the Allies in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. Germans perceived the treaty as humiliating and unjust and it was later seen by historians as influential in the rise of Adolf Hitler.<ref> Boemeke, Manfred F.; Feldman, Gerald D.; Glaser, Elisabeth (1998). "Introduction". Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–20. ISBN 978-0-521-62132-8.</ref><ref> Klein, Fritz (1998). "Between Compiègne and Versailles: The Germans on the Way from a Misunderstood Defeat to an Unwanted Peace". In Boemeke, Manfred F.; Feldman, Gerald D.; Glaser, Elisabeth. Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press. pp. 203–220. ISBN 978-0-521-62132-8.</ref><ref> Keylor, William R. (1998). "Versailles and International Diplomacy". In Boemeke, Manfred F.; Feldman, Gerald D.; Glaser, Elisabeth. Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press. pp. 469–505. ISBN 978-0-521-62132-8.</ref> After the defeat in the First World War, Germany lost around 13% of its European territory (areas predominantly inhabited by ethnic Polish, French and Danish populations, which were lost following the Greater Poland Uprising, the return of Alsace-Lorraine and the Schleswig plebiscites), and all of its colonial possessions in Africa and the South Sea.<ref>"GERMAN TERRITORIAL LOSSES, TREATY OF VERSAILLES, 1919". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC. Retrieved 11 June 2016.</ref>
Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany
Germany was declared a republic at the beginning of the German Revolution in November 1918. On 11 August 1919 President Friedrich Ebert signed the democratic Weimar Constitution.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, pp. 156–160.</ref> In the subsequent struggle for power, the radical-left Communists seized power in Bavaria, but conservative elements in other parts of Germany attempted to overthrow the Republic in the Kapp Putsch. It was supported by parts of the Reichswehr (military) and other conservative, nationalistic and monarchist factions. After a tumultuous period of bloody street fighting in the major industrial centres, the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops and the rise of inflation culminating in the hyperinflation of 1922–23, a debt restructuring plan and the creation of a new currency in 1924 ushered in the Golden Twenties, an era of increasing artistic innovation and liberal cultural life. Historians describe the period between 1924 and 1929 as one of "partial stabilisation."<ref>Williamson (2005). Germany since 1815: A Nation Forged and Renewed. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 186–204.</ref> The worldwide Great Depression hit Germany in 1929. After the federal election of 1930, Chancellor Heinrich Brüning's government was enabled by President Paul von Hindenburg to act without parliamentary approval. Brüning's government pursued a policy of fiscal austerity and deflation which caused high unemployment of nearly 30% by 1932.<ref name="chronicle">"PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust". The Holocaust Chronicle. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref>
The Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler won the special federal election of 1932. After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.<ref>Fulbrook 1991, pp. 155–158, 172–177.</ref> After the Reichstag fire, a decree abrogated basic civil rights and within weeks the first Nazi concentration camp at Dachau opened.<ref>Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich. New York: Penguin, 2003, Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn". p. 344</ref><ref name="MNN">"Ein Konzentrationslager für politische Gefangene In der Nähe von Dachau". Münchner Neueste Nachrichten ("The Munich Latest News") (in German). The Holocaust History Project. 21 March 1933. Archived from the original on 10 May 2000.</ref> The Enabling Act of 1933 gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power; subsequently, his government established a centralised totalitarian state, withdrew from the League of Nations following a national referendum, and began military rearmament.<ref>"Industrie und Wirtschaft" (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 25 March 2011.</ref>
Using deficit spending, a government-sponsored programme for economic renewal focused on public works projects. In public work projects of 1934, 1.7 million Germans immediately were put to work, which gave them an income and social benefits.<ref>McNab, p. 54</ref> The most famous of the projects was the high speed roadway, the Reichsautobahn, known as the German autobahns.<ref>Evans, Richard J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn". pp. 322–326, 329</ref> Other capital construction projects included hydroelectric facilities such as the Rur Dam, water supplies such as Zillierbach Dam, and transportation hubs such as Zwickau Hauptbahnhof.<ref>Hugo Ehrt, Neuer Harzbote. Heft 13, Fremdenverkehrsverein Bodfeld/Harz, Elbingerode (Harz),2003, p.565. Schütz and Gruber, Mythos Reichsautobahn: Bau und Inszenierung der "Straßen des Führers" 1933–1941, Berlin: Links, 1996, Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"., pp. 16–17.</ref> Over the next five years, unemployment plummeted and average wages both per hour and per week rose.<ref>McNab, p. 56</ref>
In 1935, the regime withdrew from the Treaty of Versailles and introduced the Nuremberg Laws which targeted Jews and other minorities. Germany also reacquired control of the Saar in 1935,<ref>Fulbrook 1991, pp. 188–189.</ref> remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936, annexed Austria in 1938, annexed the Sudetenland in 1938 with the Munich Agreement and in direct violation of the agreement occupied Czechoslovakia with the proclamation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939.
Kristallnacht, or the "Night of Broken Glass", saw the burning of hundreds of synagogues, the destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses, and the arrest of around 30,000 Jewish men by Nazi forces inside Germany. Many Jewish women were arrested and placed in jails and a curfew was placed on the Jewish people in Germany.<ref>"The "Night of Broken Glass"". www.ushmm.org. Retrieved 8 February 2017.</ref>
In August 1939, Hitler's government negotiated and signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Following the agreement, on 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War II.<ref name="Fulbrook 190">Fulbrook, pp. 190–195.</ref><ref>Axelrod, Alan (2007) Encyclopedia of World War II, Volume 1. Infobase Publishing. pp. 659.</ref>
In response to Hitler's actions, two days later, on 3 September, after a British ultimatum to Germany to cease military operations was ignored, Britain and France declared war on Germany.<ref>Hiden, John; Lane, Thomas (2003). The Baltic and the Outbreak of the Second World War. Cambridge University Press. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"., pp. 143–144.</ref> In the spring of 1940, Germany conquered Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France forcing the French government to sign an armistice after German troops occupied most of the country. The British repelled German air attacks in the Battle of Britain in the same year. In 1941, German troops invaded Yugoslavia, Greece and the Soviet Union. By 1942, Germany and other Axis powers controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa, but following the Soviet Union's victory at the Battle of Stalingrad, the allies' reconquest of North Africa and invasion of Italy in 1943, German forces suffered repeated military defeats.<ref name="Fulbrook 190" /> In June 1944, the Western allies landed in France and the Soviets pushed into Eastern Europe. By late 1944, the Western allies had entered Germany despite one final German counter offensive in the Ardennes Forest. Following Hitler's suicide during the Battle of Berlin, German armed forces surrendered on 8 May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.<ref>Steinberg, Heinz Günter (1991). Die Bevölkerungsentwicklung in Deutschland im Zweiten Weltkrieg: mit einem Überblick über die Entwicklung von 1945 bis 1990 (in German). Kulturstiftung der dt. Vertriebenen. ISBN 978-3-88557-089-9.</ref> After World War II, former members of the Nazi regime were tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.<ref name="books.google.com" /><ref>Overy, Richard (17 February 2011). "Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial". BBC History. Retrieved 25 March 2011.</ref>
In what later became known as The Holocaust, the German government persecuted minorities and used a network of concentration and death camps across Europe to conduct a genocide of what they considered to be inferior peoples. In total, over 10 million civilians were systematically murdered, including 6 million Jews, between 220,000 and 1,500,000 Romani, 275,000 persons with disabilities, thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses, thousands of homosexuals, and hundreds of thousands of members of the political and religious opposition from Germany, and occupied countries (Nacht und Nebel).<ref>Niewyk, Donald L.; Nicosia, Francis R. (2000). The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust. Columbia University Press. pp. 45–52. ISBN 978-0-231-11200-0.</ref> Nazi policies in the German occupied countries resulted in the deaths of 2.7 million Poles,<ref>Institute of National Remembrance (Poland), Polska 1939–1945 Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami. Materski and Szarota. page 9 "Total Polish population losses under German occupation are currently calculated at about 2 770 000".</ref> 1.3 million Ukrainians,<ref name="Maksudov, S. 1994">Maksudov, S. (1994). "Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: A Note". Europe-Asia Studies 46 (4): 671–680.</ref> and an estimated 2.8 million Soviet war prisoners.<ref name="Maksudov, S. 1994" /><ref name="books.google.com">Ian Kershaw.Stalinism and Nazism: dictatorships in comparison. Cambridge University Press, 1997, p.150 Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".</ref> In addition, the Nazi regime abducted approximately 12 million people from across the German occupied Europe for use as slave labour in the German industry.<ref name="BeyerSchneider">John C. Beyer; Stephen A. Schneider. Forced Labour under Third Reich. Nathan Associates. Part1 and Part 2.</ref> German military war casualties were estimated at between 3.2 million and 5.3 million soldiers,<ref name="Rüdiger Overmans 2000">Overmans, Rüdiger (2000). Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Oldenbourg. ISBN 3-486-56531-1.</ref> and up to 2 million German civilians.<ref>Winter, JM (2003). "Demography of the war". In Dear, I; Foot, M. The Oxford Companion to World War II (ebook ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191727603.</ref> German territorial losses resulted in the expulsion of circa 12 million of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. Germany ceded roughly one-quarter of its pre-war territory.<ref name="SLyE6YJEn0C page 52" /> Strategic bombing and land warfare destroyed many cities and cultural heritage sites.
East and West Germany
After Germany surrendered, the Allies partitioned Berlin and Germany's remaining territory into four military occupation zones. The western sectors, controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were merged on 23 May 1949 to form the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland); on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone became the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). They were informally known as West Germany and East Germany. East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn as a provisional capital, to emphasize its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial and temporary status quo.<ref>Wise, Michael Z. (1998). Capital dilemma: Germany's search for a new architecture of democracy. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-56898-134-5.</ref>
West Germany was established as a federal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy". Starting in 1948 West Germany became a major recipient of reconstruction aid under the Marshall Plan and used this to rebuild its industry.<ref>Carlin, Wendy (1996). "West German growth and institutions (1945–90)". In Crafts, Nicholas; Toniolo, Gianni. Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 464. ISBN 0-521-49964-X.</ref> Konrad Adenauer was elected the first Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) of Germany in 1949 and remained in office until 1963. Under his and Ludwig Erhard's leadership, the country enjoyed prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s, that became known as an "economic miracle" (Wirtschaftswunder).<ref>Werner Bührer (24 December 2002). "Deutschland in den 50er Jahren: Wirtschaft in beiden deutschen Staaten" [Economy in both German states]. Informationen zur Politischen Bildung. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.</ref> The Federal Republic of Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957.
East Germany was an Eastern Bloc state under political and military control by the USSR via occupation forces and the Warsaw Pact. Although East Germany claimed to be a democracy, political power was exercised solely by leading members (Politbüro) of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party of Germany, supported by the Stasi, an immense secret service controlling many aspects of the society.<ref name="spiegel_20080311">maw/dpa (11 March 2008). "New Study Finds More Stasi Spooks". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 30 October 2011.</ref> A Soviet-style command economy was set up and the GDR later became a Comecon state.<ref name="loc-cs">"Germany (East)", Library of Congress Country Study, Appendix B: The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance</ref> While East German propaganda was based on the benefits of the GDR's social programmes and the alleged constant threat of a West German invasion, many of its citizens looked to the West for freedom and prosperity.<ref name="NYT_19890822">Protzman, Ferdinand (22 August 1989). "Westward Tide of East Germans Is a Popular No-Confidence Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 October 2011.</ref> The Berlin Wall, rapidly built on 13 August 1961 prevented East German citizens from escaping to West Germany, eventually becoming a symbol of the Cold War.<ref name="state"/><ref>"The Berlin Wall". Retrieved 8 February 2017.</ref> Ronald Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachov, Tear down this wall!" speech at the Wall on 12 June 1987 influenced public opinion, echoing John F. Kennedy's famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech of 26 June 1963. The fall of the Wall in 1989 became a symbol of the Fall of Communism,the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, German Reunification and Die Wende.<ref>"What the Berlin Wall still stands for". CNN Interactive. 8 November 1999. Retrieved 18 February 2008.</ref>
Tensions between East and West Germany were reduced in the early 1970s by Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik. In summer 1989, Hungary decided to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders, causing the emigration of thousands of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary. This had devastating effects on the GDR, where regular mass demonstrations received increasing support. The East German authorities eased the border restrictions, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West; originally intended to help retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process. This culminated in the Two Plus Four Treaty a year later on 12 September 1990, under which the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the Instrument of Surrender, and Germany regained full sovereignty. This permitted German reunification on 3 October 1990, with the accession of the five re-established states of the former GDR.<ref name="state"/>
Reunified Germany and European Union
The united Germany is considered to be the enlarged continuation of the Federal Republic of Germany and not a successor state. As such, it retained all of West Germany's memberships in international organisations.<ref>"Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Einigungsvertrag) Art 11 Verträge der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (in German). Bundesministerium für Justiz und Verbraucherschutz. Retrieved 15 May 2015.</ref> Based on the Berlin/Bonn Act, adopted in 1994, Berlin once again became the capital of the reunified Germany, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a Bundesstadt (federal city) retaining some federal ministries.<ref>"Gesetz zur Umsetzung des Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages vom 20. Juni 1991 zur Vollendung der Einheit Deutschlands" [Law on the Implementation of the Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages vom 20. Juni 1991 zur Vollendung der Einheit Deutschlands] (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 26 April 1994. Retrieved 22 June 2016.</ref> The relocation of the government was completed in 1999.<ref>"Brennpunkt: Hauptstadt-Umzug". Focus (in German). 12 April 1999. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref> Following the 1998 elections, SPD politician Gerhard Schröder became the first Chancellor of a red–green coalition with the Alliance '90/The Greens party. Among the major projects of the two Schröder legislatures was the Agenda 2010 to reform the labour market to become more flexible and reduce unemployment.
The modernisation and integration of the eastern German economy is a long-term process scheduled to last until the year 2019, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion.<ref>Kulish, Nicholas (19 June 2009). "In East Germany, a Decline as Stark as a Wall". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref>
Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union. Together with its European partners Germany signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, established the Eurozone in 1999, and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.<ref>"Lisbon Treaty : The making of". Council of the European Union. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
After signature by all 27 Heads of State and governments, the Treaty will travel back to Brussels, where it will be officially sealed with the seals of the 27 Member States, on the 18th of December. Then, it will be sent to Rome, the Italian government being the depository of the Treaties.</ref> Germany sent a peacekeeping force to secure stability in the Balkans and sent a force of German troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO effort to provide security in that country after the ousting of the Taliban.<ref>Dempsey, Judy (31 October 2006). "Germany is planning a Bosnia withdrawal". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2011.</ref> These deployments were controversial since Germany is bound by domestic law only to deploy troops for defence roles.<ref>Merz, Sebastian (November 2007). "Still on the way to Afghanistan? Germany and its forces in the Hindu Kush" (PDF). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. pp. 2, 3. Retrieved 21 February 2017.</ref>
In the 2005 elections, Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany as the leader of a grand coalition.<ref name="state"/> In 2009 the German government approved a €50 billion economic stimulus plan to protect several sectors from a downturn.<ref>"Germany agrees on 50-billion-euro stimulus plan". France 24. 6 January 2009. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref>
In 2009, a liberal-conservative coalition under Merkel assumed leadership of the country. In 2013, a grand coalition was established in a Third Merkel cabinet. Among the major German political projects of the early 21st century are the advancement of European integration, the energy transition (Energiewende) for a sustainable energy supply, the "Debt Brake" for balanced budgets, measures to increase the fertility rate significantly (pronatalism), and high-tech strategies for the future transition of the German economy, summarised as Industry 4.0.<ref>"Government declaration by Angela Merkel" (in German). ARD Tagesschau. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2014.</ref>
Germany was affected by the European migrant crisis in 2015 as it became the final destination of choice for many asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East entering the EU. The country took in over a million refugees and migrants and developed a quota system which redistributed migrants around its federal states based on their tax income and existing population density.<ref>"Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts". 28 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.</ref>
Germany is in Western and Central Europe, with Denmark bordering to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, Switzerland to the south-southwest, France, Luxembourg and Belgium lie to the west, and the Netherlands to the northwest. It lies mostly between latitudes 47° and 55° N and longitudes 5° and 16° E. Germany is also bordered by the North Sea and, at the north-northeast, by the Baltic Sea. With Switzerland and Austria, Germany also shares a border on the fresh-water Lake Constance, the third largest lake in Central Europe.<ref>Image #432, Flying Camera Satellite Images 1999, Lloyd Reeds Map Collection, McMaster University Library.</ref> German territory covers 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi), consisting of 349,223 km2 (134,836 sq mi) of land and 7,798 km2 (3,011 sq mi) of water. It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 62nd largest in the world.<ref name="CIA">"Germany". CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 30 August 2014.</ref>
Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 metres or 9,718 feet) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the northwest and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the northeast. The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany (lowest point: Wilstermarsch at 3.54 metres or 11.6 feet below sea level) are traversed by such major rivers as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Germany's alpine glaciers are experiencing deglaciation. Significant natural resources include iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land and water.<ref name="CIA"/>
Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate dominated by humid westerly winds. The country is situated in between the oceanic Western European and the continental Eastern European climate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea; consequently in the northwest and the north the climate is oceanic. Germany gets an average of 789 mm (31 in) of precipitation per year; there is no consistent dry season. Winters are cool and summers tend to be warm: temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F).<ref name="climate">"Climate in Germany". GermanCulture. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref>
The east has a more continental climate: winters can be very cold and summers very warm, and longer dry periods can occur. Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental. In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central German Uplands have a mountain climate, with lower temperatures and more precipitation.<ref name="climate"/>
Rhine valley in summer at Lorelei
Usedom Baltic coast in autumn
Lüneburg Heath landscape in spring
Zugspitze summit in winter
The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.<ref>"Terrestrial Ecoregions". WWF. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref> As of 2008[update] the majority of Germany is covered by either arable land (34%) or forest and woodland (30.1%); only 13.4% of the area consists of permanent pastures, 11.8% is covered by settlements and streets.<ref>Strohm, Kathrin (May 2010). "Arable farming in Germany" (PDF). Agri benchmark. Retrieved 14 April 2011.</ref>
Plants and animals include those generally common to Central Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Wild animals include roe deer, wild boar, mouflon (a subspecies of wild sheep), fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of the Eurasian beaver.<ref>Bekker, Henk (2005). Adventure Guide Germany. Hunter. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-58843-503-3.</ref> The blue cornflower was once a German national symbol.<ref>Marcel Cleene; Marie Claire Lejeune (2002). Compendium of Symbolic and Ritual Plants in Europe: Herbs. Man & Culture.
The Cornflower was once the floral emblem of Germany (hence the German common name Kaiserblume).</ref>
The 16 national parks in Germany include the Jasmund National Park, the Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Park, the Müritz National Park, the Wadden Sea National Parks, the Harz National Park, the Hainich National Park, the Black Forest National Park, the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Bavarian Forest National Park and the Berchtesgaden National Park. In addition, there are 15 Biosphere Reserves, as well as 98 nature parks. More than 400 registered zoos and animal parks operate in Germany, which is believed to be the largest number in any country.<ref>"Zoo Facts". Zoos and Aquariums of America. Retrieved 16 April 2011.</ref> The Berlin Zoo, opened in 1844, is the oldest zoo in Germany, and presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.<ref>"Der Zoologische Garten Berlin" (in German). Zoo Berlin. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref>
Urbanisationcities. There are 11 officially recognised metropolitan regions in Germany. 34 cities have been identified as regiopolis. The largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region (11.7 million in 2008[update]), including Düsseldorf (the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia), Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, and Bochum.<ref>"Regionales Monitoring 2010 – Daten und Karten zu den Europäischen Metropolregionen in Deutschland" (PDF) (in German). Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung. 2010. p. 10. Retrieved 11 April 2012.</ref>
President since 2017
Chancellor since 2005
Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). Amendments generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of parliament; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law are valid in perpetuity.<ref>"Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany" (PDF). Deutscher Bundestag. Btg-bestellservice. October 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011.</ref>
The president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (19 March 2017–present), is the head of state and invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers. He is elected by the Bundesversammlung (federal convention), an institution consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates. The second-highest official in the German order of precedence is the Bundestagspräsident (President of the Bundestag), who is elected by the Bundestag and responsible for overseeing the daily sessions of the body. The third-highest official and the head of government is the Chancellor, who is appointed by the Bundespräsident after being elected by the Bundestag.<ref name="state"/>
The chancellor, Angela Merkel (22 November 2005–present), is the head of government and exercises executive power, similar to the role of a Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies. Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the Bundestag (Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council), which together form the legislative body. The Bundestag is elected through direct elections, by proportional representation (mixed-member).<ref name="CIA"/> The members of the Bundesrat represent the governments of the sixteen federated states and are members of the state cabinets.<ref name="state"/>
Since 1949, the party system has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. So far every chancellor has been a member of one of these parties. However, the smaller liberal Free Democratic Party (in parliament from 1949 to 2013) and the Alliance '90/The Greens (in parliament since 1983) have also played important roles.<ref>"Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref>
The debt-to-GDP ratio of Germany had its peak in 2010 when it stood at 80.3% and decreased since then.<ref>"World Economic Outlook Database, April 2015, General government gross debt (National currency, Percent of GDP)". International Monetary Fund. April 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.</ref> According to Eurostat, the government gross debt of Germany amounts to €2,152.0 billion or 71.9% of its GDP in 2015.<ref>"Third quarter of 2015 compared with second quarter of 2015 – Government debt fell to 91.6 % of GDP in euro area" (PDF). Eurostat. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.</ref> The federal government achieved a budget surplus of €12.1 billion ($13.1 billion) in 2015.<ref>"German Government Achieves 'Historic' Budget Surplus". The World Street Journal. 13 January 2016. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.</ref> Germany's credit rating by credit rating agencies Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings stands at the highest possible rating AAA with a stable outlook in 2016.<ref>"Reuters: Fitch Affirms Germany at 'AAA'; Outlook Stable". Reuters. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.</ref>
Germany has a civil law system based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review.<ref name="state"/><ref>"Federal Constitutional Court". Bundesverfassungsgericht. Retrieved 25 March 2015.</ref> Germany's supreme court system, called Oberste Gerichtshöfe des Bundes, is specialised: for civil and criminal cases, the highest court of appeal is the inquisitorial Federal Court of Justice, and for other affairs the courts are the Federal Labour Court, the Federal Social Court, the Federal Finance Court and the Federal Administrative Court.
Criminal and private laws are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. The German penal system seeks the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of the public.<ref>"§ 2 Strafvollzugsgesetz" (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref> Except for petty crimes, which are tried before a single professional judge, and serious political crimes, all charges are tried before mixed tribunals on which lay judges (Schöffen) sit side by side with professional judges.<ref>Jehle, Jörg-Martin; German Federal Ministry of Justice (2009). Criminal Justice in Germany. Forum-Verlag. p. 23. ISBN 978-3-936999-51-8.</ref><ref>Casper, Gerhard; Zeisel, Hans (January 1972). "Lay Judges in the German Criminal Courts". Journal of Legal Studies. 1 (1): 141. JSTOR 724014. doi:10.1086/467481.</ref> Many of the fundamental matters of administrative law remain in the jurisdiction of the states.
Germany has a low murder rate with 0.9 murders per 100,000 in 2014.<ref>"Intentional homicides (per 100,000 people) – Data".</ref>
Germany comprises sixteen federal states which are collectively referred to as Bundesländer.<ref>"The Federal States". Bundesrat of Germany. Retrieved 6 May 2015.</ref> Each state has its own state constitution<ref>"Example for state constitution: "Constitution of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia"". Landtag (state assembly) of North Rhine-Westphalia. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2011.</ref> and is largely autonomous in regard to its internal organisation. Two of the states are city-states consisting of just one city: Berlin and Hamburg. The state of Bremen consists of two cities that are separated from each other by the state of Lower Saxony: Bremen and Bremerhaven. Because of the differences in size and population the subdivisions of the states vary. 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 2013[update] Germany is divided into 402 districts (Kreise) at a municipal level; these consist of 295 rural districts and 107 urban districts.<ref>"Kreisfreie Städte und Landkreise nach Fläche und Bevölkerung auf Grundlage des ZENSUS 2011 und Bevölkerungsdichte – Gebietsstand 31.12.2013" (XLS) (in German). Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland. October 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2015.</ref>
Germany has a network of 227 diplomatic missions abroad<ref>"The German Missions Abroad". German Federal Foreign Office. Retrieved 7 May 2015.</ref> and maintains relations with more than 190 countries.<ref>"The Embassies". German Federal Foreign Office. Retrieved 18 July 2012.</ref> As of 2011[update], Germany is the largest contributor to the budget of the European Union (providing 20%)<ref>"The EU budget 2011 in figures". European Commission. Retrieved 6 May 2011.</ref> and the third largest contributor to the UN (providing 8%).<ref>"United Nations regular budget for the year 2011". UN Committee on Contributions. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.</ref> Germany is a member of NATO, the OECD, the G8, the G20, the World Bank and the IMF. It has played an influential role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France and all neighbouring countries since 1990. Germany promotes the creation of a more unified European political, economic and security apparatus.<ref>"Declaration by the Franco-German Defence and Security Council". French Embassy UK. 13 May 2004. Archived from the original on 27 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref><ref>Freed, John C. (4 April 2008). "The leader of Europe? Answers an ocean apart". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref>
The development policy of Germany is an independent area of foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and carried out by the implementing organisations. The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community.<ref>"Aims of German development policy". Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref> It was the world's third biggest aid donor in 2009 after the United States and France.<ref>"Net Official Development Assistance 2009" (PDF). OECD. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref><ref>"Speech by Chancellor Angela Merkel to the United Nations General Assembly". Die Bundesregierung. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2011.</ref>
In 1999, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking part in the NATO decisions surrounding the Kosovo War and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since 1945.<ref>"Germany's New Face Abroad". Deutsche Welle. 14 October 2005. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref> The governments of Germany and the United States are close political allies.<ref name="state">"Germany". U.S. Department of State. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref> Cultural ties and economic interests have crafted a bond between the two countries resulting in Atlanticism.<ref>"U.S.-German Economic Relations Factsheet" (PDF). U.S. Embassy in Berlin. May 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref>
Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is organised into Heer (Army and special forces KSK), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. In absolute terms, German military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world.<ref>"The 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2011". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.</ref> In 2015, military spending was at €32.9 billion, about 1.2% of the country's GDP, well below the NATO target of 2%.<ref>"Germany to increase defence spending". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016.</ref>
As of December 2015[update] the Bundeswehr employed roughly 178,000 service members, including 9,500 volunteers.<ref>"Die Stärke der Streitkräfte" (in German). Bundeswehr. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016.</ref> Reservists are available to the Armed Forces and participate in defence exercises and deployments abroad.<ref name="bwzukunft">"Ausblick: Die Bundeswehr der Zukunft" (in German). Bundeswehr. Retrieved 5 June 2011.</ref> Since 2001 women may serve in all functions of service without restriction.<ref>"Frauen in der Bundeswehr" (in German). Bundeswehr. Retrieved 14 April 2011.</ref> About 19,000 female soldiers are on active duty. According to SIPRI, Germany was the fourth largest exporter of major arms in the world in 2014.<ref>"Trends in International Arms Transfer, 2014". www.sipri.org. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 18 March 2015.</ref>
In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence. In state of defence, the Chancellor would become commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr.<ref>"Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Artikel 65a,87,115b" (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref>
The role of the Bundeswehr is described in the Constitution of Germany as defensive only. But after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1994 the term "defence" has been defined to not only include protection of the borders of Germany, but also crisis reaction and conflict prevention, or more broadly as guarding the security of Germany anywhere in the world. As of January 2015[update], the German military has about 2,370 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, including about 850 Bundeswehr troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, 670 German soldiers in Kosovo, and 120 troops with UNIFIL in Lebanon.<ref>"Einsatzzahlen – Die Stärke der deutschen Einsatzkontingente" (in German). Bundeswehr. Retrieved 11 January 2015.</ref>
Until 2011, military service was compulsory for men at age 18, and conscripts served six-month tours of duty; conscientious objectors could instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst (civilian service), or a six-year commitment to (voluntary) emergency services like a fire department or the Red Cross. In 2011 conscription was officially suspended and replaced with a voluntary service.<ref>Connolly, Kate (22 November 2010). "Germany to abolish compulsory military service". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2011.</ref><ref>Pidd, Helen (16 March 2011). "Marching orders for conscription in Germany, but what will take its place?". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2011.</ref>
Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled labour force, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption,<ref>"CPI 2009 table". Transparency International. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.</ref> and a high level of innovation.<ref>"The Innovation Imperative in Manufacturing: How the United States Can Restore Its Edge" (PDF). Boston Consulting Group. March 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref> It is the world's third largest exporter of goods,<ref name="auto1"/> and has the largest national economy in Europe which is also the world's fourth largest by nominal GDP<ref name=wbpdf>"Gross domestic product (2009)" (PDF). The World Bank: World Development Indicators database. World Bank. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
Field listing – GDP (official exchange rate)</ref> and the fifth one by PPP.<ref>"Gross domestic product (2009)" (PDF). The World Bank: World Development Indicators database. World Bank. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
Field listing – GDP (PPP exchange rate)</ref>
The service sector contributes approximately 71% of the total GDP (including information technology), industry 28%, and agriculture 1%.<ref name="CIA"/> The unemployment rate published by Eurostat amounts to 4.7% in January 2015, which is the lowest rate of all 28 EU member states.<ref name="Eurostat">Eurostat: Euro area unemployment rate at 11.2%, Press release of 2 March 2015</ref> With 7.1% Germany also has the lowest youth unemployment rate of all EU member states.<ref name="Eurostat" /> According to the OECD Germany has one of the highest labour productivity levels in the world.<ref>"Labour productivity levels in the total economy". OECD. Retrieved 12 December 2014.</ref>
Germany is part of the European single market which represents more than 508 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Germany introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002.<ref name=euroc>Andrews, Edmund L. (1 January 2002). "Germans Say Goodbye to the Mark, a Symbol of Strength and Unity". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2011.</ref><ref>Taylor Martin, Susan (28 December 1998). "On Jan. 1, out of many arises one Euro". St. Petersburg Times. p. National, 1.A.</ref> It is a member of the Eurozone which represents around 338 million citizens. Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank, which is headquartered in Frankfurt, the financial centre of continental Europe.
Being home to the modern car, the automotive industry in Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world,<ref>Germany – The World's Automotive Hub of Innovation, Germany Trade & Invest, Ernst & Young European Automotive Survey 2013, retrieved 25 April 2015</ref> and is the fourth largest by production.<ref>"Production Statistics – OICA". oica.net.</ref> The top 10 exports of Germany are vehicles, machinery, chemical goods, electronic products, electrical equipments, pharmaceuticals, transport equipments, basic metals, food products, and rubber and plastics.<ref name="Destatis">"CIA Factbook". Retrieved 23 April 2015.</ref> Germany is the world's third-largest arms exporter.<ref>"Germany is the world's third biggest weapons exporter". Politico. 13 June 2016.</ref>
Of the world's 500 largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in 2014, the Fortune Global 500, 28 are headquartered in Germany. 30 Germany-based companies are included in the DAX, the German stock market index. Well-known international brands include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, SAP, Volkswagen, Audi, Siemens, Allianz, Adidas, Porsche, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Bosch.<ref>"Best Global Brands – 2014 Rankings". Interbrand. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref>
Germany is recognised for its large portion of specialised small and medium enterprises, known as the Mittelstand model. Around 1,000 of these companies are global market leaders in their segment and are labelled hidden champions.<ref>Gavin, Mike (23 September 2010). "Germany Has 1,000 Market-Leading Companies, Manager-Magazin Says". Businessweek. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref> Berlin developed a thriving, cosmopolitan hub for startup companies and became a leading location for venture capital funded firms in the European Union.<ref>Frost, Simon. "Berlin outranks London in start-up investment". euractiv.com. Retrieved 28 October 2015.</ref>
With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub for the continent.<ref>"Assessment of strategic plans and policy measures on Investment and Maintenance in Transport Infrastructure" (PDF). International Transport Forum. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2014.</ref> Like its neighbours in Western Europe, Germany's road network is among the densest in the world.<ref>"Road density (km of road per 100 sq. km of land area)". World Bank. 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2014.</ref> The motorway (Autobahn) network ranks as the third-largest worldwide in length and is known for its lack of a general speed limit.<ref>"Autobahn-Temporegelung" (Press release) (in German). ADAC. June 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref>
Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. The InterCityExpress or ICE network of the Deutsche Bahn serves major German cities as well as destinations in neighbouring countries with speeds up to 300 km/h (190 mph).<ref>"Geschäftsbericht 2006" (in German). Deutsche Bahn. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref> The German railways are subsidised by the government, receiving €17.0 billion in 2014.<ref>"German Railway Financing" (PDF). p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2016.</ref>
The largest German airports are Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport, both hubs of Lufthansa, while Air Berlin has hubs at Berlin Tegel and Düsseldorf. Other major airports include Berlin Schönefeld, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn and Leipzig/Halle.<ref>"Airports in Germany". Air Broker Center International. Retrieved 16 April 2011.</ref> The Port of Hamburg is one of the top twenty largest container ports in the world.<ref>"Top World Container Ports". Port of Hamburg. Retrieved 6 May 2015.</ref>
Energy and infrastructure
In 2008[update], Germany was the world's sixth-largest consumer of energy,<ref>"Overview/Data: Germany". U.S. Energy Information Administration. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2011.</ref> and 60% of its primary energy was imported.<ref>"Energy imports, net (% of energy use)". The World Bank Group. Retrieved 18 April 2011.</ref> In 2014, energy sources were: oil (35.0%); coal, including lignite (24.6%); natural gas (20.5%); nuclear (8.1%); hydro-electric and renewable sources (11.1%).<ref>Ziesing, Hans-Joachim. "Energieverbrauch in Deutschland im Jahr 2014" (PDF) (in German). AG Energiebilanzen. p. 4. Retrieved 10 March 2015.</ref> The government and the nuclear power industry agreed to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2021.<ref>"Germany split over green energy". BBC News. 25 February 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref> It also enforces energy conservation, green technologies, emission reduction activities,<ref>"Germany greenest country in the world". The Times of India. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2011.</ref> and aims to meet the country's electricity demands using 40% renewable sources by 2020. Germany is committed to the Kyoto protocol and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, water management, and the renewable energy commercialisation.<ref>"Deutschland erfüllte 2008 seine Klimaschutzverpflichtung nach dem Kyoto-Protokoll" (Press release) (in German). Umweltbundesamt. 1 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.</ref> The country's household recycling rate is among the highest in the world—at around 65%.<ref name=":0">Brown, Eliot. "Germans Have a Burning Need for More Garbage". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 9 November 2015.</ref> Nevertheless, the country's total greenhouse gas emissions were the highest in the EU in 2010[update].<ref>"Record High 2010 Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Combustion and Cement Manufacture Posted on CDIAC Site". Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Retrieved 15 May 2012.</ref> The German energy transition (Energiewende) is the recognised move to a sustainable economy by means of energy efficiency and renewable energy.<ref>Federal Ministry for the Environment (29 March 2012). Langfristszenarien und Strategien für den Ausbau der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland bei Berücksichtigung der Entwicklung in Europa und global [Long-term Scenarios and Strategies for the Development of Renewable Energy in Germany Considering Development in Europe and Globally] (PDF). Berlin, Germany: Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).</ref>
Science and technology
Germany is a global leader in science and technology as its achievements in the fields of science and technology have been significant. Research and development efforts form an integral part of the economy.<ref>"Federal Report on Research and Innovation 2014" (PDF). Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref> The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 106 German laureates.<ref>"Nobel Prize". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref> It produces the second highest number of graduates in science and engineering (31%) after South Korea.<ref>"These are the 10 smartest countries in the world when it comes to science". Business Insider. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2016.</ref> In the beginning of the 20th century, German laureates had more awards than those of any other nation, especially in the sciences (physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine).<ref>"Swedish academy awards". ScienceNews. Retrieved 1 October 2010.</ref><ref>National Science Nobel Prize shares 1901–2009 by citizenship at the time of the award and by country of birth. From Schmidhuber, J. (2010). "Evolution of National Nobel Prize Shares in the 20th century". Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref>
Notable German physicists before the 20th century include Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer and Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, among others. Albert Einstein introduced the special relativity and general relativity theories for light and gravity in 1905 and 1915 respectively. Along with Max Planck, he was instrumental in the introduction of quantum mechanics, in which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born later made major contributions.<ref>Roberts, J. M. (2002). The New Penguin History of the World. Allen Lane. p. 1014. ISBN 978-0-7139-9611-1.</ref> Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays.<ref>"The First Nobel Prize". Deutsche Welle. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref> Otto Hahn was a pioneer in the fields of radiochemistry and discovered nuclear fission, while Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch were founders of microbiology. Numerous mathematicians were born in Germany, including Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, Bernhard Riemann, Gottfried Leibniz, Karl Weierstrass, Hermann Weyl and Felix Klein.
Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, including Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first fully automatic digital computer.<ref>Bianchi, Luigi. "The Great Electromechanical Computers". York University. Retrieved 17 April 2011.</ref> Such German inventors, engineers and industrialists as Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin,<ref>"The Zeppelin". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2015.</ref> Otto Lilienthal, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel, Hugo Junkers and Karl Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology. German institutions like the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are the largest contributor to ESA. Aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun developed the first space rocket at Peenemünde and later on was a prominent member of NASA and developed the Saturn V Moon rocket. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz's work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication.<ref>"Historical figures in telecommunications". International Telecommunication Union. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref>
Research institutions in Germany include the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer Society. The Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald hosts a facility in the research of fusion power for instance.<ref>"Preparations for operation of Wendelstein 7-X starting". PhysOrg. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald in May started the preparations for operation of this the world's largest fusion device of the stellarator type.</ref> The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is granted to ten scientists and academics every year. With a maximum of €2.5 million per award it is one of highest endowed research prizes in the world.<ref>"Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize". DFG. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2011.</ref>
Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world,<ref name="april11">"Interim Update" (PDF). UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. UNWTO. April 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2011.</ref> with a total of 407 million overnights during 2012.<ref name="deutschertourismusverband">Zahlen Daten Fakten 2012 (in German), German National Tourist Board</ref> This number includes 68.83 million nights by foreign visitors. In 2012, over 30.4 million international tourists arrived in Germany. Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe.<ref>"Tourism Highlights 2014 edition" (PDF). UNWTO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref> Additionally, more than 30% of Germans spend their holiday in their own country, with the biggest share going to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over EUR43.2 billion to German GDP. Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.5% of German GDP and supports 2 million jobs (4.8% of total employment).<ref>"2013 Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report Germany" (PDF). WTTC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.</ref>
Germany is well known for its diverse tourist routes, such as the Romantic Road, the Wine Route, the Castle Road, and the Avenue Road. The German Timber-Frame Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße) connects towns with examples of these structures.<ref>Template:De icon Nortrud G. Schrammel-Schäl, Karl Kessler, Paul-Georg Custodis, Kreisverwaltung des Westerwaldkreises in Montabaur. Fachwerk im Westerwald: Landschaftsmuseum Westerwald, Hachenburg, Ausstellung vom 11. September 1987 bis 30. April 1988. Landschaftsmuseum Westerwald: 1987. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"..</ref><ref>Heinrich Edel: 1928. Die Fachwerkhäuser der Stadt Braunschweig: ein kunst und kulturhistorisches Bild. Druckerei Appelhaus, 1928</ref>
Germany's most-visited landmarks include e.g. Neuschwanstein Castle, Cologne Cathedral, Berlin Bundestag, Hofbräuhaus Munich, Heidelberg Castle, Dresden Zwinger, Fernsehturm Berlin and Aachen Cathedral. The Europa-Park near Freiburg is Europe's second most popular theme park resort.<ref>"Top Tourist Attractions of Germany". Germany.Travel, official site. Retrieved 12 December 2014.</ref>
With a population of 80.2 million according to the 2011 census,<ref name="File 2013">Zensus 2011: Bevölkerung am 9. Mai 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2013.</ref> rising to 81.5 million as at 30 June 2015<ref>"Population based on the 2011 Census – German Statistical Office ("Destatis")". destatis.de.</ref> and to at least 81.9 million as at 31 December 2015,<ref>"Significant population growth to at least 81.9 million in 2015 – German Statistical Office ("Destatis")". destatis.de. Retrieved 21 March 2016.</ref> Germany is the most populous country in the European Union, the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and ranks as the 16th most populous country in the world.<ref>"Country Comparison :: Population". CIA. Retrieved 26 June 2011.</ref> Its population density stands at 227 inhabitants per square kilometre (588 per square mile). The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is 80.19 years (77.93 years for males and 82.58 years for females).<ref name="CIA"/> The fertility rate of 1.41 children born per woman (2011 estimates), or 8.33 births per 1000 inhabitants, is one of the lowest in the world.<ref name="CIA"/> Since the 1970s, Germany's death rate has exceeded its birth rate.<ref>"Demographic Transition Model". Barcelona Field Studies Centre. 27 September 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> However, Germany is witnessing increased birth rates and migration rates since the beginning of the 2010s,<ref>"Birth rate on the rise in Germany". The Local. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref> particularly a rise in the number of well-educated migrants.<ref>"The New Guest Workers: A German Dream for Crisis Refugees". Spiegel Online. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref><ref>"More skilled immigrants find work in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref>
Four sizable groups of people are referred to as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries.<ref name="BMI 2010">"National Minorities in Germany" (PDF). Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany). May 2010. Article number: BMI10010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014.</ref> There is a Danish minority (about 50,000) in the northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein.<ref name="BMI 2010"/> The Sorbs, a Slavic population of about 60,000, are in the Lusatia region of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Roma and Sinti live throughout the whole federal territory and the Frisians live on Schleswig-Holstein's western coast, and in the north-western part of Lower Saxony.<ref name="BMI 2010"/>
In 2014, about seven million of Germany's 81 million residents did not have German citizenship. Sixty-nine per cent of these people lived in western Germany and mostly in urban areas.<ref>"German population rises thanks to immigration". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref><ref>"Population and employment: Population with migrant background – Results of the 2010 microcensus" (PDF). 13 March 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref>
In the 1960s and 1970s, the German governments invited "guest workers" (Gastarbeiter) to migrate to Germany for work in the German industries. Many companies preferred to keep these workers employed in Germany after they had trained them and Germany's immigrant population has steadily increased. As of 2011[update], about six million foreign citizens (7.7% of the population) were registered in Germany.<ref name="File 2013"/>
The Federal Statistical Office classifies the citizens by immigrant background. Regarding immigrant background, 20% of the country's residents, or more than 16 million people, were of immigrant or partially immigrant descent in 2009 (including persons descending or partially descending from ethnic German repatriates).<ref>"20% of Germans have immigrant roots". Burlington Free Press. 15 July 2010. p. 4A.</ref> In 2010, 29% of families with children under 18 had at least one parent with immigrant roots.<ref name="destatis.de">"Publikation — STATmagazin — Population — Families with a migrant background: traditional values count — Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)". Destatis.de. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.</ref>
In 2015, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs listed Germany as host to the second-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 12 million of all 244 million migrants.<ref>"International Migration Report 2015 – Highlights" (PDF). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2016.</ref> Germany ranks 7th amongst EU countries and 37th globally in terms of the per centage of migrants who made up part of the country's population. As of 2014[update], the largest national group was from Turkey (2,859,000), followed by Poland (1,617,000), Russia (1,188,000), and Italy (764,000).<ref>"Bevölkerung nach Migrationshintergrund". destatis. 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.</ref> Since 1987, around 3 million ethnic Germans, mostly from the former Eastern Bloc countries, have exercised their right of return and emigrated to Germany.<ref>"Fewer Ethnic Germans Immigrating to Ancestral Homeland". Migration Information Source. February 2004. Retrieved 19 July 2014.</ref>
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Since its foundation in 1871, Germany has been about two-thirds Protestant<ref group="lower-alpha">German Protestantism has been overwhelmingly a mixture of Lutheran, Reformed (i.e. Calvinist), and United (Lutheran & Reformed/Calvinist) churches, with Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, and various other Protestants being only a recent development.</ref> and one-third Roman Catholic, with a notable Jewish minority. Other faiths existed in the state, but never achieved a demographic significance and cultural impact of these three confessions. Germany almost lost its Jewish minority during the Holocaust.<ref group="lower-alpha">On 19 May 1943, Germany was declared judenrein (clean of Jews; also judenfrei: free of Jews). Further information: Jews in Germany.</ref> Religious makeup changed gradually in the decades following 1945, with West Germany becoming more religiously diversified through immigration and East Germany becoming overwhelmingly irreligious through state policies. It continues to diversify after the German reunification in 1990, with an accompanying substantial decline in religiosity throughout all of Germany and a contrasting increase of Evangelical Protestants and Muslims.<ref>Solsten, Eric (1999). Germany: A Country Study. Diane Publishing. pp. 173–175. ISBN 9780788181795.</ref>
Geographically, Protestantism is concentrated in the northern, central and eastern parts of the country.<ref group="lower-alpha">Lutheranism is found mostly throughout northern Germany, Württemberg and parts of Franconia; Calvinism in the extreme northwest and Lippe, while the United churches throughout the remainder of Germany.</ref> These are mostly members of the EKD, which encompasses Lutheran, Reformed and administrative or confessional unions of both traditions dating back to the Prussian Union of 1817.<ref group="lower-alpha">Although the first such union between Lutheran and Calvinist Protestants happened in August 1817 in the Duchy of Nassau (a confessional union, see Unionskirche, Idstein); that is before the Prussian Union of September 1817. There were also unions in other smaller German states happening independent of each other.</ref> Roman Catholicism is concentrated in the south and west.
According to the 2011 German Census, Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, claiming 66.8% of the total population.<ref name="Egeler">Pressekonferenz „Zensus 2011 – Fakten zur Bevölkerung in Deutschland" am 31. Mai 2013 in Berlin</ref> Relative to the whole population, 31.7% declared themselves as Protestants, including members of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) (30.8%) and the free churches (Template:Lang-de) (0.9%), and 31.2% declared themselves as Roman Catholics.<ref name="Zensus 2011">"Bevölkerung im regionalen Vergleich nach Religion (ausführlich) -in %-". destatis.de (Zensusdatenbank des Zensus 2011) (in German). Federal Statistical Office of Germany. 9 May 2011. p. Zensus 2011 – Page 6. Retrieved 9 May 2011.</ref> Orthodox believers constituted 1.3%, while Jews–0.1%. Other religions accounted for 2.7%. In 2014, the Catholic Church accounted for 23.9 million members (29.5% of the population)<ref name=DBK15>Official membership statistics of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany 2014/15, retrieved 20. June 2016</ref> and the Evangelical Church for 22.6 million (27.9% of the population).<ref name=EKD15>Official membership statistics of the Evangelical Church in Germany 2014, retrieved 05. June 2016</ref> Both large churches have lost significant numbers of adherents in recent years.
In 2011, 33% of Germans were not members of officially recognised religious associations with special status.<ref name="Zensus 2011"/><ref group="lower-alpha"></ref> Irreligion in Germany is strongest in the former East Germany, which used to be predominantly Protestant before state atheism, and major metropolitan areas.<ref>Religious map based on results for each German district</ref><ref>"Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth | Peter Thompson | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.</ref><ref name="georgetown1">"Germany". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Retrieved 27 March 2015.</ref>
Islam is the second largest religion in the country. In the 2011 census 1.9% of Germans (1.52 million people) declared themselves to be Muslims,<ref name="Zensus 2011" /> albeit the number was believed to be substantially higher.<ref>"Pressekonferenz „Zensus 2011 – Fakten zur Bevölkerung in Deutschland“ am 31. Mai 2013 in Berlin", "destatis" (PDF) retrieved 29 April 2017.</ref> Other estimates suggested a number of 4 million in 2010 and between 3.2 and 3.5 million in earlier years.<ref name="REMID">REMID Data of "Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst" retrieved 16 January 2015</ref> A study conducted by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees concluded there were about 4.5 million Muslims (5.5% of the population) living in Germany in 2015. The study also found that between 2011 and 2015 the Muslim population rose by 1.2 million people, mostly due to immigration.<ref>"Zahl der Muslime in Deutschland", retrieved 29 April 2017.</ref> Most of the Muslims are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey, but there are a small number of Shi'ites, Ahmadiyyas and other denominations.<ref name="MLD">"Chapter 2: Wie viele Muslime leben in Deutschland?". Muslimisches Leben in Deutschland (PDF) (in German). Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge. June 2009. pp. 80, 97. ISBN 978-3-9812115-1-1. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref>
Other religions comprising less than one per cent of Germany's population<ref name="Zensus 2011" /> are Buddhism with 250,000 adherents (roughly 0.3%) and Hinduism with some 100,000 adherents (0.1%). All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50,000 adherents each.<ref>"Religionen in Deutschland: Mitgliederzahlen" (in German). Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref>
German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany.<ref name="Eurobarometer Languages"/> Standard German is a West Germanic language and is closely related to and classified alongside Low German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian and English. To a lesser extent, it is also related to the North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.<ref>European Commission (2004). "Many tongues, one family. Languages in the European Union" (PDF). Europa (web portal). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> Significant minorities of words are derived from Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from French and most recently English (known as Denglisch). German is written using the Latin alphabet. German dialects, traditional local varieties traced back to the Germanic tribes, are distinguished from varieties of standard German by their lexicon, phonology, and syntax.<ref>"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?". The Economist. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2011.</ref> It is one of 24 official and working languages of the European Union,<ref>European Commission. "Official Languages". Retrieved 29 July 2014.</ref> and one of the three working languages of the European Commission. German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union, with around 100 million native speakers.<ref name="Marten">Marten, Thomas; Sauer, Fritz Joachim, eds. (2005). Länderkunde – Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz und Liechtenstein im Querschnitt [Regional Geography – An Overview of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein] (in German). Inform-Verlag. p. 7. ISBN 3-9805843-1-3.</ref>
Recognised native minority languages in Germany are Danish, Low German, Sorbian, Romany, and Frisian; they are officially protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The most used immigrant languages are Turkish, Kurdish, Polish, the Balkan languages, and Russian. Germans are typically multilingual: 67% of German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language and 27% in at least two.<ref name="Eurobarometer Languages">European Commission (2006). "Special Eurobarometer 243: Europeans and their Languages (Survey)" (PDF). Europa (web portal). Retrieved 28 March 2011.
European Commission (2006). "Special Eurobarometer 243: Europeans and their Languages (Executive Summary)" (PDF). Europa (web portal). Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref>
Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years. Primary education usually lasts for four to six years.<ref name="ED">"Country profile: Germany" (PDF). Library of Congress. April 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> Secondary education includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the Gymnasium enrols the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the Realschule for intermediate students lasts six years and the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education.<ref>"The Educational System in Germany". Cuesta College. 31 August 2002. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.</ref> The Gesamtschule unifies all secondary education.
A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree. It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school.<ref name="ED"/> This model is well regarded and reproduced all around the world.<ref>"A German model goes global". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (Registration required (. ))</ref>
Most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment.<ref>Tim Pitman; Hannah Forsyth (18 March 2014). "Should we follow the German way of free higher education?". The Conversation. Retrieved 17 March 2014.</ref> The general requirement for university is the Abitur. However, there are a number of exceptions, depending on the state, the college and the subject. Tuition free academic education is open to international students and is increasingly common.<ref>Sean Coughlan (9 March 2011). "Germany top for foreign students". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2016.</ref> According to an OECD report in 2014, Germany is the world's third leading destination for international study.<ref>Laura Bridgestock (13 November 2014). "The Growing Popularity of International Study in Germany". QS Topuniversities. Retrieved 2 April 2016.</ref>
Germany has a long tradition of higher education reflecting the global status as a modern economy. The established universities in Germany include some of the oldest in the world, with Heidelberg University (established in 1386) being the oldest.<ref>Björn Bertram. "Rankings: Universität Heidelberg in International Comparison". Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref> It is followed by the Leipzig University (1409), the Rostock University (1419) and the Greifswald University (1456).<ref>"Top 100 World Universities". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> The University of Berlin, founded in 1810 by the liberal educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt, became the academic model for many European and Western universities. In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence: Humboldt University Berlin, the University of Bremen, the University of Cologne, TU Dresden, the University of Tübingen, RWTH Aachen, FU Berlin, Heidelberg University, the University of Konstanz, LMU Munich, and the Technical University of Munich.<ref name=ivy>"A German Ivy League Takes Shape". SCIENCE / AAAS. Retrieved 16 May 2008.</ref>
Germany's system of hospices, called spitals, dates from medieval times, and today, Germany has the world's oldest universal health care system, dating from Bismarck's social legislation of the 1880s,<ref>Health Care Systems in Transition: Germany (PDF). European Observatory on Health Care Systems. 2000. p. 8. AMS 5012667 (DEU). Retrieved 15 April 2011.</ref> Since the 1880s, reforms and provisions have ensured a balanced health care system. Currently the population is covered by a health insurance plan provided by statute, with criteria allowing some groups to opt for a private health insurance contract. According to the World Health Organization, Germany's health care system was 77% government-funded and 23% privately funded as of 2013[update].<ref name=health>"Germany statistics summary (2002–present)". World Health Organization. Retrieved 4 June 2016.</ref> In 2014, Germany spent 11.3% of its GDP on health care.<ref>"Health expenditure, total (% of GDP)". The World Bank. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2017.</ref> Germany ranked 20th in the world in life expectancy with 77 years for men and 82 years for women, and it had a very low infant mortality rate (4 per 1,000 live births).<ref name=health/>
In 2010[update], the principal cause of death was cardiovascular disease, at 41%, followed by malignant tumours, at 26%.<ref>"2010: Herz-/Kreislauferkrankungen verursachen 41 % aller Todesfälle" (in German). Destatis.de. Retrieved 8 May 2015.</ref>
In 2008[update], about 82,000 Germans had been infected with HIV/AIDS and 26,000 had died from the disease (cumulatively, since 1982).<ref name=cp>"Country Profile Germany" (PDF). Library of Congress Federal Research Division. April 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
This article may incorporate text from this source, which is in the public domain.</ref> According to a 2005 survey, 27% of German adults are smokers.<ref name=cp/> Obesity in Germany has been increasingly cited as a major health issue. A 2007 study shows Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe.<ref name="DW1">"Topping the EU Fat Stats, Germany Plans Anti-Obesity Drive". Deutsche Welle. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2010.</ref><ref name="BBC1">"Germany launches obesity campaign". BBC. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2010.</ref>
Culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. Historically Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker ("the land of poets and thinkers"),<ref>Wasser, Jeremy (6 April 2006). "Spätzle Westerns". Spiegel Online International. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.<ref>"Germany country profile". BBC. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.</ref>
Germany is well known for such folk festival traditions as Oktoberfest and Christmas customs, which include Advent wreaths, Christmas pageants, Christmas trees, Stollen cakes, and other practices.<ref>MacGregor, Neil (28 September 2014). "The country with one people and 1,200 sausages". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2014.</ref><ref>"Christmas Traditions in Austria, Germany, Switzerland". German Ways. Retrieved 12 December 2014.</ref> As of 2016[update] UNESCO inscribed 41 properties in Germany on the World Heritage List.<ref>"World Heritage Sites in Germany". UNESCO. Retrieved 22 March 2016.</ref> There are a number of public holidays in Germany determined by each state; 3 October has been a national day of Germany since 1990, celebrated as the Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day).<ref>"Artikel 2 EV – Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Einigungsvertrag – EV k.a.Abk.)" (in German). buzer.de. Retrieved 15 May 2015.</ref> Prior to reunification, the day was celebrated on 17 June, in honor of the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany which was brutally suppressed on that date.<ref>Gunkel, Christoph (3 October 2015). "Der 17. Juni: Tag der deutschen Zwietracht – SPIEGEL ONLINE – einestages". Spiegel.</ref>
In the 21st century Berlin has emerged as a major international creative centre.<ref>Sifton, Sam (31 December 1969). "Berlin, the big canvas". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2008. See also: "Sites and situations of leading cities in cultural globalisations/Media". GaWC Research Bulletin 146. Retrieved 18 August 2008.</ref> According to the Anholt–GfK Nation Brands Index, in 2014 Germany was the world's most respected nation among 50 countries (ahead of US, UK, and France).<ref>"Germany Knocks USA off Best Nation Top Spot After 5 Years" (Press release). GfK. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015.</ref><ref>"Germany has the best international reputation". German Foreign Office. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015.</ref><ref>"Achtung! Germany named world's favorite country". USA Today. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015.</ref> A global opinion poll for the BBC revealed that Germany is recognised for having the most positive influence in the world in 2013 and 2014.<ref>"BBC poll: Germany most popular country in the world". BBC. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref><ref>"World Service Global Poll: Negative views of Russia on the rise". BBC.co.uk. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.</ref>
German classical music includes works by some of the world's most well-known composers. Dieterich Buxtehude composed oratorios for organ, which influenced the later work of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel; these men were influential composers of the Baroque period. During his tenure as violinist and teacher at the Salzburg cathedral, Augsburg-born composer Leopold Mozart mentored one of the most noted musicians of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. Carl Maria von Weber and Felix Mendelssohn were important in the early Romantic period. Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms composed in the Romantic idiom. Richard Wagner was known for his operas. Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Zimmer are important composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries.<ref>"Top 100 living geniuses". The Daily Telegraph. London. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2015.</ref>
Germany is the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world.<ref>"The Recorded Music Industry In Japan" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 2013. p. 24. Retrieved 8 February 2014.</ref> German popular music of the 20th and 21st century includes the movements of Neue Deutsche Welle, pop, Ostrock, heavy metal/rock, punk, pop rock, indie and schlager pop. German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre.<ref>"Kraftwerk maintain their legacy as electro-pioneers". Deutsche Welle. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2013.</ref> DJs and artists of the techno and house music scenes of Germany have become well known (e.g. Felix Jaehn, Paul van Dyk, Paul Kalkbrenner, and Scooter).<ref>Nye, Sean. "Minimal Understandings: The Berlin Decade, The Minimal Continuum, and Debates on the Legacy of German Techno". Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 25, Issue 2. Retrieved 12 December 2014.</ref>
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German painters have influenced western art. Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Younger, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder were important German artists of the Renaissance, Peter Paul Rubens and Johann Baptist Zimmermann of the Baroque, Caspar David Friedrich and Carl Spitzweg of Romanticism, Max Liebermann of Impressionism and Max Ernst of Surrealism.<ref name=Marzona>Marzona, Daniel. (2005) Conceptual Art. Cologne: Taschen. Various pages</ref> Such German sculptors as Otto Schmidt-Hofer, Franz Iffland, and Julius Schmidt-Felling made important contributions to German art history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.<ref name=Berman>Berman, Harold (1974). Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders – Signatures (Vol. 2 ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Abage Publishers. p. 477.</ref><ref name=Payne>Payne, Christopher (1986). Animals in Bronze: Reference and Price Guide. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors' Club Ltd. p. 401. ISBN 0-90746-245-6.</ref>
Several German art groups formed in the 20th century, such as the November Group or Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), by the Russian-born Wassily Kandinsky, influenced the development of Expressionism in Munich and Berlin. The New Objectivity arose as a counter-style to it during the Weimar Republic. Post-World War II art trends in Germany can broadly be divided into Neo-expressionism, performance art and Conceptualism. Especially notable neo-expressionists include Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Jörg Immendorff, A. R. Penck, Markus Lüpertz, Peter Robert Keil and Rainer Fetting. Other notable artists who work with traditional media or figurative imagery include Martin Kippenberger, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Neo Rauch. Leading German conceptual artists include or included Bernd and Hilla Becher, Hanne Darboven, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Hans Haacke, Joseph Beuys, HA Schult, Aris Kalaizis, Neo Rauch (New Leipzig School) and Andreas Gursky (photography). Major art exhibitions and festivals in Germany are the documenta, the Berlin Biennale, transmediale and Art Cologne.<ref name=Marzona/>
Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, which were precursors of Romanesque. Brick Gothic is a distinctive medieval style that evolved in Germany. Also in Renaissance and Baroque art, regional and typically German elements evolved (e.g. Weser Renaissance and Dresden Baroque). Among many renowned Baroque masters were Pöppelmann, Balthasar Neumann, Knobelsdorff and the Asam brothers. The Wessobrunner School exerted a decisive influence on, and at times even dominated, the art of stucco in southern Germany in the 18th century. The Upper Swabian Baroque Route offers a baroque-themed tourist route that highlights the contributions of such artists and craftsmen as the sculptor and plasterer Johann Michael Feuchtmayer, one of the foremost members of the Feuchtmayer family and the brothers Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Dominikus Zimmermann.<ref>Jan Koppmann, "Das Zeitalter des Barock", in M. Thierer (ed.), Lust auf Barock: Himmel trifft Erde in Oberschwaben, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, 2002, p. 11f.</ref> Vernacular architecture in Germany is often identified by its timber framing (Fachwerk) traditions and varies across regions, and among carpentry styles.<ref name="Wilhelm Süvern 1971" >Wilhelm Süvern: 1971. Torbögen und Inschriften lippischer Fachwerkhäuser in Volume 7 of Heimatland Lippe. Lippe Heimatbund: 1971. 48 pages</ref><ref name="Heinrich Stiewe 2007" >Heinrich Stiewe: 2007. Fachwerkhäuser in Deutschland: Konstruktion, Gestalt und Nutzung vom Mittelalter bis heute. Primus Verlag: 2007. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".. 160 pages</ref>
When industrialisation spread across Europe, Classicism and a distinctive style of historism developed in Germany, sometimes referred to as Gründerzeit style, due to the economical boom years at the end of the 19th century. Regional historicist styles include the Hanover School, Nuremberg Style and Dresden's Semper-Nicolai School. Among the most famous of German buildings, the Schloss Neuschwanstein represents Romanesque Revival. Notable sub-styles that evolved since the 18th century are the German spa and seaside resort architecture. German artists, writers and gallerists like Siegfried Bing, Georg Hirth and Bruno Möhring also contributed to the development of Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century, known as Jugendstil in German.<ref name="autogenerated1">"Art Nouveau — Art Nouveau Art". Huntfor.com. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.</ref>
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Expressionist architecture developed in the 1910s in Germany and influenced Art Deco and other modern styles, with e.g. Fritz Höger, Erich Mendelsohn, Dominikus Böhm and Fritz Schumacher being influential architects. Germany was particularly important in the early modernist movement: it is the home of Werkbund initiated by Hermann Muthesius (New Objectivity), and of the Bauhaus movement founded by Walter Gropius. Consequently, Germany is often considered the cradle of modern architecture and design. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became one of the world's most renowned architects in the second half of the 20th century. He conceived of the glass façade skyscraper.<ref>A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Oxford University Press. 2006. p. 880. ISBN 0-19-860678-8.</ref> Renowned contemporary architects and offices include Hans Kollhoff, Sergei Tchoban, KK Architekten, Helmut Jahn, Behnisch, GMP, Ole Scheeren, J. Mayer H., OM Ungers, Gottfried Böhm and Frei Otto (the last two being Pritzker Prize winners).<ref>Jodidio, Philip (21 January 2008). 100 Contemporary Architects (1 ed.). Taschen. ISBN 3836500914.</ref>
Literature and philosophy
German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Well-known German authors include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Theodor Fontane. The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level.<ref name="D99ff">Dégh, Linda (1979). "Grimm's Household Tales and its Place in the Household". Western Folklore 38 (2): 85–103, pp. 99–101. Template:Subscription</ref> The Grimms also gathered and codified regional variants of the German language, grounding their work in historical principles; their Deutsches Wörterbuch, or German Dictionary, sometimes called the Grimm dictionary, was begun in 1838 and the first volumes published in 1854.<ref name = DWBhistory>History of the Deutsches Wörterbuch from the DWB 150th Anniversary Exhibition and Symposium, Berlin: Humboldt-Universität, 2004. Template:De icon, retrieved 27 June 2012.</ref>
Influential authors of the 20th century include Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass.<ref>Espmark, Kjell (3 December 1999). "The Nobel Prize in Literature". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> The German book market is the third largest in the world, after the United States and China.<ref>"Annual Report" (PDF). International Publishers Association. October 2014. p. 13. Retrieved 6 July 2016.</ref> The Frankfurt Book Fair is the most important in the world for international deals and trading, with a tradition spanning over 500 years.<ref>Weidhaas, Peter; Gossage, Carolyn; Wright, Wendy A. (2007). A History of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 11 ff. ISBN 978-1-55002-744-0.</ref> The Leipzig Book Fair also retains a major position in Europe.<ref>Chase, Jefferson (13 March 2015). "Leipzig Book Fair: Cultural sideshow with a serious side". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 25 April 2015.</ref>
German philosophy is historically significant: Gottfried Leibniz's contributions to rationalism; the enlightenment philosophy by Immanuel Kant; the establishment of classical German idealism by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling; Arthur Schopenhauer's composition of metaphysical pessimism; the formulation of communist theory by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; Friedrich Nietzsche's development of perspectivism; Gottlob Frege's contributions to the dawn of analytic philosophy; Martin Heidegger's works on Being; the development of the Frankfurt school by Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas have been particularly influential.
The largest internationally operating media companies in Germany are the Bertelsmann enterprise, Axel Springer SE and ProSiebenSat.1 Media. The German Press Agency DPA is also significant. Germany's television market is the largest in Europe, with some 38 million TV households.<ref>"Distribution of TV in Germany (German)". Astra Sat. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2014.</ref> Around 90% of German households have cable or satellite TV, with a variety of free-to-view public and commercial channels.<ref>"Country profile: Germany". BBC News. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> There are more than 500 public and private radio stations in Germany, with the public Deutsche Welle being the main German radio and television broadcaster in foreign languages.<ref>"Organization 1950–1954". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 May 2015.</ref> Germany's national radio network is the Deutschlandradio while ARD stations are covering local services.
Many of Europe's best-selling newspapers and magazines are produced in Germany. The papers (and internet portals) with the highest circulation are Bild (a tabloid), Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt, the largest magazines include Der Spiegel, Stern and Focus.<ref>"ZDB OPAC – start/text". d-nb.de. Retrieved 1 April 2015.</ref>
The German video gaming market is one of the largest in the world.<ref>Purchese, Robert (17 August 2009). "Germany's video game market". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 4 March 2012.</ref> The Gamescom in Cologne is the world's leading gaming convention.<ref>"Press releases". gamescom Press Center. 2014. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref> Popular game series from Germany include Turrican, the Anno series, The Settlers series, the Gothic series, SpellForce, the FIFA Manager series, Far Cry and Crysis. Relevant game developers and publishers are Blue Byte, Crytek, Deep Silver, Kalypso Media, Piranha Bytes, Yager Development, and some of the largest social network game companies like Bigpoint, Gameforge, Goodgame and Wooga.<ref>"Made in Germany: The most important games from Germany (German)". PC Games Hardware. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2014.</ref>
German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film. The first works of the Skladanowsky Brothers were shown to an audience in 1895. The renowned Babelsberg Studio in Berlin's suburb Potsdam was established in 1912, thus being the first large-scale film studio in the world. Today it is Europe's largest studio.<ref>Studio Babelsberg – Mit der Erschließung des direkt in der Nachbarschaft befindlichen Filmgeländes mit den Studios Neue Film 1 und Neue Film 2 konnte Studio Babelsberg seine Studiokapazitäten verdoppeln und verfügt so über Europas größten zusammenhängenden Studiokomplex., retrieved 3 December 2013 (German)</ref> Other early and still active studios include UFA and Bavaria Film. Early German cinema was particularly influential with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. Director Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) is referred to as the first major science-fiction film.<ref>"SciFi Film History – Metropolis (1927)". Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref> In 1930 Josef von Sternberg directed The Blue Angel, the first major German sound film, with Marlene Dietrich.<ref>Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (2003) . "The Introduction of Sound". Film History: An Introduction (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-07-115141-2.</ref> Films of Leni Riefenstahl set new artistic standards, in particular Triumph of the Will.<ref>Rother, Rainer (1 July 2003). Leni Riefenstahl: The Seduction of Genius. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 1441159010.</ref>
After 1945, many of the films of the immediate post-war period can be characterised as Trümmerfilm (rubble film). Such films included Wolfgang Staudte's Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers are among us, 1946) and Irgendwo in Berlin (Somewhere in Berlin, 1946) by Werner Krien. Notable East German films were largely produced by DEFA and included Ehe im Schatten (Marriage in the Shadows) by Kurt Maetzig (1947), Der Untertan (1951); Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck (The Story of Little Muck, 1953), Konrad Wolf's Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven) (1964) and Frank Beyer's Jacob the Liar (1975). The defining film genre in West Germany of the 1950s was arguably the Heimatfilm ("homeland film"); these films depicted the beauty of the land and the moral integrity of the people living in it.<ref>Stephen Brockmann, A Critical History of German Film, Camden House, 2010, p. 286. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".</ref> Characteristic for the films of the 1960s were genre films including Edgar Wallace and Karl May adaptations. One of the most successful German movie series of the 1970s included the sex reports called Schulmädchen-Report (Schoolgirl Report). During the 1970s and 1980s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder brought West German auteur cinema to critical acclaim.
Among the box office hits, there were films such as Chariots of the Gods (1970), Das Boot (The Boat, 1981), The Never Ending Story (1984), Otto – The Movie (1985), Run Lola Run (1998), Manitou's Shoe (2001), the Resident Evil series (2002–2016), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003), Head On (2004), The White Ribbon (2009), Animals United (2010), and Cloud Atlas (2012). The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film ("Oscar") went to the German production Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) in 1979, to Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa) in 2002, and to Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) in 2007. Various Germans won an "Oscar" award for their performances in other films.<ref>"Awards:Das Leben der Anderen". IMDb. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref>
The annual European Film Awards ceremony is held every other year in Berlin, home of the European Film Academy. The Berlin International Film Festival, known as "Berlinale", awarding the "Golden Bear" and held annually since 1951, is one of the world's leading film festivals.<ref>"2006 FIAPF accredited Festivals Directory" (PDF). International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> The "Lolas" are annually awarded in Berlin, at the German Film Awards, that have been presented since 1951.<ref>Die Beauftragte der BUndesregierung fuer Kultur und Medien, Deutscher-flimpreis. Accessed 21 May 2015.</ref>
German cuisine varies from region to region and often neighbouring regions share some culinary similarities (e.g. the southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia share some traditions with Switzerland and Austria). International varieties such as pizza, sushi, Chinese food, Greek food, Indian cuisine and doner kebab are also popular and available, thanks to diverse ethnic communities.
Bread is a significant part of German cuisine and German bakeries produce about 600 main types of bread and 1,200 different types of pastries and rolls (Brötchen). German cheeses account for about a third of all cheese produced in Europe.<ref name=IG>The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World – Steve Ehlers, Jeanette Hurt. pp. 113–115.</ref> In 2012 over 99% of all meat produced in Germany was either pork, chicken or beef. Germans produce their ubiquitous sausages in almost 1,500 varieties, including Bratwursts, Weisswursts, and Currywursts.<ref>"Guide to German Hams and Sausages". German Foods North America. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref> In 2012, organic foods accounted for 3.9% of total food sales.<ref>"Numbers, data, facts about the organic food sector" (in German). Foodwatch. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
Bio-Produkte machen lediglich 3,9 Prozent des gesamten Lebensmittelumsatzes in Deutschland aus (2012).</ref>
Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, especially close to German wine regions,<ref>"German Wine Statistics". Wines of Germany, Deutsches Weininstitut. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.</ref> the national alcoholic drink is beer. German beer consumption per person stands at 110 litres (24 imp gal; 29 US gal) in 2013 and remains among the highest in the world.<ref>Samantha Payne (20 November 2014). "Top 10 Heaviest Beer-drinking Countries: Czech Republic and Germany Sink Most Pints". Retrieved 6 May 2015.</ref> German beer purity regulations date back to the 15th century.<ref>spiegel.de/international/germany</ref>
The 2015 Michelin Guide awarded eleven restaurants in Germany three stars, the highest designation, while 38 more received two stars and 233 one star.<ref>"Michelin Guide restaurants for Germany". Retrieved 26 January 2015.</ref> German restaurants have become the world's second-most decorated after France.<ref>"German cuisine beats Italy, Spain in gourmet stars". Reuters. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref><ref>"Schnitzel Outcooks Spaghetti in Michelin Guide". Deutsche Welle. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2012.</ref>
Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue sports individually.<ref name="sports">"Germany Info: Culture & Life: Sports". Germany Embassy in Washington, D.C. Retrieved 28 March 2011.</ref> Association football is the most popular sport. With more than 6.3 million official members, the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) is the largest sports organisation of its kind worldwide, and the German top league, the Bundesliga, attracts the second highest average attendance of all professional sports leagues in the world.<ref name="sports"/> The German men's national football team won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014, and the UEFA European Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 2006 and the UEFA European Championship in 1988.
Other popular spectator sports include winter sports, boxing, basketball, handball, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis, horse riding and golf. Water sports like sailing, rowing, and swimming are popular in Germany as well.<ref name="sports"/>
Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world. Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race 17 times, and Audi 13 times (as of 2015[update]). The driver Michael Schumacher has set many motor sport records during his career, having won seven Formula One World Drivers' Championships, more than any other. He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history.<ref>Ornstein, David (23 October 2006). "What we will miss about Michael Schumacher". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 March 2011.</ref> Sebastian Vettel is also among the top five most successful Formula One drivers of all time.<ref>"Vettel makes Formula One history with eighth successive victory". Irish Independent. 17 November 2013.</ref> Also Nico Rosberg won the Formula One World Championship.
Historically, German athletes have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count (when combining East and West German medals). Germany was the last country to host both the summer and winter games in the same year, in 1936 the Berlin Summer Games and the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.<ref>Large, David Clay, Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007, Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn". p. 136.</ref> In Munich it hosted the Summer Games of 1972.<ref>Large, p. 337.</ref>
Fashion and design
German designers became early leaders of modern product design, with the Bauhaus designers like Mies van der Rohe, and Dieter Rams of Braun being essential pioneers.<ref>"Bauhaus: The Single Most Influential School of Design". gizmodo. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2014.</ref>
Germany is a leading country in the fashion industry. The German textile industry consisted of about 1,300 companies with more than 130,000 employees in 2010, which generated a revenue of 28 billion Euro. Almost 44 per cent of the products are exported.<ref>"BMWI Branchenfokus Textil und Bekleidung". Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref> The Berlin Fashion Week and the fashion trade fair Bread & Butter are held twice a year.<ref>"Berlin as a fashion capital: the improbable rise". Fashion United UK. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2015.</ref>
Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf are also important design, production and trade hubs of the domestic fashion industry, among smaller towns.<ref>"Die deutsche Mode kommt aus der Provinz". BRIGITTE. Retrieved 28 September 2014.</ref> Renowned fashion designers from Germany include Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Wolfgang Joop, Philipp Plein adn Michael Michalsky. Important brands include Hugo Boss, Escada, Adidas, Puma, Esprit and Triumph. The German supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum, Tatjana Patitz, Nadja Auermann and Toni Garrn, among others, have come to international fame.<ref>"German Cultures Today: Fashion Stars – One Germany in Europe". German History Docs GHDI. Retrieved 26 April 2015.</ref>
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