欧洲:   德国
Germany
  首都:柏林  国家代码: de      改朝换代
德国
  德意志联邦共和国 (英语:The Federal Republic of Germany or Moral Country),( 德语:Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
  释义:“人民的国家”
  汉语中的德国或日耳曼,来源于同一个英语即German,这个称呼大概是从公元前90年开始,指称斯堪的纳维亚(Scandinavia)南部移居中欧的民族。而「德意志」则是这些部族使用的语言,最后才演变成居住地的称呼,更由此衍生成「德意志帝国」、「德国」。
  
  主要节日
  
  国庆日:10月3日(1990年德国重新统一日)
  纳粹受害者纪念日:1月27日(苏联红军解放纳粹德国设在波兰境内的奥斯威辛集中营纪念日,1996年1月3日确定)
  民主日 :5月7日
  重要节日:新年:1月1日;纳粹受害者纪念日:1月27日;复活节:每年春分月圆之后第一个周日(3月21日至4月25日间);五一劳动节:5月1日;德国统一日(国庆节):10月3日;圣诞节:12月25日。
  货币单位: 欧元(€,EUR)
  中央银行: 德意志联邦银行(Deutsche Bundesbank)
  国际域名缩写:de
  国际电话区号:+49
  德国统一的象征: 勃兰登堡门,位于柏林市中心菩提树大街和6月17日大街的交汇处,是柏林市区著名的游览胜地和德国统一的象征。
  国家政要:联邦总统霍斯特·克勒(Horst Koehler),2004年5月当选,7月任职;联邦议院议长沃尔夫冈·蒂尔泽(Wolfgang Thierse),1998年10月26日当选;联邦总理安格拉·默克尔 (Angela Merkel) ,2005年11月就职。
  人口:8231万(2006年底),比2005年减少13万。主要是德意志人,还有少数丹麦人、吉普赛人和索布族人。有750万外籍人,占人口总数的9%,主要是土耳其人及东欧国家公民。通用德语。居民中33.7%的人信奉基督教新教,33.2%的人信奉罗马天主教。
  首都: 柏林 (Berlin) ,人口:338.7万(2001年9月),年平均气温约8.6℃。
  
  国旗
  呈横长方形,长与宽之比为5∶3。自上而下由黑、红、黄三个平行相等的横长方形相连而成。三色旗的来历众说纷纭,最早可追溯到公元一世纪的古罗马帝国,在后来16世纪的德国农民战争和17世纪的德国资产阶级民主革命中,代表共和制的三色旗也飘扬在德意志大地上。在击败拿破仑后,一位诗人见到一个穿黑披风佩挂红色肩章及金色纽扣的学生义勇军时,唱著「黑色象征悲悯被压迫的人们,红色是争取自由的心情,金色是理想和真理光辉的表徵」,于是以黑、红、黄三色旗作为统一的德国的国旗。后多次改制。1949年德意志联邦共和国成立,仍以三色旗为国旗。1918年德意志帝国垮台后,魏玛共和国也采用黑、红、黄三色旗为国旗。1949年9月德意志联邦共和国成立,依然采用魏玛共和国时期的三色旗;同年10月成立的德意志民主共和国也采用三色旗,只是在旗面正中加了包括锤子、量规、麦穗等国徽图案,以示区别。1990年10月3日,统一后的德国仍沿用德意志联邦共和国国旗。三色国旗可在机场、宾馆、宴会和其他场合悬挂。联邦政府机构和驻外使馆等悬挂带有黑鹰图案的国旗。
  
  国徽
  为金黄色的盾徽。盾面上是一头红爪红嘴、双翼展开的黑鹰,黑鹰象征着力量和勇气。 1950年制定的德国国徽也是历史的产物。其图案为一枚土黄色盾徽上绘一只风格独特的黑色雄鹰,鹰的喙、爪均为红色。这一图案最早出自于十二世纪的霍亨京伦家族,该家族曾统治普鲁士,后来成为德国皇室。以雄鹰入图,早在九世纪就已经出现。据说,该图案是由法兰克国王查理一世的军队从罗马帝国传人德国的。
  
  国歌
  《德意志之歌》的第三段,歌词是奥古斯特海因利希·霍夫曼·冯·法勒斯雷本(1798年—1874年)于1841年撰写的,曲调由约瑟夫·海顿(1732年—1809年)谱写。1922年,魏玛共和国第一任帝国总统弗里德里希·艾伯特将“德意志之歌”升格为国歌。1952年,在联邦总统豪伊斯和联邦总理阿登纳之间的一次通信中,这首歌重新被承认为国歌。联邦总统魏茨泽克和联邦总理科尔在1991年8月的通信中确认了“德意志之歌”对统一的德国的传统意义。
  
  国花,国鸟,国石
  国花:矢车菊,又名蓝芙蓉、荔枝菊、翠蓝,属于菊科。经过德国人多年的培育,这种“原野上的小花”已经有浅蓝、蓝紫、深蓝、深紫、雪青、淡红、玫瑰红、白等多种颜色。头状花序生在纤细茎秆的顶端,仿佛一位隽秀的少女,向着“生命之光”——太阳,祈祷幸福和欢乐。矢车菊是德国的名花,德国人用她象征日耳曼民族爱国、乐观、顽强、俭朴的特征,并认为她有吉祥之兆,因而被誉为“国花”。
  国鸟:白鹳,一种著名的观赏珍禽。在欧洲,自古以来白鹳就被认为是“带来幸福的鸟”,是吉祥的象征,是上帝派来的“天使”,是专门来拜访交好运的人的。白鹳被选为国鸟后,不少德国家庭特地在烟囱上筑造了平台,供它们造巢用。
  国石:琥珀
  
  
  自然地理
  德国位于欧洲中部,东邻波兰、捷克,南接奥地利、瑞士,西接荷兰、比利时、卢森堡、法国,北与丹麦相连并临北海和波罗的海,是欧洲邻国最多的国家。面积为357020. 22平方公里(1999年12月)。地势北低南高,可分为四个地形区:北德平原,平均海拔不到100米;中德山地,由东西走向的高地块构成;西南部莱茵断裂谷地区,两旁是山地,谷壁陡峭;南部的巴伐利亚高原和阿尔卑斯山区,其间拜恩阿尔卑斯山脉的主峰祖格峰海拔2963米,为全国最高峰。主要河流有莱茵河(流经境内865公里)、易北河、威悉河、奥得河、多瑙河。较大湖泊有博登湖、基姆湖、阿莫尔湖、里次湖。西北部海洋性气候较明显,往东、南 部逐渐向大陆性气候过渡。平均气温7月14~19℃,1月-5~1℃。年降水量500~1000毫米,山地则更多。1995年1月1日起,根据1982年国际海洋法协定,德国在北海和东海的领海由3海里增至12海里(约22公里),其面积各增加4100和1700平方公里。
  
  
  行政区划
  分为联邦、州、地区三级,共有16个州,14808个地区。16个州的名称是:巴登-符腾堡、巴伐利亚、柏林、勃兰登堡、不来梅、汉堡、黑森、梅克伦堡-前波莫瑞、下萨克森、北莱茵-威斯特法伦、莱茵兰-法耳茨、萨尔、萨克森、萨克森-安哈特、石勒苏益格-荷尔斯泰因和图林根。其中柏林、不来梅和汉堡是市州。
  
  
  历史
  公元前境内就居住着日耳曼人。公元2-3世纪逐渐形成部落。10世纪形成德意志早期封建国家。13世纪中期走向封建割据。18世纪初奥地利和普鲁士崛起,根据1815年维也纳会议,组成了德意志邦联,1848年德国各地爆发革命,普鲁士于1866年的“七星期战争”中击败奥地利,次年建立北德意志联邦,1871年统一的德意志帝国建立。该帝国1914年挑起第一次世界大战,1918年因战败而宣告崩溃。1919年2月德意志建立魏玛共和国。1933年希特勒上台实行独裁统治。 德国于1939年发动第二次世界大战,1945年5月8日德国战败投降。战后,根据雅尔塔协定和波茨坦协定,德国分别由美、英、法、苏四国占领,并由四国组成盟国管制委员会接管德国最高权力。柏林市也划分成4个占领区。1948年6月,美、英、法三国占领区合并。翌年5月23日,合并后的西部占领区成立了德意志联邦共和国。同年10月7日,东部的苏占区成立了德意志民主共和国。德国从此正式分裂为两个主权国家。
  德国作为一个地理单元在历史上曾经几经分裂,最近的一次分裂是上个世纪的四十年代末,当时德国分裂为东德(德意志民主共和国,The German Democratic Republic, GDR)、西德(德意志联邦共和国The Federal Republic of Germany, FRG)两个国家。并于1990年10月3日再次统一。
  古代历史
  德意志民族的产生是一个延续了许多世纪的过程。一般认为,德国历史开始于公元919年。在这一年,萨克森公爵亨利一世取得了东法兰克王国王位,建立了德意志王国。亨利一世的儿子鄂图一世继承王位后为了取得所谓上帝授予的皇权,于公元962年强迫教皇约翰十世在罗马给他加冕,称为“罗马皇帝”,德意志王国便称为“德意志民族的神圣罗马帝国”,史称“德意志第一帝国”。神圣罗马帝国始终不是一个中央集权的统一国家。随着地方封建势力日益强大,皇帝的权力便不断衰落,形成了不少的邦国。在这四分五裂的帝国中,最大的两个邦国是普鲁士和奥地利。
  近代历史
  在17-18世纪时,它们都发展成为当时欧洲大陆的强国。19世纪初,当拿破仑占领德意志时,取消了德意志的神圣罗马帝国皇帝称号,有名无实的神圣罗马帝国就不复存在了。19世纪后半期,普鲁士通过三次王朝战争,实现了德国在普鲁士控制下的统一。1864年对丹麦战争后,普鲁士和奥地利迫使丹麦割让石勒苏益格—荷尔斯泰因地区。在1866年普鲁士和奥地利的战争中,奥地利败北,于是奥地利不得不脱离德意志邦联。德意志邦联解体后,代之而起的是包括美因河以北所有各邦在内的、由普鲁士主导的北德邦联。普鲁士在1870年爆发的普法战争中击败法国,翌年1月18日,普鲁士国王威廉一世在法国凡尔赛宫加冕为德意志皇帝,是为“德意志第二帝国”,这是德国第一次真正意义上的统一。1914年爆发的第一次世界大战以德国的失败和德意志帝国的瓦解而告终。战争也导致德国第一次建立了联邦共和国,史称“魏玛共和国”。1933年1月30日,希特勒建立了法西斯独裁统治,宣告了魏玛共和国的终结。这个由希特勒统治的法西斯德国号称“德意志第三帝国”。1939年3月法西斯德国军队开进捷克斯洛伐克;1939年9月1日,德军进军波兰,发动了第二次世界大战。这次世界大战共有61个国家参与,死亡5000多万人,使世界陷入一片黑暗。1945年5月8日,德国在投降书上签字。
  现代历史
  第二次世界大战纳粹德国战败,根据波茨坦会议(Potsdam Conference)中英、美、法、苏四国的协议,决定在德国战败后将其一分为四分别由四个战胜国占领,并且合组一个最高管理单位盟国管制理事会(Allied Control Council,ACC)来治理德国事务。但由于理念上的差异,在战后以美国为主的西方阵营与以苏联为主的共产阵营逐渐疏远,1948年3月时,美国、英国、法国三国在伦敦举行会议,初步决议要将三国所分别管理的德国领土合并,组成一个德国西部的政权,针对这点苏联方面作出反制,首先是退出ACC,并进而宣布著手设立一个东德政权的计划。
  但直接导致东西德分离的导火线,则是发生在1948年6月20日,西方占领区境内的货币重整计划。当时西方三国占领区内原本分别发行的货币进行了整合的动作,但却排除苏联占领区,发行了所谓的西德马克,而苏联占领区也在短短三日后发行了东德马克,俨然象征东西德正式分离。东西德分离后,东德方面曾在1948年中开始,对使用西德马克的西柏林地区进行封锁,为期11个月,希望透过此举达到完全控制整个柏林地区的目的,但却在西方国家持续以空运方式所进行的柏林空运之支援下没有实现。在柏林封锁解除(1949年5月12日)后没多久的5月23日,西德(德意志联邦共和国)宣布正式成立。而东德方面也在同年的10月7日宣布正式成立以德意志社会主义统一党(Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands,SED)一党专政的社会主义共和政体。
  相对于英美法占领区所组成的西德加入了以美国为首的北约组织(NATO),东德则是加入了以苏联为首的社会主义阵营组织--华约组织。1989年民主德国局势发生了急剧变化。自同年5月起,大批公民出走联邦德国。10月初,许多城市相继爆发了规模不等的示威游行,要求放宽出国旅行和新间媒介的限制等。10月18日,民主德国总统昂纳克宣布辞职。11月9日,“柏林墙”开放。11月28日,联邦德国总理科尔提出关于两个德国实现统一的十点计划。1990年2月13至14日,民主德国总理莫德罗首次访问联邦德国。3月18日,民主德国人民议会实行自由选举,德梅齐埃任总理后,两德统一的步伐大大加快。5月18日,两德在波恩签署关于建立货币、经济和社会联盟的国家条约。8月31日,双方又在柏林签署两德统一条约。9月24日,民主德国国家人民军正式退出华约组织。10月3日民主德国正式加入联邦德国。民主德国的宪法、人民议院、政府自动取消,原14个专区为适应联邦德国建制改为5个州,并入了联邦德国,分裂40多年的两个德国重新统一。以德意志联邦共和国(Bundasrepublik Deutschland,BDR)为存续单位,东德遂成为一个不再存在的国家。
  1970年的一个萧瑟冬日,刚刚上任的联邦德国总理勃兰特,来到了波兰华沙犹太人纪念碑前,二战中,波兰有250万犹太人在集中营里饱经痛苦、绝望的折磨,最终无助地死去。在冰凉的风中,勃兰特一步步走到死难者的墓碑前,在全世界的注视下,这位二战中反纳粹的英勇斗士,做出了一个令所有人震惊不已的动作:他跪倒在地。
  一位记者写道:“不必这样做的他,替所有必须跪而没有跪的人跪下了。”
  跪下去的是勃兰特,站起来的是德意志。二战后,联邦德国开始陆续向遭受德国法西斯迫害的受害者及其遗属支付巨额赔款,教育部门则将法西斯暴行列为历史教科书的中心内容,强调“关键的任务是教育下一代”,要“将防止历史悲剧重演的职责视为己任”。
  勇于承担历史责任的德国回到了欧洲的怀抱,也回到了世界舞台。
  东西柏林问题
  1945年,纳粹德国投降后,根据二战时盟国的有关协定,柏林被苏美英法四国分区占领,东柏林为苏联占领,西柏林为美英法共同占领。1948年,东西柏林正式分裂。1948年6月至1949年5月,苏联从水陆两路封锁西柏林,后解除封锁。1949年,德意志民主共和国成立,东柏林成为民主德国的首都。但西柏林实际上依然为美英法三国共同控制,虽然联邦德国基本法和西柏林宪法规定西柏林隶属于联邦德国的一个州,但是,西方三国认为该规定同柏林的现实地位不符,宣布该条款暂不生效,但认为西柏林与联邦德国间有着“特殊关系”,同意西柏林在司法、经济、财政、货币和社会制度方面同联邦德国一体化。1961年,为阻隔东德人迁往西德,东德政府在东柏林自己的一侧修建了闻名的柏林墙,直至柏林墙倒塌,东德合并到西德。1990年10月3日,勃兰登堡门上的和平女神又一次见证了国家命运,分裂了41年的德国再次统一。这一天,被确定为德国的国庆日。
  
  政治
  《德意志联邦共和国基本法》于1949年5月生效。1956年、1968年曾作过较大修改。1990年8月两德“统一条约”对《基本法》某些条款又作了适应性修订,10月3日起适用于全德国。《基本法》规定,德国是联邦制国家,外交、国防、货币、海关、航空、邮电属联邦管辖。国家政体为议会共和制。联邦总统为国家元首。议会由联邦议院和联邦参议院组成。联邦议院行使立法权,监督法律的执行,选举联邦总理,参与选举联邦总统和监督联邦政府的工作等。联邦议院选举通常每四年举行一次,在选举中获胜的政党或政党联盟将拥有组阁权。德国实行两票制选举制度。根据德国《选举法》规定,凡年满18周岁的具有德国国籍的公民都有选举权,每位选民拥有两张选票。第一票用于选出选民所在选区的议员候选人,并根据简单多数原则,由获得选票最多的人当选。选民的第二票用于选举政党。各党获得第二票的多少将决定其在联邦议院中拥有席位的比例,对该党能否上台执政具有举足轻重的意义。参加联邦议院的各党议员分别组成议会党团。联邦参议院参与联邦立法和对联邦的行政管理施加影响,维护各州的利益。按各州人口比例由各州政府指派3~6名州政府成员组成参议院,共69席。议长由各州州长轮流担任,任期1年,总统因故不能行使职权时代行总统职务。联邦政府由联邦总理和联邦部长若干人组成,联邦总理为政府首脑。联邦宪法法院是最高司法机构,主要负责解释《基本法》,监督《基本法》的执行,有16名法官,由联邦议院和联邦参议院各推选一半,由总统任命,任期12年。正、副院长由联邦议院和联邦参议院轮流推举。此外设有联邦法院(负责民事和刑事案件)、联邦行政法院(负责一般行政司法案件)、联邦惩戒法院(负责公职人员违纪案件)、联邦财政法院(负责财政案件)、联邦劳工法院(审理劳工案件)、联邦社会法院(审理社会福利纠纷)和联邦专利法院(审理有关专利问题的案件)。各级法院设检察机关,任务是对违法、犯罪提出起诉,但不受法院的管辖,不干预法院的审判工作,也不独立行使职权,而受各级司法部门的领导。联邦行政法院设联邦最高检察院,由联邦检察长和数名联邦检察官进行工作。德国的政党有:德国社会民主党、绿党、基民盟、基督教社会联盟、自由民主党、民主社会主义党、德国共产党、共和党等.
  
  
  经济
  德国是世界第三大经济体,2007年GDP是32800万亿美元。高度发达的工业国家,经济实力居欧洲首位。2007年德国贸易出口突破9000亿欧元大关,贸易盈余达1988亿欧元,创历史新高。德国是商品出口大国,工业产品的一半销往国外。德国近1/3的就业人员为出口行业工作。主要出口产品有汽车、机械产品、电气、运输设备、化学品和钢铁。进口产品主要有机械、电器、运输设备、汽车、石油和服装。主要贸易对象是西方工业国。政府奉行整顿国家财政、减少预算赤字、进行税制改革、刺激个人投资、进一步实行非国有化、减少国家干预、充分发挥市场机制作用的政策,使德国经济持续稳定增长。同时积极采取措施,推动信息技术的发展并调整经济结构。自然资源贫乏,除硬煤、褐煤和盐的储量丰富之外,在原料供应和能源方面很大程度上依赖进口,2/3的初级能源需要进口。德国的工业以重工业为主,汽车、机械制造、化工、电气等占全部工业产值的40%以上。食品、纺织与服装、钢铁加工、采矿、精密仪器、光学以及航空与航天工业也很发达。中小企业多,工业结构布局均衡。农业发达,机械化程度很高。农业用地约占德国国土面积的一半。产品可满足本国需要的80%。旅游业、交通运输业发达。德国是啤酒生产大国,其啤酒产量居世界前列。它还是最早研制成功磁悬浮铁路技术的国家。2002年2月28日24时,德国马克正式停止流通,欧元 (EURO)成为德国法定货币。德国是首批使用欧元的11个国家之一。
  
  军事
  1956年1月正式建立联邦国防军。最高军事决策机构是联邦安全委员会,主席为联邦总理。军队和平时期由国防部长领导,战时由联邦总理任军队最高统帅。联邦国防军总监为军队最高指挥官。国防政策的最高目标是确保德国的和平、自由和独立,并规定联邦国防军是一支纯粹防御性军队,实施必要的安全预防措施,不掌握和谋求大规模杀伤性武器。建军重点是:组织快速反应部队,制定新军备规划,压缩部队规模,裁减武器装备。实行义务兵役制,服役期为9个月。
  
  文化教育
  受意大利文艺复兴的影响,德国的18世纪文学走向顶峰。歌德、海涅、席勒、莱辛和格林兄弟都是杰出的代表。20世纪最著名的作家有托马斯·曼、海因利希·曼和贝托尔特·布莱希特。作家海因里希·伯尔和君特·格拉斯分别于1972年和1999年获得诺贝尔文学奖。德国有3000多座博物馆,收藏内容十分丰富。此外,每年都举行各种艺术节、博览会和影展等。法兰克福和莱比锡是德国图书出版业中心。德国图书出版量在世界上仅次于美国占第二位。音乐是德国人生活中不可缺少的组成部分。德国造就了各个不同时期的音乐大师,如贝多芬、巴赫、门德尔松、瓦格纳等。柏林爱乐乐团更是享誉世界。教堂、宫殿和古堡德国重要的文化遗产。德国联邦政府迄今评出九所精英大学:亚琛工业大学、柏林自由大学、弗莱堡大学、哥廷根大学、海德堡大学、康斯坦茨大学、卡尔斯鲁厄大学、慕尼黑大学、慕尼黑工业大学,并对上述大学进行重点资助。德国人时间观念比较强,无论是在商务上还是在私人交往上,德国人注重准时。德国人重视商业信誉,一般不轻易更换合作伙伴。德国的教育和文化艺术事业由联邦和各州共同负责,联邦政府主要负责教育规划和职业教育,并通过各州文教部长联席会议协调全国的教育工作,在中小学教育、高等教育以及成人教育和进修方面,主要立法和行政管理权归属于各州。全国性的文化艺术活动由联邦政府予以资助。对外文化交流由外交部负责协调。大、中、小学和职业教育发达,实行12年制的义务教育,公立学校学费全免,教科书等学习用品部分减免。小学学制4-6年,中学学制5-9年。高等学校享有一定自主权,原则上实行自由入学,对部分学科采取名额限制。职业教育实行“双元制”,即职业学校理论学习和企业中的实践相结合,成人教育和业余教育普及。教师为终身公职人员,必须受过高等教育。
  
  德国公共假期
  
  日期 中文名称 当地名称 说明
  1月1日 元旦 Neujahr
  ./. 耶稣受难日 Karfreitag 星期五,具体日期不固定
  ./. 复活节周一 Ostermontag 星期一,具体日期不固定 复活节是春分月圆后第一个星期天,如果月圆正好是星期天,那么往后延一周
  5月1日 劳动节 Tag der Arbeit
  ./. 耶稣升天节 Christi Himmelfahrt 复活节后40日,具体日期不固定
  ./. 圣灵降临节 Pfingstmontag 升天节後10日,复活节後50日,具体日期不固定
  10月3日 德国统一日 Tag der deutschen Einheit 前东、西德在柏林围墙倒下後统一的日子
  12月25/26日 圣诞节 Weihnachten 重要宗教节日
  
  新闻出版
  新闻出版事业十分发达,报刊种类繁多。1999年出版的日报有367种,1620个地方版和地区版,由380个出版社和135家编辑部出版发行,总发行量约为2500万份,人均报纸拥有量占世界第四位,仅次于日、英和瑞士;杂志1600多种,总发行量约1. 4亿份;各种专业刊物8000多种。1994年德国有新闻出版企业2661家,从业人员26. 3万。发行量最大的日报是《图片报》,1999年第二季度达451万份。其它全国性大报有:《南德意志报》、《法兰克福汇报》、《时代》周报、《世界报》。最大的地方性报纸是《西德意志汇报》,发行量113万份。时事政治性周刊《明镜》发行量103. 9万份,《明星》画报107. 8万份。大报业托拉斯施普林格报业集团垄断了全国报纸出版量的1/5。
  通讯社有:(1)德意志新闻社,1949年成立,为私营股份有限公司,下设报纸、广播和电视新闻200多个部门,属于世界大通讯社之一。总社在汉堡,图片新闻编辑总部在法兰克福。在波恩设有一个联邦分社,在国内其它50多个城市设有分社或编辑部,在80多个国家派驻记者或聘用撰稿人。是德国大众传媒的主要消息来源。德新社通过卫星、电传等通讯手段用德语、英语、西班牙语和阿拉伯语每天发稿,内容包括国内外的政治、经济、科技、和文化等各个领域,在德国日报中的采用率达99%。(2)德意志电讯社:1971年成立,总社在波恩,主要向国内报纸提供新闻稿,对外只用德文向瑞士、卢森堡发消息,德统一后,该社与前民德的德通社合并。此外还有一些专业性通讯社:福音教新闻社、体育新闻社、联合经济新闻社等。
  全国主要广播电台有:
  (1)德国广播电台,由联邦政府和州广播电台出资兴办,主要负责对国内广播;
  (2)德国之声电台,1960年成立,总部设在科隆,由联邦出资兴办,用包括中文在内的31种语言向全世界广播。此外还有11家州电台。
  全国主要电视台:
  (1)德国电视一台(ARD),由各州电台、德国广播电台和德国之声电台组成德国广播协会,共同经营,播放全国性的“第一套节目”及地方性的“第三套节目”;
  (2)德国电视二台(ZDF),是德国最大的电视台,1961年由各州共同组建,总部设在美因兹,播放“第二套节目”。另外一些卫星电视节目如德国电视台的“1 PLUS”和私营电视台如“SAT 1”、“RTL”、“PRO 7”也拥有大量观众。
  
  
  名胜
  勃兰登堡门(Brandenburg Gate)位于柏林市中心菩提树大街和6月17日大街的交汇处,是柏 林市区著名的游览胜地和德国统一的象征。公元1753年,普鲁士国王弗里德利希·威廉一世定都柏林,下令修筑共有14座城门的柏 林城,因此门坐西朝东,弗里德利希·威廉一世便以国王家族的发祥地勃兰登命名。初时此门仅为一座用两根巨大的石柱支撑的简陋石门。1788年,普鲁士国王弗里德利希·威廉二世统一德意志帝国,为表庆祝,遂重建此门。当时德国著名建筑学家卡尔·歌德哈尔·阆汉斯受命承担设计与建筑工作,他以雅典古希腊柱廊式城门为蓝本,设计了这座凯旋门式的城门,并于1791年竣工。重建后的城门高20米,宽65.6米,进深11米,门内有5条通道,中间的通道最宽。据史书记载,中间的通道在1918年德皇退位前仅允许皇族成员行走。门内各通道之间用巨大的砂岩条石隔开,条石的两端各饰6根高达14米、底部直径为1.70米的多立克式立柱。为使此门更辉煌壮丽,当时德国著名的雕塑家戈特弗里德·沙多又为此门顶端设计了一套青铜装饰雕像:四匹飞驰的骏马拉着一辆双轮战车,战车上站着一位背插双翅的女神,她一手执杖一手提辔,一只展翅欲飞的普鲁士飞鹰鹫立在女神手执的饰有月桂花环的权杖上。在各通道内侧的石壁上镶嵌着沙多创作的20幅描绘古希腊神话中大力神海格拉英雄事迹的大理石浮雕画。30幅反映古希腊和平神话“和平征战”的大理石浮雕装饰在城门正面的石门楣上。此门建成之后曾被命名为“和平之门”,战车上的女神被称为“和平女神”。
  无忧宫(Sans Souci Palace)位于德意志联邦共和国东部勃兰登堡州首府波茨坦市北郊。宫名取自法文原意“无忧”(或“莫愁”)。无忧宫及其周围的园林是普鲁士国王腓特烈二世(1745—1757年)时期仿照法国凡尔赛宫的建筑式样建造的。整个园林占地290公顷,坐落在一座沙丘上,故也有“沙丘上的宫殿”之称。无忧宫全部建筑工程前后延续了约50年之久,为德国建筑艺术的精华。无忧宫前是平行的弓形6级台阶,两侧由翠绿丛林烘托。宫殿前的大喷泉 是用圆形花瓣石雕组成,四周用“火”、“水”、“土”、“空气”4个圆形花坛陪衬,花坛内塑有神像,尤以维纳斯像和水星神像造形最为精美、生动。据说,整个宫内有1000多座以希腊神话人物为题材的石刻雕像。正殿中部为半圆球形顶,两翼为长条锥脊建筑。殿正中为圆厅,门廊面对一座大喷泉。瑰丽的首相厅的天花板装潢极富想象力,四壁镶金,光彩夺目。室内多用壁画和明镜装饰,辉煌璀璨。宫的东侧有珍藏124幅名画的画廊,多为文艺复兴时期意大利、荷兰画家的名作。在无忧宫的花园内有一座六角凉亭,被称为中国茶亭。茶亭采用了中国传统的伞状圆形屋顶、上盖碧瓦、黄金圆柱落地支撑的建筑结构。亭内桌椅完全仿造东方式样制造。亭前矗立着一只中国式香鼎。据说当年普鲁士国王常在此品茶消遣。
  科隆大教堂(Cologne Cathedral)是世界上最完美的哥特式教堂,位于德国科隆市中心的莱茵河畔。东西长144.55米,南北宽86.25米,厅高43.35米,顶柱高109米,中央是两座与门墙连砌在一起的双尖塔,这两座157.38米的尖塔像两把锋利的宝剑,直插苍穹。整座建筑物全部由磨光石块砌成,占地8000平方米,建筑面积约6000多平方米。在大教堂的四周林立着无数座小尖塔,整个大教堂呈黑色,在全市所有的建筑中格外引人注目。
  
  历史名人
  康德(1724-1804):生于1724年4月22日,1740年入哥尼斯贝格大学。从1746年起任家庭教师4年。1755年完成大学学业,取得编外讲师资格,任讲师15年。在此期间康德作为教师和著作家,声望日隆。除讲授物理学和数学外,还讲授逻辑学、形而上学、道德哲学、火器和筑城学、自然地理等。18世纪60年代,这一时期的主要著作有:《关于自然神学和道德的原则的明确性研究》(1764)、《把负数概念引进于哲学中的尝试》(1763)、《上帝存在的论证的唯一可能的根源》(1763)。所著《视灵者的幻梦》(1766)检验了有关精神世界的全部观点。1770年被任命为逻辑和形而上学教授。同年发表《论感觉界和理智界的形式和原则》。从1781年开始,9年内出版了一系列涉及广阔领域的有独创性的伟大著作,短期内带来了一场哲学思想上的革命。如《纯粹理性批判》(1781)、《实践理性批判》(1788)、《判断力批判》(1790)。1793年《在理性范围内的宗教》出版后被指控为滥用哲学,歪曲并蔑视基督教的基本教义;于是政府要求康德不得在讲课和著述中再谈论宗教问题。但1797年国王死后,他又在最后一篇重要论文《学院之争》(1798)中重新论及这一问题。《从自然科学最高原理到物理学的过渡》本来可能成为康德哲学的重要补充,但此书未能完成。1804年2月12日病逝。
  歌德(1749-1832):德国诗人。生于莱茵河畔法兰克福一个富裕市民家庭。1765年入莱比锡大学学法律,但更醉心于艺术和自然科学,1770年转入斯特拉斯堡大学,深受卢梭等先进思想影响。次年结束学业,回到故乡当律师,但主要精力却在文学创作。从1775年,他在魏玛公国从政十年,任魏玛公国枢密院顾问,主张改革,但未实现。歌德一生勤勉写作,确立了他作为世界大作家的地位。其作品数量之大达到惊人地步,《歌德全集最后手定本》达40册,他逝世后的补充本《歌德遗著》达20册。写有中篇小说《少年维特之烦恼》,代表作诗剧《浮士德》是现实主义和浪漫主义相结合的著作。
  贝多芬(1770—1827年):德国作曲家。生于波恩城,自幼随父学钢琴。1787年曾经到维也纳向海顿学习作曲,并结识莫扎特。1792年定居维也纳,从事教学、演出和创作。贝多芬生活在法国大革命、拿破仑战争和维也纳体系的反动时代,欧洲的民主和民族意识此时正日益兴起。他的作品正反映了这些时代的特征,或歌颂英雄,或反对封建,争取民主自由和美好未来。其主要作品有《第三交响曲》《第五交响曲》(《命运》)、《第六交响曲》(《田园》)、《第九交响曲》(《合唱》),以及《悲怆》奏鸣曲、《月光》奏鸣曲等。
  黑格尔(1770-1831年):德国唯心主义哲学家。生于德国南部斯图加特的一个绅士家庭。1788—1793年在图宾根神学院学习,毕业后当过六年家庭教师,后在纽伦堡中学当校长。1816年任海德堡大学哲学教授。1830年任柏林大学校长,1831年死于霍乱。主要著作有:《精神现象学》、《逻辑学》、《哲学全书》、《法哲学原理》》、《哲学史讲演录》、《历史哲学》和《美学)等。
  海涅(1797-1856年):1797年12月13日生于德国杜塞尔多夫,童年和少年时期经历了拿破仑战争。1815年拿破仑兵败后,曾在银行工作。1819年后,曾在波恩大学、哥廷根大学、柏林大学学习。在柏林时结识法恩哈根·封·恩泽夫妇以及作家沙米索、富凯等。恩泽夫妇家的文学沙龙是柏林的文学中心。在它的影响下,海涅的第一部《诗集》于1821年在柏林出版。1823年发表《悲剧——抒情插曲》。1824年1月重返格廷根大学学习法律,并继续写诗,完成了《还乡集》。1825年获法学博士学位。《还乡集》增订后与《哈尔茨山游记》和《北海纪游》中的第一部分组诗,于1826年汇编为《旅行记》发表,引起强烈的反响。1827年《旅行记》第2卷出版。从英国旅行回到汉堡后,他的《歌集》出版,收入在此之前发表的大部诗歌,奠定了海涅作为杰出的抒情诗人的地位。1829年《旅行记》第3卷出版。以后海涅陆续发表了《法兰西现状》、《论法国的画家》、《德国近代文学史略》、《路德维希·伯尔纳,亨利希·海涅的备亡录》、《德国,一个冬天的童话》等文章和诗歌。1848年5月完全瘫痪,他以惊人的毅力坚持写作,口授完成诗集《罗曼采罗》,于1851年出版。后还写了一些散文作品。1856年2月17日,海涅在巴黎逝世。
  门德尔松(Mendelssohn,1809-1847):1809年2月3日生于德国汉堡,父母均为犹太人。12岁开始创作,17岁即完成《仲夏夜之梦序曲》,21岁起研究和整理巴赫的作品,为这位音乐之父的作品得以复生作出了最重要的贡献。27岁在莱比锡任指挥,1843年创办德国第一所音乐学院,38岁时即病故。他在短暂的一生中创作了大量的各种体裁的音乐作品,作品风格温柔舒适、优美恬静、完整严谨、极少矛盾冲突、富于诗意幻想,反映出他生活上的安定富足。他的交响曲《苏格兰》、《意大利》,序曲《芬格尔山洞》,《平静的海与幸福的航行》,《e小调小提琴协奏曲》等都是著名作品。《仲夏夜之梦序曲》是音乐作品中最早描写神仙境界的。他还独创了“无词歌”的钢琴曲体裁,共八册四十八首,形象生动多姿,是早期标题音乐的代表。以他为中心的莱比锡乐派对十九世纪德国音乐生活产生了很大的影响。
  瓦格纳(Richard Wagner,1813-1883年):1813年5月22日生于莱比锡。自幼喜爱贝多芬、莫扎特和韦伯的音乐,自学钢琴和作曲。同时,也受莎士比亚、歌德、席勒的戏剧影响,15岁时就写了一出5幕的诗悲剧,晚年又受叔本华、尼采甚至弗洛伊德等哲学家的影响。1833年夏天在维尔茨堡担任歌剧指挥,并开始歌剧创作。1840年写成《黎恩济》,1841年创作了他的第一部歌剧代表作《漂泊的荷兰人》。1843年被任命为德累斯顿宫廷歌剧院指挥。1845年演出他根据德国传说所作的《汤豪塞》。1849年后,在国外流亡15年。1875年完成了《尼伯龙根指环》的全部写作,并于1876年8月在新落成的拜罗伊特剧院上演,获极大成功。其著名的作品尚有《罗恩格林》、《特里斯坦与伊索尔德》、《纽伦堡的名歌手》等。其著作有《论德国音乐》、《艺术与革命》、《未来的艺术作品》以及《歌剧与戏剧》等。1883年2月13日逝世。他的音乐戏剧的舞台作品具有极为深远的意义,特点是都是由自己创作的(包括情节、人物、剧词、表现方法和音乐)。他对音乐形式本身从不感兴趣,只把它作为情感的和心理的表现手段而已。他彻底改革了作曲的技术,从而对音乐作为一种艺术的发展具有决定性的影响,并导致表现主义音乐的形成。
  马克思 (1818-1883年):1818年5月5日出生于德国普鲁士莱茵省特利尔城一个犹太人律师家庭。1835—1841年,先后在波恩大学和柏林大学攻读法学,得哲学博士学位。1842年任莱茵报主编,1843年和燕妮结婚并迁居巴黎。1844年和恩格斯会见,合著《神圣家族》(1844年)、《德意志意识形态》(1845—1846年)。1847年11月出席共产主义者同盟第二次代表大会,1848年2月发表与恩格斯合写的《共产党宣言》;1848年欧洲革命爆发后回到德国,创办《新莱茵报》;1840年被驱逐出普鲁士,先到巴黎,后定居伦敦;1864年在伦敦创立“国际工人协会”(即第一国际),领导国际工人运动,开展反对机会主义的斗争。1883年3月14日与世长辞,和先他两年逝世的夫人燕妮一起,安葬在伦敦的海格特公墓。
  恩格斯(1820—1895年):1820年11月28日出生于德国普鲁士莱茵省巴门市一个纺织工厂主家庭。1837年中学还未毕业,就到不来梅一家大贸易公司经商,1841年在步兵炮团服兵役,同时在柏林大学听哲学课,参加了青年黑格尔派小组。1842年9月到英国曼彻斯特其父与人合营的企业工作。1844年在巴黎与马克思相见,并于当年合著《神圣家族》。1845年出版《英国工人阶级状况》,同年春迁居布鲁塞尔,与马克思合著《德意志意识形态》,1848年2月又共同发表《共产党宣言》。1848年德国革命爆发,曾亲自参加武装起义。1850年11月重返英国经商,在经济上支持和帮助马克思。参加创建和领导第一国际的工作。1877-1878年写成《反杜林论》;1885年整理出版了《资本论》第二卷;1894年出版了第三卷。1889年领导建立第二国际。1895年8月5日在伦敦病逝。
  奥托·冯·俾斯麦(Otto Von Bismarck,1815-1898)是德国近代史上一位举足轻重的人物。作为普鲁士德国容克资产阶级的最著名的政治家和外交家,他是“从上至下”统一德国的代表人物。俾斯麦于1815年4月1日出生于普鲁士勃兰登堡阿尔特马克雪恩豪森庄园一家大容克贵族世家。幼时受过良好教育,曾经在哥廷根大学和柏林大学学习法律、历史和外语。大学期间,他曾与同学作过27次决斗。毕业后服兵役。俾斯麦体格强壮、个性粗野,为了追求目标可以不择手段,持现实主义态度。1839年以后,他回到自己的领地,经营庄园经济,采用新的耕作方法,改进农具,作物轮种,进行商品生产。1847年,俾斯麦成为普鲁士议会议员;1851—1858年被任命为普鲁士邦驻德意志联邦代表会的代表,1859年任驻俄公使,1861年改任驻法公使。1862年任普鲁士宰相兼外交大臣,极力推行“铁血政策”,主张通过战争,由普鲁士统一德国。他相继发动了对丹麦、奥地利和法国的战争,逐步实现了德国统一。1871年俾斯麦出任新成立后的德意志帝国宰相,并受封为公爵。此后的20年间,他权倾朝野。对内加强普鲁士和帝国政府的权力,促进容克和资产阶级的联盟和经济收益,镇压工人运动;对外采取现实主义态度,争霸欧洲,并向海外积极扩张,他本人成为19世纪下半期欧洲政治舞台上的风云人物。1890年,他被新皇威廉二世命令辞职,回到庄园。1898年去世。
  阿道夫·希特勒(Adolf Hitler,1889-1945)德国法西斯主义头号独裁者,第二次世界大战元凶。1889年生于奥匈帝国布劳瑙,1933年出任德国总理 ,宣布德国为“德意志第三帝国”,使德国摆脱经济大萧条。他撕毁《凡尔赛和约》,疯狂扩充军队,占领奥地利、捷克斯洛伐克等国。1939年9月1日入侵波兰,3日,英法对德宣战,第二次世界大战爆发。1941年6月22日入侵苏联。1945年4月30日在总理府地堡自杀。
  贝尔托·布莱希特1898年2月10日生于德国巴伐利亚省奥格斯堡镇。年轻时任剧院编剧和导演。曾投身工人运动。1933年后流亡欧洲大陆。1941年经苏联去美国,但战后遭迫害,1947年返回欧洲。1948年起定居东柏林。1951年因对戏剧的贡献而获国家奖金。1955年获列宁和平奖金。他一直从倡导歌剧改革入手,在理论和实践上进行史诗剧实验,特别吸收中国戏剧艺术经验,逐步形成了独特的表演方法。他的主要戏剧理论著作有:《梅辛考夫》等。代表性剧作有:《母亲》、《四川好人》、《高加索灰阑记》、《伽利略传》等等。
  尼采(Friedrich wilhelm Nietzsche 1844-1900)是德国现代著名哲学家。他出身于一个乡村牧师的家庭。父亲社会地位不高,但因与国王有故交,因此得到后者的恩宠。尼采从小接受贵族特权阶级的教育,他们家中的生活方式也是贵族式的。尼采1864年进入波恩大学读书,一年后转入莱比锡大学,学习语言学和神学。他喜欢文艺,他后来的著作许多是以文学体裁写成的。尼采的哲学活动一般可分为三个时期。第一个时期:1870年至1876年。这一时期他主要受到叔本华的影响。他这时的主要著作是《悲剧的起源》(1872)。第二个时期:1877年至1882年。这一时期他主要受了孔德和斯宾塞的影响。主要著作是《人性的,太人性的》(1878),《朝霞》(1881)。第三个时期:1883年至1889年。这时他力求摆脱其他哲学家的影响。独立创造自己的哲学体系。这时他的主要哲学著作是《查拉图斯特拉如是说》(四卷1883-1891),《善恶之彼岸》(1886),《道德体系论》(1887)。他的自传性著作《看这个人!》(1908)以及他哲学思想的总结性著作《权力意志》(1895,未完成)都是这时写出,死后出版的。
  
  
  外交
  奉行与西方结盟的外交政策,外交政策的重点依次是:推动深化和扩大欧盟,推动欧洲一体化进程,加强以欧洲为核心传统友谊,巩固与北约的关系并致力于建立欧洲独立安全和防务体系。默克尔总理上台以后,加强同美国的紧密联盟,加强跨大西洋两岸经济合作,保持和发展与俄罗斯的关系,在经济上大力开拓中东欧新兴市场,加强与中国,印度等有国际影响力发展中国家的关系,谋求在以联合国为框架国际组织中发挥更积极作用。
  与中国关系:1972年10月11日,联邦德国与中国建立外交关系(1949年10月27日,民主德国与中国建交)。近年来,中德两国在各领域的互利友好合作不断取得新进展,在国际事务中的磋商与合作日益加强。但是默克尔总理上台以后,由于两国在西藏问题上认识不同,导致两国关系一度紧张,经过双方努力,两国关系基本恢复正常。
  
  体育
  大赛举办经历
  1936年柏林奥运会
  1974年德国世界杯
  2006年德国世界杯
  1972年慕尼黑奥运会
  
  德国不仅盛产啤酒,也盛产F1车手,其中车王迈克尔·舒马赫就来自德国。现役车手中除了他的弟弟Ralf Schumacher还有海菲尔德,罗斯博格以及苏蒂尔沈充。
  田径、游泳、赛艇、足球,都是德国队的传统强项。中长跑选手迪-鲍曼、跳高女选手亨克尔、跳远选手德雷克斯勒、标枪选手西-伦克,都是历史上著名的田径运动员。游泳界老将有格罗斯、格拉施、施耐德、格韦尼格尔,他们都在各自的项目上创造过世界纪录。前跳远世界冠军德雷克斯勒,曾在1992年和2000年奥运会时摘取金牌。舒曼是德国队男子800米悉尼奥运会冠军。37岁的铁饼老将里德尔,曾经拿过五次世界冠军。德国赛艇队则是世界一流强队。
  著名撑杆跳高选手罗宾格、女子铅球名将库伯努斯、女子铁饼选手维鲁达、游泳名将阿尔姆西克、射击队的莱昂哈特、库泽尔等,都是新一代德国国家队队员中的佼佼者。在4x400米接力项目上,能够出场的运动员中有一位曾是1997年世锦赛该项目金牌获得者,叫布里约尔。老将库伯努斯,曾获得过亚特兰大奥运会女子铅球金牌,她在2004年7月举行的全国锦标赛上,如愿以偿的拿到了个人的第七个全国冠军,她也将参加雅典奥运会的角逐。
  德国足球水平一直排在世界的前列,截至2007年,德国国家足球队已获得三座男足世界杯和两座女足世界杯。德国足球甲级联赛(德甲)也是欧洲五大联赛之一。在2006年德国本土举办的世界杯中,德国虽然只有第3名,可他们在这届比赛中的表现也是令人满意的。
  德国统一后已经参加过三届奥运会,共获得67枚金牌,56枚银牌,81枚铜牌。
  下面是德国队在这几届夏季奥运会中的成绩:
  年份 金牌 银牌 铜牌 名次
  1992 33 21 28 3
  1996 20 18 27 3
  2000 14 17 26 5
  2004 14 16 18 6
  
  战后德国经济迅速发展的原因
  1.战后(二战)德国清除法西斯主义,社会比较稳定
  2.试行国民经济非军事化,把有限的国力集中到经济建设中
  3.美国的扶植政策帮助
  4.政府强调市场规律的作用
  5.重视教育和科技,劳动者素质高
  60年代初,联邦德国成为西欧最强大的经济大国


  Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland (help·info), IPA: [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant]), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The territory of Germany covers 357,021 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With over 82 million inhabitants, it comprises the largest population among the member states of the European Union and is home to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide.
  
  A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and documented before 100 AD. Since the 10th century German territories have formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire that lasted until 1806. During the period, in the 16th century, the northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. After World War II, Germany was divided into two separate states along the lines of allied occupation in 1949. The two states became reunified again in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the EC in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the borderless Schengen zone and adopted the common European currency, the Euro, in 1999.
  
  Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states (Bundesländer). The capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G4 nations, and signed the Kyoto protocol. It is the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP and the largest exporter of goods in 2007. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the second biggest annual budget of development aid in the world, while its military expenditure ranked sixth. The country has developed a high standard of living and established a comprehensive system of social security. It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a multitude of close partnerships on a global level. Germany is recognized as a scientific and technological leader in several fields.
  
  History
  Main articles: History of Germany, Germanic peoples, Germania, and List of country name etymologies
  The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is assumed to have occurred during the Nordic Bronze Age, or at the latest, during the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the tribes began expanding south, east and west in the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe. Little is known about early Germanic history, except through their recorded interactions with the Roman Empire, etymological research and archaeological finds.
  
  Expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1Under Augustus, the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (a term used by the Romans running roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains) , and it was in this period that the Germanic tribes became familiar with Roman tactics of warfare while maintaining their tribal identity. In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Modern Germany, as far as the Rhine and the Danube, thus remained outside the Roman Empire. By AD 100, the time of Tacitus' Germania, Germanic tribes settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus) , occupying most of the area of modern Germany. The 3rd century saw the emergence of a number of large West Germanic tribes: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, and Thuringii. Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke through the Limes and the Danube frontier into Roman-controlled lands.
  
  Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
  
  Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire (1341 parchment)The medieval empire stemmed from a division of the Carolingian Empire in 843, which was founded by Charlemagne on 25 December 800, and existed in varying forms until 1806, its territory stretching from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. Often referred to as the Holy Roman Empire (or the Old Empire) , it was officially called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation ("Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ") starting in 1448, to adjust the title to its then reduced territory.
  
  Under the reign of the Ottonian emperors (919–1024) , the duchies of Lorraine, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Thuringia, and Bavaria were consolidated, and the German king was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. Under the reign of the Salian emperors (1024–1125) , the Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy, although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy. Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254) , the German princes increased their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs (Ostsiedlung). Northern German towns grew prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League.
  
  Martin Luther, (1483–1546) initiated the Protestant Reformation.The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire that lasted until its dissolution. It codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics. Beginning in the 15th century, the emperors were elected nearly exclusively from the Habsburg dynasty of Austria.
  
  The monk Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses questioning the Roman Catholic Church in 1517, thereby sparking the Protestant Reformation. A separate Lutheran church was acknowledged as the newly sanctioned religion in many German states after 1530. Religious conflict led to the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) , which devastated German lands. The population of the German states was reduced by about 30%. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended religious warfare among the German states, but the empire was de facto divided into numerous independent principalities. From 1740 onwards, the dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1806, the Imperium was overrun and dissolved as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.
  
  See also: Medieval demography and German eastward expansion
  
  Restoration and revolution (1814–1871)
  
  Frankfurt Parliament in 1848Following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Congress of Vienna convened in 1814 and founded the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) , a loose league of 39 sovereign states. Disagreement with restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, demanding unity and freedom. These, however, were followed by new measures of repression on the part of the Austrian statesman Metternich. The Zollverein, a tariff union, profoundly furthered economic unity in the German states. During this era many Germans had been stirred by the ideals of the French Revolution, and nationalism became a more significant force, especially among young intellectuals. For the first time, the colours of black, red and gold were chosen to represent the movement, which later became the national colours.
  
  In light of a series of revolutionary movements in Europe, which successfully established a republic in France, intellectuals and commoners started the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. The monarchs initially yielded to the revolutionaries' liberal demands. 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. Conflict between King William I of Prussia and the increasingly liberal parliament erupted over military reforms in 1862, and the king appointed Otto von Bismarck the new Prime Minister of Prussia. Bismarck successfully waged war on Denmark in 1864. Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled him to create the North German Federation (Norddeutscher Bund) and to exclude Austria, formerly the leading German state, from the affairs of the remaining German states.
  
  German Empire (1871–1918)
  
  Foundation of modern Germany in Versailles-France, 1871. Bismarck is at the centre in a white uniformThe state known as Germany was unified as a modern nation-state in 1871, when the German Empire was forged, with the Kingdom of Prussia as its largest constituent. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich) was proclaimed in Versailles on 18 January 1871. The Hohenzollern dynasty of Prussia ruled the new empire, whose capital was Berlin. The empire was a unification of all the scattered parts of Germany except Austria (Kleindeutschland, or "Lesser Germany"). Beginning in 1884, Germany began establishing several colonies outside of Europe.
  
  In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Emperor William I's foreign policy secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war. Under William II, however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries. Most alliances in which Germany had been previously involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country. Specifically, France established new relationships by signing the Entente Cordiale with the United Kingdom and securing ties with the Russian Empire. Aside from its contacts with Austria-Hungary, Germany became increasingly isolated.
  
  Imperial Germany (1871–1918) , with the dominant Kingdom of Prussia in blue.Germany's imperialism reached outside of its own country and joined many other powers in Europe to claim their share of Africa. The Berlin Conference divided Africa between the European powers. Germany owned several pieces of land on Africa including German East Africa, South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon. The Scramble for Africa caused tension between the great powers that may have contributed to the conditions that led to World War I.
  
  The assassination of Austria's crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I. Germany, as part of the unsuccessful Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allied Powers in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor William II and all German ruling princes abdicated. An armistice putting an end to the war was signed on 11 November and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Its negotiation, contrary to traditional post-war diplomacy, excluded the defeated Central Powers. The treaty was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war by other means and its harshness is often cited as having facilitated the later rise of Nazism in the country.
  
  Weimar Republic (1919–1933)
  
  Billboard advertising Die Dreigroschenoper by Bertolt Brecht. The Weimar era was dominated by political unrest and cultural liberation.After the success of the German Revolution in November 1918, a republic was proclaimed. The Weimar Constitution came into effect with its signing by President Friedrich Ebert on 11 August 1919. The German Communist Party was established by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in 1918, and the German Workers Party, later known as the National Socialist German Workers Party or Nazi Party, was founded in January 1919.
  
  Suffering from the Great Depression, the harsh peace conditions dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, and a long succession of more or less unstable governments, the political masses in Germany increasingly lacked identification with their political system of parliamentary democracy. This was exacerbated by a wide-spread right-wing (monarchist, völkisch, and Nazi) Dolchstoßlegende, a political myth which claimed that Germany lost World War I because of the German Revolution, not because of military defeat. On the other hand, radical left-wing communists, such as the Spartacist League, had wanted to abolish what they perceived as "capitalist rule" in favour of a Räterepublik. Paramilitary troops were set up by several parties and there were thousands of politically motivated murders. The paramilitaries intimidated voters and seeded violence and anger among the public, which suffered from high unemployment and poverty. After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, President Paul von Hindenburg, seeing little alternative and pushed by right-wing advisors, appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.
  
  Third Reich (1933–1945)
  
  Adolf Hitler.On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag was set on fire. Some basic democratic rights were quickly abrogated afterwards under an emergency decree. An Enabling Act gave Hitler's government full legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party of Germany voted against it; the Communists were not able to present opposition, as their deputies had already been murdered or imprisoned. A centralised totalitarian state was established by a series of moves and decrees making Germany a single-party state. Industry was closely regulated with quotas and requirements, to shift the economy towards a war production base. In 1936 German troops entered the demilitarized Rhineland, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policies proved inadequate. Emboldened, Hitler followed from 1938 onwards a policy of expansionism to establish Greater Germany. To avoid a two-front war, Hitler concluded the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the Soviet Union, a pact which he later broke.
  
  In 1939, the growing tensions from nationalism, militarism, and territorial issues led to the Germans launching a blitzkrieg on September 1 against Poland, followed two days later by declarations of war by Britain and France, marking the beginning of World War II. Germany quickly gained direct or indirect control of the majority of Europe.
  
  Berlin in ruins after World War II, Potsdamer Platz 1945On 22 June 1941, Hitler broke the pact with the Soviet Union by opening the Eastern Front and invading the Soviet Union. Shortly after Japan attacked the American base at Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States. Although initially the German army rapidly advanced into the Soviet Union, the Battle of Stalingrad marked a major turning point in the war. Subsequently, the German army commenced retreating on the Eastern Front. D-Day marked a major turning point on the Western front, as Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and made rapid advances into German territory. Germany's defeat soon followed. On 8 May 1945, the German armed forces surrendered after the Red Army occupied Berlin.
  
  In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Third Reich regime enacted governmental policies directly subjugating many parts of society: Jews, Communists, Roma, homosexuals, freemasons, political dissidents, priests, preachers, religious opponents, and the disabled, amongst others. During the Nazi era, about eleven million people were murdered in the Holocaust, including six million Jews and three million Poles. World War II and the Nazi genocide were responsible for about 35 million dead in Europe.
  
  Division and reunification (1945–1990)
  
  Allied occupation zones in 1946The war resulted in the death of nearly ten million German soldiers and civilians; large territorial losses; the expulsion of about 15 million Germans from its former eastern territories and other countries; and the destruction of multiple major cities. The national territory and Berlin were partitioned by the Allies into four military occupation zones. The sectors controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States were merged on 23 May 1949, to form the Federal Republic of Germany; on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone established the German Democratic Republic. They were informally known as "West Germany" and "East Germany" and the two parts of Berlin as "West Berlin" and "East Berlin". The eastern and western countries opted for East Berlin and Bonn as their respective capitals. However, West Germany declared the status of its capital Bonn as provisional, in order to emphasize its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial status quo that was to be overcome one day.
  
  West Germany — established as a liberal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy" — was allied with the United States, the UK and France. The country eventually came to enjoy prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s (Wirtschaftswunder). West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1958. Across the border, East Germany was at first occupied by, and later (May 1955) allied with, the USSR. An authoritarian country with a Soviet-style command economy, but many of its citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans from escaping to West Germany, became a symbol of the Cold War. However, tensions between East and West Germany were somewhat reduced in the early 1970s by Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, which included the de facto acceptance of Germany's territorial losses in World War II.
  
  The Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate shortly after the opening in 1989In the face of a growing migration of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary and mass demonstrations during the summer of 1989, East German authorities unexpectedly eased the border restrictions in November, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West. Originally intended as a pressure valve to retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the reform process in East Germany, which finally concluded with the Two Plus Four Treaty a year later on 12 September 1990 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. Under the terms of the treaty, the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the Instrument of Surrender, and Germany regained full sovereignty. Based on the Bonn-Berlin-Act, adopted by the parliament on 10 March 1994, the capital of the unified state was chosen to be Berlin, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a Bundesstadt (federal city) retaining some federal ministries. The move of the government was completed in 1999.
  
  Since reunification, Germany has taken a leading role in the European Union and NATO. 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. These deployments were controversial, since after the war, Germany was bound by law to only deploy troops for defence roles. Deployments to foreign territories were understood not to be covered by the defence provision; however, the parliamentary vote on the issue effectively legalised the participation in a peacekeeping context.
  
  Geography
  
  Altitude levelsThe territory of Germany 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 63rd largest in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 metres (9,718 ft)) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the north-west and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the north-east. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany (lowest point: Wilstermarsch at 3.54 metres (11.6 ft) below sea level), traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Because of its central location, Germany shares borders with more European countries than any other country on the continent. Its neighbours are Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west and Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west.
  
  Climate
  
  Alpine scenery in BavariaMost of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate in which humid westerly winds predominate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, which is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea including the peninsula of Jutland and the area along the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. Consequently in the north-west and the north, the climate is oceanic; rainfall occurs year round with a maximum during summer. Winters there are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) for prolonged periods. In the east, the climate is more continental; winters can be very cold, summers can be very warm, and long dry periods are often recorded. Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental. Again, the maximum temperature can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) in summer.
  
  Environment
  
  The largest wind farm and solar power capacity in the world is installed in Germany. Renewable energy generated 14% of the country's total electricity consumption in 2007.Phytogeographically, Germany is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Germany can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Atlantic mixed forests, Baltic mixed forests, Central European mixed forests and Western European broadleaf forests.
  
  Germany is known for its environmental consciousness. Germans generally consider anthropogenic causes to be a major factor in global warming and are almost unanimous in thinking that action is necessary, but are more divided than people in other countries on the urgency of such action. Germany is committed to the Kyoto protocol and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, recycling, the use of renewable energy and supports sustainable development on a global level. Nevertheless the country's carbon dioxide emissions per capita is among the highest in the EU but remains significantly lower compared to Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia or the United States.
  
  Emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution. Acid rain, resulting from sulphur dioxide emissions is damaging forests. Pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in former eastern Germany have been reduced. The government under Chancellor Schröder announced intent to end the use of nuclear power for producing electricity. Germany is working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive. Germany's last glaciers in Alpine regions is experiencing deglaciation. Natural hazards are river flooding in spring and stormy winds occurring in all regions.
  
  Government
  
  The Reichstag is the old and new site of the German parliament.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). By calling the document Grundgesetz, rather than Verfassung (constitution), the authors expressed the intention that it would be replaced by a proper constitution once Germany was reunited as one state. Amendments to the Grundgesetz generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the parliament; the articles guaranteeing fundamental rights, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the right to resist attempts to overthrow the constitution are valid in perpetuity and cannot be amended. Despite the initial intention, the Grundgesetz remained in effect after the German reunification in 1990, with only minor amendments.
  
  President Horst KöhlerThe Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor)—currently Angela Merkel—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 a unique type of legislative body. The Bundestag is elected through direct elections, yet abiding proportional representation. The members of the Bundesrat represent the governments of the sixteen federal states and are members of the state cabinets. The respective state governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time.
  
  The Bundespräsident (President)—currently Horst Köhler—is the head of state, 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 nominated by the Bundespräsident after being elected by the Bundestag. The Chancellor can be removed by a constructive motion of no confidence by the Bundestag, where constructive implies that the Bundestag simultaneously elects a successor.
  
  Since 1949, the party system has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany although smaller parties, such as the liberal Free Democratic Party (which has had members in the Bundestag since 1949) and the Alliance '90/The Greens (which has controlled seats in parliament since 1983) have also played important roles.
  
  States
  
  Germany comprises 16 states (Länder, Bundesländer), which are further subdivided into 439 districts (Kreise) and cities (kreisfreie Städte) (2004).
  
  State Capital Area ( km²) Population
  Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart 35,752 10,717,000
  Bavaria (Bayern) Munich (München) 70,549 12,444,000
  Berlin Berlin 892 3,400,000
  Brandenburg Potsdam 29,477 2,568,000
  Bremen Bremen 404 663,000
  Hamburg Hamburg 755 1,735,000
  Hesse (Hessen) Wiesbaden 21,115 6,098,000
  Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin 23,174 1,720,000
  Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) Hanover (Hannover) 47,618 8,001,000
  North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) Düsseldorf 34,043 18,075,000
  Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) Mainz 19,847 4,061,000
  Saarland Saarbrücken 2,569 1,056,000
  Saxony (Sachsen) Dresden 18,416 4,296,000
  Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt) Magdeburg 20,445 2,494,000
  Schleswig-Holstein Kiel 15,763 2,829,000
  Thuringia (Thüringen) Erfurt 16,172 2,355,000
  
  States and cities in Germany.
  
  Foreign relations
  
  Germany is a founding member of the EC in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It maintains close relations with its neighbours to coordinate EU politics.Germany has played a leading role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France since the end of World War II. The alliance was especially close in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the leadership of Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl and Socialist François Mitterrand. Germany is at the forefront of European states seeking to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European political, defence and security apparatus.
  
  Since its establishment on 23 May 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany kept a notably low profile in international relations, because of both its recent history and its occupation by foreign powers. During the Cold War, Germany's partition by the Iron Curtain made it a symbol of East-West tensions and a political battleground in Europe. However, Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik was a key factor in the détente of the 1970s. In 1999 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking a full part in the decisions surrounding the NATO war against Yugoslavia and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since World War II.
  
  Chancellor Angela Merkel hosting the G8 summit in HeiligendammGermany and the United States are close allies. The 1948 Marshall Plan, U.S. support (JCS 1067) during the rebuilding process (Industrial plans for Germany) after World War II, as well as fraternisation (War children) and food support (food policy) and strong cultural ties have crafted a strong bond between the two countries, although Schröder's very vocal opposition to the Iraq War suggested the end of Atlanticism and a relative cooling of German-American relations. The two countries are also economically interdependent; 8.8% of German exports are U.S.-bound and 6.6% of German imports originate from the U.S. The other way around, 8.8% of U.S. exports ship to Germany and 9.8% of U.S. imports come from Germany. Other signs of the close ties include the continuing position of German-Americans as the largest ethnic group in the U.S. and the status of Ramstein Air Base (near Kaiserslautern) as the largest U.S. military community outside the U.S.
  
  Development aid
  The development policy of the Federal Republic of Germany is an independent area of German foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and carried out by the implementing organisations. The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community.
  
  Germany's official development aid and humanitarian aid for 2007 amounted to 8.96 billion euros (12.26 billion dollars), an increase of 5.9 per cent from 2006. It has become the world's second biggest aid donor after the United States. Germany spent 0.37 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on development, which is below the government's target of increasing aid to 0.51 per cent of GDP by 2010. The international target of 0.7% of GNP would have not reached either.
  
  Military
  
  The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is participating in a UNIFIL II operation off the coast of Lebanon.Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is a defence force with Heer (Army), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services) and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. Military Service is compulsory for men at the age of 18, and conscripts serve nine-month tours of duty. Conscientious objectors may instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst (roughly translated as civilian service), or a six year commitment to (voluntary) emergency services like a fire department, the Red Cross or the THW. In 2003, military spending constituted 1.5% of the country's GDP. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence, currently Franz Josef Jung. If Germany went to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, the Chancellor would become commander in chief of the Bundeswehr.
  
  As of October 2006, the German military had almost 9,000 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 1,180 troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina; 2,844 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo; 750 soldiers stationed as a part of EUFOR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and 2,800 German troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan. As of February 2007, Germany had about 3,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent after the United States (14,000) and the United Kingdom (5,200).
  
  Law
  
  The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in KarlsruheThe Judiciary of Germany is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Germany has a civil or statute law system that is based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) , located in Karlsruhe, is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review. It acts as the highest legal authority and ensures that legislative and judicial practice conforms to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Basic Law). It acts independently of the other state bodies, but cannot act on its own behalf.
  
  Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949Germany's supreme court system, called Oberste Gerichtshöfe des Bundes, is specialized. For civil and criminal cases, the highest court of appeal is the Federal Court of Justice, located in Karlsruhe and Leipzig. The courtroom style is inquisitorial. Other Federal Courts are the Federal Labour Court in Erfurt, the Federal Social Court in Kassel, the Federal Finance Court in Munich and the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.
  
  Criminal law and private law are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. The German penal system is aimed towards rehabilitation of the criminal; its secondary goal is the protection of the general public. To achieve the latter, a convicted criminal can be put in preventive detention (Sicherheitsverwahrung) in addition to the regular sentence if he is considered to be a threat to the general public. The Völkerstrafgesetzbuch regulates the consequences of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. It gives German courts universal jurisdiction if prosecution by a court of the country where the crime was committed, or by an international court, is not possible.
  
  State level
  
  German state police officer in HamburgLegislative power is divided between the federation and the state level. The Basic Law presumes that all legislative power remains at the state level unless otherwise designated by the Basic Law itself. In some areas, federal and state level have concurrent legislative power. In such cases, the federate level has power to legislation "if and to the extent that the establishment of equal living conditions throughout the federal territory or the maintenance of legal or economic unity renders federal regulation necessary in the national interest" (Art. 72 Basic Law).
  
  Any federal law overrides state law if the legislative power lies at the federal level. A famous example is the Hessian permission of the death penalty that goes against the ban of capital punishment by the Basic Law, rendering the Hessian provision invalid. The Bundesrat is the federal organ through which the states participate in national legislation. State participation in federal legislation is necessary if the law falls within the area of concurrent legislative power, requires states to administer federal regulations, or if designated so by the Basic Law. Every state with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein (whose constitutional jurisdiction is exercised by the Bundesverfassungsgericht in procuration) has its own constitutional courts. The Amtsgerichte, Landgerichte and Oberlandesgerichte are state courts of general jurisdiction. They are competent whether the action is based on federal or state law.
  
  Many of the fundamental matters in administrative law remain in the jurisdiction of the states, though most states base their own laws in that area on the 1976 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Proceedings Act) in important points of administrative law. The Oberverwaltungsgerichte are the highest levels in administrative jurisdiction concerning the state administrations, unless the question of law concerns federal law or state law identical to federal law. In such cases, final appeal to the Federal Administrative Court is possible.
  
  Demographics
  
  Berlin is the largest city with a population of 3.4 million people.With over 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous country in the European Union. However, its fertility rate of 1.39 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world, and the federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to between 69 and 74 million by 2050 (69 million assuming a net migration of +100,000 per year; 74 million assuming a net migration of +200,000 per year). Germany has a number of larger cities, the most populous being Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. By far the largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region, including Düsseldorf (the capital of NRW) and the cities of Cologne, Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, and Bochum.
  
  Population of German territories 1800 - 2000 and immigrant population from 1975 - 2000As of December 2004, about seven million foreign citizens were registered in Germany, and 19% of the country's residents were of foreign or partially foreign descent. The young are more likely to be of foreign descent than the old. 30% of Germans aged 15 years and younger have at least one parent born abroad. In the big cities 60% of children aged 5 years and younger have at least one parent born abroad. The largest group (2.3 million) is from Turkey, and a majority of the rest are from European states such as Italy, Serbia, Greece, Poland, and Croatia. The United Nations Population Fund lists Germany as host to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants, or about 12% of the population of Germany. As a consequence of restrictions of Germany's formerly rather unrestricted laws on asylum and immigration, the number of immigrants seeking asylum or claiming German ethnicity (mostly from the former Soviet Union) has been declining steadily since 2000.
  
  Religion
  
  The Cologne Cathedral at the Rhine river is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Christianity is the largest religious denomination in Germany with 53 million adherents (64%). The second largest religion is Islam with 3.3 million adherents (4%) followed by Buddhism and Judaism, both with around 200,000 adherents (ca. 0.25%). Hinduism has some 90,000 adherents (0.1%). All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50,000 (or less than 0.05%) adherents. About 24.4 million Germans (29.6%) have no registered religious denomination.
  
  Protestantism is concentrated in the north and east and Roman Catholicism is concentrated in the south and west. Both denominations comprise about 31% of the population each. The current Pope, Benedict XVI, was born in Bavaria. Non-religious people, including atheists and agnostics amount to 29.6% of the population, and are especially numerous in the former East Germany and major metropolitan areas.
  
  Of the 3.3 million Muslims most are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey, but there are a small number of Shiites. 1.7% of the country's overall population declares themselves Orthodox Christians, Serbs and Greeks being the most numerous. Germany has Western Europe's third-largest Jewish population. In 2004, twice as many Jews from former Soviet republics settled in Germany as in Israel, bringing the total Jewish population to more than 200,000, compared to 30,000 prior to German reunification. Large cities with significant Jewish populations include Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. Around 250,000 active Buddhists live in Germany; 50% of them are Asian immigrants.
  
  According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 47% of German citizens agreed with the statement "I believe there is a God", whereas 25% agreed with "I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% said "I do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
  
  Languages
  
  Knowledge of German in the European Union and some other European countriesGerman is the official and predominantly spoken language in Germany. It is one of 23 official languages in the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission, along with English and French. Recognized native minority languages in Germany are Danish, Sorbian, Romany and Frisian. They are officially protected by the ECRML. Most used immigrant languages are Turkish, Polish, the Balkan languages and Russian.
  
  The standard German is a West Germanic language and is closely related to and classified alongside English, Dutch and the Frisian languages. To a lesser extent, it is also related to the East (extinct) and North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Significant minorities of words derived from Latin, Greek, a smaller amount from French, and most recently English (known as Denglisch). German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlaut, namely ä, ö and ü, as well as the Eszett or scharfes S (sharp s) which is written "ß" or alternatively " ss ".
  
  German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German. The German dialects are the traditional local varieties and are traced back to the different German tribes. Many of them are not easily understandable to someone who knows only standard German, since they often differ from standard German in lexicon, phonology and syntax.
  
  Around the world, German is spoken by approximately 100 million native speakers and also about 80 million non-native speakers. German is the main language of about 90 million people (18%) in the EU. 67% of the German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language, 27% in at least two languages other than their own.
  
  Economy
  
  Frankfurt is a major financial centre and a global aviation hub.Germany is the largest national economy in Europe, the third largest by nominal GDP in the world, and ranked fifth by GDP (PPP) . Growth in 2007 was 2.4% and is predicted to retain this level in the following years. Since the age of industrialisation the country has been motor, innovator and beneficiary of an ever more globalized economy. The export of goods "Made in Germany" is one of the main factors of the country's wealth. Germany is the world's top exporter with $1.133 trillion exported in 2006 (Eurozone countries are included) and generates a trade surplus of €165 billion . The service sector contributes around 70% to the total GDP, the industry 29.1% and agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country's products are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods. Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest, annual, international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt and Berlin.
  
  Among the world's largest stock market signed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 37 companies are headquartered in Germany. The ten biggest are Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz (the most profitable company), Siemens, Deutsche Bank (2nd most profitable company), E.ON, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Metro and BASF. Among the largest employers are also Deutsche Post, Robert Bosch and Edeka. Well known global brands are Mercedes Benz, SAP, BMW, adidas, Audi, Porsche and Nivea.
  
  Germany was the world's leading exporter of goods in 2007.Germany is a strong advocate of closer European economic and political integration, and its commercial policies are increasingly determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and EU single market legislation. Germany uses the common European currency, the euro, and its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. After the German reunification in 1990, the standard of living and annual income remains significantly higher in the former West German states. The modernisation and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a long-term process scheduled to the year 2019, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion. The overall unemployment rate has constantly fallen since 2005 and reached a 14-year-Low in November 2007 with 8.1%. The percentage is ranging from 6.7% in former Western Germany to 13.4% in former Eastern Germany. The former government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder launched a comprehensive set of reforms of labour market and welfare-related institutions. The current government runs a restrictive fiscal policy and has cut regular jobs in the public sector aiming for a balanced federal budget in 2008.
  
  Infrastructure
  
  Hamburg Harbour is the second-largest port city in Europe and ninth-largest port in the world.In 2002 Germany was the world's fifth largest consumer of energy, and two-thirds of its primary energy was imported. In the same year, Germany was Europe's largest consumer of electricity; electricity consumption that year totalled 512.9 billion kilowatt-hours. Government policy emphasizes conservation and the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro, and geothermal. As a result of energy-saving measures, energy efficiency (the amount of energy required to produce a unit of gross domestic product) has been improving since the beginning of the 1970s. The government has set the goal of meeting half the country's energy demands from renewable sources by 2050. In 2000 the government and the German nuclear power industry agreed to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2021. However, renewable energy is playing a more modest role in energy consumption. In 2006 energy consumption was met by the following sources: oil (35.7%) , coal, including lignite (23.9%) , natural gas (22.8%) , nuclear (12.6%) , hydro and wind power (1.3%) , and other (3.7%).
  
  The ICE 3 trainsetBy its central position in Europe, Germany is an important transportation hub. This is reflected in its dense and modern transportation networks. Probably most famous is the extensive motorway (Autobahn) network that ranks worldwide third largest in its total length and features lack of blanket speed limits on the majority of routes.
  
  Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. The InterCityExpress or ICE is predominantly serving major German cities and destinations in neighbouring countries. The train speed varies from 160 km/h to 300 km/h and is the most advanced service category of the Deutsche Bahn. Connections are offered in either 30-minute, hourly or bi-hourly intervals.
  
  Science
  
  Max Planck presents Albert Einstein with the Max-Planck medal in 1929.Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific fields. The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 98 German laureates. The work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born developed further. They were preceded by physicists such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, an accomplishment that made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. In Germany and many other countries X-rays are called "Röntgenstrahlen" (Röntgen-rays). Heinrich Rudolf Hertz's work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication. Through his construction of the first laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879, Wilhelm Wundt is credited with the establishment of psychology as an independent empirical science. Alexander von Humboldt's work as a natural scientist and explorer was foundational to biogeography.
  
  Extensive Cleanroom complex for Microelectronic Manufacturing in StuttgartNumerous significant mathematicians were born in Germany, including Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, Bernhard Riemann, Gottfried Leibniz, Karl Weierstrass and Hermann Weyl. Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first fully automatic digital computer. German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Otto Lilienthal, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel, Hugo Junkers and Karl Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology.
  
  Important research institutions in Germany are the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Fraunhofer Society. They are independently or externally connected to the university system and contribute to a considerable extent to the scientific output. The prestigious award 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.
  
  Education
  
  Kindergarten in HesseResponsibility for educational oversight in Germany lies primarily with the federal states individually whilst the government only has a minor role. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least ten years. Primary education usually lasts for four years and public schools are not stratified at this stage. In contrast, secondary education includes four types of schools based on a pupil's ability as determined by teacher recommendations: the Gymnasium includes the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies and attendance lasts eight or nine years depending on the state; the Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediary students and lasts six years; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education, and the Gesamtschule or comprehensive school combines the three approaches.
  
  The University of Heidelberg was established in 1386The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, assesses the skills of 15-year olds in OECD countries and a number of partner countries. In 2006, German schoolchildren improved their position on previous years, being ranked (statistically) significantly above average (rank 13) in science skills and statistically not significantly above or below average on mathematical skills (rank 20) and reading skills (rank 18). The socio-economic gradient was very high in Germany, the pupils' performance in Germany being more dependent on the socio-economic factors than in most other countries.
  
  To enter a university, high school students are required to take the Abitur examination, similar to A-levels; however, students possessing a diploma from a vocational school may also apply to enter. A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run school. Most German universities are state-owned and charge for tuition fees ranging from €50–500 per semester from each student.
  
  Germany's universities are recognised internationally, indicating the high education standards in the country. In the 2006 THES - QS World University Rankings, 10 German universities were ranked amongst the top 200 in the world.
  
  Culture
  
  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) , composerGermany is often called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. As a result, it is difficult to identify a specific German tradition separated from the larger framework of European high culture. Another consequence of these circumstances is the fact, that some historical figures, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka and Paul Celan, though not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, must be seen in the context of the German cultural sphere to understand their historical situation, work and social relations.
  
  
  Blaues Pferd I, 1911 by Franz Marc (1880–1916)Germany claims some of the world's most renowned classical music composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner. As of 2006, Germany is the fifth largest music market in the world and has influenced pop and rock music through artists such as Kraftwerk, Scorpions and Rammstein.
  
  Numerous German painters have enjoyed international prestige through their work in diverse artistic currents. Hans Holbein the Younger, Matthias Grünewald, and Albrecht Dürer were important artists of the Renaissance, Caspar David Friedrich of Romanticism, and Max Ernst of Surrealism. Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, which were important precursors of Romanesque. The region later became the site for significant works in styles such as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Germany was particularly important in the early modern movement, especially through the Bauhaus movement founded by Walter Gropius. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, also from Germany, became one of world's most renowned architects in the second half of the 20th century. The glass facade skyscraper was his idea.
  
  Philosophy
  
  Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) , philosopherGerman literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Various German authors and poets have won great renown, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularized German folklore on the international level. Influential authors of the 20th century include Thomas Mann, Berthold Brecht, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, and Günter Grass.
  
  Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape western philosophy since the Middle Ages. Gottfried Leibniz's contributions to rationalism, Immanuel Kant's, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling's and Johann Gottlieb Fichte's establishment of the classical German idealism, Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels' formulation of Communist theory, Arthur Schopenhauer's composition of metaphysical pessimism, Friedrich Nietzsche's development of Perspectivism, Martin Heidegger's works on Being, and the social theories of Jürgen Habermas were especially influential.
  
  Media
  Germany's television market is the largest in Europe, with some 34 million TV households. The many regional and national public broadcasters are organised in line with the federal political structure. Around 90% of German households have cable or satellite TV, and viewers can choose from a variety of free-to-view public and commercial channels. Pay-TV services have not become popular or successful while public TV broadcasters ZDF and ARD offer a range of digital-only channels.
  
  Germany is home to some of the world's largest media conglomerates, including Bertelsmann and the publisher Axel Springer. Some of Germany's top free-to-air commercial TV networks are owned by ProSiebenSat1.
  
  The country's news is provided in English by news magazine Der Spiegel, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle and news site The Local.
  
  In November 2007 the top visited websites by German internet users have been Google, Ebay, Youtube, Yahoo, studiVZ and Wikipedia.
  
  Cinema
  
  The Berlinale Palast during the Berlin Film Festival in FebruaryGerman cinema dates back to the very early years of the medium with the work of Max Skladanowsky. It was particularly influential during the years of the Weimar Republic with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. Austria-based director Fritz Lang, who became a German citizen in 1926 and whose career flourished in pre-war German film industry, is said to be a major influence on Hollywood cinema. His silent movie Metropolis (1927) is referred to as birth of modern Science Fiction movies.
  
  Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel in 1930, Germany's first major film with soundIn 1930 Austrian-American Josef von Sternberg directed The Blue Angel, which was the first major German sound film and it brought world fame to actress Marlene Dietrich. Impressionist documentary Berlin: Symphony of a Great City directed by Walter Ruttmann, is a prominent example of the city symphony genre. The Nazi era produced mostly propaganda films although the work of Leni Riefenstahl still introduced new aesthetics in film.
  
  During the 1970-80s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder placed West-German cinema back onto the international stage with their often provocative films.
  
  More recently, films such as Das Boot (1981) , Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998) , Das Experiment (2001) , Good Bye Lenin! (2003) , Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004) and Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) have enjoyed international success. The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to the German production Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) in 1979, to Nowhere in Africa in 2002, and to Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) in 2007. Among the most famous German actors are Marlene Dietrich, Klaus Kinski, Hanna Schygulla, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jürgen Prochnow and Thomas Kretschmann.
  
  The Berlin Film Festival, held annually since 1951, is one of the world's foremost film festivals. An international jury places emphasis on representing films from all over the world and awards the winner with the Golden and Silver Bears. The annual European Film Awards ceremony is held every second year in the city of Berlin, where the European Film Academy (EFA) is located. The Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam are the oldest large-scale film studios in the world and a centre for international film production.
  
  Sports
  
  The Allianz Arena is host to the football club Bayern Munich and was a venue for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.Sport forms an integral part of German life. Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually. Football (soccer) 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 this kind worldwide. The Bundesliga attracts the second highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world. The German national football team won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and the European Football Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Germany has hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 2006 and the UEFA European Football Championship in 1988. Among the most successful and renowned footballers are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, and Oliver Kahn. Other popular spectator sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and tennis.
  
  
  Michael Schumacher has won seven Formula One championships.Germany is one of the leading motorsports countries in the world. Race winning cars, teams and drivers have come from Germany. The most successful Formula One driver in history, Michael Schumacher has set the most significant motorsport records during his career and won more Formula One championships and races than any other driver since Formula one's debut season in 1946. He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history and became a Billionaire athlete. Constructers like BMW and Mercedes are among the leading teams in motorsport sponsoring. Porsche has won the 24 hours of Le Mans, a prestigious annual race held in France, 16 times. The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters is a popular series in Germany.
  
  Historically, German sportsmen have been some of the most successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Germany finished sixth in the medal count, while in the 2006 Winter Olympics they finished first. Germany has hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice, in Berlin in 1936 and in Munich in 1972. The Winter Olympic Games took place once in 1936 when they were staged in the Bavarian twin towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen.
  
  Cuisine
  
  A Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau)German cuisine varies greatly from region to region. The southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia, for instance, share a culinary culture with Switzerland and Austria. Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular. Throughout all regions, meat is often eaten in sausage form. More than 1500 different types of sausage are produced in Germany. The most popular vegetables are potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnip, spinach and beans. Organic food has gained a market share of around 3.0% and is predicted to be an increasing trend.
  
  A popular saying in Germany is: "Breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a king, and dine like a beggar." Breakfast is usually a selection of cereals and jam or honey with bread. Some Germans eat cold meats or cheese with bread for breakfast. More than 300 types of breads, sold in bakery shops, are known throughout the country.
  
  
  A typical cheese and cold meat buffet served at private festivitiesAs a country with many immigrants, Germany has adopted many international dishes into its cuisine and daily eating habits. Italian dishes like Pizza and Pasta, Turkish and Arab dishes like Döner Kebab and Falafel are well established, especially in bigger cities. International burger chains, as well as Chinese and Greek restaurants, are widespread. Indian, Thai, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines have gained popularity in recent decades. Among high-profile restaurants in Germany the Michelin guide has awarded three stars, the highest designation, to nine restaurants; 15 more received two stars. German restaurants have become the world's second most decorated after eateries in France.
  
  Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, the national drink is beer. German beer consumption per person is declining but at 116 litres annually it is still among the highest in the world. Beer varieties include Alt, Bock, Dunkel, Kölsch, Lager, Malzbier, Pils, and Weizenbier. Among 18 surveyed western countries, Germany ranked 14th in the list of per capita consumption of soft drinks in general, while it ranked third in the consumption of fruit juices. Furthermore, sparkling mineral water and Schorle (its mixture with fruit juice) are extremely popular in Germany.
  
  Society
  
  Claudia Schiffer, modelGermany has promoted itself as Land of ideas. A campaign that has started in the year 2006 accompanying the Football World Cup Finals finds its continuation in 2008. The campaign focuses recent innovations in public and private institutions, universities and research institutes, companies, as well as social and cultural projects.
  
  Since the World Cup celebrations the internal and external perception of the country's image has changed. In regularly conducted global surveys known as the Anholt GMI Index, Germany as a nation brand, has become significantly and repeatedly higher ranked after the football tournament. Besides economic criteria people were asked to assess a country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, its people and its attractiveness to tourists. Germany has been named the world's second most valued nation brand among 35 countries. Another global opinion poll for the BBC revealed that Germany is recognized for the most positive influence in the world, leading 22 investigated countries. A majority of 56% have a positive view of the country, while 18% have a negative view.
  
  Germans invest a large amount of money in international travel and domestic vacation trips (seaside resort in Sellin on the island Rügen)Germany is a legally and socially tolerant country towards homosexuals. Civil unions have been permitted since 2001. Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children (stepchild adoption). The two mayors of the largest German cities Berlin and Hamburg are openly gay politicians.
  
  During the last decade of the 20th century Germany has transformed its attitude towards immigrants considerably. Until the mid-nineties the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration in spite of an approximately 10% population of non-German origin. After the end of the influx of so-called Gastarbeiter (blue-collar guest-workers), refugees were a tolerated exception to this point of view. Today the government and the German society are acknowledging the opinion, that controlled immigration should be allowed based on the qualification of immigrants.
  
  With an expenditure of €58 billion for international travel in 2005, Germans invested more money in travel than any other country. Most popular destinations were Austria, Spain, Italy and France.
 

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