What is Germany famous for?
Germany is a country in the middle of Europe. In the south it is more mountainous and extends as far as the Alps. In the north the landscape is flat and mostly ends at the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The Rhine flows through the west, and most of the inhabitants live near this river. The capital Berlin, on the other hand, also the largest city in Germany, is located in the northeast.
Germany calls itself the Federal Republic. This is because there used to be different German states. In the 19th century they united to form the German Empire. Today these states are federal states. So they are kind of countries in the country.
What does the country look like?
In the north of Germany lies the North German Plain. This lowland extends to the Netherlands and Poland. It's very flat there. Some places are even lower than sea level. In the north, Germany has a coast on the North Sea and one on the Baltic Sea.
Central Germany is flat or has medium-sized mountains. They are between 500 and 1500 meters high. Some of them were created by volcanoes, for example the Vogelsberg in Hesse.
The south of Germany is usually quite high above sea level. Some mountains are medium high, like the Black Forest. In the far south, however, the Alps begin, a high mountain range. The highest mountain in Germany is the Zugspitze on the border with Austria, it is 2962 meters high.
Most of the major rivers in Germany begin in the south and flow north. There they flow into the North Sea, like the Weser. The Oder, on the border with Poland, flows into the Baltic Sea. The most important and best-known river in Germany is the Rhine. Well over half of all German residents live in its vicinity. He comes from Switzerland and is leaving Germany for the Netherlands. The Danube flows from west to east and flows into the Black Sea.
What is Germany's history?
An early form of humans is called "homo heidelbergensis". Such people lived over half a million years ago in what is now Germany. Remnants of later human species such as the Neanderthals have also been found. Even later, people lived there all the time, but overall there were rather few.
The first people in Germany, about whom we know a little more today, were the Teutons. The German language later emerged from their languages. In the south of today's Germany, on the other hand, there were more Celts. The Romans conquered the south and west of the country. The other Teutons managed to defend themselves. The most famous battle that the Romans lost was the Varus Battle in 9 AD.
Ultimately, however, Roman culture was important for all Teutons, even in the Middle Ages. At that time the Roman Empire had already fallen, and the Teutons had their own empires. The largest became the Franconian Empire. The west of this empire later became France, the east part of Germany.
In France, the king managed to become a powerful ruler. In Germany, on the other hand, there were always other rulers who had a say in addition to the emperor. The German Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, ended in 1806. At that time, Napoleon Bonaparte ensured that the ruler of Austria was no longer German emperor.
The Germans had had a common land, a modern state, since 1871. The German Empire first had emperors and was a republic from 1919. In the years from 1933 to 1945 National Socialism prevailed, which triggered the Second World War. At the end of this war, many German cities were almost completely destroyed.
After that Germany was divided: the Federal Republic of Germany, a free, democratic state, emerged in the West. In the east, the communists founded the German Democratic Republic with the help of the Soviet Union. But the Germans wanted to live in a common state again. After 40 years, when the Soviet Union was just weak, the German Democratic Republic had to allow free elections. In 1990 this state ceased to exist: the East joined the Federal Republic in the West.
What do you have to know about the people in Germany?
No country in Europe has more inhabitants than Germany, with the exception of Russia. Most of them are German and speak German. Around one in five was born abroad or has a father or mother from abroad. Most of them are Germans from Eastern Europe or from Turkey.
The Sorbs and Danes are German citizens, but their mother tongue is not German, although their ancestors have lived in Germany for a long time. Sorbian is spoken in parts of Saxony and Brandenburg. It is a Slavic language related to Czech and Polish. Danish is also spoken in Denmark, a neighboring country. Some Danish citizens speak German for this. You couldn't draw the line so precisely because people lived mixed up.
People in Germany have been Christians since the early Middle Ages. In the early modern period, however, many broke away from the Catholic Church. They became Protestants. Most of them were followers of Martin Luther, the reformer. For a long time the Protestants formed the majority. The Catholics were a minority who lived in the south and southwest. But nowadays many people have left the Church. Around a third of Germans are Catholic, a third Protestant and the rest do not belong to any church. In addition, every twentieth inhabitant of Germany is Muslim.
Who is in charge in Germany?
Up until 1918, the nobility could still determine a lot in Germany. Such a nobleman was also the emperor. He installed the Chancellor, the head of the government. However, there was already the Reichstag, the parliament. Parliament has been determining who sits in government since 1918.
Today's parliament is the Bundestag. The Germans vote every four years who should belong to the Bundestag. The Bundestag passes laws and high spending and elects the Federal Chancellor. The Federal Chancellor is the head of the government and also determines who is the minister. Usually the Chancellor belongs to a party. In addition, he often only has enough votes in the Bundestag together with one other party to be elected Chancellor. This kind of cooperation between parties is called a coalition.
There are federal states in Germany. These are parts of Germany like Bavaria or North Rhine-Westphalia. In their part of the country they are allowed to decide a great deal, for example about schools. That is why school holidays, for example, vary from state to state. The federal states have parliaments and governments. The governments of the federal states work together in the Bundesrat. Some laws are not only decided by the Bundestag, but also by the Bundesrat.
The head of state of Germany is the Federal President. Usually he hardly has anything to determine. If the parliament should not function properly, the Federal President can intervene under certain circumstances. But that has never happened before.
What is Germany known for?
Because Germany is a really big country, many well-known people come from it. These are painters like Albrecht Dürer, musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach or scientists like Albert Einstein. The most famous German poets are probably Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Many people think of Germany as sausage, beer and lederhosen. Lederhose used to be worn all over Germany and in other countries. Today it is more a symbol of Bavaria, and even there only a few people still wear lederhosen or a dirndl. When it comes to Germany, however, many people also think of National Socialism.
Germany is known for its workmanship. Devices and machines run reliably and for a long time. This is what you think of when you think of cars: some of the most expensive makes of cars come from there. In the past, many cars were not only invented in Germany, but also manufactured there. This is not always the case today. But there are still brand names that point to the origin: BMW, for example, means Bavarian engine works.
Germany has many universities. One of the most familiar of them is the one in Heidelberg, among other things because they date from the Middle Ages. Many inventions come from Germany, such as the bicycle and the car. The most famous building and landmark of Germany is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The German national anthem was composed by Joseph Haydn and written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.
How do people in Germany earn their money?
Germany has a particularly strong economy. No other country in Europe produces as many goods or offers as many services. In the world only three other countries are economically more important. Germany is also one of the richest countries in the world.
Most Germans used to make a living from agriculture. Since the 19th century, however, more and more industry has emerged. A lot is still manufactured in Germany today, such as cars, machines and a lot that has to do with chemistry and electronics. But the country has few natural resources. The most important was coal, but most of it has already been mined. In addition, coal is falling into disrepute because it damages the environment when burned.
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