At a glance

Federal Republic

Germany is a federation. The federation and the 16 Länder (states) each have areas of re-sponsibility of their own.
  • Federal Eagle


    The Federal Eagle is the German state symbol that is the richest in tradition. The Federal President, the Bundesrat, the Federal Constitutional Court, and the Bundestag use differently styled eagles. The eagles that appear on coins and the national strip of German sports associations also differ in terms of design.

  • Flag


    The Basic Law states that the colours of the federal flag shall be black, red, and gold. In 1949, this followed on from the flag of the first German republic of 1919. The Nazis had abolished the latter and replaced it with the swastika.

  • Currency


    The euro has been the legal tender in Germany since 1 January 2002. It replaced the deutschmark, which had been in use since 1948. The European Central Bank (ECB) is headquartered in the German financial centre Frankfurt am Main.

  • Basic Law


    Passed in 1949 in Bonn, the Basic Law was initially intended to be provisional. After reunification in 1990 the version was then adopted as the permanent constitution. The 146 Articles of the Basic Law supersede all other German legal norms and define the basic systems and values of the state.

  • National Holiday


    As the Day of German Unity, in the Unification Treaty of 1990 3 October was declared a national holiday in Germany. The Day of German Unity is the only national holiday to be determined by federal law.

  • Domain

    The domain “.de” is the most widespread country-specific domain in Germany, and the most popular worldwide. Using the international dialling code +49, 99.9 percent of households can be reached via landline or mobile telephone.

The German national anthem consists only of the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1841). The melody was written by Joseph Haydn in 1796-97.
With regard to demographic developments there are three clear trends in Germany: a low birth rate, rising life expectancy, and an aging society.
  • Life expectancy

    83 years


    78 years

  • Immigrants in 2016


  • Emigrants in 2016


  • Households

    40.8 m

  • Population

    82.6 m

  • Gender distribution

    40.74 m


    41.83 m

  • Location

    Central Europe

  • Surface area

    357,340 km2

  • Capital


    891.70 km2
  • Hours of sun


  • Rain

    850 l/m2

  • Coastline

    2,442 km

  • Longest river


    865 km in Germany
  • Forested area

    114,191 km2

  • Highest mountain


    2,962 m
The German Bundestag is elected every four years by free, secret, and direct ballot by citizens aged 18 and over who are eligible to vote.
  • Bundestag


    The Bundestag has at least 598 members.
    In addition, there tend to be what are known as “overhang and equalising” seats.
    he 19th ­Bundestag as elected in 2017 has 709 members.

  • CDU


    Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)
    427,173 members
    2017 election result: 26.8 percent
    200 seats in the Bundestag

  • SPD


    Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)
    463,723 members
    2017 election result: 20.5 percent
    153 seats in the Bundestag

  • AFD


    Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD)
    29,000 members
    2017 election result: 12.6 percent
    92 seats in the Bundestag

  • FDP


    Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party, FDP)
    63,050 members
    2017 election result: 10.7 percent
    80 seats in the Bundestag

  • Die Linke


    The Left party
    62,182 members
    2017 election result: 9.2 percent
    69 seats in the Bundestag

  • Alliance 90 / The Greens


    Alliance 90 / The Greens
    65,257 members
    2017 election result: 8.9 percent
    67 seats in the Bundestag

  • CSU


    Christian Social Union (CSU)
    141,000 members
    2017 election result: 6.2 percent
    46 seats in the Bundestag

  • Frank-Walter Steinmeier, SPD, Federal President since March 2017
  • Dr. Angela Merkel, CDU, Federal Chancellor since November 2005
  • Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, CDU, President of the Bundestag since 2017

Federal Chancellery
Federal Chancellery picture alliance/blickwinkel
The Federal Chancellor and the federal ministers form the Federal Government, the cabinet.
  • Marlene Dietrich


    The film diva: Marlene Dietrich (1901–1992) was one of only a few German actresses to become an icon (“The Blue Angel”). Born in Berlin, she took US citizenship in 1939.

  • Thomas Mann


    A master of the novel and novella: Thomas Mann (1875–1955) is one of the most important authors of 20th-century world literature. In 1929 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his family saga “Buddenbrooks”.

  • Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen


    Discoverer of X-rays: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845–1923) discovered X-rays in 1895 in Würzburg. In 1901 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Since then more than 80 leading German scientists have received a Nobel Prize.

  • Willy Brandt


    Politician and cosmopolitan: Willy Brandt (1913–1992) as Federal Chancellor from 1969–1974 initiated a policy of detente; like no other he embodied the democratic and social changes of the time – in 1971 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


    Poet, playwright, scholar: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is regarded as an all-round genius and the classic in German literature.

  • Friedrich von Schiller


    A fighter for freedom: Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) is regarded as one of the world’s great playwrights (“The Robbers”, “Mary Stuart”, “Don Carlos”) and as an important essayist.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach


    Virtuoso of Baroque church music: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) perfected the strict “art of the fugue” and composed more than 200 cantatas and oratorios.

  • Ludwig van Beethoven


    Pioneer of Romanticism: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), focussing clearly on form, brought a completely new measure of personal expression and sensitivity to bear in music (“9th Symphony”).

  • Albrecht Dürer


    German Renaissance artist: Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) from Nuremberg is one of the most important and versatile figures in the history of art. He revolutionised woodcarving and copperplate engraving techniques.

Germany lies at the heart of Europe. It shares its borders with nine other nations. No other European country has more neighbours.
Ole Spata/dpa
From visa to voltage: Useful information and important telephone numbers for travellers in Germany