Germany Travel Overview

Germany Travel Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Federal Republic of Germany.

Capital

Berlin.

Geography

According to topschoolsintheusa, Germany borders Denmark to the north, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to the west, and Switzerland and Austria to the south. The eastern neighbors of the Federal Republic are the Czech Republic and Poland. In the northwest, the North Sea forms a natural border. The German Baltic Sea coast extends from the Danish border to Poland.

From south to north one can distinguish three landscape areas – the Alps with the Alpine foothills, the wooded low mountain range and the North German Plain. The Rhineland, the Black Forest and Bavaria are the traditional holiday areas in western Germany. There are countless lakes in eastern Germany, especially in the Mark Brandenburg and Mecklenburg. The lowlands merge into the hills and mountains of Lusatia and Saxony. The Elbe Sandstone Mountains south of Dresden impress with their bizarre rock formations. The Erzgebirge is a popular winter sports and recreation area. In the heart of Germany are Thuringia and the Harz, wooded low mountain ranges in which one can wonderfully hike.

The German part of the Alps includes the Allgäu Alps, the Bavarian Alps (with Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, 2964 m) and the Berchtesgaden Alps. Characteristic for this region are high mountain forms with ridges and steeply sloping walls. The foothills of the Alps is a wide, hilly plateau that extends north and northeast to the Danube plain. Moors, chains of hills and lakes determine the landscape.

Elbe, Oder, Weser, Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Isar, Main and Neckar are the most important rivers in Germany. The largest natural lake is Lake Constance, which lies between the Federal Republic, Switzerland and Austria.

Government

Democratic-parliamentary federal state, since 1949. Basic law from 1949, last amended in 2014. The parliament, the Bundestag, has 631 members. Legislative period: 4 years. The approval of the Federal Council, which represents the individual states, is required for certain laws. It consists of 69 members who are appointed and recalled by the individual countries. The executive power is subject to the Federal Government, which is presided over by the Federal Chancellor. Each federal state has its own constitution, legislature (state parliament) and government and can therefore pass laws provided they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Germany is a member of the EU.

Head of state

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, since February 2017.

Head of government

Chancellor Angela Merkel, since 2005.

Electricity

230 V, 50 Hz.

Time zone

Central European Time: CET +2 (CET +3 from March 26 to October 29, 2017)

Germany Travel Overview

CULTURE

Religion

34% Protestant, 34% Roman Catholic; Jewish, Muslim (4%) and other Christian and non-Christian minorities.

Social rules of conduct

Manners: Shake hands to greet you. When invited to the host’s apartment, food and drinks are often offered. Bouquets of flowers you bring with you are always handed over unwrapped (according to tradition, you give an odd number, and red roses are reserved exclusively for your partner). When talking on the phone, you first say your own name before asking for the person you want.

Clothing: Casual clothing is widely accepted, but more elegant clothing is expected in certain restaurants, at operas, theaters, concerts, and social events. Evening wear is required on very special occasions.

Smoking: Non-smoking areas are marked. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings and on public transport. Smoking is strictly prohibited in all airports, train stations and trains. Train stations and airports have designated smoking areas.
In all federal states, smoking is prohibited in catering establishments (restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars, discos, etc.) as well as in schools, offices and hospitals. In almost all federal states, however, there are still separate smoking rooms in catering establishments.

Tipping: In the restaurant and café, a tip of 5 – 10% of the invoice amount is usual, in the taxi it is 10%.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Germany lies in the temperate zone. Nevertheless, there are regional differences in climate. The summers are hot, the winters cold to mild; However, long periods of cold weather with snow and frost are rare except in the Alps and on the coast.

The southeast is characterized by a continental climate.

In the summer, the south-west experiences more and more heat records and waves as well as drought or the influx of subtropical air masses. The metropolitan areas in the west and south-east are also increasingly experiencing very hot summers.

Maritime climate on the coasts. The summers are more rainy on the North Sea than on the Baltic Sea.

In the Alps, the areas that are guaranteed to snow are shrinking due to climate change and there will be less and less snow-sure areas in the next twenty years. Alpine summer tourism, on the other hand, benefits from the ever-warmer temperatures. The ski season in the Alps runs from December to March. Optimal conditions can usually be found in January. In recent years, December has often been too warm for good skiing conditions.

The weather in Germany is usually most pleasant from May to October.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +49 Area (sqkm) 357022 Population 80679788 Population density (per sqkm) 226 Population in 2016 Member of the EU Yes main emergency number 112

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