Q: What is special about Germany?

A: Climate and geographic conditions

Germany has a temperate climate. In summer the temperature is about 18-20°C although in many places the thermometer can clamber over the 30C mark, while in winter the mean temperature is about 1.5°C in the planes and -6°C in the mountains. Rain falls all the year round, especially in autumn. The German landscape is extremely varied. The North is characterisedcharacterized by lakes, heath and moorland; the coast by chains of islands, estuaries and dunes. In the South is the Swabian-Bavarian plateau with its hills and large lakes as well as the German part of the Alps. In the area in between there are deciduous and coniferous forests, slate hills and a green landscape of river valleys and plains.

Facts and figures

There are 86 larger towns and cities with more than 100 000 inhabitants spread throughout the country. Since re-unification the capital and future seat of government is once again Berlin, with a current population of 3.5 million. The towns can boast a lively, varied cultural scene sometimes comprising distinguished theatres, orchestras, art academies, art collections, and libraries. The right to artistic freedom is guaranteed as is the right to freedom of expression. The multifarious press organs and other mass media are not censored and guarantee a democratic control of the state and society.

Germany's liberal-democratic constitution, the Basic Law, dates back to 1949. Since the Unification Treaty of 3 October 1990 between the former German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic the constitution governs the whole of Germany. The constitutional bodies comprise the Federal President, the Bundestag (Federal German Parliament), the Bundesrat (Council of Constituent States), the Federal Government, and the Federal Constitutional Court. The federal structure of Germany is reflected by the 16 Bundesländer (Federal States) which have state authority and pass their own state constitutions in accordance with the principles of a republican, democratic and social constitutional state. The entire educational system, for example, including higher education, falls within the political jurisdiction of the Lä?nder.

Tradition in an industrialized society

Once upon a time the German people evolved from Germanic tribes like the Franks, Saxons, Swabians, and Bavarians. Some elements of the old traditions and vernacular can still be found in the respective regions and express themselves in variations in mentality and very different dialects. However, as a result of massive post-war mass migration, the mobility of modern industrial society and, last but not least, the cultural enrichment brought about by the influx of foreigners, very few people can still be classified as absolutely typical.

Germany is one of the most highly-industrialized and economically powerful countries in the world. The economic system is classed as a social market economy within which competition has become very pronounced. The major sectors of the economy are manufacturing industry, service industries and trade, and transport. Great political importance is attached to environmental protection which is a major concern of the people.

Germany: www.germany-tourism.de

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