Germany is a federal parliamentary republic located in Central Europe. It is bordered by nine countries: Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany has a population of over 80 million people and its capital city is Berlin. It is known for its rich culture and history, which can be seen in its many castles and landmarks throughout the country. Germany has a strong economy and is known for being an important factor in European politics as well as having a major role in the European Union. It has one of the most powerful militaries in Europe and plays a major role in international peacekeeping missions. Additionally, Germany has one of the world’s largest economies and is home to some of the world’s most successful companies such as BMW, Volkswagen and Siemens. German culture also includes some of Europe’s best universities such as Heidelberg University and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Finally, Germany also offers many recreational activities such as skiing in the Alps or visiting beautiful lakes like Lake Constance or Lake Chiemsee. See countryaah.com for other countries that start with letter G.
The population density in 2019 was 232 residents per km 2, with the highest concentration by far in the Rhine-Ruhr area. According to Countryaah data, high density is also high in the area around the rivers Mains and Neckar’s connections to the Rhine, in a band from the Ruhr area via Hanover to Dresden and in the metropolitan regions of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Nuremberg. Large areas in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg in the northeast are sparsely populated.
In the largest urban regions and in Bavaria, there is a sharp increase in population, mainly through immigration, while the population decline is most noticeable in the rural areas of eastern Germany. Generally, the largest current of migration is from east to west, and in it is an overweight of young women. In 2019, 77 percent of the population lived in cities and there were just over 80 cities with more than 100,000 residents. The largest are, besides Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt.
According to thesciencetutor, since the 1970s, West Germany, East Germany and later Germany had low birth rates and the proportion of older people in the population increased gradually. As a result, the death toll rose and the natural increase in population eventually became a reduction in population. For several years, immigration has exceeded emigration, but this was not enough to prevent a population decline in the latter part of the 1990s.
For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Country facts.
In Germany there are four national minorities: about 60,000 Sorbs (a Slavic population) in Saxony and Brandenburg, about 50,000 Danes and 20,000 Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein and Roma scattered throughout the country.
In 2010, 9 percent were foreign nationals. Among them, the Turks constituted the largest group, followed by Italians, Kurds and Poles. The majority of immigrants live in western Germany including Berlin.
German is completely dominant. Regardless of the standard language, the regional varieties and dialects have a strong position in everyday communication. South of the Danish-German border there is a Danish-speaking and a Frisian-speaking minority. At the Polish-German border southeast of Berlin, there is a minority with a West Slavic language, Sorbian. These people groups are bilingual. As a result of modern immigration, there are many other languages with large groups of speakers. Turkish, Serbo-Croatian and Greek.
In the Rhine country there are traces of Christianity from the first centuries AD. A large part of Germany was Christianized during the 700–800s, first through the Anglo-Saxon mission, later through Karl the Great’s mission and conquest train among the German tribes. In the German-Roman Empire, the church gained a strong political position, mainly through the so-called spiritual priestesses, archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier. The Benedictine monasteries became important spiritual and cultural centers. When the German emperor placed his candidates in ecclesiastical offices, the pope claimed that it was a violation of canon law, which triggered the investiture struggle.
The Reformation started from Germany with Martin Luther as its most important representative. By the religious peace in Augsburg (1555) it was recognized that Germany was confessionally divided, and that it was the religion of the local prince that would prevail in each country. The division into Roman Catholic and Protestant states was reinforced by the Thirty Years War. Pietism originated in Germany and got its breakthrough with Philipp Jacob Spener’s “Pia desideria” (1675), where he among other things. criticized the church’s worldly spirit. Herrnhutism conveyed the idea of the individual’s personal responsibility for his salvation.
The so-called Febronianism of the 18th century wanted to create a free Catholic national church, but after 1830 ultramontanism, which on the contrary wanted to strengthen the papal authority, increasingly influential, beginning with the universities. The cultural struggle in the 1870s between the state and the Roman Catholic Church concerned the power of Roman Catholicism. The Catholic Center Party (founded in 1870) and the Christian Social Workers Party (founded in 1878) helped to give the various confessions a political profile.
At the beginning of the 19th century German Protestantism was divided into 28 country churches. The first step towards a Protestant national church was taken in 1903, when Deutscher evangelicals Kirchenausschuss were formed. In 1922, the land churches joined the Deutscher evangelischer Kirchenbund. While the Weimar Republic was in principle based on a divorce between church and state, national socialism sought to found a German Protestant Unity Church, supported by the Deutsche Christen movement. This aroused strong opposition, and as a backlash, Die Confessing Church was formed (see Confession Church). After the Second World War, the Lutheran and Reformed Churches joined the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD).
In 2009, the EKD had 24.2 million members and the Roman Catholic Church 24.9 million members. The total number of Orthodox Christians was about 1.3 million, including Greek Orthodox 450,000, Romanian Orthodox 300,000 and Serbian Orthodox 250,000. The New Apostolic Church has over 370,000 members. Among smaller faiths are mentioned the Old Catholic Church (25,000 members), Baptists (85,000), Methodists (65,000) and Mennonites (6,000). In 2009, the Christian population in Germany made up a total of 62% of the population. Of non-Christian communities, Muslims are most numerous. Today there are between 3 and 4 million Muslims in Germany, of which about 1 million are German citizens. A majority of Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin. Of the Jewish population, the majority, about 100,000, are members of any Jewish congregation.
The contemporary history of Germany
Germany’s contemporary history includes Germany’s history after 1990.
In 1990, West Germany became united with East Germany (GDR) after the country had been split in two since 1949, as part of the settlement after World War II. After the war, West Germany was occupied by the United States, Britain and France and became part of Western Europe after the split, while East Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union and became part of the Eastern bloc. The division of Germany was part of the conflict called the Cold War.
Germany was reunited on October 3, 1990.
It united Germany in the 1990s
On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was opened. On September 20, 1990, the GDR’s Volkskammer and the West German Federation Day voted in favor of the reunification agreement. On October 3, 1990, the agreement came into force, and Germany was thus reassembled.
After first highlighting opposition, the Soviet Union gave its consent in the summer of 1990 that a reunited Germany could choose military bloc membership, that is, NATO membership. An important obstacle to the reunion was then removed, and the changes came in quick succession. A monetary, economic and social union between the two states entered into force in July 1990. In August 1990, the two German states agreed on a state agreement laying down the legal basis for the reunification, which happened on October 3, 1990. December 2 the first joint German day elections since 1932 were held. After the election, Helmut Kohl became head of a right-center government consisting of CDU / CSU and FDP.
There was great enthusiasm and festivities around the German reunion, both in Germany and outside. But after the celebration, challenges related to administrative coordination, the merging of two very different economies, environmental problems, and the millions of people’s mental and social adaptation awaited a new reality.
In 1991, the Bundestag decided that the entire German government city should be Berlin, and a comprehensive relocation process was initiated from Bonn. In 1999, the old parliament building was completely rebuilt, and the Bundestag held its first meetings in the capital. The same year, new government buildings opened, and the move was completed when the new Chancellor’s new house was inaugurated in 2001. A final date for the winding-up of post-war Germany was set on August 31, 1994, at a ceremony with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, where the departure of the last Russian troops from German territories was highlighted.
Settle with the past
When conditions in the ex-GDR became known after the rally, this came as a shock to many. Particularly appalling were the revelations of a number of grotesque circumstances surrounding the communist state’s monitoring of its inhabitants. The secret state police, Stasi, had a full 100,000 permanent employees, and should have had at most 500,000 signifiers in a population of just over 16 million. An important task after the collection was therefore to get control of the Stasis archive, which contains detailed information on over 6 million East Germans. In 1991, the Bundestag passed a separate law on the Stasi archive and public access to the information. The Stasi archive archives were finally released in 2003.
Criminal cases were raised against several former GDR peaks, including partisan leader Erich Honecker, intelligence chief Markus Wolf, Stasi chief Erich Mielke and prime minister Willi Stoph. In March 1991, Honecker sought refuge with Communist friends in Moscow, but was extradited to Germany in July 1992. The case against him was dropped due to ailing health, and in January 1993 he went into exile to Chile where he died in 1994. Several of the others were convicted, some also for murder, but as a result of the accused’s high age and failing health, they avoided prolonged prison stays.
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Six former members of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), including former party leader Egon Krenz, were also indicted for murdering a total of 47 people who tried to flee the Berlin Wall. In 1997, Krenz was sentenced to six years in prison for murder committed by border guards at the former sector border. He was released in 2003. A memorial to all those who lost their lives in the attempt to cross the Berlin Wall was opened in 2004.