• Germany occupies 357,112 square kilometres of territory in Central Europe. It has land borders with nine countries and a coastline of 2389km on the North and Baltic seas.

Politically, Germany is a parliamentary democracy, with an upper house – the Bundesrat – and a lower chamber, the Bundestag, both in Berlin. The administrative structure is federal, with the sixteen Länder (states) having a high degree of autonomy.

Germany is the largest economy in the European Union, and it is the world’s largest exporter. As the economic heart of the euro zone it is also home to the headquarters of the European Central Bank.

With a population of around 82 million, Germany is the most populous nation in the European Union, and it is also among its most densely populated and highly urbanized. The four largest cities are Berlin (3.46 million inhabitants), Hamburg (1.8 million), Munich (1.35 million) and Cologne (1 million).

• Germans DO have a sense of humour and they DO love to sunbathe naked. DON’T feel you can’t mention the war though – nowadays Germans are avid consumers of their own history, and the Nazi era is picked over exhaustively in TV documentaries, in books, and at the cinema.

Essentials

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Germany features

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Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…

29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
10 of the best European city breaks

10 of the best European city breaks

In this article sponsored by Scenic Australia, Emma Gibbs picks 10 of the best city breaks across Europe. Europe is so crammed full of fascinating, vibrant c…

01 Dec 2015 • Emma Gibbs insert_drive_file Article
Discover Berlin's biggest bathtub: the Baltic Sea

Discover Berlin's biggest bathtub: the Baltic Sea

Carved balconies like lace, swaggering villas in spacious gardens and an absurdly long pier. Who would have expected “Herring Village” to be so glitzy? I…

08 Oct 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
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