Germany has experienced a tumultuous history: starting a World War, being divided into two countries and much more. If you are planning a trip, here is some background information you should know.
An Overview of Germany for Travelers
The official name of the country is the Federal Republic of Germany. Germany covers a landmass of over 135,000 square miles and is about the size of the State of Montana. The capital is Berlin with over 3.5 million residents living within the city borders. Other cities of note include, but are not limited to, Hamburg with 1.7 million residents, Munich with over 1.2 million people, Cologne with just under one million residents, Frankfurt with 640,000 residents, Dortmund with 592,000 people, Stuttgart with 580,000 residents, Dusseldorf with about the same number, Bremen with 540,000 people and Hanover with a population just exceeding 500,000 residents. Put another way, Germany crams a lot of people into a relatively small area.
From a terrain perspective, Germany has a bit of everything. The north consists mostly of plains and shoreline, while the center of the country is a fertile basin. The south of the country is primarily mountainous, sharing formations with Switzerland. With this divergent terrain, the climate varies from area to area, but is generally cool with significant periods of rain.
Citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany are known as Germans. The most recent population study found the total population exceeded 82 million. The ethnic break down is primarily German, but Danish minorities exist in the north while Slavic minorities can be found in the south. Despite the policies promulgated by Hitler, the country has a strong influx of immigrants with over 7.3 million people qualifying as such.
From a religious perspective, Germans are split in two major camps. There are approximately 26 million Protestants and 26 million Roman Catholics. Approximately 3.3 million people consider themselves to be Muslim.
The official language of the country is German, although English is spoken in many areas as is Russian and French. Education is compulsory for 10 years and the literacy rate is more than 99 percent. Live expectancy for a German man is 74 years while women live an additional 6 years on average.
As this overview reveals, Germany is the home to a lot of good and bad history. As a travel destination, it is remarkable whether you are going to see history or visiting for the World Cup.