Germany (German: Deutschland), or Federal Republic of Germany, a country in central Europe. From 1949 until 1990, as a consequence of World War II, it was divided into West Germany and East Germany. West Germany was a pro-Western democratic state, East Germany a pro-Soviet Communist state. Much hostility existed between them. In 1990, following a democratizing movement that swept through eastern Europe, Germany was reunited.

Germany faces the North and Baltic seas and is bordered by Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany's area is 137,858 square miles (357,050 km2). Because of World War II territorial losses, this is about 47,000 square miles (122,000 km2) less than the area of prewar Germany. Maximum dimensions are about 530 miles (850 km) north-south and 400 miles (640 km) east-west.

Germany in brief
General information
Capital: Berlin.
Official language: German.
Official name:Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany).
National anthem: Third stanza of "Deutschlandlied" ("Song of Germany").
Flag and coat of arms: Germany's civil flag has stripes of black, red, and gold (top to bottom). These colors have been associated with German unity since the 1800's. The state flag includes the coat of arms. The coat of arms carries an eagle emblem and has been used since the ancient Romans introduced it into Germany.
Largest cities: (2002 official estimate) Berlin (3,392,425); Hamburg (1,728,806); Munich (1,234,692); Cologne (968,639); Frankfurt am Main (643,726); Dortmund (590,831); Stuttgart (588,477); Essen 585,481); Dusseldorf (571,886); Bremen (542,987).
Land and climate
Land: Germany lies in central Europe. It borders France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and it has a short coastline on the North and Baltic seas. The northern part of the country is mostly flat; the terrain is hilly in central and southern Germany. The Alps run along the border with Austria; the rugged Black Forest lies in the southwest; the Bohemian Forest is along the Czech border. Major rivers include Rhine in the west, Danube in the south, Elbe and Weser in the north, and Oder in the east.
Area: 137,847 mi2 (357,022 km2). Greatest distances--north-south, 540 mi (869 km); east-west, 390 mi (628 km). Coastline--574 mi (924 km).
Elevation:Highest--9,721 ft (2,963 m) at Zugspitze, in the Alps. Lowest--sea level along the coast.
Climate: Mild summers, cool winters. Typical summer daytime highs are in low 70's degrees F (20's degrees C). In winter, typical daytime high is a few degrees above freezing. The Rhine Valley is generally the warmest part of the country; the coastal areas are usually milder than the inland areas. Moderate rainfall in all seasons.
Head of state: Federal president.
Head of government: Federal chancellor.
Legislature: Parliament of two houses—the Bundestag (669 members) and the Bundesrat (up to 68 members). The Bundestag is more powerful than the Bundesrat.
Executive: Federal chancellor (elected by Bundestag). Chancellor selects Cabinet ministers.
Judiciary: Highest court is the Federal Constitutional Court.
Political subdivisions: 16 states.
Population:Current estimate—82,414,000. 2004 official estimate—82,500,800.
Population density: 598 per mi2 (231 per km2).
Distribution: 88 percent urban, 12 percent rural.
Major ethnic/national groups: 95 percent German, 5 percent other Europeans.
Major religions: 34 percent Protestant (chiefly Lutheran); 33 percent Roman Catholic; 4 percent Muslim.
Chief products:Agriculture—barley, beef cattle, grapes, hogs, milk, sugar beets, wheat. Manufacturing—chemicals and pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, machinery, motor vehicles, processed foods and beverages, steel. Mining—coal, potash, and rock salt.
Money:Basic unit—euro. One hundred cents equal one euro. The Deutsche mark was taken out of circulation in 2002.
Foreign trade:Major exports—chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles. Major imports—food products, petroleum and petroleum products, manufactured goods. Major trading partners—Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.