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Federal Republic of Germany

Major Cities:
Bonn, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Bremen, Dresden, Heidelberg, Cologne, Potsdam, Lübeck, Hanover, Kassel, Nuremberg, Duisburg, Dortmund, Aachen, Bochum, Augsburg

Other Cities:
Bielefeld, Brunswick, Chemnitz, Dessau, Erfurt, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Jena, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Krefeld, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Münster, Rostock, Schwerin, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Zwickau


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Germany. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


A stay in Germany, the heart of central Europe, means living and working in one of the most dynamic, progressive and interesting of European countries. Today, it is an opportunity to witness, and participate in, an important new phase of German and European history. In addition, Germany offers a high standard of living, extensive travel opportunities both within and outside the country, world-class cultural events and recreational facilities for everyone.

Despite its linguistic and cultural affinity and close ties with the U.S., Germany is a distinctly foreign experience and assignment to Germany requires adjusting to a different pace and way of life. As Europeans, for example, Germans are more formal in business and social relationships than Americans. The national culture and its regional variations are shaped by patterns rooted in a long and unique central European history. Although English is a commonplace alternate language in parts of Germany, living in Germany will be more rewarding for those who speak German or who have the interest and initiative to take advantage of the many opportunities to learn the language.

As the century ends and a new millennium begins, Germany's Government and Parliament have come back to Berlin, the nation's historic capital. The immediate postwar era is over. Both Germany and Berlin are whole again. Germany today is the world's third largest economy and the economic foundation on which the euro, Europe's common currency, rests. The years ahead are certain to be filled with exciting new challenges, new issues and new opportunities for partnership with the United States as Germany and Europe reshape themselves for the future.

This country of broad variations in its geography and its culture is one that has endured a long and troubled history, often as the battlefield for the great conflicts which have embroiled the European continent. It was not until the mid-19th century that what is now Germany became a federation; until that time, it had been a conglomeration of independent states. The empire was formed in 1871 after Prussia's victory over France, and a period of prosperity and expansion began. Bowed by the outcome of the First World War and the subsequent economic and political chaos, Germany rose again as the Third Reich, but was finally defeated in 1945 by Allied powers and divided after the war. As a democratic republic, it has rebuilt itself into an important and influential state.



Greater Bonn has a population of over 300,000. It was the provisional capital from 1949-91. Although Berlin has been reinstated as Germany's capital, Bonn remains, for the time being the country's political nucleus. The city is studded with buildings that house a myriad of official government offices. Bonn is also known as a university town and as the birthplace of Beethoven. The house Beethoven was born in is now a museum and is probably Bonn's best known attraction. Bonn has a large concert hall, the Beethoven-halle, and a opera house. Bonn's Rheinisches-Landes-Museum contains the skull of the famous Neanderthal man.

The city, badly damaged during World War II, had not been restored by 1949 when it became the provisional capital. Facilities had to be found or built to provide housing and office space for the German ministries and various embassies, foreign journalists, etc. Existing facilities were converted to government use, and new ministries were built in a simple, functional style. Most embassies found or built structures for chanceries in Bonn, but diplomatic corps residences are located throughout the area from Cologne to Remagen, a distance of some 40 miles.


The availability of food on the German market is much the same as in the U.S.

Local German markets are well stocked, and open-air markets sell excellent seasonal fruits and vegetables.

German grocery stores are somewhat smaller than their American counterparts, but the selections are generally good. Most German grocery stores carry fresh fruits and vegetables. Hours of operation are somewhat restricted compared to the U.S., with most shops closing at 6:30 pm on weeknights and at 2 pm on Saturdays. No Sunday shopping is available.


Bonn has a moderate, maritime climate. Although lightweight summer clothing is generally not needed here, warm, humid spells can be expected most years. Warm clothing and rain gear are a must. Hat, gloves and a warm winter coat are advisable. The Plittersdorf Sales Store stocks a small quantity of American and European-made clothing. Local clothing is fashionable but expensive, and sizing is different. Children's clothes are especially expensive. Shoes are also expensive in Germany, and half, small, and narrow sizes are difficult to find.

Supplies and Services

German stores are well stocked for all household needs.

Tailoring, shoe repair, dry-cleaning, laundry, and beauty shops are available in Plittersdorf and other nearby German areas.

Religious Activities

Roman Catholic and Protestant services are conducted in English in the American Stimson Memorial Chapel in Plittersdorf. A full-time Catholic priest and two Protestant ministers serve the community. Sunday school, CCD, youth fellowship programs, Bible study, and prayer meetings are offered.

The Latter-day Saints, Anglican-Episcopal, Baptist, and Christian Science churches hold English services outside the community. A Jewish synagogue in Bonn offers services in German.


The Bonn American Schools, operated by the Department of Defense Dependents School System (DoDDS), are accredited by the North Central Association. The elementary school offers instruction in kindergarten through grade 5, and the middle/high school grades 6 to 12. Both schools comprise about 500 students. Foreign students representing 45 countries make up almost 50 percent of the student population.

School standards and curriculum equal those of U.S. public schools. In addition to the regular academic curriculum, the elementary school provides special classes in talented and gifted instruction and individualized instruction for special education students.

The high school curriculum is considered to be excellent and covers 4 years of English, science, mathematics, and social studies, as well as 5 years of German and French and 2 years of Spanish. Music and art are also offered, as well as courses in home economics, industrial arts, and business. The school has an excellent reputation, with strong departments in foreign language, science, business, television media, music, and computer science. The extracurricular program (ECP) has an especially strong Athletic Department, with teams in football, wrestling, girls and boys golf, tennis, track, basketball, cross-country, soccer, and girls volleyball. The girls teams have won many championships over the past 4 years. The school competes in the Benenor Conference (Belgian, Netherlands, and North Germany). Other ECP offerings vary from year to year, but generally the school offers a band, chorus, yearbook, and school newspaper. The video club, which was started during the 1983-84 school year, is especially strong, with two weekly closed-circuit programs within the Plittersdorf community. (Although not a DoDDS-sponsored program, the community hosts a very active swim team that competes with military schools all over Europe.)

The high school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) since the 1982-83 school year, and the Advanced Placement Program (AP) since February 1983. There is an active Advanced Studies Program, which includes TAG (talented and gifted), IB, AP, Independent Study, and Accelerated Middle School Program. There are also strong programs in Special Education and English-as-a-second language (ESL).

Each school has its own School Advisory Council (SAC) and an active PTSA. Though advisory in nature, these volunteer organizations are highly influential in the successful operation of the two schools.

Both schools earned the number one spot in DoDDS-Germany on the California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) in May of 1987 and 1988, with the high school repeating the rating for the second year. The elementary school was number 1 of about 90 schools, while the high school was ranked 1 among the 28 DoDDS high schools. Bonn American High is one of three DoDDS schools in the last 6 years to receive this award. Both schools score consistently in the top 5 percent.

Tuition at the Bonn American Schools, which ranged from $7,200-$7,500 for the 1992-93 school year, goes up annually at about the same rate as inflation in the U.S. For information write:

Bonn American High School
PSC 117 Box 390
APO AE 09080


Bonn American Elementary School
PSC 117 Box 125
APO AE 09080-0005

Some American children have attended the British Embassy Preparatory School. The tuition is about $4,000. The school offers a British education for boys and girls in kindergarten through grade 8 (13 years of age maximum). The independent school can respond flexibly and quickly to parent-student concerns. If children are ready, they read in kindergarten. Emphasis is placed on composition, spelling, grammar, reading, and reading comprehension. American achievement tests are given by special arrangement. For information write:

The British Embassy Preparatory School
Tulpenbaumweg 42
53177 Bonn

A British secondary school is available for grades 9 to 12. For information write:

British High School, Bonn e.V.
Gotenstrasse 50
53175 Bonn
Tel. (0228) 37-40-84

The Bonn International Academy serves ages 3-16 and describes itself as offering a solid academic program based on the British School System with special consideration for the needs of the diplomatic child. For information write:

Bonn International Academy
Godesberger Allee 24
53175 Bonn
Tel. (0228) 37-77-88

The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium is an up-to-date German school which covers grades 5 to 13. The school population is one-quarter foreign and three-quarters German. Children up to age 15 who do not know German or who have inadequate classroom German are placed in "German for Foreigners" classes for up to 1 year or until their German is adequate. Tuition is free as are most of the books. There are minor expenses for extra books and supplies. Space in the foreigners' program is limited, and parents who plan to enroll their children should correspond promptly with the school at:

The Nicolaus-Cusanus Gymnasium
Hindenbergallee 50
53175 Bonn

Other German elementary and secondary schools have been used by a few American families. Interested families should allow time to investigate the possibilities after arrival in Bonn.

The Bonn American Preschool, operated by AEA, provides a pre-school program for children 3-5 years old. A typical school-day includes free play in the classroom, songs and stories, quiet activities, handicrafts, outdoor play, and cleanup. Creativity and self-expression are emphasized. Occasionally, there is a waiting list. AEA also operates a kindergarten.

Preference is given to U.S. Government dependents, but you should enroll your children by mail if you plan to arrive in Bonn late in the summer. Tuition provides the school's income. For preschool information write:

Bonn American Preschool
Kennedyallee 115
53175 Bonn


PSC 117 Box 270
APO AE 09080
(0228) 37-95-86
The Daycare Center

This facility provides a baby-sitting service for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. It is open 5 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. Fees are about $2.35 per hour on a monthly basis and $3 per hour on a drop-in basis. In addition, there is now an Infant Room which provides day-care to infants from 6 weeks to 14 months. Hours are the same as the Day Care and charges are about $4 per hour.

Special Educational Opportunities

Bonn's night schools, called Volkshochschulen, offer courses in German for foreigners and instruction in political science, philosophy, the arts, literature, sports, cooking, art, etc. Fees are moderate. Night schools sponsor trips to places of interest, film showings, and lectures.

The Bonn University offers the following courses: theology, law, political science, medicine, arts, mathematics, science, agriculture, economics, education, and social science. German-speaking foreign students are welcomed. Tuition is free. German universities begin at the college junior level by U.S. standards.

In Bonn, the University of Maryland offers various undergraduate courses. For American University courses at nearby military facilities.


Golfers have access to several challenging golf courses. An international riding school, German tennis clubs, swimming and rowing clubs, and athletic clubs, all with limited membership, are available in the Bonn-Bad Godesberg area. American children may play on local German soccer teams.

While not as extensive, there are opportunities for freshwater and deep-sea fishing.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The beautiful countryside around Bonn invites touring. There are many castles, Roman ruins and charming villages. Bonn is situated on the navigable Rhine River, and during summer, river cruises are popular. The area has excellent opportunities for cycling and hiking. Organized hikes through the German countryside or "Volks-marching" is a German pastime.

Skiing is possible during the winter months in the nearby Eifel Mountains and in the Hartz Mountains.

Within easy range of Bonn, the Rhine, Mosel, and Ahr Valleys with their vineyards, castles, and restaurants offer extensive and intensive exploring. More distant points of cultural and historical interest are easily accessible by rail or car on weekends. Because Bonn enjoys a central European location, day trips to Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland are possible.


Theater, art galleries, museums, and musical performances may be found in any German city of more than 100,000. Although Bonn provides fewer recreational and cultural facilities than most European capitals, it has excellent facilities for a city of its size. Besides art galleries and museums, Bonn has the Beethovenhalle, in which concerts are given two or three evenings a week. Theaters and the opera house present plays, ballet, or opera each evening. Düsseldorf (population 675,000) is only 45 minutes away by car, and Cologne (population 994,000) is only 30 minutes away. Operas, plays, first-rate symphony orchestras, nightclubs, and good restaurants are found in both cities. Bonn celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of its founding in 1989, with festivities that were held throughout the year.

Social Activities

The American Women's Group sponsors cultural, educational, and welfare activities. Other activities are available through the Bonn Booster Club, the PTSA, the Teen Club, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, and a Cub Scout Pack and Brownies for boys and girls. A German-American "Friends of Music" Group arranges concerts by German and American artists in private homes. The International Stammtisch arranges speakers one night a month at the American Embassy Club.


Berlin is a capital city with a turbulent past, the crucible of a century of history. Reduced to rubble by World War II bombing, and starkly divided by the Cold War, the city has survived and prospered through the courage, optimism and determination of its citizens. Today, Berlin has a population of nearly four million. The city is situated on the North German Plain about 100 miles south of the Baltic Sea and 50 miles west of the Oder River, the modern border between Poland and Germany. Berlin is one of three German cities that comprise a separate Land although it is completely surrounded by Land Brandenburg. The city is divided into 20 districts, each with its own name, ruling authority and history. Since 1990, but especially since a huge construction and modernization boom started in mid-decade, the city has experienced a process of radical economic and physical change as well as a significant cultural renaissance. Berlin is once again the seat of Germany's Government and Parliament and the move of ministries, offices and embassies from Bonn is continuing.

Berlin's climate is similar to the northeastern U.S. even though the city lies at a much more northerly latitude. Overcast days are not uncommon and summers tend to be cool and rainy although uncomfortable summer heat waves do occur. Winters are cool and temperatures between 20°F and 40°F are usual from December to February although much colder days and nights are not infrequent along with periodic snowfalls. Berlin is one of Europe's most celebrated green cities with over 20 percent of its area devoted to parks. Although completely landlocked, Berlin is also a lakeside city, with an extensive complex of forested urban parks and lakes where residents enjoy swimming, sailing, water sports and sunning.

There are several Internet sites with Berlin-specific information. A good starting point is: with English-language information about Berlin and excellent links to scores of other Berlin-relevant sites.

to maintain their own grounds. Many yards are very large, and you may wish to check with GSO before packing out to determine if you will need to ship gardening equipment. Lawn mowers are provided to Department of State employees (other agencies have their own policies concerning furnishings and equipment).


The availability of food in German food stores is much the same as in the U.S. albeit with some important differences. Retail shopping is tightly controlled in Germany and the inconvenient shopping hours present serious challenges to working couples. Most food shops are closed evenings, Sundays and holidays and are tightly shut by mid-afternoon on Saturdays. Fortunately, loosening restrictions in Berlin have resulted in many major supermarkets remaining open until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and popular "warehouse" stores are open as late as 10:00 p.m. on week-days and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Outdoor farmers markets and neighborhood groceries are a feature of city life throughout Berlin. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent but availability is distinctly seasonal. The German diet usually emphasizes meat (especially pork) at the expense of fish but fresh and smoked fish along with excellent poultry and game are available in most large markets. Fine bakeries are everywhere with huge selections of fresh bread and rolls and other tempting baked goods often made on the premises. German and other European wines and cheeses are widely available. Familiar U.S. products are found in most large supermarkets although favorite breakfast cereals, for example, may be slightly altered for the European palate. Ethnic food shops are scattered throughout the city. Berlin's famous Kaufhaus des Westens Department Store (popularly known by its initials, KaDeWe, or "Kah-Day-Vay") has a specialty food hall that rivals Harrod's in London with a huge (and quite expensive) selection of gourmet-quality fresh and imported food items which can be bought for home or consumed on the premises. Generally, food prices in Germany are somewhat higher than in the U.S.


Clothing suitable for autumn and winter wear in Washington, D.C. will be ideal for Berlin. The climate is generally much cooler than Washington's. Clothing for men and women is readily available in Berlin with shops ranging from expensive boutiques offering familiar designer labels to more moderately-priced department stores. Clothing is usually costly in Europe, especially children's clothes, but quality is high and most goods are European-made. On the other hand, good European shoes are also widely available, usually at prices lower than in the U.S. Priority mail should be requested for mail order clothing from the U.S. Internet ordering significantly lowers telephone charges when dealing with the large U.S mail order suppliers.

Supplies and Services

As with most large European cities, Berlin offers a nearly unlimited range of supplies and services. There are differences however, between U.S. and European standards and practices that sometime make locating a particular item or familiar service difficult. Such services as laundry and dry cleaning, hair stylists for men and women, shoe repair and tailoring arc readily available in most neighborhood at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S.

Domestic Help

Domestic help is difficult to obtain and expensive in Berlin although agencies exist to provide domestic services. Employers are expected to comply rigorously with applicable German immigration and social security laws which control legal status, working conditions and the payment of required taxes.

Religious Activities

Church services and Sunday School activities-both Protestant and Roman Catholic-are held in various Berlin Churches. English-language Protestant services are conducted in the American Church in Berlin. Berlin has a growing Jewish community, now more than 10,000 members, and Jewish services are held at locations throughout the city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an active community in Berlin. In addition, there are several other active Protestant denominations, many of which offer services in English, and a particularly large Muslim community.


The JFK School is part of the German public school system and is a special bicultural German-American community school originally established in 1960. English-speaking students are taught in English and study German until their German reaches a level of fluency to enable them to join German-language classes. The JFK School includes grades K-12 and offers a U.S. high school diploma (or a German diploma through its arbitur program which requires a 13th grade). The school currently has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students equally divided between German and foreign. The school's faculty is made up of Germans, Americans and other nationalities.

There are tutoring programs in reading and mathematics available at the JFK School. However, there are no facilities for children with special learning problems or children who have unusual physical or emotional needs. Questions about special educational issues should be addressed to the school Managing Principal, John F. Kennedy School, 95-123 Teltower Damm, 14167 Berlin, Germany. You can also find the JFK School on the Internet at:

Some American children attend the Berlin/Potsdam International School (BPIS), located near Potsdam. The BPIS offers the international baccalaureate program and the U.S. High School Diploma. The language of instruction is English. Other children attend the Berlin British School (BBS). The BBS offers nursery, primary and middle school programs for children between the ages of three and 13. The curriculum is based on the English national curriculum, but has been adjusted to roughly match those of other international schools. The language of instruction is English. The BBS is located in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg. Finally, some American children also attend standard Berlin public schools nearby their homes, where all instruction is in German.

In addition, there are other schools in Berlin with international student bodies. Together with the JFK School and other schools mentioned here, there are an increasing number of school options in Berlin providing American parents with unusually wide schooling choices. Parents should investigate the available choices and seek the best possible match for their school-age children. Various preschool and day care options are also available in Berlin.

Special Educational Opportunities

There are three large universities in Berlin: the Humboldt University, founded in 1910, and located in Berlin's Mitte District; the Free University of Berlin, founded in the post-war period and located in Dahlem; and the Berlin Technical University located in Charlottenburg. Instruction at Berlin's universities is in German. Several U.S. universities offer extension and correspondence courses in Berlin.


Berlin offers many private and public athletic facilities. These include private and semi-private golf courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, sailing facilities and outdoor sports fields throughout the city.

Although Berlin's terrain is flat, a few natural snow slopes exist for downhill skiers. Most nearby ski areas are for cross country skiing, a popular German wintertime recreation when snow conditions permit. Ice skating is also popular and there are several rinks open in winter. The Botanical Gardens and Museum and the extensive Grünewald and Tegel Forests provide extensive sites for family outings and parts of the Grünewald and Wannsee areas are designated nature preserves. The Wannsee is home to one of Europe's largest lake beaches. Running along city streets or pedestrian sidewalk, is not customary in Europe (although not uncommon in Berlin). There are many trails and paths reserved for biking and running, especially in the Grünewald which is crisscrossed with bike and pedestrian paths. The Tiergarten, Berlin's Central Park, and the grounds of Char-lottenburg Palace also offer good runs for joggers.


Berlin's reputation as a great city for art suffered from the depravations of war and political division but now, with the reunification of Berlin, and the shift of the heart of the city eastwards to its historic and cultural center that had been East Berlin, the city is enjoying a cultural rejuvenation. A dramatic new center for culture has opened at the edge of the Tiergarten near the reconstructed Potsdamer Platz and is the new location for museums of modern art and the 18th and 19th century collections of the Gemaldegalerie, formerly situated in Dahlem. Meanwhile, in the Mitte District. Berlin's Museuminsel, home to the "old" National Gallery and museums of classical art, is undergoing renovation with plans for a dramatic new work by architect I.M. Pei on the drawing boards. Charlottenburg Palace houses several museums including Berlin's well-known Egyptian Museum. home to the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti.

Berlin is one of Europe's greatest cities for serious music. The Berlin Philharmonic is one of the world's premier orchestras. 11 performs in a sparkling new Philharmonic Hall in the Tiergarten complex. In addition. the city has three opera houses. The Berlin music season is long and feature, performances annually by nearly all the world's finest companies, dancers. musicians, conductors and singers, with both traditional and modern programs, Theater is a Berlin staple and, although most productions on the Berlin stage are naturally in German, there are local English-language theater groups and occasional visits by English-speaking touring companies.

Most American films reach Europe about three months after their U.S, openings. Foreign films (and television programs too) are dubbed in Germany although films are shown in their original language at some Berlin movie theaters. The Berlin Film Festival brings many of the world's best films to Berlin each February.

Berlin after dark offers plenty of entertainment for night-owls. Cabarets, dance clubs, rock and jazz joints and bars proliferate in all parts of the city. Fine restaurants at all prices are everywhere offering German and continental cuisine in addition to a huge variety of ethnic restaurants for every budget. In summer, the city blossoms with sidewalk restaurants and outdoor cafes fine for eating, drinking or just plain people-watching. Kids will love Berlin's famous Zoo, especially the giant Pandas, the bridge over the reptile pit and the attached Aquarium with 9,000 varieties of fish.

Social Activities

There are probably more opportunities in Berlin for making contact with the local American and international community than hours in the day. Many social contacts tend to flow from professional relationships although several more traditional community and church-based organizations exist and have active social programs and sponsor fund-raising activities. The Berlin Chapter of the Steuben-Schurz Society brings Americans together with prominent Berliners for lectures by distinguished speakers. The Berlin American Chamber of Commerce provides a forum for business contacts and activities with a commercial-economic focus. The Society of Parents and Friends of the John F. Kennedy School offers opportunities for parents to be involved with the school and to meet Berlin officials involved in supporting bilingual education.


Germany's fifth largest city and most important transportation hub, Frankfurt am Main is Land Hessen's giant urban center (the Land capital is nearby at Wiesbaden). The population is about 660,000 but the total metropolitan area includes many clustered towns and exceeds one million. The city is located on the Main River and is about 25 miles east of the river's confluence with the commercially important Rhine River at Mainz.

The new European Central Bank is headquartered in Frankfurt. The presence of this bank, perhaps 400 other financial institutions and over 800 American businesses make Frankfurt one of Europe's most important commercial and financial marketplaces. The Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Center (Messeglande) is one of the principal sites in the world for trade events, including the well-known Motor Show and International Book Fair.

The cosmopolitan nature of Frankfurt is reflected in its major airport complex with regular non-stop flights to virtually all regional cities, including cities in Europe and beyond, as well as daily flights to various destinations in the U.S. Approximately 90 airlines from nearly as many countries use the Frankfurt Main Airport.

Frankfurt is proud of its long and distinguished history. It has been a center for trade and banking for some 700 years. Until Prussia assumed control in 1866, the Free City of Frankfurt was, for 400 years, the site of the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. The "Romer" is the traditional symbol of Frankfurt. This historic building in downtown Frankfurt has been the city

hall since 1405. Frankfurt has long and illustrious ties with the New World-early visitors to Frankfurt included such distinguished Americans as William Penn, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

More detailed information about the city of Frankfurt can be found on the Internet, at English-language sites such as:

One of Germany's most important newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has an excellent German-language site at:


Americans normally use German shops and markets as well. These are amply stocked with excellent fresh produce, dairy products and baked goods and a different mix of local and imported items, often at surprisingly moderate prices. Most fruits and vegetables can be found throughout the year, although prices rise for imported, out-of-season goods. Ethnic food and ingredients-particularly Asian and Middle Eastern-are easier to find in Frankfurt than at most other German cities.


Frankfurt can often be overcast but its location along the Main River generally helps moderate the temperature extremes. Since the temperatures have been historically relatively mild in the summer months, few German facilities are air-conditioned but this is changing as new office buildings are constructed and others renovated. The frequency of misty or rainy weather also prompts the regular use of umbrellas. Winters can be quite cold but snow seldom accumulates.

Because Frankfurt is Germany's financial capital, dress tends to be "banker conservative," although many contemporary designers are represented in trendy Frankfurt wardrobes. Local stores offer a full range of clothing in European sizes. Prices tend to be more expensive than U.S. department store standards.


The Carl Schurz School, located in the Siedlung area, provides a pre-school for children aged two-four, and a day-care facility.

Parents with school-age family members have a number of choices in educational facilities. All students receive an education allowance, which will cover tuition and fees to schools listed here. Any costs exceeding the approved educational allowances, however, must be paid by the parents. For example, costs for field trips associated with the school's program will normally be the responsibility of the parent. To obtain additional information regarding the schools, please write to:

Frankfurt International School (FIS) An der Waldlust 15, D-61440 Oberursel.

International School of Frankfurt Albert-Blank-Strasse 50 D-65931 Frankfurt am Main.

Halvorsen-Tunner American School (DoDDS-elementary) Rhein-Main Air Base, Bldg 610, Gateway Gardens 60549 Frankfurt.

H. Arnold High School (DoDDS) Texas Strasse Geb. 190, 65189 Wiesbaden/Hainerberg.

The DoDDS High School is accredited by the North Central Association; the FIS High School by the Middle States Association and the European Council of International Schools; the ISF school is a Sabis affiliated school and is not yet U.S. accredited. All schools offer athletic and extracurricular activities throughout the school year.

Special Educational Opportunities

In addition to full-time university studies in Mannheim, the European program of the University of Maryland offers a variety of evening classes at the local U.S. military facilities. The Education Center at Rhein Main Air Base may be contacted to answer questions concerning costs and requirements. There are also classes offered through the City Colleges of Chicago, Troy State University, and the University of Oklahoma.


Other sports including golf and swimming are locally available. Professional sports in Frankfurt include soccer, basketball and a professional American football team, the Frankfurt Galaxy, sponsored in part by the National Football League, with regular games in the European league.


Opera, ballet, concerts, music recitals and theater are available in Frankfurt and nearby Wiesbaden. Additionally, Frankfurt boasts excellent English-language theater with regular productions in the heart of the city. First-run movies in English are also available at several theaters in addition to movie theaters at U.S. military installations, including a popular theater at the Rhein-Main Air Base area known as Gateway Gardens.

Social Activities

The American Women's Club of the Taunus is a particularly active organization with special programs and events.


Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany (1.7 million inhabitants) is best known for its port. That image, however, is only a small part of a city that, for most Americans, is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Built around the Alster, a lake that is the size of Monaco, the city is graced with large open spaces (half the area is either water or parkland), elegant architecture and a thriving cultural life. Hamburg has the highest per-capita income of any region in the European Union, and the city is noted for stylish boutiques as well as a large and varied selection of fine restaurants.

The relatively modern look of Hamburg belies its age. In 1189, Hamburg was granted the right to a free trade zone and, in 1321, joined the Hanseatic League. Because of wood construction, the city was repeatedly destroyed by fires, the latest being in 1842. In the last decades of the 19th century, Hamburg underwent a building boom and the city took on its current outline by adding port areas, parks, and beautiful buildings and homes constructed in Jugendstil architecture. During World War II, over sixty percent of Hamburg was destroyed. The city rebuilt many architectural treasures while maintaining a low skyline of new buildings of brick, steel and glass that reflect the city's maritime tradition.

Trade is still the backbone of Hamburg's prosperity. The city boasts the second largest port in Europe and the fifth largest container port in the world, despite the fact that ships must travel 68 miles down the Elbe River to reach the North Sea. In addition, the city is a center for media (print, TV, and multi-media), insurance and aerospace (it has the second largest number of workers in the aircraft industry after Seattle).

The weather in Hamburg is generally rainy and can be quite cool. Spring is lovely, with blooming tulips, daffodils and other flowers around the Alster and parks. Hamburgers take advantage of all sunny days (sometimes they are few) and can be found walking or having coffee or a beer at an outdoor cafe. Sweater-weather is common even in the summer although, on the occasional hot day, the weather can be humid and sticky. Winter days are frequently overcast, with temperatures similar to Washington but with the north German darkness approaching by 4:00 p.m.


Almost all foodstuffs are available on the local market. There are many types of markets ranging from small mom-and-pop stores to large hyper-markets to open-air markets. German food quality and sanitation standards are extremely high. In general, most food items can be more expensive and a few baking ingredients and some processed foods may be more difficult to find; however, this is changing monthly.

Supplies and Services

Well-stocked German stores sell all European-style household items and are generally well made, but can be more expensive. Stores are generally open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., with the larger stores open until 8:00 p.m. during the week. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. On Sundays, all stores are closed except those located at train and gas stations.

All normal services are available on the local economy in Hamburg although prices and, in some cases, quality may differ from U.S. standards. A variety of Internet Service Providers (ISP) exist, such as Compu Serve, AOL, UUNET and Deutsche Telekom's T OnLine, for local Internet connections. Prices tend to be more expensive than in the U.S. Local phone

Religious Activities

English-language services are held at the Lutheran Petrikirche, International Baptist Church, the English Church of St. Thomas a Becket, the Methodist Church, St. Elisabeth Roman Catholic Church, International Christian Fellowship and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Orthodox services are also available, but not in English. There is one Orthodox Jewish synagogue (services are in Hebrew and German.) There is a large Muslim community with several Mosques.


Most school-age American family members attend the International School of Hamburg (ISH), which is situated in the western section of the city, about 45 minutes from the city center of Hamburg. This is the only school in Hamburg in which the principal language of instruction is English. The school is divided into two sections, the Early Learning Center/Junior School (equivalent to preschool through grade 5 in the U.S.) and the Secondary School (grades 6 to 12). ISH is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and as well, offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. All students are tested before official acceptance. Children must be at least five years old by October 1 to enter the ISH kindergarten program.

There are 520 students representing 45 nationalities. Classes are generally small, from 14 to 20 students. Music, art and drama classes are offered; however, sport programs are not as comprehensive as in an American public school. The school is in the process of a major expansion program that should be completed by 2000.

The school arranges bus transportation to and from the ISH campus for children in kindergarten through grade 5 who live in the downtown area. Secondary students are not offered this option, but public transportation, the norm, is quite convenient and safe.

Special needs education: Certain opportunities exist for students with special needs at ISH and are considered on a case-by-case analysis every year. Contact the school in advance for more details.

For further information or applications for ISH, the address is: The International School of Hamburg Holmbrook 20, 22605 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (40) 8830010, Fax: (40) 88300199. E-mail: mail to: [email protected]

German public and private schools accept foreign students, but instruction is in German. There is also a French Lycee for those interested in the French school system. There are many good German kindergartens (equivalent of American preschool), but waiting lists may be long for some of these kindergartens.

Special Educational Opportunities

Four different universities in the area offer a variety of degree programs in English. Rice University in collaboration with the University of Bremen and the City of Bremen is establishing an international, private, research university in Bremen that will grant undergraduate and graduate degrees similar to U.S. universities. Purdue University in collaboration with the State of Lower Saxony is establishing a private business school in Hannover and will offer MBA degree programs. The University of Hamburg is establishing an International Center for Advanced Studies, which will offer an international MBA degree program. The Technical University of Hamburg-Hamburg offers Bachelor and Master degree programs in engineering.


Hamburgers are quite serious about sport and exercise, and because of this, Hamburg has a wonderful selection of sports and sport facilities. Swimming is available year-around, with exceptionally nice, inexpensive and numerous indoor swimming pools. In the winter, there are several popular outdoor ice-skating rinks. The centrally located Alster Lake and many miles of intertwining canals offer wonderful opportunities for rowing and sailing in the summer, with a number of rowing, sailing and windsurfing schools available. Tennis and horseback riding are also very popular and many schools can be found in the area.

Hamburg abounds with playgrounds and parks. The Alster Lake, beautiful open areas and woods in the vicinity offer opportunities for walking and picnics. A pleasant way to discover the city and the surrounding countryside is by bicycle. Hamburg has an extensive system of bike paths, which make most of the city easily accessible by bicycle.


As a major European city, Hamburg provides something for everyone, from the prestigious opera and ballet to its many museums, from the Harbor Birthday to a night out on the world-famous Reeperbahn. The Hamburg State Opera is considered one of the world's leading opera houses and is the oldest in Germany. The Hamburg Ballet is world class and has been under the direction of an American since 1973. Three important orchestras are based in Hamburg. Jazz music enthusiasts will not be disappointed; the city offers year-round quality entertainment. Hamburg has some 30 theaters that are considered among the best in Germany. The English Theater group presents plays several times a year with professional actors recruited from London. The Hamburg Players, an amateur theater group, also presents plays in English. In German cinemas, most films are dubbed into German, but "original version" English language films are shown at more than one city location. There are several video stores with a large selection of current and classic English language videos. Most are in the PAL format, with a few in NTSC. For up-to-date information in English on events in Hamburg, see the Internet site

Social Activities

There are eight American-related clubs in Hamburg, which cover a wide range of interests such as social contacts, business networking, volunteer activities, and current events.

Again, there are a number of international clubs that hold meetings and lectures and conduct activities to promote international understanding and friendship through the English language. The International School is an important venue for international contacts for those with school age children. There are also numerous activities of the Consular Corps, depending on one's rank and function.


Situated in the center of the former GDR's industrial triangle, famous for its chemicals, steel, heavy engineering, and publishing, Leipzig has a proud heritage as home to the world's first and longest-running trade fair, more than 825 years old. An impressive fairground facility, between downtown Leipzig and the Leipzig-Halle Airport, was opened in April 1996. Banking, communications, and the service sector have largely replaced heavy manufacturing since German reunification.

Although Leipzig still bears scars of neglect and mismanagement, first at the hands of the Nazis and later under the yoke of the Communists, thousands of buildings have been restored or renovated, new construction abounds, and the infrastructure is on its way to becoming state-of-the-art. Eastern Germany already has the finest telephone system in Europe, and thousands of miles of roads have been widened, repaired, or replaced in the last ten years.

Leipzig's citizens played a primary role in toppling the Communist regime, demonstrating bravery en masse with peaceful demonstrations that sealed the end of the GDR in the fall of 1989. Throughout the Consular District, the United States, its people and policies, remain a source of considerable interest and curiosity; countless sister-city relationships, exchange programs, economic partnerships, and the like have been created in the past decade, and many more are in the planning stages. Additional information about Leipzig in English and German can be found on the Internet at

The climate in Leipzig is moderate, although each summer there are generally several days above 90°F and each winter temperatures go down below zero E Rain is frequent (average 20-30 inches annually), and it generally snows several times each winter.


Local markets are well-stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are limited; most shops close at 6 p.m. on weekdays and shortly after noon on Saturdays, and are closed Sundays, although by law stores may remain open until 8 p.m. week-days and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Neighborhood markets are augmented by large discount retailers located in newly built shopping malls, as well as the Leipzig Central Station, where stores are exceptionally permitted to remain open until 10 p.m.

Leipzig as well as other major cities in the district offers a wide variety of excellent restaurants, ranging from Saxon specialties to Italian and Asian delicacies. Fast food outlets abound. Prices are notably higher than in the Washington, D.C. area.


A car is certainly not indispensable, though a few tourist sites are not accessible by public transport. At present many highways are in the process of being widened or rebuilt, causing extensive traffic jams, accidents, and other delays. Train travel is frequent and with a rail pass (Bahncard) relatively inexpensive. Traveling by train not only eliminates the headaches of negotiating traffic, but is also substantially faster. Within Leipzig buses, streetcars, and taxis are accessible and relatively inexpensive. Bus or streetcar tickets are generally obtained from machines (located at only the major stops) before boarding, although they may also be purchased from the conductor at a higher price. Taxis operate from several stands in the center, or may be called by telephone. For motorists, well-established car dealers and workshops offer a full range of services. vehicles.


Standards for street and business dress are similar to those in Washington, D.C. Formal attire is rarely required. For most evening functions, a dark suit or cocktail dress usually suffices. Given the variable climate, a flexible wardrobe is useful. Given the large number of cobblestoned streets, several good pairs of walking shoes are advisable. Raingear and umbrellas get frequent use most of the year. Prices in local stores are high in comparison to the United States, and local stocks may be limited. However, gaps in local supply may be filled by shopping trips to Berlin, a two-hour drive.

Religious Activities

Regular Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Russian Orthodox, and Jewish religious services are offered in German by various congregations in Leipzig. A British pastor offers English-language services at the Anglican Church in Leipzig on an irregular basis.

Supplies and Services

A wide array of toiletries, cosmetics, and household products is available in Leipzig. Although all American brands are not represented, in nearly all cases there is an adequate alternative. Prices are, however, higher.

Dry cleaning services are of variable quality. Hairdressers are generally very good. Most repair services are more than adequate.


Leipzig International School currently offers classes from Kindergarten through Grade 9 in English, based on a U.S. curriculum. The school intends to add one grade per year as part of the International Baccalaureate Program.

Special Educational Opportunities

Leipzig has University, Music Academy, Art Institute, and Volkshochschule (adult education institution) courses for those with German-language ability. Leipzig University is one of the oldest Germans peaking universities. The French, British, and Polish governments also have active cultural centers in town.


The Leipzig region offers opportunities for exploration of the area's rich cultural and historical heritage and is blessed with extensive parklands. Recreational facilities include swimming pools, bowling alleys, and fitness centers. Horseback riding is available nearby. Saxony's Erzgebirge offer opportunities for winter sports as does Thuringia's Rennsteig.


Cultural opportunities in this part of Germany are particularly extensive. Leipzig's world-famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and innovative Opera perform most of the year, augmented by guest performances in the Gewandhaus's first class philharmonic hall. Other theaters include Leipzig's Schauspielhaus and the Musikalische Komedie, which offer a wide variety of drama. Leipzig's Kabaretts, well-known throughout the German speaking world, serve up a special brand of biting political humor. The region is also home to no fewer than eight other opera companies within a two-hour radius, including Dresden's world-famous Semperoper. Dresden's Zwinger complex offers an Old Masters art collection to rival the leading collections in Western Europe, and the nearby Albertinum houses the treasures of the "Grunes Gewolbe." Weimar, the European Cultural Capital in 1999, is the home of the Goethe and Schiller houses and a splendid "Schloss" decorated in the Classical style, and Eisenach's Wartburg is the medieval castle whose "Singers' War" was made popular by Wagner's opera Tannhauser.

Local movie theaters offer recent releases, generally dubbed into German. Leipzig hosts several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, located in temporary quarters while a new facility is built, the Grassi Ethnographic and Decorative Arts Museum, Egyptian Museum, and several collections covering the historic Battle of Nations, scene of Napoleon's defeat in 1813. Travelling exhibits are often displayed in the various institutions.

Leipzig's traditional Christmas Market sets the tone for Holiday activities, while Dresden's Strietzelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. The region is home to a number of festivals and celebrations, many related to its rich musical history.

Leipzig's nightlife revolves around various bars and discotheques, as well as Moritzbastei, a university-associated club, offers space for some 1,000 revelers in deep underground caverns.


Munich, capital of Bavaria and a metropolis of almost 1.3 million people, is the dominant commercial, travel, and political center of southern Germany. It attracts numerous conventions, meetings, fairs, and exhibits with a broad range of economic activities. Munich is also one of the world's outstanding cultural and entertainment centers. Its excellent theaters, museums, and galleries present unending high-quality cultural performances and exhibits, while the traditional Bavarian love of fun sustains a wide variety of festivals, atmospheric nightspots, and entertainment. It is a dynamic city with a multitude of recreational and intellectual possibilities.

Munich is Germany's third largest city, after Berlin and Hamburg. The city long ago outgrew its medieval walls, leaving a well-defined inner city, or downtown area. Munich is also Germany's fastest-growing major city. Expansion continues at a fast pace with construction of new suburbs and U-bahn lines. Part of this growth is due to Bavaria's drive to become the electronics, information sciences, aerospace, biotechnology, and media center of Germany.

Munich is about 1,600 feet above sea level on the southern edge of a flat plain stretching from the foothills of the Alps, about 25 miles away, north to the Danube River. The Isar River flows through eastern Munich on its way to join the Danube.

The climate is like that in the northern U.S. Winters are cold but not severe. Temperatures rarely fall below 0°F, and 2-3 feet of snow may blanket the ground in January and February. In spring and fall, pleasant, clear, warm weather is interspersed with prolonged stretches of rain and cloudiness. Temperate summers are short with a fair amount of rain.

Individuals interested in further information about Munich and Bavaria should also look at the following websites:


German food stores offer a wide variety of food items of excellent quality, but the current dollar/mark ratio has made local shopping expensive. The sidewalk fruit and vegetable stands have beautiful, fresh produce, and the large open-air market, the "Viktualienmarkt," just behind the Marienplatz, offers almost any fresh food you can imagine, but at a high price.

Munich has Italian and Oriental food stores.


Clothing needed is like that worn in the northeastern U.S. During July and August, heavier weight summer clothes are needed. Only be a few days are over 90°F, and even then, evenings cool off. Both men and women are comfortable working in suits or lightweight wool dresses for the women. Most entertaining in Munich is informal, and a business suit or dress is appropriate. Due to Munich's frequent rainfall, bring a raincoat, preferably one with a removable liner, and suitable footwear. Boots are a must for the winter.

Munich is a fashion center; beautiful and well-made clothing can be purchased here. U.S. retail outlets such as Eddie Bauer are gaining a foothold in the Munich area. However, clothing of similar quality to U.S. items is frequently more expensive in Germany. Sales are conducted only twice a year.

Supplies and Services

Bring a sufficient supply of special toiletries, cosmetics, and over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Some favorite products, such as liquid aspirin/Tylenol for children, are unavailable locally.

Electronic items, such as calculators, computers, fax machines, microwave ovens, TVs and VCRs, stereos, etc., are available, but prices are sometimes higher than in the U.S.

All the normal necessities for comfortable living are readily available in Munich on the local economy. These include tailors, shoe and watch repair, laundry and dry cleaners, photo developing, small appliance repair, picture framing, and bicycle repair. Barbershops and beauty shops are in every neighborhood, and unless you frequent the most exclusive and expensive shops in the downtown area, prices will be comparable to those in the U.S.

Finding English-language reading materials will require some effort, at least until you gain a familiarity with the city. The closest U.S. library and bookstores are at least an hour's drive from Munich. The International Herald Tribune is available locally at some newsstands.

A locally published English-language magazine called Munich Found is very helpful in providing information and events in Munich and where to find certain things. Larger bookstores carry some English-language books and magazines, but the selections and supply are somewhat limited and are more expensive than in the U.S. Kiosks at the main train station carry a wide range of English-language newspapers and periodicals.

There are a number of Internet providers in Munich, including Compu Serve, AOL and Deutsche Telekom's T-Online.

Domestic Help

Few families have domestic help, but such help is available on a daily basis. Domestic services are, however, hard to find and quite expensive. Consequently, when a good house cleaner is found, many families will arrange to share his or her services.

Religious Activities

English-language services in downtown Munich are held by the following churches: Seventh-Day Adventist, Baptist, Christian Science, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Methodists and the Munich International Church (interdenominational). The American Church of the Ascension, (Episcopal) holds regular Sunday and Sunday School services in Harlaching. The University chapel and St. Killian's Church also hold Sunday masses in English.


The Munich International School (MIS) is an accredited and well-respected English-language school located in the southern outskirts of Munich. The Bavarian International School (BIS) is a new school located north of Munich, near the international airport.

The Munich International School is operating at its full capacity of almost 800 students in kindergarten through grade 12. The school has more applications for admission than places available, and this situation is expected to continue for some time.

The Bavarian International School (BIS) is located in the northern part of Munich. BIS has the backing of the Munich business community, the international community, and the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture. BIS is currently offering grades kindergarten (age four) through grade 12 to 300 students. BIS has its own Board of Directors that meets regularly with the MIS Board. BIS and MIS work together in a cooperative agreement to assure consistency of administration and curriculum for both schools.

Children with physical, emotional, or learning disabilities cannot be accommodate at present by the international schools.

German elementary schools with free tuition, in each section of the city, are open to American children. These schools may be extremely crowded, however, and the ratio of students to teachers is high. Children normally attend only half-day and have several; hours of homework. Older children sometimes enter German secondary schools, but language may be a barrier. Many German kindergartens accept American children, but they are also crowded and frequently have a long waiting list.

Special Educational Opportunities

The University of Munich, the largest in Germany, offers numerous courses. To enter, you must have an excellent knowledge of the German language and have already completed two years at a U.S. college. A German course for foreigners is taught only to those who have completed two years at a U.S. college. The nearest U.S. affiliated academic facility is a four-year branch of the University of Maryland in Schwaebisch Gemuend, approximately 200 kilometers from Munich.


Bavaria is a sports paradise. World-renowned German, Austrian, and Swiss ski resorts are within easy reach of Munich. Many resorts feature learn-to-ski weeks. Several Munich sport shops sponsor ski weeks at popular resorts, as well as special ski plans which provide transportation and instruction at a different slope each weekend. Most large sport shops rent ski equipment. The Munich International Ski Club organizes both day trips and longer trips throughout the ski season for its members.

Munich has three large public ice skating rinks, many large outdoor swimming pools and several larger indoor swimming pools. Several golf courses are also available, but greens fees are very expensive and many are operated by private clubs requiring membership. Horseback riding enthusiasts use several riding clubs.

The 1972 Olympic facilities give Munich the opportunity to host frequent international sporting events, e.g., equestrian competitions, soccer matches, and cycling competitions. Racing is also a popular spectator sport.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Walking tours through Munich are popular. From various observation towers you can see the city and as far as the Alps. Many old churches are interesting to visit. Numerous art galleries and museums are free or charge only a small entrance fee. The Deutsche Museum is the world's largest technical museum. Several large castles in and around Munich are well worth a visit. Many miles of pleasant and scenic trails are in the Alpine regions and in the Isar Valley on the outskirts of Munich. Also in Munich are several parks. The largest is the English Garden. Trips to Munich's Botanical Garden and to its Hellabrunn Zoo, one of Europe's largest, are also available.

The nearness of the Alps and a host of interesting cities offer unlimited touring opportunities. Bavaria has more interesting museums, castles, and architectural monuments than you could visit in a 2-year tour. Perhaps the most impressive points of interest are the towering Alps of Upper Bavaria and the Austrian Tyrol, with world-famous spas and sports facilities. Skiing is particularly popular, but the beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, and colorful people offer year-round attractions.

Numerous interesting cities are within a few hours' drive; included are Nürnberg, Ulm, Innsbruck, Augsburg, Salzburg, Regensburg, and Bayreuth, site of the annual Wagner Music Festival. The so-called Romantic Road connects the 16th century walled towns of Dinkelsbuehl, Noerdlingen, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Eastern Austria, the Czech Republic, Northern Italy, and Switzerland are within a day's drive.

Bavaria is also an excellent hunting and fishing area. Game includes deer, boar, chamois, capercaille, black cock, hare, fox, pheasant, partridge, and duck. Streams are well stocked with trout, and there is some river char and pike fishing. German hunting and fishing licenses are required.


The large Bavarian State Opera House and about 20 theaters have nightly performances. Concert lovers will find the musical fare frequent, varied, and of outstanding quality.

Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest, a combination carnival/beer festival, lasts about 2 weeks starting in mid-September. Fasching (carnival) begins in early January and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Munich is famous for its excellent beer, and the city features many beer halls. Europe's largest circus has its home in Munich and performs from Christmas until the end of March. Several theaters in downtown Munich feature recent English-language (usually American) films.

Social Activities

There are long-standing German-American clubs for men and women in the Munich community which combine social activities with charity work. The Columbus Society, a German-American society for all ages, offers a varied program of lectures, social gatherings, and outings. Membership is also available in international clubs such as the International Federation of Business Women, Zonta Club, Soroptomists Club and Lyceum Club.

Many opportunities for social contact with Germans are available, but initiative is required. Various sports, hobby clubs, and other social groups usually welcome German-speaking Americans. The Bavarian-American Center also sponsors exhibits, lectures, concerts, etc., during the year. These programs are well attended by Germans and offer a good opportunity to establish contacts with host-country nationals.


Stuttgart, the cultural and political capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg, has a population of slightly fewer than 600,000 people; adjoining suburbs contain over two million. The area is a vigorous and vibrant cultural and economic center, with high-tech industries such as automobiles, chemicals, electronics, and machine tools. The city, surrounded on three sides by low hills, retains an old-world Swabian charm in its modern downtown core as well as in its more traditional outlying districts. More than 30,000 U.S. military and dependents are stationed in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Major headquarters are located in Stuttgart and Heidelberg.

Land Baden-Wuerttemberg, which comprises the entire consular district, is an area of rolling hills and forests with a population of nearly 10 million and a yearly export trade of over $130 billion. In an area about the size of Switzerland (13,000 square miles) are such landmarks as the Black Forest, Swabian Alps, and the classical university towns of Heidelberg, Tuebingen, and Freiburg.

The climate is moderate, with mild summers averaging 60°F-70°F and winter temperatures slightly above freezing. Humidity is high, and the average annual rainfall is 20-30 inches.


German markets are well stocked with all types of food items. Store hours are restricted, with most shops closing at 6 pm on weekdays and early afternoon on Saturday. On the first Saturday of each month, stores remain open until 6 pm in winter and 4 pm in summer. Stores are also open Thursdays until 8:30 pm.


Bus, streetcar, and subway services are well developed, but do not conveniently serve the Stuttgart area.


Standards for street and formal dress in Stuttgart are becoming more casual. The variable climate makes a flexible wardrobe most useful. Prices for clothes in German stores are high, but twice-yearly sales provide high-quality items at bargain prices. Shoes for women and children have been difficult to find in the past.

Religious Activities

Regular English-language Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious services are held in Stuttgart under U.S. Army auspices. Monthly Anglican services are also available. German-language worship includes Lutheran Community, Catholic, Jewish, Church of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist, General Communion, and Latter-day Saints.


Dependent Education: Parents may send their children to German public schools free of charge. Waiting lists exist for day-care centers and private kindergartens (ages 3-6).

Special Educational Opportunities

Undergraduate work in various fields is offered by the University of Maryland at U.S. Army Education Centers. In addition, in fall 1992, the University of Maryland University College opened a 4-year program in Schwaebisch Gemuend. A 2-year graduate program for a master's degree in education is offered by Boston College, and other university degree programs are available.

Stuttgart has university, music academy, and art institute courses for those with German-language ability, and there is a film academy in Ludwigsburg. The French, Hungarian, and Italian Institutes offer lectures, concerts, films, and courses in French and Italian.

Numerous facilities exist for handicapped dependents, but specialized schools, such as those for the hearing or vision impaired, require fluency in German.


Hunting and fishing opportunities abound. Stuttgart and areas within 4 hours driving have an excellent range of sportsvolksmarching, horseback riding, ice-skating, swimming, bowling, tennis, golf, and cross-country and downhill skiing.


Entertainment and cultural events are abundant. Stuttgart's internationally acclaimed ballet and its opera company have performances throughout most of the year (with the exception of 2 months in late summer). Frequent concerts are given by the State Symphony and other orchestras and by various local groups. Stuttgart is, among other things, a jazz center. Various international artists and circuses also perform in Stuttgart during the year.

There are several museums, including artistic, ethnographic, and natural history collections. The expanded Stuttgart Staatsgalarie has attained international prominence. The Wuerttemburg Art Association offers periodic painting, sculpture, and graphic arts exhibits.

The annual fall harvest festival, a rival to the Munich Oktoberfest (which starts somewhat earlier and closes as Stuttgart's Volksfest gets into full swing) always attracts large crowds. Many towns have similar colorful festivals during the year centered around harvest time or historical events.

Downtown cinemas show many first run (several months after the U.S. opening) American and international films, dubbed in German. There are a few good theaters that occasionally show films in English or the original language.

There is a good downtown nightlife district, and one of the largest discos is located near the Trade Exhibition Center.

Social Activities

Several German-American groups are located in Stuttgart. Among these are the German-American Men's and Women's Clubs and the International Circle.


Düsseldorf is the capital of the German Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and a major political, commercial and cultural center. The city has a population of over 575,000 and the State, 17 million, about a quarter of Germany's total, making it one of Europe's most densely populated regions. The Ruhr is Europe's largest industrial region and Germany's principal producer of power for the entire nation. Today, the Ruhr's economy is more broadly based than ever before with less than five percent of the work force employed in the old coal and steel industries.

Dusseldorf is a large, cosmopolitan city with a flourishing arts community including opera, ballet, art galleries and concerts. The city has a sophisticated retail sector, including the famous Konigsallee of exclusive shops and chi-chi restaurants. It is also the seat of the German fashion industry. Dusseldorf is the site of some of the largest commercial fairs in Germany: the fairgrounds or Messeglande are near the city center and the international airport. The Düsseldorf Airport is Germany's third largest and is served by American carriers. For current connections to Diisseldorf, Government travelers should check with the travel office of their agencies or with a travel agency.

Located in the lower Rhine Valley, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are all within a few hours' drive or train ride of Diisseldorf. The city and its suburbs are built on the valley floor and are rimmed by low hills to the south and west. The Rhine is a major commercial thoroughfare and Dusseldorf is a major inland port. Much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War and has been rebuilt in a modern style, although Diisseldorf boasts a large and diverting Altstadt or old town full of charming restaurants and specialty shops. The city has incorporated suburbs on the opposite bank of the river, which include large parks and greenbelts, and there are a number of parks in the Innenstadt or downtown. Further information on Dusseldorf is available from the Internet at or its German language companion,

The climate in Dusseldorf is similar to the northern Atlantic seaboard of the U.S. with more rain throughout the year and much cloud cover. Significant snowfalls are rare. Summers are short and cool, particularly when compared to Washington, D.C.

Food, Clothing, Supplies and Services

German groceries and markets offer a wide variety of good quality foods. Most communities have open-air or farmers' markets selling fresh produce, meat and dairy products. All types of clothing and footwear are available locally from a wide range of shops and department stores although prices may be higher than those encountered in the U.S.

Clothing needed is similar dress for the northeastern United States. Standard business attire is worn in the office. Most social events do not require formal dress although there are a few occasions where it is needed or appropriate (e.g. opera, holiday balls, etc.).

Domestic help is available although very expensive. It is often possible to use an American ATM card at German bank cash machines connected to the PLUS or CIRRUS networks. For convenience with bill paying and for receiving funds electronically, most Americans have local currency accounts with one or another of the German banks, which have numerous branches throughout the region.

Religious Activities

English language services are held at Anglican (Episcopal), Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in the Düsseldorf area.


The International School of Düsseldorf has over 600 students in grades kindergarten through thirteen (postgraduate or international baccalaureate). Almost half the students are American; the next largest nationality is German, and the balance are from Britain, The Netherlands, Japan and other nations. The language of instruction is English. Other options include the German public schools, the Japanese international school or the French Lycee. Adult education in English is limited although some courses are available through university extension programs offered at nearby American military installations. There is no accredited international school in Cologne.


Participating sports opportunities include tennis, golf and ice-skating. There is an American professional football franchise in Dusseldorf-the Rheinfire-which has a regular spring season.

Social Activities

There is a large and active American community in Dusseldorf and NRW Many events are held under the aegis of an American Women's Club that has over a hundred members. The club hosts monthly lunches, a charity ball in December and a number of outings and tours. The American Chamber of Commerce is active in Dusseldorf as are a number of German-American friendship groups which host social and cultural events.


Bremen, dating from late in the 10th century, is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in Germany. It became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1358 and, from 1646, was one of Germany's free imperial cities.

The oldest and largest part of Bremenincluding what was the walled city of the Middle Ages, now marked by the former moatlies on the east bank of the Weser River. The area is an attractive park. A newer part of the city, Bremen-Neustadt, is on the west bank of the Weser. In addition, there are numerous suburban housing developments, including Neue Vahr, the largest of its type in Germany. The port and warehouse district lies to the north, along the banks of the Weser.

Bremen's position as a port has been long established, and it is today an important processing and distributing center for such products as coffee, wool, cotton, grain, and tobacco. Its industrial life has expanded greatly, and there are now several large shipyards, a growing electronics industry, a large and modern steel mill, and an important aircraft firm here. The population of the city is 674,000.

Bremen's cultural attractions include a number of museums, art galleries, theaters, an opera, libraries, fine old buildings of considerable architectural interest, and several parks. Among the latter is the large Bürgerpark, with exhibition grounds and congress halls.

Bremen's North Sea weather has a reputation worse than it deserves. On average, the temperature ranges from slightly above freezing in winter to the mid-60s in summer. In fall and winter, occasional prolonged periods of gray days are to be expected. For the rest of the year, however, the weather is tolerable to pleasant, although in the cooler range. Cloudless days are few, but many days are fine except for a short shower. Bremerhaven, 40 miles from Bremen and with a population around 150,000, was an important transoceanic passenger port, but with the decline of that trade, it has become specialized in container shipment. It is also the largest single fishing port on the European continent.

Bremen and the surrounding area provide adequate opportunities for sports and outdoor life. A country club, the Club zur Vahr, has two golf courses, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Several tennis clubs, including one with three indoor courts, are available. Fees are reasonable. There is a large indoor swimming pool and a number of public outdoor pools in and near Bremen. However, the weather is seldom warm enough (by American standards) to make outdoor swimming enjoyable. Riding is available, using English saddles. Skiers may go to the Harz Mountains or farther south to the Alps. Excellent hunting for boar, deer, hare, and fowl is available within easy distance of the city.

Bremen has many good movie houses showing the latest American, as well as German and foreign, films. The latter, however, normally have German soundtracks.


Dresden, once the home of one of the world's most important collections of art, is the capital of Saxony. Situated on the Elbe River about 60 miles southeast of Leipzig, it is a manufacturing city of 518,000 residents, producing precision tools, optical instruments, and electrical equipment.

The city, called "Florence on the Elbe," was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War; 35,000 people perished in the bombing raids and the city was reduced to rubble. Dresden has since been rebuilt, with part of the inner city restored to its original character. Most of its fabulous works of art were kept safe during the incessant bombings, but a great number of them were taken to Russia; some were returned in 1955, and fabulous art treasures are once again accessible to the public. The city became part of the Soviet occupation zone in May 1945.

Dresden was originally a Slavic settlement (Drezdzane) in the 13th century. It has been occupied by Austrians and Prussians and, from the late 15th century until 1918, was the residence of the dukes of Saxony.

Generations of writers, poets, and musicians were attracted to Dresden at some time in their lives, among them Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Dostoyevski, Ibsen, Bach, Handel, and a host of others.

The city is famous for its National Gallery, its museums, its university and scientific institutes, its music conservatory and opera course, the Zwinger Palace and Museum, the city halland for Dresden porcelain which, in reality, is produced in nearby Meissen.


Heidelberg, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg, is famous as the oldest university town in Germany. It is both a cultural center and a tourist attraction. Heidelberg escaped the bombing of World War II and is thus a combination of old and new, considered by many as the ideal German city to visit. Its most distinct disadvantage is its humid and overcast climate. It is neither very cold in winter nor very hot in summer.

Heidelberg's 15th-century castle, which draws thousands of visitors each weekend throughout the year, overlooks the old town and the Neckar River valley. Its most popular attraction, within the castle walls, is the Heidelberg Tun (Great Vat), a wine cask nearly 200 years old, with a 49,000-gallon capacity. The vat is a part of the city's folklore. Heidelberg itself has many interesting medieval buildings, and the cultural life generated by the university offers a wide variety of activities at reasonable prices. Concerts, theater, opera, and ballet are available at all times.

The University of Heidelberg dates from 1386, and probably is the country's most famous educational institution. Generations of scholars have added to its prestige throughout the centuries.

The recreational facilities in and around Heidelberg are good. In mild weather, there is broad opportunity for fishing, cycling, and swimming. When winter arrives, ski enthusiasts can find good areas in the Black Forest, which is only two to three hours away by car; if the weather is not cold enough there, the German, Swiss, or Austrian Alps can be reached in five to eight hours.

Nightclubs and restaurants are abundant for a city of Heidelberg's size. Many German movie houses are available, and the U.S. Army shows American films nightly in five area theaters.


The ancient city of Cologne (Köln) is the capital of the Rhineland and one of Germany's largest centers of population (937,500). Founded as a Roman town in 50 B.C., it became, through the ages, a medieval city of note, a center of arts and culture, and finally, a cosmopolitan city of tourism, industry, and commerce. It is situated majestically on the left bank of the Rhine (the right bank is mainly industrial), and the spires of its 11th-to 13th-century churches are dominated by that of the Dom (the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary), one of the most famous Gothic buildings in the world. Cologne was a religious and intellectual center during the Middle Ages.

There is a wealth of activity to attract the visitor to Cologne. Nine municipal and numerous other private museums are open to the public, and the Rhine Park and Tanzbrunnen (open air dancing area and fountain) remain popular tourist spots from year to year. Among the famous museums and galleries are the Kunsthalle (Municipal Art Gallery); the Roman-Germanic Museum, which recounts the history of the city; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum with its paintings by the old masters; and Ludwig Museum of contemporary and modern art.

Cologne offers opera, theater, concerts, fine hotels and restaurants, excellent shops, a zoo with 8,000 animals, an aquarium, and the ever-popular Rhine cable cars. Industry in the city encompasses cars, chemicals (eau de cologne, for example), pharmaceuticals, beer, marine engines, wire cable, paint, tools, and machines. Cologne has the largest broadcasting and television facilities in the Federal Republic.

The Amerika Haus of Cologne, at Aposteln-Kloster 13-15 in the city center, has been in operation for over 30 years.


Potsdam was the main residence of the Hohenzollerns under Friedrich the Great, the brilliant Prussian soldier and statesman whose philosophical and cultural leanings left a mark of refinement on the city. He built the Sans Souci Palace and developed the surrounding park lands during the mid-18th century; this and the enormous Neues Palais (new palace) are among the many showplaces in Potsdam today. Renovations are currently under way in these royal buildings.

The royal family of Prussia, later the imperial family of Germany, lived in this city, which became known as the home of Prussian militarism.

Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg. It is situated on the Havel River, about 17 miles from Berlin, and is a manufacturing city for textiles, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments. Its current population is about 135,000. Much of the German motion picture industry was developed in nearby Babelsberg. The studio is open year-round for tours and an adjacent theme park opened in 1991. Potsdam is the site of the Observatory of the University of Berlin and of Einstein Tower, an astrophysical observatory. In all, there are 21 colleges and technical schools in the area.

In 1945, the Potsdam Conference was held here by the Allied powers to implement the Yalta agreements for the administration of Germany. The Celcilianhof, a country residence built in 1913-15 by the son of the last German kaiser, was the conference site. It is now a hotel and museum.

The three gates of PotsdamNeuen, Hunters', and Brandenburgconstitute the restored remnants of the city wall. The main road, Klement Gottwald Allee, and more than 100 buildings along its length, also have been reconstructed in recent years, and the city is a popular tour destination.


Hanover is located on what was once the border between West and East Germany. It is the largest ferry port in Europe and Germany's most important Baltic port. Second in size only to Cologne among the cities of medieval Germany, it was a Hanseatic townit has a history dating back almost 900 years, and was known as the " Queen of Hansa." The Hansa was a union of North German merchants which, in the 14th century, became a league of cities offering defense of trading interests and commercial privileges, and which served as a court of jurisdiction. It was also a political power waging successful wars for economic aims. From 1926 to 1937, it enjoyed autonomy as a free city of Germany, and then was incorporated into the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein.

Among Lübeck's famous sons and honorary citizens are Thomas Mann, a Nobel Prize winner, and his brother Heinrich, also a writer; and Carl Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss historian who, as president of the International Red Cross during World War II, protected Lübeck by his negotiations to have the city declared a port of transshipment for Red Cross ships and a storage place for goods bound for Allied prisoners of war in German camps.

Lübeck has colleges of technical science, civil engineering, business administration, medicine, nursing, navigation, and music, and an institute of adult education.

The city's world-famous trademark is the Holsteintor (Holstein Gate), the best preserved town gate of the Middle Ages in Germany. The contours of the gate have become the distinguishing emblem of the town, and are shown on the 50 Deutsche Mark note of the German Bundes-bank, on postage stamps, and as a trademark symbol by commercial firms. Among the products on which the Holsteintor emblem is used is Lübecker marzipan, the sweet almond pastry exported throughout the world.

Lübeck is 17 minutes behind Central European time.


Hanover (in German, Hannover) is a city of 518,000 residents, located in the north central area of the country and is the regional capital of Lower Saxony. It is at the intersection of major highways and rail connections and is the site of the largest industrial fair in the world. It annually hosts exhibitions, conferences, and trade fairs, yet it maintains an atmosphere of culture and art with its many libraries, museums, and churches. Its beautiful Herrenhausen Gardens, formerly the summer home of Guelph princes, are now used for concerts and theater productions and for fireworks displays. One of the Herrenhausen gardens, the Grosser Garten, has been maintained in its original design for 250 years; another, the Berggarten, dating from 1666, has the largest collections of orchids and cacti in Europe.

The museums of Hanover include the Lower Saxony Regional Museum (art and natural and early history), the Hannover Art Museum (modern art); the Kestner, with its ancient exhibits, including a famous Egyptian collection; and the Wilhelm Busch Museum. There are four major libraries here, including a veterinary college and a medical college library, and churches of major denominations. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, conducts a service in English on Sunday mornings at 11:30.

Hanover has facilities for many sports. There are a stadium, an indoor arena, several swimming pools and saunas, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course at Blauer See, horse racing and cycle tracks, and ice skating rinks.

The city is the home of the Volkswagenwerk Foundation, which promotes scientific research, and the Federal Institute for Geo-sciences and Natural Resources. Currently, the Roderbruck Scientific Research Center is being developed.

A special feature of Hanover's many municipal services is an emergency medical consultation center at Ärztehaus, Berliner Allee 20. (The telephone number is 3-49-46.)

A British-operated English-language elementary school, comparing favorably with American facilities, is available up to grade six. Several good German elementary, secondary, and technical schools are also within the city, and Hanover has an excellent university.

The city hosts 15 consulates and two foreign/cultural information centers, of which Amerika Haus is one. Amerika Haus maintains a library and coordinates a program of lectures, seminars, and cultural events.


Kassel, the urban center of the North Hesse region, is known internationally for its municipal art collection, which includes 17 Rembrandts. It is a city of theater and festivals, and its exhibition of contemporary art, the Documenta, held every four years (the next is scheduled for 1993), is world renowned. The city is also the home of the Grimm brothers of fairy-tale fame.

Kassel is a center for industry, notably transportation equipment, and sponsors research and technology in that field. It is also the economic capital of Hesse and, as such, is host to numerous conferences every year at the Stadthalle (municipal center).

One of Kassel's major attractions is the beautiful Wilhelmshöhe Palace, built at the end of the 18th century as a residence for Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Under Jérôme Bonaparte, Kassel was the capital of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807 to 1813. The hillside park at Wilhelmshöhe, the great fountain and waterfalls, and the colossal statue of Hercules attract thousands of tourists each year from spring until autumn. The château remains open all year, although with limited tour hours during the Christmas season.

Other places of interest in Kassel include the Orangerie Palace in the city park; Löwenburg Castle at Wilhelmshöhe; Fredericianum, the oldest museum on the European continent (built by Simon Luis DuRy from 1769 to 1779); the Ottoneum/Museum of Natural Science, which was Germany's first permanent theater building (1604); the Grimm Museum; the world's only Museum of Wallpapers; the Regional Library, which houses the Hildebrandslied, the oldest surviving example of German poetry in written form (translated into 140 languages); and the Astrophysics Collection at the Hessian Regional Museum.

Sports and spa facilities are a major attraction in Kassel. The Kurhessen-Therme is a center for brine bathing therapy and is widely used by people from outside the North Hesse region as well as by local residents.

Kassel's population is 200,000. Its university, founded in 1971, has a student body of 9,500.


Nuremberg (Nürnberg), one of the great and historic German cities, is located in north-central Bavaria. In the 12th century it became, with Augsburg, a major crossroad on the commercial routes between Italy and Northern Europe; in the Middle Ages it flourished culturally as the center of the German Renaissance. Most of Nuremberg was severely damaged late in World War II because of the heavy production of military equipment in the city, but it has been rebuilt and is an important industrial center for products such as electrical equipment, chemicals, textiles, and precision instruments. Nuremberg also has large distilleries and breweries.

Students of 20th-century history will remember Nuremberg as the site of the International War Crimes Tribunal.

Much restoration has been accomplished in Nuremberg since World War II. There are many places of architectural and historic interest, such as the Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), which dates from the 14th century; the medieval churches of Saints Sebaldus, Lorenz, and Jacob; Kaiserberg Castle; and the Germanic Museum, which is considered one of Germany's finest. The 15th-century Dürer house and the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) also are major attractions.

In a country renowned for its Christmas markets, perhaps none is more celebrated than Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt, with more than 2.5 million annual visitors.


Duisburg, one of Germany's "big twelve" cities, is the largest inland water port in Europe. An ancient town which was once a member of the Hanseatic League, Duisburg is now a major industrial city of North Rhine-Westphalia, situated northwest of Düsseldorf at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr Rivers. Duisburg was a powerful city during the Middle Ages, and much of its early history is reflected in the Niederrheinisches Museum collections.

In addition to having a central library and 34 district branches, Duisburg is the site of Germany's largest technical library. It is a center for congresses, exhibitions, and sports and cultural events, and boasts a beautiful theater on König-Heinrich Platz. Many of its old churches were restored after World War II, among them Salvatorkirche, which was built in the 14th century on the site of earlier houses of worship. Dreigiebehaus, the oldest extant dwelling house (1536) and the ruins of the ancient city wall, which now has a Jewish memorial, draw a constant stream of visitors.

Duisburg, with a population of 525,000, supports a good zoo, the Kaiserberg; the Wedan Sports Park; Sechs-Seen-Platte (Six Lakes), a large water sports and recreational area; and various other recreational facilities. Many visitors are particularly interested in exploring the exhibits at the German Island Shipping Museum at Duisburg-Ruhrort.

The educational facilities and health care institutions in Duisburg are excellent. There are 15 hospitals in the city.


Dortmund, another old Hanseatic town, is situated in the heart of the Ruhr district, about 50 minutes from Düsseldorf-Lohausen Airport. With a population of 587,000 in the district, Dortmund is the commercial and cultural capital of Westphalia. It is famous as a brewing center and annually processes six million hectoliters (about 634 million quarts) of its well known "Dortmunder" beer. The city has held brewing rights for more than 500 years, and its Kröne beer hall is older than the better known Hofbräuhaus in Munich.

This huge European canal port is also the home of many other industries and commercial ventures. Steel, textiles, machine tools, nitrogen, and chocolate factories employ many thousands of people. Dortmund is also an engineering center for industrial complexes. It has a university and both teaching and research institutes.

The libraries of Dortmund contain 545,000 volumes in 16 buildings and four mobile units. The volumes are housed in the Municipal Archives, the university library, the Institute for Press Research, and the unusual and interesting Institute for German and Foreign Working-Class Literature.

The new Museum of Natural Science is only one of the many museums and permanent exhibits in Dortmund. Others include the Museum for History of the Arts and Civilization, the Ostwall Museum of Modern Art, the Coin Exhibition, the Westphalian Schools Museum, and the Natural History and Electricity Museums.

The facilities for sports in Dortmund are extensive. Westfalenhall is the largest sports and all-purpose hall in Europe. There are pools, racing tracks, tennis courts, health and gymnastic centers, hockey rinks, and a number of other recreational areas. The Botanical Gardens, the German Rose Garden in Westphalia Park, and the zoo are popular spots for residents and visitors.

Dortmund has modern shops, theaters, and galleries, and also supports a philharmonic orchestra. Many hospitals and clinics serve the community.


Aachen, for seven centuries the coronation city of the Holy Roman Empire, is situated on the western border of the country, at the foot of the Eifel and the Ardennes plateaus. The Belgian, Dutch, and German frontiers meet at its gates. The city is known throughout the western world by its French name, Aixla-Chapelle, and is a place of history, culture, and flourishing economy.

Aachen is the city of Charlemagne (Charles the Great), and the cathedral with the famous Palatinate chapel is one of the most important cultural monuments in the world; Charlemagne's marble throne is housed in the upper chamber of the gallery. This revered emperor was buried here in the year 814. In Aachen's Rathaus (town hall) where, for centuries, German kings were crowned, replicas of the imperial crown jewels are on display for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who annually flock to the city to see the renowned Christian relics.

Ecclesiastical art treasures are a significant, but not exclusive, part of Aachen's distinction. Its Rheinisch-Westfälische Technical College, with more than 34,000 students, is one of the largest in Western Europe and hosts many international technical congresses. Concerts and theater are an important part of city life, and elegant shopping in this ancient town of cloth makers and pin manufacturers draws visitors from many countries. Eurogress Aachen, the congress center in the park, is a famous European meeting point, and the many historic inns, hotels, and charming restaurants give the city a cosmopolitan flavor.

Aachen's spa, Acquis Grani, was famous among Roman legionnaires for its healing powers, and today the spa is operated throughout the year with the most modern facilities. Other major attractions of this western German city include the Casino of Bad Aachen, the world riding championships in the Soers Arena, the annual fair in Kornelimünster and, of course, the art treasures in the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum and the Neue Gallerie, as well as those in the cathedral.

The population of Aachen is about 250,000.


Bochum, an industrial city of 432,000 in the Ruhr Valley, is 650 years old as a municipality, but its history covers more than a millennium. Throughout the centuries it has been beset by fire, pestilence, and foreign invasion and, in 1960, Bochum suffered a major coal crisis. It is now a center of diversified industry and, more important, the home of the Ruhr area's first university, the Ruhr-University of Bochum, on the hills above the river at Querenburg. This was the first institution of learning in the country to provide an office for the exchange of information between school and industry, and its medical training program with the area hospitals, known as the Bochum Model Scheme, is unique in Germany.

In spite of its industrial nature, Bochum has many historical and cultural attractions. The Old Parish Church of Stiepel, founded in 1008, still has the lower part of the tower and the remains of the walls near the choir, which were part of the first building. St. Gertrudis Deanery, with a 1000-year-old fort, is built on a foundation laid in the year 710. Two other historic houses of worship are St. Bartholomew Pilgrimage Chapel, known for its unique Renaissance door, and the Protestant Church of Gertrudisplatz, which was completed in 1763.

Within the city are the German Mining Museum; the Bochum Art Gallery and Museum; Haud Ken-made, a moated castle from the Middle Ages; the Grumbt Collection of musical instruments (at the castle), with valuable manuscripts and a local history exhibit; Bochum Observatory Planetarium; the Astronomical Observation Station; Institute for Space Research; Rhine-Ruhr Railway Museum; Wattenscheid-Helfs Hof (history museum); German Puppet Institute; a large central library and a reference library for patent specifications; the Music School of Bochum; and a famous school for actors, the West-fälische Schauspielschule.

Bochum also boasts a German Shakespeare Society, a symphony orchestra, an unusual number of gymnastics and sports clubs (284), a playhouse, a zoo, theaters, restaurants, and halls for meetings and conferences.

Local time in Bochum is 31 minutes behind Central European Time.


Augsburg, founded by Augustus in 15 B.C. as a Roman colony, lies on the Lech River in western Bavaria, about 30 miles from Munich. It is the principal city on the Romantic Road, the celebrated route through the historic German towns of the Middle Ages.

Augsburg was a commercial and textile center for northern and southern Europe in medieval times and today, with a population of more than 250,000, remains a major textile hub. It was the richest town on the continent during the 15th and 16th centuries; two of its wealthy families, the Fuggers and the Welsers, were famous and influential throughout the Western world. The merchant Fuggers built a social settlement, the Fuggerei, for the old and the poor which remains in modern times as a housing development still serving low-income families for the original annual rate. The paths winding through the Fuggerei show the care with which the settlement was planned and, even now, the ancient houses appear in good repair.

It was here at Augsburg in 1955 that the Augsburger Religionsfriede (religious peace treaty) was signed, settling the conflict caused by the Reformation between Catholic and Lutheran princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The city is rich in architectural treasures of that time, and of the centuries which preceded it. The cathedral, built in 995, houses relics of its era; stained glass from the 11th century, and a beautiful altarpiece by the elder Hans Holbein (1465-1524) are testimony today of the art that was produced in those times. St. Ulrich's Church, with its two towers honoring both the Catholic and Protestant religions, and the town hall (Rathaus) also are major attractions here, as is Maximilian Strasse, the Renaissance street which cuts through the city center. Near the Lech River are municipal botanical gardens and a zoo which keeps animals in a natural habitat.


Located in west-central Germany, BIELEFELD is the center of the Westphalian linen industry, which began in the 13th century. The city also manufactures bicycles, sewing machines, and tools. Bielefeld is situated 55 miles southwest of Hanover and has a population of about 300,000. Built in the 1200s and restored in the late 1800s, Sparrenberg Castle is now a museum.

Many of the city's historical churches and buildings were damaged during World War II.

BRUNSWICK (in German, Braunschweig) is the capital of Lower Saxony and was formerly the capital of the duchy of Brunswick. The city, with an estimated population of 255,000, is situated in central Germany, 34 miles southeast of Hanover. Industries include the manufacture of cameras, pianos, and automobiles. Brunswick was allegedly founded in 861, by Bruno, son of Ludolf, the Saxon duke. Historical buildings include St. Blasius Cathedral, built between 1173 and 1194, which contains the tomb of the duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion. A fortress built by him in 1175, the Dankwarderode, still stands.

CHEMNITZ , called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the Communist era, is an industrial city on the Chemnitz River at the foot of the Erzgebirge mountain range, some 40 miles southeast of Leipzig. Made a free imperial city in the year 1125, it became an early center of the textile industry after it was given the monopoly of bleaching in the mid-14th century. It also developed as a transportation hub, and as a center for chemical production and machinery. Chemnitz suffered heavy bomb damage in World War II. The city has approximately

302,000 residents. It is the site of the prestigious Technische Hochschule (polytechnic institute), founded in 1836; the library contains 588,000 volumes. A combined city/regional library is also located here.

DESSAU is 34 miles north of Leipzig and is an important railroad hub on the Berlin-Leipzig line. Industrially, the city is well developed, especially in the area of mechanical engineering. Dessau has a sugar refinery that processes the beets grown in the rich surrounding farmland. German settlers established Dessau some time during the 12th century, and it received a city charter in the early 13th century. The city has a population of approximately 105,000.

ERFURT , with a population of about 215,000, is situated approximately 60 miles from Halle, in the central-west region of the country. A major commercial city, Erfurt manufactures office equipment and typewriters. It is known for horticulture and seed growing; a horticulture show-ground and museum is located here. Erfurt flourished during the Middle Ages as the gathering place of merchants. In 1808, the city was the site of the famous meeting between Alexander I and Napoleon. The heads of the governments of East and West Germany held their first meeting here in 1970. Historical points of interest include the ancient Merchants' Bridge that crosses the Gera River, built in 1325; the Old University, where Martin Luther studied; the Augustinian monastery, which he entered; and the 18th-century, baroque-style Governor's Palace. The elegant homes of the late medieval and Renaissance periods display Erfurt's former wealth. One of Germany's oldest universities was founded here in the late 14th century.

Located about 57 miles directly north of Bonn, ESSEN is a city of 620,000 residents. It extends southward through lovely suburbs into the timbered hills above the Ruhr River, where the abbey church of Werden, founded around 800, stands. Since World War II, Essen has taken on a modern look and has traffic-free shopping streets. Relics of the ancient city include the Münster Church, built around 873. The city was established about 852 and housed a convent for noblewomen. Essen later developed as a result of coal mining and heavy industry in the area. The manufacture of plastics and consumer goods are among its industries today.

The city of GELSENKIRCHEN is located in western Germany, about 40 miles northeast of Cologne. As a result of the northward spread of Ruhr coal mining in the late 1800s, Gelsenkirchen changed from a small village into a large industrial city. After 1958, when coal production decreased, the city had to diversify its industries. Today, machine building, the clothing industry, and glass-making have become economic mainstays. There is a central shopping area, a zoo, a theater, an artists' area, and two racetracks here. Gelsenkirchen has an estimated population of 290,700.

Situated 10 miles south of Dortmund, HAGEN is on the northern fringe of the picture-perfect Sauer-land Hills. Like other cities in the region, Hagen grew with the expansion of Ruhr coal mining. It was chartered in 1746 and remained small until the late 1800s when industrialization began. Hagen suffered considerable damage during World War II but was quickly reestablished after 1945. Hagen's current population is 209,500.

The city of JENA is located less than 100 miles west of Dresden and about 25 miles east of Erfurt. It has an economy based on the glass and chemicals industries. Jena is known for its university, founded in 1554; and its optical works, founded by Carl Zeiss in 1846. Notable landmarks include the Zeiss planetarium, the late-Gothic style St. Michael's Church, the old university, and a 14th-century town hall. The current population in Jena is about 106,600.

KARLSRUHE (also spelled Carlsruhe) is situated in southwest Germany, just east of the Rhine River near the Black Forest. Formerly the capital of the grand duchy of Baden, the city currently is a retailing, transportation, and manufacturing center. The German Court of Justice (supreme court) and Constitutional Court are located here. Karlsruhe, founded in 1715, has a symmetrical fan of streets that extend south of its 16th-century palace, which is now a museum. The streets to the north of the palace, through its parks and gardens, mirror the others. Germany's first technical university, Fridericiana University, was founded here in 1825. Karlsruhe's population is about 268,700.

KIEL lies at the head of Kieler Förde, a deep inlet of the Baltic Sea, which forms the eastern terminus of the Kiel Canal. Kiel's location, about 56 miles north of Hamburg, offers a magnificent view of the water and passing vessels. The city has facilities for processing foods, especially fish; other industries include brewing and manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment. The Old Market, with traffic-free shopping streets, lies in the shadow of the medieval Church of St. Nicholas. The city has an estimated population of 250,000.

The city of KREFELD , whose population is 220,000, is situated less than 50 miles northwest of Bonn. The Rhine River lies eight miles west of the city. Chemicals, silk, steel products, and clothing are among Krefeld's manufactured goods. Protestant refugees, including Mennonites, introduced the silk industry here in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Situated 80 miles southwest of Berlin, MAGDEBURG is a transportation hub with a population of close to 290,500. The city's economic life revolves around the nearby lignite (brown coal) field in Saxony and the large potash deposits around Stassfurt. Magdeburg's port plays a major role in the engineering and shipbuilding industries. Founded in 805 by Charlemagne, the city became an archbishopric in 967. Magdeburg was a leader among the Hanseatic League cities but was practically destroyed in 1631 during the Thirty Years War. It regained its prominent status after becoming part of Prussia in 1814. During World War II, Magdeburg was a major industrial center. The Allies bombed the city repeatedly and finally took it on April 18-19, 1945.

MAINZ lies on the west bank of the Rhine River in southwest Germany. Frankfurt am Main is located 20 miles to the east. A port city, Mainz is also an industrial hub, producing chemicals, optical glass, and food products. Mainz was once the capital of Rome's Upper Germany Province. The Romans founded the city as a camp on the Rhine in 13 B.C. Mainz became a political and religious power, and was a free city after 1118. It remained influential until Napoleon dissolved the empire in 1806. Historical sites, most of which were damaged during World War II, include an 18th-century grand-ducal palace and an 11th-century cathedral. Johann Gutenberg, the printer-inventor, was born here in the late 1300s; the university named in his honor was founded in 1447. There is also a Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. The population here is about 185,000.

The port city of MANNHEIM lies on the east bank of the Rhine River, about 60 miles northwest of Stuttgart. Along with its twin city, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim is the country's second major inland port. The port area has grain elevators and facilities for petroleum storage and refining. There are excellent connections to other cities by water and rail. The city manufactures automobiles, electrical equipment, and farm machinery. Chartered in 1606, Mannheim was attacked and destroyed twice, first during the Thirty Years War, and then by the French. In the late 16th century Mannheim was the musical headquarters of Europe. The earliest plays of Friedrich von Schiller were performed here in the city's theater (built between 1776 and 1779). The city has a population of nearly 300,000.

Located in northwest Germany, about 80 miles northeast of Cologne, MÜNSTER is a distribution center for the area's grain and lumber. Dating from the year 805, Münster was originally named Mimigernaford; its current name was given in 1068. During the 13th and 14th centuries Münster was a dominant member in the Hanseatic League. The Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War, was signed in Münster's town hall in 1648. Notable landmarks include a large 13th-century cathedral, a 14th-century town hall, and the Gothic Church of St. Lambert. Münster, whose population exceeds 273,000, has a museum of fine arts.

ROSTOCK lies on the Warnow River, just over 40 miles north of Schwerin. The current population here is about 254,000. Rostock is the country's largest port on the Baltic Sea. The city's industries include the manufacture of chemicals and diesel engines. Rostock was chartered in 1218, and in the 14th century it joined some 80 other German cities in forming the Hanseatic League to promote commerce. The University of Rostock was founded in 1419.

Situated on Lake Schwerin, about 60 miles east of Hamburg, SCHWERIN is a manufacturing city with a population of about 125,000. It manufactures cigarettes, food products, machinery, and ceramics. Settled by the Wends around 1018, Schwerin received its charter in 1161. It was the seat of a bishopric from 1167 to 1648. A 13th-century Gothic cathedral may be found here.

WIESBADEN , the capital of Land Hesse, is located in central Germany. It lies at an altitude of 500 feet at the southern base of the Taunus mountain range, 20 miles west of Frankfurt am Main. The population of Wiesbaden is 268,900; it is noted for its mineral springs and mild climate. Industries include the manufacture of pottery, boats, clocks, and paints. The city is a trading post for lumber, fruit, and vegetables. Rhine wines are produced from the nearby vineyards. The Celts founded Wiesbaden in the third century B.C.; it was a popular Roman spa. The city boasts a casino, a 19th-century palace, the Nassau State Library, and the Hessian State Theater. A U.S. military base and hospital is located in Wies-baden.

WUPPERTAL is situated in the western region of the country, 40 miles north of Bonn. Industrially, the city relies on its textile production, which includes velvet, silk, carpets, linen, and artificial fibers. It is also a major center for the production of rubber and pharmaceuticals. The vicinity around Wuppertal was settled between the 11th and 12th centuries. This city of 380,000 residents was heavily damaged during World War II.

Positioned 40 miles south of Leipzig, ZWICKAU is a city with many historical buildings. Probably established in 1118, it was a free imperial city from 1290 until 1323. At that time, it was overtaken by the mar-graves of Meissen. Notable buildings include St. Catherine's Church, begun in 1212 and rebuilt in late Gothic style; the city hall of the 15th century; the late Gothic Clothworkers' Hall, built in 1522-36; the Church of St. Mary, dedicated in 1118 and altered in the late Gothic, style in 1505-37, which contains a painting of Christ by Lucas Cranach the Elder; and the Oberstein Castle, built in 1565-85 and now a penitentiary. Zwickau today has an estimated population of 120,500, and an economy based on the nearby rich coal fields. The manufacturing of textiles, dyes, ceramics, and small automobiles also supports its residents. There is a technological institute located here. Zwickau was the birthplace of Robert Schumann, the composer.


Geography and Climate

Unified Germany comprises 16 states (Lander in the plural; singular: Land), of which three (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg) are city-states. Berlin, with a population approaching four million, is surrounded by the State of Brandenburg, with the Brandenburg Land capital at Potsdam, a city that adjoins Berlin on the southwest. Bavaria is Germany's largest land. Germany's population exceeds 82 million and, with a total land area of only 137,800 square miles (slightly smaller than the State of Montana), the nation is one of the most densely populated and urbanized in Europe.

Germany has five distinct geographical areas and widely varying landscapes. From north to south these are: the flat north German lowlands; the hills and the low mountains of the Mittelgebirge; the west and south German plateaus and mountains (including the Black Forest, the Schwarzwald); the south German Alpine foothills and lake country; and the Bavarian Alps with the Zugspitze (Germany's highest mountain, 9,717 ft.) near Garmisch.

The most important rivers are the Rhine, the Weser, the Elbe, the Main, the Oder, and the Danube. The first three flow northward, emptying into the North Sea. The Main is a tributary of the Rhine. The Danube, starting as a spring in the beautiful, historic town of Donaueschingen in southwest Germany, flows east 1,725 miles to meet the Black Sea in Romania. Lake Constance (Bodensee), Germany's largest lake, lies at the border separating Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Germany is in the Temperate Zone and enjoys frequent weather changes, sometimes daily. The country has four distinct seasons with rainfall frequent in most months, especially in the autumn. Winter temperatures and snowfall tend to be more extreme in the southern part of the country where the average elevation is higher, but even low-lying Berlin has snowfalls and winter temperatures which occasionally dip below 10°F. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than Washington, D.C., although short summer hot spells are common.


With a population totaling more than 80 million persons, Germany has one-quarter of the population of the European Union. It is the largest nation in Europe after Russia even though, in size, it is smaller than either France or Spain. Today, over 85 million people speak German as their mother tongue.

Many Americans call Germany home. There are thousands of U.S. military men and women including retirees, Government employees, representatives of U.S. businesses, academics and their family members throughout Germany. Relationships between Germans and Americans are generally very positive. Many older Germans remember the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshall Plan after World War II and the commitment and aid pro

vided by the Berlin Airlift in 1948. America's steadfast support of German democracy, especially during the crises of the Cold War, adds to the generally positive reputation of the U.S. in Germany. Many Germans travel or have traveled to the U.S. for business or pleasure and many learn English from the earliest years in school. English is a common second language, especially in the western parts of Germany, although some German-language ability is necessary everywhere for a rewarding living and cultural experience.


The chronology of German events since the end of the Second World War has been dramatic and extraordinarily eventful. After Germany's defeat, the country was occupied by the four Allied powers-the U.S., the U.K., France and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the zones under control of the three western nations united to become the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). In the same year, the eastern part of the country, under control of German Communist authorities and the Soviet Union, was declared a separate German State and became the GDR. On October 3, 1990, following the revolutionary changes of late 1989, the Federal Republic and the GDR joined to form a reunified Republic of Germany that extended the constitution and laws of the former West Germany to five new eastern States.

The city of Berlin, surrounded by East Germany, had a special status in the immediate postwar period and was under the military occupation of the four allies under a

By 1948, Soviet violation of Four-Power Agreements from the immediate post-war days increasingly had isolated their zone from those parts of Berlin occupied by the Western powers and the division of the city began to take shape. The Berlin airlift of food and supplies in 194849 was an Allied response to Soviet efforts to use their control of overland access to Berlin to force the Western powers from the city. The Berlin Wall, the infamous dividing line between East and West Berlin, went up almost overnight in August 1961 in an effort to stem the tide of East Germans departing for the West. The Wall remained in place as a physical and psychological barrier until November 1989 when, under the pressure of weeks of peaceful protests throughout the GDR and changes in Soviet policy, it suddenly collapsed along with the government that had built it. One year later, Germany was unified. In 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, made the historic decision to move the German Government and Parliament back to Berlin from Bonn where it had been located in a "provisional capital" since 1949.

Public Institutions

Democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany is founded on the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which came into force in May 1949. It provides for a parliamentary democracy and is protected by the Federal Constitutional Court. The constitution contains strong guarantees of individual rights for all. Matters requiring centralized direction, such as foreign policy, foreign trade, defense, and monetary policy, are reserved to the Federal Government. Parliament has two Chambers. The first Chamber of Parliament, the so-called "lower house," is the Bundestag, which normally comprises 656 members popularly elected every four years. The "upper house," the Bundesrat, is composed of 69 deputies appointed by the State or Land governments. This Chamber can approve or veto certain important legislation passed by the Bundestag.

Like the U.S., modern Germany is a highly decentralized nation. Each of the 16 States, or Lander, in the German republic has its own state government, with a Parliament and separate executive branch led by the head of government, the Minister-President. Education, social services, public order, and police are under Lander control. The ability of the Federal Government to affect Lander decisions in matters reserved to the states is quite limited, a feature of the German system of government deliberately created as a result of the experiences of the National Socialist period.

The Federal President, whose powers are mostly limited to ceremonial functions as head of state, is elected every five years by the Federal Convention, consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the state legislatures. The Federal Chancellor, Germany's Prime Minister, is elected by a majority vote of the Bundestag for a four-year term corresponding to the life of the Bundestag. As chief executive, the Chancellor has a strong position in the German system of government. The Bundestag can remove the Federal Chancellor by electing a successor with an absolute majority of votes.

The largest national political parties are the Social Democratic Party (SPD), leaders of the governing coalition following Parliamentary elections in 1998, and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) which operates in tandem with the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria. The CDU governed Germany during the periods 1949-69 and 1982-98. Germany's "Greens;" a political party officially known as Alliance 90/The Greens, with roots in the environmental and left-wing movements of the seventies, entered government as junior coalition partner in 1998. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is a small center-right party that has participated as a partner in most German governments since 1949, with the exception of the periods 1957-61, 196669 and after the 1998 elections. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) is the successor political organization to the Communist Party which ruled in the former German Democratic Republic. It enjoys limited regional strength, particularly in some districts of Berlin and the states of the former GDR.

Arts, Science, and Education

Germany has a active and highly innovative theater culture, in both the large cities and smaller communities throughout the country. Theaters and acting companies are usually subsidized although more and more theatres are privatizing, especially in Berlin. Despite this financial dependence, theaters have great artistic freedom guaranteed by the German Basic Law.

For lovers of the visual arts, almost every city maintains art exhibitions and private galleries. Germany has more than 3,000 museums, of which 500 are concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most heavily populated of the Lander. There are outstanding art museums in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Kassel, Stuttgart, and Wiesbaden. The most extensive art collections in the care of a local authority are found in the city of Cologne, including the Wallraf Rich-artz Museum and the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art. The latter institution contains one of the largest collections of American modern art outside the U.S. Cologne also enjoys a global reputation as a sales center for contemporary art. Every five years, the city of Kassel, in the state of Hesse, hosts the largest festival of modern art in the world. Meanwhile, Berlin is also experiencing a revival in the arts and is seeking to establish the Berlin Biennial as a major international show and marketplace.

Foreign artists are frequently involved in German cultural events. Almost every German opera house has American singers under contract. Several German orchestras have an American conductor, and many have American musicians. Every year major American orchestras and dance companies perform under commercial auspices in Germany, touring several cities. American artists are represented in all major museums, exhibits, and galleries around the country. German-language productions of American plays and musicals are frequently part of the repertoire of German theater companies.

As in the U.S., where education is a State and local function, education in Germany is largely the responsibility of the Lander. The Lander coordinate their educational policies through the "Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs " (Kulturministerkonferenz). The Federal Government can legislate on vocational training and regulations governing the basic principles of higher education and research, and, as in the U.S., it provides important subsidies in these areas.

As an industrial nation lacking raw materials, Germany sees high standards of education and high levels of productivity as essential to the quality of life of its citizens. Although there are many regional variations in educational patterns and changes under way, certain basic practices remain as the German educational model. Compulsory schooling begins at age six and lasts nine years (in some Lander, 10). As in most European countries, Germany relies on early testing and the track system to select students for vocational training leading to skilled employment or further academic study culminating in the university. Most children are tested at age 10. Options include placement in a Hauptschule or Realschule-vocational high schools or in a Gymnasium, an academic high school. In some Lander there are comprehensive schools called Gesamtschulen. After completion of their compulsory schooling, students may qualify for higher-level specialized vocational training at a Fachöberschule, after which admission to a polytechnic university is possible. The Gymnasium leads to the award of the highly-prized "Abitur," a certificate received after successfully passing stringent tests at the conclusion of the 13th year. (Most eastern Lander give the Abitur after only 12 years.) The Abitur degree is required for university entrance. The comprehensive school embraces all these tracks.

There are nearly two million students at institutions of higher education in Germany. There are over 200 advanced institutions of several kinds (universities and technical universities, polytechnic universities, comprehensive universities, teacher training colleges, and fine art colleges). Numerous adult education centers (Volkshochschulen) also offer an attractive spectrum of subjects for personal enrichment.

Study courses at the 70 universities are divided into basic studies (Grundstudium) and specialized studies (Hauptstudium). Basic studies culminate in an intermediate examination or Vordiplom (usually after four or five semesters) and specialized studies in the Diplom or State Examination (after eight or more semesters, depending on the field). American students with two years of full-time college study may be admitted to German universities if they have the required language proficiency. Students with combined SAT scores above 1,300 may sometimes be admitted with less U.S. college credit. Admission requirements for doctoral and other advanced programs vary. There is limited access to the medical fields.

Education in Germany, including university education, is free of charge for all students, including foreigners.

Commerce and Industry

The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the world's leading economic powers. In terms of overall economic performance, Germany is Europe's major industrial nation, the world's third largest industrial country (after the U.S. and Japan) and the world's second largest exporting country. Its per capita income is higher than the U.S. and second only to Japan. Principal German industries include automobiles and other road vehicles, chemicals, machinery, electrical goods, iron, steel, and coal. Germany imports food, raw materials, textiles, oil, natural gas, and various manufactured goods.

International trade is crucial to the German economy and the nation enjoys a steadily increasing trade surplus of almost $60 billion. Principal exports are motor vehicles, machinery, chemical products and electrical engineering products. In percentage terms, over 70 percent of Germany's trade is with European Union nations. The U.S. is Germany's third largest export partner, behind France and the U.K. At the same time, the U.S. is the fourth largest importer to Germany.

The German labor market has had to cope with profound changes during the past decade and the rate of joblessness, especially in the eastern parts of the country, was a major issue in the election of 1998 that returned the Social Democrats to power. Since then, strategies and policies to stimulate the economy and create jobs have been at the forefront of government deliberations and public discussion. The problem remains most acute in the eastern parts of the country, the former GDR, where an unemployment rate more than 50 percent higher than in western Germany persists in a region with only one-quarter of Germany's population. About one-third of German workers belong to large, powerful trade unions that bargain collectively for wages and working conditions and commonly participate in industrial policy and managerial decisions. Pressures from continuing high unemployment, high labor costs, an aging population and costly social security/pension programs are forcing Germany to consider reform or restructuring of its labor market and social policies.



Germany requires a valid German driver's license. No one under age 18 is issued a German driver's license. You can get German and international licenses during registration if you present a valid driver's license either from the U.S. or another country with an appropriate translation into German. A U.S. license must be valid on application. Without a valid license, you have to attend a local driving school to obtain a German license. Tuition rates are high, around $730-$900. A passport-sized photograph is needed for both the German and the international drivers licenses.

A driver's license issued in the U.S. or any other country brought into Germany is not accepted in Germany unless you can prove that the applicant was a resident in the country where the driver's license was issued for six months or longer.


Germany's urban transportation system is generally excellent and consists of electric trains, streetcars, and buses. Subways or U-bahns are found in several cities including Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich. All cities have superb taxi service. Taxi rates are relatively expensive and tipping is customary. Public transportation in Germany is easily accessible, clean, dependable, and safe, and is a common method of getting around cities.

As in other countries of continental Europe, Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road. City speed limits, unless otherwise posted, are usually 50 kilometers or 31 miles per hour; on State highways, 100 kilometers or 62 miles per hour. Sections of the German autobahns have no general speed limits for passenger cars, but certain stretches of roadway often will have posted limits that are strictly enforced by radar monitoring. Most emergency vehicles are painted off-white or red and white, with police vehicles painted green and white; emergency ambulances are lettered and numbered in orange or red. Fire vehicles are red.

The Berlin transport system consists of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains. There is excellent service to most parts of the city. A single adult fare (Einzelfahrschein) costs more than $2 in Berlin although a variety of special fares exists for regular users of public transportation.

The large metropolitan areas of Diisseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich are also served by excellent S-Bahn and UBahn systems along with buses and trams. Leipzig has no subway system although public transportation is excellent and is being modernized.


Germany's largest transport network is the federal railway system (Deutsche Balm AG) which was privatized and decentralized in 1994. More than 25,000 miles of track connect cities and towns throughout Germany and the system is constantly being upgraded and modernized. In addition to domestic high-speed intercity express service, German cities are connected to cities throughout Europe by frequent international express trains. Rail service between German cities, large and small, is excellent, and most European capitals, including London, can be easily reached within 24 hours. Rail fares in Germany are lower and rail usage much more common than in the U.S.

Due to its geographical position in the heart of Europe, Germany is a hub of European air traffic. Almost all major international airlines operate services to or within the Federal Republic. Frankfurt has the busiest international airport in Europe. Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich airports also accommodate international flights including direct flights to and from the United States. The Bonn/Cologne airport is a "feeder" for Frankfurt as well as an intra-Europe airport hub.

Only the United States has a more extensive network of highways than Germany. Because of its well-developed road system, Germany is an ideal country for automobile travel. Most people find a car desirable-sometimes for transportation to and from work-as well as for shopping and recreation. Express highways connect most major German cities, and secondary roads are usually excellent, so all parts of Germany are easily accessible by car.

International road signs are used everywhere in Germany. Drivers need to be familiar with these signs as well as with local driving rules, which are sometimes very different from U.S. driving customs. Parking regulations are rigorously enforced throughout the country and several different systems of paying parking charges may be encountered.


Telephone and Telegraph

Post and telecommunication services in Germany were reformed by a landmark 1995 law in response to European Union requirements and the enormous technical and marketplace changes occurring globally. Further changes resulting from deregulation are continuing. Telephone service in residences is now available through Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest telecommunications company and the third largest in the world. The company traditionally enjoyed a monopoly on local telephone service in Germany. Telephone service is charged on a "per unit" basis of actual usage and tends to be slightly more expensive than U.S. phone service, especially for high-volume users although deregulation and competition are forcing rates lower. Rental and call charges are paid monthly. Itemized bills are now available. Direct long-distance dialing is available in all German cities to most places of the world. Dialing the U.S. from Germany costs much more than direct dialing from the U.S. to Germany. Collect calls from Germany to the U.S. are charged at U.S. rates. AT&T, Sprint, and MCI credit cards and callback services are currently used by many employees for U.S. calls at considerable savings although international long-distance rates are falling as more and more competition enters the communications marketplace.

Germany has an extensive cellular telephone network covering nearly the entire country and personal telephones are commonplace. Deutsche Telekom offers ISDN service to businesses and residences in most locations and the use of ISDN channels is growing fast. Installation fees and monthly service rates vary but are reasonable.

There are scores of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany, both local and national, including AOL and Compu Serve. Deutsche Telekom offers Internet connections through its T-Online service.

UUNET, an affiliate of MCI World Communications, also provides Internet access throughout Germany. Costs to connect to the Internet are somewhat higher than in the U.S. because, in addition to paying the service provider, users must pay for their local calls on a "per unit" basis.

U.S. telephones, including most cordless telephones, answering machines, and fax machines will operate in Germany although devices with internal clocks may run slow because of the difference in cycles in the electrical current.

Radio and TV

Germany has both government and commercial broadcasting. Radio and television in Germany are dominated by two major organizations, ARD, a national public broadcasting network combining eleven regional affiliates, each of which has a radio and a TV arm; and ZDF, Germany's national television broadcaster. The regional affiliates generate most of the programming for the main ARD channel, known in Germany as the "first channel." ZDF is the "second channel" and the regional affiliates, such as WDR or NDR, are the local "third channel." ARD affiliates and ZDF are neither purely commercial nor government-controlled broadcasters. They are independent corporations operating under public laws and controlled by boards whose members are selected by political parties, churches, labor unions, and other public groups. Television programming in Germany is supported both by viewer/listener fees and by commercials. All programs are produced or dubbed in German, including foreign programs and films. The public broadcasters usually favor a program mix more oriented towards news and documentaries.

The most important commercial television broadcasters include: RTL, SAT 1, RTL Plus, Pro 7, n-tv (the first all-news network in Germany), DSF (German Sports TV), RTL-2, and VOX (an "infotainment" channel). While the public companies broadcast on public frequencies, commercial companies rely mostly on the cable network and their programming emphasizes entertainment. Programs are interrupted by commercials. Households serviced by German cable networks can receive approximately 36 programs from Germany and neighboring countries. Satellite service is also available in Germany. English language television broadcasting such as BBC World, BBC Prime, CNN International,

CNBC and AFTN (Armed Forces Television Network) is available on many cable and satellite services.

Radio broadcasting in Germany is dominated by ARD affiliates. Virtually all of them broadcast on two or three frequencies. One channel typically concentrates on pop music and casually presented features and news. Other broadcasts are reserved for classical music, political magazines, educational programs, and radio plays. The number of commercial radio stations in Germany is growing constantly and there are nearly 200 private radio stations.

It is well-known that transmission standards differ for European and American television (PAL vs. American NTSC). European television sets will not operate in the U.S. and American television sets will not operate in Germany. Similarly, NTSC video products cannot be shown on PAL-only television sets. Multistandard sets are required to receive programs where American community cable television systems are operated. CB use by U.S. citizens in Germany is authorized, but it is more restricted than in the U.S. Licensing is obtainable from German civil telecommunications authorities. If turntables for LPs and/or reel-to-reel tape recorders are brought to Germany, remember that the electrical current here is 230v, 50 cycles. Although transformers will reduce voltage to 110v, the 50-cycle adjustment requires replacing the 60-cycle pulley for operation at the correct speed.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Germany's Basic Law guarantees freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. There is no censorship. As a consequence of the strong position of a free press, Germany is as media rich as the U.S. In fact, in terms of the availability of news and information from other countries, Germany, like many other European countries, is far more news saturated than the U.S. There are, however, significant differences between the media in the two countries. Germany remains principally a newspaper-reading nation but the broadcast media are possibly even more influential in their ability to influence public opinion.

Regional newspapers, many with national circulation, play a larger role than in the U.S. and general newspaper readership far exceeds that of the U.S. A circulation of 200,000 is an average circulation for a German regional paper with even higher figures for several regional papers that circulate nationally. Large circulation newspapers in Germany include the tabloid Bild (Hamburg), Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt) Rheinische Post (Diisseldorf), Leipziger Volkszeitung (Leipzig) and the influential Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit. In Berlin, Berliner Zeitung is the daily with the largest circulation, followed by Berliner Morgen-post and Der Tagesspiegel. In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, about 9,000 periodicals of all sorts are published in Germany. Der Spiegel, a weekly news magazine with a circulation of over one million, is one of the largest. A typical well-educated German household might subscribe to a local paper, a national paper and a weekly news magazine. Many major papers and magazines are openly identified with particular political parties or political viewpoints.

Nearly 75 German newspapers are now on-line with Internet sites. One particularly good English-language site is: http://www.Berliner-Morgen-postde. Updated every two weeks, the site has translations of the newspaper's feature stories about Berlin, lots of the latest information about the city and links to many other useful Internet sites with important information about Germany. Another valuable site is:, the home of Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, which features the news of Germany and the world in English and links to other Germany sites. Visitors may also subscribe to Deutsche Welle's daily English news summary via e-mail.

The German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse Agentur-DPA) is the leading German news agency, with offices worldwide. The leading U.S. news agency, Associated Press, also services German newspapers. The English-language International Herald Tribune, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal are available in most locations. European editions of Time and Newsweek are widely sold along with

daily editions of British newspapers. Bookstores in larger cities sell a limited number of English-language books, usually in British editions.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Excellent medical care is available in Germany. The approach to medical care, however, is different. A large number of physicians speak English.

Patients who have chronic medical problems requiring scheduled and unscheduled medical follow-up should plan to use local German physicians. Most local German hospitals provide 24-hour emergency care. German medical practice is often different from what is customary in the U.S. and not all hospitals can provide full English-language assistance.

Germany also has excellent medical and educational facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped, but all services are usually in German. English speaking facilities are scarce. Germany is not necessarily appropriate for all special needs children. Bills for German medical and dental care must be paid by the patient and then submitted to a health insurer. Dental and orthodontic care is available throughout Germany although standards may sometimes vary from U.S. standards. Charges for medical and dental care are standardized by the German Government and tend to be equivalent or somewhat higher than in the U.S.

Well-known German medical institutions include the Oskar Helene-Heim Orthopedic Hospital of the Free University of Berlin, the Waldfriede Community Hospital and the Benjamin Franklin Klinikum, one of Berlin's finest large university hospitals with a full service emergency room.

Dusseldorf: Excellent medical care is available from German providers in the Dusseldorf area.

Hamburg: The city and region have many competent and specialized German doctors and hospitals, many of which are internationally recognized and which provide excellent emergency and routine care. Generally, German doctors in Hamburg speak at least some English. The University Hospital of Hamburg-Eppendorf has a number of specialized clinics that treat illnesses and medical conditions of all kinds. For detailed information regarding this hospital, see their Internet site at

Leipzig: Local medical establishments capable of handling routine medical problems and emergencies. A number of local medical and dental facilities have reached West German standards, and Leipzig recently opened a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility, which is one of the leading such institutions in Germany. In addition, the Bundeswehr Krankenhaus offers high-quality treatment and the Diakonissen Hospital offers most medical services. American tourists and business officials have also received satisfactory emergency services from Leipzig University's clinics and quality dental care from local practitioners.

Munich: Excellent medical care is available from German physicians and German hospitals in the Munich area.

Community Health

Community sanitation and public cleanliness are similar to or exceed those incomparable American cities. Drinking water, dairy products, fresh vegetables, meats and other food products are under strict German Government control and meet the highest sanitation and health standards. In recent years, information about the health risks of smoking have reduced the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Germany. Smoking is not allowed, for example, on domestic airline flights and there are "no smoking" train compartments and "no smoking" rooms in many hotels. Still, few restaurants have smoke-free areas and smoking in public buildings and shops is common.


Passage, Customs and Duties

Frankfurt International Airport, continental Europe's largest airport, is the principal gateway city in Germany for international air connections. In many cases, other European cities may serve as convenient gateways to Germany and conform with travel rules. U.S. airlines serve many German cities directly from U.S. locations.

A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany. Further information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 298-4000, or the German Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco; and on the Internet at Inquiries from outside the United States may be made to the nearest German embassy or consulate

Germany's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Germany of certain items such as firearms, military artifacts (particularly those pertaining to the Second World War), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals and business equipment. Under German law it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany literature, music CDs, or other paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past or the former "Third Reich." It is advisable to contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in Germany are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or any of the U.S. consulates and obtain updated information on travel and security within Germany. A new initiative of the American Embassy in Berlin allows all Americans in Germany to obtain automatic security updates and Public Announcements by e-mail. To subscribe to this service, simply send a blank e-mail to [email protected] and put the word "SUBSCRIBE" on the subject line. Individuals planning extended stays in Germany are encouraged to register in person at their local consular section.

U.S. Embassy in Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5; Tel: (49)(30) 238-5174 or 8305-0; the Consular Section is located at Clay-allee 170; Tel: (49)(30) 832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215.

U.S. Consulates General are located at:

Duesseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10, Tel.: (49)(211)788-8927; Fax: (49)(211)788-8938.

Frankfurt: Siesmayerstrasse 21, Tel: (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304.

Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28, Tel: (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49)(40) 44-30-04.

Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4, Tel: (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 21384-17 (emergency services only).

Munich: Koeniginstrasse 5, Tel: (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.

There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at:

Bremen World Trade Center, Birkenstrasse 15, Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421)301-5861.

When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).


Germany is a pet-loving country and dogs especially are familiar companions in all German cities. Dogs and cats imported from abroad must be accompanied by a valid health certificate and a certificate of vaccination against rabies. These certificates should be issued by an official veterinarian in the country of origin. The health certificate must state that the pet is in good health, free from contagious diseases, and that no cases of rabies had occurred within an area of 20 kilometers of where the pet had previously resided. Rabies certificates must certify that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry but not longer than one year before. Travelers should understand that animals may be refused entry if fewer than 30 days have passed since the rabies inoculation was administered. This health certificate itself should be less than ten days old when the pet arrives. The German Embassy in Washington provides a formal form for use when importing pets although experience has shown that officials at the entry port, particularly at Frankfurt International Airport, rarely demand the form when handling pets arriving from the U.S.

Animals without health certification may be admitted if they are found to be in good health after inspection by an official veterinarian at the airport and payment of the applicable veterinarian's fee. In the event that an animal thus imported becomes sick or dies within three months after importation, the owner must report the incident to the official veterinarian at the animal's place of domicile.

Birds of the parrot family and exotic animals are admitted only by special permission.

While walking your dog outside your own yard, it must be kept on a leash at all times. Canine varieties specified in German law as "dangerous" must wear a muzzle in addition to being leashed. Only in designated areas may dogs roam freely without running afoul of the law. German law also requires the removal by the dog owner of waste, when deposited on public property. Pet owners should plan to purchase inexpensive liability insurance available locally for pets, especially larger dogs. German pet owners typically carry such insurance. Excellent veterinary and dog grooming services are available everywhere in Germany. There is no heartworm (filaria) in Germany.

Animals sent by airfreight should arrive between 9:00 a.m. Monday and 5:00 p.m. Friday, since Customs offices are closed weekends and holidays. Travelers should carry the airway bill number to facilitate animal identification.

If you intend to walk a dog freely in Berlin, it is imperative to obtain the appropriate dog tax decal. House pets or dogs kept in one's own yard are not subject to this tax. documentation.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

As a member of the European Community, the Austrian monetary unit is the Euro, which is divided into 100 cent. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 & 2 euros. Bank notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The exchange rate approximates 1.15 euro to $1 US.

Although credit cards, are used throughout Germany, especially in hotels and restaurants, their use in retail shops is not as ubiquitous as in the U.S. Most payments in Germany are made in cash, personal checks in DM or via direct bank transfer. Personal checks drawn on U.S. banks are not accepted. Cash machines are available for use almost everywhere and most-but not all-provide cash withdrawals on credit cards. American ATM cards affiliated with major U.S. bankcard systems (such as the PLUS' or CIRRUS' networks) can be used at many bank cash machines.

In Germany, commodities are sold in liters for liquid volume and kilograms for dry weight. A gallon is 3.8 liters (one liter is 0.264 gallons) and a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. Measure of length is by meter, which equals 39.37 inches. Distances are measured in kilometers (eight kilometers are five miles) and speeds in kilometers per hour (80 kph equals 50 mph). Land measure is by hectares. One hectare is 2.47 acres.


Jan.1New Year's Day

Jan. 6Epiphany

Mar/Apr.Good Friday*


Mar/Apr.Easter Monday*

May 1Labor Day

May/JuneAscension Day*



May/JuneCorpus Christi Day*

Aug. 15Assumption Day

Oct. 3 Day of German Unity

Oct. 31 Reformation Day

Nov. 1All Saints' Day

Nov. 21Repentance Day

Dec. 25Christmas Day

Dec. 26Second Christmas Day



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.

Ash, Timothy Garton. The File: A Personal History. New York: Random House, 1997.

In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent. New York: Random House, 1993.

Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Friedrich, Otto. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995.

Germany: A Phaidon Cultural Guide. Prentice-Hall: 1985.

Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1996.

Kitchen, Martin. Cambridge Illustrated History: Germany. London: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Ladd, Brian. The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Maier, Charles S. Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany. Princeton and New York: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Richie, Alexandra. Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998.

Shandley, Robert R. (ed.). Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.

Taylor, Ronald. Berlin and its Culture: A Historical Portrait. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997.

Wise, Michael Z. Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of Democracy. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.

In addition to the U.S. Embassy's site ( and many other sites mentioned in this publication, two good starting points for Germany information are and The Internet site contains excellent information in English and German on all aspects of Germany today as well as links to current news from the Federal Government's Press and Information Office. In addition, a variety of topical and helpful Frequently Asked Questions on Germany can be found at

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Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland


FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of black, red, and gold horizontal stripesthe flag of the German (Weimar) Republic from 1919 until 1933.

ANTHEM: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Liberty).

MONETARY UNIT: The euro replaced the deutsche mark as the official currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. 1 = $1.25475 (or $1 = 0.79697) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; German Unity Day, 3 October; Repentance Day, Wednesday before the 3rd Sunday in November (except Bavaria); Christmas, 2526 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Whitmonday. In addition, the movable Carnival/Rose Monday holiday and various provincial holidays also are celebrated.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


Germany is located in western Europe, bordering the North Sea between France and Poland. Germany is slightly smaller than the state of Montana, with a total area of 357,021 km sq (137,847 mi sq). Germany shares boundaries with Denmark and the Baltic Sea on the n, Poland and the Czech Republic to the e, Austria to the se, Switzerland to the s, France to the sw, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the w, and the North Sea to the nw. Germany's boundary length totals 6,010 km (3,734 mi), of which 2,389 km (1,484 mi) is coastline. Germany's capital city, Berlin, is located in the northeastern part of the country.


The topography of Germany is varied. The area along the Baltic coast is sandy, with dunes and small hills. Adjacent to the coast are forested ridges and numerous lakes of the Mecklenburg lake plateau. Around Berlin, the relief is less hilly. The southern limit of the lowland area is formed by a wide zone of fertile loess, reaching from Magdeburg to the highlands in the South. These highlands include the Harz Mountains; the densely wooded Thuringian Forest and the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), where the Fichtelberg rises to 1,214 m (3,983 ft). In the northeast, the wide German lowlandcharacterized by sandy North Sea shores, heath and moor (in the south), and highest altitudes of about 300 m (1,000 ft)rises slowly to the central Germany uplands. These low, eroded mountains (1,0701,520 m/3,5005,000 ft) extend from the Rhine to the former border of East Germany.

In the west are a wide rift valley and a narrow gorge carved by the Rhine River. A group of plateaus and low mountains, averaging 460 m (1,500 ft) in altitude and including the Black Forest and Odenwald Mountains (highest peak, the Feldberg, 1,493 m/4,898 ft), form the greater part of southern Germany. They merge gradually with the highest walls of the Bavarian Alps (2,4402,740 m/8,0009,000 ft), which form the boundary between Germany, Switzerland, and Austria; the Zugspitze (2,962 m/9,718 ft), on the Austrian border, is the highest point in Germany.

The only major lake is Lake Constance (Bodensee; within Germany, 305 sq km/118 sq mi), which is shared with Switzerland and Austria. Except in the extreme south, all of Germany is drained by rivers that empty into the North Sea. The Rhine, with its two main tributaries, the Mosel and the Main, dominates the western areas; farther east are the Ems, the Weser, the Elbe, and the Oder. These rivers have estuaries that are important for the ports located there. In the south, the Danube flows from west to east. The East Frisian Islands are off the northwest coast; the North Frisian Islands lie along the coast of Schleswig. The small island of Helgoland is opposite the mouth of the Elbe River.


The climate is temperate; rapid changes in temperature are rare. Average temperatures in January, the coldest month of the year, range from 1.5°c (35°f) in the lowlands to -6°c (21°f) in the mountains. July is the warmest month of the year, with average temperatures between 18°c (64°f) in low-lying areas to 20°c (68°f) in the sheltered valleys of the south. The upper valley of the Rhine has an extremely mild climate. Upper Bavaria experiences a warm alpine wind (Föhn) from the south. The Harz Mountains form their own climatic zone, with cool summers, cold wind, and heavy snowfalls in winter.

Precipitation occurs throughout the year: in the northern lowlands, from 51 to 71 cm (2028 in); in the central uplands, from 69 to 152 cm (2760 in); in the Bavarian Alps, to more than 200 cm (80 in). The higher mountains are snow covered from at least January to March.


Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn. As of 2002, there were at least 76 species of mammals, 247 species of birds, and over 2,600 species of plants throughout the country.


Industrialization has taken its toll on Germany's environment, including that of the former GDR, which, according to a 1985 UNESCO report, had the worst air, water, and ground pollution in Europe. Since 1976, the Petrol Lead Concentration Act has limited the lead content of gasoline; for control of other automotive pollutants, the government looked toward stricter enforcement of existing laws and to technological improvements in engine design. The Federal Emission Protection Act of 1974, based on the "polluter pays" principle, established emissions standards for industry, agriculture and forestry operations, and public utilities. Nevertheless, by 1994, 50% of Germany's forests had been damaged by acid rain.

Germany has 107 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 86% are used for industrial purposes. Water pollution is evident in virtually every major river of the FRG, and the Baltic Sea is heavily polluted by industrial wastes and raw sewage from the rivers of eastern Germany. In the 1980s, the Rhine, from which some 10 million Germans and Dutch draw their drinking water, was 20 times as polluted as in 1949. Between November 1986 and January 1987 alone, 30 tons of mercury, 900 lb of pesticides, 540 tons of nitrogen fertilizers, and 10 tons of benzene compound were discharged into the river. The Effluency Levies Act, effective January 1978, requires anyone who discharges effluents into waterways to pay a fee reckoned in accordance with the quantity and severity of the pollutant; the proceeds of this act are allocated for the building of water treatment plants and for research on water treatment technology and reduced-effluent production techniques.

Significant sources of air pollution include emissions from coal-burning utility plants and exhaust emissions from vehicles using leaded fuels. In 1996 industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 861 million metric tons. However, the total carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 was down to 785.5 metric tons. The nation has set maximum levels for biocides in the soil, to protect food supplies. Under the nation's basic waste disposal law of 1972, some 50,000 unauthorized dump sites have been closed down and 5,000 regulated sites established; provisions governing toxic wastes were added in 1976. Germany's principal environmental agency is the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety, created in June 1986.

In 1970, the first German national park, with an area of 13,100 hectares (32,370 acres), was opened in the Bavarian forest, and in 1978 a second national park (21,000 hectares/52,000 acres) was opened near Berchtesgaden. The third national park, in Schleswig-Holstein (285,000 hectares/704,250 acres), opened in 1985, and a fourth, in Niedersachsen (240,000 hectares/593,000 acres), opened in 1986. The Messel Pit Fossil Site became a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are also 32 Ramsar wetland sites. As of 2003, 32.6% of Germany's total land area is protected. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 9 types of mammals, 14 species of birds, 12 species of fish, 9 types of mollusks, 22 species of other invertebrates, and 12 species of plants. Endangered species include Freya's damselfly, Atlantic sturgeon, slender-billed curlew, and the bald ibis. Species believed to be extinct include the Bavarian pine vole, Tobias' caddisfly, the wild horse, and the false ringlet butterfly.


The population of Germany in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 82,490,000, which placed it at number 14 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 18% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 15% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country.

Because of a low birthrate, an aging population, and emigration, Germany's population generally declined from the mid-1970s until around 1990. A heavy influx of immigrants in the 1990s more than compensated for the slight population loss due to more deaths than births. Although the annual growth rate in the 1980s was only 0.1%, immigration in the 1990s led to an annual growth rate in that decade of 0.8%. With immigration slowing, according to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be -0.1%, a rate the government viewed as too low.

The projected population for the year 2025 was 82,017,000. The population density was 231 per sq km (598 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 88% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.19%. The capital city, Berlin, had a population of 3,327,000 in that year. Other large urban areas are: the Rhein-Main urban agglomerate, which includes Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Offenbach and Wiesbaden, 3,721,000; the Rhein-Neckar urban agglomerate which includes, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Frankenthal, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse and Speyer 1,625,000; the Rhein-Ruhr Middle urban agglomerate, which includes, Düsseldorf, Mönchengladbach, Remscheid, Solingen and Wuppertal 3,325,000; the Rhein-North urban agglomerate which includes, Duisburg, Essen, Krefeld, Mühlheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund, Hagen, Hamm and Herne 6,566,000; the Rhein-South urban agglomerate which includes Bonn, Cologne (Köln) and Leverkusen 3,084,000; the Saarland urban agglomerate which includes Neunkirchen, Saarbrücken and Saarlouis 896,000; Hamburg, 2,686,000; Stuttgart, 2,705,000; Munich (München), 2,318,000; Hanover (Hannover), 1,296,000; Bielefeld, 1,312,000; Nurenberg (Nürnberg), 1,206,000; Aachen, 1,073,000; Karlsruhe, 990,000; Saarland, 896,000; and Bremen, 889,000.


From 1946 to 1968, 475,505 Germans emigrated to the United States, 262,807 to Canada, and 99,530 to Australia and Oceania. During the same period, however, millions of people of German origin and/or speech migrated to West Germany from eastern Europe, notably from the former Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Migration from East Germany to West Germany reached a climax just before the erection of the frontier wall in Berlin on 13 August 1961. It is estimated that about 4 million peoplemany of them skilled workers and professionalscrossed from East Germany to West Germany during the 40-year existence of East Germany. Immigration of ethnic Germans from Poland continued to be heavy after 1968, totaling about 800,000 between 1970 and 1989.

According to German law, persons who are not ethnic Germans are foreigners (except for the few granted citizenship) even if they were born and have spent their entire lives in Germany. Conversely, ethnic Germans are not foreigners even if emigrating from birthplaces and homes in eastern Europe.

From 1992 until 1996, 560,000 ethnic Germans (out of a total of 1.1 million in 1989) had left Central Asia for Germany. These returning ethnic Germans were formerly deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin during World War II as they were living in the Volga region and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

Some 350,000 Bosnians were granted temporary protection in Germany in the early 1990s. Repatriation plans began for the Bosnians in October 1996, when 30,000 Bosnians repatriated voluntarily. During 1998, approximately 83,000 people returned to Bosnia under the Government-Assisted Return Programme (GARP). Another 2,021 were returned forcibly. By 1999, more than 250,000 Bosnians had returned to their homeland.

Under the UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme, 14,689 people had been evacuated from Macedonia to Germany as of 1999. The evacuees, as well as Kosovars who had already sought asylum in Germany but whose cases were still pending or already rejected, were granted temporary protection, renewable every three months. As of 20 August 1999, 4,147 evacuees had returned to their homeland. In 2005 Germany returned 51,000 Kosovars, including 34,000 Roma to the UN-administered province.

Germany remains the third-largest asylum country in Europe, receiving 876,622 refugees in 2004. The main countries of origin were Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, and Iran. Of these refugees 86,151mainly from Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iraq, Russia, Iran, India, and Pakistansought asylum. In 2005 slow job growth in Germany caused many young Germans to migrate abroad for jobs, inspiring the term "reverse foreign worker."

The 2004 estimate of worker remittances received by Germany was $6 billion. However, it was also estimated that in that same year Germany was the source of $10 billion in remittances. The 2005 estimate of Germany's net migration rate was 2.18 migrants per 1,000 population.


Until the late 1950s, the population was 99% German; the Danes in Schleswig-Holstein were the sole national minority. The influx of foreigners as "guest workers" beginning in the late 1950s led to an upsurge in the number of permanent foreign residents. Germans account for about 91.5% of the total population. About 2.4% of the population are Turkish. Other minority groups include Italians, Greeks, Poles, Russians, Serbo-Croatians, and Spanish. Even persons born and reared in Germany are considered foreigners unless they are ethnically German or naturalized. The Roma (Sinti) were recognized as "national minorities" in 1995.


German is the official language, and although dialectical variations are considerable, High German is standard. Low German, spoken along the North and Baltic Sea coasts and in the offshore islands, is in some respects as close to Dutch as it is to standard German. Sorbian (also known as Wendish or Lusatian) is a Slavic language spoken by the Sorbian minority. Under the GDR it was taught in schools in their settlement area. There was a daily newspaper in Sorbian and a publishing house for Sorbian literature. Many of Germany's sizable foreign-born population still speak their native languages, and there are numerous Turkish-speaking school children. Romani is spoken by the nation's small Roma population; the language has no written form and the Roma generally restrict the use of the language to within their own community.

In 1996, new rules were established reforming German orthography. Designed to eliminate the last vestiges of Gothic spelling, the rules, among other things, eliminated hyphens, restored some umlauts, and replaced the ß character. Confusion ensued when newly published dictionaries differed in their spellings of many words.


According to a 2004 report, the Evangelical Church, a federation of several church bodies including Lutheran, Uniate, and Reformed Protestant Churches, has about 27 million members, accounting for 33% of the population. Church officials report that only about 4% of members attend services on a regular basis. The Catholic Church also has 27.2 million members, or 33.4% of the population, with only about 17.5% of members active. Muslims make up approximately 3.43.9% of the populace with 3.1 to 3.5 million practitioners. Orthodox churches claim 1.1 million members, or 1.3% of the people. The Greek Orthodox Church is the largest division, followed by Romanian, Serbian, Russian (Moscow Patriarchate and Orthodox), Syrian, and Armenian Apostolic. Other Christian churches have about one million members, or 1.2% of the population. The largest of these are the New Apostolic Church (430,000 members), Jehovah's Witnesses (165,000 members), Baptists (87,000 members), and Methodists (66,000 members). Smaller groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-Day Adventists, the Apostolate of Jesus Christ, Mennonites, Quakers, and the Salvation Army.

About 87,500 members of Jewish congregations live in Germany, making up 0.1% of the populace. There were also small numbers of Unification Church members, Scientologists, Hare Krishnas, members of the Johannish Church, Buddhists, the International Grail Movement, Ananda Marga, and Sri Chinmoy. Approximately 21.8 million people, or 26.6% of the population, belonged to smaller religious organizations or had no religious affiliation at all.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed, and although there is no official state religion, churches can receive financial support from the government.


Although the German transportation network was heavily damaged during World War II, the system is now one of the best developed in Europe (although much of the infrastructure in the former East Germany needs significant improvement). Because of the country's central location, almost all continental surface traffic has to cross its terrain. In 2004, the railroad system consisted of 46,142 km (28,700 mi) of operational standard and narrow gauge track. Of that total, standard gauge lines accounted for 45,928 km (28,567 mi), of which 20,084 km (12,492 mi) was electrified. Narrow gauge lines accounted for 238 km (148 mi), of which only 16 km (10 mi) was electrified. The greater part of Germany's rail system is operated by the government-owned Federal Railways System.

Highways and roads in 2003 totaled 231,581 km (144,043 mi), all of which were paved. As of 2003, there were 45,022,926 passenger cars and 3,541,193 commercial vehicles in use.

The total length of regularly used navigable inland waterways and canals was 7,300 km (4,540 mi) in 2004. Canals link the Elbe with the Ems, the Ems with the Dortmund, and the Baltic with the North Sea. The most important inland waterway consists of the Rhine and its tributaries, which carry more freight than any other European waterway. The Kiel Canal is an important connection between the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Major ports and harbors include Berlin, Bonn, Brake, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cologne, Dresden, Duisburg, Emden, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Lubeck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Rostock, and Stuttgart. In 2005, the FRG had a merchant fleet comprised of 332 ships of 1,000 GRT or more with a combined capacity of 5,721,495 GRT.

Germany had an estimated 550 airports in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 332 had paved runways, and there were also 33 heliports. Major airports include Schonefeld, Tegel, and Tempelhof at Berlin, Halle at Leipzig, Osnabruck at Munster, as well as those at Bremen, Dresden, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart, Nurenberg, and Munich. Lufthansa, organized in 1955, is the major air carrier; its route network includes both North and South America, the Near and Far East (including Australia), Africa, and Europe. In 2003, about 72.693 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights, and 7,298 million freight ton-km of service was performed


Hunting and gathering peoples roamed the land now known as Germany for thousands of years before the first farmers appeared in the sixth millennium bc. By the time these Indo-Europeans made contact with the Romans late in the 2nd century bc, the Teutons of the north had driven most of the Celts westward across the Rhine. During the succeeding centuries, Germanic tribes such as the Alemanni, Burgundians, Franks, Lombards, Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Visigoths gradually developed in the territory between the Rhine estuary in the west, the Elbe River in the east, and northern Italy in the south. Some of these peoples, whom the Romans called barbarians (from the Latin barbari, meaning "foreigners"), overran Italy and helped destroy the Roman Empire; others settled in Britain, France, and Spain. The area on either side of the Rhine was contested until Charlemagne, king of the Franks (r.768814), extended his domain to include most of Germany as far as the Elbe; he was crowned emperor at Rome in 800. Charlemagne's empire was eventually divided among his three grandsons, and the German sector itself was divided in the latter part of the 9th century.

Otto I, greatest of a new Saxon dynasty, united Germany and Italy and was crowned first Holy Roman emperor in 962. The strength of the rising Holy Roman Empire was undercut, however, by the two-pronged involvement in Italy and in Eastern Europe. Successive generations of Germanic emperors and of various ducal families engaged in constant struggles within Germany as well as with the papacy, and dispersed their energies in many ventures beyond the confines of the empire. Frederick I (Barbarossa, r.115290), of the Hohenstaufen family, overcame the last of the powerful duchies in 1180. His grandson Frederick II (r.121250), the most brilliant of medieval emperors, reigned from Sicily and took little interest in German affairs. Four years after his death, the empire broke up temporarily, and there followed a 19-year interregnum. In 1273, Rudolf of Habsburg was elected emperor, but neither he nor any of his immediate successors could weld the empire into a manageable unit.

The Holy Roman Empire's loose and cumbersome framework suffered from lack of strong national authority at the very time when powerful kingdoms were developing in England, France, and Spain. In the ensuing period, the Holy Roman emperors tended to ally themselves against the nobility and with the prosperous German cities and with such potent confederations of towns as the Hanseatic and Swabian leagues. During the 15th century and part of the 16th, Germany was prosperous: commerce and banking flourished, and great works of art were produced. However, the already weak structure of the empire was further undermined by a great religious schism, the Reformation, which began with Martin Luther in 1517 and ended in the ruinous Thirty Years' War (161848), which directly and indirectly (through disease and famine) may have taken the lives of up to two million people. Thereafter, Germany remained fragmented in more than 300 principalities, bishoprics, and free cities. In the 18th century, Prussia rose to first rank among the German states, especially through the military brilliance of Frederick II ("the Great," r.174086).

During the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, German nationalism asserted itself for the first time since the Reformation. Although frustrated in the post-Napoleonic era, the nationalist and liberal movements were not eradicated, and they triumphed briefly in the Frankfurt parliament of 1848. Thereafter, a number of its leaders supported the conservative but dynamic Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. After a series of successful wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (the Seven Weeks' War, 1866), and France (the Franco-Prussian War, 187071), Bismarck brought about the union of German states (excluding Austria) into the Second Empire, proclaimed in 1871.

Germany quickly became the strongest military, industrial, and economic power on the Continent and joined other great powers in overseas expansion. While Bismarck governed as chancellor, further wars were avoided and an elaborate system of alliances with other European powers was created. With the advent of Wilhelm II as German emperor (r.18881918), the delicate international equilibrium was repeatedly disturbed in a series of crises that culminated in 1914 in the outbreak of World War I. Despite initial successes, the German armiesleagued with Austria-Hungary and Turkey against the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and eventually the United Stateswere defeated in 1918. As a consequence of the war, in which some 1,600,000 Germans died, the victorious Allies through the Treaty of Versailles (1919) stripped Germany of its colonies and of the territories won in the Franco-Prussian War, demanded the nation's almost complete disarmament, and imposed stringent reparations requirements. Germany became a republic, governed under the liberal Weimar constitution. The serious economic and social dislocations caused by the military defeat and by the subsequent economic depression, however, brought Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) Party to power in 1933. Hitler converted the republic into a dictatorship, consolidated Germany's position at home and abroad, and began a military expansion that by 1939 had brought a great part of Europe under German control, either by military occupation or by alliance, leading to World War II.

Germany signed a military alliance with Italy on 22 May 1939 and a nonaggression pact with the former USSR on 23 August. Hitler's army then invaded Poland on 1 September, and France and Britain declared war on Germany two days later. France surrendered on 22 June 1940; the British continued to fight. On 10 December 1941, Germany declared war on the United States, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor by its ally Japan. Hitler's troops were engaged on three major frontsthe eastern front (USSR), the North African front, and the western front (France). Hitler relied heavily on air power and bombed Britain continuously during 194142. But by 1943, German forces were on the defensive everywhere, thus marking the beginning of the end of the Nazi offensive thrusts. Finally, on 7 May 1945, after Hitler had committed suicide, the Allies received Germany's unconditional surrender. It is estimated that more than 35 million persons were killed during World War II. Of this number, at least 11 million were civilians. Among them were nearly 6 million Jews, mostly eastern Europeans, killed in a deliberate extermination by the Nazi regime known as the Holocaust; there were also about 5 million non-Jewish victims, including Gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents, and the physically and mentally handicapped.

From Division to Reunification

After the surrender in 1945, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, controlled respectively by the former USSR, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Berlin was like-wise divided, and from April 1948 through May 1949 the USSR sought unsuccessfully to blockade the city's western sectors; not until the quadripartite agreement of 1971 was unimpeded access of the FRG to West Berlin firmly established. In 1949, pending a final peace settlement, Germany was divided into the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany, consisting of the former United Kingdom, French, and US zones of occupation, and the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, consisting of the former Soviet zone of occupation. Territories in the east (including East Prussia), which were in German hands prior to 1939, were taken over by Poland and the former USSR.

The FRG's first chancellor (194963), Konrad Adenauer, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), followed a policy of "peace through strength." During his administration, the FRG joined NATO in 1955 and became a founding member of the EC in 1957. That same year, the Saar territory, politically autonomous under the Versailles Treaty but economically tied to France after 1947, became a German state after a free election and an agreement between France and the FRG. A treaty of cooperation between those two nations, signed on 22 January 1963, provided for coordination of their policies in foreign affairs, defense, information, and cultural affairs. The cost of this program of cooperation with the West was further alienation from the GDR and abandonment, for the foreseeable future, of the goal of German reunification. Many citizens, including a significant number of skilled and highly educated persons, had been covertly emigrating through Berlin in the West, and on 13 August 1961, East Berlin was sealed off from West Berlin by a wall of concrete and barbed wire. The Western Allies declared that they accepted neither the legality nor the potential practical consequences of the partition and reaffirmed their determination to ensure free access and the continuation of a free and viable Berlin.

On 16 October 1963, Adenauer resigned and was succeeded by former Finance Minister Ludwig Erhard, who is generally credited with stimulating the FRG's extraordinary postwar economic developmentthe so-called economic miracle. Kurt George Kiesinger of the CDU formed a new coalition government on 17 November 1966 with Willy Brandt, leader of the Social Democratic Party, as a vice-chancellor. Three years later, Brandt became chancellor, and the CDU became an opposition party for the first time. One of Brandt's boldest steps was the development of an "Eastern policy" (Ostpolitik), which sought improved relations with the Socialist bloc and resulted, initially, in the establishment of diplomatic ties with Romania and the former Yugoslavia. On 7 December 1970, the FRG signed a treaty with Poland reaffirming the existing western Polish boundary of the Oder and western Neisse rivers and establishing a pact of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. That August, the FRG had concluded a nonaggression treaty with the former USSR; a 10-year economic agreement was signed on 19 May 1973. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, tensions over the Berlin division in particular and between the two Germanys generally eased markedly, as did, in consequence, the intensity of pressures from both Allied and Soviet sides over the issue of reunification. In an effort to normalize inter-German relations, FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt and GDR Chairman Willi Stoph exchanged visits in March and May 1970, the first such meetings since the states were established. A basic treaty between the two Germanys was reached on 21 December 1972 and ratified by the Bundestag on 17 May 1973; under the treaty, the FRG recognized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the GDR, and the two nations agreed to cooperate culturally and economically. Two years later, the GDR and FRG agreed on the establishment of permanent representative missions in each others' capitals. Relations with Czechoslovakia were normalized by a treaty initialed 20 June 1973. The early 1970s brought an upsurge of terrorism on German soil, including the killing by Palestinians of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The terrorist wave, which also enlisted a number of German radicals, continued into the mid-1970s but declined thereafter.

Brandt remained chancellor until 6 May 1974, when he resigned after his personal aide, Günter Guillaume, was arrested as a spy for the GDR. Helmut Schmidt, Brandt's finance minister, was elected chancellor by the Bundestag on 16 May. Under Schmidt's pragmatic leadership, the FRG continued its efforts to normalize relations with Eastern Europe, while also emphasizing economic and political cooperation with its West European allies and with the United States. Schmidt remained chancellor until the fall of 1982, when his governing coalition collapsed in a political party dispute. General elections in March 1983 resulted in a victory for the CDU, whose leader, Helmut Kohl, retained the chancellorship he had assumed on an interim basis the previous October. In January 1987 elections, Kohl was again returned to power, as the CDU and its coalition allies won 54% of the seats in the Bundestag.

The exodus of East Germans through Hungary in the summer of 1989 as well as mass demonstrations in several East German cities, especially Leipzig, led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic in the fall of 1989. Chancellor Kohl outlined a 10-point plan for peaceful reunification, including continued membership in NATO and free elections in March 1990. Following these elections, the two Germanys peacefully evolved into a single state. Four-power control ended in 1991 and, by the end of 1994, all former Soviet forces left the country, although British, French, and American forces remained for an interim period. Berlin became the new capital of Germany, although the shift from Bonn to Berlin took place over several years.

Unification has been accompanied by disillusionment and dissatisfaction with politics and the economy. A falling GDP and rising unemployment have raised concerns that the costs of unification were underestimated. By 1997, the German government had given more than $600 billion to eastern Germany through business subsidies, special tax breaks, and support payment for individuals, while private companies invested $500 million more. Even so, the eastern German economy was fundamentally bankrupt with unemployment at about 20%. Some analysts predict that convergence of the two economies will not be complete for another 10 to 20 years. In the meantime, the financial drain imposed on Bonn by the east threatened to imperil Germany's other convergence project, European economic unification. However, Germany and 11 other EU countries introduced a common European currency, the euro, in January 2002.

By October 1996, Chancellor Helmut Kohl had been in office for 14 years, becoming the longest-serving postwar German chancellor. In 1998, German voters decided it was time for a change. In the September parliamentary elections, Kohl's CDU (Christian Democratic) coalition was defeated by the SPD, and Gerhard Schröder became the first Social Democrat in 18 years to serve as Germany's chancellor. The following month, Schröder formed a center-left coalition with the Green Party. The new coalition inaugurated "Future Program 2000" to tackle the country's economic woes and in June 1999 pushed through the most extensive reform package in German history, which included major cuts in state spending as well as tax cuts. In April 1999, the German government was transferred from Bonn back to its prewar seat in Berlin, where the Bundestag moved into the renovated (and renamed) building formerly known as the Reichstag.

In July 1999 Johannes Rau became the first Social Democrat to be elected president of Germany in 30 years. However, continuing dissatisfaction with the nation's budget deficit and other problems resulted in a disappointing showing for the Social Democrats in local elections in September 1999.

In July 2000 government negotiators reached an agreement on the payment of compensation to persons subjected to forced and slave labor under the Nazi regime. A total of dm10 billion was to be paid out under the auspices of a specially created foundation. Official figures showed that racist attacks increased by 40% in 2000, a worrying trend.

In June 2001, the government and representatives from the nuclear industry signed an agreement to phase out nuclear energy over the next 20 years.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., Germany agreed to deploy 4,000 troops to the US-led campaign in Afghanistan directed to oust the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda forces. It was Germany's largest deployment outside Europe since World War II, and in November, Schröder survived a parliamentary confidence vote following his decision to deploy the troops.

Parliamentary elections were held on 22 September 2002. Schröder, unable to campaign on a strong economy, staked out a foreign policy position that ran counter to that of the United States. Throughout 2002, the United States and the United Kingdom were committing troops to the Persian Gulf region, and, in the event that Iraq would not disarm itself of any weapons of mass destruction it might possess, it was evident that the United States and the United Kingdom might use those troops to force a regime change in Iraq. Schröder announced Germany unconditionally would not support a war in Iraq, and that Germany was in favor of a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Edmund Stoiber of the CDU was Schröder's opponent in the September elections, and the race between them was exceedingly close. Stoiber took a more nuanced position on the question of Iraq, and accused Schröder of damaging German-American relations. Stoiber was more popular with voters on matters of fighting unemployment (9.8% nationwide), and improving a sluggish economy. The SPD and CDU/CSU each won 38.5% of the vote, but the SPD emerged with 251 to 248 seats in the Bundestag (due to a peculiarity in the German voting system which awards extra seats to a party if it wins more constituency seats than it is entitled to under the party vote), and in coalition with the 55 seats won by the Green Party, formed a government with Schröder remaining chancellor.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 on 8 November 2002, calling upon Iraq to disarm itself of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons or weapons capabilities, to allow the immediate return of UN and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) weapons inspectors, and to comply with all UN resolutions regarding the country since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. The United States and the United Kingdom indicated that if Iraq would not comply with the resolution, "serious consequences" might result, meaning military action. The other three permanent members of the Security Council, France, Russia, and China, expressed their reservations with that position. Germany became a two-year (nonveto bearing) member of the Security Council in January 2003, and aligned itself with France, the most vocal opponent of war. The United States and the United Kingdom abandoned diplomatic efforts at conflict resolution in March, and on 19 March, the coalition went to war in Iraq. Once coalition forces defeated Iraq and plans for reconstruction of the country were being discussed in April, Germany stressed the need for a strong role to be played by the UN in a postwar Iraq.

Although Schröder was popular for his position toward Iraq, he became increasingly criticized for the economic underperformance of Germany. Major challenges included the growing level of unemployment, high level of state deficit, and the slow economic growth. During Schröder's second term, Germany became the world's largest exporter of goods, surpassing the United States.

The high unemployment level became quite astonishing, because Germany's low unemployment rate was at one point the envy of the industrial world. In the year 2000, Germany's unemployment rate exceeded 8%. By the end of 2002 over four million people were unemployed in Germany. The unemployment level in 2004 climbed to an even higher mark. The situation got worse in early 2005, when Germany's Federal Labor Agency announced that on January 2005 more than five million Germans were unemployed, which was the highest number since 1932, when the economic devastation of the Great Depression brought the Weimar Republic to an end. The important unemployment level during the first three month of 2005 triggered a negative reaction, even from those who supported the government. Critics complained that the Social Democrat-Green administration of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was not doing enough.

In addition to the high rate of unemployment Germany also experienced growing state deficit, which meant that it spent more than it earned. In the early 1990s Germany pressured the EU to change its rules, such that no EU member state's deficit could be more then 3% of its GDP, but Germany in 2002 was in fact breaking this rule with a GDP of 3.75%. Furthermore, Wirtschaftsund Währungspolitik Bulletin and Federal Statistics Office reported that in 2004 Germany's budget deficit remained at 3.7% of its gross domestic product, which means that it exceeded the European Union's rules for the third year in a row.

Germany has struggled to produce GDP growth of even 1% a year. In comparison to the other Western European countries, from 1995 to 2003 the Western European economies, averaged together, grew by 18.1%, but in Germany it experienced growth of only 10.2%. Although, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden reported that in May 2005 the German economy experienced some improvement by expanding at the greatest pace since 2001, slightly rebounding from a contraction. Unfortunately, consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, has not increased for some time.

To deal with the economic challenges in 2003 Gerhard Schröder launched a major reform package called "Agenda 2010." Agenda 2010 was Schröder's plan to reform Germany's declining economy and restore Germany's competitiveness in the world market. This policy aimed to reform health, education, labor training, social security, family welfare, unemployment benefits, and pensions. Agenda 2010s priority was labor-market reform. Neither these reforms nor reduced taxation did much to improve the slow economic growth or lower the unemployment that had reached especially great proportions since the Great Depression.

Following the protests on 1 January 2005 the government's controversial reform of unemployment benefits, also called "Hartz IV" reform, came into effect. Under this reform, those who have been unemployed for over a year would qualify for a flat-rate benefit, only if they could prove that they were actively looking for work. Schröder's inability to deal with the weak economy was thought to have contributed to his loss of the chancellery in the 2005 elections to Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU). A very tense election race followed by an alliance between the two opposing parties; the CDU/CSU and the SDP became known as the Grand Coalition. On 10 October 2005 Merkel officially became the chancellor of Germany.

Merkel defined the main goal of her government as reducing unemployment, and improving GDP growth. It was her goal to improve the German economy by pursuing a mix of reforms including cutting public spending, lowering corporate tax rates, accelerating labor-market, and pushing through other reforms begun by Merkel's predecessor. She also intended to increase value-added tax, social insurance contributions, and the top rate of income tax.

During her first few months in office, Angela Merkel attained an 85% approval rating. During the third quarter of 2005, the economy posted a 0.6% increase over the previous year's period and it was forecasted that Germany's GDP would grow by 1.61.8% in 2006. Although Germany's unemployment rate was still at 11.3%, it had been gradually decreasing since mid-2005.

Angela Merkel presided over a fragile coalition government consisting of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SDP). Consequently, to push any reforms or programs through, she would have to be able to work together with the Social-Democrats.

In the field of foreign policy, Angela Merkel acknowledged the importance of Franco-German relations. She intended to maintain Germany's strong ties with France; however, not as exclusively as they used to be. Merkel was interested in working with the new EU member states and repairing relations with the United States. During Merkel's term it was thought that Germany might become less involved with Russia due to her criticism of the Russian president, Putin's, policies in Chechnya and human rights abuses. Germany would continue to support Turkey in its desire to become a European Union member state and to support Iraq from outside. The next chancellery election was scheduled for November 2009.


Germany is a federal republic founded in 1949. Germany's Basic Law (Grundgesetz) or its constitution, was promulgated on 23 May 1949. On 3 October 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were unified in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law, under which the FRG is governed. German governmental structure consists of three branches: the executive branch represented by a president (titular chief of state) and a chancellor (executive head of government), a legislative branch composed of a bicameral parliament, and a judicial branch represented by the independent Federal Constitutional Court. The federal government exercises complete sovereignty and may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

The federal chancellor and his or her cabinet ministers and the federal president compose a federal executive branch. This branch is situated at the center of the German political system, where the chancellor is the head of federal government and an elected president performs the largely ceremonial functions of proposing the chancellor to the Bundestag, promulgating laws, formally appointing and dismissing judges and federal civil servants, and receiving foreign ambassadors. The president is elected for a five-year term by a federal convention composed of members of the Bundestag and an equal number of delegates elected by the provincial legislatures.

Every four years, after national elections and seating of the newly elected Bundestag (parliament) members, the federal president nominates a chancellor candidate to that parliamentary body and the chancellor is elected by majority vote in the Bundestag. Since a chancellor can only be elected by a coalition possessing a majority of the seats in parliament, each individual chancellor belongs to a particular party and represents the ideologies of that party. The Bundestag cannot remove the chancellor simply with a vote of no-confidence. The Basic Law allows only for a "constructive" vote of no-confidence; that is, the Bundestag can remove a chancellor only when it simultaneously agrees on a successor.

The chancellor's authority is drawn from the provisions of the Basic Law and from his or her status as leader of the party (or coalition of parties) holding a majority of seats in the Bundestag. The chancellor has powers of patronage and agenda-setting circumscribed by coalition government. Thus, the chancellor outlines federal policy and declares guidelines for cabinet ministers. Any formal policy guidelines issued by the chancellor are legally binding directives and must be implemented by the cabinet ministers. Guideline power allows the chancellor to interfere in any policy issue and to determine the government's approach to the problem.

Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the federal president with chancellor's approval; no Bundestag approval is needed. By and large, the chancellor and ministers are accountable to the Bundestag.

The bicameral legislature (the federal parliament) consists of a federal council (Bundesrat) and a federal diet (Bundestag).

The Bundestag is the principal legislative chamber in the parliament. Members of the Bundestag are the only federal officials directly elected by the public. The Bundestag had 497 voting deputies in 1987; 22 nonvoting deputies represented West Berlin. Following unification, Bundestag membership was raised to 662 deputies; as of September 2005 it stood at 614. Elections are held every four years (or earlier if a government falls from power). Candidates must be at least 18 years of age. Bundestag members are elected for four-year terms by universal, free, and secret ballot, and may be reelected. The most important organizational structures within the Bundestag are parliamentary groups (Fraktionen), which are formed by each political party represented in the chamber. Among other things, the Bundestag may introduce federal bills. However, it usually responds to federal bills introduced by the federal government or by the federal council.

The Bundesrat is the body that represents the interests of the states (Länder) within this federal structure. It consists of 69 representatives appointed by the provincial governments according to the population of each province. Each state has three to six votes depending on population and is required to vote as a block. The federal council participates in the Federation's policymaking and thus acts as a counterweight to the federal diet (Bundestag). It also serves as a link between the federation and the federal states' delegations representing the governments of the states. It can reject any federal bill and it has an absolute veto power over any federal legislation that has an impact on the states.

Disagreements between the two chambers are handled by a conciliating committee.


The "five percent clause," under which parties represented in the Bundestag must obtain at least 5% of the total votes cast by the electorate, has prevented the development of parliamentary splinter groups. In order to become a leading force in the parliament, parties have to win the local elections and become a majority by building coalitions. The coalition that receives the most votes respectively has the most votes in the parliament. Since party elections happen on the regional level, consistency of the parliament depends on the outcome of the Länder's elections.

The chancellor of Germany always belongs to the coalition of the parties that received the largest number of seats in the Bundestag. The chancellor seemingly could push his reforms by counting on the support of his coalition. However, coalitions do not agree on everything and often are fragmented. In addition, there is some fragmentation within each party. Additionally, after the German unification, there has been noticeable discrepancy between east and west because Western and Eastern Germany had different patterns of party developments.

Looking back, only three parties gained representation in the Bundestag following the elections of September 1965. The Christian Democratic Union (Christlich-Demokratische UnionCDU) and its Bavarian affiliate, the Christian Social Union (Christlich-Soziale UnionCSU), with 245 seats, remained the strongest group, as it had been since the first Bundestag was elected in 1949. The Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei DeutschlandsSPD) increased its seats to 202 and remained the major opposition party. The Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische ParteiFDP), winning 49 seats, joined with the CDU and the CSU to form the "small coalition" government of Chancellor Ludwig Erhard.

The coalition government was dissolved in October 1966, following a budgetary disagreement between the CDU/CSU and the FDP. In November 1966, the CDU/CSU joined with the SPD to form a new coalition government, but following the general elections of September 1969, the SPD and FDP formed a coalition government with a combined strength of 254 seats. The elections of November 1972 resulted in a coalition composed of the SPD's 230 seats and the FDP's 42, over the CDU/CSU's 224 seats. Following the resignation of SPD leader Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt (SPD) was elected chancellor by the Bundestag in May 1974 by a 267255 vote. The SPD/FDP coalition retained its majorities in the elections of 1976 (SPD 214, FDP 39) and 1980 (SPD 218, FDP 53).

In the general election of 25 January 1987, the results were as follows: CDU/CSU, 44.3% (223 seats); FDP, 9.1% (46 seats); SPD, 37% (186 seats); and the Greens, 8.3% (42 seats). The first all-Germany elections were held 2 December 1990. The results were as follows: CDU/CSU, 43.8% (319 seats); SPD, 33.5% (239 seats); FDP, 11.0% (79 seats); and Greens, 1.2% (8). The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), successor to the SED (Communist party), won 2.4% of the vote and 17 seats. East German parties were allowed to win seats if they received at least 5% of the vote in East Germany. After the breakup of the coalition in 1982, however, the CDU/CSU swept to victory in the voting of March 1983, winning 244 seats and 48.8% of the vote, compared with 226 seats (44.5%) in 1980 and 243 seats (48.6%) in 1976. The swing party, the FDP, took 34 seats (6.9%) and joined the CDU/CSU in a coalition behind Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The SPD polled 38.2% (down from 42.9% in 1980) and captured 193 seats, for a drop of 25.

The CDU and CSU emphasize Christian precepts but are not denominational parties. They favor free enterprise and are supported by small business, professional groups, farmers, and Christian-oriented labor unions. In foreign policy, the CDU/CSU alliance supports European integration and the strengthening of NATO.

The SPD is the oldest and best organized of all German parties. In recent decades it has modified its traditional Marxist program and made an appeal not only to industrial workers but also to farmers, youth, professional people, and the petty bourgeoisie. Its revised Godesberg Program (1959) envisages a mixed economy, support for European integration and NATO, public ownership of key industries, a strong defense force, and recognition of religious values.

The FDP is a more heterogeneous organization, consisting of both classical liberals and strongly nationalistic groups. The party is supported mainly by business interests and Protestant groups. It rejects socialism or state capitalism in principle. The Greens (Die Grünen) constitute a coalition of environmentalists and antinuclear activists; in 1983, they became the first left-wing opposition party to gain a parliamentary foothold since the Communists won 15 seats in 1949. In 1990, in cooperation with Alliance 90, a loose left-wing coalition, the Greens were able to clear the 5% hurdle and win Bundestag seats.

The October 1994 elections saw a weakening of the Free Democratic and Christian Democratic coalition and a strengthening of the Social Democrats and the Greens. The Christian Democrats won 41.5% of the vote and the Free Democrats 6.9%. This gave the governing coalition 341 seats in parliament and a majority of only 10 seats as compared to its previous 134-seat edge. The combined opposition alliance took 48.1% of the vote (331 seats): the Social Democrats took 36.4%; the Greens, 7.3%; and the former Communists in eastern Germany (now called the Party of Democratic Socialism), 4.4%.

Kohl's CDU-CSU coalition was weakened further in the September 1998 parliamentary elections, winning only 245 seats (35.1%), compared with 298 for the SDP (40.9%). Seats won by other parties were as follows: Greens, 47; Free Democrats, 44; and Party of Democratic Socialism, 35. Following the election, Germany's new chancellor Gerhard Schröder formed a center-left coalition government with the Green Party.

Elections held in September 2002 saw both the SPD and the CDU-CSU coalition each win 38.5% of the vote; however, the SPD came away with 251 seats to 248 for the CDU-CSU. The SPD renewed its coalition with the Greens, who took 8.5% of the vote and 55 seats, and Schröder remained chancellor. The Free Democrats took 7.4% of the vote and 47 seats, and the PDS won 4.3% of the vote and held 2 seats in the Bundestag. On 23 May 2004, Horst Koehler was elected president with the next election scheduled for May 2009.

In the November 2005 elections, Gerhard Schröder (SPD/Greens coalition) lost the chancellery office to Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU-FDP coalition). It was the first time in German history that one of the two larger parties has nominated a woman for this position. The election campaign turned into a tense race of Merkel running against Schröder. Election polls fluctuated as well as did the predictions of the election results. Polls showed that right before the election day, at least a quarter of German voters were still undecided.

Germany held the elections on 18 September 2005, except in a constituency in Dresden that held the elections on 2 October. Unsurprisingly, both candidates came close with the Christian Democrats receiving only 1% more votes and four more seats than the SPD. Exit polls showed that neither coalition group had won a majority of seats in the federal diet (Bundestag), and both parties lost seats compared to 2002. The SPD/Green coalition fell from 306 seats (in a house of 603) to 273 seats (in a house of 614). At the same time the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition fell from 295 seats to 286 seats. In the final distribution of seats in the federal diet, CDU got 180 seats, CSU received 46 seats, FDP gained 61 seats, SPD got 222 seats, the Greens remained with 51 seats, and the recently formed left-wing Left Party (or PDS/WASG alliance) climbed up to 54 seats. The next parliamentary elections were to be held September 2009.

Neither of the coalitions (SPD-Greens and CDU/CSU-FDP) could achieve a majority of vote in the federal diet (Kandzler-mehrheit) that is required to elect a chancellor. Both chancellors claimed a victory, but to make it functional, they had to negotiate with all of the parties to form an appropriate winning coalition. On 10 October, a round of negotiations ended with the Grand Coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD. Angela Merkel officially became chancellor on the condition that 16 seats in the new cabinet would be equally split up between the CDU/CSU and the SPD and with the SPD controlling 8 out of the 14 ministries, including the ministries of foreign affairs and finance.


The Basic Law guarantees local self-government, and the states (Länder) are granted all powers not specifically reserved to the federal government. The Federal Republic consists of 13 Länder, and 3 free states (Freistaaten); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Freistaat), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen(Freistaat), Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thueringen (Freistaat).

Länder each have ministerial governments and legislatures. They have primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order; jurisdiction over their own finances, taxes, and administration; and supreme authority in education and other cultural activities. Through the Bundesrat, the Länder have considerable influence in federal legislation and can prevent the central government from imposing radical reforms.

Communes (Gemeinden) are the basic units of local government, apart from the municipalities, and have the right to regulate such local matters as those involving schools, building, cultural affairs, and welfare. Halfway between the Länder and the communes are the counties (Landkreise), which have autonomy in such matters as road building, transportation, and hospitals. They are administered by a Landrat, the chief official, and a Kreistag (country legislature).


Cases of the first instance are tried by local or Landkreis courts and the superior courts in each of the Länder. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, the court of last resort in regular civil and criminal cases, consists of members appointed by a committee that includes federal and Land ministers and several Bundestag members. A court of appeal and the several Land and Landkreis courts are subordinate to the Karlsruhe tribunal. Special courts handle administrative, labor, financial, and social welfare matters. The Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has competence to decide problems concerning the Basic Law and to test the constitutionality of laws. The court has 16 members: one 8-member panel elected by a committee of the Bundestag, the other by the Bundesrat.

The judiciary is independent of the legislative and judicial branches and remains free from interference or intimidation. The Basic Law provides for the rights to a fair trial and prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence. The government authorities generally respect these prohibitions.


The unification of Germany in 1991 brought the amalgamation of the People's Army of the German Democratic Republic and the Bundeswehr of the Federal Republicon the Bundeswehr's terms, modified by political guidance. Essentially, West Germany abolished the East German Ministry of Defense and officer corps, but kept much of the GDR's Russian equipment and a few of its career officers and noncommissioned specialists. The Bundeswehr occupied East German military installations and found many of them beyond repair for training and suitable housing. The Bundeswehr moved eastward with all deliberate speed, especially since six Russian divisions and a tactical air force still remained in German installations. (With dependents these dispossessed Russians numbered almost 500,000). Meanwhile, Germany's NATO allies still maintained an integrated ground and air forces of almost 250,000 troops in western Germany, although this force shrank with the departure of the Canadian and Belgian forces, and the reduction of the American and British contingents in the 1990s.

The German active armed forces in 2005 numbered 284,500, supported by 358,650 reserves. Active Army personnel numbered 191,350. The German Army has large amounts of equipment including 2,398 main battle tanks, 409 reconnaissance vehicles, 2,067 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 3,123 armored personnel carriers, and 1,682 artillery pieces. In addition, the Germans have abundant air defense weapons, helicopters, engineering equipment, and sophisticated antitank weapons.

The German Navy has 20,700 active memebers, including 3,700 naval aviation personnel. The Navy operates 13 tactical submarines and 14 major surface combat vessels (all frigates), 14 patrol and coast combatants, and 23 mine warfare ships.

The German Air Force numbered 51,400 active personnel in 2005. It is structured into the Air Force Command and Transport Command. Equipment for the air force includes 417 combat capable aircraft and 96 transport aircraft of all types.

In 2005 Germany's defense budget totaled $30.2 billion. German armed forces are actively involved in peacekeeping and UN missions abroad. Germany has troops in France and Poland, and trains with the United States military.


The Federal Republic of Germany became a full member of the United Nations on 18 September 1973; it belongs to several nonregional specialized UN agencies. It is also an active participant in the Council of Europe, the European Union, NATO, OECD, OSCE, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Caribbean Development Bank, G-5, G-7, G-8, and the Paris Club (G-10). Germany is a permanent observer of the OAS and a nonregional member of the West African Development Bank. The country is a member of the WTO.

Germany has supported UN operations and missions in Kosovo (1999), Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000), Sierra Leone (1999), and Georgia (1993). Germany is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

In environmental cooperation, Germany is part of the Antarctic Treaty; the Basel Convention; Conventions on Biological Diversity, Whaling, and Air Pollution; Ramsar; CITES; the London Convention; International Tropical Timber Agreements; the Kyoto Protocol; the Montréal Protocol; MARPOL; the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.


Germany, with a GDP of $2.83 trillion (at market exchange rate) and $2.43 trillion (purchasing power parityPPP) in 2005, has the world's third-largest economy in exchange-rate terms and the fifth-largest economy measured by PPP. It is the largest economy in Europe. More than in most other advanced economies, manufacturing remains at the heart of the German economy, although the share of overall industrial output (excluding construction) in GDP declined from 26.9% in 1992 to 22.6% in 2002. As of 2005, the steelmaking sector in the Ruhr region had declined significantly, and agriculture had become a sector of only marginal importance for the economy as a whole.

Before unification in 1990, GNP in West Germany increased at an annual average rate of 7% between 1950 and 1960 and 5.4% between 1960 and 1970. This rate slowed to 3.1% between 1970 and 1980 and 2.3% between 1980 and 1990. However, the unification of Germany in October 1990 proved a heavy economic burden on the west. In 1992, the former East Germany accounted for only 8% of GDP. Transfer payments and subsidies for the east resulted in a large public deficit. Alarmed at the potential for inflation, the Bundesbank pursued a tight monetary policy. This boosted the value of the mark and had a recessionary effect on the European economy. The unemployment rate in 1993 was 7.3% in the west, but 15.8% in the east because so many antiquated, inefficient enterprises were unable to compete in a market economy. These factors led to the recession of 199293 with growth in the GDP dropping to 1.1%. The economy recovered in 1994, posting a growth rate of 2.9%, but declined to 1.9% in 1995 and 1% in 1996.

Strong exports in 1997 were expected to bring the growth rate back to 3.5% with sustained growth projected at 44.5% for 19982000. Such hopes failed to materialize, as the real growth rate for 1998 was 2.7%. The costs of reunification saddled the country with $300 billion in debt, forcing western Germans to pay a 7.5% "solidarity" surtax for reconstructing the eastern section. Even with the infusion of cash, the eastern sector was essentially bankrupt in the late 1990s with 25% unemployment and worker output at 50% of its western counterpart. However, high unemployment did not result in a drop in the hourly wage rate. High labor costs also plague the west where workers average a 38-hour work week and enjoy six weeks of vacation per year. To remain competitive, German companies cut staff and relocated manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries.

The coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens elected in 1998 pledged to combat Germany's economic sluggishness through a reform program dubbed "Future Program 2000." This program included budget cuts, tax reforms, and a major reform of the pension system. The government also tried to coordinate better labor-management cooperation in its effort to implement its reforms. This coalition government was returned to power in 2002, and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called on citizens to "renew Germany" by pulling together during difficult economic times. Germany, on the brink of recession, saw a drop in the government's popularity. Schröder threatened to resign in 2003 if his reform package, called "Agenda 2010," was not passed by 2004. This program included a relaxation of job protections, reductions in unemployment and health care benefits, and an easing of the rules on collective bargaining. Indeed, the Social Democrats' traditional support from unions was compromised by the proposed reforms, including, as in France, pension reform: strikes broke out in Germany, France, Austria, and Italy in 2003 due to opposition to cuts in old-age benefits. Neither the reforms of "Agenda 2010" nor reduced taxation did much to improve consumer confidence for Germany's industrial workers, who were unemployed in large numbers. The unemployment rate in Germany stood at 10.6% in 2004, and at 12.4% for the first quarter of 2005.

As a result of elections held in September 2005, a "grand coalition" of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, was faced with the task of implementing further economic reforms. Reforming business taxes was one item on the policy agenda. The federal corporation tax rate is 25%, with local taxes pushing the total tax burden on companies up to 38%.

GDP growth was predicted to be a weak 0.9% in 2005, and 1.1% in 2006, with consumer prices rising by 1.9% in 2005 and 1.8% in 2006. Germany was expected to be forced to meet the EU's 3% budget-deficit ceiling by 2007. In 2005, a deficit of 3.7% of GDP was forecast, 3.4% in 2006, and 3.1% in 2007.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $2.4 trillion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $29,700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 0.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 1.1% of GDP, industry 28.6%, and services 70.3%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $5.693 billion or about $69 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.2% of GDP.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Germany totaled $1.408 trillion or about $17,069 per capita based on a GDP of $2.4 trillion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1.5%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 14% of household consumption was spent on food, 7% on fuel, 2% on health care, and 10% on education.


Germany's labor force in 2005 was estimated at 43.32 million workers. Employment by sector in 2003 was as follows: industry 31.9%; agriculture 2.5%; services 65.5%; other occupations 0.1%. Unemployment was estimated at 11.6% in 2005.

The right to organize and to join trade unions is guaranteed by law. As of 2005, about 28% of the eligible labor force was unionized. In 1991, the western trade unions successfully expanded eastward, where they created western structures in the new states, totally dominating overall development so that no GDR trade union survived reunification. Disputes concerning the interpretation of labor agreements are settled before special labor courts. Wages and working conditions in virtually all commercial and industrial establishments are governed by collective bargaining agreements between employers' associations and trade unions. Germany in 2005 did not have an administratively or legislated minimum wage rate.

As of 2005, children under the age of 15 were generally prohibited from employment, and these child labor laws were strictly enforced. Minors 13 and 14 years of age were permitted to work on a farm up to three per day, or deliver newspapers up to two hours per day. Although the average workweek ranges from 36 to 39 hours, the law allows a maximum workweek of 48 hours. Also mandated are a 25% premium for overtime; paid holidays and vacations (15 workdays annually, minimum, and 18 days for employees over 35 years of age); and a 10% premium for night work. However, under various collective bargaining agreements, most workers are entitled to an even greater wage premium for overtime work and even more vacation time than legally required (six weeks per year is typical). About 74% of Germany's labor force in 2005 was covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which partly explains the relatively high wages in the absence of a minimum wage law, and why working time and vacation provisions exceed legal requirements. Health and safety standards are stringently regulated.


Although 34% of the total area of Germany is devoted to crop production, production falls far short of satisfying industrial and consumer demand. Agriculture accounted for only 1% of GDP in 2003. The total amount of arable land in 2003 came to 12,040,000 hectares (29,750,000 acres). In 2003, the average size of Germany's 420,697 farms was about 40 hectares (100 acres).

Article 15 of the 1990 Treaty (for monetary, economic and social union) arranged for transitional price supports for GDR farmers until an integration within the EU agricultural market could occur. Before reunification, agriculture had engaged about 6.1% and 3% of the economically active populations of the former GDR and old FRG, respectively. Agriculture engaged 2.5% of Germany's population in 2002. The former GDR Länder contribute significantly to German agricultural production. The chief crops in order of yield in 2004 were sugar beets, 27,159,000 tons; wheat, 25,427,000 tons; barley, 12,933,000 tons; and potatoes, 13,044,000 tons. Apples and pears as well as cherries and peaches are significant fruit crops. In 2003, apple production was the smallest since 1995 from bad pollination and forest damage. Viticulture is important in the southwest, and Germany is a renowned producer of wines for world consumption; 105 million liters of wine were produced in 2004. Germany is the world's second-largest importer of agricultural products (after the United States), with nearly $50.8 billion in 2004.


The government regulates the marketing of livestock, meat, and some dairy products; it also controls the distribution of livestock for slaughter and meat. Livestock in 2005 included 13,257,000 head of cattle (including five million milk cows), and 26,235,000 hogs, 2,138,000 sheep, 520,000 horses, 112,000,000 chickens, and 8,000,000 turkeys. Milk production amounted to 27.6 million tons in 2005; cheese, 2,074,000 tons; and butter, 444,000 tons. Meat production in 2005 included 4.5 million tons of pork, 1.1 million tons of beef, 1 million tons of poultry, and 54,000 tons of lamb, mutton, and goat. In 2002, of the 2.8 million cattle tested for BSE ("mad cow" disease), 0.003% were confirmed positive. Some 798,000 tons of eggs were produced in 2005. Germany is the leading meat, milk, and honey producer of Europe.


The importance of the fishing industry has declined in recent years. At the beginning of 2004, the German fishing fleet consisted of 2,281 vessels with 66,008 GRT. In 2004, there were 88 fishery companies employing 9,004 people. The total catch in 2004 amounted to 288,000 tons, of which 125,000 tons came from domestic ports. The main fishing areas are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the waters off Greenland. Overfishing is a serious environmental problem. The government subsidizes capacity reduction and modernization measures. The fish varieties accounting for the greatest volume are herring, mackerel, cod, and sardines. Aquaculture consists mostly of pond-raised trout and carp. Imports of fish products totaled 774,095 tons in 2004 (valued at $2.63 billion), while exports amounted to 370,508 tons (valued at $1.14 billion). Norway and Denmark together supply 40% of Germany's fish and seafood imports. Germany is the fourth-largest fish processing country in the EU (after the United Kingdom, France, and Spain). Processed fish production amounted to 474,428 tons in 2004, valued at $1.91 billion.


Total forest area amounted in 2000 to over 10.7 million hectares (26.5 million acres), about 31% of the total land area. Reforestation has resulted in a 6% increase in the forest area since the end of World War II (193945). Deciduous species (such as beech, oak, ash, maple, and alder) originally covered about two-thirds of the area, and conifers were only predominant in higher elevations. Today, hardwood trees comprise only one-third of the forests. Principal softwood species include silver fir, pine, spruce, and Douglas fir, which was introduced from the northwest United States late in the 19th century. The most thickly wooded of the federal Länder are Hessen and Rhineland-Pfalz. A total of 54 million cu m (1.9 billion cu ft) of timber was cut in 2005. The wood products industry consists of about 185,000 companies employing more than 1.3 million people, larger than the German automotive industry. Almost half of the raw timber is used by sawmills for lumber production. The German sawmilling industry consists of about 2,500 sawmills producing around 17 million cu m (600 million cu ft) of softwood lumber and 1.2 million cu m (42.4 million cu ft) of hardwood lumber. Total trade in forest products during 2004 included $14.8 billion in imports and $6.3 billion in exports. Output of paper and paperboard totaled 20.4 million tons in 2004, highest in Europe. High domestic labor costs compel Germany to import substantial quantities of value-added products such as veneers and panels.


Germany's export-oriented economy was the largest in Europe. Approximately one-third of Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) depended upon exports. Germany was also a major processing nation, relying on imports of raw materials for the metals processing industry and the manufacture of industrial mineral products. The country was a leader in the mining equipment manufacturing sector, and was among the largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, coal, and cement. Although the underground mining sector has steadily declined, certain minerals remained important domestically and worldwide. In 2003, Germany was the world's largest lignite producer, the world's third-largest producer of potash, a leading producer of kaolin in Western Europe, a major European producer of crude gypsum, and self-sufficient in feldspar and salt. The only metal mineral still mined in Germany was uranium.

Except for the very large lignite and potash operations, most of the producing and processing facilities in operation were small. The restructuring and privatization of facilities in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) continued in 2003, including of the mineral-resource industries. Production figures for 2003 were, in million tons: potash, 3.563; kaolin, 3.5; marketable gypsum and anhydrite, 1.748, down from 1.761 in 2001; feldspar, 0.5; industrial dolomite and limestone, 106, up from 76 in 2001; and marketable salt (evaporated, rock, and other), 16.3, up from 15.6 in 2001. In 2003, Germany also produced barite; bromine; chalk; clays (bentonite, ceramic, fire, fuller's earth, brick); diatomite; fluorspar; graphite; lime; quicklime; dead-burned dolomite; nitrogen; phosphate materials, including Thomas slag; mineral and natural pigments; pumice; dimension stone; quartz; quartzite; slate; building sand; gravel; terrazzo splits; foundry sand; industrial glass sand; talc; and steatite. In terms of overseas developments, Süd-Chemie AG was the largest bentonite producer in Europe. Between 140 and 160 small- to medium-sized clay mines were in operation; about one-half of the high-quality refractory and ceramic clays produced were from the Rhineland-Palatinate area. No iron ore was mined in 1999 and 2000; demand was met by imports of 47 million tons.


Germany is the greatest consumer of electric power in Europe. In 2003, total installed capacity was estimated at 119.8 GW. Total production of electric power in that year amounted to an estimated 558.1 billion kWh, of which 63% was produced in conventional thermal plants (mainly fueled by hard coal), 28% in nuclear installations, and 6% from other renewable sources. As of November 2005, there were 17 nuclear plants, and as of 2003, Germany ranked fourth internationally in nuclear power generation. In 2001, the German government and its utility companies signed an agreement to gradually phase out nuclear power over the coming decades due to environmental concerns.

Proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 9.9 trillion cu ft, as of 1 January 2005. Domestic production in 2003 accounted for slightly more than 24% of the natural gas consumed in 2003. In that year, domestic demand for natural gas was put at an estimated 3.3 trillion cu ft, while domestic production that year was estimated at 0.8 trillion cu ft. Major natural gas suppliers to Germany are Russia, the Netherlands, and Norway. In 2000 production began at Germany's first offshore gas field in the North Sea. It is expected to produce 3.3 billion cu m (116 billion cu ft) of gas per day for 16 years. Production of oil was estimated at 169,300 barrels per day in 2005, of which 38% was crude oil. Local production is not sufficient to cover consumption, which totaled an estimated 2.6 million barrels per day in 2005.

Germany has extensive coal reserves. In 2003, recoverable reserves of coal totaled an estimated 7,428.5 million short tons, with consumption and production estimated at 273 million short tons and 229.1 million short tons, respectively, for that same year. Germany's hard coal (anthracite and bituminous) deposits lie deep underground and are difficult to mine economically. As a result, hard coal extraction is subsidized by the government, which for 2005, plans to spend $3.5 billion for subsidies. However, by 2012, coal subsidies are slated to fall to $2.3 billion, the result of a pact with the coal industry reached in 1997. Brown coal, or lignite, however, is easier to obtain and does not require subsidies from the government. It also accounts for the vast bulk of German coal output. In 2003, of the 273.0 million short tons of coal produced, brown coal accounted for 86% of production, with 13% for bituminous and 1% for anthracite. The lignite industry, which is centered in the eastern part of the country, was drastically changed as a result of unification and the introduction of the strict environmental and safety laws of the pre-1991 FRG.

Germany is also looking at renewable energy sources. Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act, Germany is looking to have 12.5% of its energy supplied by renewable sources by 2010, and 20% by 2020. During the 1990s, more than 5,000 electricity-generating windmills were installed in Germany, mostly along the North Sea coast, and wind power is expected to supply 3.5% of electricity by 2010. As of November 2005, Germany had 14,600 MW of installed wind power capacity and 390 MW of installed solar voltaic capacity.


Germany is the world's third-largest industrial power, behind the United States and Japan. The major industrial concentrations of western Germany are the Ruhr-Westphalia complex; the Upper Rhine Valley, Bremen and Hamburg, notable for shipbuilding; the southern region, with such cities as Munich and Augsburg; and the central region, with such industrial cities as Salzgitter, Kassel, Hanover, and Braunschweig. In the east, most of the leading industries are located in the Berlin region or in such cities as Dresden, Leipzig, Dessau, Halle, Cottbus, and Chemnitz.

The main industrial sectors in the former GDR were electrical engineering and electronics, chemicals, glass, and ceramics. The optical and precision industries were important producers of export items. Following unification, wages in the east were allowed to reach levels far exceeding productivity. As a result, many factories closed and industrial production plunged by two-thirds before stabilizing.

German industry has been struggling with high labor costs, stiff international competition, and high business taxes. Large industrial concerns like Daimler-Benz have spun off unprofitable companies, cut staff, and are looking for ways to boost productivity. Policies such as these have led to a loss of some two million industrial jobs since 1991. Other companies, like the electronics giant Siemens, have moved plants abroad in search for lower labor costs and to secure positions in developing economies like China and Thailand.

Despite the costs of restructuring the former GDR, Germany had some of the largest and most successful companies in the world as of late 2005, from automobiles to advanced electronics, steel, chemicals, machinery, shipbuilding, and textiles. German industrial products are known for their high quality and reliability. Nevertheless, the global recession that began in 2001 negatively affected German industry, with 45,000 insolvencies in 2002, including Holzmann, the large construction company. The construction industry, which experienced a post-reunification boom in the early 1990s, experienced an 8% drop in orders at the beginning of 2002. Although German industry (excluding construction) as a percentage of GDP declined from 26.9% in 1992 to 22.6% in 2002, manufacturing in 2005 remained at the heart of the German economy.


The reunification of East and West Germany has created great opportunities for the entire population but has also placed great strains on the nation. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in science, engineering and technical education, and vocational training. Germany maintains an excellent science and technology educational system and vocational training in many fields. About 140,000 science and engineering students graduated per year in the last years of the 20th century. Still, the challenge of incorporating the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into a complete and modern German nation is daunting. Public and university research facilities in the former East Germany are old and poorly maintained, and science and engineering students have been found to be poorly trained and equipped to work in more modern West German institutions and companies. It is believed that the German government will need to completely rebuild the science and technology infrastructure in the former GDR before it can compare with more modern German facilities.

The German national science and technology budget is applied to many areas of science and technology, and leading fields include traditional areas of German strength, like chemical, automotive and telecommunications research and development. Current policy emphasizes the application of science and technology to enhance Germany's economic and competitive standing, while protecting the nation's health and the environment. Support for science and technology also occurs at other levels. There are independent laboratories, comprised of both the national laboratories and private research institutes like the Max Planck and Fraunhofer Societies. In addition, German industry supports many important types of research and development, and the German states, or Länder, provide still more resources for scientific research. The Ministry for Science and Technology (BMFT), an organization without parallel in the United States, both coordinates and sets priorities for the entire national science and technology program. Finally, Germany's participation in the European Union also has a significant science and technology componentGermany provides funding, scientists, and laboratories for broad European research and development. In 2003 total research and development (R&D) expenditures in Germany amounted to $56,592.7 billion, or 2.64% of GDP. Of that total, 65.5% came from the business sector, followed by the government at 31.6%, the foreign sector at 2.3%, and by higher education at 0.4%.

In 2002, there were 3,222 scientists and engineers and 1,435 technicians per million people that were actively engaged in R&D. High-tech exports that same year were valued at $86.861 billion, accounting for 17% of manufactured exports.

Germany has numerous universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 47% of university enrollment. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 30.2% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, and engineering).

The Natural History Museum in Berlin (founded in 1889) has geological, paleontological, mineralogical, zoological, and botanical components. The country has numerous specialized learned societies concerned with agriculture and veterinary science, medicine, the natural sciences, and technology.


Wholesalers, retailers, mail-order houses, door-to-door salespersons, department stores, consumer cooperatives, and factory stores all engage in distribution. There are about 630,000 commercial enterprises in Germany, with over than 760,000 local units. Nearly 5 million people are employed in domestic trade, which has a yearly turnover of over 1 trillion.

Chain stores are common, with the top 10 German retail organizations accounting for almost 80% of total German retail turnover. Convenience shops are a fast growing market outlet in Germany.

The economy is generally described as a "social market economy." The state continues to own some major sections of the economy and provides subsidies for the growth and development of some sectors. However, free enterprise and competition are encouraged. Privatization of public utilities has resulted in greater competition and lower prices. The economy as a whole is primarily export oriented, with nearly one-third of national product exported.

Usual business hours for retail stores are from 9 am to 6 or 6:30 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Retail stores are not open on Sundays or holidays unless they have a special limited permit allowing them to be open. Twenty-four-hour shopping is available only at certain gas stations and at other sites related to travel. Wholesale houses and industrial plants usually have a half day (noon closing) on Saturday. Banks are open MondayFriday from 8:30 am to 1 pm and from 2:30 pm to 4 pm (5:30 pm on Thursday).


Germany is one of the world's great trading nations. In 2003 and 2004 it was the largest exporter in the world. In 2004, Germany's exports amounted to $909.7 billion, compared with the United

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 748,531.3 601,761.0 146,770.3
France-Monaco 78,002.5 54,904.7 23,097.8
United States 68,614.2 42,098.1 26,516.1
United Kingdom 61,340.5 35,356.2 25,984.3
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 53,914.0 37,926.5 15,987.5
Netherlands 44,117.2 46,495.2 -2,378.0
Austria 38,872.0 23,437.7 15,434.3
Belgium 37,109.9 28,711.2 8,398.7
Spain 36,266.2 18,393.2 17,873.0
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 28,571.8 21,011.6 7,560.2
China 20,401.4 28,259.7 -7,858.3
() data not available or not significant.

States' $811.1 billion. German imports stood at $717.9 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $191.8 billion in 2004.

Manufactured products are the leading exports. Germany supplies a large portion of the world with automobiles and car parts. Germany's motor vehicle exports made up 18.4% of its total exports in 2004. Diverse machinery exports, including nonelectrical and electrical parts, also account for a large percentage of the world's exports in those commodities (and 14% of Germany's total exports in 2004). Chemical products, telecommunications technology, in addition to devices for electricity production and distribution, are the next leading exports. The leading markets for Germany's goods in 2004, in order of importance, were France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.

In 2004, Germany's major imports were chemical products (11% of total imports), motor vehicles (10.3%), petroleum and natural gas (6.8%), machinery (6.7%), and computers and related products (4.8%). Germany's leading suppliers in 2004, in order of importance, were France, the Netherlands, the United States, Italy, and the United Kingdom.


After experiencing deficits during 197981, Germany's current accounts balance rebounded to a surplus of about dm9.9 billion in 1982 and then kept rising to dm76.5 billion in 1986, primarily because of falling prices for crude oil and other imports, combined with appreciation of the deutsche mark relative to other European currencies. By 1989, Germany's current account surplus was nearly 5% of GNP. With reunification, however, this changed immediately. Imports rushed in as former-GDR residents sought newly available consumer goods, and exports fell as goods and services were diverted to the east. As a result, Germany recorded current account deficits since 1991, created in part because of the substantial foreign borrowing undertaken to finance the cost of unification. Even so, large current account surpluses from the 1970s and 1980s helped Germany to maintain its position as the world's second-largest creditor with net foreign assets estimated at $185 billion in 1995. From 1990 to 1996, however, Germany's share of world exports dropped from 12% to 9.8% due in large part to high

Revenue and Grants 653.46 100.0%
   Tax revenue 245.87 37.6%
   Social contributions 378.34 57.9%
   Grants 10.54 1.6%
   Other revenue 18.71 2.9%
Expenditures 698.61 100.0%
   General public services 95.55 13.7%
   Defense 25.47 3.6%
   Public order and safety 3.0 0.4%
   Economic affairs 46.59 6.7%
   Environmental protection 0.37 0.1%
   Housing and community amenities 6.19 0.9%
   Health 134.55 19.3%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 0.83 0.1%
   Education 3.09 0.4%
   Social protection 382.97 54.8%
() data not available or not significant.

labor costs which were making it hard for Germany to compete in the global economy. Germany in 2001 ranked second behind the United States in numbers of both exports and imports, and ran a current account surplus. By 2004, it was the world's leading exporter, and had a current account surplus estimated at $73.59 billion.


The central banking system of Germany consists of the German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank), currently located in Frankfurt am Main (but which is expected to move to Berlin, the capital), one bank for each of the Länder (Landeszentralbanken), and one in Berlin, which are the main offices for the Federal Bank. Although the Federal Bank is an independent institution, the federal government holds the bank's capital and appoints the presidents as well as the board of directors; the Central Bank Council acts as overseer. All German banks are subject to supervision by the German Federal Banking Supervisory Authority (Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Kreditwesen) in Berlin.

The Federal Bank is the sole bank of issue. Until the advent of the euro in 1999 it set interest and discount rates. These functions are now the domain of the European Central Bank (ECB). However, the Federal Bank maintains a leading role in domestic banking. The largest commercial banks are the Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, and Commerzbank. In 1997 Germany had 232 commercial banks, including the "big three," 56 subsidiaries or branches of foreign banks, and 80 private banks. There are also 13 central giro institutions. In addition, there are 657 savings banks and 18 credit institutions with special functions, including the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Loan Corporation), which is the channel for official aid to developing countries. In all, there were over 45,000 bank offices in 2002. The German financial system includes just under 2,700 small industrial and agricultural credit cooperatives and allied institutions, in addition to four central institutions; 33 private and public mortgage banks that obtain funds from the sale of bonds; the postal check and postal savings system; and 34 building societies. In April 2000, a proposed merger between two of the "big three," Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, collapsed. The deal would have reduced operating costs by relieving both banks of their branch networks.

After the Bundesbank just missed its target range for M3 growth for 1996 of 4% to 7%, it decided on a two-year target for monetary supply growth to cover the 1997-98 period leading up to the planned hand-over of responsibility to the ECB on 1 January 1999.

In 1996 Moody's Investments Service capped an extremely poor year for Deutsche Bank by reducing its triple A rating to Aa1. This reflects the fact that elite banks are finding it harder to retain the triple A rating as banking becomes internationally more competitive. Deutsche Bank announced that it hoped to shed 1,300 employees through attrition by 2000.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $544.8 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $1,849.3 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.37%.

Under the constitution, the governments of the Länder regulate the operations of stock exchanges and produce exchanges. Eight stock exchanges operate in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, and Stuttgart. Germany has several other independent exchanges for agricultural items. There are no restrictions on foreign investments in any securities quoted on the German stock exchanges. However, a foreign (or domestic) business investor that acquires more than 25% of the issued capital of a German quoted company must inform the company of this fact. The most notable recent banking legislation is the January 2002 elimination of the capital gains tax on holdings sold by one corporation to another. In 2004, a total of 660 companies were listed on the Deutsche Borse AG. Market capitalization in 2004 totaled 41,194.517 billion. The DAX in 2004 rose 7.3% from the previous year to 4,256.1.


In 2003, the value of direct premiums written totaled $170.811 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $94.073 billion. Germany's top nonlife insurer in that same year was Allianz Versicherungswirtschafe with gross nonlife premiums written of $9,071.1 million. The country's leading life insurer that year was Allianz Leben, with $11,554.2 billion in life insurance premiums written. Worker's compensation, third party automobile liability, legal liability for drug companies, airlines, hunters, auditors, tax advisors, security firms, architects, lawyers, nuclear power station operators, and accident and health insurance are compulsory. The insurance sector is highly regulated and, despite the opening of the European Union (EU) market, it will be difficult for foreign companies to win the confidence of potential German customers.


The 1967 Law for the Promotion of Economic Stability and Growth requires the federal and state governments to orient their budgets to the main economic policy objectives of price stability, high employment, balanced foreign trade, and steady commensurate growth. The Financial Planning Council, formed in 1968, coordinates the federal government, states, municipalities, and the Bundesbank in setting public budgets. Income, corporate turnover, mineral oil, and trade taxes account for more than 80% of all tax revenue, with the federal government controlling just under half of it. Since the 1960s, social insurance provisions have accounted for the largest share of federal expenditures. Germany's reunification in 1990 raised special problems with regard to economic and financial assimilation. The Unification Treaty provided that the new states should be incorporated in the financial system established by the Basic Law as much as possible from the onset. Therefore, since 1991, the new states have basically been subject to the same regulations with regard to budgetary management and tax distribution as the western states. A "German Unity Fund" was initiated to provide financial support for the new states (and their municipalities); it is jointly financed by the western states, with most of the money being raised in the capital market.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Germany's central government took in revenues of approximately $1.2 trillion and had expenditures of $1.3 trillion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$113 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 68.1% of GDP. Total external debt was $3.626 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were 653.46 billion and expenditures were 698.61 billion. The value of revenues was us$738 million and expenditures us$788 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = .8860 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 13.7%; defense, 3.6%; public order and safety, 0.4%; economic affairs, 6.7%; environmental protection, 0.1%; housing and community amenities,

Current Account 54.9
   Balance on goods 151.7
     Imports -601.4
     Exports 753.1
   Balance on services -50.4
   Balance on income -13.9
   Current transfers -32.5
Capital Account 0.4
Financial Account -79.7
   Direct investment abroad -1.5
   Direct investment in Germany 11.3
   Portfolio investment assets -37.6
   Portfolio investment liabilities 103.5
   Financial derivatives -0.7
   Other investment assets -170.3
   Other investment liabilities 15.7
Net Errors and Omissions 23.8
Reserves and Related Items 0.7
() data not available or not significant.

0.9%; health, 19.3%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.1%; education, 0.4%; and social protection, 54.8%.


In 2000, the German tax system underwent a major reform featuring a dramatic reduction in taxes on business (from a corporate income tax rate of 40% to 25%, and the elimination altogether of a 53% tax on investment profits), as well as a scheduled reduction in the top income tax rate to 42% by 2005 from 56% in the 1980s, and 53% in 2000. As of 2005, Germany's corporate income tax rate was 25%, plus a 5.5% surcharge. There is also a 5% basic trade tax, although rates in the main cities range from 2025%. A nonresident corporation, whose headquarters and management are outside of Germany, does not have to pay the surcharge. Business related capital gains are taxed as income, with a 95% exemption on gains from the sale of most shareholdings by companies for tax years ending after 31 December 2003. Business activities are also subject to municipal trade taxes of 1220.5%, depending upon the municipality.

As of 2005, Germany's progressive individual income tax had a top rate of 42%, plus a 5.5% surcharge. Although self-employed persons are subject to the country's trade tax, the tax can be credited against a person's individual income tax. In 2005 the progressive schedule of income tax rates saw an increase in the 0%, tax-free base to 7,665, with decreases in other brackets. However, the threshold for the highest tax rate decreased from 55,008 in 2002 to 52,293 in 2003 to 52,152 in 2005. Rates and exemptions depend on the number of children, age, and marital status of taxpayer. Individuals also pay an 89% church tax, although non-churchgoers, and members of the Orthodox or Anglican Churches are exempt from paying any church tax. Other direct taxes include an inheritance and gift tax, a net worth tax, and a 2% real estate transfer tax.

The main indirect tax in Germany is a value-added tax (VAT) introduced in 1968 with a standard rate of 10%. By 2003, the standard rate had risen to 16%. A reduced rate of 7% applies to some basic foodstuffs, water supplies, medical care and dentistry, medical equipment for disabled persons, books, newspapers and periodicals, some shows, social housing, agricultural inputs, social services, and public transportation. Items exempt from the VAT include admissions to cultural events, building land, supplies for new buildings, TV licenses, telephones and faxes, basic medical and dental care, the use of sports facilities, and some waste disposal services. Exports are also zero-rated.


Germany is a member of the European Union and thus has a common import customs tariff and complies with trade agreements put in place by the EU. Germany is also a contracting party to the Harmonized System Convention. In regard to trade with non-EU countries, most raw materials enter duty-free, while most manufactured goods are subject to varying rates between 5% and 8%. Germany levies a 15% value-added tax on industrial goods.


All foreign investment must be reported to the German Federal Bank (Bundesbank), but there are no restrictions on the repatriation of capital or profits. Until the 1998 deregulation of Deutsche Telekom, telecommunications remained closed to foreign investment. There is no special treatment for foreign investors. As of 2005, incentives for investment in the former GDR deemed to be desirable included accelerated depreciation, loans at below-market interest rates, and cash investment grants and subsidies. Still applicable in all of Germany as of 2005 were cash grants; tax incentives such as capital reserve allowances and special depreciation allowances; investment grants; and credit programs, including low-interest loans. Foreign firms may also participate in government and/or subsidized research and development programs.

Although few formal barriers exist, high labor costs have discouraged foreign companies from setting up manufacturing plants in Germany. Nevertheless, the German government and industry enthusiastically encourage foreign investment in Germany. German law provides foreign investors national treatment.

There are eight free ports in Germany operated under EU Community law. These duty-free zones within the ports are open to both domestic and foreign entities.

Across the 10-year period 1991 to 2001, total foreign direct investment (FDI) totaled $393 billion, the third highest total in the world. Half of this came in 2000, when FDI inflow reached over $195 billion. Annual FDI inflow had been $12 billion in 1997, rising to $24.5 billion in 1998, to $54.7 billion in 1999. With the bursting of the bubble in 2001, FDI inflow to Germany fell to about $21.1 billion in 2001 and was estimated at $36.2 billion in 2002.

According to the Bundesbank, FDI in Germany in 2003 (the latest figures available) had fallen to $12.9 billion, about two-thirds less than the 2002 high. In GDP terms, 2003 flows of FDI represented 0.6% of Germany's GDP, while the total stock of FDI in 2003 equaled 26.1% of GDP.

FDI outflows from Germany peaked at almost $106.5 billion in 1999. FDI outflows were about $36.9 billion in 2001 and $8.7 billion in 2002. German flows of direct investment abroad plunged to $2.6 billion in 2003.


Germany describes its economy as a "social market economy." Outside of transportation, communications, and certain utilities, the government has remained on the sidelines of entrepreneurship. Beginning in 1998, and in line with EU regulations, the German government began deregulating these fields as well. It has, nevertheless, upheld its role as social arbiter and economic adviser. Overall economic priorities are set by the federal and Land governments pursuant to the 1967 Stability and Growth Act, which demands stability of prices, a high level of employment, steady growth, and equilibrium in foreign trade. In addition to the state, the independent German Federal Bank (Bundesbank), trade unions, and employers' associations bear responsibility for the nation's economic health. With the advent of the euro in 1999, much of the Federal Bank's authority in monetary matters was transferred to the European Central Bank (ECB). In the international arena, Germany has acted as a leader of European economic integration.

Government price and currency policies have been stable and effective. Less successful have been wage-price policies, which have been unable to control a continued upward movement. Inflationary pressures have increased and combined with a general leveling off in productivity and growth. Attempts to neutralize competition by agreements between competitors and mergers are controlled by the Law Against Restraints of Competition (Cartel Act), passed in 1957 and strengthened since then. The law is administered by the Federal Cartel Office, located in Bonn.

Unemployment remained at an average 9% in the early 2000s; it was twice as high in eastern Germany as in western Germany. As of the first quarter of 2005, the unemployment rate stood at 12.4%. Although much effort has been expended to integrate the former East German economy with the West's (infrastructure has improved drastically and a market economy has been introduced), progress in causing the two economies to converge slowed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Annual transfers from West to East amounted to approximately $70 billion in 2005. Germany had the weakest GDP growth in the EU from 19942003, when Germany's economy was moribund.

The aging population, combined with high unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions from workers. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations allowing Germany to thrive globally and to lead the process of European economic integration, particularly if labor-market rigidities are addressed. However, in the short run, rising expenditures and lowered revenues have raised the budget deficit above the EU's 3% debt limit.


The social security system of the FRG remained in place following unification with the German Democratic Republic. However, the GDR system continued to apply on an interim basis within the former GDR territory. The two systems were merged effective 2 January 1992. The social insurance system provides for sickness and maternity, workers' compensation, disability, unemployment, and old age; the program is financed by compulsory employee and employer contributions. Old age pensions begin at age 65 after five years of contribution. Worker's medical coverage is comprehensive, including dental care. Unemployment coverage includes all workers, trainees, apprentices, and at-home workers in varying degrees. The government funds a family allowance to parents with one or more children.

Equal pay for equal work is mandated by law, but women continue to earn less than men. Women continue to be underrepresented in managerial positions. Sexual harassment of women in the workplace is recognized and addressed. Although violence against women exists, the law and government provides protection. Victims of violence can receive police protection, legal help, shelter and counseling. Children's rights are strongly protected.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Basic Law in Germany, although there have been reports of some discrimination against minority religions. Extremist right-wing groups continue to commit violent acts against immigrants and Jews although the government is committed to preventing such acts. The Basic Law also provides for the freedom of association, assembly, and expression.


Health insurance in Germany is available to everyone. Benefits are broad and nationally uniform, with only minor variations among plans. They include free choice of doctors; unlimited physician visits; preventive checkups; total freedom from out-of-pocket payments for physician services; unlimited acute hospital care (with a nominal co-payment); prescription drug coverage (with a minimal co-payment); comprehensive dental benefits (with a 2530% co-payment); vision and hearing exams, glasses, aids, prostheses, etc.; inpatient and psychiatric care (and outpatient psychiatric visits); monthly home care allowances; maternity benefits; disability payments; and rehabilitation and/or occupational therapy. Health care expenditure was estimated at 10.5% of GDP. Expenditures on health are among the highest in the world.

In 2004, there were approximately 362 physicians, 951 nurses, 78 dentists, and 58 pharmacists per 100,000 people. There were about 2,260 hospitals in Germany, with about 572,000 beds. A gradual deinstitutionalization of people with chronic mental illness has taken place, with the number of hospital beds declining from 150,000 in the former West Germany in 1976 to a total of 69,000 in Germany as a whole as of 1995. Germany immunized 85% of children up to one year old against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.

Average life expectancy was 78.65 years in 2005. Infant mortality was 4.16 per 1,000 live births in the same year, one of the lowest in the world. As of 2002, the birth rate was estimated at 8.9 per 1,000 live births and the overall death rate at 10.4 per 1,000 people. Contraceptive use is high. Nearly 75% of married women 1549 used some form of birth control. The total fertility rate in 2000 was 1.4 children per woman throughout her childbearing years. The maternal mortality rate was low at 8 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 43,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 1,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

Tobacco consumption has decreased significantly from 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs) in 1984 to 2.1 kg (4.6 lbs) a year per adult in 1995. The heart disease average in Germany was higher than the European average.


Nearly 2.8 million of the country's 12 million dwellings were destroyed or made uninhabitable as a result of World War II. In the early 1950s, there were 10 million dwellings available for 17 million households. From 1949 to 1978, over 18 million housing units were built, a construction rate of over 500,000 a year; since then, new construction has slowed, averaging 357,000 new units annually during the period 198085. Over 4.2 million housing units were built in 1991 or later (excluding residential homes).

Over half of the population live in residential buildings of three or more dwelling units. Nearly 98% of all dwelling units are in such multiunit residential buildings; of these, about 42.6% are owner occupied. About 69% of the dwelling units in residential buildings have central heating systems. Gas and oil are the most common energy sources. In 2002, there was a total of about 38,957,100 dwelling units nationwide; only 254,900 were residential homes. The average number of persons per household is 2.2.


Most schools and kindergartens are the responsibility of the states, not of the federal government. Therefore, though the overall structure is basically the same, it is difficult for a pupil to transfer from one school to another. German teachers are civil servants. They are required to have a teaching degree and are paid according to a uniform salary scale. Attendance at all public schools and universities is free.

Children start school after their sixth birthday and are required to attend on a full-time basis for nine or ten years, depending on the state of residence. After four years of primary or elementary school (Grundschule ), students choose from three types of secondary school. The best pupils go to a gymnasium, which prepares them for the university matriculation examination, or abitur. A second option is the realschule, leading to technical job training and middle-management employment. The third type is the hauptschule, or general school.

However, a network of correspondence courses has developed, geared for those who wish to continue their studies while working. In Germany, vocational training is the rule. On-the-job training in an authorized company is combined with instruction in a vocational school. Vocational training is concluded by taking a theoretical and practical examination before a Board of the Chamber, and those who pass are given a certificate. This system of vocational training has clearly reduced youth unemployment.

In 2001, nearly all children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment has been estimated at about 84% of age-eligible students. In 2003, secondary school enrollment was about 88% of age-eligible students. Nearly all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 14:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was also about 14:1.

Higher education is represented by three types of institutions: universities (technische universitäten ), colleges of art and music, and universities of applied sciences (fachhochscchulen ). There are also several fachschulen, which offer continuing vocational training for adults. In 2003, about 51% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 99%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.8% of GDP, or 9.5% of total government expenditures.


Germany had no national library until 1913, when the German Library (7.2 million volumes in 2002) in Leipzig brought together an extensive collection literature of the German language under one roof. The library also contains 3.9 million volumes of works written in exile by German authors during the Nazi era. In 1990 a further consolidation of German libraries was completed with the establishment of the German Library in Frankfurt, which had 18 million volumes in 2002. Other prominent libraries are the Bavarian State Library in Munich (7.6 million books) and the Prussian Cultural Property State Library (10 million books) in Berlin. The Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel (848,000 volumes) has archives of 12,000 handwritten medieval books. One of the most important collections of German literature is at the Central Library of German Classics in Weimar. The Berlin Central and Regional Library, the public library network for the area, contains over 3.1 million print and electronic sources. The German Library for the Blind in Leipzig was founded in 1894. It serves as a publishing house and production center for Braille texts and audio books, as well as a public lending library containing 40,000 book titles and 5,000 titles of sheet music in Braille.

Germany has more than 4,500 state, municipal, association, private, residential, castle, palace, and church and cathedral treasures museums, which annually attract over 100 million visitors. Berlin has the Egyptian and Pergaman Museums, the Painting Gallery of Old Masters, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. The Jewish Museum opened in Berlin in 2001 offering exhibits on the history and culture of the Jewish people in the region. The Germanic National Museum in Nüremberg has the largest collection on the history of German art and culture from antiquity to the 20th century. The German Museum in Munich is one of the most well known natural sciences and technology museums in Europe. The Pinakothek Moderne, opened in 2003, houses a huge modern art collection in Munich. In addition, there are hundreds of smaller museums, ethnological and archaeological institutions, scientific collections, and art galleries.

The Bach Archive in Leipzig contains a museum, research institute, and library dedicated to the life and work of the composer J.S. Bach, who once served as the city's music director. Beethoven Haus in Bonn and the Richard Wagner Museum Haus in Bayreuth honor two more famous German composers. Museums on the life and work of Goethe are located in Frankfurt (birthplace) and Weimer. Lutherhaus in Wittenberg serves as a historical museum for both the life and work of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation that he ignited.


Since reunification, postal services have been under the jurisdiction of the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst and telecommunications under Deutsche Bundespost Telekom. Intensive capital investments since reunification have rapidly modernized and integrated most of the obsolete telephone network of the former GDR. In 2003, there were an estimated 657 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 785 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

There are 11 regional broadcasting corporations, including Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, which operates Channel Two nationally. In 1999 there were 77 AM, 1,621 FM, and 373 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 570 radios and 675 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 250.8 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 484.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 473 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 13,847 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

There are about 305 national, regional, and local newspapers in Germany, as well as a large number of other periodicals. Of the newspapers sold on the street, the Bild has the largest circulation at about 3.8 million in 2005. The Berliner Zeitung, founded in 1945 but completely redesigned in 1997, is a nationally prominent daily with a circulation on 2005 of about 180,000. Other influential daily national newspapers (with 2005 circulation rates unless noted) are: the Express (Cologne, 468,800 in 2004), Rheinische Post (Duesseldorf, 443,100 in 2004), the Sachsische Zeitung (Dresden, 416,800 in 2004), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt, 377,000), Die Welt (244,000 in 2004), Frankfurter Rundschau (167,000), Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich, 437,000), Der Tagesspiegel (135,000), and Die Tageszeitung (59,000).

Over 20,000 periodicals are published in Germany. The best-known internationally is the news magazine Der Spiegel which is modeled after the American Time magazine. The German Press Agency, owned by German newspaper publishers and publishers' organizations, furnishes domestic and international news. There are hundreds of small press agencies and services.

The Basic Law provides for free press rights, and the government mostly supports these rights in practice, though propaganda of Nazi and certain other proscribed groups is illegal, as are statements endorsing Nazism.


The Federation of German Industries, the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Traders, and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce represent business in the FRG. There are about 14 regional associations of chambers of business and industry located in the largest cities; many maintain branch offices in smaller cities. The chambers are organized into provincial associations and are headed by the Permanent Conference of German Industry and Trade. The cooperative movement is well developed. Consumer cooperatives are represented in the International Cooperative Alliance by the Central Association of German Cooperatives, founded in 1949; it also represents credit cooperatives. The central association of agricultural cooperatives, the German Raiffeisen Society, is located in Wiesbaden. The Association of German Peasants is the largest society of farmers. There is also a Central Association of German Artisan Industries. The private Association of Consumers operates more than 150 local advisory centers. Professional societies and associations are numerous and represent a wide variety of occupations and fields of study.

Civil action groups (Bürgerinitiativen) have proliferated in recent years. August 13 Working Committee serves in part as a human rights awareness organization. Deutscher Frauenring serves as an umbrella organization for national women's groups. The Red Cross is active. There are national chapters of Habitat for Humanity, CARE and Caritas.

The German Academy of Arts in Berlin and the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden are well-known arts organizations. There is a network of seven academies of science in Germany. The UNESCO Institute for Education has an office in Hamburg. A few cultural and learned associations particular to Germany include the International Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Society, the International Heinrich Schutz Society, and the International Hegel Gesellschaft Society. There are numerous organizations dedicated to research and education in scientific fields, particularly those relating to medicine.

There are about 80 youth associations, most of which belong to the Federal Youth Ring. The scouting movement is highly active and political parties sponsor groups associated in the Ring of Political Youth. In total there are about 90 national youth organizations and youth associations. Many of them are part of the umbrella organization known as the German Federal Youth Association.

There are thousands of groups and associations sponsoring various arts and cultural activities and special organizations for various hobbies and sports. The German Sports Confederation serves as an umbrella organization for over 88,000 sports clubs nationwide. There are also many patriotic and religious organizations in the country.


Germany is famous for its beautiful scenery, particularly the Alps in the south and the river valleys of the Rhine, Main, and Danube; the landscape is dotted with castles and medieval villages. Theater, opera, and orchestral music abound in the major cities. The area that was formerly the German Democratic Republic offers a number of Baltic beach resorts and scenic Rügen Island. Residents of the United States and Canada need only a valid passport to enter Germany for a period of no more than three months; citizens of other countries need a visa. All border formalities for residents of other European Community countries were abandoned with the lifting of trade barriers in 1993.

Facilities for camping, cycling, skiing, and mountaineering are abundant. Football (soccer) is the favorite sport; Germany hosted and won the World Cup competition in 1974, and was scheduled to host in 2006. Tennis has become more popular since Boris Becker won the Wimbledon Championship in 1985; German Steffi Graf was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. The Olympic Games were held in Berlin in 1936, during the Hitler years, and in Munich in 1972.

Approximately 16,357,037 tourists visited Germany in 2003, almost 34% of whom came from Western Europe. There were 892,302 hotel rooms with about 1.6 million beds and an occupancy rate of 33%. The average length of stay was two nights. Tourism receipts totaled $31.6 billion that year.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily expenses in Munich at $350; in Cologne, $323; and in Berlin, $353.


The roster of famous Germans is long in most fields of endeavor. The name of Johann Gutenberg (1400?1468?), who is generally regarded in the Western world as the inventor of movable precision-cast metal type, and therefore as the father of modern book printing, might well head the list of notable Germans. Martin Luther (14831546), founder of the Reformation, still exerts profound influence on German religion, society, music, and language.

The earliest major names in German literature were the poets Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170?1220?), Gottfried von Strassburg (d.1210?), and Sebastian Brant (1457?1521). Hans Sachs (14941576) wrote thousands of plays, poems, stories, and songs. Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (1620?76) created a famous picaresque novel, Simplicissimus. The flowering of German literature began with such renowned 18th-century poets and dramatists as Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (17241803), Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (172981), Christoph Martin Wieland (17331813), and Johann Gottfried von Herder (17441803), and culminated with the greatest German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (17491832), and the greatest German dramatist, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (17591805). Leaders of the Romantic movement included Jean Paul (Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, 17631825), August Wilhelm von Schlegel (17671845), Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg, 17721801), Ludwig Tieck (17731853), E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Wilhelmthe A stood for Amadeus, the middle name of Mozart) Hoffmann (17761822), and Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist (17771811). The brothers Jakob Grimm (17851863) and Wilhelm Grimm (17861859) are world-famous for their collections of folk tales and myths. Heinrich Heine (17971856), many of whose poems have become folksongs, is generally regarded as the greatest German poet after Goethe. Other significant poets are Friedrich Hölderlin (17701843), Friedrich Rückert (17881866), Eduard Mörike (180475), Stefan Georg (18681933), and Rainer Maria Rilke (18751926). Playwrights of distinction include Friedrich Hebbel (181363), Georg Büchner (181337), Georg Kaiser (18781945), Ernst Toller (18931939), and Bertolt Brecht (18981957). Two leading novelists of the 19th century were Gustav Freytag (181695) and Theodor Storm (181788). Germany's 20th-century novelists include Ernst Wiechert (18871950), Anna Seghers (Netty Reiling, 19001983), and Nobel Prize winners Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (18621946), Thomas Mann (18751955), Nelly Sachs (18911970), and Heinrich Böll (191786). Other major writers of the 20th and 21st centuries include German-born Erich Maria Remarque (18981970), Günter Grass (b.1927), Christa Wolf (b.1929), and Peter Handke (b.1942).

Leading filmmakers include G. W. (Georg Wilhelm) Pabst (b.Czechoslovakia, 18851967), F. W. (Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe) Murnau (18881931), Fritz Lang (b.Austria, 18901976), German-born Ernst Lubitsch (18921947), Max Ophüls (Oppenheimer, 190257), Leni (Helene Bertha Amalie) Riefenstahl (19022003), Volker Schlöndorff (b.1939), Werner Herzog (b.1942), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (194682), Wim Wenders (b.1945), and Doris Dörrie (b.1955). Outstanding performers include Emil Jannings (Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz, b.Switzerland, 18861950), Marlene Dietrich (19011992), and Klaus Kinski (Claus Günther Nakszynski, 192691).

The two giants of German church music were Heinrich Schütz (15851672) and, preeminently, Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750). Significant composers of the 18th century were German-born Georg Friedrich Handel (16851759), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (171488), and Christoph Willibald von Gluck (171487). The classical period and music in general were dominated by the titanic figure of Ludwig von Beethoven (17701827). Romanticism in music was ushered in by Carl Maria von Weber (17861826), among others. Outstanding composers of the 19th century were Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (180947), Robert Schumann (181056), Richard Wagner (181383), and Johannes Brahms (183397). Major figures of the 20th and 21st centuries are Richard Strauss (18641949), Paul Hindemith (18951963), Carl Orff (18951982), German-born Kurt Weill (190050), Hans Werner Henze (b.1926), and Karlheinz Stockhausen (b.1928). Important symphonic conductors included Otto Klemperer (18851973), Wilhelm Furtwängler (18861954), Karl Böhm (18941981), and Eugen Jochum (190287). Among Germany's outstanding musical performers are singers Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (b.1915) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b.1925), and pianists Walter Gieseking (18951956) and Wilhelm Kempff (189591).

Veit Stoss (1440?1533) was one of the greatest German sculptors and woodcarvers of the 15th century; another was Tilman Riemenschneider (1460?1531). Outstanding painters, engravers, and makers of woodcuts were Martin Schongauer (1445?91), Matthias Grünewald (1460?1528?), Hans Holbein the Elder (1465?1524), Lucas Cranach (14721553), Hans Holbein the Younger (1497?1543), and above all, Albrecht Dürer (14711528). More recent artists of renown are the painters Emil Nolde (18671956), Franz Marc (18801916), Max Beckmann (18841950), the US-born Lyonel Feininger (18711956), Otto Dix (18911969), Max Ernst (18911976), and Horst Antes (b.1936); the painter and cartoonist George Grosz (18931959); the sculptors Ernst Barlach (18701938) and Wilhelm Lehmbruck (18811919); the painter-etcher-sculptor Käthe Kollwitz (18671945); the Dadaist Hannah Höch (18891978); the painter-sculptor-installation artist Joseph Beuys (19211986); the painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer (b.1945); and the architects Walter Gropius (18831969), leader of the Bauhaus School of Design, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (18861969), Erich Mendelsohn (18871953), Gottfried Böhm (b.1920), and Helmut Jahn (b.1940).

Scholars and Leaders

German influence on Western thought can be traced back at least as far as the 13th century, to the great scholastic philosopher, naturalist, and theologian Albertus Magnus (Albert von Bollstädt, d.1280) and the mystic philosopher Meister Eckhart (1260?1327?). Philipp Melanchthon (Schwartzerd, 14971560) was a scholar and religious reformer. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (16461716) was an outstanding philosopher, theologian, mathematician, and natural scientist. The next two centuries were dominated by the ideas of Immanuel Kant (17241804), Moses Mendelssohn (172986), Johann Gottlieb Fichte (17621814), Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher (17681834), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831), Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (17751854), Arthur Schopenhauer (17881860), Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (180472), Karl Marx (181883), Friedrich Engels (182095), and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (18441900). In the 20th century, Edmund Husserl (18591938), Oswald Spengler (18801936), Karl Jaspers (18831969), Martin Heidegger (18891976), and Hans-Georg Gadamer (19002002) are highly regarded. Figures of the Frankfurt School of social and political philosophy include Theodor Adorno (19031969), Max Horkheimer (18951973), Walter Benjamin (18921940), Herbert Marcuse (18981979), and Jürgen Habermas (b.1929). Political theorist Hannah Arendt (19061975) is also highly regarded, as is Carl Schmitt (18881985). One of the founders of modern Biblical scholarship was Julius Wellhausen (18441918). Franz Rosenzweig (18861929) was one of the most influential modern Jewish religious thinkers, as was Gershom Scholem (18971982).

Among the most famous German scientists are Johann Rudolf Glauber (16941768), Justus von Liebig (180373), Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (181199), and Nobel Prize winners Hermann Emil Fischer (18521919), Adolf von Baeyer (18351917), Eduard Buchner (18601917), Wilhelm Ostwald (18531932), Otto Wallach (18471931), Richard Martin Willstätter (18721942), Fritz Haber (18681934), Walther Nernst (b.Poland, 18641941), Heinrich Otto Wieland (18771957), Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus (18761959), Carl Bosch (18741940), Friedrich Bergius (18841949), Otto Hahn (18791968), Hans Fischer (18811945), Friedrich Bergius (18841949), Georg Wittig (18971987), Adolf Butenandt (19031995), Otto Diels (18761954), Kurt Alder (190258), Hermann Staudinger (18811965), Karl Ziegler (18981973), Manfred Eigen (b.1927), Ernst Otto Fischer (b.1918), Johann Deisenhofer (b.1943), Robert Huber (b.1937), and Hartmut Michel (b.1948) in chemistry; Karl Friedrich Gauss (17771855), Georg Simon Ohm (17871854), Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (182194), Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (18571894), and Nobel Prize winners Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (18451923), Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (18581947), Albert Einstein (18791955), Gustav Ludwig Hertz (18871975), Werner Heisenberg (190176), Walter Bothe (18911957), Carl-Friedrich von Weizsäcker (b.1912), Rudolf Mössbauer (b.1929), Hans Bethe (19062005), Klaus von Klitzing (b.1943), Ernst Ruska (19061988), Gerd Binnig (b.1947), Johannes Georg Bednorz (b.1950), Hans Georg Dehmelt (b.Germany, 1922), Wolfgang Paul (19131993), Wolfgang Ketterle (b.1957), and Theodor Wolfgang Hänsch (b.1941) in physics; Rudolf Virchow (18211902), August von Wassermann (18661925), and Nobel Prize winners Robert Koch (18431910), Paul Ehrlich (18541915), Emil von Behring (18541917), Otto H. Warburg (18831970), Konrad Lorenz (Austria, 190389), Konrad Emil Bloch (19122000), Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen (19111979), Max Delbrück (b.Germany 19061981), Sir Bernard Katz (b.Germany 19112003), Georges Jean Franz Köhler (19461995), Erwin Neher (b.1944), Bert Sakmann (b.1942), Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (b.1942), and Günter Blobel (b.1936), in physiology or medicine; earth scientists Alexander von Humboldt (17691859) and Karl Ernst Richter (17951863); and mathematician Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (182666). Notable among German inventors and engineers are Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit (16861736), developer of the thermometer; Gottlieb Daimler (18341900), Rudolf Diesel (b.Paris, 18581913), and Felix Wankel (190288), developers of the internal combustion engine; airship builder Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (18381917); and rocketry pioneer Wernher von Braun (191277). Leading social scientists, in addition to Marx and Engels, were the historians Leopold von Ranke (17951886) and Theodor Mommsen (18171903), Nobel Prize winner in literature; the political economist Georg Friedrich List (17891846); the sociologists Georg Simmel (18581918) and Max Weber (18641920); and the German-born anthropologist Franz Boas (18581942). Johann Joachim Winckelmann (171768) founded the scientific study of classical art and archaeology. Heinrich Schliemann (182290) uncovered the remains of ancient Troy, Mycenae, and Tiryns; Wilhelm Dörpfeld (18531940) continued his work.

Outstanding figures in German political history are the Holy Roman emperors Otto I (the Great, 912973), Frederick I (Barbarossa, 112390), Frederick II (11941250), and Spanish-born Charles V (150058); Frederick William (162088), the "great elector" of Brandenburg; his great-grandson Frederick II (the Great, 171286), regarded as the most brilliant soldier and states-man of his age; Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck (181598), the Prussian statesman who made German unity possible; Austrian-born Adolf Hitler (18891945), founder of Nazism and dictator of Germany (193345); and Konrad Adenauer (18761967), FRG chancellor (194863). Walter Ernst Karl Ulbricht (18931973), chairman of the Council of State (196073), and leader of the SED from 1950 to 1971, was the dominant political figure in the GDR until his death in 1973. Erich Honecker (191294) became first secretary of the SED in 1971 and was chairman of the Council of State and SED general secretary from 1976 until the FRG and GDR merged in 1990. Willi Stoph (19141999), a member of the Politburo since 1953, served as chairman of the Council of Ministers in 196473 and again from 1976 on. Willy Brandt (19131992), FRG chancellor (196974) won the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy of Ostpolitik. Other Nobel Peace Prize winners were Ludwig Quidde (18581941), Gustav Stresemann (18781929), Carl von Ossietzky (18891938), and Albert Schweitzer (18751965).

Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben (173094) was a general in the American Revolution. Karl von Clausewitz (17801831) is one of the great names connected with the science of war. Important military leaders were Hellmuth von Moltke (18001891); Gen. Paul von Hindenburg (18471934), who also served as president of the German Reich (192534); and Gen. Erwin Rommel (18911944).

Pope Benedict XVI (b.Joseph Alois Ratzinger, 1927) became the 265th pope in 2005. He is the ninth German pope, the last being the Dutch-German Adrian VI (15221523).


Germany has no territories or colonies.


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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Federal Republic of Germany
Region: Europe
Population: 82,797,408
Language(s): German, Turkish
Literacy Rate: 99%
Number of Primary Schools: 17,892
Compulsory Schooling: 12 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 4.8%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 165,977
Libraries: 14,372
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 3,859,490
  Secondary: 8,382,335
  Higher: 2,131,907
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 104%
  Secondary: 104%
  Higher: 47%
Teachers: Primary: 224,517
  Secondary: 542,383
  Higher: 274,963
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 104%
  Secondary: 103%
  Higher: 44%

History & Background

The Federal Republic of Germany, with its population of 80.8 million, lies at the heart of the European Union. It shares borders with nine neighboring countries and is a key member of the European Union. It is a densely populated country, with 230 residents per square kilometer, as compared to only 26 per square kilometer in the United States. Its 143,000 square miles (357,000 square kilometers) measure only 370 miles (640 kilometers) from west to east and about 500 (or 876 kilometers) from north to south. Because the country lacks natural resources, its highly educated workforce constitutes Germany's most important economic asset; thus, education and vocational training enjoy high prestige and financial and administrative support.

Germany's 780,000 teachers in 52,400 schools educate more than 12 million pupils. Over the past decade, the educational institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany have confronted the challenge of increasing numbers of immigrant children. The country's labor force is made up of 12 percent foreigners, and half of them are from Turkey. Approximately 7.4 million non-Germans live within the country's borders, and most of them in the West. In the 1990s the country experienced an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Republics, many of them ethnic Germans, although not necessarily proficient in the German language. Because of Germany's citizenship laws, descendants of ethnic Germans may become citizens with relative ease, while those from non-German backgrounds may not, despite generations of residency in the country. As a result, these people, many of them Turks, often retain their own language and culture rather than seeking to assimilate; their presence has obliged schools to confront ethnic and religious diversity. In some urban schools in the West, the proportion of immigrant pupils may be as high as 70 percent.

German public education officially began in 1763, when Frederick the Great of Prussia mandated regular school attendance from the ages of 5 through 13 or 14. The denominational or confessional school remained the norm throughout Prussia (which encompassed the Rhineland and most of modern Germany) during the nineteenth century. Teachers often worked as sextons or church organists, and clergymen served as school inspectors. Catholic and Protestant (Lutheran) areas of Germany were geographically separate, facilitating religious oversight of local schools. In Prussia, efforts to establish schools in which Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish children could receive a common instruction, separated only for classes in religion, failed, despite several serious efforts at reform. In the cities, free, public schools educated children of the working class, while public schools, which charged some fees, attracted children of middle class families and offered a more rigorous curriculum. Women, in low numbers, entered the teaching profession in the late 1800s.

After the Napoleonic era, the responsibilities of the Gymnasium (a secondary school preparing boys for university admission) was expanded to include the preparation of civil servants, a task later assumed by the intermediate secondary schools. By 1900 the Gymnasium had developed three basic models providing for a specialization in the classical languages, modern languages, or mathematics and science. Girls were not admitted to the Gymnasium until 1908 and not admitted to Prussian universities until 1910.

In 1920 Germany introduced the four-year unified public elementary school that provided the same instruction to all children. School attendance until age 18 became compulsory. Another significant change was the requirement that even teachers in the elementary school must have passed the Abitur, the qualifying test for university admission. The basic types of schools in Germany before 1945 were the Volksschule (the four-year common elementary school), Mittelschule (the six-year middle school) which followed it, and the academically rigorous Gymnasium. While non-denominational schools prevailed in Bremen, Hamburg, Baden, Hesse, Saxony, and Thuringia, more than 90 percent of Prussian children attended a denominational school throughout the 1930s. The teaching of history and religion in Prussia aimed to fortify citizens' resistance to the doctrines of the Communists and Social Democrats.

Hitler's National Socialists abolished church-run primary schools. The post World War II influx of 12 million refugees, many of them expelled from German territories assigned to Poland, mixed religious boundaries and further weakened the churches' role in education. In the 1960s West Germany began to phase out small rural schools in favor of larger regional schools where children could be grouped according to age level. This movement effectively ended denominational distinctions in public schooling.

From the renaissance through the nineteenth century, religion played a role in higher education as well. Monasteries became centers of scholarship and learning. Early universities prepared men for the ministry or priesthood. Heidelberg, the first university on German soil, opened its doors in 1386, followed by the universities of Leipzig in 1409, and Rostock in 1419. During the early centuries of their existence, instruction at these universities occurred in Latin. Traditionally, German universities offered education in theology, law, philosophy (including the natural and social sciences and the humanities), and medicine. During the Hitler era, teachers and university faculty were required to swear a loyalty oath to National Socialism, and freedom of expression was sharply curtailed. About 300 Jewish university professors were driven out, causing a huge loss of scholarly, scientific, and intellectual capacity. Girls were discouraged from pursuing higher education and lost the gains they had made during the first twenty years of the century.

After World War II, the country was divided into the Federal Republic of Germany, consisting of the French, British, and American sectors in the West, and the German Democratic Republic in the east, which was under the dominance of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In the west, the Allies undertook a process of removing Nazi ideas from the country's schools. However, West German education did not undergo substantial reforms after World War II because the occupying powers had high respect for the German academic secondary school and universities. Moreover, the differing educational systems of France, Britain, and the United States made it impractical to apply any single new model in the western zone. Colleges of education founded after the war were denominational in character, and the teaching of religion was mandated in the 1949 Basic Law, or constitution, of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Gradually some modest changes made the system more democratic. One such change was the reducing or eliminating the cost of textbooks and school materials to parents and making six years of a common primary education, rather than only four, the norm. By and large, however, the chief features of early twentieth century education were retained through the 1950s: stratification with different types of schools, teachers, and pupils; the dual system of vocational training and general education; centralized decision-making at the state level; and the processes of grading and selection throughout the school system. In 1953 just 3.3 percent of any given age group earned the Abitur (the examination certifying satisfactory completion of the academic secondary school) or Gymnasium, entitling the graduate to university admission; 90 percent of those so qualified actually entered a university. However, because war veterans received preference for scarce study spaces in the country's war-damaged universities, girls stood a much poorer chance than males; only about half the female recipients of the Abitur actually continued on to university study. Only 6.1 percent of any age cohort completed the elementary school and six-year Realschule (an intermediate secondary school preparing civil servants and other administrative employees). The largest number, 63.3 percent, of any age cohort left full-time schooling around the age of 15 and continued with mandatory part-time education until 18, while working or participating in a vocational training program.

Twenty-four new universities sprang up in West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, including the distancelearning center at Hagen established in 1975. In 1969 the federal government in Bonn assumed some authority over education, which had previously been entirely under the jurisdiction of the 11 federal states. The federal government increased uniformity and standardization in vocational training and the Abitur, the university admissions qualifying test.

In 1964 the Social Democratic Party questioned the adequacy of the West German educational system and, after lengthy inquiries, the German Parliament declared it to be in a state of emergency. Compared to similar European industrialized nations, relatively few German youth continued full-time schooling until 18, fewer German youth entered university study, and federal spending on education comprised a relatively small portion of the total national budget. The national investigations also found significant differences in educational opportunity and quality between regions. Some of these differences included class size, provisions for foreign language study, the supply of qualified teachers, and the numbers of school leavers attaining appropriate certificates or diplomas. Educational leaders warned of an anticipated shortfall of skilled workers able to adapt to new developments in technology. Their report recommended reducing the importance of parental status and social connections in decisions about children's secondary education and basing these decisions solely on children's abilities. The report also documented significant gender inequities in education: more girls than boys left full-time schooling at an early age, fewer continued into the Realschule or Gymnasium, and girls' choices of educational paths were most likely to be based on their fathers' occupations. Girls from rural areas, working-class backgrounds, and from Catholic families fared the worst.

The findings of this nationwide inquiry resulted in a number of significant reforms. A two-year orientation phase in grades five and six was introduced to give schoolchildren more time to consider future educational choices. The number of academic subjects required for the Abitur was reduced in 1960; in 1972, students were given the option of concentrating in a few specialized subjects. However, complaints from universities that this step weakened the general preparation of incoming students forced a partial rollback of Abitur reforms. The percentage of young people continuing their education into the Realschule, Gymnasium, or university doubled. However, these increases created a larger supply of better educated workers than the job market could fully absorb.

Further reforms had a more direct effect on the teaching profession. The role of pedagogy in teacher preparation was expanded, and the hours devoted to the study of teaching methods increased to about one-fourth of the total. From the mid-1970s through most of the 1980s, the country experienced an oversupply of teachers, and fewer new teachers were hired. A Federal Ministry of Education and Science, established in 1969, was combined in 1994 with the Ministry of Science and Technology. However, attempts to increase federal authority over planning and coordination disintegrated in the early 1970s, in part due to disagreements between the political parties. In general, the Social Democrats favored greater national oversight, while the more conservative Christian Democrats advocated state autonomy.

Reforms got underway in higher education as well. In 1971 the federal government began providing financial aid to students (which states had done since 1957) in an attempt to democratize higher education. Hochschulrahmengesetz (a law for the reform of higher education) passed in 1975 and was aimed at greater nationwide unification of this level of instruction. Fachhochschulen (new polytechnic schools) were introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. More comprehensive and technical universities were founded. Untenured professors and staff gained a voice in university governance, alongside senior professors who held university chairs. Critics demanded a more practical orientation for courses of university study in the mid-1970s, but effected little change in this area. And, despite objections, universities retained their emphasis on research over student-centered learning.

Nonetheless the balance between higher education and vocational training shifted between 1980 and 1990. In 1980 apprentices outnumbered university students two to one; however, a shortage of apprenticeships in the late 1980s motivated more adolescents to enter universities. By 1990 the number of university entrants surpassed the number of young people beginning an apprenticeship. University enrollment grew by about 75 percent between 1977 and 1992, but increases in faculty, staffing, and facilities failed to keep pace, resulting in serious over-crowding.

In 1981 only about 38 percent of those who actually enrolled in higher education were women (the proportion is 40 percent in West Germany in 2001). Women were still less likely than men to actually begin higher education, more apt to concentrate in the arts and humanities, and more likely to drop out of higher education. At the Fachhochschulen, women concentrated chiefly in traditionally female areas such as health professions and social work. Although significantly more young women began to enter apprenticeships, many completed only a two-year course, which was considered inferior to a full course of vocational training.

While the Federal Republic of Germany maintained many features of the system of education inherited from the Weimar Republic, the socialist German Democratic Republic created an entirely new educational system after World War II. The intention of this new educational system was to sever all connections between religion and schooling, eliminating differences between rural and urban areas, the educational opportunities for boys and girls, and social classes.

Schools in the Soviet zone of occupation re-opened in October of 1945. This was quite a feat, given that many school buildings had been damaged, teachers had been killed or displaced, and the region was forced to cope with the influx of ethnic Germans. Eliminating Nazi influence was carried out more rigorously than in the West: three-fourths of the teaching force was fired for having sworn the mandatory oath of loyalty to the National Socialists. Approximately 15,000 new teachers, young and hastily trained, entered the classroom in 1945. Almost 23 years later, 93 percent of the country's teachers had been trained since World War II. The replacement of such a large portion of the teaching profession gave the German Democratic Republic an opportunity to start anew.

Control over the educational system was centralized at the national level, with the Ministry of Education carrying out directives formulated in the Central Committee of the ruling Socialist Unity Party. The Ministry produced textbooks and detailed schedules for their use, including timed lesson plans. Deviation from this centralized curriculum was discouraged by the widespread fear of exposure for failing to promulgate the official doctrines of the socialist state.

A school reform in May 1946 eliminated the three-part secondary education system inherited from the Weimar Republic, which separated students into vocational, managerial, and academic tracks. Further reforms in 1958 and 1959 established 10 years of compulsory education in the polytechnic school, which all pupils attended, following a uniform curriculum, free of militaristic, racist, religious, or imperialist teachings. Pupils in grades 7 through 10 worked a few hours each week to become accustomed to industrial production and to develop solidarity with the working class.

Through the 1950s and early 1960s, East German educators furthered their efforts to utilize education to overturn social class. Achievements of the peasants and working class were highlighted in history, literature, and the social sciences. Children whose parents belonged to the worker and peasant classes received preference in admission to higher education, while those whose parents opposed the Socialist Unity Party might be denied access. Some offspring of white-collar professionals, the landed aristocracy, enemies of the socialist state, and some adherents of organized religion were sent into apprentice-ships and factories. Arbeiter- und Bauern-Fakultäten (special adult education courses), in existence from 1946 to 1962, were offered for workers, former soldiers, and returning political prisoners. About 25 percent of all university students entered higher education through this path. Gradually, the process of social and political selection was accomplished through polytechnic schools and the Freie Deutsche Jugend (socialist Free German Youth groups) present in every educational institution; the Arbeiter- und Bauern-Fakultäten were discontinued. Only about 12 percent of the country's pupils continued their education into the university, for the country's leaders guarded against the emergence of an over-educated, under-employed elite, which might foment a rebellion. Not everyone could accept the political restrictions on academic freedom. Between the country's founding in 1949 and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, about 2,700 university faculty and 35,000 students moved west.

Nonetheless, the German Democratic Republic did introduce some more democratic elements into its educational system. Schoolbooks and materials were free for all pupils, in contrast to West Germany where the costs of such items as uniforms and school supplies sometimes kept poorer children out of the college-preparatory high school, the Gymnasium. From the first, East German schools were coeducational. A 1950 Law for the Promotion of Youth decreed that all children, regardless of gender, should receive the same education, vocational training, higher education, and access to sports. The school day was organized to provide childcare as well as instruction. Children ate a hot noonday meal at school and could remain in school through the late afternoon in the Schulhort, where teachers and assistants supervised homework, extra-curricular activities, and sports. All schools included Young Pioneer groups for children under the age of 14 and Free German Youth organizations for older children. While these groups have been depicted, since unification, as a means of political indoctrination, parents acknowledge that they also fostered group work and cooperation and gave children a certain grounding in civic responsibility. They also provided vacation lodgings and summer camps and sponsored a broad range of school and vacation activities. Although the original intent was to equalize education for all children, educators soon recognized the need for higher levels of instruction for those destined for college or university study. The Erweiterte Oberschule (extended secondary school) was introduced in 1960 to provide a three-year course of study beyond the polytechnic school and to prepare students for higher education.

Occupational choices were made in consultation with pupils, parents, school administrators, teachers, and local authorities. In general, pupils were encouraged to choose occupations projected to be needed in the country's economic five-year plans. In balance, however, workers who succeeded in their careers enjoyed a plethora of opportunities to retrain or qualify themselves for entirely different careers. The entire educational system emphasized practical work applications and a solid grounding in Marxism-Leninism, as well as mandatory instruction in Russian. In recompense, citizens were guaranteed life-long employment, a principle that became increasingly difficult to sustain as manufacturing and technology developed through the 1980s. Furthermore, it became evident that the country's educational system emphasized cooperation and productivity at the expense of inventiveness, critical thinking, analytical skills, and creativity. One drawback was a perpetual lag in the development of technological innovation, particularly in engineering and computer science.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Federal Republic of Germany also introduced a number of reforms to broaden access to its educational system. The number of intermediate secondary schools designed to train managers, civil servants, and white-collar employees increased. New Fachschulen (secondary technical schools) were introduced. The numbers of college-preparatory secondary schools in rural areas increased. The new two-year orientation phase for fifth and sixth graders, which appeared in some states, provided more time for teachers and parents to assess whether schoolchildren could best further their education in the Hauptschule (general secondary school) and continue into a vocational school to learn a trade or enter the Realschule or Gymnasium.

Reunified in 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001 encompasses 16 federal states, 11 in the West (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Lower Saxony, the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, and the 3 city-statesHamburg, Bremen, and Berlin) and 5 (the so-called new federal states of Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) that formerly made up the German Democratic Republic. With unification, West German law became the law of the land and, thus, a massive restructuring of the East German educational system began. Beginning in the 1992-1993 school year, the West German multi-track system of schooling was introduced into the new federal states to replace the 10-year, homogenous polytechnic school. Retaining the egalitarian ideals of socialism, the new federal states created an educational system less stratified than that of the West; most offer a two-track model of secondary education rather than the tripartite division commonplace in the West. Saxony, for instance, uses the orientation phase in grades 5 and 6, and a Mittelschule (middle school) for grades 5 through 10, which combines both the Hauptschule and Realschule. Pupils can enter either of those institutions or the Gymnasium at the end of fourth, fifth, or sixth grade. Courses in Russian were no longer required, and Marxism-Leninism disappeared from the curriculum. Most teachers and university faculty in disciplines such as civics, social studies, history, economics, and political science (about one-fifth of the teaching corps) lost their positions. East Germany soon experienced a need for teachers of English rather than Russian. Rather than the 13 required in the West for a high school diploma, 12 remained the norm. Religious instruction was re-introduced, with some of the new federal states offering courses in ethics as an alternative to Lutheran or Catholic instruction.

Since unification in 1990, Germany's educational system has struggled with new challenges of unifying the radically different philosophies and structures of East and West, equalizing education for both sexes, and adapting a traditional educational system to the demands of a new technological age.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Germany's constitution, which dates from 1949, guarantees all citizens free choice of schooling or a vocational training position, as well as the free choice of occupation. Article Seven of the Basic Law establishes joint federal and state supervision of educational institutions. The federal government establishes compulsory education, the organization of the educational system, the recognition of educational certification, and chiefly holds jurisdiction over higher education and vocational training. West Germany's states established the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs in 1948. The five new East German states became members in 1990. This body, known by its German acronym, KMK (Kultusminister Konferenz ), facilitates greater standardization of schools and the mutual recognition of certificates awarded by vocational schools and comprehensive schools, and it lays down uniform requirements for the Abitur, the entrance examination for university admission. Particularly since the mid-1990s, the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs has moved toward greater standardization, in part to ensure comparable qualifications of pupils who move from one state to another. Previously, school-children's qualifications would have been judged on the basis of the type of school they attended; now there is more uniformity in these basic subjects, regardless of whether they have attended the Hauptschule or Realschule.

States retain the chief responsibility for education. They establish general curriculum guidelines, which may specify how many periods of instruction are required at each grade level in each subject. State ministries of education also create a list of approved textbooks and other curriculum materials. In some states, such as Bavaria, there may also be a centralized, statewide Abitur, or other achievement testing at designated grade levels.

Local communities have jurisdiction over other aspects of schools and schooling, which are often determined by party dominance. Within municipalities, town or city councils administer schools directly; there are no independent school boards as there are in the United States. Citizens' voices are heard chiefly in the parents' councils attached to individual schools and school classrooms.

Germany's Basic Law also mandates religious instruction in schools, although children may opt not to take it once they reach 14 years. Usually they choose between Lutheran and Catholic instruction, but recent years have witnessed a trend toward more ecumenical instruction, particularly in the East, where courses in ethics (rather than a particular denomination) were introduced in the early 1990s.

Germany's political parties champion significantly different educational policies. The Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Socialist Union, held power from 1982 to 1998 under the leadership of Helmut Kohl. These parties represent Germany's Catholics and Lutherans, who each comprise about 35 percent of the population. They argue that early and clearly delineated separation into the three tracks (Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium ) is necessary to maintain educational quality. The Social Democratic Party (in power from 1966 to 1969 and again since 1998) champions broader access to education and, therefore, advocates adoption of the Gesamtschule (comprehensive high school model) and two-year orientation phase in fifth and sixth grades, rather than separating pupils into prevocational tracks after fourth grade. The Free Democrats, a small swing party, advocate a 12-year path to the Abitur, private colleges, independent funding sources for education, and the teaching of tolerance and conflict resolution in schools. Since unification, two other small parties have entered the scene. The former East German Socialist Unity Party, known in 2001 as the Party of Democratic Socialism, wants to abolish the three-part division of secondary education and the providing for childcare through all-day schooling. East Germany's small revolutionary parties, which arose just before the opening of the Berlin Wall, have allied themselves with Alliance 90/the Greens. Like the Party of Democratic Socialism, they champion a single curriculum for all children through tenth grade. Furthermore, they want schools to teach ecological awareness and a stronger respect for diversity. They advocate mainstreaming children with disabilities and eliminating Sonderschulen (special schools) and reducing the pressures of grading and evaluation in schools.

Educational SystemOverview

School attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 18. Full-time schooling is mandated for either 9 or 10 years (depending on state) and may be followed by part-time attendance at a vocational school, complemented by an apprenticeship. Parents may need to contribute to the cost of textbooks and other materials, depending on the income level of the family.

The school day runs from eight or nine o'clock in the morning until noon or one o'clock in the afternoon and is divided into 45 minute class periods. The school day grows longer as children progress through elementary school, but its length may vary with the day of the week. Children bring a snack to eat at recess, but most return home for a hot noonday meal, a schedule that makes it difficult for mothers to work a full day outside the home. Furthermore, a teacher's absence may result in children being sent home early, since the use of substitute teachers is quite rare. Teachers relinquish their free periods to fill in for absent colleagues, or children are simply sent home early. Few schools have a school nurse on the premises or even a cafeteria. School busses transport children in the countryside, but the majority ride public transportation, such as streetcars, municipal busses, or trains.

The school year averages 188 days and includes a week of vacation at Christmas, at Easter, and at Pentecost. Schools close for a six-week summer vacation; however, to reduce overcrowding on trains and the Autobahn as families depart for vacations, summer vacation dates are staggered throughout the 16 federal states. Saturday classes are still held two or three times a month in many states. The school week averages 26 to 35 hours, with children attending the Realschule or Gymnasium spending more hours per week in classes than do children at the Hauptschule (general secondary school).

Recently private schools have been growing in importance and, in 1996 and 1997, have educated approximately 600,000 pupils. Private schools are subject to supervision by state agencies to ensure that their facilities, teacher qualifications, and teaching objectives are comparable to those of public schools. They are expressly prohibited from segregating the children from richer families. Generally private schools are viewed not as elite; rather they are seen as innovative and less rigid in structure than public schools. Private institutions must be recognized by the state to administer examinations or to award certifications comparable to those granted by public schools. Those receiving state approval may draw as much as 98 percent of their budgets from public funding, since they help carry the burden of educating for the public good. In times of tight budgets, however, subsidies for private schools may be reduced and remain a topic of highly-charged political debate.

The largest number of private schools, around 1,100, are supported by the Catholic Church, and located chiefly in Bavaria, the Rhineland, or Baden-Württemberg. Most (43.6 percent) operate at the level of the Gymnasium. Private schools sponsored by the Protestant Church are fewer in number; because of church involvement in public schools and mandatory religious instruction, parents who want their children to be educated in the Christian tradition need not turn to private schools.

About one-tenth of all German private schools are special schools for the mentally or physically disabled. While the German Democratic Republic prohibited private schools and religious instruction, the churches did play a significant role in caring for people with disabilities and in special education. About 30 elementary schools following the model created by the Italian physician Maria Montessori also exist.

Because the German Democratic Republic did not permit private schools, there are fewer Montessori or Waldorf schools in the east than in the west. Approximately 13 percent of all children attending a private school are in Waldorf schools. Begun by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) in Stuttgart in 1919, the Waldorf movement presented an alternative to Germany's socially conservative, stratified school system. Germany's 100 Waldorf schools emphasize the arts and crafts and center around child development. The school day encompasses activities that alternate cognitive and rational exercises, imitative and practical activities, and creative or artistic functions. Eurhythmy, an essential component of the Waldorf curriculum, integrates physical development through movement, dance, recitation, and music. Little importance is attached to testing and formal grading, and children are not separated according to ability or future career path. In these schools, a single teacher usually accompanies the class for several years, creating lasting relationships with pupils.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Traditionally, the Federal Republic of Germany has not regarded kindergarten as part of the educational system, but rather as a private or familial responsibility. Many kindergartens are run by churches, businesses, municipalities, or private associations. Most offer instruction only in the morning. Attendance is voluntary, and parents are expected to pay part or all of the costs. In 1996 about two-thirds of all three- to six-year-olds attended kindergarten. Nursery schools are administered by state ministries of youth and social affairs rather than ministries of education. About 70 percent depend on some private funding. Private nursery schools receive some state funding, as well as state supervision.

While the German Democratic Republic considered childcare and early childhood education a state responsibility, the Federal Republic did not offer comprehensive free kindergarten placements until 1996; even then the demand exceeded the supply of available spaces. The problem disappeared, at least temporarily, due chiefly to the sharp decline in the East German birthrate between 1990 and 1994. In contrast to both American and East German kindergartens, the West German model emphasizes creative play rather than formal instruction.

At the age of six, children begin Grundschule (elementary school), typically holding colorful paper cones filled with candy and treats to assuage the pangs of leaving home to go to school. Children who turn six by June 30 must begin schooling in the fall, provided they are found physically and developmentally ready. For the first two years, teachers do not grade schoolwork, but instead provide evaluations of their pupils' strengths and weaknesses. In the upper grades, a numerical system is used: one means very good, two good, three satisfactory, four passing, and five not passing. The school week may be as short as 20 hours in the early grades, but it gradually increases in length. Pupils study German and mathematics every day, supplemented by two class periods per week in science, religion, physical education, and art or music. Some children begin foreign language instruction as early as third or fourth grade, not surprising, given Germany's borders with nine countries. By fifth grade virtually all pupils are learning a foreign language, even those planning to enter training for blue-collar trades. Often a lead teacher remains with one class for several years, teaching all subjects except physical education and religion. This arrangement is intended to foster close cooperation and trust and to minimize discipline problems.

The Grundschule lasts for six years in Berlin and Brandenburg and for four years in the other federal states. Since 1973 schools in some western states have included a two-year Orientierungsstufe (orientation phase) at the end of fourth grade; parents and teachers meet and begin a process of consultation and advisement through which the child's future educational path is determined, with a final decision made at the end of sixth grade. The Social Democratic Party champions the orientation phase, which is opposed by the Christian Democrats, who favor a stricter separation of pupils destined for each of the three secondary education tracks. Thus this two-year adjustment and advisement period is offered in some federal states (such as Hesse, Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and Bremen) but not others, depending on political party dominance.

Some states require a certain grade point average, particularly in German and math, for entrance into the college preparatory secondary school, the Gymnasium ; others use admissions tests. However, all base their decisions on teachers' recommendations as well as parents' wishes. Because children at the age of 11 or 12 have little basis for choosing a future career, their parents often play a decisive role and, in fact, have a legal right to choose their child's school, even against the recommendations of teachers. It is not uncommon for them to push children into a higher level school than teachers have recommended, perhaps to avoid a general secondary school with a high population of immigrant children, whose presence is assumed to lower the overall quality of instruction.

The general effect of this early division of pupils into three separate tracks is a somewhat conservative reinforcement of the status quo, in which children enter professions fairly closely resembling those of their parents in terms of educational level and socio-economic status. In general, the German educational system is geared toward producing competent, useful members of society. It is not the venue for a soul-searching process of independent self-discovery.

The Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) passed resolutions in 1994 establishing other responsibilities concerning schools and teaching. Children are to learn critical attitudes toward television and other media, whose excessive use is blamed for their lack of attention in school and the loss of connection to reality. It must be pointed out that West Germany has had private television channels only since 1985, and the German Democratic Republic had none, although most residents could receive West German television. Thus, the distrust of television's impact on children and its deleterious effects in schooling are more widespread than in the United States. On the other hand, these resolutions' statements about over-indulgence in computer games may reveal deep-seated distrust of the computer's potential as an educational tool and may work against the wider use of computers in the classroom. Primary schools are also charged with engendering in children an attachment to their homeland, tolerance, and allegiance to the European Union ideal.

Secondary Education

Upon completion of the Grundschule, about one-fourth of pupils enter the Hauptschule (secondary general school), where they study German, mathematics, the natural and social sciences, and a foreign language. After unification, the new East German states did not introduce the Hauptschule, preferring instead to combine the general and intermediate secondary schools as an alternative to the Gymnasium. The Saarland adopted this combined secondary school model in 1997. Some of these schools combining the Hauptschule and Realschule also exist in Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein and are known by various names: Mittelschule, Regelschule, and Sekundarschule. These developments may call into question the future existence of the Hauptschule.

In most West German states, the Hauptschule encompasses grades five through nine, but seven through nine in states where the orientation phase remains part of elementary school. Some of the general secondary schools end with ninth grade, some with tenth. Instruction in a foreign language has been required since 1969, and most pupils choose English, although those in border regions may choose French. The upper grades include some computer science and practical work courses. Throughout the past twenty years, the proportion of pupils entering the Hauptschule has declined as parents push their children into the more prestigious and more academically oriented Realschule and Gymnasium. After three to five years of a common curriculum, including German, civics, religion, and physical education, pupils completing the Hauptschule earn a Zeugnis mittlere Reife (school leaving certificate), which entitles them to enter an apprenticeship. There is no final examination. Those who have earned outstanding marks in the Hauptschule and who complete tenth grade may receive the school-leaving certificate normally awarded at the end of the Realschule. The dropout rate from the Hauptschule is around 9 percent. Successful graduates begin vocational apprenticeships in one of the country's recognized trades, which total around 400. Each year about 600,000 young people enter an apprenticeship. While completion of the Hauptschule served for decades as the gateway to an apprenticeship, in 2001 an equal number of beginning apprentices have completed the Realschule and around 15 percent have the Abitur. This transition has made it increasingly difficult for young people with only the Hauptschule certificate to compete for a training position.

Germany's vocational training system has enjoyed a high reputation based on its success in producing skilled craftsmen through the "dual system" of education. Hands-on practical training is supplemented by theoretical instruction in the Berufsschule (vocational school), where young people learn theoretical material two or three days a week. These schools usually specialize in one or more areas: industry, commerce, agriculture, home economics, or offer a mixed curriculum. Nearly 60 percent of class time in the vocational school is devoted to training and the remaining 40 percent to specialized subjects. Some discrepancies arise within this dual system because apprenticeships are shaped and supervised by chambers of handicrafts and trades, while vocational schools are administered by state ministries of education. Because the entry level qualification for these schools is the completion of 10 years of schooling, classes have become quite heterogeneous, enrolling graduates of special schools for the disabled as well as those who have earned the Abitur.

Students at the vocational school spend the remaining weekdays and their vacations as trainees in the workplace. This system depends upon close cooperation between educational administrators and private industries, which furnish these paid apprenticeships. This system grew out of medieval tradition: during the Middle Ages apprentices traveled from town to town, learning from several masters. Those who passed the first level were recognized as Geselle (journeymen) competent to practice their trade. Those who continued through further examinations and produced a Meisterstück (masterpiece) were entitled to hire and train apprentices of their own. Today, the examination at the end of vocational school is administered by employers and trainers as well as teachers and includes an oral examination. Those who pass it are then qualified as Facharbeiter (skilled workers). Many are then hired by the companies that have trained and observed them for the past two or three years.

The shortage of available apprenticeships that Germany experienced during the mid-1990s was overcome, in part, due to the country's low birthrate and pressure for children to enter the intermediate secondary school or the Gymnasium. Most children from immigrant families follow the educational path through the Hauptschule, vocational school, and apprenticeship. Today, however, the availability of apprenticeships is limited by the country's economic slump. About one third of all private firms offer apprenticeships, and 90 percent of these are small firms employing 50 people or fewer. Overall, about half a million firms now offer such placements.

Because of the system's dependence on industry to furnish apprenticeships, those in certain trades are frequently oriented either toward girls or toward boys. Thus around 55 percent of girls in the Berufsschule choose apprenticeships in just 10 trades. The most popular are doctor's assistant, retail sales, hairdresser, and office worker. Around 40 percent of boys train to become auto mechanics, electricians, industrial mechanics, or business specialists in wholesale or foreign trade. In this way the vocational training system would appear to reinforce, rather than break down, gender stereotyping in vocational choices.

Apprenticeships last for two to three years, with shorter training periods for high achievers or those who have passed the Abitur. Apprentices receive a small allowance that increases yearly. What they are taught is determined by federal ministries, based on recommendations from craft associations and trade unions, which thus exercise tight control over the quality of preparation for those entering their field. Apprentices completing their training undergo examinations by chambers of industry or chambers of crafts or trades.

The challenge of providing training in high tech fields assumed critical proportions in the 1990s. In August 2000, for instance, Germany authorized 20,000 new immigrants to enter the country on five-year work permits in order to fill the country's shortfall of skilled computer technicians and software engineers, careers unforeseen in the days of the medieval guild system which gave rise to the dual system of apprenticeships and vocational training.

Around 40 percent of pupils finishing the four or six-year elementary school enter the Realschule, which encompasses grades 5 through 10 and is designed to educate mid-level administrators, functionaries, employees in service or commercial sectors, and managers. The number of these intermediate secondary schools increased greatly during the 1950s. They enroll the broadest spectrum of social classes, particularly in rural areas. The Social Democratic Party traditionally supports these schools, and such initiatives as their combining with general secondary schools. This is now the case in most East German states and the Saarland.

The Realschule is viewed as a middle class institution, providing a strong grounding in mathematics, modern languages, and technical fields. German and math lessons fill four periods each per week; a foreign language (usually English), geography, physical education, and fine arts for two periods each a week; and science and history for one period each. About one-third of these pupils also study a second foreign language such as French or Russian. Beginning in grades seven and eight, pupils may be separated into pre-vocational tracks. This track, emphasizing business and economics, enrolls about twothirds of the girls in these schools, while the mathematics, science, and technology track enrolls half the boys. The social science and humanities tracks attract about twice as many girls as boys. Graduates of the Realschule (those in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg must pass a standardized test) are entitled to attend a Berufsfachschule (full-time vocational school) or a Fachoberschule (vocationally oriented upper secondary school).

The founding of Berufsfachschulen is a newer trend. These full-time vocational schools enroll about 300,000 students nationwide. Admission to these institutions requires completion of either the Hauptschule or Realschule. The Berufsfachschule trains students for careers in nursing, bookkeeping, social work, forestry, commerce, the technical trades, tourism, social welfare, home economics, auto mechanics, and medical and dental technology. The course of study lasts from one to three years.

Overall, proper certification of one's education and vocational training is both more complex and far more widespread than in the United States. Job advertisements frequently specify the qualifications required, and both employers and prospective employees recognize a plethora of diplomas, certificates, and licenses, each stamped and validated by professional organizations. Those who lack such documentation stand a far poorer chance in the job market, where the American model for the "self-made man" receives little respect. Moreover, this somewhat rigid system means that workers contemplating a career change must invest considerable time and often money in earning new degrees and certificates.

Approximately one-fourth of Germany's pupils completing elementary school enter the Gymnasium. Most cities offer several models of Gymnasium specializing in modern languages, ancient languages (Greek and Latin), math and the natural sciences, the arts, or humanities. These schools may be further characterized by their religious affiliation, and, until the mid-1970s, many of those in the West were segregated by gender. A student at a modern language Gymnasium might have French and mathematics five periods a week; German, Latin, English, chemistry, history, and philosophy for three periods; and physical education for two periods a week. The traditional emphasis on Latin or Greek has declined considerably over the past decades. Today all Gymnasia include computer facilities and offer some information technology courses.

These schools are divided into a lower level, grades 5 through 10, and an upper level, grades 11 through 12 or 13, in which students concentrate on fewer subjects. Most require basic or core courses: German, math, civics, sciences, physical education, religion, the arts and music, English, and one other foreign language. Basic or core courses are taught three periods a week, while the courses students choose for their specialty, Leistungskurse, meet five periods a week and require higher standards of student mastery. These specialty courses may be chosen from the disciplines listed above, but may also include law, technology, statistics, psychology, sociology, education, astronomy, geology, or computer science, depending on the school. About 9 percent of those students who eventually pass the Abitur are enrolled at special economics Gymnasia for the three upper grades and concentrate on accounting, law, economics, and information technology. There are other specialized Gymnasia for music and the arts. In 1977 North Rhine-Westphalia introduced the Kolleg, a school providing vocational education and preparation for the Abitur and university admission. Instruction integrates vocational and general subjects. Graduates can also enter the vocationally oriented upper secondary school, sometimes called a polytechnic school Fachoberschule.

The increased emphasis on specialized courses in grades 11 through 12 or 13 necessitates choices pointing towards a future career. Some critics believe it weakens the Gymnasium 's historical role in providing a liberal arts foundation for university study. Thus the balance between core and specialty courses and how they are weighted in the Abitur was debated and revised during the 1990s. These revisions specify that all pupils must study German, mathematics, and a foreign language in depth throughout their Gymnasium years, regardless of their choice of specialization. During the 1990s, the nationwide conference of university rectors criticized the structure of the Abitur, insisting that science and history, including contemporary history, should be compulsory as well.

Budget tightening in recent years has resulted in Gymnasium classes of as much as 30 students. Because teachers enjoy tenure and are assigned to one school, it is difficult to adjust the teaching staff to meet changing demand for more or fewer teachers in a given subject.

High school students are assigned a few hours of homework each afternoon, but testing is fairly infrequent, perhaps two tests per semester in specialty subjects, with just one or none in core subjects. Report cards are issued twice a year, and oral participation weighs heavily in student grades.

At the end of 13 years (12 in the Saarland and most of the new federal states) students at the Gymnasium sit for examinations (the Abitur ) in at least three specialized subjects. Approximately one-fourth of the country's secondary school graduates passes the Abitur each year. A half-day of essay questions is followed by a half-hour oral examination. Some states such as Bavaria have a centralized Abitur, while other states administer different tests in each school. The Bavarian Abitur, requiring examination in four subjects instead of three, is considered the most difficult. About one-fifth of a given year's age group passes the Bavarian Abitur, slightly below the national average of 27 percent. That proportion rises as high as 30 to 40 percent in some states, and this leads Bavaria to threaten that it will institute a separate entrance examination for students from other states seeking admission to one of its universities.

Regardless of such disputes, considerable standardization and quality control of the Abitur already exist. The Conference of Ministers of Education of the federal states establishes standards for 33 subjects at both the basic level of advanced courses and the advanced level of specialty courses. State ministries of education exchange questions used in written exams, share test results, and disclose their criteria for evaluation. Despite this approach to standardization, there is enough variation in the test's difficulty that students who fail it in one state or city may be able to pass it elsewhere. Questions are submitted by teachers in the schools, so there is some risk that they "teach to the test," although they cannot be certain that the questions they have submitted will be selected. Tests are administered by teachers to their own students, observed by another teacher of the same subject, a recorder, and a chairperson. Students who pass these examinations are awarded the Abitur or Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife. Those who fail may try once more. Because this examination permits admission to any German university, its approach is regarded with considerable trepidation.

In the 1990s many German Abiturienten (students who had passed the examination) equipped themselves with formal training in a trade as well. About 15 percent of apprentices now have achieved the Abitur. For the most part they seek training in fields such as banking, insurance, communications, and management. Their presence makes it more difficult for candidates who have only the general school-leaving certificate to find apprenticeships.

The chief function of the Abitur is to serve as a credential opening the door to university study. Because of overcrowding in desirable specializations such as medicine, veterinary and dental medicine, biology, and chemistry, most universities introduced numerus clauses (caps or quotas) in these disciplines in the 1970s. As a result, graduates of the Gymnasium may nonetheless need to wait as much as five years to enter a university. Some pursue traineeships, travel to improve their language skills, work as au pairs, or exist as trades people while they await admission. Males may fulfill their 12 months of military service obligation or 15 months of alternative service.

The Gesamtschule, emerged as an alternative to Germany's multi-track school system in 1969. Today these schools are found chiefly in Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, Hamburg, and Berlin, educating about 13 percent of the country's schoolchildren. Instead of the Gesamtschule, some East German states established a middle school (known as a Sekundarschule, Mittelschule, or Regelschule ) combining features of the Hauptschule and Realschule through grades five and six. Most comprehensive schools provide full day instruction, lasting from eight o'clock in the morning until around three o'clock in the afternoon.

The West German Gesamtschule of grades 5 or 7 through 10 may house a Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium under one roof so that pupils can transfer easily from one type of school to another, or it may be integrated so that all pupils follow the same curriculum. The first two years, grades five and six, called the Förderstufe, offer maximum flexibility in changing tracks or even transferring to an outside school. From seventh grade upward several levels of difficulty are offered in most subjects, enabling pupils to be grouped by ability. Many comprehensive schools end after tenth grade, and graduates receive certification equivalent to completion of a Hauptschule or Realschule. They may then continue to a Gymnasium. Other comprehensive schools extend through grade 13 and administer the Abitur in-house. These schools offer more electives than the traditional schools, and the number of electives increases in the higher grades. Comprehensive schools are intended to be more democratic in governance, more flexible, and employ a more pupil-centered approach to teaching. Although the Gesamtschule has been the focus of much educational research, it is still considered experimental and controversial and are opposed by the Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Socialist Union. Therefore, these schools are seldom found in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Several reports published in the 1990s investigated whether comprehensive schools had achieved their purpose in their first quarter-century of existence. These studies reveal that the comprehensive schools have gradually become alternatives to the general secondary school or Hauptschule, with the more able pupils being sent to the Realschule or Gymnasium. Deprived of the upper strata of student achievement, the Gesamtschule has sometimes fallen below initial academic expectations. Furthermore, because these schools draw enrollment from three levels (Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium ), they are often regional, rather than local. They are also considerably larger than other German schools, enrolling as many as 1,000 to 2,000 pupils. Some blame these factors and larger classes for student feelings of anonymity and alienation. And, because of their full day schedule and the broad spectrum of course offerings, these schools may be more expensive to operate than other types.

There are other differences between these three types of schools besides the curriculum they offer. Parents of children at the Gymnasium or Realschule usually set high expectations for their children's success, monitor their progress, participate in parents' councils, and stay in contact with teachers, all factors which contribute to their children's success. On the other hand, children at the Hauptschule may come from homes where there is less support for education, lower expectations, and less assistance with homework. These children are also more likely to bring discipline problems into the classroom, and a very few may need to transfer to a special school. Teachers at this level are apt to need stronger skills in pedagogy and interpersonal relations, while teachers at the Gymnasium are more likely to be successful simply with presenting the material.

Students in elementary or secondary schools who receive failing grades are likely to be held back, a decision reached in a conference of teachers. According to most reports, being held back is not stigmatized; rather, it is viewed as a decision made in the best interest of the child. Pupils who fail two subjects also have the option of transferring to a lower level school, for example from the Realschule to the Hauptschule. In that school, only one year may be repeated; a pupil who is still failing can leave school after the age of 16 with a school-leaving certificate, which is not equal to the normal qualification. About 10 percent of pupils per year take this step; thus the dropout rate from Germany's schools remains very low. A contributing factor may be the difficulty of finding work as an unskilled labor in an economy which places a high value on occupational training and credentials.

Transfer from the Gymnasium down into the Realschule is not uncommon and leaves children the possibility of earning the Abitur later. Pupils may also transfer into the comprehensive school, if there is a Gesamtschule in the area, or to a vocational high school (Gymnasium ).

Nearly 4 percent of the country's school population attends Sonderschulen (Germany's special schools) for the physically or mentally handicapped. These institutions, developed out of church-sponsored facilities, are one area where churches continued to play a significant role even in the avowedly atheistic German Democratic Republic. The principle of separate schools was established after World War II, but has been repeatedly questioned. Some expected that children with special needs could be integrated into comprehensive schools. The largest groups of pupils in special schools are those with developmental delays or learning disabilities. At the elementary level, some pupils, usually those with dyslexia or mild learning disabilities, are being mainstreamed. During the first four years of schooling, pupils with disabilities may be sent to these special schools, a decision reached by the local superintendent, teachers, and parents. Almost one fifth of these special schools are private, chiefly those for pupils with hearing or vision impairments. In a few cases, children with disabilities may be schooled in a regular classroom of the Hauptschule, but their chances of finding an apprenticeship are slim; Germany has no real anti-discrimination policies comparable to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Proponents of Germany's separate Sonderschulen contend that this system offers two advantages: it provides specialized education efficiently to those with special needs, and it spares other schools the expense of special equipment (wheelchair ramps, elevators) to accommodate such pupils; some Sonderschulen are residential institutions. The disadvantages are that separation of these children may not prepare them adequately for integration into the workplace. Furthermore, other children may not learn tolerance or a willingness to accommodate those with special needs. The trend is moving toward increased mainstreaming of physically or mentally challenged pupils.

Significant changes in Germany's three-part secondary school system began in the 1980s. Larger numbers of German children who might otherwise have entered the Hauptschule chose the Realschule instead, motivated in part by the belief that the quality of instruction in the Hauptschule had been compromised by the influx of immigrant children. While the majority of citizens favor the current system of separating pupils after the fourth grade into three separate institutions, many parents aim higher than the school level where their children are placed; for example 52 percent would prefer that their offspring attend the Gymnasium, while only about half that number actually do so.

Efforts toward less stratified, more egalitarian structures, such as the orientation phase following fourth grade and the comprehensive secondary school, have gained ground where the Social Democratic Party is strongest, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, and the three city-states. However, the Christian Democrats and their affiliates, the Christian Socialist Union, form a bulwark preserving the more conservative, traditional three-part division of secondary education in areas where they dominate the political scene, such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Germany's public school system presents several contrasts to the American model. Student activities play a far smaller role than is the case in American high schools, although German schools may create their own newspapers. Team sports seldom form part of the school experience; rather children join soccer or swimming clubs, which are sponsored by municipalities or private organizations. Music lessons and school bands are also rare in German schools. Driver education is given through Fahrschulen (private schools) where tuition is expensive, and the minimum age for obtaining a driver's license is eighteen. Thus, in contrast to the American pattern, it is rare for high school students to drive to school or to hold part-time jobs at the end of the school day.

German schools offer few special programs for the gifted and talented. It is assumed that these pupils will ascend to the upper tracks within the Gymnasium, and this arrangement appears satisfactory, given the system's separation of pupils into tracks based on intellectual ability.

Relatively little career counseling occurs in German schools. For the most part, decisions about which secondary school to enter also encompass decisions about a future occupation. The Bundesanstalt für Arbeit (Federal Agency for Work) and its information centers disseminate information about various careers.

At all levels, Germany's educational institutions have been struggling to keep pace with technological innovations. At the turn of the twenty-first century, only about one third of the country's schools had Internet access. In May 2000 Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced a new four-year initiative to spend 750 million marks to equip public schools and libraries with Internet connections, to develop educational software, and to expand opportunities to study information technology at colleges and universities over the next five years. In 1999, only 20,000 students began their studies in computer science; at the technical universities of Berlin and Munich about half the applicants had to be turned away due to a lack of financing for such programs. Some universities, such as Hannover and the Free University in Berlin, have responded by introducing newer, shorter information technology programs. In addition, 100 Fachhochschulen offered 100 openings each in one-year postgraduate training programs in information technology.

Evidence of the country's serious shortage of computer experts can be seen in Schroeder's initiative to offer 20,000 non-European Union computer specialists a green card entitling them to work in Germany for a five-year period, accompanied by their families. A few months after this initiative was announced in 2000, Germany had received far fewer than the expected number of applications, most from India, Pakistan, Algeria, and Bulgaria. After much debate, German authorities agreed that applicants must either hold an advanced degree or prove a minimum yearly income of 100,000 DM (about US$50,000). German employers found themselves on the horns of a dilemma: while their culture respects and recognizes academic qualifications above any comparable measures of worth, the sudden demand for computer experts has forced them to become more flexible.

Higher Education

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) founded the Berlin University in 1810. He insisted that universities should promote both research and teaching and advocated academic freedom, liberating professors from the demand that they submit their lectures for church or state approval and not deviate from the written text. Humboldt insisted that universities must be autonomous, free of political or religious interference, a goal that was not realized for many more decades. Humboldt also introduced less formal instructional settings, seminars, and laboratory sessions.

At the end of World War II, West Germany contained 16 universities and 14 technical colleges. Fachhochschulen, offering higher professional training in engineering and scientific fields, appeared in West Germany in the late 1960s. They offer instruction in fields such as business administration, engineering, agriculture, social work, or design. The period of study is usually shorter than at a university and culminates in the award of a Diplom.

In East Germany, the research function was transferred from universities to institutes and academies, such as the prestigious Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Both research and academic freedom came under the scrutiny of the Socialist Unity Party in the German Democratic Republic. Many administrators and senior faculty belonged to the Party, and Free German Youth groups existed on all campuses, exercising some control over student access and activities. At the time of unification, East Germany counted 54 institutions of higher education, among them 8 universities and 5 technical colleges. While their physical facilities were often outdated, and laboratory and computer equipment inadequate, these institutions enjoyed a favorable faculty-to-student ratio, with a stronger emphasis on teaching and learning than on research. Since unification, many institutions have been amalgamated and faculties combined or reduced in the East. New universities have been founded at Erfurt, Potsdam, and Frankfurt an der Oder, and new technical colleges at Cottbus and Chemnitz. Over a three-year period, departments of history, social studies, law, and Marxism-Leninism were disbanded and professors' qualifications and personal integrity were examined. New faculty positions were established in the humanities, legal studies, economics, business, and education.

New universities were founded in West Germany throughout the 1970s and 1980s when the population of university students doubled (from a half-million to around 1 million). However, facilities were not expanded to meet the demand. This was because demographers had predicted lower enrollments in the 1980s based on the low birthrates following the advent of oral contraceptives in the early 1960s. Despite these predictions, large numbers of students sought admission to higher education, especially in fields such as computer science, engineering, and business. Expectations that students would complete their studies more expeditiously and leave universities sooner also failed to materialize. In 2000 around one-third of united Germany's young people chose to study at a university or specialized college, and enrollment has remained around 1.8 million. The largest universities are Munich, followed by Berlin's Free University, and the universities in Cologne, Münster, Hamburg, and Frankfurt am Main. The 1980s and 1990s witnessed steady increases in the proportion of students from working class families (now around 15 percent), the proportion of students from immigrant families, and the proportion of women (40 percent in the West and 46 percent in the East) pursuing higher education.

German universities present many contrasts to the American university system. First, admissions to most fields of study are not competitive; high school graduates with the Abitur are assured of admission. However, since a period of overcrowding in the 1970s, admissions to fields such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, biology, management, economics, law, psychology, pharmacy, and nutrition have been restricted. Nearly half of all university admissions are decided on the basis of Abitur grades and testing, 10 percent solely on test results, and the remainder on the basis of an interview and other factors such as how long the applicant has been waiting for admission. Decisions for all public universities are made by a central admissions board in Dortmund. The average age for students entering higher education is 22; some have delayed this step because of the difficulty of obtaining a place in high demand fields such as the medical sciences. In 2001 about 25 percent of the students entering higher education have completed vocational training as well as the Abitur. Some students have pursued practical training or worked to earn money to finance their education. Because the average length of university study is 7 years, with slightly shorter times for technical colleges, students are 28 or 29 by the time they graduate and are ready to begin their careers. Recently concern has arisen that this places them at a competitive disadvantage among their peers in the European Union.

Tuition is free, but students pay for health insurance and activity fees each semester. Those who need financial assistance to meet living costs receive monthly subsidies known as BAFöG, an acronym for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (federal law to promote education). About a quarter of all students in the West and half of those in the East receive this financial assistance. Originally a grant, these subsidies were converted in 1983 to interest-free loans, usually awarded for a maximum of four years. A more recent decision to charge interest on BAFöG loans aroused controversy over the issue of fair access to higher education for all qualified students. About 60 percent of German university students finance their studies through part-time work; however, since Germany values special training and skilled trades, opportunities for entry into low-skilled occupations are limited.

Germany's university faculties have historically been considered attractive and prestigious; indeed those entitled to the honorific "professor" outrank even medical doctors in prestige. At the top of faculty rank are chaired professors; followed by Privatdozente, who do not have tenure; temporary and guest faculty; instructors whose role is limited to teaching, Lehrbeauftragte ; and technical and teaching assistants, wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte. Faculty at technical colleges are expected to bring appropriate practical experience as well as advanced degrees to their teaching posts. In addition to advanced degrees and teaching expertise, those wishing to ascend to a full university professorship must complete a step known as Habilitation, research and publication in their field analogous to a second doctoral dissertation, and orally presented to a committee of superiors for discussion and approval. Only after successful completion of this step (which may take as long as ten years) are faculty recommended for permanent appointment to the highest rank.

In 1999 the Conference of University Rectors (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz ) recommended some changes in the training of new university faculty, maintaining that students should be able to obtain a doctoral degree by 27 or 28 years of age. Qualification for a tenure-track position should not require more than an additional 10 yearsstill very long by U.S. standards. The present system requires closely supervised research under the auspices of a senior faculty mentor, a procedure which discourages study abroad and may be restrictive, subjective, or unduly dependent on personal interactions. Furthermore, the emphasis on research does nothing to promote effective teaching. Reliance on the support of senior faculty, who are overwhelmingly male, makes it difficult for women to attain tenured university rank. Only about 5 percent of fully tenured university professors are women.

Germany had no private universities until the late twentieth century. In 2001 there are about 65, many church-related, whose total enrollment is about 30,000 students. Even in 2001, there are no noteworthy general-purpose private universities and no significant differences in status or quality among the country's approximately 90 public universities. In 1995 united Germany also counted 17 theological seminaries, 136 polytechnic colleges, and 31 colleges (Fachhochschulen ) for administrative services. There are almost 50 academies of Music and Art (Kunsthochschulen, Musikhochschulen ) but only 6 colleges of education (Pädagogische Hochschulen ), since most have been combined with universities. In the 1960s and 1970s, technical universities and colleges sprang up, for example in Berlin, Munich, Augsburg, Bochum, and Trier. The distance-learning university at Hagen, founded in 1975, enrolls about 50,000 students, most of them part-time, in programs in economics, mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science, and other fields. The last 10 years have witnessed the creation of new bi-national universities, beginning with a joint German-Polish university (Viadrina) in Frankfurt an der Oder. France and Germany founded a new bi-national university in Saarbrücken in 2000, where instruction takes place in both languages; the study of artificial intelligence is a particular emphasis there. Beginning in 2001-2002 a Neisse university founded by the university of Wroclaw in Poland, the university of Liberec in the Czech Republic, and the university of Zittau/Görlitz in Germany will offer bachelors' degrees in information and communication management.

The curriculum at German universities also presents several contrasts to the American model. Germans consider that students at the Gymnasium have acquired a broad-based grounding in the liberal arts; thus universities have no core curriculum or general education requirement. Germans do not clearly distinguish graduate and undergraduate education. The period known as Grundstudium (basic studies) usually lasts for two years, ending with an examination, the Zwischenprüfung, or, in technical fields, the Diplomvorprüfung. A period of specialized, in-depth study follows, lasting two or more years longer. An examination is generally required at the end, either for civil service employment, the Staatsexamen, or a Diplomprüfung in scientific, technical, or engineering fields, or a master's level examination. The Magister (Master's degree) may require a thesis, as does the doctorate. There is no formal process for student advisement, nor for selecting an academic major comprised of a recommended curriculum. Instead, most students prepare for examinations by taking a variety of courses and seeking guidance from more experienced students or faculty. About one-fifth change their major during their course of study and as many as one-third drop out. A university degree does not guarantee employment in one's chosen fields: as many as a third of all graduates in languages, culture, social studies, and economics and one-tenth of those in medicine and veterinary medicine failed to find employment in keeping with their qualifications.

Courses of instruction at the university may be divided into various levels. Beginners sit in Vorlesungen (large lecture sections) and listen to a professor lecture from his notes or book. Tutorial sessions led by the professor's assistants may be offered in addition. Seminars are designated by their level of specificity and difficulty: Proseminar, Mittelseminar, and Hauptseminar. Students who wish to document their attendance and performance in these courses must make individual arrangements with the professor; generally, research papers and oral reports are required in the seminar courses. Close mentoring relationships between faculty and students are quite rare. Increasing student-faculty ratios make it even more difficult to develop such relationships.

As was the case at the level of high school vocational training, this educational model has proven conservative and somewhat inflexible. Thus new technological fields have found a place in new technical universities and colleges, rather than in the traditional universities. Although these opened their doors to women with the advent of the Weimar Republic, women are under-represented as both students and faculty in the sciences, law, and theology.

Student life at the university also presents several contrasts to the American system. The largest university, in Munich, has about 60,000 students, and many others are nearly as large, although the lack of a centralized campus masks their true size. The winter semester begins in October and extends through mid-February, while the summer semester lasts from mid-April to mid-July. Competitive sports are non-existent. Extra-curricular activities consist of a few groups organized, for example, on the basis of religion. Bruderschaften (fraternities) cultivate a rich tradition, but there are no sororities. The university campus may be spread throughout a city, with buildings housing newer faculties scattered on its outskirts. Only about 10 percent of a university's students in the West and 55 percent in the East are housed in dormitories, which usually reserve some space for foreign students. About one-fifth of university students and one-third of those at technical colleges live with their parents. Many students rent rooms or join others in apartments. The Mensa (student cafeteria) serves inexpensive meals and provides meeting space for students. Many university libraries have closed stacks, and students rely on their own housing arrangements for study space.

During the late 1990s, some West German students moved east to take advantage of East Germany's less crowded classrooms and lower cost of living. Some differences between East and West German students persist a decade after unification. Easterners are more apt to plan an academic program with a clear career goal in mind. They become financially independent earlier and finish their studies on average one year earlier than West German students.

Change is afoot in Germany's universities, after years of low budgets and high enrollments. In autumn 1997 university students began a series of demonstrations and strikes to protest lack of funding for higher education. While German colleges and universities can accommodate around 1 million students, there are currently about 1.8 million crowding into lecture halls and seminar rooms. From the late 1970s to the late 1990s, the number of students rose 70 percent, but the numbers of college and university faculty increased only 5 percent. Basic federal financial aid (BAFöG) has increased only slightly. In 1997 a proposal made by the University Rector's Conference to charge tuition sparked the largest student protests since 1968 and was ultimately rejected. While these protests attracted media attention and loosened purse strings in a few federal states, they failed to achieve any far-reaching reform of higher education. Other reforms proposed in 1997 would have replaced some aspects of faculty governance with professional administrators, introduced student evaluations of their courses, and prescribed programs of study leading to bachelor's and master's degrees.

On the other hand, different kinds of changes are occurring on the university scene. Over a dozen universities, including Leipzig, Dresden, Reutlingen, Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern, Stralsund, and Duisburg, now offer some instruction in English, particularly in technical fields such as engineering, communications, water resource management, information technology, electronics, and business administration. Some institutions have begun to design curricula that more closely resemble the American model, offering a bachelor's degree after six semesters or a master's degree after nine. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in their homeland may be able to enter a master's level program directly. Some colleges and universities are considering introducing the credit point system used in the United States. The goal of these innovations is to attract more foreign students and to better prepare German students for internationally recognized degrees. Many of these programs offer study abroad as an integral part of the curriculum. Courses in English are often taught by visiting faculty from the United States, Britain, Asia, or India. A secondary purpose of such programs is to abbreviate the traditional seven years most university students spend passing their examinations and earning a license or diploma. At Fachhochschulen, the average is slightly more than five years. Thus far, attempts to shorten these periods of study have proven fruitless. Success could depend on closer monitoring of student progress and better advisement, an area where German universities have traditionally done relatively little.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

In general, education is administered and financed by Germany's 16 federal states, with the national government assuming responsibility for the standardization of requirements for the Abitur, for teacher training, and for vocational education, as well as for financial support of students in higher education.

The Federal Institute for Vocational Education (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung ), comprised of representatives of state and federal governments, unions, and employers, created educational guidelines for apprenticeships and is responsible for certification. At the local level, chambers of commerce maintain vocational education committees; firms which provide apprenticeships also contribute to their administration and have input.

The Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture sets standards for mutual recognition of teaching certificates, vocational training, the Abitur, and other certificates awarded at the completion of secondary education. In 1969 the West German constitution was amended to establish joint federal and state responsibility for higher education. Since the 1980s there has also existed a central office in Dortmund for awarding students admission to a university.

Universities and technical colleges are generally administered by a rector or president, and supported by deans and faculty hierarchies. Governance is shared with an assembly or senate comprised of university faculty. Once restricted to professors holding a university chair, these groups now usually include representatives from other faculty ranks.

Individual schools are under the supervision of a director appointed by the local district. The director, who continues to teach within the school, is responsible for scheduling, the evaluation of teachers, the coordination of grading, and representing the school to the public. A school council comprised of teachers, parents, and pupils discusses school issues such as rules, schedules, space usage, events, textbooks, and field trips. There are also separate teacher and parent councils. Party differences are evident here too: the Christian Democrats oppose the school council as a non-professional interference in educational matters.

Elementary and secondary schools receive around 80 percent of their financing from each of the federal states, with the remainder coming from individual communities; therefore, school quality does not vary significantly between rich and poor towns and cities. Schools may also receive funds or donated equipment from local businesses. Funds are distributed quite evenly among each of the levels of secondary school; the general secondary school does not usually lag behind the Gymnasium in the quality of school buildings or adequacy of resources.

With respect to higher education, the federal government provides 65 percent of financial aid to students (BAFöG) and contributes to funding for college and university construction, staffing, and special promotions, such as increasing the numbers of women faculty. However, the states pay 92 percent of higher education costs. About three-fourths of the funding for research comes from the federal government. Adult education funding is shared about equally by the federal, state, and local governments. In 1996 public spending for schools and higher education totaled approximately 159.2 billion DM or about eighty billion U.S. dollars.

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Technology funds educational research (overseen by a joint federal and state council) into topics such as the integration of technology in schools, the role of ecology in the curriculum, and the development of girls and women. The Wissenschaftsrat (science council) located in Cologne was established in 1958 to coordinate science and research at the federal and state levels. It makes recommendations on university staffing, finances, and courses of study and played a key role in the reform of East German universities after unification. At that time it had 39 members, and, with additional representatives from East Germany, it now has 54. Members of this highly prestigious council are appointed by the federal president upon recommendation by the Max Planck Society, the University Rectors Conference, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. During its first 40 years, only 6 of its members have been women.

The University of Bochum includes a prominent Research Center for Comparative Educational Studies and, since the early 1990s, the University of Marburg has had a center for studies on European developments in education. The Max Planck Institute of Educational Research, established in Berlin in 1963, has worked since unification to analyze East German social networks, in addition to its more general research interests such as psychology and human development, educational development, schools, and teaching. The oldest institution researching international non-university education is the German Institute of International Educational Research at Frankfurt. This organization also assumed responsibility for the former East German Central Educational Library in Berlin, an institution dating back to 1875, now known as the Library for Research into the History of Education. A variety of both federal and state institutes also conduct research in such areas as curriculum development, the effectiveness of comprehensive schools, cooperation between schools, and teaching and learning. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association), the Volkswagen Foundation, and churches also support specific projects in the area of educational research. Recommendations from the late 1990s would strengthen links between the traditionally independent Max Planck Institute and universities and urge that organization to focus its research efforts on the latest developments in science. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has a somewhat restrictive peer review process to award grant funding and has been urged to open its review panels to younger researchers and to include more women. Germany ranks seventh among industrialized nations in the proportion of gross domestic product spent on research and development. In Germany as everywhere else, recent years have seen tighter budgets and greater reluctance to fund schools fully. The country taxes its wealthiest citizens at about half their income, in part to defray the high costs of unification.

Nonformal Education

Adults may expand their formal schooling for personal reasons or to develop new job skills. There are more than 1,000 Volkshochschulen (adult education centers) in Germany, offering courses in languages, technology, health areas, and arts and crafts. Around 7 million residents take advantage of such offerings each year.

The so-called second path (zweiter Bildungsweg ) is open to adults over the age of 19 who completed tenth grade and have professional training or a three-year work record. These adults, as well as full-time homemakers, can attend evening courses to earn school completion certificates such as the Abitur and the certificate normally awarded upon completion of the Realschule. Full-time study for adults is offered in the Kolleg, which fills 32 hours a week and can last for three to four years. Participants in these programs can receive BAFöG financial support. Both full-time and part-time instructors teach adult education courses, many of them in the evening. Workers who have been unemployed for a long time may receive subsidies to cover part or most of the cost of such re-training initiatives. The Bundeanstalt für Arbeit (Federal Agency for Work) sponsors a retraining program for workers suffering from long-term unemployment. Labor unions, churches, and private businesses also maintain continuing education facilities and programs. A half-dozen universities offer non-degree programs for senior citizens.

While distance learning was widespread in the German Democratic Republic, it did not appear in West Germany until 1975 with the founding of the university at Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Now the university has more than 50,000 students, with more than 50 percent of them part-time; the largest number study economics and education. It operates 60 regional study centers throughout Germany.

Teaching Profession

In 1990 the nationwide Conference of State Ministers of Education established new standards for teacher education. Those planning to teach in elementary and general secondary schools must study for at three or four years - depending on their state - at the university; those destined for the Realschule, Gymnasium, vocational schools, or special schools study for five years. Teachers at the elementary level and those in the secondary general school (Hauptschule ) may study at one of the country's Colleges of Education (Pädagogische Hochschulen ). In recent years the trend has been to incorporate these institutions into universities, except for Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Saxony-Anhalt, where they remain separate. Teachers at the elementary and general secondary schools are required to specialize in German, mathematics, and an additional subject. Those planning to teach in the Realschule, Gymnasium, or special schools usually specialize in at least two subjects, with relatively less training in pedagogy than is required in the United States. All prospective teachers take a qualifying examination after university study, followed by two years of supervised practice teaching (the Referendariat ), and then a second state examination. Teachers in vocational schools must have completed an apprenticeship in addition to their academic training. Requirements for teacher education differ among the 16 federal states in length of study, number of specialty subjects, periods of practical experience, and the type of school where one wishes to teach. The result is an inflexible system in which a person prepared to teach at a comprehensive school in Hesse would not be qualified to teach at a Gymnasium in Bavaria.

After a three-year probationary period, during which they are further supervised and evaluated, teachers apply to the regional district office for employment. Since 1872 public school teachers in the West have enjoyed lifetime tenure as Beamtenstatus (civil servants), a privilege opposed by the Social Democrats. After unification, veteran East German teachers were required to re-apply for their positions and undergo two years of observation and evaluation before receiving the status of Angestellte (salaried employees). Since citizens of other countries belonging to the European Union can also work in Germany, they may become salaried employees, but not civil servants, a rank open only to German citizens. Teachers in the Gymnasium become eligible for promotion to Studienrat (study advisor) and Oberstudienrat (head study advisor) and then to assistant principal and principal. An increase in salary accompanies promotion. Most teachers earn between $35,000 and $50,000 per year; however, those in the East still earn around 15 percent less than teachers in the West, although their teaching loads may be heavier and class sizes larger due to school consolidations. Principals continue to teach and come from the ranks of experienced teachers, rather than receiving specialized training. Their salaries are not significantly higher than those of teachers. They observe and evaluate teachers, schedule classes, and organize meetings with parents' councils, but seldom intervene to enforce classroom discipline. Detention or suspension from school are not common disciplinary measures. Few schools employ guidance counselors in the American model; rather, teachers who have received extra training may deal with drug problems or personal issues. Relatively little academic or career counseling occurs in German schools.

Most teachers conduct around 25 classes a week, averaging 45 minutes apiece. At the upper levels, two class periods may be combined for laboratory sessions. Those who supervise student teachers or head departments teach a reduced load, as do those over 55. Teachers retire at 65, or earlier, if they have taught 35 years (5 years of university study may be counted toward that period of service). The largest teachers' union, the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft, enrolls about 65 percent of teachers, followed by smaller unions. Teachers' unions campaign for equal pay for East Germans, reduced teaching loads, and better pay. Because of their civil servant status, teachers may not strike.

Germany's teacher training system has come under scrutiny because of its generally conservative nature. Particularly at the level of the Realschule and Gymnasium, teachers concentrate on subject matter, the theory being that good scholars will be able to transmit their knowledge effectively. However, as these schools have lost their selectivity and experienced increased enrollments from more diverse and less academically prepared pupils, teachers have sometimes found themselves over-whelmed. Those who have achieved civil servant status may be evaluated every four to six years, but are not obliged to participate in further in-service training, nor does it raise their salaries unless they qualify for teaching at a higher level. It is difficult to remove or dismiss a poor teacher. Teacher training has been slow to respond to changes in the needs of teachers to be familiar with new instructional media and computer technology. In-service training offers teachers many opportunities to up-date their qualifications in methods and instructional media. These retraining courses usually take place during the school day and teachers are excused to participate. Because of the absence of substitutes, however, their participation places hardships on their co-workers. Summer courses for teachers are less common than in the United States.

Because curriculum and textbooks must receive state approval, there is less incentive or opportunity for innovative teaching than in many U.S. schools. It may be difficult to adapt a given text to the abilities of a particular class. And given the secure status of teachers' employment, not all can be motivated to cooperate with their colleagues in creating change. Those who have been promoted to the highest rank have little incentive to further their education or to adopt innovative techniques. Most teachers do not have a "homeroom," but rely on space in a teachers' lounge to prepare classes and do paperwork. Because few schools have cafeterias, most teachers also leave the building when the school day ends around one o'clock, and find little time to compare notes, talk shop, or cooperate with their peers.

Gender imbalance remains in the country's teaching faculties. About three-fourths of all elementary teachers are women. As the educational level rises, the number of males in the classroom increases also. Male kindergarten teachers are virtually unknown, but men and women teach in about equal proportions at the Gymnasium. As is true worldwide, women tend to be concentrated in the humanities and social sciences. However, the East German states boast more women teachers of math and science than the West, evidence that the Marxist-socialist education system did achieve some success in overturning gender stereotypes. Unemployment among teachers affects more women than men.

Because of demographics and tight budgets, relatively few new teachers entered the profession in the 1990s. A sharp decline in the birthrate between 1990 and 1994 caused an oversupply of teachers at the elementary level, and this effect is slowly making its way upward through the age cohorts, so that tenured positions have become increasingly difficult to obtain. In the new federal states, school enrollments are expected to remain low through 2010; while in the West they are expected to peak in 2005 and then fall again. In 2000 only 16 percent of Germany's residents were under the age of 15. The greatest oversupply of teachers exists at the Gymnasium level. In the East there is an oversupply of elementary teachers, teachers of Russian, humanities, and any social studies areas tainted by Marxism-Leninism. There is a scarcity of teachers in English, French, Latin (which replaced Russian), ethics, and the arts. Class sizes can run as high as 30 pupils; in Saxony in the late 1990s the limit for elementary classes was 32. The birthrate began to rise again in 1994, creating a greater demand for elementary teachers by 2000, but an oversupply of teachers at the secondary level persists. Young teachers who have spent five or more years at the university are often in their late twenties when they begin teaching. As a result, only about one-fifth of the country's teachers are under 35. Since West German teachers hold civil servant status, they cannot be dismissed nor can they be easily displaced from one school to another.


Public school education in Germany today confronts a spectrum of challenges not unfamiliar to American educators. Some Germans find the school curriculum outdated, as the schools struggle to keep pace with technological innovation. In comparison to other industrialized countries, Germany ranks nineteenth in number of computers per thousand of population, nineteenth in Internet service providers, and seventeenth in the number of Internet users. The high cost of telephone calls makes Internet usage expensive. New training programs and apprenticeships for workers in high tech fields have not kept up with the demand for qualified technicians and software engineers. In addition, the presence of the Internet in schools causes some school children to question the knowledge and authority of their teachers, and opens the door to hundreds of information sources not approved by any state.

Furthermore, since the early 1990s, Germany has suffered from unemployment rates as high as 12 percent in the West and nearly 20 percent in the East. As a result, some Germans question whether a good education guarantees a good job. Particularly in the East, where teachers of Russian, Marxism-Leninism, economics, political science, and the history of the working class were thrown out of work after unification, the value of education has been called into question.

The continuing presence of religion in Germany's schools would appear threatened by the pressures of immigration. Today there are about 28 million Catholics in Germany and roughly the same number of Lutherans. While these churches have traditionally dominated religious education in schools, they have attracted few believers in the East, where only 25 percent of the population is Lutheran and about 3 percent Catholic. Since the imposition of the church tax (10 percent of the individual's income tax), many East Germans have taken the legal step of disaffiliating themselves from churches, and membership has actually declined. Germany's population now encompasses 2.3 million Moslems, most of them Turks who live chiefly in the West. There are another 370,000 Orthodox Christians, 200,000 evangelical Protestants, and a growing community of 50,000 Jews, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The 1990s witnessed legal disputes in Germany about the traditional Moslem head covering worn by some schoolgirls and teachers and about the presence of crucifixes in Bavarian classrooms. It seems likely that the most acceptable solution to increasing religious diversity should be a tendency toward courses in ethics rather than religion, a trend strongly opposed by the Christian Democrats and Christian Socialist Union.

The academic success of immigrant children remains uncertain. Bilingual education programs have mostly been abandoned, although some immigrant children may participate in after-school programs or special classes to learn German as a second language. Even Berlin, where about one fifth of the schoolchildren speak a first language other than German, now has only a half-dozen schools still offering some form of bilingual education. The dropout rate for Turkish children is three times that for Germans, and German children are three times as likely as Turks to achieve the Abitur and go on to higher education. This hurdle blocks foreigners from entering the teaching profession; thus immigrant children confront teachers who seldom speak their mother tongue. The problem of immigrant children varies with geography; there are fewer foreigners in the new federal states and most of those in the West are concentrated in cities.

Another social issue challenging teachers is that schools have increasingly been expected to assume responsibilities previously held by families and, in the East, by socialist organizations. Such responsibilities have devolved onto the schools as the need increases for women as well as men to work for pay. Moreover, Germany has a high number of single parent families; in the late 1990s, half of all babies in the East were born to unmarried women. The number of single parent families means that schools need to take on some responsibilities for afternoon care, supervision of homework, and enrichment activities such as sports and arts. Some, particularly the Gesamtschulen, now offer afternoon programs or a full day of instruction.

The coming decades will bring far-reaching changes, arising from Germany's membership in the European Union. Because teachers from other European Union countries will be eligible to teach in Germany, there must be broad agreement on the qualifications required for effective teaching, such as the balance between subject matter knowledge and practical training.


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Helen H. Frink

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Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland



Located in western Central Europe, Germany has an area of 357,021 square kilometers (137,810 square miles), which makes it slightly smaller than the state of Montana. The country is bordered by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea to the north; Poland and the Czech Republic to the east; Austria and Switzerland to the south; and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west. The capital city, Berlin, is located in the northeastern part of the country.


The population of Germany was estimated at 82.8 million in 2000, adding up to a 4.3 percent increase from 1990. The birth rate was only 9.35 births per 1,000 population and the death rate was 10.49 per 1,000, causing a decrease in the natural born population during 2000. The growth of the population during the 1990s was mainly due to immigration . The immigration rate was 4.01 immigrants per 1,000 population in 2000. The population of Germany has increased 21 percent over the second half of the 20th century, but it is expected to contract to 79.3 million by 2025 and 70.3 million by 2050. The birth rate is declining due to a fertility rate of 1.38 births per woman in 2000, far below the replacement threshold of 2.1 births per woman. The population, as in most of Europe, is also aging with a high life expectancy of 77.44 years for the total population (74.3 for men and 80.75 for women in 2000). In 2000, 16 percent of the population was 14 years old or younger, while an equal percentage was 65 years or older.

Germany's welfare system has supported population growth by offering social services, such as old-age pensions, health and unemployment insurance, disability benefits, subsidized housing, and subsidies to families raising children. However, these programs have so far failed to increase Germany's birth rate. Higher living standards and the modern economy restricted population growth during the 1990s. Germany's labor force is expected to shrink, particularly after 2020, and the number of pensioners will grow steadily. This decline in the ratio of active workers to retirees may force Germany by 2020 to bring in as many as 1.2 million immigrant workers annually (both skilled, such as computer programmers, and unskilled) to maintain its industrial output at 2000 levels. To offset these effects, the German government has encouraged policies that sustain the life of native workers such as better health care, nutrition, and adult education. Public social security system reform is also important as the number of taxpayers decreases, causing intense financial pressures on those who still work. Structural unemployment has prompted the government to offer early retirement options to those who have skills and want to work yet cannot find work in their chosen fields. This has increased the pressure on the German retirement system and welfare system as a whole.

Higher living standards in Germany continuously attract many economic immigrants, mostly from eastern and southern Europe and the Middle East. The country received a considerable number of refugees from the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s. In 2000 ethnic Germans formed 91.5 percent of the population and the most significant minority group was the ethnic Turks (2.4 percent), while Yugoslavs, Italians, Russians, Greeks, Poles, and Spaniards made up the rest. In 1998 there were about 7.3 million foreigners in the country. Some Germans blame immigrants for taking jobs from native-born people, equating unemployment with foreigners. Some occurrences of racism and ethnic hatred have been reported throughout the country but mostly in the poorer eastern states.

The population density was 233.8 people per square kilometer (605.5 per square mile) in 1995. In 1997 about 57.4 percent lived in towns and cities of 20,000 or more inhabitants. Approximately 87.3 percent of Germans lived in urban areas in 1999, mainly in the industrial region of the Ruhr in the western portion of the country. The main cities are Berlin, the capital, with a population of 3.46 million; the free port city of Hamburg on the River Elbe in the north, with 1.71 million; the Bavarian capital Munich in the south, with 1.23 million; Cologne on the Rhine in the west, with 964,000; Frankfurt am Main, a major European financial center, in west central Germany, with 648,000; and Dresden and Leipzig, historic cities and cultural centers in Saxony in the east, each with approximately 450,000 (2000 est.).


Germany has traditionally been the largest economy in Europe and a world leader in science and engineering. It had the third largest economy in the world in 2000, following the United States and Japan. In 2000 it contributed for about one-third of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the eurozone (the 11 member countries that joined the European Monetary Union in 1999), and was considered the economic powerhouse of the European Union (EU). Its GDP per capita of US$26,513 in 1999 and its living standards were among the highest in the world.

Recovering from the destruction of World War II, Germany's economy experienced a long period of strong economic growth that has been widely referred to as the "German miracle." During this period of growth, extensive and generous social services and benefits accompanied high-tech market capitalism . A broad cooperation among government, business, and labor complemented free market principles in economic decision-making. Companies were considered responsible not only to shareholders but also to employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities. However, this domestic capitalist model that linked business to a social conscience was challenged during the 1990s with the reunification of East and West Germanywhich had been divided since 1949and the consolidation and globalization of German businesses. The economy acquired more liberal U.S. traits in order to compete with foreign companies. European integration, including liberalization at the state level, the transfer to a single European market, and the adoption of the single European currency, also contributed to a more liberal economic landscape, which meant that market forces played a greater role in determining the shape of the economy while government decisions played a smaller role.

The integration of East Germany and West Germany after the 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall brought the economy under significant economic strain. East Germany's large government debt and persistent unemploymentthe product of years of communist control in that countryforced West Germany to offer an estimated US$100 billion annually to the poorer east German states. During the 1990s the shrinking number of tax-payers and the growing number of retirees, high labor costs, greater foreign competition from emerging markets (such as eastern Asia), and high capital outflows (by German banks and corporations investing abroad) also added to the economic stresses of reunification. The integration of the centrally planned East German economy was difficult, and many regions in western Germany have also been slow in restructuring and closing down obsolete heavy industries. Due to high labor costs and the country's image as an over-regulated economy, foreign direct investment in Germany was rather weak through the 1990s. The financial meltdowns in Asia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and other emerging markets in the late 1990s also afflicted the economy, which was highly dependent on the export of manufactured, particularly capital, goods (machinery and equipment).

The government has pursued economic and social policies, such as budget cuts, tax cuts, and structural reform to encourage growth in foreign and domestic investment and job creation. In 1999 the Future Program 2000 was adopted, calling for a DM30 billion federal budget cut in 2000; radical business, family, and energy tax reforms; and a reform of the mandatory old age pension and health-care system. The government launched the Alliance for Jobs campaign with labor and business to discuss wage policies, making early retirement options more attractive for small and medium-sized firms, providing more work time flexibility, more trainee positions, and cutting overtime work. The government is working to increase the labor market flexibility (the readiness of workers to relocate to areas and industries with better growth perspectives) and to increase international competitiveness by reducing the costs of operating German businesses (by tax cuts and other measures).


Following its military defeat in World War II, Germany was occupied and divided into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) under western influence, and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) within the communist bloc. On the wake of the democratic reforms in the Soviet Union initiated by President Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, and the collapse of communism in eastern Europe, the German countries were reunited on October 3, 1990. The political system is based on the Basic Law (Grundgesetz, or constitution) of 1949. The country is a democratic federation of 16 states (Länder) with their own governments and local traditions. Each state has an elected legislature and government whose responsibilities include local affairs such as education and keeping a police force. The federal legislative power is vested in a bicameral Federal Assembly or parliament comprising the Bundestag (lower house), with 662 members (328 elected from local constituencies and 334 elected through party lists in each state for a 4-year term), and the Bundesrat (upper house) comprised of 69 members nominated by the 16 states. Each state has between 3 and 6 votes in the Bundesrat, depending on its population, and these are required to vote as a block. The role of the Bundesrat is limited, but it can veto or initiate revision of legislation passed in the Bundestag when it would affect the interests of the states. Parliamentary elections in September of 1998 brought to office the cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and elections were scheduled for 2002. The head of state is the president (a role that is largely ceremonial), elected for a maximum of 2 5-year terms by an electoral college consisting of members of the Bundestag and representatives of the state legislatures. The president in 2001 was Johannes Rau, who took office in 1999, and presidential elections were scheduled for May 2004. The federal executive power is vested in the federal government led by the chancellor (prime minister), elected by the Bundestag on the nomination of the president.

Major political parties represented in parliament in 2001 included the Socialist Party (SPD) and the environmentalist, pacifist Alliance 90/the Greens; the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU); the Free Democratic Party (FDP); and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). In early 2001 the SPD (supporting social welfare) had 298 seats. The CDU and its Bavarian sister party the CSU (or CDU/CSU) had 245 seats in the Bundestag. CDU/CSU was a major party that kept office for 16 years under Chancellor Helmut Kohl until 1998. It is generally conservative on economic and social policy but was plagued by corruption scandals in the 1990s. The Alliance 90/The Greens (Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen), with 47 seats, was a junior partner in the federal coalition government. The Free Democratic Party (FDP), with a relatively market-oriented, civil libertarian platform, had 43 seats in the Bundestag and was a traditional coalition partner of the CDU/CSU. The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor party to the Communist Party of the former East Germany, had 36 seats, maintaining its political base in the poorer eastern states.

The center-left coalition government that took office in 1998 hoped to stimulate economic growth and control the rising government debt. Total German government debt stood at DM1,500 billion, or 61 percent of the GDP in 1998, and federal debt service obligations reached 25 percent of federal revenues. Reducing unemployment and fostering the development of eastern Germany were also high priorities. The government worked to enhance German competitiveness by implementing tax cuts, budget spending restraints, growth incentives, and structural reforms. Pension reforms were aimed at limiting the financial pressure on the public social security system and encouraging citizens to open extra privately funded retirement accounts. Fiscal consolidation and pension reforms were expected to reduce the government debt and to allow further tax reforms, thus cutting corporate income taxes and reducing personal income taxes while broadening the tax base. Tax cuts were designed to provide incentives to growth, by allowing corporations to invest more easily in high technology and by supporting an increase in the export of products through a reduction in the overall tax costs of production.

By 2000 the government had implemented significant tax cuts for low-income taxpayers, a modest tax relief for businesses, and higher energy taxes in return for lower labor costs. In 1999 the corporate tax rate for local companies on profits distributed to stockholders was 30 percent and on undistributed profits it was 45 percent, but under the tax reform this split rate was reduced to a single flat rate of 25 percent applicable also to foreign companies that were once subject to a 42 percent corporate tax on total profits. Additional local taxes still pushed the total rate of taxation for individuals and companies up to around 50 percent. A value-added tax (VAT) applied to all sales and services, at a rate of 16 percent or at a reduced rate of 7 percent. In addition to the VAT, there were numerous excise and other taxes, mainly at the state and municipal levels, including tobacco, gasoline, oil and heating oil, alcohol, stamp duties , and lottery taxes. The government decided to tax energy consumption after 1 April 1999 by a levy on the use of gas, oil and electricity; and after 1 January 2000 further tax increases on energy consumption were implemented.


Germany has one of the world's most developed transportation and communication infrastructures. Intensive investment since reunification in 1990 has brought the undeveloped eastern Germany in line with that of western Germany. Transport and communications utilities in Germany have been liberalized following EU requirements. A dense and efficient network of motorways, railways, and waterways connects the country with major

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Germany 311 948 580 214.5 170 73.1 304.7 173.96 14,400
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
France 218 937 601 27.5 188 47.4 207.8 110.64 5,370
Japan 578 955 707 114.8 374 126.8 237.2 163.75 27,060
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

centers and the world. In 2000 the total length of paved highways was 650,891 kilometers (404,444 miles), including 11,400 kilometers (7,083 miles) of express-ways. More than 45 million motor vehicles were on the road, causing high road usage and frequent traffic jams, but the lack of speed limits on highways helped alleviate traffic problems. However, many Germans preferred to use the extensive public transport system, or bicycles, instead of motor vehicles. In 1998 the total length of railroads was 40,826 kilometers (25,368 miles) including at least 14,253 kilometers (8,856 miles) of electrified and 14,768 kilometers (9,176 miles) of double-or multiple-tracked railroads. The national railroad carrier, Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG), was privatized in 1994 but still required government subsidies.

Germany's flagship air carrier, Lufthansa, is among the world leaders in the airline industry. According to EU requirements, Lufthansa is majority owned by EU governments, while the German government has relinquished its holding in it, and the state of Bavaria has reduced its stake in the company. Since the liberalization of air transportation in the European Union in 1997, Lufthansa has fought to retain its dominant position on Germany's internal routes. In 1998 a total of 127 million passengers were carried by commercial air services in Germany. There are 320 airports, including 14 with runways over 3,047 meters (1.89 miles), with 673,300 aircraft departures registered in 1998. The busiest airport, in terms of aircraft movements, passenger departures, and freight traffic is the Rhein-Main airport outside Frankfurt am Main. Munich is the second busiest in terms of passenger traffic and Cologne-Bonn is the second busiest in terms of freight traffic. The other major passenger airports are Berlin-Tegel, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg. The federal government and cities such as Berlin and Cologne are preparing to sell their shares in major airports.

Marine transport is also developed, with major ports on the Baltic Sea, including Kiel, Rostock, and Luebeck, and on the North Sea, including Emden, Hamburg, Bremen, and Bremerhaven. Major rivers ports are at Duisburg, Cologne, Bonn, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe on the Rhine; Magdeburg and Dresden on the Elbe; and Kiel on the Kiel Canal which provides an important connection between the Baltic and North Sea. The most important port for Germany, however, is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Hamburg is by far the largest port city in Germany, accounting for about 33 percent of all the freight. In 1998 the merchant fleet totaled 8.01 million gross registered tons, and freight traffic shipped through German ports that year totaled 210 million tons. Historically, industrial centers have grown closer to ports due to the supply of cheaper raw materials and coal. In recent decades, refinery and chemical industries have gravitated towards the 1,550 miles-long network of oil pipelines. Fuel transport by pipeline in Germany rose from 74.1 million tons in 1990 to 90.7 million tons in 1998.

The country imports most of its energy sources, including almost all of its oil. In the 1970s and 1980s it worked to reduce its dependence on imported oil by developing nuclear power and encouraging energy efficiency. In the 1990s, environmental considerations, including global warming, became a serious concern, and in 2000 a program of gradual withdrawal from nuclear power was agreed on by the SPD-Green government and electricity producers. In early 2001, a shipment of nuclear waste from France to Germany sparked massive environmental protests in the country, causing many injuries and hundreds of arrests. A total of 19 nuclear plants accounted for about 40 percent of Germany's electricity consumption in 2000. In 1998 the country produced 525.356 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and fossil fuel (coal-lignite, coal-anthracite, and natural gas) accounted for the largest portion while hydroelectricity contributed only 3.2 percent. Like all other industrialized economies, Germany has become increasingly cautious about energy consumption.

Prior to 1997 the electric sector was divided into 9 regional monopolies , with exclusive rights over transmission facilities within their areas. At the local level, there were hundreds of municipally controlled power distributors. City and state governments had direct financial interests in the electric sector through concession agreements and in many cases ownership of local and regional distribution organizations. Between the regional monopolies and the local distributors were about 70 middle-level distributors of electricity. Although electricity prices in Germany used to be among the highest in the European Union, they fell dramatically after the Electricity Supply Law entered into force in 1997. This law implemented the EU power market liberalization directive and went beyond its requirements to create a thorough electric market liberalization in western Germany. By 1999 electricity tariffs for large users fell by up to 30 percent. The local and regional monopolies were broken by permitting third-party access for both commercial and residential customers. In addition, national utilities were allowed to buy from competing power producers, and electricity purchasing pools were created. The industry has undergone deep and rapid restructuring as large regional power generators have merged and sought the integration of production and distribution by purchasing some of 900 local power distributors. The federal government participates, often as a minority shareholder, in local energy utilities and is represented on the boards of supervisory authorities.

Germany is among the world's leaders in telecommunications, served by a modern telephone system and 46.5 million main lines connected by fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system. The state-owned giant, Deutsche Telekom (DT), one of the leaders of the European and global telecommunications sector, became a joint-stock company in 1989, but it was not until January 1998 that it ended its monopoly in fixed lines under EU law. DT was also partially privatized: 28 percent of the company was sold in the financial markets in 1996, 25 percent was sold in 2000, and the remaining shares owned by the German government were scheduled for future sale. Liberalization brought a variety of new service providers with varying prices for services. In the first year after liberalization, DT lost 30 percent of its peak-time long-distance-call business and introduced price cuts of 60 percent in January 1999. Competition from the nearly 200 new telecommunications companies and about 1,300 companies in non-licensed sectors has fueled arguments over network access charges and rates. Growth in the areas of multimedia, mobile communications, and the Internet has also been spectacular. Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for mobile phone equipment, and Germans owned 15.318 million mobile phones in 1999. The government is considering further investments into the area because it still compares poorly with the United States by the ratio of personal computers and Internet hosts per 1,000 people.


Germany's economic structure is typical of highly industrialized economies that often have a very strong services sector. In 1999 about 68.4 percent of the GDP was contributed by services, 30.4 percent by industry, and 1.2 percent by agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Approximately 63.6 percent of the country's work-force was employed in services, 33.7 percent in industry, and 2.7 percent in agriculture. The largest industries in terms of employment in 1998 were manufacturing and mining with 8.65 million employees, miscellaneous public and private services with 7.44 million, trade and tourism with 6.28 million, and public administration with 3.2 million. Other major employers were construction, business services and real estate, and transport and communications. Manufacturing has traditionally been the powerhouse of the economy, but its importance has declined significantly over the last third of the 20th century as a result of structural change. Manufacturing's share of the gross value added to the economic sector fell from 51.7 percent in 1970 to 32.8 percent in 1997. In the same period, the service sector increased its share markedly. Private services accounted for 37.3 percent of the gross value added in 1997, while commerce and transport accounted for 14.6 percent. Rapidly expanding branches, like information technology, communications, and the aerospace industry, have failed to compensate for the decline of traditional branches, such as textiles and steel, and the services sector has been unable to achieve high growth rates given that basic needs of the population are generally satisfied.


Agriculture is important for the country's food security and also a provider of jobs. It produces about DM84 billion worth of goods annually and purchases goods for around DM52 billion. Over 80 percent of Germany's land is used for agriculture and forestry. Like other sectors of the economy, it has undergone profound structural changes in the second half of the 20th century. In the western states, the number of farms decreased dramatically between 1949 and 1997 as machines gradually replaced human workers, and productivity increased. In 1950 1 farm worker produced food for 10 people; by 1996 1 farm worker produced food for 108 people. Attracted by a better income, many farmers left agriculture for the industrial and service sectors. Family farms predominate in Germany's old western states, and in 1997, 87 percent of all farmers in western Germany worked on fewer than 124 acres. Individual farm enterprises have also gained ground in the east: in 1997 they accounted for 80 percent of agricultural output from the eastern states, while working on only slightly more than 20 percent of the agricultural land available in the east.

Chief agricultural products include milk, pork, beef, poultry, cereals, potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbages, and sugar beets. In some regions wine, fruits, and vegetables, and other horticultural products play an important role. Agricultural products vary from region to region. In the flat terrain of northern Germany and especially in the eastern portions, cereals and sugar beets are grown. Elsewhere, on more hilly terrain, and even on mountainous land, farmers produce vegetables, milk, pork, or beef. Fruit orchards and vegetable farms surround almost all large cities. River valleys in southern and western Germany along the Rhine and the Main, are covered with vineyards. German beer is world-renowned and is produced mainly, but not exclusively, in Bavaria. Germany has a high level of exports of farm products: in 1997, its exports had a total worth of DM42 billion. Agricultural imports amounted to DM72 billion, making Germany the world's largest importer of farm products.

Important areas of German agricultural policy have transferred to the European Union, particularly in market and price policy, foreign trade policy, and structural policy. EU agricultural reforms in 1992 cut market price supports, replacing artificial prices with government subsidies, and put stricter controls on output volume. Through the reduction of price supports and through additional measures, the reforms promoted more effective farming methods and more ecologically safe agricultural production. The federal and state governments, in their turn, provided financial assistance for agricultural development, land consolidation, village renewal, and construction of country roads. Special funds were available for disadvantaged areas where agriculture was an important economic and social factor. The government's requirements of good agricultural practice required that fertilization and plant protection did not exceed an established maximum, and farmers who used environmentally friendly farming methods received financial compensation in recognition of their environmental policy.


Almost a third of Germany's total area is covered by forest and although the country has been traditionally a net importer of wood and wood products, it is a significant exporter as well. In 1994 it ranked second after the United States in imports of paper, cardboard, and goods made thereof, and first ahead of Canada, the United States, and Finland in exports. Germany's fishing policy is carried out within the European Community's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is based on the principle of relative stability achieved by established quotas for member states and on exercising control over fish stocks by fixing annual total catch limits.


Manufacturing in Germany holds a declining share of the total GDP and jobs, but it remains the backbone of the economy and is highly competitive internationally. German scientific and engineering achievements fueled its phenomenal industrial growth during the 19th and 20th centuries as the country became the birthplace of television, modern airplanes, and the automobile. The creation of the gasoline motor by Gottlieb Daimler was complimented by Rudolf Diesel's invention of the engine bearing his name. From 1901 to 1930 Germans received a total of 26 Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine. Large companies, based on the German ingenuity of the past centuries, account for just fewer than 40 percent of the industry's total revenue, while small and medium-sized companies form the vast majority of firms in the industrial sector, supplying the larger companies with parts and supplies. Many of the large German firms are known throughout the world and have branches or research facilities overseas, including the car makers, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, and BMW; the chemical corporations, Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF; the energy giants, VEBA and RWE; and the machinery and equipment manufacturers, Mannesmann, Siemens, and Bosch. The ownership structure in manufacturing is predominantly private, although the federal and especially the state governments hold equity in a range of companies. The federal government has pursued privatization plans since the early 1980s.


Germany has a distinguished mining tradition, but the industry has taken a minor role in the 1990s and is not able to meet the country's growing needs for energy and raw materials. The chief mining products are brown coal, or lignite, with total reserves at about 43 billion tons, and 24 billion tons of hard coal, or anthracite. Lignite, inexpensive in Germany, is a principal domestic source of energy covering about 26 percent of the electricity production. The country is the world's largest lignite producer, with about 20 percent of global output. Hard coal production, on the other hand, has fallen despite subsidies. In 1950 hard coal accounted for 73 percent of the primary energy consumption in West Germany, but by 1997 its share had fallen to 14.1 percent. Germany imported 12 percent of its coal in 1998, mostly from Poland, followed by Australia, South Africa, and Colombia, and imports were expected to double by 2020, as nuclear power is phased out and hard coal domestic production is further reduced. Oil and natural gas production is mostly limited to the North German Plain and the North Sea, making Germany the third largest oil importer in the world, with primary suppliers Russia, Norway, Libya, and the United Kingdom. Natural gas is imported from Russia, the Netherlands, and Norway.


The German manufacturing sector is large and robust, with leading branches in chemical products and pharmaceuticals, vehicles and transport equipment, metals and metal products, electrical machinery, precision instruments, paper products, and processed foods. Other products include cement and construction materials, optics, electronics, ships, and textiles. In the eastern states, chief manufacturing sectors are electrical engineering and electronics, chemicals, vehicles, glass, and ceramics. The former state-owned companies in eastern Germany, although receiving significant investments from the west after reunification, are generally more unstable, and it is unclear which of them are to survive. Large portions of the old Communist manufacturing industries in the east have been shut down since unification.


Germany is the world's third largest automobile maker after the United States and Japan, and with nearly 730,000 employees and annual revenue of almost DM340 billion in 1999, the automobile industry is a crucial economic player. The industry provides markets for many related industries like machine tools, spare parts, tires, plastics and paints, and metal processing. With all suppliers, automotive services and retailers included, a total of about 5 million workers in the country depend on the health of the automobile industry for their livelihoods. Due to the increasing automation of production and the refocusing of manufacturers on core activities, the distribution of value between manufacturers, direct suppliers, pre-suppliers, and distributors is changing, but as a whole, in 1998, the percentage of gross domestic product related to the development, manufacture, sale and use of motor vehicles amounted to almost 20 percent. Car makers, such as Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW, are well known throughout the world. In 2000, Daimler Chrysler, with its revenue of 162.4 billion euros, was the second largest company in the world. Of the 5.309 million vehicles manufactured in 1999, 64.6 percent were exported mainly to other EU members and to North America, and German companies also produced 3.55 million vehicles in their foreign operations. Manufacturers from western Germany have opened new plants in the eastern states and invested nearly DM7 billion with the purpose to produce 370,000 cars a year. The German automotive industry has traditionally attracted significant foreign direct investments. The car maker Opel was acquired by General Motors of the United States before World War II, and after the war Ford and other industry leaders opened operations in the country.


In 1997, Germany accounted for nearly 20 percent of the world's machinery exports (Japan was responsible for 16 percent and the United States for 15.7 percent). In some products, like metallurgical plant equipment, particularly rolling mills, paper and printing machines, and woodworking machinery, German exports amounted to one-third of the world total. With almost 6,500 factories in mechanical engineering, German manufacturers have a reputation for customized machinery of high quality. Among the important products are machine tools, including manufacturing systems, power transmission engineering, air handling, refrigeration, air pollution control, vacuum and compressor equipment, and food processing and packaging technology. Only about 5.5 percent of the factories have more than 500 employees and these are the producers of large, complex machines. Some large, well known machinery manufacturers include Mannesmann Demag, a producer of plant engineering and machine tools with a total of 55,000 employees; Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, a maker of printing and paper machinery with 17,000 workers; the Bosch group, a manufacturer of packaging machines and automation technology with 7,000 employees in its machinery division; and Gildemeister, a producer of sophisticated machine tools with 2,300 employees (all figures from 1997). Over 80 percent of the companies in mechanical engineering, however, are highly specialized small-or medium-sized firms with fewer than 200 employees. In 1997 they had a workforce of 881,000 and combined revenues of DM210 billion, almost two-thirds of which were generated by exports. The German aerospace industry, which employed about 61,000 and generated a revenue of about DM21 billion by 1997, led major European technology cooperation projects, such as Airbus and Ariane.


In 1996 Germany was the largest exporter of chemical products in the world, with a share of 15.5 percent (the United States accounted for 14.4 percent and Japan for 7.5 percent). Its chemical industry, with its state-of-the-art technology, innovative products, and emphasis on research, was represented by corporate giants such as BASF, Bayer, and Hoechst, and by a multitude of small and medium-sized firms. In 1998 the industry employed 484,000 people, including 31,000 in the eastern states and generated sales of DM187 billion, while research and development expenditures reached DM11.3 billion. Nearly two-thirds of the industry output was exported, amounting to DM123.6 billion in foreign receipts. International networks of subsidiaries and branches characterized the large chemical companies, active in all major world regions. In the 1980s and 1990s, the chemical industry of western Germany underwent substantial restructuring processes and a reduction of its labor force by 45,000 people between 1991 and 1994, eliminating excess capacity and restructuring the geographical distribution of their production facilities under changing market conditions, growing international competition, new EU health and environmental regulations, and a shift in demand to environmentally friendly products.


The electrical engineering and electronics industry, with revenue of DM242 billion and nearly 850,000 employees (1997), is also among the most research-intensive and innovative manufacturing sectors, including makers of production plant electronics, telecommunication systems, electronic components, programmable controllers, medical systems for diagnosis and therapy, household appliances, and others. The sector is dominated by a small number of large firms such as Siemens, Bosch, and IBM Germany. With annual sales of 78 billion euros in 2000 operations in 190 countries, Siemens employed 197,000 workers in Germany, and 203,000 workers abroad. Precision engineering, optical and process control technology, electromedical equipment, and timepieces generated DM52.4 billion in sales 1997, and nearly 2,000 primarily small and medium-sized firms in these industries employed more than 219,000 workers.


In 1999 Germany was the world's fifth largest producer of steel (after the United States, China, Japan, and Russia) with total production of 42.1 million metric tons, down from 44.0 million tons in 1998. With a workforce of about 830,000, the metal-producing and metal-processing industry generated sales of DM230 billion in 1997. Revenue of DM225.7 billion was reported in 1997 by the food processing industry with a labor force of 503,000. Germany has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of beer in the world and is a major producer of fine dairy products and meat delicacies. Textiles, clothing, and leather goods, some the oldest domestic industries, still play a significant role, employing 245,000 and generating a revenue of DM63 billion in 1997, but most important textile regions lost their significance during the 1980s and 1990s. With 775,000 employees and revenues of DM151 billion in 1999, construction was another important branch of German industry, and the country was considered to be Europe's largest construction market with the relocation of the federal capital from Bonn to Berlin and the eastern states' renovation following the reunification in 1990.



Although Germany is an attractive tourist destination and foreign visitors spent DM31 billion in 1999, it has a large deficit in the tourism balance of payments . Germans normally enjoy a 30-day paid vacation and many of them travel abroad, spending a total of DM88 billion in 1999 and bringing the negative travel balance to DM57 billion. Yet tourism is an important economic factor as approximately 2.4 million people (including part-time and seasonal help) were employed in the industry and immediately related areas such as travel, restaurants, lodging, relaxation and enjoyment, in 2000. Foreign visitors stay on average between 2 and 3 days, combining a visit to Germany with visits to neighboring countries. Approximately 11.7 million foreign guests visited Germany and about 287 million overnight stays were registered in 1997, including a total of 33.4 million overnight stays by foreign guests. About 15.2 percent of visitors came from the Netherlands, 10.9 percent from the United States, 8.9 percent from Britain, and 5.6 percent from Italy.


Retail has undergone profound structural changes over the second half of the 20th century, caused by changing consumer behavior and supply chains. Motorization and more economical bulk-buying have favored the spread of hypermarkets, self-service department stores, and discount stores, and many small retailers have gone out of business. Competition has become harder, profit margins have declined, and the retail food and beverage market is increasingly dominated by a small number of large retailers like REWE, Edeka/AVA, Aldi, Metro, Tengelmann, Spar, Karstadt, Kaufhof and Kaufhalle. The 10 largest retailers accounted in 1999 for over 80 percent of the market, up from about 56 percent in 1990. Internationalization of retail is progressing as more German firms develop operations abroad and foreign competitors like Wal Mart or the French Intermarché group enter the domestic market. Mail-order firms actively benefitted from postal services liberalization and the growth of e-commerce . Due to strong competition, prices are low, the product range is wide, and the leisure component of shopping has increased constantly over the 1990s. A boom of new retail facilities has followed the shortage of retail space in East Germany after unification in 1990.

In 1997 retail turnover represented 34.3 percent of private consumption, totaling DM715 billion, and the industry employed nearly 2.7 million people (over 45 percent of them part-time, 33 percent of the total in food, beverages, and tobacco). Additionally, 60,000 commercial agents and brokers and 55,000 motor vehicle dealerships and filling stations employed nearly 700,000 workers. A total of 294,000 firms operated in the market, most of them small: 74 percent had fewer than 5 employees, and only 2,925 enterprises had more than 50 workers. Small and medium-sized retailers have found ways to compete with large ones by catering to individual tastes, specializing in certain types of products, and offering expert advice and personalized service, and have also increasingly cooperated in purchasing, sales, and marketing.


No sector of the economy has grown as financial services have done over the 1990s. The turnover of the German banks has risen from DM4 trillion in 1988 to DM9.1 trillion in 1997. Savings deposits, stock and security holdings, loans, and cashless payments have all grown. Banking in Germany has traditionally been characterized by the large amount of long-term credit provided to industry and local government and by the regional or local focus of many credit institutions. In the 1990s, however, the industry was looking to foreign markets and turning to the stock exchange.

German banking is represented by private commercial banks, cooperative banks, and Sparkassen (savings banks) organized regionally and supervised and coordinated by the Landesbanken (state banks). Over half of all savings accounts are in the hands of the 563 Sparkassen, usually held by municipalities, and nearly one-third are in the about 1,800 cooperative banks. Germany's second largest fund manager, DekaBank, is owned by the Sparkassen, and the third largest one, Union Investment, by the cooperatives. As of early 2001, there were 340 commercial banks, 13 regional giro institutions, 596 savings banks, the Deutsche Genossenschaftsbank, the central institution of the cooperative Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken, as well as 3 regional institutions of credit cooperatives, 2,411 credit cooperatives, the Deutsche Postbank AG, 33 private and public mortgage banks, 18 credit institutions with special functions, and 34 building and loan associations. Nearly every employee in the 1990s had a salary account and more than 40 million had a Eurocheque card and used this international payment system. Credit cards have also grown in popularity: in 1980, roughly 580,000 people were using them, and in early 2001, the number was 15 million. Since 1980 it has been possible to get cash from automated teller machines (ATM), and the electronic cash system was introduced in 1990 and by 2000 was used at more than 140,000 terminals, especially in retail stores and gas stations.

Germany has 3 large commercial banks which dominated the market after World War II: Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, and Commerzbank. The merger of Bayerische Vereinsbank and Bayerische Hypotheken und Wechsel Bank (Hypobank) in the late 1990s created Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank (BHV), which was second in size only to Deutsche Bank. In April 2000 negotiations on the proposed merger of Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank were suspended due to EU banking regulations and antitrust laws. Deutsche Bank and the other nationwide banks had powerful positions on the boards of some of the largest industrial and commercial companies and were estimated to own 10 percent of total shareholdings in the country. Their role as shareholders came under EU criticism in the 1990s, and banks were expected to divest themselves of many holdings. In late 1998, both Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank announced that they would cut their equity holdings, and Deutsche Bank shifted DM40 billion of assets into a separate company. In their move into investment banking the Landesbanken also attracted criticism from private commercial banks, resulting in investigations by the EU competition authorities into the allegedly privileged status of the Landesbanken. During the 1980s and 1990s, growing competition, declining profit margins, and pressures from shareholders to raise profitability have intensified, and banks have expanded into capital market activities in Germany and into investment and other banking activities abroad. Through Allfinanz (offering insurance, asset management, and banking activities at once), large banks have achieved minority participation in large insurance companies, while some insurers have taken over banks. In early 2001, Allianz, a giant insurer, acquired Dresdner Bank, of which it already owned more than 20 percent, creating Germany's largest company.


The German economy is heavily export-oriented and needs imported goods, mostly fuels and raw materials, so

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Germany
exports Imports
1975 90.176 74.930
1980 192.860 188.002
1985 183.933 158.488
1990 410.104 346.153
1995 523.802 464.271
1998 540.554 467.315
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

with a foreign trade turnover at 48.5 percent of the GDP in 1999 (the world's second largest after the United States) international trade has traditionally played a crucial role. Germany accounted for 9.6 percent of the total world trade in 1999, and its policy of liberalization is consistent with its strong international competitiveness demonstrated by its foreign trade surplus of US$70.1 billion (or 3.3 percent of the GDP) in 1999. As in other major trading nations, Germany's jobs, investments, profits and standards of living have been seriously affected by disruptions of world trade and changes in the global economy.

The country's most important trading partners are the European Union and the United States. In 1999, they accounted together for 67.4 percent of exports and 61.6 percent of imports. EU integration has greatly intensified intra-European trade, and in 1999 the European Union accounted for 57.2 percent of Germany's exports and 53.4 percent of its imports. Germany's most important trading partner continues to be France, and the United States has become both the second largest market for German products, spending DM100.8 billion, and supplier of goods to Germany worth of DM71.2 billion in 1999. Other major markets for Germany are Great Britain (8.4 percent of exports), Italy (7.4 percent), the Netherlands (6.5 percent), Belgium and Luxembourg (5.5 percent), Austria (5.3 percent), Switzerland (4.5 percent), Spain (4.4 percent), and Poland (2.4 percent). After France and United States, major suppliers to Germany are the Netherlands (7.9 percent of imports), Italy (7.3 percent), Great Britain (6.8 percent), Belgium and Luxembourg (5.2 percent), Japan (4.8 percent), Austria (4.0 percent), Switzerland (3.9 percent), and Spain (3.2 percent). About 13 percent of the trade volume is exchanged with the Asia-Pacific region, and Germany's largest trade imbalance for decades has been with Japan. Germany's main exports in 1997 were motor vehicles (DM159.1 billion), machinery (DM149.3 billion), chemical products (DM130.8 billion), and electrical engineering products (DM110.3 billion). Its most important imports were raw materials and energy (25 percent), chemical products (13 percent), consumer goods (13 percent), electronic goods (12 percent), and motor vehicles (11 percent).


Germany has a stable and powerful financial system, and the value of the deutsche mark has been steadily growing since the 1950s. The exchange rate of the deutsche mark to the U.S. dollar fell from DM4.21 in 1955 to DM2.15 in 2001 (the lowest price for US$1 was reached in 1992-1995 at DM1.43). The currencies that gained against the deutsche mark after 1950 were Japan's yen and the Swiss franc. Since 1 January 1999, in accordance with provisions of the EU Maastricht Treaty, the European Monetary Union (EMU) was established and the Deutsche Bundesbank (the central bank) became an integral part of the European System of Central Banks consisting of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the central banks of the 11 EMU member states. The euro became the currency unit but was initially used in electronic transfers and for accounting purposes only. The deutsche mark remained as legal tender until the end of the year 2001, and in 2002 the new euro will replace it completely. On 1 January 1999 the exchange rate of the euro was fixed at DM1.9558. Monetary policy was also transferred to the ECB, its primary objective being to ensure price stability. In 2001 the most important function of the Bundesbank was to ensure the implementation of ECB monetary policy, including banking supervision and management of national monetary reserves, acting as the house bank of the federal government, overseeing payment transactions in Germany, and controlling the issue of euro notes.

In 1997 stock exchanges in Germany reached a turnover of DM8.97 trillion, 60 percent of which related to fixed interest securities (bonds) and the rest to shares. Trading was conducted on 8 exchanges (in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, and Stuttgart), yet the Frankfurt exchange was

Exchange rates: Germany
euros per US$1
Jan 2001 1.0659
2000 1.0854
1999 0.9386
1998 1.7597
1997 1.7341
1996 1.5048
Note: Amounts prior to 1999 are in deutsche marks per US dollar.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
France 18,730 21,374 22,510 25,624 27,975
Japan 23,296 27,672 31,588 38,713 42,081
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

the largest and ranked fourth internationally (after New York, Tokyo, and London). In 1992 the Deutsche Börse AG was founded in Frankfurt am Main as a holding company for the Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (Frankfurt Securities Exchange), the German part of the German-Swiss futures exchange Eurex, and the Deutsche Börse Clearing AG, responsible for securities settlement and custody. Frankfurt is also the host of many local and foreign credit institutions, including major banks and brokerages.


After World War II Germany developed a social structure comprised predominantly of a large and prosperous middle class (about 60 percent of the population), including mid-level civil servants, most salaried employees, skilled blue-collar workers, and a shrinking number of farmers. A smaller, wealthier group is made up of the upper-middle class and the upper class; and the poorer class is made of unskilled white and blue-collar workers, and unemployed and socially disadvantaged people. Unskilled blue-collar workers perform the poorest paid and dirtiest tasks. Foreigners account for about 25 percent of this group, and German women form about 38 percent of unskilled blue-collar workers. In 1992 approximately 7.5 percent of the population in the western states and 14.8 percent in the eastern states were poor (with income less than half the national average). From

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Germany
Lowest 10% 3.3
Lowest 20% 8.2
Second 20% 13.2
Third 20% 17.5
Fourth 20% 22.7
Highest 20% 38.5
Highest 10% 23.7
Survey year: 1994
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

1960 to 1994, the disposable income of private households in the western part of the country increased 10 times, from DM188 billion to over DM1,867 billion, and in 1997 the disposable income of private households in the whole of Germany reached about DM2,355 billion. In 1997, a 4-member household in the western part of Germany disposed of about DM5,725 per month, of which DM4,293 was spent on private consumption, and only about 57 percent had to be spent on food, clothing, and housing. Spending on leisure, automobiles, education, and telephones rose markedly. In 1997, about 53 percent of the private households in the west and 30 percent in the east owned real estate.

Although living standards in the eastern states and among many foreign workers are considerably lower than among most western Germans, there are no extreme forms of poverty, and extensive social programs relieve to a large extent the economic condition of the poor. In 1992 there were 4.6 million recipients of social assistance, nearly 700,000 from the east. Households with 3 or more children, and single parents were the most likely recipients of social assistance. In terms of education, average income, and property ownership, Germany ranks among the world's leaders. In 1963, at the height of the so-called economic miracle following World War II,

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Germany 14 6 7 2 10 7 53
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
France 22 7 9 3 8 12 40
Japan 12 7 7 2 22 13 37
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

social spending excluding education was 17.8 percent of the GDP in West Germany, compared with 13.8 percent in Sweden and 11.8 percent in the United Kingdom. Social benefits were further improved in the 1970s. In the 1990s the cost of social protection increased as a result of the aging population, rising structural unemployment, and the high rate of unemployment in the eastern states. German labor costs in the mid-1990s became the highest of most major economies, primarily as a result of high wages and non-wage social costs.


The German workforce numbered 40.5 million in 1999. Strong partnerships between labor, business, and the government after World War II contributed to the construction of a safe and responsible working environment. German companies have been held responsible for a larger array of social and community issues than is normally expected in the United States. The high environmental, health, and safety consciousness of the Germans has greatly contributed to improving general working conditions. German companies are more hierarchical than their U.S. counterparts, and employee relations are often formal. German workers have had the highest level of education in Europe, and as many as 2.5 million Germans, or almost half of the 15-to 19-year-old age group, annually receives vocational training within a range of about 400 occupational specialties, often on the basis of contracts with preselected employers. Combined on-thejob and academic training for apprentices produces many employees with the skills employers need, but the system has not kept up with the number of applicants and some say it needs to be made more flexible and responsive to the changing demands of the economy.

However, the German economy has been traditionally afflicted by a high unemployment rate (averaging a total of 10.5 percent in 1999, with 7.7 percent in western Germany, and 17.3 percent in eastern Germany), and structural unemployment is estimated at 80 percent of the total unemployment. In addition to the economic problems that contributed to high unemployment levels in 1999, the nation-wide collective bargaining system for worker representation produced wage and work time demands that failed to consider differences between regions and companies. The SDP government that took office in 1998 launched an ambitious program to cut unemployment, and more labor flexibility was reached at the company level, especially in eastern Germany. However, the rising number of companies that leave industrial organizations and negotiate contracts and wages at the company level is indicative of the growing discontent with the existing collective bargaining system. In 1998 only 48 percent of western German businesses were covered by a collective bargaining contract and about 25 percent in the east. These western German firms accounted for about 68 percent of total employees and for about 50 percent in the east. Trade union activism, however, has also been on the rise since 1998 to counter these changes in the traditional German economic model. In early 2001 a new union, ver.di, was formed as the world's largest union with 3 million members, comprising the unions of white-collar workers (DAG), the public sector (OTV), banking and retail (HBV), and postal workers and the media (IG Medien), with the purpose to represent labor across the growing service sector.


1356. Hanseatic League of northern Germany controls all trade on the Baltic Sea and in northern Europe.

1555. The Peace of Augsburg accords Protestants equal rights with those of Catholics.

1612-48. Thirty Years' War between Protestants and Catholics devastates Germany.

1700s. German states of Austria and Prussia abolish serfdom (1781 and 1773, respectively).

1806. Napoleon Bonaparte of France disbands the Holy Roman Empire and occupies Germany.

1833. Prussia organizes a customs union of 18 German states.

1867. Prussia defeats Austria, becoming the undisputed leader of the movement for the unification of the German states.

1871. The German Empire is proclaimed, with a population of over 50 million.

1900s. Germany becomes a major industrial world power and acquires colonies in Africa and the Pacific.

1918. Germany is defeated at the end of World War I (1914-18), a revolution erupts, and the country becomes a democratic republic.

1924. Germany enjoys relative economic prosperity, but millions of workers join the Nazi Party.

1933. During the Great Depression, National Socialist populist leader Adolf Hitler comes to power.

1939. With his attack on Poland, Hitler starts World War II.

1945. Germany surrenders and is divided into 4 occupation zones: British, American, Russian, and French.

1949. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is created out of the British-, American-, and French-occupied zones of Germany, while the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is made from the zone occupied by the USSR.

1951. West Germany is accepted into the European Coal and Steel Community and joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1961. The Berlin Wall is erected between East and West Berlin.

1968. The European Community is created to organize economic exchanges between European countries.

1970s. West Germany emerges as a leading economic power, along with the United States and Japan.

1990. East and West Germany are unified after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev loosens his grip.

1995. Schengen Agreement loosens border controls between Germany and bordering countries.

1998. Germany joins 10 other EU members in adopting the euro as the new single European currency.

1999. The capital of Germany moves from Bonn to Berlin.


Germany will continue to be one of the world's leading economies and the powerhouse of the European Union. Its economy will be influenced mostly by European integration, the adoption of the euro, the integration and upgrading of the East German economy, the restructuring of its economic sectors, and its aging population. The ability of the government to cope successfully with these issues may result in a solution to the problems of slow economic growth, high unemployment, high government debt, high tax rates, high unit labor costs, and growing social security and non-wage labor costs. Germany has a special interest in promoting EU enlargement by the accession of eastern European countries but it is also concerned with the possible influx of immigrants and high financial transfers to new EU countries. An important priority of the federal government is fostering the development of eastern Germany, a major burden on the federal budget throughout the 1990s. Germany's responsibility as an influential member of the international community will also grow in areas such as economic assistance for developing countries, environmental protection, and cooperation in combating corruption and transnational organized crime. Future economic stability will also depend on successful European monetary policy and the performance of the other countries within the euro zone and on global economic trends as the German economy becomes more and more international.

While traditional industries such as textiles and steel are declining, growth in the services sector, particularly in finance and high-tech sectors, will be indicative of the economy's development over the first part of the 21st century. Technological advances, notably in the information and communication sectors, will fuel dramatic productivity increases and the further globalization of businesses. The determination to be among the most advanced countries in the application of new technologies forces Germany to expand its already generous investments into that area. Expected new tax reductions will allow German corporations to invest in technologies with higher productivity and to increase exports. Gloomy forecasts of an aging and declining population will foster reforms in Germany's social security system.


Germany has no territories or colonies.


Behrend, Hanna, editor. German Unification: The Destruction of an Economy. London, and East Haven, CT: Pluto Press, 1995.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Germany. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, D.C. An Overview of the Current Economic Situation in Germany. <>. Accessed April 2001.

Federal Statistical Office Germany. <>. Accessed January 2001.

Germany Online. <>. Accessed September 2001.

Smyser, W. R. The German Economy: Colossus at the Crossroads. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Germany. <>. Accessed April 2001.

Valentin Hadjiyski




Deutsche mark (DM). One deutsche mark equals 100 pfennigs. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 pfennigs and 1, 2, and 5 deutsche marks, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 deutsche marks. In January 1999 Germany switched to the new European currency unit, the euro, along with 10 other members of the European Union, as a part of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). The euro was in use after 1 January 1999 for electronic transfers and accounting purposes, while euro coins and bills will be issued in 2002, and at that time the German currency will cease to be legal tender. On 1 January 1999, control over monetary policy, the setting of interest rates, and the regulation of the money supply was transferred from the German Central Bank (Bundesbank) to the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main.


Machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals and manufactures, foodstuffs, textiles.


Raw materials, machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, metals.


US$1.864 trillion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$549.0 billion (1999). Imports: US$478.9 billion (1999). [The CIA World Factbook lists 1999 exports of US$610 billion and imports of US$586 billion.]

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Federal Republic of Germany
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 83,029,536
Language(s): German
Literacy rate: 99.0%
Area: 357,021 sq km
GDP: 1,872,992 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 382
Total Circulation: 23,946,000
Circulation per 1,000: 375
Number of Nondaily Newspapers: 25
Total Circulation: 2,021,000
Circulation per 1,000: 32
Newspaper Consumption (minutes per day): 30
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 8,449 (Euro millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 43.50
Magazine Consumption (minutes per day): 10
Number of Television Stations: 373
Number of Television Sets: 51,400,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 619.1
Television Consumption (minutes per day): 185
Number of Cable Subscribers: 20,286,960
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 246.8
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 12,900,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 155.4
Number of Radio Stations: 822
Number of Radio Receivers: 77,800,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 937.0
Radio Consumption (minutes per day): 206
Number of Individuals with Computers: 27,640,000
Computers per 1,000: 332.9
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 24,000,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 289.1
Internet Consumption (minutes per day): 13

Background & General Characteristics

For most of the twentieth century, Germany was in the forefront of media development and is almost certainly to exert a powerful role in the development of world media into the twenty-first century. This importance is all the more impressive when one considers that in 1945, following the defeat of Germany in World War II, the media were non-existent and had subsequently to be revived during a period of austerity and hardship. During the sixty years from the end of World War II until the beginning of the twenty-first century, the German media developed extensively; in fact, the world's second or third largest media conglomerate, the Bertelsmann Group, is German-based, and one of the German media barons of the late twentieth century, Axel Springer, rivaled in fame, power, and influence the media barons of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The evolution of the media in Germany in the post war years was heavily conditioned by the political evolution of the country. After World War II Germany was divided into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), part of the so-called Eastern Bloc, and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), with its political power in Bonn and as part of the western alliance. On October 3, 1990, the two Germanys were reunited under the constitution of the United German Peoples, and on March 15, 1991 the four post-war powers overseeing Germany relinquished all occupation rights. The effect on the population was to unite the 16 million East Germans with the 64 million West Germans.

The West German media virtually extinguished the existing East German media. For example, the most widely circulated newspaper controlled by the East German regime, the Neues Deutschland went from a circulation of over 1 million to under 100,000 in less than one year. The incentive for West German media to capture this market was certainly present, for in a country of 16 million persons over 10 million read one or more of three-dozen newspapers on the market, notwithstanding strict government censorship at the time. Similarly television and radio programming was highly controlled in East Germany, and upon reunification East German television shrank, in large part because it was possible for East Germans to receive television signals from the west during the socialist era and upon reunification they continued to view programming to which they had already been exposed and which they apparently desired. In the early 2000s, newspapers and television programs produced in the former West Germany dominate the media landscape of Germany.

General Description

The target for the German media is a highly literate, affluent population that takes its media seriously. Literacy is estimated at 99 percent and, with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US$23,400 (2000 est.), Germany is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The population in Germany is highly urbanized with 87 percent of the people residing in cities and 13 percent living in rural areas. However, the spatial distribution and control of the media are based not on location of urban areas but rather on the location of the media and its public within the sixteen Länder (States) that make up the German Federation. It is the Länder that in many cases govern the media, particularly the electronic media, and it is within these regional areas that the print media deliver local and regional news. Since over 90 percent of the population is ethnic German speaking the German language, German-language newspapers predominate. However, other groups live in Germany, Turkish and Balkan people, for example.

The remarkable economic growth of the German economy in the late 1950s and early 1960s necessitated the importation of labor, and Turkish workers were actively recruited as gastarbeiter (guest workers) to work in German industry. As of 2002 there are some 2.4 million ethnic Turkish residents in Germany (3.1 percent of the population) who are generally concentrated in the cities of Berlin and Nurnberg. To meet their media needs, three Turkish newspapers are printed in Germany and seven Turkish TV programs are obtainable by satellite with one additional television program carried by cable. Of the Turkish language newspapers, the most widely read is Güncel. In addition, Turkish newspapers printed in Turkey are available. After the Balkan war between 1992 and 1996, almost one million refugees from the fighting re-located in Germany, by far the biggest recipient of Balkan refugees. Finally, the provision in the German constitution that recognizes ethnic Germans as those individuals who have families who had homes in Germany at any time has facilitated the emigration of many ethnic Germans from as far away as Russia and Central Asia. Many of these people are descendents of individuals who immigrated to Russia during the time of the reign of the German-born Russian queen, Catherine the Great, as long ago as the mid-eighteenth century. In 1997, some 11,000 ethnic Germans came to Germany from the former USSR. Many media professionals identified the growing need for publications and programming in the language of these recent immigrants which at the present is met by three newspapers, Kontakt, Vostochniji Ekspresse, andRusskaja Germanija, and Deutsch Welle, the multi-language German national radio network. However, many observers believe there is a market for additional ethnic media.

In general the quality of German journalism is high. Journalistic traditions in Germany may be traced as far back as the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) during which time reporting was considered less important than the work of high-minded, highly articulate, and erudite editors and copywriters. Thus journalism was not at this time a dynamic profession. This trend continued during Adolf Hitler's National Socialist period when, as a result of the Editors Law of 1933 drawn up by Nazi propaganda chief, Josef Goebbels, all press was placed under the control of the National Socialist government. Since then the press in Germany has been independent, vocal, and respected, and much of its excellence stems from this respect for excellent, learned writing. Another part of German journalistic tradition derive from the immediate post-war period when the occupying forces, particularly the United States and Great Britain, sent a large number of reporters as press officers to Germany to guide journalism and in particular teach ways to gather news objectively.

Politically it may be said that the German media cover a narrower part of the political spectrum than media in other western countries. This is generally explained by the desire of the German press to avoid political extremes, both the right characteristic of the Nazi regime and the left-wing positions characteristic of socialism or communism.

In 1999 there were 135 "independent publishing units" or businesses publishing a total of 355 newspapers that had a total circulation of 31.1 million. However, the penetration of daily newspapers in the marketplace is 78.3 percent, a slight fall from a high of over 79 percent; indeed, the number of newspapers on the market also fell in the last decade of the twentieth century. Notwithstanding these declines in readership, with a population of over 82 million persons, Germany has a readership that is among the largest in the world.

Of the 31.1 million newspaper subscribers, 17.1 million read local or regional newspapers. The only newspapers that can claim to be national in reach are Bild, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung,Die Welt, Frankfurter Rundschau and Tageszeitung. These papers generally retail for around £1.20 and are published as morning editions.

The most popular newspaper in Germany is Bild Zeitung, or Die Bild, with a circulation of 4,390,000. This size makes it the fifth most popular newspaper in the world. It is a tabloid newspaper of twelve to sixteen pages published Monday through Saturday with big letters, simple messages, often featuring female nudity on the cover or inside the front page and is the most sensational of the German newspapers. (A typical headline might read: "Child with three arms born in a German city.") As such Die Bild is the best example of yellow journalism among German newspapers. Many Germans indicate they buy it for speed of reading, television listings, and a reasonable sports section. It costs £.45 (approximately US$0.45) on the street. Bild Zeitung publishes regional editions and is generally right of center in its political orientation. In contrast, Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung has significantly fewer readers (approximately 400,000) but is widely known and respected both in Germany and internationally where it can be found in 198 countries. Read by the German business and political elite, it is considered one of the top newspapers in the world. National newspapers generally run fifty pages and costs £1.20 per issue, but most readers in Germany have yearly subscriptions for their newspapers. Most newspapers appear as morning editions, but there are evening editions of some publications, for example, Frankfurter Rundschau-Abend ("evening," 192,000).

The lengths of German newspapers vary throughout the week as various days have different topical supplements. For instance, the Süddeutsche Zeitung has no supplement on Monday, specializes in travel and science on Tuesday, Immobilienteil (real estate) both rental and sales on Wednesday, and cultural events (theater, cinema, sporting events) on Thursday. On Friday it includes a lifestyle magazine Süddeutsche magazin of about twenty-six pages. Saturday's newspaper contains all the information needed for the weekend and significantly one of the biggest Stellenmarkt in Germany, which lists jobs in Munich, Bavaria, the rest of Germany, within Europe, and beyond. On any one day the ratio of editorial to advertisements in Süddeutsche Zeitung is approximately 70 percent editorial to 30 percent advertisements. In the case of Süddeutsche Zeitung revenues are highly dependent on subscriptions, advertisements, and in particular the widely read Saturday employment section.

Weekly newspapers sell about 2.3 million on Thursday but target primarily weekend readership. The most popular and influential is Die Zeit (525,500 and costing£2.80), followed by Die Woche. In these newspapers breaking or current news is less important than news analysis and background information. As such, it is not unusual to find a newspaper over 100 pages in length in which a full page of broadsheet size may be devoted to one topic. Also important on Sunday is the publication of Sunday editions of the dailies Bild am Sonntag (3,139,900 and costing £1.20) and Welt am Sonntag (656,000 and costing £2.10). These two are the most popular Sunday newspapers and contain more pages than their weekday counterparts (twenty pages more in the case of Bild am Sonntag and forty more in Welt am Sonntag) and more human-interest stories as opposed to their daily news publications.

Germany also has two business daily newspapers, Financial Times Deutschland and Handelsblatt, the latter the more popular of the two. Of more limited weekly circulation are the two major religious publications, Deutsche Allegemeine Sonntagsblatt edited by the Protestant Church, with a circulation of 50,000 and the Rheineischer Merkur (111,000 circulation). For both of these, as Germany becomes more secular readership is declining.

A third major component of the print media in Germany is the weekly magazine. There are some 780 general interest magazines and 3,400 specialized magazines published in Germany. The former has a total circulation of 126.98 million copies and the latter 17.7 million. The oldest (first published in 1946) and most popular is Der Spiegel with 1.4 million circulation. It runs about 178 pages and in 2002 cost £2.80. Generally considered liberal in its political orientation, it has a reputation for excellent investigative journalism and critical analysis of political life and politicians that often makes its findings highly controversial. Distributed to over 165 countries worldwide and with 15 percent of its sales outside Germany, it is truly an international publication and often considered to be the printed voice of Germany overseas. For many years the weekly magazine enjoyed a virtual monopoly on this part of the media spectrum, but in 1993 significant competition to Der Spiegel emerged with the publication of the magazine Focus. The format for Focus is modeled on the successful Time and Newsweek in the United States; it has less length to the articles, more color, and a lower price than Der Spiegel. This formula was immediately successful as subscriptions rose to almost 750,000 while circulation of Der Spiegel fell. Other magazines worthy of note are ADAC-Motorwelt, the German auto club magazine, with a circulation of 13 million making it the largest in Germany; Der Stern, another leading general interest magazine that enjoys a reputation for its liberal orientation and investigative efforts but whose circulation is steadily declining; Aussenpolitik, a leading magazine dealing with German foreign affairs and available in English; German Life, a magazine on German culture designed for Americans; Aufbau, a German-Jewish newspaper in German; and finally Bunte, a typical glossy, German, and international human-interest magazine with over 120 pages which has a somewhat dubious claim to fame with its history of fabricated stories and features of prurient interest.

Finally, as in many other European countries, Germany has seen the introduction and rise in importance of free newspapers that are placed in high pedestrian traffic areas and support themselves entirely by the sale of advertisements. Local publishing houses see these publications as a threat to their operations, and legal injunctions to limit or stop their production have occurred.

As Germany enters the twenty-first century the three most influential newspapers are Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung for its international reputation, Die Zeit for the depth of its news analysis, and Süddeutsche Zeitung for its national importance, particularly in its coverage of the all-important Bavarian political scene. It should be noted that to this list Der Spiegel should always be appended for its journalistic excellence and international reputation and coverage while in the future the Berliner Zeitung and/or Berliner Morgenpost will be part of such a list, not for any particular strength but for their preeminence as two of the best regional newspapers and for the rising importance of Berlin as the new or reemerging German political center.

German newspapers are generally considered more regional than urban in coverage, though to affect economies of scale and to conserve financial resources the local independent presses work closely with one another and the national media and much of the contents are produced by centralized offices rather than the Heimatpresse (local press). The importance and size of German regional newspapers is noteworthy. Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, printed in the Ruhr city of Essen, has a circulation of 1,313,400, which ranks its circulation as thirty-first in the world, while the small town of Koblenz on the Rhine with 110,000 inhabitants produces a newspaper, the Koblenz Rhein-Zeitung with a circulation of 250,000. Kidon Media Services in an inventory of news sources has classified German media by Länder. It indicates the importance of Bayern (Bavaria) and the Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt conurbations as the centers of the German publishing industry and the relative unimportance of the former East German Länder as media centers.

Finally, although German newspapers claim to be independent and apolitical, each is generally perceived to have some political bias. However, direct ownership of newspapers by political parties as was a feature of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) or direct control as was a feature of the National Socialist era (1933-1945) no longer exist. That said, then, it is still the case that Vorwarts is the official newspaper of the Social Democratic Party, and Bayernkurier is the mouthpiece of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. Rheinischer Merkusr is often linked to the Christian Democratic Union and as noted the Neues Deutschland is the organ of the East German Communist party (Party of Democratic Socialism). Bild Zeitung and Die Welt are generally conservative in their viewpoints and the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung is generally right of center, a political stance in the Frankfurt region that is counterbalanced by Frankfurter Rundschau which is quite liberal in its orientation. In the 1980s and 1990s, Germany saw the rise of the Green Party whose main platform is environmental policies and connected issues. Many suggest that Frankfurter Rundschau is its most obvious ally in the media. Tageszeitung andJunge Welte are considered the most left wing of the national dailies with the exception of a number of Marxist (Der Funke ) and communist (Unsere Zeit ) publications.Tageszeitung is an interesting study for, unlike most of the newspapers that are owned by conglomerates, it is published on a cooperative base and has several thousand owners. In the first years of the twenty-first century, it was having the most difficulty in sustaining circulation amid a sea of newspapers.

Numerous surveys indicate that the majority of Germans (51 percent) get their news from television, 22 percent from newspapers and magazines, and only 6 percent from radio (the other source, 16 percent, is from friends). Given these statistics, then, it is not surprising that despite the large number of newspapers and their popularity with Germans as a source of information, there are some disturbing trends. The number of independent newspapers has been steadily declining since the 1950s and coverage of dailies has been falling. More alarming, readership of newspapers among individuals fourteen to nineteen years of age dropped from almost 70 percent to 58 percent between 1987 and 1997. Of particular interest has been the dramatic drop in readership of newspapers in the former East Germany from 10 million in 1990 to fewer than 5 million in 1996. Sales of newspapers at newsstands have fallen and hence the increased importance of the subscription base. Finally, advertising revenues at 65 percent are the primary source of revenue (distribution and sales make up 35 percent), but the increasing competition for advertising revenues from commercial television stations is cause for concern.

Economic Framework

From the rubble of a nation it was in 1945 following World War II, Germany has risen to become the world's third most technologically powerful economy after the United States and Japan. With a GDP of $1.936 trillion (2000 est.) as measured by purchasing power parity and a growth rate of 3 percent in 2000, Germany is one of the world's economic powerhouses. In the sixty years that it took for Germany to gain this degree of economic power, printing and publishing were major contributors with 68.4 percent of the workforce engaged in the service sector in 1999 and printing and publishing contributing 2.41 percent of gross total manufacturing output in the mid-1990s. Furthermore with the growth of German publishing in the former Eastern Bloc and other European Union countries, Germany controls an estimated 30 percent of Europe's media market. Many economic commentators noted, however, a dramatic slowing in the 1990s in the pace of the German economic surge. This is partly attributable to the debt of some US$70 billion required to effect reunification and to serious structural deficiencies in the German social system that surfaced because of an aging workforce, greater benefit payouts than income, and the cost of social benefits in hiring new workers. The result has been unprecedented unemployment and a weaker euro than desirable. Structural rigidities may in the future hamper German economic and therefore media growth.

Concentration of Ownership and Monopoly

Media development during the 60 years following World War II was closely tied to the relationship between the government and the private sector and in particular the rise of large media conglomerates that as of 2002 dominate both the German media and to some extent the national political agenda. In contrast to the electronic media, the print media is privately owned and operated. The rise of the private, independent German media conglomerate is best exemplified by the rise to dominance of the Axel Springer Group, Germany's major newspaper and magazine publisher with interests also in books, film, and Internet development.

Axel Springer was born into a publishing family in Hamburg, but his empire can be traced to 1946 when the British military government in Hamburg permitted him to open a newspaper. He went on to launch a number of other newspapers in Germany most notably Hamburger Abendblatt in 1948 and Der Bild in 1956 and to acquire existing newspapers such as Die Welt in 1953 and Berliner Morgenpost in 1959. By 1968 it was estimated by the German government that Axel Springer published 40 percent of German newspapers, 80 percent of all German Regional newspapers, 90 percent of all Sunday papers, 50 percent of weekly periodicals, and 20 percent of all magazines. This market share represented two-thirds of all papers sold in German cities. Axel Springer died in 1985 but the pattern of acquisitions did not cease with his death. The 1990s were marked by expansion into Central and Southern Europe as the European Union expanded and as the former Eastern Bloc privatized former state media concerns. By 2000 the Axel Springer Group had annual sales of over DM5 billion and around 14,000 employees.

During Axel Springer's rise to prominence a parallel German conglomerate, the Bertelsmann Group, was working in other areas of the media and enjoying similar growth. A publishing house that got its start printing Bibles in the nineteenth century, Bertelsmann has wider interests than Springer, particularly in books, electronic media, and music recording. It is the world's second or third largest media conglomerate as measured by revenues with over US$16 billion (76 percent outside Germany) and 76,000 employees. In Germany its most notable publications are the most popular women's magazine, Brigitte and the weekly Der Stern, and it has a 25 percent stake in Der Spiegel. As a result of its lack of emphasis on newspapers, in 1999 Bertelsmann trailed Axel Springer in print circulation. Axel Springer Group enjoyed 23.7 percent of the circulation market share while Bertelsmann's Gruner and Jahr division enjoyed 3.4 percent. (With regards to the other three large media groups, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung Group has 5.9 percent market share; the Stuttgarter Zeitung Group, 5 percent; and the DuMont Schauberg Group in Cologne, which is responsible for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, controls 4 percent.)

In total the ten largest publishers of dailies account for 54.8 percent of the market, and the four largest publishers of magazines enjoy 63 percent market share. This situation has given rise to an ongoing debate in Germany over the perceived monopolies of the large publishing houses and the possible need to reduce them. Most Germans are not concerned so much with the issue of monopoly as with the degree of perceived influence that such publishing houses have on political opinion and decision-making.

Control of the electronic media is different. Dominated by public broadcasting stations until the 1980s, it was traditionally independent and non-commercial but financed by license fees and subsidies and controlled by the Länder. These stations were and continued in the early 2000s to be answerable to public sector supervisory councils that influence programming and content. This situation changed dramatically in the 1980s with the advent of cable and satellite systems through which private interests could enter the TV market. Private stations are identifiable by the broadcast of numerous commercial messages by which they finance their operation. In addition the existing Länder legislation, particularly that delineating the supervisory roles of the council was anachronistic for the technology and content, and dramatic changes were required to address this new part of public broadcasting, particularly since by the turn of the century its market share was larger than that of the public broadcasting stations and increasing yearly. The power of television and its importance in the German media mix are such that political parties have become increasingly involved in policy decisions on such items as accountability, rating share, and most recently anti-monopoly concerns. Generally the relationship with German political parties has been that the conservative CDU favors privatization and more commercialization while the SPD favors the public service broadcasters.

Trade Unions

The trade union movement is strong and influential in Germany, particularly in the media world. In the early 2000s the union movement is undergoing some reorganization, in large part as a reaction to the government's efforts to reduce the range of benefits and perquisites that union members enjoy. Politicians and economists are driven by the fact that in comparison to other countries, Germany is seen as having excessively generous worker benefits that some believe make it un-competitive. Unions have a rather long history of strikes in the production departments of newspapers but rarely in the editorial offices. The most protracted and serious of these, insomuch as it was over structural change, came in the 1970s and concerned the implementation of new techniques of production.

Newspapers began using personal computers to file stories and thus German newsrooms changed. Plus, new printing presses streamlined the production process and thereby displaced workers. In the early 2000s Germany is at the forefront of new printing and editing technologies. Strikes in the German press seem to occur every two or four years, which is correlated to the prevailing contractual length. The dispute issue is usually connected to wages, and a newspaper may be on strike for some two to three weeks during which time the delivery of the daily newspaper is suspended.

Employment & Wage Scales

Employment in the media in Germany is generally considered to be not lucrative. Wages for a beginning journalist in a small local or regional newspaper (50,000 circulation) is under US$50,000 per annum gross with a significant proportion of that going to taxes, health care, unemployment, and pension contribution. Salary in this case may consist of a base salary with incentives for the number of articles written by the journalist that the newspaper prints. In the larger cities and at a more prestigious media outlet, salaries may rise to around US$100,000. However, the high cost of living in Germany necessitates a modest middle-class lifestyle. Executives, TV anchors, and personalities can of course command far greater salaries and benefits. The German media use freelancers.

The fact that federal and state governments employ much of the electronic media is cause for political concern because of the excessive bureaucracy. In order to reduce this number, freelancers are hired because stations do not have to pay them benefits. Freelancers are not on a fixed salary and are free to negotiate their own remuneration and indeed they may work for a number of outlets. As a result freelancer incomes tend to be significantly higher than salaried employees at radio and television stations. Such freelancers also exist in the print media, the most famous example being the paparazzi (photojournalists) who sell salacious material to purveyors of yellow journalism. In 1995, some 40,000 persons were employed in television broadcasting and 11,400 in newspapers (the latter figure is from 1990 on the eve of reunification at a time when East German media were grossly over-staffed), but these figures do not take into account the large number of persons employed as free-lancers or working in the large multi-national media conglomerates and the distribution network.


Most print media companies have their own distribution company, but there are also private distribution houses, which distribute a number of smaller newspapers, magazines, leaflets, and brochures. There is rarely a shortage of newsprint in Germany and prices paid reflect international rates.

Press Laws

Freedom of the press in Germany emanates directly from the German Grundgesetz ("Basic Law," or constitution), which states under Article 5 (Freedom of Expression):

  • 1. Everyone has the right freely to express and to disseminate his opinion by speech, writing and pictures and freely to inform himself from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by radio and motion pictures are guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.
  • 2. These rights are limited by the provisions of the general laws, the provisions of law for the protection of youth and by the right to inviolability of personal honor.
  • 3. Art and science, research and teaching are free. Freedom of teaching does not absolve from loyalty to the constitution.

While the freedom of the press and all that usually is associated with press freedom (confidentiality of sources and notes, refusal to identify sources, free access to sources) might thus be seen to be as inviolable, there are provisions for recourse in the event of perceived press violation of ethics. In particular, the Press Council is a major counter measure to full press autonomy, and legal recourse is often used. This may involve the agreement to stop printing factual errors, the agreement to print an apology or retraction, and even civil proceedings to obtain monetary damages in the most serious cases. Perhaps the most whimsical example of this was the cease and desist order directed to those in the press that falsely claimed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder used hair coloring to remove gray from his hair.

The constitution removes the right to publish "writings which incite to racial hatred or which depict cruel and inhuman acts." In the penal code relating to offences against the state, it prohibits "betraying the country and endangering external security by betraying state secrets." Germany possesses the full range of libel, blasphemy, and obscenity laws. Interestingly, however, Germany is the only country in Europe that does not have a Freedom of Information Act. The argument against passage for such a law is that it is implicit within the Basic Law and that moreover it is a Länder responsibility. In this regard only four Länder have adopted Freedom of Information legislation (Brandenburg, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein, and Nordrhein-Westphalia). Other Länder have proposed Freedom of Information legislation, but Bavaria, Hesse, Saxony, and Baden-Württemburg have voted down Freedom of Information legislation.

As the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal state, press law is largely a Länder responsibility, the Constitution setting the framework for the individual Länder legislation. Most Länder press laws were passed between 1964 and 1966 and upon the reunification in 1990 the existing models were used in the new Länder. The most important provisions the press laws enunciate are: the public duty of the press; the right of the press to information; the duty of the press to be thorough; identification of author or imprint; the duty of the editor; the clear distinction between advertisement and editorial; and the right of reply, regardless of veracity. All of these obligations are set out by each Länder in the form of a code of conduct called a Presskodex.

Perhaps the most controversial part of the code of conduct comes in the area of protecting the privacy of non-official citizens. The codex states under Article 8:

The press shall respect the private life and intimate sphere of persons. If, however, the private behavior touches upon public interest, then it may be reported upon. Care must be taken to ensure that the personal rights of uninvolved persons are not violated.

The problem arises in the definition of "intimate sphere" and "public interest," and, in the case of the German media, the yellow nature of much of the journalism. The desire for salacious material on public figures, such as politicians, athletes, movie stars, and other performing artists, often finds the German media on the edge of what is permissible and what is excessive. One notorious case of invasion of privacy is the so-called "Caroline Case." In March 1992 the magazine Bunte published an article that purported to be an interview with Princess Caroline of Monaco, a reclusive and press-shy individual. Unfortunately the interview was entirely fabricated. The result was an DM180,000 compensation settlement.

Commonly German newspapers will publish the facts as the newspaper sees them but will not reveal the name of the central figure in those cases where scandal and sensationalism are presumed present. Rather they will print a fictitious name or only the given name and not the family name, for example a column may read: "Richard B. was charged." This practice is obligatory in court cases to protect the accused. In the case of politicians, coverage is extensive but rarely involves family and indeed extra-marital relationships are also deemed private matters.

One common feature of German newspapers is the gegendarstellung (opposing interpretation). It is a consequence of the right to reply provision in the codex and is an expression from a complainant who believes he or she has been misrepresented. It involves the printing verbatim of the facts as the complainant interprets them. Remarkably, the compainant's response does not have to be true. It only needs to state a contrary view of the facts as the complainant sees them. In many Länder, the newspaper is permitted to state it is obliged to print the piece (usually by the courts) and does not necessarily agree with the sentiments expressed in it.

In the Federal Republic of Germany there is no registration of journalists though Article 9 of the codex attempts to describe a "responsible journalist." Generally, journalists in Germany have some form of higher education, though particularly in the case of photojournalists newspapers and magazines will pay significant sums of money for freelance material, particularly if it is salacious, unique, or constitutes a "scoop." There are no licensing requirements to be met before newspapers can publish, no bonds required, and the independence of the judiciary is not questioned.


In Germany there is no official censorship, but as a result of the Fascist period of government and the desire to expiate the past, Nazi propaganda and other hate speech are illegal. As a result, the Freedom House Survey of Press Freedom of 1999 gave Germany one of the highest ratings for freedom of the press. In 1997 in response to concerns over child pornography and the Internet, a bill to regulate standards for child protection on the Internet was passed. It defines which online activities should be subject to licensing and other regulatory requirements. As a result of a rise in crime and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a constitutional amendment was introduced to restore broad police surveillance powers. Journalists among other professionals, however, would be exempt from bugging.

As was noted above, while there is no agency concerned with monitoring the press, Germany has an active Press Council that oversees the functions and operation of the print media. In view of its importance and influence it is worth examining in some detail its make up and mandate.

Self-monitoring Systems

The German Deutscher Presserat (Press Council) owes its origins to the need following World War II for a body that was independent of the government to monitor the media and provide recourse for media disagreements. Formed on November 20, 1956, the German Press Council is modeled after the British Press Council. Statutes adopted on February 25, 1985 and updated in 1994 govern its structures and duties. According to Article Nine, the Press Council has the following duties: to determine irregularities in the press and to work toward clearing them up; to stand for unhindered access to the source of news; to give recommendations and guidelines for journalistic work; to stand against developments which could endanger free information and free opinions among the public, and to investigate and decide upon complaints about individual newspapers, magazines, or press services.

The Press Council consists of a consortium of twenty representatives from journalist and publisher associations. The members' assembly addresses legal, personnel, and financial matters of the body but are not involved in matters of competition and pricing. A ten-member complaints commission is an important policing unit. It should be noted that this body is entirely self-monitoring with no external authority, such as an ombudsman, involved in the decision-making process of the council. It is estimated that the council receives on average 300 and 400 complaints per year. In practice most complaints against the press are dealt with quickly and effectively, often by use of the printed apology, notes of censure, or public reprimand. Examples of the latter include reprimands for the naming of suicide victims, publication of photos of corpses, and non-authentic photographs of stories being covered. Some observers believe that the receipt of such a reprimand by a newspaper or magazine is generally seen as a black mark and is to be avoided if at all possible, while others point to the content and practices of those yellow publications and suggest that the influence of the Press Council is limited. To assist in their advisory role the Press Council provides a series of guidelines for editors and journalists to which they are advised to adhere.

The most relevant oversight body monitoring the broadcast media is the Rundfunkrat (Independent Broadcasting Council). This body, set up under the Länder, regulates the public service broadcasters. As a result of a constitutional court ruling, the Rundfunkrat is required to be made up of "socially relevant groups." It is composed of members of a wide range of public interest groups such as political parties, business, and labor organizations, churches, farmers, sports, women's groups, and cultural organizations. As such, it is supposed to be free of political control and influence, but in fact, party interests can become significant determinants of policy. Complaints against the broadcast media can be brought before these councils for resolution.

Satellite and Cable Issues

The advent of satellite and cable systems as a means of communication necessitated new media laws to be drafted by the Länder to regulate media outside the existing public broadcasting regulations. Of primary necessity was the need to establish a mechanism for allocating licenses and determining what programs were to be fed into the cable systems. For this purpose, new Länder bodies, the Landesmedienanstalten, were created. These bodies closely resembled the existing supervisory bodies for the public network. By 1991, these bodies were present in the former East Germany, and in the early 2000s they govern the cable and satellite industry. As a result of criticism brought against commercial television that their offerings were particularly harmful to children, some commercial broadcasters employ a commissioner for youth protection, the Jugendschutzbeauftragter, that reports to the company. There are also planned informal advisory councils to advise commercial television stations on content and acceptability.

In the realm of advertising the Deutscher Werberat (German Advertising Council) has members from the media and advertising agencies who receive complaints and publish their decisions in a handbook. The lack of consumer representation on the twelve-person council has been cited as a major drawback to its effectiveness.

State-Press Relations

Generally, the press does not abuse the German constitution which gives in practice perhaps the most wide-ranging press freedoms in the West. When the German media cover the political scene, the treatment is generally less emotional and less sensationalized than that in many other countries. Media observers attribute this objectivity to a strong organizational control in the German corporate press organization, in which reporters' opinions and criticisms are subsumed in those of the editor and lead writers. Thus rarely will one find political opinion within a story, but rather a concentration on news and business. Indeed, at election times newspapers rarely endorse one political party or candidate.

Political scandals and their effect on public life and democracy are another area of concern. The combination of the constitution, the press laws, and the Press Council codex have the effect of making the German press much more discreet and confidential than its counterparts in many western countries. However, this may be changing as several surveys indicate a decline in public attitudes towards politicians connected to scandals. Moreover it is apparent that editorial comment on such scandals strongly influences government responses given the emphasis the German public places on receipt of its news from all media sources.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

The German press is an open system and as such, foreign media are accepted and contribute to a wide range of views. Indeed the evolution of the German media has been one not of protection from foreign media but rather integration to every possible extent with foreign media in order to effect growth and variety. Thus, cable systems first started with a Luxembourg-based station (RTL) and continued with such broadcasters as ARTE (a Franco-German cultural channel that is a consortium of ARD, ZDF, and the French channel La Sept), while satellite television is closely integrated with Austrian, French, Swiss, and U.S. national television stations. Deutsche Welle, as the international voice of Germany, has been particularly active in broadcasting German television programs to thirty-one countries worldwide from Berlin. Deutsche Welle Radio transmits by satellite around the globe to twenty-nine nations while Deutsche Welle World provides a multimedia service on the Internet. In the print media foreign magazines like Paris Match, Elle,Vogue and W are eagerly bought in Germany and other western newspapers are freely available. Moreover, most European media have significant representation in Germany in the form of German correspondents along with news bureaus like Reuters, Bloomberg's, AP and Agent Presse France. The German domestic news agency is the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) based in Hamburg.

Broadcast Media

The German electronic media is a little like that of the BBC, but the influence and role of the sixteen Länder make it somewhat different. At the basis of the German electronic media is the provision in the federal constitution that the Länder administers radio and television. This was enacted in 1949 to ensure against no repetition of the type of state control exercised by the National Socialists during the time of the Third Reich. In 1954 the first public sector broadcasting corporation, Arbeitgemeinschaft der Rundfunkanstalten (ARD), was formed as a consortium of Länder and in the early 2000s employs 23,000 people with an annual budget of US$6 billion. The second public broadcaster, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), was formed in 1961 and is a separate corporation with an agreement with all Länder to produce national programming. These public service broadcasters are marked by the production of regional news, cultural coverage, and educational programming, such as documentaries and current affairs programs. Advertising is limited to thirty minutes per day and no advertising is allowed after 8:00 p.m. or on Sundays.

This monopoly was eliminated in 1981 when Länder recognized their right to grant broadcasting licenses to private companies, which was passed into law in 1987. Concomitant with this legislation was the provision throughout (West) Germany of a national cable network provided by the Deutsch Telekom (federal post office) which today owns all the cable systems and which claims to be the world's largest cable network provider. The recent ruling by the European Union that telephone and cable systems should be "unbundled" or under separate ownership has led to a sell off of some of Deutsch Telekom's cable assets. By the end of the millennium, of the 33 million households that had television (owning 54 million TV sets), 70 percent had access to cable, though of the 6.6 million households in the former East Germany that had television only 12 percent had access to cable. All German television owners are required to pay a license fee with a supplementary fee required for cable subscribers.

The entrance of private companies into the TV market raised new fears of monopolies and excessive control by media conglomerates. In 2002 German commercial television is controlled by two media groups, first the Bertelsmann conglomerate that broadcasts in conjunction with a Luxembourg-based corporation and the Kirch conglomerate (headed by another German media mogul, Leo Kirch). Kirch obtained his power by buying the rights to broadcast a wide range of international programs (which are usually dubbed into German) and sporting events and which, owing to the number of rights that he holds or are under his control, is now seen as a de facto monopoly on commercial programming.

It is generally agreed that the programming on cable is much more commercial and somewhat more down market (there is a range of reality television shows, game shows, human problem confrontational shows similar to the Jerry Springer show in the United States, talk shows, and a number of pornography channels). Much of the programming on cable has been copied from the United States where similar shows have proven to be audience draws and which apparently draw German viewers. This trend in television has affected the programming on the two public service channels, ARD and ZDF. In an attempt to meet the challenge from the commercial stations, the government has decentralized control of the programming, reduced state subsidies leading program directors to turn toward more commercial type programming. For example, one of the most popular TV programs on ARD is "Tatort," a crime-based soap opera in which viewers follow the work of a detective and his helpers as they expose and combat serious incidences of crime. Its success is such that it is syndicated throughout Europe. In contrast, the reduction in state subsidies and the emphasis on commercial success have meant that the German public television history of serious documentaries has lessened, for funding for such programs is now increasingly difficult to obtain. Notwithstanding the lessening importance of the German Public Broadcasting system, ARD and ZDF still command significant audience shares during their peak viewing hours (which in the case of ARD is at 8:00 p.m. and ZDF 7:30-8:00) on weeknights when the national news (Tagesthenmen andTageschau ) is broadcast, as well as on Saturday nights when the most popular TV show in Germany, Wettendas is shown on ZDF. This is a celebrity talk show with a game show component and a very popular host, Thomas Gottschalk. According to a 1990 survey, 49 percent of West Germans and 70 percent of East Germans watch the evening news at least five times per week.

In 1985 with the broadcast of SAT-1, satellite television became part of the media mix in Germany. While Kirch owned a large part of all SAT channels, other new entrants to the satellite market quickly emerged. Two new all-news channels appeared in 1993, one owned by Time Warner/CNN and the other, VOX, by Bertelsmann. By 1996 Kirch had introduced digital satellite TV and at the turn of the century claimed 2 million subscribers paying DM55 for service including the necessary decoder.

German radio is losing importance in the twenty-first century. As noted, only 6 percent of the public get their news from the 77.8 million radios in Germany. There were fifty-one AM stations, 767 FM stations, and four short-wave stations in Germany in 2000, with commercial radio dominating the airwaves. A city the size of Hamburg might boast over ten commercial radio stations providing programming for the full spectrum of market interests. Two German radio corporations, Deutschland-funk (DLF) and Deutsche Welle (DW), intend to provide foreign countries with information and as such they are controlled by federal legislation. DW was founded in 1953 and has a worldwide presence, broadcasting twenty-four hours a day in 29 languages to 210 million people.

Electronic News Media

An estimated 24 million Germans have access to the Internet with 625 Internet providers in the country while at the beginning of 2000, some 176 German newspapers offered online news. As for the rest of the western world, it is difficult to assess the impact of its availability in Germany. What generally is known is that 73 percent of users are under forty years of age, of higher median income and education level, and usually male; most read online news from their residence and generally read their local newspaper. Only 29 percent read their news daily as opposed to 56 percent who read their print newspaper, and they read for a shorter time and a more limited range of topics in the newspaper. For the newspaper the issues are still ones of familiarity (it was estimated in 1989 that the median age of reporters in German newsrooms was 50 years) for an aging workforce, financial considerations, and lack of knowledge on how to market their product. In the early 2000s use of the print layout seems to be the normal method. However most German sites keep the news current and relevant.

Education & TRAINING

Media education in Germany constitutes a large portion of the German higher educational system. The central registry of degree programs for Germany indicates that there are only twenty degree programs in Germany that award a degree in journalism, but in the more general areas of media studies and publishing, 184 institutions of higher education offer some form of program. A student can obtain either a diploma, equivalent to an undergraduate degree, a Magister or master's degree equivalency, or a doctorate or Ph.D.

This trend toward media studies grew particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. The burgeoning interest resulted in a large number of graduates with very few positions available in any one year. For example, a small regional newspaper or radio station may hire only one or two new people every year and even the larger national newspapers hire infrequently, making the job market very competitive. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that many of the publishing houses or larger newspapers have Volontariat (apprenticeship) programs. While this system is not as prevalent in the early 2000s as in the twentieth century, it is still a significant option. Many media observers note that to obtain a position in the German media today a doctorate is almost becoming a necessity.

The most prestigious institutions for training journalists are the Munich Journalism School and the Hamburg Journalism School. Entrance is highly competitive for both programs, with fewer than one hundred students graduating from each institution annually. These schools owe their reputations in large part to loose affiliation with Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich and the Axel Springer organization in Hamburg. It should also be noted that German media have been at the forefront of training media in such areas as investigative journalism, media management, and business planning in the newly emerging states of Central Europe, Russia, and Central Asia.

There are two major professional organizations representing journalists. One is Deutscher Journalisten Ver-band (German Journalists Association, DJV) that calls itself a trade union. It is not, however, affiliated with trade union organizations but rather acts as a professional lobby group. The second organization is the Deutsche Journalisten Union (German Journalists Union, DUJ), a member of the German Trade Federation. Both organizations provide ongoing training for their members, as does the European Journalism Center, an independent nonprofit training institution. As media boundaries and borders in Europe become more permeable, the goals of the EJC become more relevant. EJC goals are: to further the European dimensions in media outlets; to enhance the quality of journalistic coverage; to analyze and describe the European media landscape, and to provide strategic support for European media.

In view of the fact that the German Press Council is made up of both journalist representatives and publishers representatives, Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverlager (BDZV), should be noted as the representative of the owners and publishers, while the Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverlager (VDZ) represents the magazine publishers. Similarly, while not members of the Press Council, but important as the industry voice in the regulation of the broadcast media, the Verband Privater Rund-funk und Telekommunikation (VPRT) operates as the voice of commercial radio and television.


The overall excellence of the German media has garnered a large number of journalistic awards and prizes. For example, in 2001, two of the three "World's Best-Designed Newspapers" were, for circulation of 175,000 or more, Die Zeit ; and for circulation in the 50,000 to 174,999 range, Die Woche.

In 2002 nominated as part of the sixteen finalists in the "World's Best-Designed Newspaper" in the 175,000 circulation and above category were Die Welt and the Berliner Zeitung. They were competing in the final with such newspapers as The New York Times, the Detroit Free Press, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from the United States; from Canada The Globe and Mail ; and from England, The Guardian, The Independent, and The Observer. The winners in the category of 175,000 circulation and above were The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, theNational Post, Ontario, Canada; and Die Welt, from Berlin, Germany. In the same competition Die Woche won the best newspaper award for the category of 50,000 to 174,999 circulation while Die Zeit won awards for " other news" and Die Weltspiegel won for its Science and Technology pages. With thirteen awards Germany received the largest number of awards of any nation.


Perhaps the one factor that arises from an examination of German media is the importance it plays in German intellectual life and debate. Indeed, German media is one of the most powerful opinion makers in European, or indeed world, media for it is a highly analytical and critical tool that leads to articulation of important subjects. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Germans debate about their past, especially under Hitler, and also turn a critical eye to politicians in their midst. The early 2000s witness a mood of disillusionment with the electorate, particularly the disgrace of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl who allegedly received large amounts of campaign contributions from industry sources. Critical analysis is the hallmark of the modern German press. Particularly at the national level, the outlook for the media in the twenty-first century is inextricably bound up with the existence of the public broadcasting networks, both radio and television. The most fundamental question is whether there is a role for state subsidized electronic media in Germany at all or whether full privatization is necessary or desirable. One problem with public broadcasting systems is the amount of investment needed for both new technologies and programming, a cost that is usually not borne by license fees or state budgets that are increasingly looking to be reduced rather than increased. In order to raise this kind of money, public broadcasting stations need to become more commercial or more revenue oriented and in order to do that, they must emulate the existing commercial operations. In the early 2000s, advertising provides roughly one-third of television revenues and one-fourth of radio revenues. If public broadcasting stations are to become more financially viable, this proportion must surely increase. They must now find a new niche in an increasingly commercial media.

At the international or global level, much like in the rest of the western world, the mission of the German media is to embrace the phenomenon of globalization. The late 1990s saw the growth of large media conglomerates, of which Germany had a significant number. These conglomerates embarked upon a strategy of vertical and horizontal integration marked by convergence of telecommunication and information technology and in particular the integration of print media, broadcast media, and the Internet. By the year 2002 as the stock market was reflecting increasing difficulty and excessive cost in achieving that convergence, the wisdom of such convergence was being reexamined. With the importance of large media conglomerates to Germany, any strategic miscalculation could have a significant impact on German economy as a whole. Thus, the outlook for the twenty-first century must be one of guarded optimism, fuelled by the incredible success story of the past sixty years but possibly tempered by the structural difficulties and rigidities that once made the economic miracle happen.

Significant Dates

The most significant highlights of press history during the past ten years have been the requirements within the media to integrate the former East Germany into the federal system of media operation.

  • October 3, 1990: The two Germanys are reunited under the Constitution of the United German Peoples.
  • 1990: The German constitution or "Basic Law" (Grundgesetz ) is amended by the Unification Treaty to include the former East German Länder on August 31 and by Federal Statute on September 23.
  • 1990: National framework of regulations between Länder (Medienstaatsvertrag ) is extended to new Länder which join the federal republic under reunification. This action is completed in 1991.
  • 1994: On February 23, the Public Principals of the German Press Council are updated.
  • 1996: Digital television arrives in Germany.


Eggleston, Roland. "Germany: Complex Press Regulations Attempt to Divide Public, Private Spheres," Radio Free Europe and Free Liberty (May 1998). Available at

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. "Germany Info." Available at

Esser, Frank. "Editorial structures and Work Principals in British and German Newsrooms," European Journal of Communication, vol. 13, issue 3 (September 1998): 375.

. "Tabloidization of News: A Comparative Analysis of Anglo-American and German Press Journalism," European Journal of Communication, vol. 14, issue 3 (September 1999): 291.

The European Journalism Center. "European Media Landscape." Available at

German Culture. "Newspapers in Germany" and "Radio and Television in Germany." Available at

"Grundgesetz : Basic Law (German Constitution)." Available at

Ketupa Net Profiles. "Axel SpringerProfile" and "BertelsmannProfile." Available at

Kidon Media Center. "Newspapers and Other Media Sources from Germany." Available at

Neuberger, C., J. Tonnemacher, M. Biebl, and A. Duck. "Online: The Future of Newspapers? Germany's Dailies on the World Wide Web." Available at

Richard W. Benfield

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Germany (jûr´mənē), Ger. Deutschland, officially Federal Republic of Germany, republic (2005 est. pop. 82,431,000), 137,699 sq mi (356,733 sq km). Located in the center of Europe, it borders the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France on the west; Switzerland and Austria on the south; the Czech Republic and Poland on the east; Denmark on the north; and the Baltic Sea on the northeast. The official capital and largest city is Berlin, but many administrative functions are still carried on in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany.

Land and People

Germany as a whole can be divided into three major geographic regions: the low-lying N German plain, the central German uplands, and, in the south, the ranges of the Central Alps and other uplands. The climate is temperate although there is considerable variation. Almost two thirds of the country's extensive forests are coniferous; among the broadleafs, beech predominates.

N Germany, drained by the Ems, Weser, Elbe, and Oder rivers, is heavily farmed, despite poor soil; crops include wheat, rye, barley, oats, potatoes, and sugar beets. Dairy cattle are widely raised, especially in Schleswig-Holstein; pork, beef, and chicken are other livestock products. The region also includes the major industrial and transportation centers of Kiel, Rostock Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, and Magdeburg, as well as Berlin.

The central uplands include the Rhenish Slate and Harz mts., and the Thuringian Forest. The Rhine River runs through W Germany and, between Bingen and Bonn, flows through a steep gorge, famous for its scenery, vineyards, and castles. Along the northern rim of the Rhenish Slate Mts. lies Germany's chief mining and industrial region, which includes the Ruhr and Saar basins and takes in the cities of Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Krefeld, Essen, Wuppertal, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund. In the east, industrial centers are located along and near the Elbe River and its tributaries. The major cities include Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz, Halle, and Erfurt. The southern section of the Rhineland, which contains the Eifel and Hunsrück mts., is largely agricultural and has famous vineyards, especially in the Moselle valley.

The southern part of Germany is drained by the Danube, Iller, Lech, Isar, Inn, Neckar, and Main rivers. Rising to the Zugspitze (9,721 ft/2,963 m) in the Bavarian Alps, the highest point in Germany, it consists of plateaus and forested mountains, e.g., the Black Forest, the highlands of Swabia, and the Bohemian Forest. Lake Constance, in the Alps, is a popular tourist area. Notable agricultural products of the region are fruit, wheat, barley, and dairy goods. Important industrial centers include Munich, Frankfurt, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, and Karlsruhe.

About one third of the population is Protestant, mostly in the north, and one third is Roman Catholic, primarily in the south and west. There is a small Jewish minority. About half the population in the area that was formerly East Germany has no religious affiliation. Catholic and Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues receive government support through a church surtax levied on members of these denominations. Virtually all citizens of the country speak German. Danes, Frisians, Romani (Gypsies), and Sorbs or Wends comprise the indigenous non-German-speaking minorities. Since the early 1970s, millions of "guest workers" from other countries (mostly former Yugoslavia, plus Turkey and Italy) have come to Germany for employment. These residents include about 2 million Muslims, mainly Turks and Kurds.


The former West Germany has for many years benefited from a highly skilled population that enjoys a high standard of living and an extensive social welfare program. Since unification, however, Germany has faced the economic challenge of transforming the former East Germany from a deteriorating command economy dependent on low-quality heavy industrial products to a technologically advanced market economy. Unemployment in the east has remained consistently higher than that in the west, and although several larger urban centers there have begun to revive economically, most E German industrial cities remain depressed. Since the postwar years, the German economy has emphasized management-labor consensus, which, while generally avoiding labor strife, has also created a relatively inflexible labor environment where employers are reluctant to hire more than the minimum required number of skilled workers, since it is difficult to fire them once they are hired.

Manufacturing and service industries are the dominant economic activities; agriculture accounts for about 1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and occupies about 3% of the workforce. Industries include food and beverage processing, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of iron and steel, chemicals, machinery and machine tools, motor vehicles, electronics, and textiles. Hard coal and lignite are mined. Overall, the principal German agricultural products are potatoes, wheat, barley, rye, sugar beets, cabbage, fruit, and dairy products. Large numbers of cattle, hogs, and poultry are raised. Germany is one of the world's largest exporters; products include machinery, vehicles, chemicals, foodstuffs, and various manufactures. Germany also imports machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and foodstuffs. Its main trading partners are France, the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Italy.


Germany is a parliamentary democracy governed under the constitution of 1949, which became the constitution of a united Germany in 1990. The federal president is the head of state but has little influence on government. The president is elected for a five-year term by a federal convention, which meets only for this purpose and consists of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the state parliaments. The chancellor, elected by an absolute majority of the Bundestag for a four-year term, is the head of government. There is a bicameral Parliament. The Bundesrat, or Federal Council (the upper house), has 69 seats, with each state having three to six representatives depending on the state's population. The Bundestag, or Federal Assembly (the lower house), has 598 deputies who are elected for four years using a mixed system of proportional representation and direct voting; additional seats are added when a party wins more seats through direct voting than it would have by proportional representation alone.

Germany is divided into 16 states (Länder). Each state has its own constitution, legislature, and government, which can pass laws on all matters except those, such as defense, foreign affairs, and finance, that are the exclusive right of the federal government. The states are Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, North Rhine–Westphalia, Saxony–Anhalt, Brandenburg, Berlin Hesse, Thuringia, SaxonyRhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, and Bavaria.


Various aspects of the early, medieval, and early modern history of Germany are covered in the articles Germans; Germanic laws; Germanic religion; Holy Roman Empire; Austria; and in the articles on the major historic German states (Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg, Baden, Thuringia, Hesse, Mecklenburg (see under Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Anhalt, Lippe, Schaumburg-Lippe) and on the free cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck. The survey that follows is a very general outline of the complex history of Germany.

History to the Early Middle Ages

At the end of the 2d cent. BC, the German tribes began to expand at the expense of the Celts, but they were confined by Roman conquests (1st cent. BC–1st cent. AD) to the region E of the Rhine and N of the Danube. The Romans penetrated briefly (12 BC–AD 9) as far east as the Elbe River (see Teutoburg Forest), and from the late 1st cent. AD to the 3d cent. they held the Agri Decumates, protected against Germanic inroads by a fortified line from Cologne to Regensburg. In a series of great migrations (4th–5th cent.) the German tribes (who did not all come from present-day Germany) overran most of the Roman Empire, while Slavic tribes occupied Germany E of the Elbe.

By the 6th cent., the Anglo-Saxons had established themselves in Britain, and the Franks had taken over nearly all of present-day France, W and S Germany, and Thuringia. Clovis I, who first united the Franks late in the 5th cent., accepted Christianity, and St. Boniface in the 8th cent. spread the gospel in the areas acquired by Clovis's successors. In 751, Pepin the Short deposed the dynasty of the Merovingians and established his own, that of the Carolingians. His son Charlemagne conquered the Saxons and extended the Frankish domain in Germany to the Elbe. He was crowned emperor at Rome in 800.

In the first division (843) of Charlemagne's empire (see Verdun, Treaty of) the kingdom of the Eastern Franks, under Louis the German, emerged as the nucleus of the German state. The Treaty of Mersen (870) enlarged it by the addition of part of Lotharingia (Lorraine), but after the death (876) of Louis it was divided among his sons Carloman, Louis the Younger, and Charles III (Charles the Fat). Emperor Arnulf reunited the kingdom, but during his reign (887–99) and that of his son Louis the Child (900–911), last of the Carolingian kings of Germany, the Norsemen, Slavs, and Magyars began to make devastating inroads. These contributed to economic breakdown and localization, manifest in the manorial system.

Political localization was evident in the emergence of powerful duchies and in the growth of feudalism. The dukes of Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Upper and Lower Lorraine emerged as the most powerful magnates of Germany. On the death (911) of Louis the Child, they elected the Franconian duke Conrad I as king. Conrad's reign was spent in struggles against the Magyars and against the rebellious dukes, one of whom (Henry the Fowler of Saxony) succeeded him in 918 as Henry I, beginning a century of Saxon rule. Henry restored some of the royal authority, took territory from the Slavs, and secured the election in 936 of his son, Otto I, as his successor.

The Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire came into existence with the imperial coronation (962) of Otto I. (A list of Otto's successors until 1806 accompanies the article on the Holy Roman Empire.) As a result of their difficult dual role as emperors and German kings, and especially because of their interests in Italy, Otto's successors could not prevent the German dukes and their vassals from increasing their power at the expense of the central authority. Imperial power was further undermined by the conflict between emperors and popes, manifest in the struggle over investiture.

Emperor Frederick I (reigned 1152–90; also known as Frederick Barbarossa) of the Hohenstaufen line was one of the most energetic medieval German rulers. He unsuccessfully challenged the power of the pope (see Guelphs and Ghibellines), being defeated by the Lombard League in 1176. However, Frederick did succeed in partitioning (1180) the domains of Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria, thus destroying the last great independent German duchy. Until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Germany remained a patchwork of numerous small temporal and ecclesiastical principalities and free cities.

The campaigns of the 12th and 13th cent. against the Slavs (see Wends) resulted in tremendous eastward expansion and the establishment of the margraviate of Brandenburg and the domain of the Teutonic Knights. The turbulent reign (1212–50) of Emperor Frederick II, who was active in Sicily, and who engaged in a major conflict with the papacy, left Germany in a state of anarchy. Several rival kings appeared, but none held wide authority, and lawlessness prevailed. The dark period of the Great Interregnum (1254–73) ended with the election of Rudolf I, count of Hapsburg (see Hapsburg), as German king, but neither he nor his successors could create a centralized monarchy. Germany thus diverged from the great kingdoms of Western Europe—France, England, and Spain—where the trend was toward increasing centralization.

To offset the tendency toward independence of the nobles, the emperors relied chiefly on the prosperous cities, many of which formed into leagues for their common defense and interests—e.g., the Hanseatic League and the Swabian League. German commerce and banking prospered in the late 15th and early 16th cent., the heyday of such merchant princes as those of the Fugger and Welser families of Augsburg. With the help of these capitalists, Emperor Charles V (reigned 1519–58) financed his many campaigns.

The weakness of the imperial position was evident when, in the Protestant Reformation (16th cent.), the Catholic emperor was unable to enforce his religious policies or to prevent the conversion to Protestantism of many powerful princes. Links between religious and economic unrest were reflected in the Peasants' War (1524–26) and in the unsuccessful attempt of the Imperial Knights under Franz von Sickingen to secularize ecclesiastical domains.

Continued unrest and Protestant gains helped stimulate the Counter Reformation, which hardened the religious and political divisions in Germany. A religious settlement was reached only after the devastating Thirty Years War (1618–48), which was a crushing setback to the cause of German unity. The chief theater of the war, Germany was reduced to misery and starvation, lost a large part of its population, and became, as a result of the Peace of Westphalia (1648; see Westphalia, Peace of), a loose confederation of petty principalities under the nominal suzerainty of the emperor. Depopulation brought increased competition for peasant labor and helped to perpetuate the institution of serfdom, which was declining in other parts of Western Europe.

The German Confederation and the Rise of Prussia

The most powerful German state to emerge from the wars of the 17th and 18th cent. was Prussia, which under Frederick II (reigned 1740–86) successfully challenged the military might of Austria and became a European power. The French Revolution and the wars of Napoleon I brought the demise (1806) of the moribund Holy Roman Empire and also forced the German states, notably Prussia, to accept long-needed social, political, and administrative reforms.

Germany's military humiliation by Napoleon stimulated nationalist fervor for a strong and unified state. By the Congress of Vienna (see Vienna, Congress of) the German map was redrawn in 1814–15, eliminating many petty states and expanding Prussia and Bavaria. The German states were loosely linked in the German Confederation, set up by the congress. Conservative Austria obtained control of the confederation, and Metternich, who also dominated the Holy Alliance, frustrated nationalist ambitions. In ensuing decades, nationalist sentiment was furthered by German romanticism, a noteworthy exponent of which was the poet Ernst Moritz Arndt, and by persons like Friedrich Jahn, the educator and gymnast.

German nationalism, linked with liberalism, emerged in the revolutions of 1848, which shook the German states. However, the revolutionists were soon defeated, and the Frankfurt Parliament, having failed to obtain the unification of Germany under Frederick William IV, disbanded. Prussia was humiliated by Austria in the Treaty of Olomouc (1850) but used the Zollverein, a customs union from which Austria was excluded, to consolidate Prussian hegemony in N Germany.

Otto von Bismarck, who in 1862 took charge of Prussian policy, resolved on the course of creating a "Little Germany" (a Germany without Austria) under Prussian leadership. In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Prussia triumphed over its rival, and Austria was excluded from the newly created North German Confederation. As a result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 Bismarck attained his goal: William I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor by the assembled German princes in the Palace of Versailles (1871). The peace treaty with France awarded Alsace and Lorraine to Germany and stamped it as the chief power of continental Europe.

The German Empire

The new German empire was consolidated under Bismarck's autocratic rule and a constitution that favored conservative interests. The Reichstag (the lower house of parliament) had some power over money bills but only slight influence in military matters or foreign policy; autocratic Prussia dominated the Bundesrat (the upper house of parliament). Bismarck's rule was complicated by far-reaching internal changes. The Industrial Revolution, which came late in Germany, transformed the country into Europe's foremost manufacturing nation and also accelerated the pace of urbanization.

Economic factors in turn affected politics. The National Liberal party and the Progressives, both representing the middle class, became important, as did German socialism and the Social Democrats, guided by August Bebel and Karl Kautsky. The strong Center party represented Roman Catholic interests.

Bismarck's only certain ally was the Conservative party, a Protestant faction particularly strong in agrarian and semifeudal Prussia. Bismarck ruled chiefly through force of will, prestige, and the steadfast support of the emperor. He attempted to vitiate German Catholicism in the Kulturkampf (1872–79). Both paternalism and an effort to lessen the appeal of the Socialists and the Liberals motivated his social security laws, which became models of welfare legislation throughout the world.

A master of foreign policy, Bismarck secured Germany against France by maintaining alliances in the east. Reconciliation with Austria led to an alliance (1879), joined in 1882 by Italy (see Triple Alliance and Triple Entente). Simultaneously, Bismarck kept alive the Three Emperors' League of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. He weathered the Liberal opposition and retained his chancellorship during the brief reign (1888) of Frederick III, but he was dismissed in 1890 by William II. Bismarck was succeeded as chancellor by von Caprivi, Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1894), and Bernhard von Bülow (1900).

By the mid-1880s, Germans had acquired some African territories, but it was only under William II that German colonial expansion began to collide seriously with British and French interests. (For a list of former German colonies, see mandates.) Equally serious threats to peace were Germany's increasing commercial rivalry with England, heightened by the naval expansion under Tirpitz, German influence in Ottoman affairs (e.g., in the construction of the Baghdad Railway), and German support of Austria's Balkan policy, which clashed with Russian interests (see Eastern Question). Two crises (1905–6 and 1911) over Morocco helped to create and strengthen the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and England, which faced Germany and its allies (see Central Powers) in World War I (1914–18). In 1909, von Bethmann-Hollweg had replaced von Bülow as chancellor of Germany; Bethmann was overthrown (1917) by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and Chief of Staff Erich Ludendorff, who together controlled Germany until late 1918.

Exhausted to the point of collapse but with no enemy troops on its soil, Germany was obliged to accept the Allied armistice terms (Nov., 1918) and, in 1919, the harsh peace terms of Versailles (see Versailles, Treaty of). William abdicated and fled (Nov., 1918) after national and international demands for his abdication (led by Chancellor Maximilian, prince of Baden) and after the outbreak of a left-wing revolution, started at Kiel, which swept the rulers of the German states from their thrones.

The Weimar Republic

A democratic and more centralized federal constitution was adopted at Weimar in 1919, and Germany became known as the Weimar Republic. Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat, became the first president. His middle-of-the-road government suppressed attempts by the radical left (see Spartacus party) and by the extreme right (see Kapp, Wolfgang) to seize power. However, the economic crisis of the postwar years, marked by mass unemployment and rampant currency inflation, strengthened the extremist parties and wiped out a large portion of the middle class. The assassinations of Matthias Erzberger (1921) and of Walther Rathenau (1922) were symptomatic of the terrorist tactics adopted by the extreme nationalists, many of whom later joined the National Socialist (Nazi) party of Adolf Hitler or the Nationalist (monarchist) party of Alfred Hugenberg.

The election (1925) of Hindenburg as president after the death of Ebert seemed a nationalist victory, but Hindenburg cooperated with the cabinets (1923–32) of Wilhelm Marx, Hans Luther, Hermann Müller, and Heinrich Brüning, in which coalitions drawn mainly from the Social Democrats, the Catholic Center party, and the conservative German People's party fulfilled moderate programs. Under Luther, Hjalmar Schacht helped stabilize the currency, and a remarkable return to economic prosperity began. Gustav Stresemann, as foreign minister from 1923 to 1929, secured an easing of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, particularly with regard to German reparations payments, and the admission (1926) of Germany into the League of Nations.

Germany had apparently recovered economically and politically by 1929, but soon afterward the world economic depression brought about mass unemployment and business failure, and political and social tensions mounted. As the Nazi and Communist parties gained strength in the Reichstag, Brüning and his successors, Franz von Papen and Kurt von Schleicher, failed in their efforts to mold parliamentary majorities without Hitler's support. Government came to a standstill. Rather than accept Schleicher's alternative of a military dictatorship, Hindenburg, by then old and exhausted, accepted von Papen's assurance that Hitler could be held in check. In Jan., 1933, Hindenburg made Hitler chancellor. In the elections of Mar., 1933, Hitler played upon the electorate's fear of the Communists (especially after the Reichstag building was largely destroyed by fire in Feb., 1933) to win a bare majority of seats in the Reichstag for the National Socialists and the Nationalists. On Mar. 23, the Enabling Act, opposed only by the Social Democrats and the disbarred Communist party, gave Hitler full dictatorial powers.

The Third Reich

Hitler had promised to build a Third Reich, successor to the Holy Roman and Hohenzollern empires, which would last a thousand years. As chancellor, he began the "coordination" (Gleichschaltung) of every aspect of German life. Young persons were organized in semimilitary groups (the Hitlerjugend) and were indoctrinated with the Nazi creed. The powers of the state governments were abolished, and the adherents of National Socialism from 1934 made up the sole legal party. Hitler's opponents within the party (including Ernst Roehm) were eliminated in the "Blood Purge" of June, 1934.

The Gestapo (see secret police) quashed open discontent among the German people. Many scientists, artists, educators, and scholars followed the Nazi doctrines without much protest, and some Germans welcomed what they considered the rebirth of German strength. After the death of Hindenburg (1934), the offices of president and chancellor were combined in the person of the Führer [leader] of the Nazi party. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived Jews of citizenship, forbade marriage between Jews and non-Jewish Germans, and barred Jews from the liberal professions. In order to coordinate cultural affairs, the radio, press, cinema, and theater came under the control of propaganda minister Goebbels, who raised Hitler to the status of a quasi-divinity. Jews and others (especially those holding liberal or leftist political beliefs) made outcasts by the Nazi regime were harassed, and some were placed in concentration camps.

Hitler attempted to make Germany economically self-sufficient, and industry, commerce, and foreign trade were strictly supervised by the government. Labor unions were dissolved, and workers were organized in a state-controlled labor front. In order to ease unemployment and to prepare for war, Hitler expanded the armaments industry, increased the size of the armed forces, and sponsored large-scale public works (e.g., the construction of a network of superhighways, the Autobahnen). Hermann Goering was a leading protagonist of German rearmament and preparations for war. Albert Speer was at first Hitler's official architect; during World War II he assumed important posts as minister for armaments and later as chief planner of the war economy.

In Oct., 1933, Hitler withdrew from the Geneva Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations. In Mar., 1936, Germany remilitarized the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact. Hitler followed this by concluding an alliance with Fascist Italy (see Axis), by interfering in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) in support of the Insurgents led by Franco, and by annexing Austria (Mar., 1938). Outside Germany, fifth columns were used to undermine the governments of nations that Hitler sought to annex in order to increase the Lebensraum [living space] of the Germans. The Munich Pact (Sept., 1938) marked the culmination of British and French attempts to appease Germany in the hope that Hitler had limited aims.

In Mar., 1939, Germany marched into Czechoslovakia, thus violating the Munich agreements, and also annexed Memel, on the Baltic coast. On Aug. 23, 1939, in a surprise move, Germany and the USSR signed a nonaggression pact and other agreements. On Sept. 1, 1939, cutting short negotiations on the status of Danzig (Gdańsk) and the Polish Corridor, Hitler invaded Poland, thus precipitating World War II.

In the early years of the war Germany had great success; its conquests included Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the Balkan states, and Greece. Great Britain, particularly London and other industrial areas, was subjected to massive German air attacks (the Battle of Britain), as a prelude to invasion, but the island successfully withstood the onslaught and was not invaded. In June, 1941, Hitler launched a vast offensive against the USSR, his former ally. In Dec., 1941, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States.

In 1942, the tide of the war began to turn against Germany; the Allies scored successes in North Africa, the USSR stopped the German army at Stalingrad (now Volgograd), and British and U.S. airplanes began the massive terror bombing of German cities. As its fortunes waned, Germany treated its remaining conquered territories more harshly. Millions of Jews and many other civilians were sent to concentration camps and exterminated, vast slave-labor systems were organized, and many thousands were deported to Germany for forced labor. By early 1945, Germany was being invaded from the west and the east, and most of its cities lay in ruins. On Apr. 30, 1945, with the total collapse of Germany imminent, Hitler committed suicide.

Postwar Germany

Hitler's successor, Admiral Karl Doenitz, signed (May 7–8, 1945) an unconditional surrender to the Allies, whose military commanders assumed the functions of government in Germany. The agreements of the Yalta Conference (Feb., 1945) were implemented at the Potsdam Conference (July–Aug., 1945). These agreements were to be tentative, pending a peace conference, but as no peace conference was held, they tended to shape the course of German history after 1945.

A line formed mostly by the Oder and Neisse rivers was made the eastern boundary of Germany, as East Prussia and Upper and Lower Silesia were placed under Polish administration (except N East Prussia, which was awarded to the USSR). In the west, the Saarland was occupied by French military forces. What remained of Germany was divided into four zones, occupied separately by the armies of Great Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR. Berlin, similarly divided although situated well within the Soviet zone, was made the seat of the four-power Allied Control Council, authorized to make economic and administrative decisions for Germany as a whole. However, the council failed to agree on how to implement the often imprecise Potsdam decisions, and separate governments were soon established in each of the four zones.

The National Socialist party and affiliated organizations were outlawed, and many leading Nazis were tried, convicted, and executed for war crimes; other leaders, including von Papen and Schacht, were acquitted. Some Germans (including the philosopher Karl Jaspers and the historian Friedrich Meinecke) called for moral regeneration, but as Germany became a battleground of the cold war, concern with the guilt for the past receded.

During 1945–47 there was a serious shortage of food, caused by the crippled state of the German economy and by poor harvests; this situation was intensified in W Germany by the arrival of about 10 million ethnic German refugees from the Soviet zone and the former German territories of E central Europe. In the Soviet zone, a military administration under Zhukov was established in June, 1945. In 1946, politics there were brought under the control of the Communist-dominated Socialist Unity party (SED), led by Wilhelm Pieck, Otto Grotewohl, and Walter Ulbricht. At the same time, a major program of nationalization and collectivization was carried out. As reparations, the Soviets took much of E Germany's industrial equipment for use in rebuilding their own industry.

The Western Allies rejected a plan by Henry Morgenthau, Jr. to center the German economy around agriculture. Industrial machinery was restored to use, restrictions against the German cartels went largely unenforced, and West Germany's remarkable recovery and reindustrialization soon began. The rebuilding process was facilitated by the Marshall Plan. By 1947, the Western occupation zones were increasingly coordinating their policies (especially in economics), whereas the Soviet zone followed an increasingly divergent policy. The split between the three Western Allies and the USSR became complete in 1948. After the Western powers had planned steps toward establishing a West German constitution and had instituted a currency reform, the Soviet authorities unsuccessfully blockaded (1948–49) West Berlin as part of the cold war (see Berlin airlift). In 1949, Germany was divided into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The precise legal status of West Berlin remained unclear; however, West Berlin was intimately tied to West Germany in many ways (see Berlin).

East Germany

East Germany, 41,610 sq mi (107,771 sq km), consisted of the area included in the present states of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt, Thüringia, Saxony, and Brandenburg. East Berlin was the capital of the country. Originally divided into five states, East Germany was reorganized into 15 districts (Bezirke) in 1952. A congress organized by the Socialist Unity party (SED) in May, 1949, adopted a constitution establishing the German Democratic Republic. The initial constitution, superseded by one adopted in 1968, provided for a president and a bicameral parliament. Wilhelm Pieck became the country's first president and Otto Grotewohl its first prime minister, with Walter Ulbricht as first deputy prime minister.

The government was controlled by the SED and was much more centralized than that of West Germany. In 1950, a treaty was signed with Poland recognizing the Oder-Neisse line as East Germany's permanent eastern boundary. A drive to collectivize the remaining privately held farmland was started in 1952. In the same year, a 3-mi-wide (4.8-km) zone, guarded by police, was established along the border with West Germany (but not with West Berlin) in order to reduce emigration to the West.

Agitated by the forced changes in the country and by food shortages and other economic hardships, workers in East Berlin began on June 17, 1953, a rising that soon spread to much of the country; the revolt was suppressed only after the intervention of Soviet forces. Following the rising, the USSR attempted to improve East German economic conditions, especially the availability of consumer goods, and in 1954 it ceased to collect reparations for German actions in World War II. Also in 1954, the USSR recognized the sovereignty of East Germany, which in 1955 became a charter member of the Warsaw Treaty Organization. East German armed forces were established in 1956; Soviet troops, however, remained stationed in the country.

During the 1950s, Ulbricht, who was first secretary of the SED from 1950, emerged as the leader of East Germany. Under Ulbricht, the country was closely aligned with the USSR, and the liberalizing policies introduced in some of the other East European Communist nations were avoided. After the death of Pieck in 1960, the office of president was replaced by a council of state, with Ulbricht as its chairman. In order to reduce the large flow of persons leaving East Germany (about 4 million during 1945–61), many of whom crossed from East to West Berlin, a wall was erected (Aug., 12–13, 1961) between the two parts of the city; it was later reinforced and enlarged. In the ensuing years dozens of those who tried to scale the wall were shot by East German border guards. The wall drastically cut the number of emigrants, and gradually this had the effect of solidifying East Germany as an independent country.

In 1963, a "New Economic System," calling for more efficient and decentralized economic planning, was adopted. Partly as a result of the new system, East Germany's economy expanded considerably in the 1960s. Also, large-scale building programs were undertaken in the cities. In 1964, a treaty of friendship and cooperation—in effect a peace treaty—was signed with the USSR; similar treaties with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria followed in 1967. Grotewohl died in 1964 and was succeeded as prime minister by Willi Stoph, who had served as de facto prime minister since the onset (1960) of Grotewohl's terminal illness.

In 1968, East German forces actively participated in the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Under a new constitution promulgated in 1968, the 500-member people's chamber became the sole legislative body. In the late 1960s, diplomatic contacts with West Germany were initiated; these culminated in 1973 with the signing of a treaty between the two states. At the same time, East Germany for the first time was accorded diplomatic recognition by a number of non-Communist countries, including the United States (1974).

In 1971, Ulbricht resigned as first secretary of the SED and was replaced by Erich Honecker. Under Honecker, most of the few remaining private enterprises were taken over by the state. Checks on intellectual and cultural activities were relaxed somewhat. After being granted permanent observer status in 1972, East Germany was made a full member of the United Nations in 1973. Later in 1973, Stoph was elected chairman of the council of state and was replaced as prime minister by Horst Sindermann; Stoph returned as prime minister from 1976 to 1989. In the 1970s, trade between the Germanys increased, spurred by large-scale West German credits. Travel restrictions were eased so that West Germans could visit the East, and later, in the 1980s, East Germans were allowed to travel to West Germany. In 1981, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt made an official visit to East Germany, and in 1987 Honecker was officially received in West Germany by Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

In the latter half of the 1980s, tensions developed with Moscow as the hardline SED reacted coolly to the reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. For a description of the events leading up to East Germany's reunification with West Germany, see subheading Reunification of Germany.

West Germany

West Germany, 95,742 sq mi (247,973 sq km), consisted of the ten states that had been included in the U.S., British, and French occupation zones after the war. Bonn was the seat of government. The country adopted a constitution in May, 1949, to establish the Federal Republic of Germany.

The new republic was similar in structure to the Weimar Republic, except that the individual states had somewhat more power, and the president's powers were much reduced. In the first elections (Aug., 1949), the Christian Democratic party (CDU), along with its close ally, the Bavarian-centered Christian Social Union (CSU), gained a small plurality of seats in the Bundestag (Federal Diet). The CDU leader Konrad Adenauer formed a coalition government and became the first chancellor of West Germany; he remained in office until 1963. The Social Democratic party (SPD), led successively by Kurt Schumacher, Erich Ollenauer, and Willy Brandt, was the main opposition party until 1969, when it came to power. The middle-class-oriented Free Democratic party (FDP) was influential, although small, and it participated in coalition governments with both the CDU (1949–53; 1961–66, 1982–98) and the SPD (1969–82). The first president of West Germany was Theodor Heuss; he was succeeded by Heinrich Lübke (1959), Gustav Heinemann (1969), Walter Scheel (1974), Karl Carstens (1979), and Richard von Weizsäcker (1984).

The occupying powers allowed West Germany considerable autonomy from the start, except in foreign affairs. The three resident High Commissioners could review actions taken by the Bonn government, but in practice they rarely intervened. In 1951, West Germany was given the right to conduct its own foreign relations. In 1952, West Germany, the United States, France, and Great Britain signed the Bonn Convention, in effect a peace treaty, which granted West Germany most of the attributes of national sovereignty. The Paris agreements of 1954, which came into force in 1955, gave West Germany full independence, except that the former occupying powers reserved the right to negotiate with the USSR on matters relating to Berlin and to Germany as a whole. Also, the powers continued to maintain troops in the country. In 1955, West Germany was recognized as an independent country by numerous nations, including the USSR, and it became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, thus solidifying its ties with the West. In the same year, legislation was passed providing for the creation of West German armed forces.

In postwar West Germany, there were occasional, mostly minor, recurrences of anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism (e.g., the temporary growth of the nationalistic National Democratic Party in the mid-1960s); more important, however, the country tried to make up in part for the Nazi atrocities by granting considerable aid to Israel and by paying reparations to individuals who suffered loss or injury at the hands of the Nazi regime. During the 1950s, the West German economy grew dramatically; in 1958, the country became a charter member of the European Economic Community, or Common Market (now the European Union). It also gave much economic and technical assistance to the developing nations of Asia and Africa. In 1957, the Saarland was assigned to West Germany by France, after a plebiscite.

National politics in the 1950s and early 1960s were stable and were dominated by Adenauer. The CDU-CSU held firmly to the position that Germany should be reunited on the basis of democratic elections; it followed the "Hallstein doctrine" (named for Walter Hallstein, an official in the ministry of foreign affairs), under which West Germany refused to have diplomatic relations with any nation (except the USSR) that recognized East Germany. Until the 1970s, East and West Germany had virtually no contact on an official level, but there was considerable trade between them.

Later in 1963, Adenauer retired and was replaced as chancellor by Ludwig Erhard, also a Christian Democrat and an expert on economics. Erhard's government was shaken by a downturn in the economic boom and by controversy over foreign policy. In 1966, Erhard resigned and was replaced by Kurt Georg Kiesinger, a Christian Democrat, who headed a "grand coalition" of the CDU-CSU and the SPD; SPD leader Willy Brandt assumed the posts of vice chancellor and foreign minister. Under Kiesinger, economic conditions improved, ties with France were strengthened, and talks with the nations of Eastern Europe (with whom West Germany did not have diplomatic relations) were initiated.

The general election of 1969 resulted in a small plurality for the CDU-CSU, but Brandt was able to become chancellor at the head of an SPD-FDP coalition government. In the 1972 general election the coalition was returned to power with a substantial majority. Brandt launched a major program, called the Ostpolitik [eastern policy], to improve relations with Eastern Europe. Important milestones in the Ostpolitik were the signing (1970) of treaties of nonaggression and cooperation with the Soviet Union and Poland (ratified in 1972); the signing (1972) of an agreement among the four former occupying powers improving access to West Berlin and permitting West Berliners to visit East Berlin and East Germany more often; and a treaty (1973) between East and West Germany that called for increased cooperation between the two states and prepared the groundwork for the establishment of full diplomatic relations. West Germany was admitted to the United Nations in 1973, after having held permanent observer status since 1953.

Brandt resigned in May, 1974, after it was revealed that an East German spy had been on his personal staff. He was succeeded by Helmut Schmidt, the finance minister. A deteriorating economic situation caused a decline in the popularity of the government and increasing tension between the coalition partners. The emergence in 1980 of the new ecology party, the Greens, significantly changed West Germany's politics. Schmidt's support of NATO policies of European rearmament brought him into conflict with the left wing of his own party. In local elections in 1981 and 1982, the SPD-FDP coalition suffered severe setbacks. Disputes over nuclear power, defense policy, and economic measures continued to divide the parties, and in 1982, the FDP withdrew from the coalition.

On Oct. 1, 1982, Schmidt was replaced as chancellor by the CDU leader Helmut Kohl, and the FDP agreed to form a coalition with the CDU-CSU. The Kohl government brought about a rightward swing in support of the policies of the NATO alliance and toward more conservative economic principles. Kohl supported the continued presence of NATO forces and nuclear weapons on German soil. He also, however, consistently tried to broaden political relations between the West and the Soviet bloc. In 1983 and 1984 the government experienced a series of domestic crises, including labor strikes and massive demonstrations by the country's antinuclear movement. The governing coalition retained power by a slim majority in the 1987 general elections.

Reunification of Germany

Although German reunification was seen as a principal goal in West Germany's relations with East Germany, it seemed a remote likelihood until the dramatic political upheavals that took place in East Germany in late 1989 and 1990. In the latter half of 1989, thousands of East German citizens emigrated illegally to West Germany via Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary. Popular dissent in East Germany gave rise to an independent citizen's action group, New Forum. Following the suppression of demonstrations in East Berlin by the police, civil unrest spread across the country; the demonstrators attracted an increasing number of people, and intervention by the police eventually ceased. In Oct., 1989, Erich Honecker resigned his posts and was replaced by Egon Krenz, who legalized and initiated dialogue with the New Forum. Media constraints were partially lifted, and an amnesty was announced for all persons who had attempted to leave the country illegally, as well as for arrested demonstrators.

Large-scale demonstrations continued, including a November rally in East Berlin of 500,000 people. On Nov. 7 the entire membership of the council of ministers resigned, and Hans Modrow was elected chairman of the council (prime minister). The SED politburo also resigned and was reorganized. The new government promised to introduce political and economic reforms, to hold free elections in 1990, and to abolish restrictions on foreign travel. All border crossings to West Germany were opened, and the East German government began to dismantle sections of the Berlin Wall.

In Dec., 1989, the East German legislature voted to delete from the constitution the provisions guaranteeing the SED's leading role in society. A special commission was established to investigate cases of corruption by members of the former leadership. Honecker and Willi Stoph, former chairman of the council of ministers, along with other senior leaders, were expelled from the SED and placed under house arrest. Honecker, who was ill, escaped to Moscow. The hated state security police (Stasi) was also disbanded. Mass demonstrations continued as instances of governmental corruption became public. As the atmosphere in the country grew increasingly volatile, the politburo and the central committee of the SED, including Krenz, resigned.

Gregor Gysi, a prominent lawyer, was elected chairman of the SED (renamed the Party of Democratic Socialism, PDS). The first free elections in East Germany were held on Mar. 19, 1990, with the participation of more than 90% of the electorate. The East German CDU unexpectedly received about 40% of the votes, while the East German SPD received 21.8%, and the PDS only 16.4%. A "grand coalition" government, chaired by Lothar de Maiziére, the leader of the CDU, was formed in early April.

With the abolition of travel restrictions between the two Germanies, the possibility of reunification was openly discussed. In Nov., 1989, Kohl presented a ten-point unification plan to the Bundestag, where it was overwhelmingly approved. In December he made his first official visit to East Germany, where he agreed to establish joint economic, cultural, and environmental commissions. Four rounds of "two-plus-four" talks were held in mid-1990 involving the two Germanies and the four powers that occupied Germany after World War II. In May the legislative bodies of East and West Germany ratified a treaty establishing a monetary, economic, and social union, which took effect July 1.

In July, 1990, Kohl and Gorbachev agreed that the USSR would withdraw its forces from East German soil within four years (between then and Aug., 1994, when the withdrawal was completed, more than a half million troops were pulled out); it was also agreed that the united Germany would reduce its armed force strength to 370,000 within the same period. Also in July, East Germany reestablished five states in place of its 15 districts. In August, East and West Berlin were joined to form the state of Berlin. On Oct. 3, 1990, the two German states were formally unified, and it was officially declared that the united Germany would be a full member of NATO. In November, Germany signed a treaty with Poland recognizing Poland's western boundary and renouncing German claims to territory lost because of World War II.

The first all-German elections since 1933 were held on Dec. 2, 1990. The CDU coalition, led by Kohl, won strong support, and he was elected chancellor of all Germany. The Kohl government faced serious problems, including escalating unemployment in E Germany, rising public debt, and a resurgence, especially in E Germany, of extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi groups that made brutal attacks on foreign workers and immigrants. In 1991 the Bundestag voted in favor of Berlin as the seat of government; by 1999 most of the government had moved there, although some administrative functions remained in Bonn.

In new elections held in 1994, the governing coaliton suffered losses but held onto a small majority. Roman Herzog became president the same year. The country was required to adopt cost-cutting measures to reduce its budget deficit in order to qualify for the European Union's single currency, which was inaugurated in 1999. Many of Germany's generous social benefits were cut, as unemployment rose to its highest postwar levels and workers reacted with strikes and protests. In 1998, Gerhard Schröder led the SPD to victory and was elected chancellor as head of a center-left coalition government that included the Greens. Johannes Rau was elected president in 1999, and that same year Germany adopted a new immigration law making it easier for its many foreign residents to become citizens. In late 1999 and early 2000 the CDU was rocked by disclosures that former chancellor and party leader Kohl and the party had accepted millions of dollars in illegal donations in the 1980s and 90s.

The new century opened with Germany continuing to retain its dominant economic position in the European Union, where it used its financial policies to fight inflation and high interest rates. In 2001, Schröder's support for the United States in Afghanistan strained relations with the Greens. The governing coalition narrowly retained power after the 2002 Bundestag elections, which left the Social Democrats more dependent on Green support. Although Schröder was hurt by the poor economic situation in Germany, his insistence that his government would not participate in an American operation against Iraq struck a responsive chord with many Germans.

The weakness in the German economy resulted in 2002 in government deficits that exceeded EU standards, leading to censure from the EU. In 2003, Germany's economic problems and deficits continued, and late in the year the chancellor secured the passage of a package of tax cuts and labor and social law changes intended to help the economy revive. Voter unhappiness with the economy and Schröder's policies led to several SPD setbacks in state elections in 2003 and 2004. Horst Köhler, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and the CDU candidate, was elected to succeed Rau as president in 2004; he was reelected in 2009. Sluggish economic growth during 2004 led to increases in German unemployment.

Following SPD losses (2005) in North Rhine–Westphalia, a party stronghold, Schröder called for early national elections, and engineered a no-confidence vote. In the Sept., 2005, elections, the CDU-CSU won, as had been expected, but it secured only a slight plurality of the seats when Schröder led the SPD to a strong finish. Negotiations led to an agreement to form a CDU-CSU-SPD coalition with Christian Democrat Angela Merkel as chancellor. Merkel became the first woman—as well as the first East German after reunification—to hold the post. The awkwardness of her broad coalition, however, was highlighted by a 2006 compromise agreement on health care reform that proved difficult to negotiate and was regarded by many as inadequate.

Late in 2008 the global financial and economic crisis began having significant effects in Germany, forcing the government to rescue one of Germany's largest banks from collapse, and sending the economy into recession. In Feb., 2009, the German parliament passed a sizable economic stimulus package. The parliamentary elections of Sept., 2009, resulted in a significant victory for Merkel and the CDU-CSU, who increased their plurality in the Bundestag. The CDU-CSU formed a center-right coalition with the Free Democrats, who finished third; Merkel remained chancellor.

In 2010, Merkel's government strongly opposed a European-only rescue of Greece if the budgetary crisis there required one, insisting on International Monetary Fund involvement as well. The disagreement between Germany and France on the issue was the first significant monetary-policy conflict between the two since the establishment of the euro, and resulted at times in an unclear European response that also magnified the crisis. Subsequently, Germany adopted a more assertive position with respect to a eurozone rescue fund, seeking changes on fiscal, social, business, and labor policies in eurozone member nations as the price for its support, but new German support for eurozone financial stability measures was necessary in 2011 and that continued to create divisions in the coalition and cost it public support.

President Köhler resigned in May, 2010, after he made controversial remarks that suggested that the deployment of German forces in Afghanistan was necessary to protect German economic interests. Christian Wulff, a deputy leader of the CDU, was elected president in June, 2010, but the fact that it took three ballots for him to win was seen as a sign of displeasure within the governing coalition over government policies. In 2011, parties in the governing coalition in general suffered losses in a series of state elections. Wulff resigned in Feb., 2012, because of accusations that he may have improperly accepted favors from a businessman. In March, Joachim Gauck, a former Lutheran minister and human-rights activist from E Germany, was elected to succeed Wulff. The Sept., 2013, parliamentary elections resulted in a significant plurality for the CDU-CSU, but its coalition partners, the Free Democrats, failed to win any seats. Subsequently, the Social Democrats agreed to join the government in return for a number of concessions, including the establishment of a minimum wage, and a new government, again with Merkel as chancellor, was formed in December. In the eurozone negotiations with Greece in 2015, Germany insisted on imposing new conditions for aid, and forced significant concessions on Greece.


The chief source collection for medieval German history is the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Of the writings of the great German historians of the 19th cent., the monumental works of Ranke, Sybel, and Treitschke remain important. Among more recent works, see those of G. Barraclough, V. Valentin, E. Eyck, A. J. P. Taylor, G. P. Gooch, H. Kohn, F. Fischer, K. Epstein, E. Kehr, and G. D. Feldman.

See also H. Holborn, History of Modern Germany, 1840–1945 (3 vol., 1959–69); P. Gay, Weimar Culture (1968); G. Ritter, The Sword and the Scepter (tr., 4 vol., 1969–73); F. R. Stern, The Failure of Illiberalism (1972); A. J. Ryder, Twentieth-Century Germany (1973); V. R. Berghahn, Modern Germany (1982); L. J. Edinger, West German Politics (1986); M. Dennis, German Democratic Republic (1987); D. L. Bark and D. R. Gress, A History of West Germany, 1945–1988 (1989); B. Gwertzman and M. T. Kaufman, ed., The Collapse of Communism (1990); D. Marsh, The New Germany (1990); V. R. Berghahn, Imperial Germany, 1871–1914 (1994); S. Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews (2 vol., 1997–2007); H. D. Genscher, Rebuilding a House Divided (1998); M. Burleigh, The Third Reich (2000); M. Stürmer, The German Empire: 1870–1918 (2001); N. Frei, Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi Past (2003); R. J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (2004), The Third Reich in Power (2005), and The Third Reich at War (2009); M. Mazower, Hitler's Empire (2008); M. E. Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post–Cold War Europe (2009); P. Watson, The German Genius (2010); I. Kershaw, The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944–45 (2011). The Allied occupation is discussed in the study by F. Taylor (2011), the U.S. occupation in that by E. Davidson (1959), the British in that by R. Ebsworth (1961), the French in that by F. R. Willis (1962), and the Russian in that by N. M. Naimark (1995). Bibliographies will also be found under other related headings.

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In modern Western society, family formation is based on (regularly strong) personal emotions, such as romantic love. Moreover, given that family life is practically a synonym for private life, families are the primordial social contexts of privacy and intimacy, as well as of love and solidarity. Nevertheless, although each family operates in that essentially private manner as an intimate social group, there are public statistical indicators that permit us to observe some of the intimate functioning of families. Family demographers study such indicators, and Dutch demographer Hans van den Brekel (1999) describes the subject of demography as "sex, death and passion, wrapped in indicators," referring to birth and death rates, and marriage or divorce rates, as the visible, measurable, and computable outcomes of the private and intimate human behavior in families. Comparative family demography provides one with information on cross-national and cross-cultural differences, as well as similarities of family development and family life in different places of the world.

The gap between the low fertility in the developed Western world and the high birth rates in Third World countries is well known (Birg 1995). However, even within the West, and even within Europe, there is considerable variation in birth rates, family size, and family structure (Kuijsten and Strohmeier 1997). There is diversity in a cross-sectional perspective (comparing societies) and change in a longitudinal perspective (studying one society over time). Sometimes these two perspectives get intermingled when actual differences between nations are interpreted as indicating different stages in a developmental sequence. The most prominent example of such a fallacy is the concept of the demographic transition, which will be dealt with in greater detail below.

Nevertheless, demographic indicators as well as other statistical (family related) indicators, such as female labor force participation, are important tools of historical and international comparison in family research, and such information can be used to characterize the German family and to distinguish it from other types of family life.

In terms of demographic trends, such as changing fertility and marriage behavior, there are some aspects of German family development that are similar to those found in other Western European countries (Hajnal 1983). What is unique about the German case?

In Germany the secular decline of family size began in the nineteenth century—late compared to other western and northern European countries. Germany, in the 1930s and 1940s, experienced an unprecedented period of fascist, racist, and pronatalistic population policy (with increasing births) under the Nazi regime. This period had a long-term impact on family policies in Germany (which in the three post-war decades were characterized by a complete neglect of demographic facts) and on the socially and politically approved model of the German family in the decades after World War II. After the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s in West Germany, marriage and birth rates decreased after 1965. (Only countries in southern Europe had lower rates.) In 1990, Germany began a unique social, political, and cultural experiment: the merging of two societies with different political systems, different family structure, and population processes. The German Democratic Republic (GDR, a.k.a. East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, a.k.a. West Germany) were reunited under the rule of the FRG. The former East Germany experienced an unprecedented drop in births, marriages, and divorces, indicating a fundamental shift in the patterns of family formation, with only a slow and hesitant adaptation of the Eastern to the Western pattern.

The Rise of the "Bourgeois Family": The German Family in the Early Twentieth Century

In preindustrial Germany, family formation (through marriage) happened late in the lives of men and women, in line with the European marriage pattern (Hajnal 1983). Family formation was always also an economic decision. Many households included unrelated members, such as manual staff and servants (Laslett 1977), and only in modern times did families lose their function as a place of production, with fundamental changes in individual and social life.

The new model of the bourgeois family emerged, with the family as a married couple with children characterized by private, intimate parent-child relationships, and by a strict gender-specific role segregation of men and women. The man, as the sole breadwinner, worked outside the family, whereas his wife was responsible for rearing children, for domestic work, and for the recreation of the family members. One may characterize this family model as a somewhat smaller version of the preindustrial agrarian and aristocratic family— without maids and servants, whose jobs were taken over by the wife.

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century an increasing portion of the population—the majority of the middle classes and civil servants— were able to live according to this ideal of the bourgeois family, whereas in rural areas the pre-modern pattern persisted. The proletarian working classes still lived in family forms different from the bourgeois ideal (Rosenbaum 1992): Poverty and the bare necessities of life forced proletarian women and children to work in factories or otherwise contribute to the family's subsistence. Until the 1920s, many proletarian families in urban centers had to share their small dwellings with nonrelated roomers, and were unable to maintain minimal privacy (according to the bourgeois model).

In the same time, the number of children declined, in urban areas. German women born in 1865 had an average of five live births in their lifetimes, whereas those born in 1900 only had two (Marschalck 1984). This decline of fertility began in the wealthy and educated upper and middle classes. As soon as the economic situation and residential standards improved after World War I the working classes began to reduce the number of their children. John E. Knodel (1974), however, demonstrates persistent differences in family size between the social classes and also among regions. The latter only demonstrated a gap between urban and rural ways of life, but also persistent differences in religious Protestant and Catholic milieus, which held true in the early twenty-first century, to some extent, with considerably larger families in Catholic regions than in the Protestant areas.

After World War I the breadwinner-homeowner model of the bourgeois family was adopted by an increasing part of the population, and became dominant among the working classes. Female labor force participation was low and the family ideal of the majority was a patriarchal, authoritarian type of family (Sieder 1987). Social policy and housing programs improved the living conditions of the urban working class and familialized this part of the population. The Great Depression, however, brought severe hardships for a large part of the population and led to high unemployment. It was family solidarity that helped most to survive and it was women that shouldered the burden, working in poorly paid jobs and in informal employment—often earning the families' only income. During the Depression birth and marriage figures tremendously declined. That was the situation when the National Socialists (Nazis) took over in 1933.

As a way out of a perceived national crisis they reemphasized the traditional family, also intending to promote population growth and dominance of what they called the Nordic (Aryan) race. Women were removed from the labor market, and state propaganda made them heroines of procreation. Pro-natalistic and racist policies supported marriage (e.g., by offering special loans to young married couples), large families (by means of child allowances, presents and moral incentives), and the male breadwinner model. The mastering of the economic crisis of the early 1930s gave many families, particularly in the lower classes, stable employment (for men) and confidence in their future. The traditional family model dominated and marriage and birth rates grew.

However, the war effort (World War II) needed women as workers in factories and in other positions previously taken by men. Nazi propaganda consequently shifted its focus, and now praised women as mothers and heroines of industrial and agricultural production, doing their part in the fight against the numerous enemies of the Reich. Thus, Nazi propaganda paradoxically (and unintentionally) supported a modernization of gender roles.

After World War II, when the defeated men returned from war and captivity, the women willingly withdrew again from the labor force and other male positions they had held temporarily. In West Germany, a golden age of marriage and the family began in the 1950s, as the bourgeois family, as in many other European countries, gained unprecedented dominance as virtually the only generally approved pattern of family life. The role of marriage was unquestioned. In this model, only a mother staying at home was a responsible mother, whereas her husband had to provide the financial support of the family. Thus, the improving economy, together with strong (and legally codified) inhibitions as to unmarried cohabitation, worked in favor of early marriage and family formation. The First National Family Report of the German Federal Government (Deutscher Bundestag 1968) devotes a large chapter to teenage marriages. East Germany, at the same time, followed an alternative path incorporating the women into the labor force and building up a system of extra-family day care institutions for children.

From Institution to Choice: Family Change in West Germany since the 1970s

In Germany and in Europe, as well as in the United States, the post-war decades were a golden age of marriage and the family, as marriage rates and then birth rates increased. In 1965, the average West German family had more than 2.3 children. After the mid-1960s, birth rates all over Europe, somewhat unexpectedly, dropped rapidly, and in West Germany, by almost half. (In East Germany this decline did not occur until the early 1970s and it was not as severe.) For the first time in the twentieth century (leaving aside war periods) marriage rates fell: Year by year an increasing share of unmarried young people did not get married. Dutch demographer Dirk van de Kaa (1987) in his booklet on Europe's second demographic transition, describes the behavioral shifts as follows: "from uniform to pluralized families and households," from "the king pair with a child to the king child with parents," from "preventive contraception to self-fulfilling conception." Others (e.g., Strohmeier 1988) refer to the individualization of the life cycle and its disentanglement from basic determining factors, such as social class and gender, as the social background of such shifts. This individualization led to an extension of the options available to formerly disadvantaged groups of the age cohorts born after the war, particularly for young women. Policy makers were more than surprised by these changes, and researchers, in fact, did not notice them. Although the birth rates in West Germany had dropped tremendously from 1965 to 1975, the second national government report on the status of the family, Zweiter Familienbericht, appearing in 1975, made no mention of this development (Bundesminister für Jugend, Familie und Gesundheit 1975). The first scientific congress of the family sociology section of the German Sociological Association took up the issue only in 1985. Such (somewhat deliberate) neglect of obvious population trends by policy makers and social scientists had reasons that go back to the Nazi period (1933–1945).

Apart from war times and post-war periods, the bourgeois family had been the dominant German family pattern throughout the twentieth century. In the 1940s, U.S. sociologist Talcott Parsons labeled it the normal family. The normal family, consisting of a working father, a housewife mother, and children, was the living arrangement most suitable for the mobile life requirements of modern industrial societies.

After the secular fertility decline from an average of more than five children at the end of the nineteenth century, this family pattern was widespread and most common already in the 1930s. Within one decade after 1965, however, this model of the normal family had lost much of its popularity. For the first time since 1965, German families did not shrink in size but in numbers. After 1965 an increasing share of the young birth cohorts of women would remain childless throughout their lives.

Figure 1 shows that the proportion of women with two, three, or more children born throughout their lives are more or less the same as the cohorts from 1940 to 1965. The proportion of mothers of only one child, however, decreased from the older to the younger cohorts, whereas the proportion of permanently childless women increased, reaching values of about one-third in the youngest cohorts, which will most probably persist or even grow. Moreover, permanent childlessness in Germany varies by educational and social status, with more women in the higher status groups remaining childless.

The fertility decline after 1965 (unlike previous decades) is no longer an indication of the reduction of fertility in a predominantly married adult population. On the contrary, it is an indication of a profound de-institutionalization of the family. The reasons are all related to the changing life situations and life chances of young women: individualization of the life cycle and pluralization of life style. The 1960s, in the West, finally brought equality in the legal status of men and women (for example, with the right of a woman to work outside the house without her husband's permission, which was only established in 1958). Moreover, the 1960s and early 1970s brought an enormous educational expansion from which predominantly girls and young women profited. There was a general increase in the standard of living and growing economic prosperity, together with a cultural tendency towards liberalization, and finally there was access to safe contraception.

All these led to an extension of opportunities for women, which, in West Germany, unlike from other countries in Europe, was constrained by a traditional policy profile still enforcing the old normal family pattern. The result was that educated, highly qualified young women would rather abstain from family formation. In the last three decades of the twentieth century, the family in Germany has changed from an inevitable institution in everybody's life cycle to an object of rational individual choice, which, particularly among persons of higher educational status, appeared to be losing attraction.

Different Lives in Germany: Families in East and West before and after Unification

After 1950 there were two states in the German territory, the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The conditions of family life could not have been more different than between these two states, although both were founded on a common cultural heritage and both shared the historical experience of the Nazi period with its particular ideal of the traditional family. Comparing East and West Germany enables one to study the effects of a socialist authoritarian political system with a planned economy and of a pluralist democratic system with a market economy on family life and family development.

Family development in East Germany was affected by three factors: the cultural heritage of the traditional model of the bourgeois family, the shortage of labor supply (a problem that began with the creation of the GDR), so that women were always needed in the labor force, and, in fact, the state was successful with strategies to exhaust this potential, so that lifelong full-time employment became obligatory for women. Finally, the egalitarian socialist ideology had an important effect on gender relations. Consequently, the pattern of family development and family life that emerged in the GDR during the four decades of its existence was marked by considerable modernity and gender equality. But never it did fulfil the promises of an egalitarian model (Trappe 1995). Although the status of working women in most parts of the Western world may be characterized as the double burden of paid work and housework, women in East Germany had to bear a triple burden of paid work, exclusive responsibility for their household and children, and additional stress imposed on them by an inefficient economy making the acquisition of the goods of daily life an effort (Wendt 1997).

Family formation in East Germany started early, the mean age at first marriage was twenty-one, and it was finished early in the life cycle, usually after the birth of the second child, frequently before age thirty. There were several incentives to start early. Young married couples got a loan from the state, which they did not have to pay back completely if they had children. In a planned non-market-economy with housing shortages married couples with children had special privileges to obtain a flat of their own. One did not take a big risk starting an early family career, even during vocational training or as a student. No one had to fear unemployment and severe economic problems. The earlier women completed the family formation, the longer was the phase of work experience without any further interruption because of childbirth. Comprehensive day care for children was available everywhere. Falling birth rates in the early 1970s forced the state to provide all-day public day care for children under ten and to introduce one year of parental leave with wage compensation (Huinink and Wagner 1995).

In the GDR incentives to marry and a repression of religious values and institutions in an atheist society resulted in a remarkable decay of the traditional meaning of marriage. The consequence was an increase of divorce rates during the 1980s. whether or not they had children, women were economically independent from their male partners. With an early marriage losing its advantages during the 1980s, an increasing proportion of births took place out of wedlock: by 1989 the figure was 34 percent. Also, the number of cohabiting couples with children rose. In 2002, 50 percent of all cohabiting couples in East Germany live with children; in West Germany this figure is only about 15 percent. However, the proportion of single living men or women in East Germany was considerably lower than in West Germany.

After the breakdown of the socialist regime in East Germany and the reunification of the two German states in the 1990, fertility and marriage rates dropped by more than 50 percent (Conrad, Lechner, and Werner 1996), and divorce rates decreased. Klaus Peter Strohmeier and Hans-Joachim Schulze (1995) interpret these shifts as signs of a biographic moratorium of the younger generation avoiding binding decisions in times of rapid change and uncertainty. People wanted to avoid risks, modified their aspirations, and postponed binding decisions. Postponement of family formation made the mean age of women's first birth rise from twenty-two to twenty-six. Family formation of the young women aged fifteen to twenty-four in East Germany approached the West German pattern. In the first years of the twenty-first century, marriage and birth rates in East Germany are far below the West German level, and more couples in East Germany than in West Germany avoid having a second child (Kreyenfeld 2002).

Does all this mean that East German family formation will assimilate to the West German pattern? The adaptation scenario is supported by the fact that the conditions of the transition to adulthood with its uncertainties and risks during early adulthood are now quite similar in East and West Germany—leaving aside the persistent problem of the economic transformation of the East. Demographic indicators, however, support the contradicting thesis of a persisting difference between East and West. Family formation in East Germany still starts earlier and will be completed earlier than in West Germany. Fewer women remain childless in East Germany and the proportion of one-child families in East Germany is higher than in West Germany. The proportion of illegitimate births in East Germany at the beginning of the twenty-first century is 50 percent, whereas in the West it is only 20 percent. This may prove that, indeed, marriage has lost its institutional relevance in East Germany even in the case of motherhood, whereas in West Germany a strong institutional linkage of motherhood and marriage persists. In East Germany we see indications of the establishment of a postmodern family without marriage, with only one child. However, maintaining the individual double income strategy under the new restrictive policy profile is difficult. There are severe compatibility problems, although female labor force participation in the East is still considerably higher than in the West.

Change and Diversity: German Family and Family Policy within a European Pattern

If one compares the relationship of family life and family policies in the states of Europe (Kaufmann 1997; Kaufmann et al. 2002) the specific traits of family life and family structure under the West German family policy profile (which is now valid for the united Germany) are evident. In Europe, Germany is the unique case of a society with a traditional family policy profile (still supporting the traditional bourgeois family) and a shrinking family sector (by increasing lifetime childlessness) which is still mainly traditional. In other words, most families have two or more children, most mothers of these children are not gainfully employed, and an increasing number of women remain childless. Modernization of the forms of private life happens on top of this basic structure.

After the mid-1960s, the normal family pattern has lost some of its popularity throughout Europe, and there has been decline of marriages and births, increasing cohabitation, and an increase of single as well as working mothers. Some interpret such cross-national variation as a sign of a second demographic transition (van de Kaa 1987). The first transition, completed in the 1920s, had led to a balance of births and deaths, the second transition, after the 1960s, has changed the character of the family, from an institution, inevitable in a normal individual life, to a matter of rational individual decisions. The variations in the structures of private life and in family forms in the states in Europe may be understood as indications of different stages of a linear development towards more individualization and self-fulfillment. The end of this process may be the dissolution of the traditional family. Although the traditional bourgeois family was the family form optimally adjusted to modern industrial society, Swiss sociologist Hoffmann-Nowotny hypothesizes the family form which will best meet the mobility and flexibility requirements of the individualized postmodern, postindustrial societies of the West will be the unmarried, noncoresident couple sharing a mobile child growing up in two homes with two single parents.

The second demographic transition concept is too superficial. Demographic indicators throughout the countries of Europe do, indeed, move in the same direction over time. Nevertheless, the structures of family life and their development over time are profoundly different. For example, in Denmark, the "land of the vanishing housewife" (Knudsen 1997), the traditional family has practically ceased to exist; whereas in West Germany or Switzerland, where the majority of mothers of two children are housewives, it is still the dominant family type. The Netherlands left this traditional cluster after 1990 and have rapidly been moving towards Scandinavian standards as to mothers' in the labor force. In terms of marriage, there are other remarkable differences. In Scandinavia, the unmarried cohabiting couple with children has become the most common family structure. In Italy and in the other countries of southern Europe there is practically no cohabitation. The majority of young women live with their parents before they get married. In West Germany cohabitation is a premarital arrangement which, with the first child, is transformed into marriage.

There are distinct paths of family development in Europe framed by different national cultural traditions and by different policy profiles. Such national policy profiles are parameters of individual life decisions.

The pro-natalist French profile gives substantial financial support to large families and also supports working mothers by good day-care provisions. The Anglo-Saxon profile (prevalent in Britain and Ireland), on the contrary, regards family life as a private matter and only contains a few rudimentary measures against poverty. The Nordic profile of the Scandinavian countries emphasizes gender equality and the quality of educational standards available to children, provided by the quantitative and qualitative standards of their systems of day care and by flexible parental leave regulations for working parents. The German profile factually supports the traditional family. Germany has the most restrictive policy as to the compatibility of gainful employment and family life (which is only supported in a sequential but not a simultaneous mode), most of the states' expenditures in the area go to the financial support of marriage via tax reductions for married couples, regardless if they have children or not, and into family allowances. In West Germany there is practically no day care for children under three years of age. Finally, the southern European policy profile, like the Anglo-Saxon, is characterized by little state support for families, as the state trusts in functioning extended family networks. Such national policy profiles affect individual life decisions as images of what is considered the normal socially approved mode of family life in the respective countries (Strohmeier 2002). Individual actors and couples treat them as invariant parameters of the irreversible decision to enter parenthood.

In accordance with the German policy profile, a young woman, when she reaches the age at which she may leave school, knows that, if she wishes to have children (which most of them do), she will—irrespective of her vocational training and qualification—almost certainly end up as a housewife after she has given birth to her second child. Her chances of re-entering the labor market are uncertain. She may be better off hiring private support or having her own mother look after her children. If we compare this situation to the one of a Danish or Swedish woman of equal age, the difference is striking. The young Scandinavian can expect a family life with simultaneous life-long employment. The Scandinavian policy profile goes with a different family pattern, characterized by more independence for women and more flexibility in the fulfilment of family tasks and parental obligations by women and men (Knudsen 1997; Meisaari-Polsa 1997) and it goes with higher average numbers of children, and fewer childless persons.

See also:France; Italy; Scandinavia; Switzerland


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klaus peter strohmeier

johannes huinink

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The first contacts between psychoanalysis and Germany occurred during the discussions and correspondence between Freud and Wilhelm Fliess at the end of the 1890s and continued through Freud's student Felix Gattel. Between 1907 and 1910 psychiatrists who formed part of the entourage of Otto Binswanger, professor of psychiatry at Jena, became familiar with the "cathartic method." They included Wolfgang Warda, Wilhelm Strohmayer, Arnold Georg Stegmann, Georg Wanke, Iwan Bloch, Arthur Muthmann, Otto Juliusburger, and Jaroslav Marcinowski.

The first systematic application of psychoanalysis in Berlin was carried out by Karl Abraham, a student of Carl Gustav Jung and Eugen Bleuler. Abraham was in close contact with Freud since 1908 and was responsible for the first meeting of the Berliner Psychoanalytische Vereinigung (Berlin Psychoanalytic Association) on August 27, 1908, which involved a group of local doctors, including Magnus Hirschfeld (a sex researcher), Iwan Bloch (dermatology, human sexuality), Otto Juliusburger (psychiatry, abstinence), and Heinrich Koerber (circle of Monists). Later its members included Max Eitingon and Mosche Wulff. In 1910 the International Psychoanalytical Association was founded on the occasion of the second international congress of psychoanalysis in Nuremberg, with the Berlin Psychoanalytic Association the leading regional group. By the end of 1911 the Berlin association had eleven members, including three women, Tatiana Rosenthal, Karen Horney, and Margarete Stegmann, the first women analysts. In June 1912 two other nonphysician women were admitted as members at large.

Since German psychiatrists resisted psychoanalysis, recognition took place through various cultural movements (sexual liberation, the emancipation of women, judicial reform, monism). At the time two psychoanalytic congresses were held in Germany: the Weimar congress on September 21, 1911 and the Munich congress on September 7, 1913. The Berlin Psychoanalytic Association underwent qualitative consolidation in an effort to set itself apart from the sexual sciences (after the exclusion of Magnus Hirschfeld in 1911) and in reaction to the defection of Carl Jung, who gave up the presidency of the International Psychoanalytical Association in 1913 and was supported by the Munich group.

Aside from its institutionalization, psychoanalysis received a welcome reception in literature (from authors Lou Andreas-Salomé, Hermann Hesse, Rainer Maria Rilke, Alfred Döblin). Indeed, the city of Frankfurt awarded Sigmund Freud the Goethe Prize in 1930. It was also well received in art (though the mediation of Otto Gros, who was part of the action group that included F. Pfemfert, F. Jung, E. Mühsam). Georg Wilhelm Pabst's film Geheimnisse einer Seele (The mysteries of a soul; 1926) was made in collaboration with Karl Abraham and Hanns Sachs.

Georg Groddeck, the "wild analyst" and the "father of psychosomatics," opened a fifteen-bed clinic in Baden-Baden. During World War I, an opportunity arose to prove the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in treating war neuroses. This had the effect of identifying the majority of analysts with the objectives of the war (with the exception of Helene Stöcker and Siegfried Bernfeld) and enabled them to maintain international scientific dialogue (for example, through the publication of the Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse ). Official recognition of psychoanalysis grew, as demonstrated by the presence of government representatives from Austria, Germany, and Hungary at the 1918 Budapest congress, whose theme was the use of psychoanalysis in treating war neuroses. It was here that Sigmund Freud spoke in favor of the use of mass psychoanalysis. In 1919 the Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag (International Psychoanalytic Press) was founded in Leipzig (later in March 1936 the Nazis confiscated the firm's inventory).

The executive board of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Association appointed Max Eitingon, Ernst Simmel, and Karl Abraham on September 26, 1919, to head the Poliklinik für psychoanalytische Behandlung nervöser Krankheiten (Polyclinic for the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Mental Illnesses), which opened on February 16, 1920. Though the Berlin Psychoanalytic Association managed the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute and the polyclinic, Max Eitingon owned the physical assets and library. He financed the association with an annual fund of 16,000 Reichsmarks. Annual elections were held for the various positions (polyclinic, teaching, candidate, cash management, and subventions). The association grew through an influx of Hungarian analysts fleeing the revolution and counterrevolution, as well as the arrival of analysts from other countries, who were attracted by the freedom and liberality of the Weimar Republic and the then favorable economic situation in Germany. From 1923 the training of analysts was systematized according to guidelines established by Max Eitingon, Carl Müller-Braunschweig, and Sándor Radó and included theoretical courses, a required analysis, and supervised analyses. In 1925 analytic treatment was recognized by a new Prussian order on honoraria (PREUGO) and the German doctor's agreement (ADGO). Following the death of Karl Abraham (on December 25, 1925), Ernst Simmel became director of the association (Sándor Radó was secretary, and Karen Horney was treasurer). On April 24, 1926, the association, in compliance with the international guidelines introduced by Ernest Jones, president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, became the Deutsche psychoanalytische Gesellschaft (DPG; German Psychoanalytic Society).

Germany was host to international psychoanalytic congresses in 1922 (Berlin), 1925 (Bad Homburg), and 1932 (Wiesbaden), as well as a couple of national conferences in 1924 (Würzburg) and 1930 (Dresden). Psychoanalytic work groups were formed in Leipzig in 1919 around Karl H. Voitel (from which a second group formed in September 1922 with Therese Benedek at its head), in Frankfurt in 1926 (with members Karl Landauer and Heinrich Meng), in Stuttgart in 1930 (with members Gustav Hans Graber and Hermann Gundert), and in Hamburg in 1930 (with members Clara Happel and August Watermann).

In 1929 the Südwestdeutsche psychoanalytische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (Southwest German Psychoanalytic Work Group, with members Karl Landauer, Heinrich Meng, and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann) was formed in Frankfurt in close collaboration with the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research) (with members Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno). This work group sought to diffuse psychoanalysis by providing training analysis and classes on theory held at the university for candidates without any therapeutic training. A few psychoanalytic clinics were established, though they soon closed for lack of financing. There were the Therapeutikum (from 1924 to 1928, with room for fifteen patients), founded by Erich Fromm and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann in Heidelberg to create a bridge between orthodox Judaism and psychoanalysis, and the Schloss Tegel sanitorium in Berlin (from April 1927 to August 1931) for the treatment of serious neuroses, addictions, and character disturbances.

In 1928 Max Eitingon became president of Internationaler psychoanalytischer Verlag. On January 13, 1931, he was elected president of the DPG, and was assisted by Felix Boehm, Hanns Sachs, and Ernst Simmel.

On April 7, 1933, a law restoring the "office of professions" was issued by the National Socialist government, followed, on April 9, 1933, by an "Aryanization" order directed at medical organizations. On April 22, 1933, medical health insurers started excluding "non-Aryan" doctors, and psychoanalysis was attacked as a "Jewish" science. Yet many eminent non-Jewish representatives of the profession, such as Felix Boehm and Carl Müller-Braunschweig, believed, as did National Socialism itself, that psychoanalysis was an effective therapeutic practice. Many eminent leftist psychoanalysts, including Wilhelm Reich, Otto Fenichel, and Ernst Simmel, considered psychoanalysis to have a worldview opposed to National Socialism.

At the annual DPG meeting of May 6, 1933, when Boehm and Müller-Braunschweig proposed Aryanizing the presidency, most members voted against the change (eight out of fifteen, with five abstentions). On May 10, 1933, the works of Sigmund Freud, along with those of other psychoanalysts, were burned. On November 18, 1933, Boehm and Müller-Braunschweig assumed control of the society, and on December 31, 1933, Max Eitingon left Berlin.

At the annual DPG meeting held on December 1, 1935, the society, with the assistance of Ernst Jones, president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, refused to dissolve and decided to remain within the association. However, it required its Jewish members to leave the society. By 1936, 74 analysts had left Germany. Salomea Kempner, August Watermann, and Karl Landauer did not survive their incarceration by the National Socialists.

Some members of the DPG resisted the regime: Edith Jacobsohn fought with the socialist resistance group Neu Beginnen (New Beginnings). She was arrested on October 24, 1935, but managed to escape and fled to the United States. The DPG then passed a resolution that required members to abstain from politics. In February 1937 Käthe Dräger became head of the Berlin committee of the KPD-Opposition (the opposition group formed to fight the German communist party, or KPD). She wrote and distributed antifascist writings and tracts, and helped the families of comrades who had been jailed. In 1937 John Rittmeister was forced to flee Switzerland for "communist activity," and in 1941 he joined the resistance group that had formed around H. Schultze-Boysen (the Rote Kapelle, or Red Orchestra). He was arrested on September 26, 1942, and executed on May 13, 1943. Fourteen psychoanalysts remained in Germany.

Discussions between Felix Boehm (president of the DPG), Sigmund and Anna Freud, and other leading analysts gave Boehm the impression of a certain neutrality toward or even support for his and the DPG's adaptation to the National Socialist regime. But those involved did not want to further complicate matters, though they did not agree with his political views or the ideological conformism of Müller-Braunschweig. The Ministry of the Interior told Boehm that to obtain authorization to teach, he, as president of the DPG, had to fold the other psychotherapeutic organizations into the Deutsches Institut für psychologische Forschung und Psychotherapie (German Institute for Psychological Research and Psychotherapy), which was to be under National Socialist control and run by Professor Matthias Heinrich Göring.

The new institute was founded in May 1936, and Max Eitingon's assets "inventoried." This was the beginning of the development of a "German psychotherapy," an eclectic mix of different psychotherapeutic theories. The DPG was dissolved on November 19, 1938, after an aborted attempt by MüllerBraunschweig to transfer the Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung (WPV; Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) and the publishing house to the German Institute for Psychological Research and Psychotherapy, within which it would become working group A.

Although Boehm and Müller-Braunschweig were officially banned from teaching and publishing, they were both important collaborators of the institute. They ran the polyclinic, and Boehm coordinated the working group on homosexuality, while MüllerBraunschweig coordinated the teaching program. The ban on the use of psychoanalytic terminology did not affect Harald Schultz-Hencke, however, who in 1933 developed a form of "neopsychoanalysis," an amalgam of current psychoanalytic teachings, by abandoning metapsychology and other essential elements of analysis.

Of the 300 members of the medical staff of the German Institute (including 17 members of the DPG/WPV), 41 were members of the Nazi party (the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), and of the 145 members who were not doctors (25 of whom were members of the DPG/WPV), 22 were party members. Although most of the DPG members remaining in Germany had managed to adapt to the Nazi regime, only Doctor Gerhard Scheunert was a member of the Nazi party. The German Institute, by then solidly established, was recognized by the union of German workers, financed by the Luftwaffe and private insurers, and, during the war, was "assigned to the war effort." Eventually it was raised to the level of a government institute within the Reich's research council (Reichsinstitut im Reichsforschungsrat), with an annual budget of 880,000 Reichsmarks.

After the war, though participants claimed to have sought to "save psychoanalysis" by their underground presence, they faced considerable skepticism and criticism from colleagues living abroad. On October 16, 1945, the DPG was reestablished with MüllerBraunschweig as its first president, Boehm as representative, and Werner Kemper as the third member of the office staff. It had 35 ordinary members and 2 members at large, 12 of whom had been trained between 1936 and 1945. On April 29, 1946, it resumed activities (as the Berliner Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft until December 3, 1950), but the British military authorities forced the DPG to strike any mention of being a "member of the International Psychoanalytical Association." On May 9, 1947, the Institut für Psychotherapie was founded in Berlin, with teachers from a variety of psychotherapeutic backgrounds, to provide training in psychotherapy; in 1948 the institute also began training "education counselors," or Psychagogen (child and adolescent therapists).

During the first postwar International Congress of Psychoanalysis, which took place in Zurich in 1949, the confrontation between Harald Schultz-Hencke's neopsychoanalysis and the conventional Freudian position of Müller-Braunschweig reached its culmination. The DPG was provisionally admitted to the International Psychoanalytical Association, subject to the requirement that its members state their position openly.

On May 13, 1950, Müller-Braunschweig, unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain recognition from Schultz-Hencke, secretly founded the Deutsche psychoanalytische Vereinigung (DPV; German Psychoanalytic Association). The DPV was admitted to the International Psychoanalytical Association at the 1951 Amsterdam congress, but not the DPG. The DPG only succeeded in regaining membership as the IPA Executive Council Provisional Society at the IPA Congress in Nice in 2001. In 2004 the DPV was the second largest group within the International Psychoanalytical Association in terms of number of members. At the suggestion of Werner Schwidder (member of the DPG and student of Schultz-Hencke), the DPG, in 1962, joined with other neopsychoanalytic groups to form the Internationale Föderation psychoanalytischer Gesellschaften (International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies), comprising twenty individual societies in Europe, North America, and South America.

In spite of struggles for influence between the DPG and the DPV, which were just beginning to ease, in 1949 Wilhelm Bitter founded the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse, Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Tiefenpsychologie (German Society for Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics, and Depth Psychology), a professional organization incorporating the major trends in depth psychology (neopsychoanalysis, conventional Freudianism, Jungian analysis, Adlerian analysis). The member societies took turns supplying presidents. As of 2004, it had approximately 3,150 members in 45 institutes, which are recognized by the kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (German association of registered physicians) and German medical associations as establishments providing further education to become child and youth analytical psychotherapists. Outside Berlin, working groups and psychotherapeutic establishments were created in Munich (the successor of the German Institute for Psychological Research and Psychotherapy and the mobile psychosomatic service of Johann Cremerius), Stuttgart (the working group in 1946, and in 1948 the Institut für Psychotherapie und Tiefenpsychologie [Institute for Psychotherapy and Depth Psychology], representing the various forms of depth psychology and founded by Wilhelm Bitter, Hermann Gundert, and Felix Schottlaender), Heidelberg (the department of psychosomatics run by Alexander Mitscherlich), Bremen (the working group founded by Hildegard Buder in 1949, and an institute founded by R. W. Schulte and Franz Rudolf Haarstrick in 1951), and Göttingen (the Tiefenbrunn regional hospital, founded by G. Kühnel and W. Schwidder). Later, institutes were created in all the major cities of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Berlin institute gradually lost its importance and was overshadowed by the institute founded in Frankfurt in 1961 under the direction of Alexander Mitscherlich and associated with the university. This was the Institut und Ausbildungszentrum für Psychoanalyse und psychosomatische Medizin (Institute and Learning Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychosomatic Medicine), which was renamed the Sigmund Freud Institute in 1964.

Mitscherlich and his wife, Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen, not only renewed relations with the Institute of Social Research (where Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno were central figures) but also initiated a dialog with the international psychoanalytic community concerning the controversies associated with Germany's National Socialist past. Sparked by criticisms from the student movement, interest in social policies, group therapy, and family therapy grew (relevant authors include Horst-Eberhard Richter, Franz Heigl, Anneliese Heigl-Evers). The "Bernfeld Circle" (Johannes Cremerius) began to question the training and qualifications of analysts, the issue of feminism, and the various polemics surrounding psychoanalysis (Christa Rhode-Dachser).

In the German Democratic Republic, ideology interfered with the resumption of a psychoanalytic tradition, although there was relative tolerance for neopsychoanalysis. In an initial phase running from 1945 to 1949, the analysts Werner Kemper (West Berlin), Alexander Mette (Weimar), and Franz Baumeyer (Arnsdorf) were among the dozen psychiatrists responsible for training and accrediting "mental health caretakers and psychotherapists." In Leipzig, the neurologist A. Beerholdt, although he never completed his analytic coursework, was able to introduce psychoanalysis to several psychiatrists (Wendt, Starke, Behrendt, Böttcher). The only trained psychoanalyst remaining in the German Democratic Republic, Alexander Mette, left psychoanalysis to start a career in politics (he pursued an initial interest in health policies, then a university career, and eventually became a member of the chamber of deputies of the German Democratic Republic and a member of the central committee of the Socialist Unity Party). The contents of psychoanalytic discussions were determined by Harald Schultz-Hencke and his followers, Werner Schwidder, U. Derbolowsky, and G. Kühnel. Schultz-Hencke's appointment as professor at Humboldt University on September 29, 1949, led the DPG to issue a resolution forbidding members from taking posts in both East and West Germany, and Schultz-Hencke gave up his professorship. Following the creation of the German Democratic Republic on October 7, 1949, psychotherapeutic establishments were created in Jena and Leipzig.

From 1950 to 1962, while psychoanalysis was expanding in the United States and an antipsychoanalytic movement was taking place in the Soviet Union (where Freud's work represented a facet of National Socialist ideology), the trend in the German Democratic Republic turned to Pavlovianism. Associated with the therapeutic tradition of Otto Binswanger, Johannes H. Schultz, Ernst Speer, and O. Vogt, in 1951 a department of psychotherapy was opened at the medical polyclinic. There they developed a medical-materialist "rational psychotherapy" intended to replace neopsychoanalysis.

The period from 1963 to 1976, when H. Kleinsorge was president of the DPG, was characterized by greater openness in discussions of psychotherapies and in international relations. In the society a number of sections were set up, organized according to method rather than their theoretical leanings: psychodynamic therapy, group therapy, autogenic training and hypnosis, infant therapy, music therapy. Between 1976 and 1984 recognition was granted to "medical specialists in psychotherapy" and "medical psychologists" (August 1978), and individual therapy was reintroduced. Fifteen regional societies of psychotherapy were created to cover psychotherapeutic needs and the basic training of doctors, and interdisciplinary working groups were formed to further integrate psychoanalysis with the medical field. After 1985 efforts were made to institutionalize psychotherapy in the universities by creating autonomous chairs of psychotherapy and medical psychology, and psychoanalytically oriented research on the body helped to conceptualize group therapy. Access to the psychoanalytic literature was still limited, however: Freud was first published in the German Democratic Republic as late as 1983.

In September 1947, the Studiengesellschaft für praktische Psychologie (Research Society for Practical Psychology) was formed in West Germany for representatives of all the academic professions concerned with the individual. Ever since 1945, in the university exams given to psychologists, psychoanalysis appeared under "depth psychology and education counseling." After the educational reforms of 1973, it appeared in the larger field of "clinical psychology," comprising the study of testing, prevention, rehabilitation, counseling, and other areas outside the field of depth psychology.

Gradually, psychoanalysis disappeared from higher education to be taught in training institutes and the psychosomatic departments of medical schools. Nonetheless, in experimental psychology, psychoanalysis remained the most systematic and most studied psychological theory in 1977. At the beginning of the 1980s, the emphasis on the interpretation of psychoanalytic texts brought about through the influence of Jacques Lacan made its appearance in German scholarship. After 1970 medical psychology and sociology, as well as psychotherapy and psychosomatics, became required material for students of medicine and resulted in the creation of the corresponding chairs and, in some cases, university departments. In 1979 the DPG created a psychoanalysis section alongside psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis became a part of the continuing training of doctors. At the start of the 1990s, specialist medical training included fields such as "psychotherapeutic medicine," "psychiatry and psychotherapy," "psychiatry and psychotherapy of children and adolescents."

With respect to the relations between psychoanalysis and insurers, the Einheitskrankenkasse and the Rentenversicherung, in Berlin, had financed the Zentralinstitut für psychogene Erkrankungen der Versicherungsanstalt Berlin (Central Insurance Institute of Berlin for Mental Illness), founded by Werner Kemper and Harald Schultz-Hencke. By 1955 insurance reforms in Berlin had gradually done away with many of these organizations, but the Central Insurance Institute remains. Empirical follow-up work on outpatients by Franz Baumeyer and Annemarie Dührssen made legal recognition of psychotherapy possible. In 1960 the "Munich model" was instituted; this system involved the sharing of medical expenses among the government (for employees), insurers, and patients, each paying a third. In 1967 psychological and psychoanalytic therapies became covered general medical expenses for which insurers were responsible, following verification of the illness. In 1968 insurers (and in 1971 mutual insurance companies as well) started covering psychotherapy under certain conditions, and they also covered child therapies. On July 1, 1976, the medical committee and insurers modified the guidelines for analytic therapies to recognize neurosis as an illness. Psychosomatic treatment became covered from October 1, 1987. In therapy, if the symptoms are recognized, reimbursement covers 160 fifty-minute hours of treatment, with 80 to 140 additional hours possible. Psychologists who have received analytic training can provide psychoanalytic treatments. With the passing of a law regulating psychotherapists (June 16, 1998), "psychological psychotherapists" and child and youth therapists now require a license to practice medicine.

Among journals, one of the most important is Psyche, which began by focusing on depth psychology but later broadened its coverage to include cultural trends. Jahrbuch der Psychoanalyse published contributions to the theory, practice, and history of psychoanalysis. Forum der Psychoanalyse and Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Theorie und Praxis are clinical in orientation. Other journals include Praxis der Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik and Zeitschrift für psychosomatische Medizin und Psychoanalyse.

Until the end of the 1960s, the DPG and the DPV were separated by their divergent theoretical positions concerning Harald Schultz-Hencke's neopsychoanalysis. Since then, the DPG's orientation has shifted to a more international position focused on the ego and the self and on the theory of object relations. Moreover, it has generally supported the classical Freudian position. However, there has been growing interest within both the DPV and the DPG for the Kleinian position, and contacts have developed with the "Middle Group" of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Though there are a few theoretical differences (Rudolf, 1987), there are more differences in practice. For example, in training analysis the DPV recommends four sessions, and the DPG three.

After accounts were settled over Alexander Mitscherlich's involvement with National Socialism, a reckoning that took place over a twenty-five-year period following the war, the first postwar congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Germany was held in Hamburg in 1985. At the congress there was a growing interest in the history of psychoanalysis, its development (Karen Brecht, Volker Friedrich, Ludger Hermanns, Dierk Juelich, Isidor Kaminer, and Regine Lockot), and its interpretation (Hermann Beland, Ermann). In 1995 and 1996 conferences between groups of German and Israeli psychoanalysts took place (H. Beland). In 1996 the first joint DPG-DPV conference was held on "the division of the psychoanalytic community in Germany and its consequences." In 1996 the two societies, the DPG and DPV, had nearly the same number of members (approximately five hundred each).

Regine Lockot


Haarstrick, Franz Rudolf. (1994). Die Entwicklung des Gutachterverfahrens in der Psychotherapie. Arbeitskreis Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse, Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Tiefenpsychologie/Vereinigung Analytischer Kinderund JugendlichenPsychoterhapeuten, 4.

Hermanns, Ludger M. (1994). Karl Abraham und die Anfänge der Berliner psychoanalytischen Vereinigung. Luzifer-Amor, 13, 30-40.

Höck, Kurt. (1988). Entwicklung der Balint-Gruppenarbeit in der D.D.R. Klinik und Praxis. Berlin: Springer.

Lockot, Regine. (1985). Erinnern und Durcharbeiten: zur Geschichte der Psychoanalyse und Psychotherapie im Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer.

Rudolf, Gerd. (1987). Vergleich der Akzeptanz psychoanalytischer Konzepte von I.P.A.- und D.P.G.-Mitgliedern.

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Magic & Witchcraft

For an account of the magical beliefs of the early Teutonic peoples, see the entry on Teutons. Magic as formulated and believed in by the Germans in the Middle Ages bears, along with traces of its unmistakable derivation from the ancient Teutonic religion, the impress of the influence brought by the natural characteristics of the country upon the mind of its inhabitants.

Deep forests, mountains, limitless morasses, caverned rocks, and springs all helped to shape the imagination which may be traced in Teutonic mythology, and later in aspects of magic and in Christian fears of witchcraft, which first arose in Germany and obtained ready credence there.

As the clash and strife of Teuton and Roman, of Christian and others left records in folklore and history, they have also characterized the magical belief of the Middle Ages. Earlier monkish legends are replete with accounts of magic and sorcery, indicating how ancient deities became evil following the introduction of the newer religion. Miracles were recounted in which these villians were robbed of all power in the name of Christ, or before some blessed relic, then chained and prisoned beneath mountain, river, and sea in eternal darkness. At the same time, tales were told of how misfortune and death were the consequence to those who still might follow the outcast gods.

Again, the sites and periods of the great religious festivals of the Teutons were perpetuated in those localities said to be the place and time of the witches' sabbat and other mysterious meetings and conclaves. Mountains especially retained this character. The Venusberg, the Horselberg, and Blocksberg now became the devil's realm and an abode of the damned. Chapels and cathedrals were full of relics to exorcise the spirits of evil, along with the bells that had to be blessed, as ordained by the Council of Cologne, in order that "demons might be affrighted by their sound, calling Christians to prayers; and when they fled, the persons of the faithful would be secure; that the destruction of lightnings and whirlwinds would be averted, and the spirits of the storm defeated."

Storms were considered to be the work of the devil, or the conjuration of his followers. The trampling heard was thought to be his fury, his fiery train above the tossing forests or holy spires. In that way, Odin and his associated deities transformed.

The Valkyries, the Choosers of the Slain, riding to places of battle, became the medieval witches riding astride broomsticks on their missions of evil in much the same manner. Castles of flames, where the devil held wild revels; conclaves of corpses revivified by evil knowledge; unearthly growths, vitalized by hanged humans' souls, springing to life beneath gallows and gibbets; little people of the hills, malicious spirits, with their caps of mist and cloaks of invisibility. It was possible to trace the origins of the belief in dire consequences from these stories. For those who believed in magic were doomed as the pagan and Christian stories of the Middle Ages merged to form one myth.

Witchcraft was first derided as a delusion by church leaders. Belief in it was forbidden by some of the earlier councils. It was in the fourteenth century in the form of sorcery (malevolent magic), and then in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as witchcraft that it attained prominence. This was especially true when the practice of witchcraft was declared a crime in the eyes of the church (heresy and apostasy) in 1484a crime punishable by confiscation and death. In their deliberation on witchcraft the inquisitors first systematized and formulated an understanding of black magic. Under such authority, belief in black magic flourished, filling people with either an outright fear or unholy curiosity.

Once placed on the books, the motives for charging a person with sorcery or witchcraft were numerous. In addition to the care for their souls, individuals otherwise involved in personal feuds, political enmities, and religious conflict, not to mention rulers facing empty treasuries, found the charges of black magic an unfailing and sure means of achieving their ends. For several centuries, the charges were hurled at high and low. Death was the consequence.

The Council of Constance (1414) began with its proscription of the doctrines of Wyclif and the burning of John Huss and Jerome of Prague. Less known, at this time, too, a multivolume work was published by one of the inquisitors, called the Formicarium, a comprehensive list of the sins against religion. The fifth volume contained an account of sorcery. The list of crimes accomplished by witches was also detailed: second sight, the ability to read secrets and foretell events; the power to cause diseases and death by lightning and destructive storms; the ability to transform themselves into beasts and birds; and powers to bring about illicit love or barrenness of living beings and crops. Finally, it detailed their enmity against children and practice of devouring them (a crime often brought against socially proscribed groups).

Witchcraft Persecutions

Papal bulls appeared for the appointment of inquisitors, free of any interference by the civil authorities. The emperor and reigning princes took them under their protection. The persecutions rose to level unparalleled in other countries until the following century. Hundreds of alleged witches were burned in a few years. Immediately after the redefinition of witchcraft in 1484, two inquisitors, Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, compiled the Malleus Maleficarum (first published in 1486), a complete system of witchcraft, along with a detailed method of how to prove any accused capable and guilty of any and every crime.

Persecutions in Germany were intermittent throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Germany was more concerned with the split brought about by the activity of reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin. Still persecution broke out with renewed vigor in the seventeenth century stimulated by the increasing strife between Catholics and Protestants. The country had also been devastated by wars, plague, and famine. Two cities in particular, Bamberg and Würzburg, attained notoriety for trials and the number of victims.

In Bamberg, Prince-Bishop George II, and his suffragan Frederic Forner, prosecuted the holy inquisition so intensely that between the years 1625 and 1630 over 900 trials took place, and approximately 600 people were burned. Confessions were extracted from the victims under extreme torture. Rich and poor were gathered into the jailsoften to such a degree that names were never taken nor recorded. The prisoners were only noted anonymously as numbers.

In other parts of Germany, Lutheranism was gaining ground. Here the charge of sorcery was brought against its followers. Protestants had no disagreement with Roman Catholics on the issue of witchcraft. At Würzburg, the bishop, Philip Adolph, in 1623, did not prosecute them openly, but nevertheless acted against the accused. In Eberhard David Hauber's Bibliotheca, Actaet Scripta Magica (1738-45) is a list of 29 burnings from the 1620s. Each burning consisted of several victims, the numbers ranging from two up to ten or more, which included old men and women; little girls and boys and infants; noble ladies; washerwomen; vicars; canons; singers and minstrels. Also among the accused were Bannach, a senator; a wealthy man; a keeper of the pot-house; the bishop's own nephew and page; a huckster; and a blind girl.

At Würzburg, in 1749, the last trial for witchcraft took place. Maria Renata of the Convent of Unterzell was condemned and burned in June that year for consorting with the devil and for being the focus of bewitchments and other infernal practices.

Toward the end of the seventeenth century, disbelief in the truth of witchcraft and criticism of the wholesale burnings began to be heard, although earlier than this some had dared to speak against the injustice and ignorance. Before 1593, Cornelius Saos, a priest in Mainz, had stated his doubt of the whole proceedings, but suffered for his recklessness. Johann Weyer, physician to the Duke of Cleves, Thomas Erast, another physician, Adam Tanner, a Bavarian Jesuit, and Frederick Spree, also a Jesuit, all attempted to put forward rational views about witchcraft persecution.

Alchemy and Occultism

Alchemy, one medieval form of Gnosticism, was seen as operating from the realm of magic. Many believed it was satanic in origin. Though few were charged unless caught in fraud for trying to make gold, alchemists were liable to the charge of sorcery and the death penalty if found guilty. Yet alchemy attracted emperors and princes who took up the study themselves, or, more frequently who hired well-known practitioners of the art. For example, Joachim I had Johannes Trithemius as teacher of astrology and "defender of magic," and the Emperor Rudolph employed Michael Maier as his physician.

Germany has supplied numerous names famous for their discoveries in magicmen who were open to suspicion because of their philosophical pursuits. Among those were Paracelsus who in his search for the elixir of life discovered laudanum, a form of opium distilled from poppies; Cornelius Agrippa; Basil Valentine, prior and chemist; Henry Khunrath, physician and philosopher; and a host of students, all searching for the mysteries of life, the innermost secrets of nature.

Some people believed the activities of these men to be nothing more than pacts with the devil. The knowledge that the al-chemists gained could be acquired only by evil means. Religious people reasoned that the soul of the magician was the price promised and demanded by the Evil One. These myths and imaginings centered around one magician especially, and in the Faust legend we may find the general attitude and belief of the Middle Ages regarding the interaction of learning and supernatural beliefs.

Mystical Societies

While the alchemist conducted rudimentary scientific research, they were Gnostic mystics, as their writings testify. Their work fits into the larger Gnostic world whose exponents were Rosicrucians and theosophists. Among the more notable mystics was the shoemaker, Jakob Boehme, the son of peasants.

During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), many preachers, seers, and fanatics appeared, exhorting and prophesying. It is believed the condition of the country contributed towards producing the hallucination and hysteria. Reportedly there are accounts of ecstatics absorbed in supernatural visions, such as Anna Fleischer of Freiburg, and Christiana Poniatowitzsch, who traveled throughout Bohemia and Germany relating her visions and prophesing.

At the end of the seventeenth century the old tenets of magic were undergoing a gradual change, except alchemy. The Gnostic magical beliefs found new expression in secret societies, many of which were founded on those of the Middle Ages. Freemasonry whose beginnings are attributed by some to a certain guild of masons banded together for the building of Strasburg Cathedral, but by other authorities to Rosicrucianismformed the basis and pattern for many other secret societies.

In the eighteenth century, occultism flourished. There were stories of Frederick William who worked with Steinert in a house specially built for evocations; Schroepfer, proprietor of a café with his magic punch and circles for raising the spirits of the dead; the physiognomist J. K. Lavater, said to have two spirits at his command; the Mopses, a society whose rites of initiation were said to resemble those of the Templars and witches' sabbat in a mild and civilized form; and Carl Sand, the mystical fanatic who killed the dramatist August Kotzebue.

The Illuminati, whose teachings spread to France and underlay the French Revolution, was banded together as a society by Adam Weishaupt and fostered by Baron von Knigge, a student of occultism. This society reportedly originated as an attempt to circumvent the authority of the Jesuits. In its development it absorbed mysticism and supernaturalism, finally becoming political and revolutionary as it applied its philosophies to civil and religious life. Although the Illuminati was disbanded and dispersed in 1784, its ideas continued through other occult groups and reappeared in the democratic wave that swept Europe in the next century.

Mysticism and Animal Magnetism

In the transition from occultism to a more scientific view of the paranormal largely accomplished in the nineteenth century, many occult elements reemerged in the development of animal magnetism and Spiritualism. Some of the significant names of the period included: Johann Heinrich Jung (1740-1817), better known as Jüng Stilling, a seer, prophet, and healer; Franz Anton Mesmer (c. 1733-1815), the discoverer and apostle of animal magnetism; the Marquis de Puységur, magnetist and spiritualist; Madame von Krudener, preacher of peace and clemency to monarchs and princes; Heinrich Zschokke, the Gothic novelist; and Dr. Justinus Kerner (1786-1862), believer in magnetism and historian of two cases of possession and mediumship, the "Maid of Orlach" and Frederica Hauffe, the "Seeress of Prevorst." Also during this period, the poet, playwright, philosopher and novelist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe whose own story of Faust made his name synonomous with the struggle between good and evil, showed serious interest in the occult, particularly dreams. His grandfather's dreams seemed to be prophetic, and Goethe served as a witness to the truth of them. Goethe himself was considered psychic.

The cures said to be affected by Prince Hohenlohe, a dignitary of the church occured early in the nineteenth century. He was led to believe in the power of healing through the influence of a peasant named Martin Michel. Most of these cures took place at Würzburg, the scenes of former witch-burnings, and it was reported that more than 400 people, deaf, mute, blind, and paralytic, were cured by the power of prayer.

About this time the case of stigmata with Catherine Emerich, the nun of Dülmen also rose to prominence. Supposedly there was an appearance of a bloody cross encircling the head; marks of wounds on her hands, feet, and side; and crosses on her breast that frequently bled. Again in Germany, around 1918, a twenty-year old Bavarian woman named Therese Neumann underwent a series of ailments following a fall while helping to fight a fire. Within two years she was totally blind and paralyzed. Three years later in 1923, Neumann believed she had a vision of St. Therese of Lisieux, known as the "Little Flower" and her blindness disappeared. Supposedly, she took no food or drink from that time until her death in 1962. It was in 1926 that her stigmata began to appear during a weekly series of visions and trances from Thursday at midnight to early Friday morning. She became a worldwide celebrity. Every Catholic school child throughout the time until her death knew her name as well as those of the saints. In 1932 the Catholic church had attempted to conduct its own investigation of her claims, but could not agree on the terms with Neumann's father. Neither did psychical researchers ever investigate.

In nineteenth-century occultism we find, as in the earlier periods, stories of hauntings and spirits existing side by side with learned disquisitions, such as that on the "fourth dimension in space" by Johann C. F. Zöllner in his Transcendental Physics (1880) and another on the luminous emanations from material objects in Baron Karl von Reichenbach 's treatise on od or odylic force, similar to some aspects of the magic of the Middle Ages.


It was some years after the original Rochester Rappings in America before the Spiritualism movement surfaced in German-speaking lands. Several intellectual leaders made note of the movement, including the philosopher J. G. Fichte, a proponet of Spiritualism; Edward von Hartmann, author of Philosophy of the Unconscious (1869), who gave the phenomena a place in his philosophy; and Carl du Prel, who, in his Philosophy of Mysticism (1889), held up Spiritualistic manifestations as evidence of a subconscious region in the human mind. Du Prel also founded a monthly magazine, The Sphinx, devoted to the interest of Spiritualism, and Alexander Aksakof, the Russian Spiritualist, published the results of his research in Germany and in the German language because he was not permitted to publish them in Russian. Baron Lazar De Baczolay Hellen-bach, integrated Spiritualist teachings in his hypothesis that no change of world or "sphere" occurs at birth or death, but merely a change in the mode of perception.

Psychical Research and Parapsychology

German psychical research owes much to the work of Baron Albert Schrenck-Notzing, who conducted investigations of such mediums as Eva C., Stanislawa Tomczyk, Franek Kluski, Linda Gazzera, Willi and Rudi Schneider, and Eusapia Palladino. His book Phenomena of Materialisation (London, 1920) reports on the claimed phenomenon of materialization.

The engineer Fritz Grünewald (d. 1925) was a pioneer of scientific testing of mediums, and maintained a laboratory in Charlottenburg, Berlin with various recording instruments. With the British investigator Harry Price, he tested such psychics as Jan Guzyk and Eleonore Zügun.

Other German researchers include Karl Grüber (1881-1927), who investigated the Schneider brothers, Traugott Konstantin Oesterreich (1880-1949), who published a comprehensive study of possession ; Rudolph Tischner (1879-1961); General Josef Peter (1852-1939); Dr. Albert Moll (1862-1939), a psychiatrist who contributed a study on hypnotism ; Max Dessoir, who first used the term "parapsychologie" in 1889; and Hans Driesch (1867-1941). Graf Carl von Klinckowstroem, even though skeptical regarding some psychical phenomena, wrote on water-divining and published a history of the divining rod. In 1874, Alexander Aksakof founded the journal Psychische Studien in Leipzig, published until 1934. It was superseded by the Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie. Another prominent German professor of philosophy, Trangott Konstantin Osterreich was especially well-known for investigating mediums. When the Nazis rose to power, he was stripped of his position and did not regain it until after the war. He died in 1949.

Parapsychology was largely destroyed during the Nazi era, but quickly rose again. Hans Bender, a post-war German researcher, was instrumental in founding the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene (IGPP-the Institute for Border Areas of Psychology and Mental Health) in Freiburg in 1950, and held the chair for Border Areas of Psychology established at Freiburg University. The institute, located at Wilhelmstrasse 3a, D-79098, Frieburg i. Br. Germany, or through their website at IGPP was scheduled to be host for the worldwide Parapsychological Association Convention during August of 2000.

One of Bender's more famous investigations involved the Nickelheim Poltergeist that first became apparent in the Bavarian village in 1969. On the windows and doors of the house of a couple who lived with their teenaged daughter, strange knocking sounds began sounding. Further strange occurences, such as stones thrown against the house, dolls and toilet articles flying across rooms, water poured in shoes and eggs broken in visitors' hats, escalated. Soon after, while a priest was blessing the house, teleportation, (the penetration of matter through matter) phenomena began occuringa stone fell from the ceiling with all of the windows and doors shut. No further reports of later investigation were available.

In 1966, a Department for the Border Areas was established at the university's Psychological Institute and in 1968, the 11th Convention of the Parapsychological Association was held. The institute has conducted investigations into psychokinesis, poltergeist, electronic voice phenomenon, and qualitative and quantitative extra sensory perception research. As of 1991 Eberhard Bauer, was a German historian of parapsychology and managing editor of Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie, the only journal of parapsychology in Germany. He has had the distinction of being the leading European authority on the history of parapsychology and the contemporary scene.


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Driesch, Hans. Psychical Research: The Science of the Supernormal. London, 1933. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1975.

Du Prel, Carl. Die Magie als Naturwissenschaft. Leipzig: M. Altmann, 1912.

Grüber, Karl. Parapsychologische Erkenntnisse. Munich: Drei Masken Verlag, 1925.

Gulat-Wellenburg, W. von et al. Der Physikalische Mediumismus. Berlin: Ullstein, 1925.

Hansen, Joseph. Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprozess in Mittalalter und die Entstehung der grossen Hexenverfolgung. Munich/Leipzig: R. Oldenbourg, 1900. Reprint, Aalen: Scientiia, 1983.

Lea, Henry Charles. Materials Toward a History of Witchcraft. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1939. Reprint, New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1957.

Moll, Albert. Hypnotism. London: W. Scott, 1901.

Oesterreich, T. K. Possession, Demoniacal & Other, Among Primitive Races, In Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times. London, 1930. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1966.

Reichenbach, Karl von. Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat Light, Crystallization, and Chemical Attraction, in Their Relations to the Vital Force. London, 1851. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1966.

Tischner, Rudolf. Geschichte der Parapsychologie. Titmoning (Pustet), 1960.

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Weisse Bohnensuppe (White Bean Soup)....................... 3
Bratwurst (Sausage) ...................................................... 4
Kartoffelknödeln (Potato Dumplings) ............................ 4
Rye Bread...................................................................... 5
Spargelgemuse (Fresh Asparagus) ................................. 5
Apfelpfannkuchen (Apple Pancakes).............................. 5
Lebkuchen (Cookies)..................................................... 6
Apfelschörle (Sparkling Apple Drink) ............................. 7
Glühwein (Non-alcoholic Drink).................................... 7
Soft Pretzels .................................................................. 9
Red Coleslaw................................................................. 9


Germany is located in Western Europe. The topography of the country is varied, and includes regions of deep forest and high mountains, as well as a wide valley surrounding the Rhine, Germany's largest river. The highest mountain peak, the Zugspitze, lies on the border with Austria. Less than 3 percent of Germans are farmers, and the country must import much of its food. Apples, pears, cherries, and peaches, as well as grapes for wine production, are important crops in Germany.


Food has always been a major part of German culture. Even the well-known German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, makes reference to food. Hansel and Gretel, brother and sister, discover a house in the forest made of gingerbread and candies. King Frederick II (King Frederick the Great, 17121786) introduced the potato, a staple in the German diet. He gave away seed potatoes and taught the people how to grow them. But wars caused food shortages and hardship twice during the twentieth century. After the Germans lost World War I (191418), food was scarce and soldiers trying to get home were starving. After World War II (19391945), the country had even less food available, but this time nations that had defeated Germany, including the United States, helped to feed the Germans and rebuild the country. In 1949 after World War II, Germany was divided into East Germany and West Germany. This division caused the country's two halves to develop different styles of cooking. East Germany, closely associated with its neighbor, Russia, took on a more Russian style of cooking. West Germans continued the traditional German cuisine.

There are also differences in cooking style between the northern and southern Germany, similar to the northern and southern styles of cooking in the United States. In the north, restaurants in Hamburg and Berlin might feature aalsuppe (eel soup) or eintopf (seafood stew). Soups of dried beans, such as weisse bohnensuppe (white bean soup) are also popular. In the center of the country, menus include breads and cereals made with buckwheat and rye flour. A favorite dish is birnen, bohnen und speck (pears, green beans, and bacon). In the middle of the country, a region near the Netherlands known as Wesphalia is famous for spargel (asparagus), especially white asparagus, and rich, heavy pumpernickel bread. Westphalian ham, served with pungent mustard, is popular with Germans worldwide.

Frankfurt, located in the south, is the home of a sausage known as Wüstchen. This sausage is similar to the U.S. hot dog, sometimes called a "frankfurter" after the German city. In the south, a dish mysteriously called Himmel und erde (Heaven and Earth) combines potatoes and apples with onions and bacon. The southern region of Bavaria features rugged mountains and the famous Black Forest. Black Forest cherry cake and tortes, as well asKirschwasser, a clear cherry brandy, are two contributions from this area. Spätzle (tiny dumplings) are the southern version of knödel (potato dumplings) of the north. Lebkuchen is a spicy cookie prepared especially during the Christmas season. East and West Germany were reunited in the early 1990s, but Germans continue to cook according to their region.


Germans tend to eat heavy and hearty meals that include ample portions of meat and bread. Potatoes are the staple food, and each region has its own favorite ways of preparing them. Some Germans eat potatoes with pears, bacon, and beans. Others prepare a special stew called the Pichelsteiner, made with three kinds of meat and potatoes. Germans from the capital city of Berlin eat potatoes with bacon and spicy sausage. Sauerbraten is a large roast made of pork, beef, or veal that is popular throughout Germany, and is flavored in different ways depending on the region. In the Rhine River area, it is flavored with raisins, but is usually cooked with a variety of savory spices and vinegar. Fruit (instead of vegetables) is often combined with meat dishes to add a sweet and sour taste to the meal. Throughout Germany desserts made with apples are very popular.

Knödel, or dumplings, accompany many meals, especially in the north. In the south, a tiny version called spätzle is more common. Knödel may be made either of mashed potatoes or bread (or a mixture of both), and are either boiled or fried. Germans enjoy bread with every meal, with rye, pumpernickel, and sourdough breads more common than white bread. Soft pretzels can be found almost anywhere. Spargel (asparagus) served with a sauce or in soup is popular in the spring.

Weisse Bohnensuppe (White Bean Soup)


  • 1 pound dry navy beans
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • ½ pound ham, cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped (including the leafy tops)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pumpernickel or rye bread or rolls as accompaniment


  1. Rinse beans in a colander and remove any discolored or shriveled beans.
  2. Place beans in a large pot, cover with water, and leave to soak overnight.
  3. Drain beans in colander, rinse them, and return them to the pot.
  4. Measure 3 quarts of water (12 cups) into the pot.
  5. Heat the water to boiling, and then lower heat and simmer the beans, uncovered, for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender.
  6. Add parsley, onions, garlic, celery, and salt. Simmer for about one hour more.
  7. Add chopped ham, and heat for about 10 minutes more. Serve hot, accompanied by pumpernickel or rye bread or rolls.

Serves 10 to 12.

Bratwurst (Sausage)


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can of sauerkraut (32-ounces), drained and rinsed in a strainer
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup white grape or apple juice
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 pound bratwurst
  • 1 large apple, cored and sliced


  1. In a deep skillet, cook the bacon, drain most of the fat, and crumble into pieces.
  2. In the same skillet, fry the onion and garlic in the remaining bacon fat over medium-low heat until tender.
  3. Add the sauerkraut, potatoes, water, white grape (or apple) juice, brown sugar, bouillon, bay leaf, and caraway seed.
  4. Add enough water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the bratwurst to the mixture.
  6. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Add apple slices and simmer 5 to 10 more minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Kartoffelknödeln (Potato Dumplings)


  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Flour


  1. Peel the potatoes. Place them into a large pot and fill the pot with enough water to cover them.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 2030 minutes).
  3. Drain the potatoes well in a colander, place them in a bowl, and mash them, using a hand mixer or potato masher.
  4. Add the egg yolks, cornstarch, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Rinse out the pot and refill it with water and heat the water to boiling.
  6. While the water is heating, shape the potato mixture into golf-ball sized dumplings.
  7. Roll the dumplings in flour, and drop immediately into boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Serve with butter and salt.

Makes about 2 dozen dumplings.

Rye Bread


  • ¾ cup water
  • 2¼ teaspoons dry yeast
  • 4½ teaspoons sugar (used in varying amounts)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • 1¼ cups whole grain rye flour
  • 1¼ cups unbleached flour
  • 1½ teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1 rind of a small orange, finely-grated


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1½ teaspoons sugar.
  2. Add molasses, honey, shortening, salt, caraway seed, orange rind, and the rest of the sugar.
  3. Slowly add both types of flour to mixture and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
  4. Clean out the mixing bowl, butter it lightly, and return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Push a fist dipped in flour into the center of the dough. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop or cutting board and shape into a loaf. Transfer the loaf to a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Spargelgemuse (Fresh Asparagus)


  • 2 pounds of asparagus
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 large egg, hard-boiled


  1. Wash the asparagus and snap off the hard ends.
  2. Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 7 to 10 minutes (until tender) and drain.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  4. Add cheese to butter and cook until melted and lightly browned.
  5. Serve asparagus topped with cheese sauce.
  6. Garnish with a sliced, hard-boiled egg.

Serves 8 to 10.

Apfelpfannkuchen (Apple Pancakes)


  • cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
  • 1½ sticks butter (¾ cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Confectioners sugar


  1. Combine the flour with 2 teaspoons sugar and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together.
  3. Gradually add flour mixture to the eggs and milk, and beat until smooth.
  4. Melt ½ stick (¼ cup) butter in a saucepan.
  5. Add apple slices and cook gently until apples are softened.
  6. Mix 2 Tablespoons sugar and cinnamon together and stir gently into apples.
  7. In a 6-inch frying pan, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter.
  8. Pour in batter so that it is about ¼-inch deep.
  9. Cook until the bubbles on top of the batter burst and the pancake begins to set.
  10. Spoon about ¼ of the apples over the pancake and cover with more batter.
  11. Allow it to set, and then gently turn the pancake to brown it on the other side.
  12. Repeat to make 3 more pancakes.
  13. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve.

Serves 4.


Oktoberfest is the German festival of October. It is held, not in October but during the last week of September in Munich. In late summer or early fall in the United States, many cities stage Oktoberfests to celebrate German culture, especially German beer. At German Oktoberfests, beer is traditionally drunk from a large, decorated stone mug called a Bier Stein (beer stein). Germany has more than 1,200 breweries, making over 5,000 different kinds of beer.

For Christmas, cut-out honey cakes called Lebkuchen are baked in squares, hearts, semicircles, or little bear shapes, iced, and decorated with tiny cutouts of cherubs (angels) and bells. One large or five to seven small cakes are then tied together with a bright ribbon and presented by a young lady to a young man of her choice on Christmas Day. Springerle (cookies), marzipan candies, and Stollen (a type of coffeecake with candied and dried fruit) are also popular Christmas desserts. To accompany the cookies, Germans drink Glühwein, a type of mulled wine. A favorite drink with teenagers is Apfelschörle, a sparkling fruit juice. A traditional Christmas dinner is roast goose with vegetables and Kartoffelknödeln (potato dumplings).



  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sour milk (add 1 Tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk and let stand for 10 minutes)
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add the honey, sour milk, and vinegar. Add flour, baking powder, salt, ginger,
  4. mace, and cinnamon.
  5. Chill for 1 hour.
  6. Roll out to ¼-inch thickness and cut into shapes, especially hearts.
  7. Bake for 6 minutes.
  8. Decorate with white frosting and candies.



  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 bottle of club soda (1-liter, 33.8 ounces)


  1. Mix equal parts of apple juice and club soda in a tall drinking glass and serve.

Serves 4.

Glühwein (Non-alcoholic Drink)


  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups black tea
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves


  1. Slowly heat the apple juice and tea in a pan.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and orange, keeping the peels.
  3. Add the lemon and orange juices, sugar, peels, and spices to the pan and heat without boiling.
  4. Carefully strain the mixture through a sieve and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.


When eating out in Germany, it is polite to have both hands above the table at all times, but elbows should not rest on the table. It is also considered impolite to leave food on a plate. Waiters expect a 5 to 10 percent tip. An imbiss is a food stand that may serve bratwurst or other fast foods. Another type of restaurant is the bierhall, which commonly serves bratwursts, accompanied by beer.

Breakfast, or früstück, consists of rolls with jam, cheese, eggs, and meat. Coffee or tea may also be served. The zweites früstück (literally second breakfast) is a mid-morning snack eaten at work or school. Students may have belegtes brot (literally covered bread), a small sandwich of meat or cheese, and a piece of fruit. Germans eat their big meal of the day, mittagessen, around noon or later, sometimes lasting two hours. The meal almost always begins with suppe (soup), and several more courses follow (see sample menu). In the afternoon, kaffee (snack with coffee) is often served, consisting of pastries and cakes. Abendbrot (supper, literally "bread of the evening") is a lighter meal than lunch, usually offering an open-faced sandwich of bread with cold cuts and cheese, eaten with a knife and fork, and perhaps some coleslaw or fruit. Pretzels and sweets may be enjoyed, especially by children, any time during the day.

Soft Pretzels


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1½ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups flour (approximate)
  • Shortening for greasing bowl and cookie sheet
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Coarse salt


  1. Dissolve sugar, salt, and yeast in warm water.
  2. Allow to stand for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in 3 cups of flour.
  4. Add the last cup of flour, a little at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
  5. Sprinkle flour onto a cutting board or countertop and turn the dough out of the bowl.
  6. Using clean hands, knead the dough (fold it over, press down, turn).
  7. Repeat this process for about 7 or 8 minutes. Clean out the mixing bowl and coat the inside lightly with oil.
  8. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave the bowl in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
  9. During this time the dough will expand, or "rise" to about twice its size.
  10. Grease two cookie sheets and remove the plastic wrap from the bowl.
  11. Cover your fist with flour, and then punch down into the center of the dough.
  12. Turn the dough back out onto the floured counter and cut or tear it into about 12 equal pieces.
  13. Roll each piece into a long rope (about 12 to 16 inches long).
  14. Twist the ropes into pretzel shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  15. Using a clean pastry brush, brush each pretzel with beaten egg and then sprinkle them with coarse salt.
  16. Cover the cookie sheets loosely with plastic wrap and allow the pretzels to rise again for about 1 hour.
  17. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  18. Bake the pretzels for 10 to 15 minutes (until lightly browned).
  19. Serve immediately with spicy mustard.

Makes about 1 dozen pretzels.

Red Coleslaw


  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into matchstick-sized slivers
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons salad oil


  1. Remove the tough outer leaves from the head of red cabbage.
  2. Cut the cabbage into quarters and slice away the tough core.
  3. Grate or chop the cabbage coarsely.
  4. Put the grated cabbage in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and add the chopped onions and slivered apples. Toss gently to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salad oil.
  6. Pour over the cabbage mixture, toss, and serve.

Serves about 8.

Sample Mittagessen Menu

Fleischbrühe (clear soup)

Rollmops (rolled herring fillets)

Königsberger klopse (meatballs in cream sauce)


Armer ritter (German French toast, literally "poor knight")

Cheese and crackers

Cookie platter with coffee


Many Germans have begun to modify their eating habits to lower their calorie and cholesterol intake. Since the unification of East and West Germany in the 1990s, the government has faced the challenge of bringing the living conditions in the former East Germany up to the standard found in the former West Germany. Upgrading housing, schools, and utilities will continue after 2001. Despite unequal living conditions, Germans in all parts of the country are well nourished. In fact, most German children have enough to eat.



Einhorn, Barbara. West German Food and Drink. New York: Bookwright Press, 1989.

Hazelton, Nika Standen. The Cooking of Germany. New York: Time-Life Books, 1969.

Hirst, Mike. Germany. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 2000.

Loewen, Nancy. Food In Germany. Vero Beach: Rourke Publications, 1991.

Parnell, Helga. Cooking the German Way. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1988.

Scharfenberg, Horst. The Cuisines of Germany: Regional Specialties and Traditional Home Cooking. New York: Poseidon Press, 1989.

Web Sites

German Tourism. [Online] Available (accessed January 31, 2001).


Hansel and Gretel, prod. by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and dir. by Len Talan, 84 min., Cannon Films, Inc., 1988, videocassette.

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Official name : Federal Republic of Germany

Area: 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Zugspitze (2,963 meters/9,721 feet)

Lowest point on land: Freepsum Lake (2 meters/6.6 feet below sea level)

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 1 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 853 kilometers (530 miles) from north to south; 650 kilometers (404 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 3,618 kilometers (2,248 miles) total boundary length; Austria 784 kilometers (487 miles); Belgium 167 kilometers (104 miles); Czech Republic 646 kilometers (401 miles); Denmark 68 kilometers (42 miles); France 451 kilometers (280 miles); Luxembourg 135 kilometers (84 miles); Netherlands 577 kilometers (359 miles); Poland 456 kilometers (302 miles); Switzerland 334 kilometers (208 miles)

Coastline: 2,389 kilometers (1,484 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)


Germany is located in central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea between the countries of Poland and The Netherlands. The country also shares borders with Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic. With an area of about 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 square miles), the country is slightly smaller than the state of Montana. Germany is divided into sixteen states.


Germany has no outside territories or dependencies.


Germany has a temperate and marine climate. The Gulf Stream westerly winds from the North Sea moderate temperatures throughout the year. In the lowlands, mid-winter temperatures average more than 1.6°C (35°F), while summer temperatures average between 16° and 18°C (61° and 64°F). In the south, temperatures are somewhat more extreme, averaging about -2°C (28