Travel Guides: Germany
Germany is a central-western country that is surrounded by North Sea, Denmark and the Baltic Sea in the north, Poland and Czech Republic in east, Austria and Switzerland in the south and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands in the western.
The landscape is rich, there are all types of terrain: mountains and highlands (the Alps, Harz, system Renan, Swabian Jura, Bohemia Forest, Black Forest) and lowland (North German Plain, Bavarian Plateau, Danube Valley). Germany is a cultural country with many castles and monasteries and important centers in Dresden, Leipzig and Weimar. Germany is a country with one of the most developed tourism industries, focusing on cultural tourism. The most popular destinations are Berlin, Munich, Baltic, North Sea, Hamburg, and Bremen. Tourism in Germany has evolved gradually after the Second World War. Sightseeing destinations range from rural to luxury hotels. Rural tourism is developed in the south, in Baden-Württemberg, where crops are planted vines and fruit trees.
Urban tourism, respectively, thrives in urban centers such as Bremen. Tourists admire the architectural monuments such as the Reichstag building or New Castle. Guests can travel the country by sea or river. Main cities in this regard are Rostock (landlocked city) and Frankfurt (on the river Main). The most famous festival is Oktoberfest, beer festival, which gathers every year thousands of beer lovers. Germany and those who visit this country enjoy the fruits of the unit, during which there were made more investment in infrastructure and services in order to erase lines and scars of the Cold War division of the Second World War. Modern Germany has matured and, although is still suffering from the economic consequences of unification, it is clear that this nation has found a way to express their national identity insurance.
Cities of the former East, Dresden, glow again, like jewelry from the past. Germany is a long history product division, which led to a remarkable diversity, which you can see across the states that make up the Federal Republic. According to stereotypes, the Germans are apathetic, just eating sauerkraut and sausages, drinking liters of beer every day, are very disciplined and strict with their children, no sense of humor and others alike. If you visit Germany you can discover a people which are tolerant, friendly and educated. Because of Nazi history, patriotism is still a sensitive issue, more for the older generation that still seeks its national identity. German Literature of the past 50 years is subject to loss or preservation of national identity during the Nazi regime. Germans are cosmopolitan and like to travel all over the world, if possible several times a year.
They seem very sincere and appreciate honesty and credibility, which could interfere if you want to record trivial, like the English example. Good manners are important in Germany, but without ceremony and falsehood, but considering the situation and custom. Main attractions: Do not miss the German parliament (Reichstag) by British architect Norman Foster reconditioned or Brandenburg Gate. Both are symbols of German unity and are located close to the place before the Berlin Wall until 1989. Take a walk along the wall, marked by a trail from the Brandenburg Gate to Potsdamer Platz, being now a modern city center. Here are some excerpts of the longer wall. Visit the Berlin Wall Museum (Mauermuseum) found at the Charlie crossing point, where people crossed from East to West and vice versa.
Take a cruise on the Rhine in Koblenz, with its fortifications on the hill, across the street from where the river Moselle flows in Bingen, passing fairytale castles, picturesque villages and the Lorelei Rock 120 m tall, housing the legendary siren which drew sailors to perdition. Head south-west of Bavaria, near Fussen, near the border with Austria, to see the fantastical Neuschwanstein castle, built in XIX century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria (King Ludwig the Mad). Visit the island of Mainau located on the northern shore of Lake Constance, with many historic buildings and roof colors. Owned by a private foundation, the island is full of gardens and is famous for flowers. Marvel jewelry, sculptures and many treasures from the Treasury Green (Grünes Gewölbe) in Dresden, which houses collections of Augustus the Strong of the eighteenth century and which is on UNESCO World Heritage list. Visit Freiburg, one of the most romantic university cities in Germany, gateway to the Black Forest and the place where the tower is with its magnificent Gothic cathedral. Situated on the River Neckar, Heidelberg is the oldest university town in the country.
Admire the richness of cities on the list of UNESCO World Heritage – Bamberg in northern Bavaria, Goslar in Lower Saxony, Lubeck and former Hanseatic port, located on the Baltic coast. Schwalmstadt in Hessen is where Red Riding Hood lived and Sababurg of Reinhardswald is a castle that inspired the Brothers Grimm to write Sleeping Beauty story. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the historic district Romer in Frankfurt am Main, contrasting with the tall buildings and bright modern city. Frauenkirche Dresden is located in a church, rebuilt after being destroyed by bombing in 1945. Now it is a symbol of the past. Visit the city Weimar 1,000 years old and has hosted many public figures, including Goethe, Luther, Bach, Liszt, Wagner and Schiller. The city is an important cultural history that has passed the heyday in the eighteenth – nineteenth centuries.
Travel by train from Freiburg to the spectacular scenery of Hochschwarzwald (Upper Black Forest), a popular area year-round winter sports, hiking, sailing and walking. Explore the history of Germany in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum which contains artifacts and collections of Islamic art. This museum is surrounded by other interesting museums and galleries. Visit the Eastern part of the Charlottenburg Palace, the largest of today’s palace, built for Sophie Charlotte, wife of King Frederick I of Prussia in the late 1660. Admire fireworks during festivals on the river Rhein in Flammen (Rhine in Flames) that occur throughout the summer in various points of the river. Venture in Harz Mountains, Black Forest and Bavarian Alps, some of the best parts of the country for hiking, skiing and other winter sports. The network of trails marked total approximately 132.000 km.
Take the kids in Europe-Park, the largest theme park in Germany, located in Rust near Freiburg. Here is the highest rollercoaster in Europe. In Germany, car manufacturers are praised in Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart, BMW Welt in Munich, Wolfsburg Autostadt Volkswagen and the spectacular glass factory in Dresden. Visit one of the many vineyards on the banks of the rivers Rhine and Moselle Necklar, following one of the wine roads (Weinstrassen) in the region. If you are in Germany before Christmas, visit the Christmas markets (Weichnachtsmarkt) which is organized almost in every city. Mulled wine and baked apples are always present. Choose from over 300 spas to relax, with a variety of traditional and modern treatment. Germany is one of the largest consumers of beer in the world. Enjoy the many varieties of Oktoberfest beer festival that takes place in late September and attracts 6 million visitors to the Bavarian capital each year.
If you manage to get a ticket, go to the north-eastern Bavaria and Bayreuth Wagner Opera Festival, held every year in late July to August. Step through the romantic road that connects the northern and southern Bavaria, famous for the beautiful views. Cities along the road will provide an overview of the history, art and culture of Germany. Every year in late August, the festival celebrates Cooking Fish (Backfischfest) in Worms and is the largest food and beverage festival on the banks of the Rhine. The guild is dedicated to fishermen, the oldest organization of its kind in Germany. Many of its attractions have been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Some of them are: Aachen Cathedral, Residence of Wurzburg, Roman monuments, St. Peter and Church of Our Lady of Tier, Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, Cologne Cathedral, the Old Centre and Stadtamhof district of Regensburg and many others. The capital, Berlin is a green city with parks and forests surrounded by canals, with numerous palaces, over 170 museums and art galleries, theaters, opera houses, restaurants and pubs.
The most representative symbol of this is the Brandenburg Gate, built after the model of the Acropolis in Athens. The statue on top, Quadriga, is Victoria, the goddess of peace, in a chariot drawn by four horses. Gendarmenmarkt Square is considered to be the most beautiful in the capital market. In the market are the twin churches Französischer Dom and Deutscher Dom, the French cathedral, which houses a museum and from the dome you can admire the city panorama. Charlotteburg Palace is surrounded by impressive royal gardens. Around it are several buildings including: Belvedere, containing a collection of ceramics, Schinkel Pavilion, which houses collections of paintings and sculptures and neoclassical Mausoleum, where are the tombs of Queen Louise, King Friedrich Wilhelm III, the Empress Augusta and Emperor Wilhelm. Dahlem Museum was a three-storey building that houses the Gallery of Photography, the Cabinet of Engravings, Indiana Art Museum, Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum sculptures.
Hamburg is the largest port city in Germany and second in Europe after Rotterdam. Approximately 30 percent of the city area is covered with parks, green spaces, rural areas and protected natural reserves, making it the greenest city in Germany. The Port City has over 64 km of canals and 2,500 bridges. There are organized day trips to the cities Lubeck, Bremen or more days tours of relaxation centers in the North Sea or Baltic Sea. The most representative symbols of the city are: the Museum of Art and Industry, Port Hafen, St. Michael’s and the Rathaus or City Hall. The most famous is the Bavaria region of Germany. It offers unforgettable landscapes with alpine roads, famous spas, medieval towns and natural attractions such as the Zugspitze.
The capital of Bundesland Bavaria, Munich is the third largest city in the country after Berlin and Hamburg. The most important museums in town are: Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek der Moderne and Pinkothek. Marienplatz Square hosts the old and the new City Hall, spectacular because of its towers. Frauenkirche Cathedral is the most beautiful church in the center, with an impressive medieval architecture and Peterskirche is the oldest. Hohenschwangau Castle was originally a medieval castle rebuilt by Maximilian of Bavaria in the Gothic style. This is where Ludwig II spent much of his life. Other tourist attractions: the Statue of Bavaria, English garden, the Museum of Science and Rathaus Glockenspiel, a clock with figurines on top of City Hall. Thousands of tourists visit the city during Oktoberfest a beer festival that begins in late September and lasts until early October.
Frankfurt am Main, on the one hand is the financial capital of Germany and on the other hand there is a culture that attaches great importance. Romerplatz is the medieval city center, where many historic buildings can be seen as the church of St. Bartholomhaus Romer, Museumsufer hosting the oldest museums in the house garage and Sachsenhausen being an ideal place for exploration. The city’s main attractions are the Museum of Natural History Senckenberf, Stadel Institute, Zoo and Hall. Cologne is rather an open-air museum than a city, the number of monuments, old buildings and tourist attractions is very high. The most important and famous is the Cathedral of Cologne, with the top two bell towers, tall, built in a style that makes it extraordinary. National Theatre and Opera are in Offenbachplatz and have a capacity of 1400 seats, 920 respectively. Schnutgen Museum is dedicated to medieval art, Museum fur Kunst Ostasiatische’s museum that holds collections of Asian culture and the Rautenstrauch Joest Museum you can discover the ancient history of pre-Columbian civilizations, the Maya, Aztecs, or a beautiful collection of ethnographic photography.
Germany is part of major international organizations like the Council of Europe (1951), OECD, European Union-West (1954), NATO (1955) European Union (1957), UN (1973), OSCE and the Euro area. Geographic coordinates: 52 ° 31’0 “N, 13 ° 25’00″ E (coordinates of the capital). Official language: German. Capital: Berlin. Political system: Federal Republic. Area: 357,021 km². Population: 82,400,996 (July 2007). Currency: Euro. Time Zone: GMT +1 (GMT + 2 – summer). Internet domain: .de. Telephone: +49. Useful information: – Road traffic: European roads E60, E45, E53, E533, E52, E43, E41, E531, E56, E51, E50, E44, E29, E42, E40, E331, E37, E55, E26, E36, E30, E47, E49, E234, national roads; – Traffic regulations: Traffic travels on the right and trams have priority. They can be overcome on the right side on a two-way street or any part of the one-way street.
Avoid the left lane of the Autobahn’s because the speed can easily exceed 160 km / h. Traffic Signs are those recognized by international law. Seatbelts are mandatory. Child seats are mandatory for children under 6 years; – Speed Limits: Highway (recommended) – 130 km / h, on national roads open – 100 Km / h, in towns – 50 km / h; – Documents required when riding the machine are: valid passport (for people from non EU countries) or identity card (for people from EU countries), driving license, registration and car registration “green card” (international insurance); – Fuel stations: Most petrol stations are open from 8 am to 8 pm, and some stations in major cities and on the Autobahn’s are open 24 hours; – Car Fees: There are no toll highways in Germany. – Parking: Parking is allowed only on the right side of the road except for one-way street where you can park on both sides. Equipment parking areas are usually free of charge during the night; – Fuel Price (guide): between 1.096 and 1.3100 euro / liter.
Germany has a temperate climate with an average annual temperature of 9° C. Temperature in January ranges from -6 ° C to 1 ° C, while July temperatures range from 16 ° C and 20 ° C. Precipitation is greatest in the south, where they recorded 1980 mm per year, mostly in the form of snow. Administration: 16 provinces, each with its capital. Munich: the capital of Bundesland Bavaria (Bayern) in Germany and the third largest city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg, with a population of approx. 1.26 million (2001). It lies on the Isar River. Munich is a popular tourist destination, being called the secret capital of Germany. Marienplatz Square (named after a column that is found in its center), with the new and the old City Hall, the towers with their medieval scenes appear. Peterskirche is the oldest church in the center. However Frauenkirche cathedral is the most famous church in the center city with its spectacular medieval architecture.
Its towers, 99 meters, limit since 2004, new buildings of the city. The city has several art museums, including the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne. Other attractions are the famous English Garden (Englischer Garten), a garden center that contains a nudist section of the Deutsches Museum (Science Museum) and the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, an ornate clock moving figures on top of City Hall. Perhaps the most famous attraction of the city is Oktoberfest, a beer festival two weeks long, at the end of September and early October each year. Other famous buildings in Munich include the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady) and Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower, a TV station and radio transmission). Aachen: is the westernmost city in Germany, located in North Rhine-Westphalia, bordering Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km west of Cologne. Tourist attractions are the numerous buildings, monuments and museums, and hot springs, the marble throne of Charlemagne, buildings, monuments and museums: the symbol of Aachen Cathedral was built in 800 and is enrolled UNESCO World Heritage list; the City of Aachen was built in the ninth century in Gothic style.
Surrounding buildings are in the baroque style; Grashaus: near the fish market, there is a building called the house bell, which was the old facade of City Hall in 1267. The building served as a prison and court; Löwenstein House (Haus Löwenstein) was built in 1345 at the same time as the Hall. Along with the Cathedral and City Hall, is part of the city’s few Gothic buildings that survived the fire in 1656; Elisenbrunnen (Eliza Fountain): This fountain is located in the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz square being built in 1827 by Johann Peter Cremer and Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841), near City Hall and the Dom. Other tourist attractions are: Ponttor (a gate of the city), University Clinic (with an interesting architecture), the district Burtscheid, fountains and statues, Elisenpark, museums, theater, opera or choral ensembles of the city, hot springs.
Speyer Cathedral was built between 1030 and 1061. Here is the resting place of 13 kings and queens (Roman Emperors of German origin) including the second wife, sons and daughters of Frederick I Barbarossa, buried between 1039 and 1309. The Cathedral was recorded in 1981 on the UNESCO world cultural heritage list. Speyer Technical Museum has a collection of really impressive cars of all ages, some unique, military equipment, locomotives and aircraft. Herein lays the biggest transport aircraft propeller Antonov AN 22 and a Boeing 747-400. It also has an IMAX projection on the dome. It is the “brother” museum of Sinsheim, which the IMAX projects 3D and are exposed Concorde and Tupolev 144. Berlin: Germany’s capital. Sights: The TV tower, the fountain of Neptune, Marienkirche, Red Hall. The most beautiful avenue in Berlin, Unter den Linden has over its most important buildings in town: Cathedral, Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden), the Gendarmenmarkt, Staasoper (State Opera), Bebelplatz, Pariser Platz, the Brandenburg Gate – the symbol of reunification of Germany, along the Berlin Wall that went up in 1989.
Holocaust Memorial, an impressive set of 2,700 granite blocks built on 19,000 square meters of Hebrew in memory of the millions killed by Nazi Germany (the night can be quite dire). Other objectives: all the buildings of Parliament (Reichstag) in Berlin which the dome is seen as the palm, with blue seats in the standing room where lawmakers debate the Germans. Museum Island, Unter den Linden at the top in the middle of the river Spree, meet the desires of any enthusiast of history and art. Gastronomy: In the last 50 years the Germans have a taste for Mediterranean and exotic foods, integrating into their menu of dishes from countries they have visited on vacations. Favorites are Italian and Asian cuisine, but the kitchens of the great restaurants are especially inspired from French cuisine.
However, you will find many traditional dishes, some of which are specific to certain regions. The most popular include: Schweinebraten (pork and sauce, served with boiled potatoes and dumplings), Goulasch (diced pork and beef cooked with onions and peppers, served with boiled potatoes and noodles), Kassler mit Sauerkraut (beef pork with potatoes and sauerkraut), Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Schnitzel), Erbsensuppe (pea soup with onions and potatoes, usually served with sausages), Leberknödel Supple (liver dumplings soup with pork), Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup, onion and bacon, served with Vienna sausages), mit Kochfisch Senfsauce (over cooked fillet with mustard sauce and potatoes). At desert, Germans eat ice cream and mostly fruit, and traditional desserts – Rote Grütze (stewed fruit and cream), pudding, rice milk and Heiss und Eis (vanilla ice cream with warm cherry compote).
Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting in Germany and is addressing style is the second person. Before dinner they say Guten Appetit, and everyone responds with Gleichfalls. It is customary to bring the host packing flowers, red roses, but note that it only symbolizes your love. When entering an auditorium is impolite not to say Guten Tag or Gruss Gott and when you exit Tschuss or Auf Wiedersehen. It is also polite to come to the phone before asking to speak with a person. Local time is GMT +1 and GMT +2 in summer time. Electricity: 220V. The period from June to September is the most suitable to visit Germany. The fundamental features of German culture in business is an attitude towards the use of time, for example the desire to finish a chain of activities before the start of another, the firm belief that some negotiators are honest, open, tend to be direct and to manifest their disapproval on the face, sharing a polite attitude and diplomas.
Traditional German companies are entities that are difficult to set in motion, that manual systems and hierarchical way that many Europeans and Americans consider them extremely rigid and outdated. The hierarchy is required; it is a consequence of exaggerated self from direct supervisor and to the chief executive. German boss is a very secret person, who normally sits isolated in a large office with closed doors. American and Scandinavian directors prefer open-door policy and like to walk the halls and talk to their peers. This horizontal communication contrasts with the German system vertically above where the orders are transmitted only immediately after the accident and the subordinates are kept rigidly within their own department. In many countries there is a rivalry between departments, but with remember things that are very sensitive about.
Always try to find the right person for each post. If you walk on the barnyard on a German director, he will long remember. The Germans have a great respect for property and ownership. Buildings, furniture, cars and clothes are important to them and try to impress you with all these things. You should recognize the quality of German goods and present them without leaving intimidated, their advantages, reliability, etc. Germans want to believe that you are as powerful as they are. When you advertise your company in front of German products, disclosure should be printed as possible. Let them cool on German television advertisements that take your eyes, clever slogans or artistic illustration. Their newspapers are full of ads factual, dense, which provides maximum space available. Brochures for the German market should be detailed, factual and genuine and contain further statements fully justifiable. No matter how long or boring is the brochure, the Germans will read.
Also, they expect the product to be made as described. Germans have their own style and conduct of meetings and negotiations will determine the procedures of large German companies are more formal than those of your country. At meetings with the Germans is recommended, in general, to adopt a more formal style and to consider that these features to which must respond appropriately: The Germans will come to the meeting dressed up and having a disciplined outfit. You have to follow. They respect the job and employment based hierarchical speech making. They come well-documented on the business and expect the same from you. They will present logical arguments, often with weight to your cause. Often thought about your possible counter and prepare a second plan of attack. They do not give up easily, because of their arguments, but they tend to seek the common points. It is the best approach for moving forward. Frontal collision with a major German company rarely leads to any result.
They believe they are more efficient (grndlich) than others and do not change their position with a double. Share their arguments, each member talking about his specialty. It is expected that you should do the same thing. Do not interfere with the statements made by a colleague of theirs, and generally work well in teams. However, the break between sessions, they argue, in particular. Since there are vacant (the Japanese) or phony (the French) is possible, often, to notice differences of opinion between them, by facial expression or gesture. Like the Japanese, they like to insist on the details over and over. This will avoid future misunderstandings. You must have patience. They do not like to be rushed. They are willing to make decisions during meetings (as opposed to Japanese or French) but caution is always manifested.
Generally comply with verbal agreements. If you sell something, you will inquire aggressively focusing on the strengths of the Germans, namely: quality goods, competitive prices and delivery dates. Be prepared. It is expected, ultimately, to obtain the best (lower) price. Even then, there could be only a small business sample. Accept it. They will bring you more business in the future, if you will be pleased. They look at the most serious shortcomings of products or services to you and will face criticism (pretty tough) if you do not comply with all requirements. Be prepared to apologize if you somehow missed. They like to receive an apology, it makes them feel better. Also, you have to offer them compensation. They may be very sensitive to criticism therefore, you should avoid if possible to put in a delicate situation, even unintentionally.
Ask them only to verify your name and respect for their titles. In Germany there are many doctors. Do not make jokes during business meetings. They are not like Americans and do not like to joke. Business is a serious thing. Keep the jokes for later, over a beer. Many of their stories you will seem no fun rather cumbersome. Try to laugh. They will write a series of observations carefully and return the next day better prepared. It would be nice to do the same. In general, Germans are good knowledge of foreign languages (especially English and French), but they often suffer from ignorance of foreign cultures (and may know little more about your country than you think). Prefer to speak German whenever possible. They are generally convinced that they are the people most honest, sincere and trustworthy in the world, true thing at business negotiations.
Show them that in this respect they are equal. The Germans are indeed very honest people and assume that others are too. They are often disappointed, because others, who prefer a common or superficial approach, not always give serious answers to serious questions. Germany tends to look a long time and in depth the true meaning of existence and love to spend time in a profitable way, whether it’s to enrich their coffers or soul. Serious as they are, they struggle to be subjected to some citizens, not to worry. In a crowded country, the pressures to conform in public are very high, and Germans do not want to go as outcasts or unorthodox. Do not (like many British, French or Americans) be eccentric. Germans try not to make mistakes and generally succeed. If you made a mistake, Germans will draw attention to it. There is a lack of courtesy, but their unstoppable urge to order and conformity. Germans like to be honest and often give back to show both are correct. For Anglo-Saxons, who in conversation regularly feel the need to take things easier, Germans often seem sober and not funny. Germans are addicted, the British or Americans, to jokes and stings.
They yearn for a deep friendship and talk frankly about issues and the enigmas of life. Anglo-Saxons do not always see how it could immediately made friends with them, but when they manage to penetrate the somewhat complicated structure of the German friendship, are rewarded with it. Germans are generally loyal and true friends that last. Although the exterior seems sullen and wary, deep down, desperately yearn after affection and popularity. They want to be valued, as we all want. When they discover that the British, the Americans or the French and seemingly unflappable spirit can be as firm as they are excited and receptive. German friendship is really a hell of an investment.
State Government and politics: Germany is a constitutional federal republican representative democracy. Form of government is parliamentary, the Chancellor is elected head of government = the parliament, called Bundestag, and confirmed by the President. Although the Chancellor has the strongest political powers, in protocol hierarchy he is in 3rd place after the president and the president of the Bundestag. The Chancellor is elected by absolute majority parliament (Bundestag) for a period of four years, he has the right to appoint and dismiss the ministers and the right called “competence guidelines” (Richtlinienkompetenz), which makes the lines major tasks of each cabinet minister (government). In turn, members of parliament are elected by citizens every four years through a proportional vote customized. At this voting system voters have two votes, which can be given to different parties.
The first vote is decided by a majority which one candidate to represent that constituency in Parliament (directly elected candidate) is elected with the second vote, after a proportional system, the desired party in parliament. A candidate gets elected directly in any case a place in Parliament (mandate), this may lead to exceeding the number of seats a party would be appropriate as only the second vote. The situation is called Überhangmandat (additional term). This took place at every federal election since 1949. However, in 2008, the Supreme Federal Constitutional Court, Bundesverfassungsgericht, decided that this procedure contravenes the federal constitution (Grundgesetz), because this may violate the necessary democratic proportional representation, and required the legislature to correct the election laws until at least 2011.
This paradoxical situation may eventually threaten the stability of the new government.
Another important German constitutional body (legislative) is called “Bundesrat” (Federal Council) that consists of representatives of the 16 Länder (constituent countries of the federation). Judicial power is the supreme organ of higher federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), which can give the final decision over all legislative or administrative. From 1998 until July 2005 was in power, the German parliamentary coalition of so-called Red-Green, between the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, expressed B’90 / Grüne or Grüne = Greens). State President is elected for five years by Bundesversammlung, the Federal Assembly. The only purpose of the Federal Assembly shall elect the President of the State. It is composed of all members of the Bundestag, plus an equal number of elected members and sent by the provinces.
On 21 July 2005 at the time the president Horst Köhler has dissolved parliament following the vote of confidence he received from Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) on 1 July in parliament. As a result, on 18 September 2005 were anticipated federal elections, after which the coalition government came to power between the factions CDU / CSU (the so-called “Christian Union) and SPD coalition dubbed the” black-red “, led by Angela Merkel (CDU) as Chancellor. On May 23, 2009 President Horst Köhler was elected president for a further period of five years. The last elections for parliament and the federal chancellor, in 2009 federal elections were held on 27 September 2009. As a result, the coalition than black-red up when he fell, because the Social Democrats (SPD = “red”) were too few votes. Based on election results they could create a new coalition government, namely between factions CDU / CSU and liberal (FDP), also called “black-yellow”.
The 17th German Bundestag was established on 28 October 2009. Norbert Lammert was reelected president of Parliament. Then Bundestag chose the former Chancellor Angela Merkel as chancellor, new prime minister. Angela Merkel’s office (council of ministers) consisted of 16 persons (from the CDU, CSU and FDP). Some former government ministers and ministers continue to be in the new one. New Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister is Guido Westerwelle. On May 31, 2010 German President Horst Köhler has resigned as President of Germany, surprisingly and available immediately. Under the constitution was elected a successor within 30 days – 30 June 2010. For the interim period Kohler has taught his duties as President of the State, the current President of the Bundesrat (Federal Council of the Länder), Jens Böhrnsen, SPD, and the Bremen Land Senate president while mayor of Bremen.
In presidential elections on 30 June 2010 candidate: Christian Wulff (CDU), until then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsenn), Joachim Gauck pastor (not a party member); Lukrezia Jochimsen (also known as a journalist Luc Jochimsen ) of the Die Linke party, and Frank Rennicke, from the NPD party. Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) chose in the 3rd election as new President of Germany Christian Wulff, for a period of five years. He was sworn into office on July 2, 2010.
Germany has the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth in the world nominal GDP, and fifth in the world based on purchasing power parity, according to data from 2008. Since the inception of the industrial era, Germany was a leader, innovator and beneficiary of an economy increasingly globally. Germany is world leader in exports, exporting goods worth U.S. $ 1.133 trillion in 2006 (including the Euro-zone countries), and generated a trade surplus of 165 billion. The service sector contributes about 70% to GDP total industry sector with 29.1% and 0.9% agriculture sector. Most products are in engineering, especially automotive, machinery, metallurgy and chemical goods. Germany is the largest producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest international trade fairs and congresses are held each year in the German cities such as Hannover, Frankfurt and Berlin.
In the top 500 largest listed companies, top companies organized according to income, there are 37 companies based in Germany. In 2007, the largest of these were Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz (the most profitable company), Siemens, Deutsche Bank (the second company to profitability), E. ON, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Metro and BASF. Among the companies with the most employees include Deutsche Post, Robert Bosch GmbH, and Edeka. Renowned global brands are Mercedes Benz, SAP, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Nivea. Germany is an economic and political supporter of European integration and its trade policies are becoming increasingly determined by agreements between EU members and European legislation on the common market. Germany adopted the euro single currency and its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank, based in Frankfurt.
Even after German reunification in 1990, living standards and annual revenues have remained significantly higher in the former West Germany. Modernization and economic integration of eastern Germany continues to be a long process, and provide that it will take until 2019, annual transfers from west to east is about 80 billion dollars. Unemployment has decreased since 2005, reaching the lowest rate in 15 years, 7.5% in June 2008. This percentage varies from 6.2% in former West Germany, from 12.7% in the former East Germany. The former government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has initiated a series of labor market reforms and public welfare institutions, while the current government has adopted a restrictive fiscal policy and reduced the number of public sector jobs.
Between 1990 and 2009, Germany received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of 700 billion dollars. In 2009, foreign direct investment in Germany was 36 billion dollars. However, Germany has created for other countries in FDI amounting to 62.7 billion dollars in 2009. German contributions to global culture are numerous. Germany was the birthplace of renowned composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner; poets like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, philosophers like Immanuel Kant, George Hegel, Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, also, scientists of the caliber of Albert Einstein and Max Planck.11