Area: 357,022 sq km (137,846
Population: 3,274,500 (2003)
Population Growth Rate: 0.26% (2002 est.)
Population Density: 233.2 per sq km
Ethnicity / Race: German 91.5%,
Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Serbo-Croatian,
Italian, Russian, Greek, Polish, Spanish)
Language: German. English is
widely spoken and French is also spoken, particularly
in the Saarland. In the north of Schleswig-Holstein,
Danish is spoken by the Danish minority and taught
in schools. In Brandenburg and Saxony, Sorbic
is spoken by the ethnic minority called the Sorbs
and is also taught in about 50 schools. Regional
dialects often differ markedly from standard German.
Currency: Single European currency
(Euro): The Euro is now the official currency
of 12 EU member states (including Germany). The
first Euro coins and notes were introduced in
January 2002 and completely replaced the Deutschmark
on 28 February 2002. Euro (€) = 100 cents.
Notes are in denominations of €500, 200,
100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations
of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Religion: Approximately 34 per
cent Protestant, 34 per cent Roman Catholic, with
Jewish, Muslim and other non-Christian minorities.
Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from
last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
European-style round two-pin plugs are in use.
Lamp fittings are screw type.
Health: Tick-borne encephalitis
is present in forested areas of southern Germany.
Vaccination is advisable. HIV testing is required
for foreigners staying more than 180 days in Bavaria.
Foreign tests are not accepted. Rabies is present;
look out for ‘Tollwut’ signs. For
those at high risk, vaccination before arrival
should be considered. If you are bitten, seek
medical advice without delay. For more information,
consult the Health appendix.
Tipping: It is customary to
tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, cloakroom attendants
and in bars, and a 10 per cent tip in restaurants.
Customs: Through the turmoil
of the 20th century, Germany has emerged as a
powerful, confident nation and, with the memory
of the wall that divided Berlin into east and
west still fresh in the national consciousness,
continues to be the driving force towards greater
The German landscape is similarly varied. In
the south, the Alps attract ski-lovers in winter
and hiking enthusiasts in summer, who come to
explore the scenic lakes and atmospheric castles
here and in the Black Forest. Watersports are
another summer pastime, and in the north, the
island of Rugen with its majestic white cliffs
and coastal towns like Wilhelmshaven offer terrific
facilities for adventures on the North Sea.