Germany | Euro Palace Casino Blog

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After reaching that first stopover, you may freely travel on local trains as long as they go into the general direction of your final destination.

Some conductors may be a bit suspicious, but the ticket will clearly indicate that it's valid for two weeks and that for the section where you use local trains the only on the train booked doesn't apply.

Note that this only works when you travel into Germany from another country, not the other way round. BahnCard [4] is a good choice, if you plan to travel by train a lot.

It's valid for one year from the date of purchase and gives you discounts on all standard tickets. Long-distance BahnCard tickets frequently do include one single journey on public transport in many destinations look out for City ticket.

However, you have to keep in mind that once you sign a contract for the card, they will automatically renew your card at the end of its time period unless you cancel it in writing before the last three months of the card starts.

The DB employees may not tell you about this stipulation when you buy the card, thus there's a petition against this practice online at change.

The BahnCard discount doesn't apply to network tickets , but some transportation networks do offer their own discounts for BahnCard holders. They are often a cheaper alternative to single or return tickets, because on many shorter relations local trains are not much slower as long-distance trains IC, EC, ICE.

Check the travel time at the on-line timetable and select the Only local transport button. If you need a network ticket for long-distance trains, use some of european rail passes or German Rail Pass.

All network tickets can be purchased on-line and at ticket machines at railway stations. You cannot buy them from the conductor.

Some locals look for other people at stations to share a journey with to reduce costs there is a website for searching for a travelmate.

Some even sell their network ticket for a discount after arriving at their destination to recoup some of their funds. In response, the German Railway now requires you to write your name on the ticket in order to validate it, thus making it harder to sell the ticket to someone else once your journey is over.

However the conductor hardly ever checks your identity. German Rail Pass [5] allows for unlimited travel throughout Germany in all trains on days within 1 month.

There is an interesting "twin" discount for two people travelling together. The pass is available only for residents outside Europe, Turkey and Russia and you can purchase it on-line at the website above or from travel agencies outside Germany.

Eurail offers a pass for days of travel does not have to be consecutive throughout Germany [6]. In many Verkehrsverbünde , you can carry a bike on a train with normal ticket without supplement at off-peak hours.

Long-distance trains have special section with bike holders. Follow up the bike symbols near the car door. For an almost complete list, see de: Sehenswerte Eisenbahnen in Deutschland.

The turnstiles known from underground rails in London, New York, Paris and many other big cities in the world do not exist in Germany.

This means nothing and noone will tell you your ticket is not valid in the moment you get on the train. On most trains some kind of staff will come around more or less randomly to check you have a proper ticket.

On long distance trains they are easy to spot with their uniforms. In all other trains you are usually in deep trouble if you board with no ticket - unless there is one of the rare onboard ticket vending machines which have to be used immediately after boarding.

Inform whether you have to validate stamp your ticket when boarding the first means of transport at a machine on board or at the platform, or if the ticket is already pre-validated.

If you have to validate it, it is invalid without the validation stamp. If it is pre-validated on purchase, and you use it after the validity period starting with the purchase has elapsed, it will not be valid for your travel, even if you insert it into a validation machine and stamp it that way.

Even more confusing might be that there are transportation companies which use both "systems" at once; whether your ticket is pre-stamped might depend on the machine where you bought it, or on your selection of the ticket type on the machine touchpad e.

Even Germans who travel in a city about which they do not know such details may get confused, so be advised to ask some official staff or at least a local in any case of doubt.

On local trains or S-Bahn anything is possible: There may be uniformed conductors that usually do not sell tickets , inspectors that resemble doormen at a club and also may throw you out or they are simply "stealth" casually dressed "passengers".

The 'stealth'-inspectors should show a ticket inspector ID before starting their checks. Whatever happens, in no case, any ticket inspector may expel unaccompanied kids below 18 from a train.

This applies especially at remote stations during nighttime. If this happens to you r kid call the police! In the Germany liberated the market for the long distance buses.

A law, which was designed to protect the national railway, had previously restricted long distance buses mostly to services from and to Berlin.

Since the law was repealed, lots of new bus services have been created and are fighting for their share of the market. This often means great deals for travellers, even though the pricing can be somewhat confusing at times.

Only time will show which of the you companies survive and how prices will turn out in the long run.

The major contenders, some of them just founded in , include:. The major routes are connected by several companies, partly in a intense competition.

Apart from the above mentioned companies, there are often regional operators as well. The prices tend to vary a lot, comparison websites help to identify the best offers, try busliniensuche.

As many companies are relatively new, they don't always have coaches with their own logos painted on them - they often charter buses from other local bus companies.

Also, bus stop are partly in a bad condition or barely noticeable. Be sure to check the exact location of the bus stop in advance. Apart from these, there is a very dense network of regional and local bus lines.

In rural areas, though, many lines run only once per day. Regional and local express bus line designators usually contain the letter s CE local , E regional around Hamburg; in other areas, E is used for special runs , S regional , SB regional and local or X local within Berlin , city bus line designators may contain the letter s BB "Bürgerbus", not integrated within tariff unions , C or O.

Always check the departure boards carefully: Germany has a world-famous network of excellent roads and Autobahnen motorways with no toll or fees for cars trucks have to pay , but gasoline prices are kept high by taxation.

Oddly, normal petrol and "super" is the same price in Germany. There are several smartphone apps for price comparison search for Spritpreis Vergleich.

As a rule of thumb the price drops over the day until around At petrol stations, you have the choice between Diesel, Benzin 91 octane, not very common , Super 95 octane , Super E10 95 octane also, but higher share of biofuel; inquire with car rental or petrol station since it might damage your car and SuperPlus 98 octane or Ultimate octane.

Also, LPG liquefied petroleum gas is available with few problems on highways. Here and there, you might find "Erdgas"; this is compressed natural gas not gasoline.

In Germany, you may first fill up your tank and pay afterwards only if the petrol station is staffed, of course.

Some stations will not release the fuel to pump unless you pay first or at least hand over a credit card in advance. Less expensive are stations announced as "Autohof" at Autobahn exits, which are situated a kilometer or less from the exit and often also provide cheap, mostly low-quality food for professional drivers.

All German airports offer car hire services and most of the main hire firms operate at desk locations. Car hire and pool cars are also available in most cities, and one-way rentals within Germany are generally permitted with the larger chains without an additional fee.

When renting a car, be aware that most cars in Germany have manual gearbox stick-shift , so you might want to ask for a car with an automatic gearbox if you are used to that type.

Drivers with an endorsement in their licence that restricts them to driving automatic transmission vehicles will not be allowed to rent a manual-transmission car.

Most car rentals prohibit having their cars taken to eastern European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic. If you plan to visit these countries as well, you might chose to rent your car there, as those limitations do not apply the other way round.

Another great way to get around without your own car is using one of the popular carpool services. You can arrange many connections over their respective websites if you speak some German or have a friend that can help you out.

Making contact is free of charge and getting a lift is often the cheapest way to get around. The two most popular hosts are Mitfahrgelegenheit [28] and Mitfahrzentrale [29] , for second one you have to pay an extra charge.

If you have your own car, taking other people is also a great way of saving money and protecting the environment. Another very good site is [30] which compares different means of transportation.

All foreign licences are accepted for up to six months or 12 months for a temporary stay only , but a translation may be necessary.

If you want to continue driving after this period, you must obtain a German licence. These rules do not apply to driving licences issued in EU member states.

Very often speed limits are enforced by automated speed cameras, and it is illegal to have any "detection" device with you, which includes GPS devices which warn you about static cameras.

An exception to this is if the co-driver uses a GPS-based app blitzer warner. While fines for severe infractions can be substantial, they are usually lower than in most neighboring countries.

If you rent a car, make sure it has a Feinstaubplakette. If you travel in your own car, you can buy your badge for a small fee from vehicle registration offices, technical inspection organizations such as TÜV you can request a badge online or Dekra and many car repair shops.

German campgrounds like most others in Western Europe usually offer a full range of amenities. You always have your own electricity hookup, and water and sewer hookups for each are common,.

Every campground has restrooms and showers as well as kitchens, washing-machines and a spin dryer. It lists almost all campgrounds along with prices, type of location, size, opening hours, amenities, you-name-it.

Since the guide uses lots of symbols which are explained in a number of languages, it is suitable for travellers from abroad, too.

Ride-sharing or pre-arranged hitchiking - MFZ is popular in Germany and the fare for a ride is often much cheaper than the railway fare. There are several websites which put drivers offering to share their vehicles in touch with passengers willing to share the costs of that journey.

Popular websites are Mitfahrgelegenheit , blablacar , mitfahren. Offline agencies like Citynetz [31] or ADM [32] do have offices in major cities, mostly near the city centre or the main railway station.

These offline agencies do charge a commission to the cost for fuel you need to pay for the driver. It is possible to hitchhike in Germany and most Germans speak basic English, so you will be understood if you speak slowly.

Drivers rarely expect you to give them any money for the ride. The first letters of the German number plate before the two seals indicate the city in which the car is registered.

If you know the code for your destination [33] , it will increase your chances of stopping the right vehicle. It is illegal to stop on the Autobahn itself, but hitchhiking from service areas or petrol stations is a good way of getting long rides km.

The hard part is getting onto the Autobahn, so it pays off to sleep near the gas stations if you are going far. At the gas stations, you can get a free booklet called Tanken und Rasten with a map of the Autobahn and its gas stations.

When getting a lift, agree with the driver where to get off, and make sure there is a gas station. Try to avoid the Autohof s. Another form of hitchhiking available in Germany is to share group tickets on regional trains.

To hitch a ride with other travelers, first figure out which regional transportation you will need to take in order to reach your destination, and which group discounts are available.

Then you ask people seemingly doing nothing at the ticket machines around 20 minutes before regional trains between major stations depart, they may be willing to share a ticket with you.

Consider finding a group through the "Mitfahrzentrale" or similar services mentioned above in advance, many people list their travel plans online.

The official language of Germany is German. The standard register of German is called "Hochdeutsch" High German.

This can be understood by all mother-tongue speakers of German and spoken by almost all when necessary. However, every region has its own dialect, which might pose a challenge sometimes to those who speak even good German and even to native speakers as well.

This is usually noticeable only in the south not too much in big cities such as Stuttgart or Munich though and rural areas of the north and east.

Thus, when travelling in Bavaria, Saxony and Baden, you are stepping foot in places where dialect remains a strong part of the local identity.

The general rule is that south of the Main River divides north Germany from the south in both language and local culture.

If you intend address the person you're speaking to in German, refer to the person as "Sie" if you aren't acquainted with that person yet.

All Germans learn English at school, so you should be able to get by with English in most places especially in the former West Germany.

Many people--especially in the tourism industry and higher educated persons--also speak French , Russian or Spanish , but if you can't speak German, English remains your best bet.

Even if one member of the staff doesn't speak English, you are likely to find someone who does and is more than willing to help you.

In the southeastern part of that area, a small Slavic community of 50, also speak the Sorbian language, the least spoken modern Slavic language today, but widely protected from near-extinction since Also on the western coast of Germany there is a small ethnic group speaking its own language, the Frisian people.

There are also some other Frisian communities spread in the north of Lower Saxony for example in Saterland.

The Frisian culture is protected by law, due to their status as minority. If you address a German with English, always first ask "Do you speak English?

Germans are less fluent in the English language and often answer questions very briefly one or two words because they feel uncertain how to create a complete English sentence.

This might sometimes appear impolite but is not at all meant this way. Germans less fluent in English also often say "become" instead of "get" because the German word "bekommen" "get" is phonetically so close to "become".

Since it's polite to reply "Bitte" if someone thanks you, Germans may literally translate this with "please" instead of "here you are" or "you're welcome".

Another source of confusion is that Germans call mobile or cellular phones a "Handy" and many of them regard this as an English word.

Germans considering themselves fluent in the English language will often offer to speak English with you if you try to speak German with them.

It's considered by most as a sign of politeness even though it might be annoying for people who want to practice German. Pointing out that you'll want to try in German is perfectly fine and most people will react very positive or apologize if you do.

It is worth noting that English is in the same language family as the German language. Hence when you read German signs, there are a good number of words that may resemble their English counterparts.

While Germany uses the 24 hour format for written times, people very often use 12 hour times in conversations. Another difference is that when saying the time is In addition, Germans say two-digit numbers "backwards": This becomes especially important when you inquire for prices, although most who speak English with you should use the correct form.

It is still better to double-check what is really meant. When thinking of Germany, beer, lederhosen and Alpine hats quickly come to mind, but these stereotypes mostly relate to Bavarian culture and do not represent Germany as a whole.

Germany is a vast and diverse country with 16 culturally unique states that have only formed a political union since in the modern era, and including the significant parenthesis.

If you're still looking for the cliches, the Romantic Road is a famous scenic route along romantic castles and picturesque villages. With its fairy tale appearance, the Neuschwanstein Castle could be considered the most iconic of German castles.

The walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a beautiful mediaeval centre that seems untouched by the passage of time.

Similar typical German towns can be found elsewhere in the country, like Görlitz , Bamberg , Celle , Heidelberg , Erfurt , and Quedlinburg.

Your picture postcard visit to Germany will be complete with a visit to the beer halls of Munich and a peek of the Alps at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Germany is a modern industrial nation, and the Wirtschaftswunder is best represented by the industrial heritage of the Ruhr.

Hamburg is another economic powerhouse with the second busiest port of the continent. Frankfurt is the financial centre of Germany, and of Europe as a whole, as it is the base of the European Central Bank.

Its skyline comes close to those found at the other side of the Atlantic. The fashion city of Düsseldorf , media industry of Cologne , and car companies in Stuttgart each represent a flourishing sector of the German economic miracle.

A completely different experience can be found in Berlin , a city unlikely to be found anywhere else on the planet.

While architecturally an odd mismatch of sterilised apartment blocks, post-modernist glass and steel structures, and some historic left-overs, it has a laid-back atmosphere and a culture of internationalism that accepts everyone as a "Berliner".

If you want to see a perfect example of gentrification, visit the formally "hip", now very settled Prenzlauer Berg district.

The Schöningen Spears are 8 wooden throwing spears from the Palaeolithic Age, that were found between and in the open-cast lignite mine, Schöningen , county Helmstedt , Germany, together with approx.

More than , years old they are the oldest completely preserved hunting weapons in the world and they are regarded as the first evidence of the active hunt by Homo heidelbergensis.

These discoveries have permanently changed the picture of the cultural and social development of early man.

Due to its size and location in Central Europe, Germany boasts a large variety of different landscapes. The landscape is very flat and the climate is rough with strong winds and mild, chilly temperatures.

Due to the south-easterly winds that press water into the German Bight, tidal variations are exceptionally high, creating the Wadden Sea.

Vast areas of the seabed are uncovered twice a day, allowing one to walk from one of the numerous islands to another.

The East Frisian Islands just off the coast are very picturesque, although mostly visited by the Germans themselves.

Favourite white sand resorts along the Baltic Sea include Rügen and Usedom. The central half of Germany is a patchwork of the Central Uplands , hilly rural areas where fields and forests intermix with larger cities.

The Rhine Valley has a very mild, amenable climate and fertile grounds, making it the country's most important area for wine and fruit growing.

While only a small part of the Alps lie in Germany, they are famous for their beauty and the unique Bavarian culture.

Along the country's southwestern border with Switzerland and Austria lies Lake Constance , Germany's largest fresh-water lake. Germany offers virtually every activity you can imagine.

Most Germans are members of a sports club and visit cultural events less often. Due to the federal structure every region has its own specific activities.

Every village has a club and the games are the main social event on weekends. Participation is strongly encouraged.

The German Football Museum in Dortmund presents the history of this. In the winter many people go skiing in the Alps in Bavaria close to Munich.

Almost every middle-size German city has a spa often called Therme with swimming pools, water slides, hot tubs, saunas, steam baths, sun roofs etc.

The sauna areas are usually visited by both genders, and people are nude there. Wearing any clothing, this including swimsuits, is considered not hygienic and is therefore not at all permitted.

Germany has world class opera houses especially Berlin , Bayreuth , and Munich and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra [35] is known as one of the top three orchestras in the world.

Germany is considered to have the strongest classical music traditions in Europe, with many famous composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Handel and Wagner originating from Germany.

Several theatres in bigger cities play outstanding classical and contemporary plays. Germany prides itself in the wide variety of cultural events and every city works out a cultural agenda.

Musicals are popular in Germany. Although there are some touring productions from time to time, most shows stay in a specific city for a few years.

Most shows belong to the company called "Stage Entertainment". Rather interestingly, William Shakespeare is adored in Germany like almost nowhere else--the Anglosphere included.

This can be attributed in large part to Goethe, who fell in love with the Bard's works. If your German is up to it or you can find a English performance, seeing a performance can be very interesting.

According to some Germans, Shakespeare is actually improved in translation, as the language used is more contemporary.

These 24 countries are: Together, these countries have a population of more than million. One euro is divided into cents. While each official euro member as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone.

Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries. If you have Deutsche Marks no matter if coins or notes remaining from previous trips, they can still be exchanged free of charge at all branches of the german national bank Bundesbank and sometimes at other banks just ask.

The Bundesbank operates 35 branches in nearly all major cities in Germany. Do not expect anybody to accept foreign currencies or to be willing to exchange currency.

An exception are shops and restaurants at airports and also - more rarely - fast-food restaurants at major train stations.

These will generally accept at least US dollars at a slightly worse exchange rate. If you wish to exchange money, you can do so at most banks, where you can also cash in your traveller's cheques.

Currency exchanges, once a common sight, have all but disappeared since the introduction of the euro. Again, international airports and train stations are an exception to this rule.

Swiss Franc can sometimes be accepted near the Swiss border. Don't be fooled by seeing card terminals in shops or other people paying with cards - these machines may not necessarily be programmed to accept foreign cards, so it is best to inquire or look out for acceptance decals before shopping or fuelling your car all major brand gas stations will accept credit cards.

Hotels, larger retailers, chain gas stations, nationwide companies, many supermarkets and some pharmacies accept credit cards; discount stores or small independent shops tend not to with exceptions.

Some places impose a minimum purchase amount typically 5 or 10 euros for card payments. Most ATMs will allow you to withdraw money with your credit card or foreign debit card, but you'll need to know your card's PIN for that.

Unlike in some other countries, service staff are always paid by the hour albeit not always that well. A tip is therefore mainly a matter of politeness and shows your appreciation.

If you didn't appreciate the service e. The same applies when it is clear that you are on a business trip, and that you get reimbursed only for your expenses indicated on the bill, but not for tips.

Since the introduction of the Euro, a tip Trinkgeld , lit. Nonetheless, service charge is already included in an item's unit price so what you see is what you pay.

Tipping in Germany is usually done by mentioning the total while paying. If you pay by credit or debit card, it is perfectly acceptable to tip by card.

However, the slips which German credit card terminals produce do not contain any extra space for manually writing a tip and a total onto it. Thus, indicate the total amount you want to pay, this including the tip, before staff type the total amount into the machine.

In common with most other Western European languages, the meanings of points and commas are exactly inverse to the English custom; in German a comma is used to indicate a decimal.

A dot is used to "group" numbers one dot for three digits , so "1. Fuel, sparkling wine, spirits and tobacco are subject to even higher taxes, the first of those excise taxes - the "Branntweinsteuer" spirit tax - first being imposed on Nordhäuser Branntwein the ancestor of Nordhäuser Korn in , the certainly most ridiculous of them - the sparkling wine tax - being introduced by Emperor Wilhelm II to finance the Kiel Canal and his war fleet.

Still, high street prices some of these products are still considerably lower than prices charged at "duty free stores" at airports, or even in the country of origin.

In particular, this applies to wine and whisky. Some German brands of high end goods such as kitchen utensils , stationery , and hiking gear are considerably cheaper than abroad.

VAT is always included by law in an item's price tag except when goods are sold business-to-business only by vendors which only sell to businesses, which may reimburse the VAT paid.

This usually requires you to get a certain "tax-free" certificate from the vendor participating in that scheme. Such participation is often indicated by a decal at the store entrance.

You may not use the item you had bought within the EU before departing. You would have to present the merchandise together with the certificates to customs at the place e.

You will not be harrassed by customs, but expect them to ask for some reasonable proof that you are about to export unused goods which are identical to the ones indicated on the certificates.

Thus, officers might demand physical presentation of the merchandise, to check whether it shows signs of use. It helps to leave price tags on clothing, and not to remove any seals from electronic equipment packaging.

Some proof of identity passport and of your residence outside the EU may also be demanded. If customs are satisfied that you fulfill the criteria, they will endorse your "tax-free" certificates with an export certificate stamp, and you can then follow instructions on the documents, telling how to send in the certificates and how to get the VAT transferred.

Besides this certificate-based procedure, there also do exist other procedures to reimburse the VAT, but those are more complicated.

Many Germans rather look for prices and do not like getting "ripped off" when shopping for food. As a result, the competition between food discounters which might be the cause of this very specific behaviour is exceptionally fierce in fact, WalMart had to withdraw from the German market because it failed at competing on price and results in very low food prices compared to other European countries.

The chains "Aldi", "Lidl", "Penny" and "Netto" are a special type of supermarket sometimes called "Discounter", but generally referred to as "Supermarkt", as well: Their range of products is limited to the necessities of daily life like vegetables, pasta, milk, eggs, convenience foods, toiletries etc.

While quality is generally surprisingly high, do not expect delicatessen or local specialities when you go to shop there.

Don't blame discounter personnel for being somewhat harsh; although they are paid slightly better than usual, they have to cope with a rather grim working atmosphere and a significantly higher workload than colleagues in "standard" supermarkets and therefore are certainly not amused about being disturbed in getting their work done.

Beside those major chains, Turkish supermarkets which can be found in townships with predominantly Turkish population can be a worthwhile alternative since they combine the characteristics of discounters low price levels but limited assortment with those of "standard" supermarkets Turkish specialties and usually friendly personnel.

Deposit for beverage containers: Germany has an elaborate and confusing beverage container deposit " Pfand " system. Bottles usually cost between 8 and 25 cents Pfand per bottle depending on their type.

Additional Pfand is due for special carrying baskets matching the bottle measures. The Pfand can be cashed in at any store which sells the type of container you wish to return, often by means of a high-tech bottle reader than spins the bottle, reads the Pfand , and issues a ticket redeemable with the cashier.

Pfand is also usually declared on the price tag of the product. Some contents like wine or drinks not containing carbonic acid do not have to be sold with Pfand.

They may or may not have a label saying pfandfrei deposit-free on them. Reusable bottles are always sold with Pfand because the bottler wants you to bring the bottle back for refilling.

Reusable bottles are taken back, cleaned thoroughly and refilled up to 50 times. The label with the logo on it must remain on the bottle to reclaim your Pfand.

A reusable container that requires Pfand does not always explicitly state that. Instead it may have one of these logos or just read "Mehrwegflasche" reusable bottle or "Mehrweg-Pfandflasche" reusable deposit bottle on it.

Reusable containers are recognized by other means which means the label does not have to stay on the container. There are also a few other instances where Pfand is due, for example for standardized gas containers.

Pfand on glasses, bottles and crockery is also common at discotheques, self-service bars or public events, but usually not at a students' cafeteria.

If you have a container you paid Pfand for and are not planning on taking it back, be a nice person and place it beside a waste bin so someone can take it and bring it back.

Cigarette machines are often dotted around towns and cities be aware you will need an EU driving licence or a debit card with an electronic chip to "unlock" the machine; in restaurants you may ask the waiter for a identification card.

The legal age to buy tobacco and smoke publicly in Germany is Some Germans buy paper and tobacco separately as this is significantly cheaper.

Due to a federal reform, opening hours are set by the states, therefore opening hours vary from state to state.

Most states have no more strict opening hours from Monday to Saturday however, you will rarely find 24 hours shops other than at petrol stations the only exceptions are Saarland and Bavaria where stores are only allowed to open and Sachsen Sunday and national holidays is normally closed for shops everywhere in Germany, including pharmacies.

However single pharmacies remain open for emergencies every pharmacy will have a sign telling you which pharmacy is currently open for emergencies.

Information can be obtained here [36]. Shops are allowed to open on Sundays on special occasions called "Verkaufsoffener Sonntag", information on open Sundays may be found here [37] or here [38].

Every German city uses these days except Munich. Small shops are often closed If necessary in many big cities you will find a few sometimes more expensive supermarkets with longer opening hours often near the main station.

Bakeries usually offer service on Sunday mornings business hours vary as well. Also most petrol stations have a small shopping area. In some parts of Germany like Berlin , Cologne , Düsseldorf and the Ruhr area there are cornershops called "Späti" oder "Spätkauf" "latey" , "Kiosk", "Trinkhalle" drinking hall or "Büdchen" little hut that offer newspapers, drinks and at least basic food supplies.

Basic supplies can usually be bought around the clock at gas stations. Gas station owners work around opening hour restrictions by running 7-Eleven style mini marts on their gas station property.

Be aware that prices are usually quite high. Another exception to this law are supermarkets located in touristy areas.

Towns designated as a Kurort health resort are allowed to have their stores open all week during tourist season. Just ask a local for those well-kept secret stores.

In some larger cities such as Leipzig and Frankfurt , this can include an entire shopping mall that happens to be attached to the train station.

German food usually sticks to its roots and a typical dish will consist of meat with some form of potatoes and gravy, accompanied by vegetables or salad.

Modern German cuisine has been influenced by other European countries such as Italy and France to become lighter. Dishes show a great local diversity which is interesting to discover.

Starting from the lower end, these are:. Sausages will include Bratwurst, which is fried and usually a boiled pork sausage.

A very German variant is Currywurst: Beer and often even spirits are available in most Schnellimbisse. Even though considered Turkish, it's actually a speciality which originated in Germany.

According to legend, it was invented by Turkish immigrants in West Berlin during the s. In fact, the 'Döner' is Germany's most loved fast food.

Nordsee is a German seafood chain, which offers 'Rollmops' pickled herrings and many other fish and seafood snacks. However, many independent seafood snack-bars most common along the German coasts offer slightly better and slightly cheaper seafood.

Even the smallest bakeries will sell many sorts of bread or rolls, most of them darker for example, using wholemeal or rye flour than the white bread popular around the world and definitely worth a try.

Even if they don't already have it prepared, almost all butchers will prepare a sandwich for you if you ask. Some butchers even prepare meals for you.

This butcher 'imbiss' is mainly popular in southern Germany, and the quality and freshness of food is usually high. Here you will get the obvious drink.

In traditional beergardens in Bavaria , it is possible to bring your own food if you buy drinks, while in the northern parts of Germany, this behaviour would be considered inappropriate, so you had better courtously ask the waiter for the specific place's policy.

Most places will offer simple meals. A very good place for beer and Bavarian food is the Biergarten of "Kloster Andechs" close to the Ammersee round 40km southwest of Munich take the Autobahn to the west A96 or the S-Bahn.

Smaller breweries sell their products straight to the customer and sometimes you will find food there as well, among it usually "Haxe" or "Schweinshaxe" pig's leg , a distinctively German specialty and probably the best dish in almost every establishment of that sort.

In Frankonia, this is replaced by "Schäuferla" in different spellings. In other parts of Germany, you might find different traditional dishes being served, as, for example, in Cologne, where "Halve Hahn" a rye roll with cheese is considered typical.

Be aware of local customs: Increasingly, new breweries, offering innovative beers, are opening in Germany, where you may order dishes which are down-to-earth and innovative at the same time.

In some traditional breweries, and in pubs in the western part of Germany, your consumption is usually recorded on your beer mat, which is a small round piece of cardboard which is placed below your beer glass.

And this leads to something which may be considered typically German: This pragmatic recording approach is supported by the legal order.

Any manipulation of those records on beer mats, or the suppression of such beer mats, is considered "forgery of documents", or "elimination of documents", both being criminal offences.

The fact that beer mats are associated with legal documents even got reflected in a campaign of a German politician, demanding that tax returns should be so easy that "every citizen should be in a position to file the return on a beer mat".

They are mainly family-run businesses that have been owned for generations, comparable to pubs in the UK. You can go there simply for a drink, or to try German food often with a local flavour.

Food is usually down-to-earth and may range from very basic dishes to local specialities. Except from very simple places that try to feed people off with reheated convenience products, the quality of the food can be very good.

If you spot a place that appears popular with the locals, it's usually worth giving it a try. When locals who appear to be quite well-off indicate a certain place and state that prices are appropriate, you should definitely give a try to such place: In formerly rural areas which are quite near to larger cities and which have turned into quite wealthy suburban spaces, formerly simple rural pubs have adopted to a quite wealthy, albeit price-aware and critical, new clientele.

They might offer surprisingly elaborate food, a large variety of beverages, in particular selected wines, and food which conforms with specific dietary requirements.

Usually, they do not need to advertise much, but rather rely on recommendations. And they know that their clientele knows the German proverb: You have to pay some price for good quality of food and beverages, but not for more.

Expect such places in particular around cities like Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich, or Hamburg. Especially in more rural areas, a traditional Gasthof may not cater for all dietary requirements e.

In that case, check the menu before entering. Germany has a wide range of flavors e. Most cities will also have speciality restaurants that cater for various dietary requirements.

Berlin in particular offers a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. Outside of the bigger cities, the situation may be more difficult but most restaurants will try to accomodate you and list at least some vegetarian options.

Food at Turkish and Arab eateries will usually be halal, and most of the time they will also have vegetarian options. Kosher restaurants are rare and will only be found in cities with a notable Jewish population, like Berlin.

In most restaurants in Germany you can choose your own table. You can make reservations recommended for larger groups and haute cuisine on Saturday nights and these are marked by reservation cards "Reserviert".

In some more expensive restaurants in larger cities you should have reservation and will be seated by the staff - in simpler restaurants you'll just pick a table and sit down.

Restaurants in commercial areas often offer weekday lunch specials. Specials tend to rotate on a daily or weekly basis, especially when fresh ingredients like fish are involved.

Some restaurants offer all-you-can-eat-buffets where you pay around 10 euros and can eat as much as you want.

Drinks are not included in this price. If you cannot finish your meal, you can ask whether it is possible to wrap your leftovers for taking them home.

Most restaurant staff are happy about this request, as it indicates that you indeed liked the food and simply could not finish. Legally, you bought the food served, are the owner of it, and are allowed to take it home, but the restaurant is not required to wrap it.

As they will be happy to wrap it for you without formal surcharge, and as they will be providing you with a bag for comfortably taking it home, consider to add an additional euro to the tip for that service as a gesture of appreciation.

These restaurants offer mostly standardized meat dishes like Schnitzel or Bratwurst in big to inhumane sizes. It is common and encouraged to take leftover food home.

Although such food will usually not contain any preservatives or other additives as the turnaround is high , do not expect the food or the customers of such restaurants to be very healthy.

At very formal events and in high-end restaurants, a few deviations of German customs from western standards should be noted:. Rinderroulade mit Rotkraut und Knödeln: Very thin sliced beef rolled around a piece of bacon and pickled cucumber until it looks like a mini barrel 5cm diameter flavoured with tiny pieces of onion, German mustard, ground black pepper and salt.

The meat is quick-fried and is then left to cook slowly for an hour, meanwhile red cabbage and potato dumplings are prepared and then the meat is removed from the frying pan and gravy is prepared in the frying pan.

Knödel, Rotkraut and Rouladen are served together with the gravy in one dish. Schnitzel mit Pommes frites: They have in common a thin slice of pork often covered in egg and bread crumbs that is fried for a short period of time and it is often served with fries that's the Pommes frites part.

Variations of this are usually served with different types of gravy: In the south you can often get Spätzle pasta that Swabia is famous for instead of fries with it.

Spätzle are egg noodles typical of south Germany — most restaurants make them fresh. Due to the easiness of its preparation ordering it might be perceived as an insult to any business with a decent reputation with the exception of Wiener Schnitzel perhaps , admittedly it is almost unavoidable to spot it on the menu of any German sleazy joint and there were — and still are — so many that even Churchill's bombs couldn't hit 'em all In and around these areas you can enjoy the best game in Germany.

Rehrücken means venison tenderloin and it is often served with freshly made noodles such as Spätzle and a very nice gravy based on a dry red wine.

Here is the shortlist version: If you spot a sausage on a menu this is often a good and sometimes the only choice. Often served with mashed potato, fries or potato salad.

The most popular type of sausage probably is the Currywurst Bratwurst cut into slices and served with ketchup and curry and can be bought almost everywhere.

Roast pork, tradidtional the closer you get to or into Munich. Try the crust, which should be crispy. There sould be little visible but tastible fat.

If you pass through Nuremberg, try Schäufele , the local variant of pork shoulder in a restaurant that has it on the daily not the regular menu.

Literally "meatballs from Königsberg", this is a typical dish in and around Berlin. The meatballs are made out of minced pork and anchovies and are cooked and served in a white sauce with capers and rice or potatoes.

Starting from the north of Germany going south you will find a tremendous variety of food and each region sticks to it origins.

Labskaus although strictly speaking not a German invention is a dish from the north and the opinions about this dish are divided, some love it, others hate it.

The north is also famous for its lamb dishes , the best type of lamb probably being "Rudenlamm" lamb from Ruden, a small island in the Baltic Sea; only a few restaurants in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania serve this , the second best type being "Salzwiesenlamm" salt meadow lamb.

The Lueneburger Heide Lueneburg Heath is famous not only for its heath but also for its Heidschnucken, a special breed of sheep.

Be aware that a lot of restaurants import their lamb from New Zealand though because it is cheaper. Crabs and mussels are also quite common along the German coasts, especially in North Frisia.

A speciality of Hamburg is "Aalsuppe" which - despite the name in this case "Aal" means "everything", not "eel" - originally contained almost everything - except eel today many restaurants include eel within this soup, because the name led tourists into confusion.

At the coast there's a variety of fish dishes. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that, for eating fish, you visit specialised or quality restaurants only.

A fast-food style restaurant chain serving standardized quality fish and other seafood at low prices all over Germany is "Nordsee", though you will rarely find authentic specialties there.

Literally this is pig stomach filled with a mash of potato and meat, cooked for hours and then cut in thick slices often served with sauerkraut.

Swabia is famous for Spätzle a kind of noodle , "Maultaschen" noodles stuffed with spinach and mince meat, but lots of variations, even veggie ones, exist.

The south is also famous for its nice tarts such as the "Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte" tart with lots of cream and spirit made from cherries. A delicacy in Saxony is Eierschecke , a cake made of eggs and cream similar to cheese cake.

A specialty of the East is "Soljanka" originating from Ukraine, but probably the most common dish in the GDR , a sour soup containing vegetables and usually some kind of meat or sausages.

Many vegetables can be found all year round and are often imported from far away. Whereas asparagus can be found for only 2 months and is best enjoyed fresh after harvest, it stays nice for a couple of hours or until next day.

The asparagus is treated very carefully and it is harvested before it is ever exposed to daylight, therefore it remains white. When exposed to daylight it changes its colour to green and might taste bitter.

Therefore, white asparagus is considered to be better by most Germans. The standard asparagus meal is the asparagus stalks, hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes, and some form of meat.

The most common meat is ham, preferably smoked; however you will also find it teamed with schnitzel fried breaded pork , turkey, beef, or whatever is available in the kitchen.

White asparagus soup is one of the hundreds of different recipes that can be found with white asparagus.

Often it is made with cream and contains some of the thinner asparagus pieces. Another example of a seasonal speciality is "Grünkohl" kale. You can find that mainly in Lower Saxony, particularly around Oldenburg and the "Ammerland", Bremen, as well as the southern and south-western parts such as the "Emsland" or around the "Wiehengebirge" and the "Teutoburger Wald", but also everywhere else there and in the eastern parts of North-Rhine-Westphalia.

It is usually served with a boiled rough sort of sausage called "Pinkel" around Oldenburg and roasted potatoes. If you are travelling in Lower-Saxony in fall, you should get it in every "Gasthaus".

Usually the first "Grünkohl" is harvested after the first frost in autumn and is on the menu from November until March. Lebkuchen are some of Germany's many nice Christmas biscuits and gingerbread.

The best known are produced in and around Nuremberg. Stollen is a kind of cake eaten during the Advent season and Yuletide. Original Stollen is produced only in Dresden , Saxony , however you can buy Stollen everywhere in Germany although Dresdner Stollen is reputed to be the best and - due to the lower salaries in Eastern Germany - comparatively cheap.

Germans are very fond of their bread , which they make in many variations. This is the food that Germans tend to miss most when away from home.

Most people like their bread relatively dark and dense and scorn the soft loaves sold in other countries. Bakeries will rarely provide less than twenty different sorts of bread and it's worth trying a few of them.

In fact, many Germans buy their lunch or small snacks in bakeries instead of takeaways or the like. Prices for a loaf of bread will range from 0.

In bakeries it is possible and even common to buy half or even quarter of a loaf. Most restaurants have one or two vegetarian dishes, but there aren't many places which are particularly aimed at vegetarian or vegan customers, except a few places in big cities like Berlin.

If the menu does not contain vegetarian dishes, do not hesitate to ask. Vegetarian restaurant guides can be found at [39] german or [40] VEBU restaurant list, the restaurants are not necessarily vegetarian in general.

Be aware when ordering to ask whether the dish is suitable for vegetarians, as chicken stock and bacon cubes are a commonly "undeclared" ingredient on German menus.

However, there are usually organic food shops "Bioladen", "Naturkostladen" or "Reformhaus" in every city, providing veg etari an bread, spreads, cheese, ice cream, vegan milk substitutes, tofu and seitan.

Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing to Europe, a development that laid the basis for the spread of learning to the masses.

In , the Peace of Augsburg established Lutheranism as an acceptable alternative to Catholicism, but also decreed that the faith of the prince was to be the faith of his subjects, a principle called Cuius regio, eius religio.

The agreement at Augsburg failed to address other religious creed: In the 18th century, the Holy Roman Empire consisted of approximately 1, territories.

Having no male heirs, he had convinced the Electors to retain Habsburg hegemony in the office of the emperor by agreeing to the Pragmatic Sanction.

From , the dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated the German history.

In , then again in and , the two dominant German states of Prussia and Austria, along with the Russian Empire , agreed to the Partitions of Poland ; dividing among themselves the lands of the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth.

As a result of the partitions, millions of Polish speaking inhabitants fell under the rule of the two German monarchies. However, the annexed territories though incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Realm, were not legally considered as a part of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the Imperium was dissolved; many German states, particularly the Rhineland states , fell under the influence of France.

Following the fall of Napoleon , the Congress of Vienna convened in founded the German Confederation Deutscher Bund , a loose league of 39 sovereign states.

The appointment of the Emperor of Austria as the permanent president of the Confederation reflected the Congress's failure to accept Prussia's rising influence among the German states, and acerbated the long-standing competition between the Hohenzollern and Habsburg interests.

Disagreement within restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, followed by new measures of repression by Austrian statesman Metternich.

The Zollverein , a tariff union, furthered economic unity in the German states. The Hambach Festival in May was a main event in support of German unity , freedom and democracy.

In the light of a series of revolutionary movements in Europe , which established a republic in France , intellectuals and commoners started the Revolutions of in the German states.

King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, leading to a temporary setback for the movement.

Bismarck successfully concluded war on Denmark in , which promoted German over Danish interests in the Jutland peninsula.

The subsequent and decisive Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of enabled him to create the North German Confederation Norddeutscher Bund which excluded Austria from the federation's affairs.

After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War , the German princes proclaimed the founding of the German Empire in at Versailles , uniting all the scattered parts of Germany except Austria and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland.

Prussia was the dominant constituent state of the new empire; the Hohenzollern King of Prussia ruled as its concurrent Emperor, and Berlin became its capital.

In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany , Bismarck's foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war.

Under Wilhelm II , Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course, leading to friction with neighbouring countries.

Most alliances in which Germany had previously been involved were not renewed. This resulted in creation of a dual alliance with the multinational realm of Austria-Hungary , promoting at least benevolent neutrality if not outright military support.

Similarly, Britain, France and Russia also concluded alliances that would protect them against Habsburg interference with Russian interests in the Balkans or German interference against France.

In what became known as the "First Genocide of the Twentieth-Century", between and , the German colonial government in South West Africa present-day Namibia ordered the annihilation of the local Herero and Namaqua peoples , as a punitive measure for an uprising against German colonial rule.

After four years of warfare, in which approximately two million German soldiers were killed, [46] a general armistice ended the fighting on 11 November, and German troops returned home.

Germany's new political leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in In this treaty, Germany, as part of the Central Powers , accepted defeat by the Allies in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time.

Germans perceived the treaty as humiliating and unjust and it was later seen by historians as influential in the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Germany was declared a republic at the beginning of the German Revolution in November It was supported by parts of the Reichswehr military and other conservative, nationalistic and monarchist factions.

After a tumultuous period of bloody street fighting in the major industrial centres, the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops and the rise of inflation culminating in the hyperinflation of —23 , a debt restructuring plan and the creation of a new currency in ushered in the Golden Twenties , an era of increasing artistic innovation and liberal cultural life.

Historians describe the period between and as one of "partial stabilisation. After the federal election of , Chancellor Heinrich Brüning 's government was enabled by President Paul von Hindenburg to act without parliamentary approval.

The Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler won the special federal election of After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January Using deficit spending, a government-sponsored programme for economic renewal focused on public works projects.

In public work projects of , 1. In , the regime withdrew from the Treaty of Versailles and introduced the Nuremberg Laws which targeted Jews and other minorities.

Germany also reacquired control of the Saar in , [62] remilitarised the Rhineland in , annexed Austria in , annexed the Sudetenland in with the Munich Agreement and in direct violation of the agreement occupied Czechoslovakia with the proclamation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in March Kristallnacht , or the "Night of Broken Glass", saw the burning of hundreds of synagogues, the destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses, and the arrest of around 30, Jewish men by Nazi forces inside Germany.

Many Jewish women were arrested and placed in jails and a curfew was placed on the Jewish people in Germany. In August , Hitler's government negotiated and signed the Molotov—Ribbentrop pact that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

In response to Hitler's actions, two days later, on 3 September, after a British ultimatum to Germany to cease military operations was ignored, Britain and France declared war on Germany.

The British repelled German air attacks in the Battle of Britain in the same year. By , Germany and other Axis powers controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa , but following the Soviet Union's victory at the Battle of Stalingrad , the allies' reconquest of North Africa and invasion of Italy in , German forces suffered repeated military defeats.

By late , the Western allies had entered Germany despite one final German counter offensive in the Ardennes Forest. In what later became known as The Holocaust , the German government persecuted minorities and used a network of concentration and death camps across Europe to conduct a genocide of what they considered to be inferior peoples.

In total, over 10 million civilians were systematically murdered, including 6 million Jews , between , and 1,, Romani , , persons with disabilities , thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses , thousands of homosexuals , and hundreds of thousands of members of the political and religious opposition from Germany, and occupied countries Nacht und Nebel.

Germany lost roughly one-quarter of its pre-war territory. After Germany surrendered, the Allies partitioned Berlin and Germany's remaining territory into four military occupation zones.

They were informally known as West Germany and East Germany. East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn as a provisional capital, to emphasise its stance that the two-state solution was an artificial and temporary status quo.

West Germany was established as a federal parliamentary republic with a " social market economy ". Starting in West Germany became a major recipient of reconstruction aid under the Marshall Plan and used this to rebuild its industry.

Under his and Ludwig Erhard 's leadership, the country enjoyed prolonged economic growth beginning in the early s, that became known as an " economic miracle " Wirtschaftswunder.

Although East Germany claimed to be a democracy, political power was exercised solely by leading members Politbüro of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party of Germany , supported by the Stasi , an immense secret service controlling many aspects of the society.

Gorbachov , Tear down this wall! Kennedy 's famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech of 26 June In summer , Hungary decided to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders, causing the emigration of thousands of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary.

This had devastating effects on the GDR, where regular mass demonstrations received increasing support. The East German authorities eased the border restrictions, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West; originally intended to help retain East Germany as a state, the opening of the border actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process.

This culminated in the Two Plus Four Treaty a year later on 12 September , under which the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the Instrument of Surrender , and Germany regained full sovereignty.

This permitted German reunification on 3 October , with the accession of the five re-established states of the former GDR.

The united Germany is considered to be the enlarged continuation of the Federal Republic of Germany and not a successor state.

As such, it retained all of West Germany's memberships in international organisations. Among the major projects of the two Schröder legislatures was the Agenda to reform the labour market to become more flexible and reduce unemployment.

Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union. Together with its European partners Germany signed the Maastricht Treaty in , established the Eurozone in , and signed the Lisbon Treaty in In the elections , Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany as the leader of a grand coalition.

In , a liberal - conservative coalition under Merkel assumed leadership of the country. In , a grand coalition was established in a Third Merkel cabinet.

Among the major German political projects of the early 21st century are the advancement of European integration , the energy transition Energiewende for a sustainable energy supply, the " Debt Brake " for balanced budgets, measures to increase the fertility rate significantly pronatalism , and high-tech strategies for the future transition of the German economy, summarised as Industry 4.

Germany was affected by the European migrant crisis in as it became the final destination of choice for many asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East entering the EU.

The country took in over a million refugees and migrants and developed a quota system which redistributed migrants around its federal states based on their tax income and existing population density.

Germany is in Western and Central Europe , with Denmark bordering to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, Switzerland to the south-southwest, France, Luxembourg and Belgium lie to the west, and the Netherlands to the northwest.

Germany is also bordered by the North Sea and, at the north-northeast, by the Baltic Sea. With Switzerland and Austria, Germany also shares a border on the fresh-water Lake Constance , the third largest lake in Central Europe.

It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 64th largest in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps highest point: The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany lowest point: Germany's alpine glaciers are experiencing deglaciation.

Significant natural resources include iron ore, coal, potash , timber, lignite , uranium , copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land and water.

Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate dominated by humid westerly winds. The country is situated in between the oceanic Western European and the continental Eastern European climate.

This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea; consequently in the northwest and the north the climate is oceanic. Winters are cool and summers tend to be warm: The east has a more continental climate: Central and southern Germany are transition regions which vary from moderately oceanic to continental.

In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central German Uplands have a mountain climate, with lower temperatures and more precipitation.

Though the German climate is rarely extreme, there are occasional spikes of cold or heat. Winter temperatures can sometimes drop to two-digit negative temperatures for a few days in a row.

Conversely, summer can see periods of very high temperatures for a week or two. The recorded extremes are a maximum of The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.

Plants and animals include those generally common to Central 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.

Wild animals include roe deer , wild boar , mouflon a subspecies of wild sheep , fox , badger , hare , and small numbers of the Eurasian beaver.

In addition, there are 15 Biosphere Reserves , as well as 98 nature parks. More than registered zoos and animal parks operate in Germany, which is believed to be the largest number in any country.

Germany has a number of large cities. There are 11 officially recognised metropolitan regions in Germany. The largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region Germany is a federal , parliamentary , representative democratic republic.

The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz Basic Law.

Amendments generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of parliament; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law are valid in perpetuity.

The president , Frank-Walter Steinmeier 19 March —present , is the head of state and invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers.

He is elected by the Bundesversammlung federal convention , an institution consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates.

The second-highest official in the German order of precedence is the Bundestagspräsident President of the Bundestag , who is elected by the Bundestag and responsible for overseeing the daily sessions of the body.

The third-highest official and the head of government is the Chancellor, who is appointed by the Bundespräsident after being elected by the Bundestag.

The chancellor, Angela Merkel 22 November —present , is the head of government and exercises executive power through their Cabinet , similar to the role of a Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies.

Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the Bundestag Federal Diet and Bundesrat Federal Council , which together form the legislative body.

The Bundestag is elected through direct elections , by proportional representation mixed-member. So far every chancellor has been a member of one of these parties.

In the German federal election, , the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany gained enough votes to attain representation in the parliament for the first time.

The debt-to-GDP ratio of Germany had its peak in when it stood at Germany has a civil law system based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law.

The Bundesverfassungsgericht Federal Constitutional Court is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review.

Criminal and private laws are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. The German penal system seeks the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of the public.

Germany has a low murder rate with 0. Germany comprises sixteen federal states which are collectively referred to as Bundesländer.

Two of the states are city-states consisting of just one city: The state of Bremen consists of two cities that are separated from each other by the state of Lower Saxony: Because of the differences in size and population the subdivisions of the states vary.

As of [update] Germany is divided into districts Kreise at a municipal level; these consist of rural districts and urban districts.

Germany has a network of diplomatic missions abroad [] and maintains relations with more than countries. It has played an influential role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France and all neighbouring countries since Germany promotes the creation of a more unified European political, economic and security apparatus.

The development policy of Germany is an independent area of foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and carried out by the implementing organisations.

The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community. In , Chancellor Gerhard Schröder 's government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking part in the NATO decisions surrounding the Kosovo War and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since In absolute terms, German military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world.

As of [update] the Bundeswehr employed roughly , service members, including about 9, volunteers. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence.

In state of defence , the Chancellor would become commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr. The role of the Bundeswehr is described in the Constitution of Germany as defensive only.

But after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in the term "defence" has been defined to not only include protection of the borders of Germany, but also crisis reaction and conflict prevention, or more broadly as guarding the security of Germany anywhere in the world.

As of [update] , the German military has about 3, troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, including about 1, supporting operations against Daesh , in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and in Kosovo.

Until , military service was compulsory for men at age 18, and conscripts served six-month tours of duty; conscientious objectors could instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst civilian service , or a six-year commitment to voluntary emergency services like a fire department or the Red Cross.

In conscription was officially suspended and replaced with a voluntary service. Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled labour force , a large capital stock , a low level of corruption, [] and a high level of innovation.

Germany is part of the European single market which represents more than million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union EU members and by EU legislation.

Germany introduced the common European currency, the Euro in Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank , which is headquartered in Frankfurt , the financial centre of continental Europe.

Being home to the modern car , the automotive industry in Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world, [] and is the fourth largest by production.

Of the world's largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in , the Fortune Global , 28 are headquartered in Germany.

Germany is recognised for its large portion of specialised small and medium enterprises , known as the Mittelstand model.

More than 1, of these companies are global market leaders in their segment and are labelled hidden champions. The list includes the largest German companies by revenue in With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub for the continent.

Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. Germany is committed to the Paris Agreement and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, water management , and the renewable energy commercialisation.

Germany is a global leader in science and technology as its achievements in the fields of science and technology have been significant.

Research and development efforts form an integral part of the economy. Albert Einstein introduced the special relativity and general relativity theories for light and gravity in and respectively.

Along with Max Planck , he was instrumental in the introduction of quantum mechanics , in which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born later made major contributions.

Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers , including Hans Geiger , the creator of the Geiger counter ; and Konrad Zuse , who built the first fully automatic digital computer.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz 's work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication.

The Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald hosts a facility in the research of fusion power for instance. Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world, [] with a total of million overnights during In , over Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe.

Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over EUR Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.

Germany's most-visited landmarks include e. The Europa-Park near Freiburg is Europe's second most popular theme park resort. With a population of The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is Four sizeable groups of people are referred to as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries.

The Roma and Sinti live throughout the whole federal territory and the Frisians live on Schleswig-Holstein's western coast, and in the north-western part of Lower Saxony.

Approximately 5 million Germans live abroad. After the United States , Germany is the second most popular immigration destination in the world.

The Federal Statistical Office classifies the citizens by immigrant background. Regarding the immigrant background, In census, as people with immigrant background Personen mit Migrationshintergrund were counted all immigrants, including ethnic Germans that came to the federal republic or had at least one parent settling here after The largest part of people with immigrant background is made up of returning ethnic Germans Aussiedler and Spätaussiedler , followed by Turkish, European Union, and former Yugoslav citizens.

In the s and s, the German governments invited "guest workers" Gastarbeiter to migrate to Germany for work in the German industries.

Many companies preferred to keep these workers employed in Germany after they had trained them and Germany's immigrant population has steadily increased.

As of [update] , the largest national group was from Turkey 2,, , followed by Poland 1,, , Russia 1,, , and Italy , Upon its establishment in , Germany was about two-thirds Protestant [f] and one-third Roman Catholic , with a notable Jewish minority.

Other faiths existed in the state, but never achieved a demographic significance and cultural impact of these three confessions.

Germany lost nearly all of its Jewish minority during the Holocaust. Religious makeup changed gradually in the decades following , with West Germany becoming more religiously diversified through immigration and East Germany becoming overwhelmingly irreligious through state policies.

It continues to diversify after the German reunification in , with an accompanying substantial decline in religiosity throughout all of Germany and a contrasting increase of evangelical Protestants and Muslims.

Geographically, Protestantism is concentrated in the northern, central and eastern parts of the country. According to the German Census , Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, claiming Other religions accounted for 2.

According to the most recent data from , the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church claimed respectively Islam is the second largest religion in the country.

Other religions comprising less than one per cent of Germany's population [] are Buddhism with , adherents, Judaism with , adherents, and Hinduism with some , adherents.

All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50, adherents each. German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany.

To a lesser extent, it is also related to the North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.

German is written using the Latin alphabet. German dialects , traditional local varieties traced back to the Germanic tribes, are distinguished from varieties of standard German by their lexicon , phonology , and syntax.

German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union , with around million native speakers. The most used immigrant languages are Turkish , Kurdish , Polish , the Balkan languages , and Russian.

Germans are typically multilingual: The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with institutes. It is offering the study of the German language and encouraging global cultural exchange.

Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years.

Primary education usually lasts for four to six years. A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree.

It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school. Most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment.

However, there are a number of exceptions, depending on the state, the college and the subject. Tuition free academic education is open to international students and is increasingly common.

Germany has a long tradition of higher education. The established universities in Germany include some of the oldest in the world , with Heidelberg University established in being the oldest.

In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence: Germany's system of hospices, called spitals , dates from medieval times, and today, Germany has the world's oldest universal health care system, dating from Bismarck's social legislation of the s, [] Since the s, reforms and provisions have ensured a balanced health care system.

Currently the population is covered by a health insurance plan provided by statute, with criteria allowing some groups to opt for a private health insurance contract.

A study shows Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe. Culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular.

Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker "the land of poets and thinkers" , [] because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.

Germany is well known for such folk festival traditions as Oktoberfest and Christmas customs , which include Advent wreaths , Christmas pageants , Christmas trees , Stollen cakes, and other practices.

In the 21st century Berlin has emerged as a major international creative centre. German classical music includes works by some of the world's most well-known composers.

Dieterich Buxtehude composed oratorios for organ, which influenced the later work of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel ; these men were influential composers of the Baroque period.

During his tenure as violinist and teacher at the Salzburg cathedral, Augsburg-born composer Leopold Mozart mentored one of the most noted musicians of all time: Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras.

Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms composed in the Romantic idiom. Richard Wagner was known for his operas.

Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Zimmer are important composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Germany is the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world. German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre.

Paul van Dyk , Paul Kalkbrenner , and Scooter. German painters have influenced western art. The New Objectivity arose as a counter-style to it during the Weimar Republic.

Other notable artists who work with traditional media or figurative imagery include Martin Kippenberger , Gerhard Richter , Sigmar Polke , and Neo Rauch.

Major art exhibitions and festivals in Germany are the documenta , the Berlin Biennale , transmediale and Art Cologne. Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles , which were precursors of Romanesque.

Brick Gothic is a distinctive medieval style that evolved in Germany. Also in Renaissance and Baroque art, regional and typically German elements evolved e.

Weser Renaissance and Dresden Baroque. The Wessobrunner School exerted a decisive influence on, and at times even dominated, the art of stucco in southern Germany in the 18th century.

The Upper Swabian Baroque Route offers a baroque-themed tourist route that highlights the contributions of such artists and craftsmen as the sculptor and plasterer Johann Michael Feuchtmayer , one of the foremost members of the Feuchtmayer family and the brothers Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Dominikus Zimmermann.

When industrialisation spread across Europe, Classicism and a distinctive style of historism developed in Germany, sometimes referred to as Gründerzeit style , due to the economical boom years at the end of the 19th century.

Notable sub-styles that evolved since the 18th century are the German spa and seaside resort architecture. German artists, writers and gallerists like Siegfried Bing , Georg Hirth and Bruno Möhring also contributed to the development of Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century, known as Jugendstil in German.

Expressionist architecture developed in the s in Germany and influenced Art Deco and other modern styles, with e.

Germany was particularly important in the early modernist movement: Consequently, Germany is often considered the cradle of modern architecture and design.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became one of the world's most renowned architects in the second half of the 20th century.

German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level.

German philosophy is historically significant: Gottfried Leibniz 's contributions to rationalism ; the enlightenment philosophy by Immanuel Kant ; the establishment of classical German idealism by Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling ; Arthur Schopenhauer 's composition of metaphysical pessimism; the formulation of communist theory by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ; Friedrich Nietzsche 's development of perspectivism ; Gottlob Frege 's contributions to the dawn of analytic philosophy ; Martin Heidegger 's works on Being; Oswald Spengler 's historical philosophy; the development of the Frankfurt School by Max Horkheimer , Theodor Adorno , Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas have been particularly influential.

Many of Europe's best-selling newspapers and magazines are produced in Germany. The German video gaming market is one of the largest in the world.

German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film. The first works of the Skladanowsky Brothers were shown to an audience in Director Fritz Lang 's Metropolis is referred to as the first major science-fiction film.

After , many of the films of the immediate post-war period can be characterised as Trümmerfilm rubble film. The defining film genre in West Germany of the s was arguably the Heimatfilm "homeland film" ; these films depicted the beauty of the land and the moral integrity of the people living in it.

One of the most successful German movie series of the s included the sex reports called Schulmädchen-Report Schoolgirl Report.

Various Germans won an "Oscar" award for their performances in other films. The Berlin International Film Festival , known as "Berlinale", awarding the " Golden Bear " and held annually since , is one of the world's leading film festivals.

German cuisine varies from region to region and often neighbouring regions share some culinary similarities e. International varieties such as pizza , sushi , Chinese food , Greek food , Indian cuisine and doner kebab are also popular.

Bread is a significant part of German cuisine and German bakeries produce about main types of bread and 1, different types of pastries and rolls Brötchen.

German cheeses account for about a third of all cheese produced in Europe. Germans produce their ubiquitous sausages in almost 1, varieties, including Bratwursts and Weisswursts.

Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, especially close to German wine regions , [] the national alcoholic drink is beer.

The Michelin Guide awarded eleven restaurants in Germany three stars , the highest designation, while 38 more received two stars and one star. Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue sports individually.

With more than 6. Other popular spectator sports include winter sports , boxing , basketball , handball , volleyball , ice hockey , tennis , horse riding and golf.

Water sports like sailing , rowing , and swimming are popular in Germany as well. Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world.

Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race 19 times, and Audi 13 times as of [update].

The driver Michael Schumacher has set many motor sport records during his career, having won seven Formula One World Drivers' Championships , more than any other.

He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history. Historically, German athletes have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games , ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count when combining East and West German medals.

Germany was the last country to host both the summer and winter games in the same year, in the Berlin Summer Games and the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

German designers became early leaders of modern product design , with the Bauhaus designers like Mies van der Rohe , and Dieter Rams of Braun being essential pioneers.

Germany is a leading country in the fashion industry. The German textile industry consisted of about 1, companies with more than , employees in , which generated a revenue of 28 billion Euro.

Almost 44 per cent of the products are exported. Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf are also important design, production and trade hubs of the domestic fashion industry, among smaller towns.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Germany disambiguation and Deutschland disambiguation.

For the country from to , see West Germany. Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. Show map of Europe. Germania , Migration Period , and Frankish Realm.

East Francia and Holy Roman Empire. Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. History of Germany — German reunification and History of Germany since List of cities and towns in Germany and List of cities in Germany by population.

Largest cities or towns in Germany Statistical offices in Germany 31 December Foreign relations of Germany. Transport in Germany and Rail transport in Germany.

Science and technology in Germany. Demographics of Germany and Germans. Baroque Dresden Frauenkirche Evangelical. Gothic Cologne Cathedral Roman Catholic.

German language and Languages of Germany. Friedrich , Wanderer above the Sea of Fog Franz Marc , Roe Deer in the Forest German literature and German philosophy.

Germany portal Europe portal. Forbundsrepublikken Tyskland Low German: Bundesrepubliek Düütschland Upper Sorbian: Federalni Republika Jermaniya North Frisian: Since , the third verse alone has been the national anthem.

There were also unions in other smaller German states happening independent of each other. The tax rate is eight percent of income tax and certain other taxes in Bavaria and nine percent in other states; in most cases the tax is collected by the state and in other cases data on church members' income is shared.

Archived from the original on 7 March Retrieved 8 March Statistisches Bundesamt Destatis , Retrieved 8 June Evangelical Church of Germany.

Retrieved 6 December Archived from the original on 16 January Retrieved 24 October Archived from the original on 4 March Retrieved 25 November United Nations Development Programme.

Archived PDF from the original on 22 March Retrieved 14 September Duden, Aussprachewörterbuch in German 6th ed. Zippelius, Reinhold []. The Lost German East.

Archived from the original on 1 December Archived from the original on 11 September Archived from the original on 16 September P 27 August Archived from the original on 1 January Retrieved 27 August Archived from the original on 8 February Archived from the original on 3 September Retrieved 25 May Archived from the original on 15 February Retrieved 31 January Archived from the original on 4 January Retrieved 14 May Unesco memory of the World.

Archived from the original on 11 October New York University Press. A Concise History of Germany. Historical Dictionary of Austria.

Volume 70 2nd ed. Archived from the original on 16 May The Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay. In Bowman, Alan K. The Cambridge Ancient History: X, The Augustan Empire, 43 B.

Volume 10 2nd ed. Archived from the original on 23 December The crisis of empire, A. The Cambridge Ancient History. The Roman Empire and its Germanic Peoples.

Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. The Great Famine — and the Black Death — Archived from the original on 29 April Retrieved 19 March The printing press as an agent of change.

Cambridge University Press, pp. The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap. A History of Eastern Europe: Archived from the original on 24 March Retrieved 26 March The Guardian News and Media Limited.

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The valuation of this loot is estimated to be In Poland, Nazi plunder of raw materials began even before the German invasion had concluded. The Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German Reich.

Following Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet Union was also plundered. In alone, 9,, tons of cereals, 2,, tonnes 2,, long tons; 2,, short tons of fodder, 3,, tonnes 3,, long tons; 3,, short tons of potatoes, and , tonnes , long tons; , short tons of meats were sent back to Germany.

During the course of Germany's occupation of Soviet territory, some 12 million pigs and 13 million sheep had been taken. The total value of this plunder is estimated at 4 billion Reichsmarks.

This relatively low number in comparison to the occupied nations of Western Europe can be attributed to the devastating fighting on the Eastern Front.

Nazi Germany's racial policy was based on their belief in the existence of a superior master race. The Nazis postulated the existence of a racial conflict between the Aryan master race and inferior races, particularly Jews, who were viewed as a mixed race that had infiltrated society and were responsible for the exploitation and repression of the Aryan race.

Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the seizure of power. Following a month-long series of attacks by members of the SA on Jewish businesses and synagogues, on 1 April Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses.

The regime used violence and economic pressure to encourage Jews to voluntarily leave the country. Citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks.

In November a young Jewish man requested an interview with the German ambassador in Paris and met with a legation secretary, whom he shot and killed to protest his family's treatment in Germany.

Members of the SA damaged or destroyed synagogues and Jewish property throughout Germany. The Jewish community was fined one billion marks to pay for the damage caused by Kristallnacht and told that any insurance settlements would be confiscated.

Emigrants to Palestine were allowed to transfer property there under the terms of the Haavara Agreement , but those moving to other countries had to leave virtually all their property behind, and it was seized by the government.

Like the Jews, the Romani or Gypsy people were subjected to persecution from the early days of the regime.

The Romani were forbidden to marry people of German extraction. They were also shipped to concentration camps starting in and killed in large numbers.

The Nazis intended on deporting all Romani people from Germany, and confined them to Zigeunerlager Gypsy camps for this purpose.

Himmler ordered their deportation from Germany in December , with few exceptions. A total of 23, Romani were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp , of whom 19, died.

Outside of Germany, the Romani people were regularly used for forced labour, though many were killed. In occupied Serbia , 1, to 12, Romani were killed, while nearly all 25, Romani living in the Independent State of Croatia were killed.

The estimates at end of the war put the total death toll at around ,, which equalled approximately 25 percent of the Romani population in Europe.

Action T4 was a programme of systematic murder of the physically and mentally handicapped and patients in psychiatric hospitals that took place mainly from to , and continued until the end of the war.

Initially the victims were shot by the Einsatzgruppen and others; gas chambers and gas vans using carbon monoxide were used by early Most of the victims came from disadvantaged groups such as prostitutes, the poor, the homeless, and criminals.

Germany's war in the East was based on Hitler's long-standing view that Jews were the great enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for Germany's expansion.

The Generalplan Ost "General Plan for the East" called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered.

In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan.

Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians. Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists.

Around the time of the failed offensive against Moscow in December , Hitler resolved that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated immediately.

Some would be worked to death and the rest would be killed in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

Initially the victims were killed by Einsatzgruppen firing squads, then by stationary gas chambers or by gas vans , but these methods proved impractical for an operation of this scale.

The Allies received information about the murders from the Polish government-in-exile and Polish leadership in Warsaw, based mostly on intelligence from the Polish underground.

Evans states that most German citizens disapproved of the genocide. Poles were viewed by Nazis as subhuman non-Aryans, and during the German occupation of Poland 2.

The German authorities engaged in a systematic effort to destroy Polish culture and national identity. During operation AB-Aktion , many university professors and members of the Polish intelligentsia were arrested, transported to concentration camps, or executed.

During the war, Poland lost an estimated 39 to 45 percent of its physicians and dentists, 26 to 57 percent of its lawyers, 15 to 30 percent of its teachers, 30 to 40 percent of its scientists and university professors and 18 to 28 percent of its clergy.

During the course of the war, the Nazis captured 5. Of these, an estimated 3. From onward, Soviet POWs were viewed as a source of forced labour, and received better treatment so they could work.

Antisemitic legislation passed in led to the removal of all Jewish teachers, professors and officials from the education system.

Frequent and often contradictory directives were issued by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, Bernhard Rust of the Reichserziehungsministerium Ministry of Education , and various other agencies regarding content of lessons and acceptable textbooks for use in primary and secondary schools.

Detailed National Socialist indoctrination of future holders of elite military rank was undertaken at Order Castles. Primary and secondary education focused on racial biology, population policy, culture, geography, and especially physical fitness.

At universities, appointments to top posts were the subject of power struggles between the education ministry, the university boards, and the National Socialist German Students' League.

Women were a cornerstone of Nazi social policy and the Nazis opposed the feminist movement, claiming that it was the creation of Jewish intellectuals, instead advocating a patriarchal society in which the German woman would recognise that her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home".

Courses were offered on childrearing, sewing and cooking. Women were encouraged to leave the workforce, and the creation of large families by racially suitable women was promoted through a propaganda campaign.

Women received a bronze award—known as the Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter Cross of Honour of the German Mother —for giving birth to four children, silver for six and gold for eight or more.

Though the measures led to increases in the birth rate, the number of families having four or more children declined by five percent between and After the war started, slave labourers were extensively used.

The Nazi regime discouraged women from seeking higher education since Nazi leaders held conservative views about women and endorsed the idea that rational and theoretical work was alien to a woman's nature since they were considered inherently emotional and instinctive — as such, engaging in academics and careerism would only "divert them from motherhood".

The number of women enrolled in post-secondary schools dropped from , in to 51, in However, with the requirement that men be enlisted into the armed forces during the war, women comprised half of the enrolment in the post-secondary system by Women were expected to be strong, healthy and vital.

The BDM's activities focused on physical education, with activities such as running, long jumping, somersaulting, tightrope walking, marching and swimming.

The Nazi regime promoted a liberal code of conduct regarding sexual matters and was sympathetic to women who bore children out of wedlock.

Soldier's wives were frequently involved in extramarital relationships. Sex was sometimes used as a commodity to obtain better work from a foreign labourer.

With Hitler's approval, Himmler intended that the new society of the Nazi regime should destigmatise illegitimate births, particularly of children fathered by members of the SS, who were vetted for racial purity.

Existing laws banning abortion except for medical reasons were strictly enforced by the Nazi regime. The number of abortions declined from 35, per year at the start of the s to fewer than 2, per year at the end of the decade, though in a law was passed allowing abortions for eugenics reasons.

Nazi Germany had a strong anti-tobacco movement as pioneering research by Franz H. Müller in demonstrated a causal link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer.

Government-run health care insurance plans were available, but Jews were denied coverage starting in That same year, Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat government-insured patients.

In , Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat non-Jewish patients and in their right to practice medicine was removed entirely. Medical experiments, many of them pseudoscientific , were performed on concentration camp inmates beginning in Josef Mengele , camp doctor at Auschwitz.

Nazi society had elements supportive of animal rights and many people were fond of zoos and wildlife. In , the Nazis enacted a stringent animal-protection law that affected what was allowed for medical research.

The Reich Forestry Office under Göring enforced regulations that required foresters to plant a wide variety of trees to ensure suitable habitat for wildlife and a new Reich Animal Protection Act became law in When the Nazis seized power in , roughly 67 percent of the population of Germany was Protestant , 33 percent was Roman Catholic , while Jews made up less than 1 percent.

Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany's 28 existing Protestant state churches , [] with the ultimate goal of eradication of the churches in Germany.

Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Catholic schools were required to reduce religious instruction and crucifixes were removed from state buildings.

Pope Pius XI had the " Mit brennender Sorge " "With Burning Concern" encyclical smuggled into Germany for Passion Sunday and read from every pulpit as it denounced the systematic hostility of the regime toward the church.

Enrolment in denominational schools dropped sharply and by all such schools were disbanded or converted to public facilities. He planned the "extermination of the foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany", and for the Bible and Christian cross to be replaced in all churches, cathedrals, and chapels with copies of Mein Kampf and the swastika.

While no unified resistance movement opposing the Nazi regime existed, acts of defiance such as sabotage and labour slowdowns took place, as well as attempts to overthrow the regime or assassinate Hitler.

These networks achieved little beyond fomenting unrest and initiating short-lived strikes. The group was detected by the Gestapo and more than 50 members were tried and executed in The two groups saw themselves as potential rival parties in post-war Germany, and for the most part did not co-ordinate their activities.

While civilian efforts had an impact on public opinion, the army was the only organisation with the capacity to overthrow the government.

They believed Britain would go to war over Hitler's planned invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Germany would lose. The plan was to overthrow Hitler or possibly assassinate him.

The planned coup was cancelled after the signing of the Munich Agreement in September Several more attempts followed before the failed 20 July plot, which was at least partly motivated by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war.

Evans , The Coming of the Third Reich The regime promoted the concept of Volksgemeinschaft , a national German ethnic community.

The goal was to build a classless society based on racial purity and the perceived need to prepare for warfare, conquest and a struggle against Marxism.

As well as taking control of tens of thousands of privately run recreational clubs, it offered highly regimented holidays and entertainment such as cruises, vacation destinations and concerts.

Sub-chambers were set up to control aspects of cultural life such as film, radio, newspapers, fine arts, music, theatre and literature.

Members of these professions were required to join their respective organisation. Jews and people considered politically unreliable were prevented from working in the arts, and many emigrated.

Books and scripts had to be approved by the Propaganda Ministry prior to publication. Standards deteriorated as the regime sought to use cultural outlets exclusively as propaganda media.

Radio became popular in Germany during the s; over 70 percent of households owned a receiver by , more than any other country. By July , radio station staffs were purged of leftists and others deemed undesirable.

Newspapers, like other media, were controlled by the state; the Reich Press Chamber shut down or bought newspapers and publishing houses.

By , over two thirds of the newspapers and magazines were directly owned by the Propaganda Ministry.

Under Goebbels, the Propaganda Ministry issued two dozen directives every week on exactly what news should be published and what angles to use; the typical newspaper followed the directives closely, especially regarding what to omit.

Authors of books left the country in droves and some wrote material critical of the regime while in exile. Goebbels recommended that the remaining authors concentrate on books themed on Germanic myths and the concept of blood and soil.

By the end of , over a thousand books—most of them by Jewish authors or featuring Jewish characters—had been banned by the Nazi regime.

Pacifist works, and literature espousing liberal, democratic values were targeted for destruction, as well as any writings supporting the Weimar Republic or those written by Jewish authors.

Hitler took a personal interest in architecture and worked closely with state architects Paul Troost and Albert Speer to create public buildings in a neoclassical style based on Roman architecture.

Neither structure was built. Hitler's belief that abstract , Dadaist , expressionist and modern art were decadent became the basis for policy.

The exhibition proved wildly popular, attracting over two million visitors. Movies were popular in Germany in the s and s, with admissions of over a billion people in , and Exports of German films plummeted, as their antisemitic content made them impossible to show in other countries.

The two largest film companies, Universum Film AG and Tobis , were purchased by the Propaganda Ministry, which by was producing most German films.

The productions were not always overtly propagandistic, but generally had a political subtext and followed party lines regarding themes and content.

Leni Riefenstahl 's Triumph of the Will —documenting the Nuremberg Rally—and Olympia —covering the Summer Olympics —pioneered techniques of camera movement and editing that influenced later films.

New techniques such as telephoto lenses and cameras mounted on tracks were employed. Both films remain controversial, as their aesthetic merit is inseparable from their propagandising of National Socialist ideals.

The Allied powers organised war crimes trials, beginning with the Nuremberg trials , held from November to October , of 23 top Nazi officials.

They were charged with four counts—conspiracy to commit crimes, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity —in violation of international laws governing warfare.

The result was convictions of 1, people; of these were sentenced to death and to life in prison, with the remainder receiving lesser sentences.

About 65 percent of the death sentences were carried out. The political programme espoused by Hitler and the NSDAP brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Europe.

Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde Null Zero Hour. While Evans remarks that the era "exerts an almost universal appeal because its murderous racism stands as a warning to the whole of humanity", [] young neo-Nazis enjoy the shock value the use Nazi symbols or slogans provides.

The process of denazification, which was initiated by the Allies as a way to remove Nazi Party members was only partially successful, as the need for experts in such fields as medicine and engineering was too great.

However, expression of Nazi views was frowned upon, and those who expressed such views were frequently dismissed from their jobs. While virtually every family suffered losses during the war has a story to tell, Germans kept quiet about their experiences and felt a sense of communal guilt, even if they were not directly involved in war crimes.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann in and the broadcast of the television miniseries Holocaust in brought the process of Vergangenheitsbewältigung coping with the past to the forefront for many Germans.

Study of the era and a willingness to critically examine its mistakes has led to the development of a strong democracy in Germany, but with lingering undercurrents of antisemitism and neo-Nazi thought.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the book, see Das Dritte Reich. Administrative divisions of Germany, January The German state from to , under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Anschluss and German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

Mass suicides in Nazi Germany. Territorial evolution of Germany. Government of Nazi Germany. Law in Nazi Germany. Economy of Nazi Germany.

Nazism and race , Racial policy of Nazi Germany , and Nazi eugenics. Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany. Nazi crimes against the Polish nation.

German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war. University education in Nazi Germany. Women in Nazi Germany. Animal welfare in Nazi Germany.

Religion in Nazi Germany. German resistance to Nazism. If the experience of the Third Reich teaches us anything, it is that a love of great music, great art and great literature does not provide people with any kind of moral or political immunization against violence, atrocity, or subservience to dictatorship.

List of authors banned in Nazi Germany. Nazi architecture and Art of the Third Reich. Tümmler , p. See Statistisches Jahrbuch It could not be expected that even for a brief period our Air Force could make up for our lack of naval supremacy.

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz believed air superiority was not enough and admitted, "We possessed neither control of the air or the sea; nor were we in any position to gain it.

The figure of 2 to 2. The German Red Cross still maintains that the death toll from the expulsions is 2. Goebbel's propaganda campaigns carried out in the second half of and again in had failed to convert them".

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Being home to the modern car , the automotive industry in Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world, [] and is the fourth largest by production.

Of the world's largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in , the Fortune Global , 28 are headquartered in Germany.

Germany is recognised for its large portion of specialised small and medium enterprises , known as the Mittelstand model.

More than 1, of these companies are global market leaders in their segment and are labelled hidden champions.

The list includes the largest German companies by revenue in With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub for the continent.

Germany has established a polycentric network of high-speed trains. Germany is committed to the Paris Agreement and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, water management , and the renewable energy commercialisation.

Germany is a global leader in science and technology as its achievements in the fields of science and technology have been significant.

Research and development efforts form an integral part of the economy. Albert Einstein introduced the special relativity and general relativity theories for light and gravity in and respectively.

Along with Max Planck , he was instrumental in the introduction of quantum mechanics , in which Werner Heisenberg and Max Born later made major contributions.

Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers , including Hans Geiger , the creator of the Geiger counter ; and Konrad Zuse , who built the first fully automatic digital computer.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz 's work in the domain of electromagnetic radiation was pivotal to the development of modern telecommunication. The Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald hosts a facility in the research of fusion power for instance.

Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world, [] with a total of million overnights during In , over Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe.

Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over EUR Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.

Germany's most-visited landmarks include e. The Europa-Park near Freiburg is Europe's second most popular theme park resort. With a population of The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is Four sizeable groups of people are referred to as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries.

The Roma and Sinti live throughout the whole federal territory and the Frisians live on Schleswig-Holstein's western coast, and in the north-western part of Lower Saxony.

Approximately 5 million Germans live abroad. After the United States , Germany is the second most popular immigration destination in the world.

The Federal Statistical Office classifies the citizens by immigrant background. Regarding the immigrant background, In census, as people with immigrant background Personen mit Migrationshintergrund were counted all immigrants, including ethnic Germans that came to the federal republic or had at least one parent settling here after The largest part of people with immigrant background is made up of returning ethnic Germans Aussiedler and Spätaussiedler , followed by Turkish, European Union, and former Yugoslav citizens.

In the s and s, the German governments invited "guest workers" Gastarbeiter to migrate to Germany for work in the German industries.

Many companies preferred to keep these workers employed in Germany after they had trained them and Germany's immigrant population has steadily increased.

As of [update] , the largest national group was from Turkey 2,, , followed by Poland 1,, , Russia 1,, , and Italy , Upon its establishment in , Germany was about two-thirds Protestant [f] and one-third Roman Catholic , with a notable Jewish minority.

Other faiths existed in the state, but never achieved a demographic significance and cultural impact of these three confessions.

Germany lost nearly all of its Jewish minority during the Holocaust. Religious makeup changed gradually in the decades following , with West Germany becoming more religiously diversified through immigration and East Germany becoming overwhelmingly irreligious through state policies.

It continues to diversify after the German reunification in , with an accompanying substantial decline in religiosity throughout all of Germany and a contrasting increase of evangelical Protestants and Muslims.

Geographically, Protestantism is concentrated in the northern, central and eastern parts of the country. According to the German Census , Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, claiming Other religions accounted for 2.

According to the most recent data from , the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church claimed respectively Islam is the second largest religion in the country.

Other religions comprising less than one per cent of Germany's population [] are Buddhism with , adherents, Judaism with , adherents, and Hinduism with some , adherents.

All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50, adherents each. German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany.

To a lesser extent, it is also related to the North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.

German is written using the Latin alphabet. German dialects , traditional local varieties traced back to the Germanic tribes, are distinguished from varieties of standard German by their lexicon , phonology , and syntax.

German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union , with around million native speakers.

The most used immigrant languages are Turkish , Kurdish , Polish , the Balkan languages , and Russian. Germans are typically multilingual: The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with institutes.

It is offering the study of the German language and encouraging global cultural exchange. Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states.

Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years.

Primary education usually lasts for four to six years. A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree.

It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school. Most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment.

However, there are a number of exceptions, depending on the state, the college and the subject. Tuition free academic education is open to international students and is increasingly common.

Germany has a long tradition of higher education. The established universities in Germany include some of the oldest in the world , with Heidelberg University established in being the oldest.

In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence: Germany's system of hospices, called spitals , dates from medieval times, and today, Germany has the world's oldest universal health care system, dating from Bismarck's social legislation of the s, [] Since the s, reforms and provisions have ensured a balanced health care system.

Currently the population is covered by a health insurance plan provided by statute, with criteria allowing some groups to opt for a private health insurance contract.

A study shows Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe. Culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular.

Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker "the land of poets and thinkers" , [] because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.

Germany is well known for such folk festival traditions as Oktoberfest and Christmas customs , which include Advent wreaths , Christmas pageants , Christmas trees , Stollen cakes, and other practices.

In the 21st century Berlin has emerged as a major international creative centre. German classical music includes works by some of the world's most well-known composers.

Dieterich Buxtehude composed oratorios for organ, which influenced the later work of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel ; these men were influential composers of the Baroque period.

During his tenure as violinist and teacher at the Salzburg cathedral, Augsburg-born composer Leopold Mozart mentored one of the most noted musicians of all time: Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras.

Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms composed in the Romantic idiom. Richard Wagner was known for his operas. Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.

Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Zimmer are important composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Germany is the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world.

German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre.

Paul van Dyk , Paul Kalkbrenner , and Scooter. German painters have influenced western art. The New Objectivity arose as a counter-style to it during the Weimar Republic.

Other notable artists who work with traditional media or figurative imagery include Martin Kippenberger , Gerhard Richter , Sigmar Polke , and Neo Rauch.

Major art exhibitions and festivals in Germany are the documenta , the Berlin Biennale , transmediale and Art Cologne.

Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles , which were precursors of Romanesque.

Brick Gothic is a distinctive medieval style that evolved in Germany. Also in Renaissance and Baroque art, regional and typically German elements evolved e.

Weser Renaissance and Dresden Baroque. The Wessobrunner School exerted a decisive influence on, and at times even dominated, the art of stucco in southern Germany in the 18th century.

The Upper Swabian Baroque Route offers a baroque-themed tourist route that highlights the contributions of such artists and craftsmen as the sculptor and plasterer Johann Michael Feuchtmayer , one of the foremost members of the Feuchtmayer family and the brothers Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Dominikus Zimmermann.

When industrialisation spread across Europe, Classicism and a distinctive style of historism developed in Germany, sometimes referred to as Gründerzeit style , due to the economical boom years at the end of the 19th century.

Notable sub-styles that evolved since the 18th century are the German spa and seaside resort architecture. German artists, writers and gallerists like Siegfried Bing , Georg Hirth and Bruno Möhring also contributed to the development of Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century, known as Jugendstil in German.

Expressionist architecture developed in the s in Germany and influenced Art Deco and other modern styles, with e. Germany was particularly important in the early modernist movement: Consequently, Germany is often considered the cradle of modern architecture and design.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became one of the world's most renowned architects in the second half of the 20th century.

German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level.

German philosophy is historically significant: Gottfried Leibniz 's contributions to rationalism ; the enlightenment philosophy by Immanuel Kant ; the establishment of classical German idealism by Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling ; Arthur Schopenhauer 's composition of metaphysical pessimism; the formulation of communist theory by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ; Friedrich Nietzsche 's development of perspectivism ; Gottlob Frege 's contributions to the dawn of analytic philosophy ; Martin Heidegger 's works on Being; Oswald Spengler 's historical philosophy; the development of the Frankfurt School by Max Horkheimer , Theodor Adorno , Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas have been particularly influential.

Many of Europe's best-selling newspapers and magazines are produced in Germany. The German video gaming market is one of the largest in the world.

German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film. The first works of the Skladanowsky Brothers were shown to an audience in Director Fritz Lang 's Metropolis is referred to as the first major science-fiction film.

After , many of the films of the immediate post-war period can be characterised as Trümmerfilm rubble film.

The defining film genre in West Germany of the s was arguably the Heimatfilm "homeland film" ; these films depicted the beauty of the land and the moral integrity of the people living in it.

One of the most successful German movie series of the s included the sex reports called Schulmädchen-Report Schoolgirl Report.

Various Germans won an "Oscar" award for their performances in other films. The Berlin International Film Festival , known as "Berlinale", awarding the " Golden Bear " and held annually since , is one of the world's leading film festivals.

German cuisine varies from region to region and often neighbouring regions share some culinary similarities e. International varieties such as pizza , sushi , Chinese food , Greek food , Indian cuisine and doner kebab are also popular.

Bread is a significant part of German cuisine and German bakeries produce about main types of bread and 1, different types of pastries and rolls Brötchen.

German cheeses account for about a third of all cheese produced in Europe. Germans produce their ubiquitous sausages in almost 1, varieties, including Bratwursts and Weisswursts.

Although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, especially close to German wine regions , [] the national alcoholic drink is beer.

The Michelin Guide awarded eleven restaurants in Germany three stars , the highest designation, while 38 more received two stars and one star.

Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue sports individually. With more than 6.

Other popular spectator sports include winter sports , boxing , basketball , handball , volleyball , ice hockey , tennis , horse riding and golf.

Water sports like sailing , rowing , and swimming are popular in Germany as well. Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world.

Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race 19 times, and Audi 13 times as of [update].

The driver Michael Schumacher has set many motor sport records during his career, having won seven Formula One World Drivers' Championships , more than any other.

He is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history. Historically, German athletes have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games , ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count when combining East and West German medals.

Germany was the last country to host both the summer and winter games in the same year, in the Berlin Summer Games and the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

German designers became early leaders of modern product design , with the Bauhaus designers like Mies van der Rohe , and Dieter Rams of Braun being essential pioneers.

Germany is a leading country in the fashion industry. The German textile industry consisted of about 1, companies with more than , employees in , which generated a revenue of 28 billion Euro.

Almost 44 per cent of the products are exported. Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf are also important design, production and trade hubs of the domestic fashion industry, among smaller towns.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Germany disambiguation and Deutschland disambiguation.

For the country from to , see West Germany. Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe.

Show map of Europe. Germania , Migration Period , and Frankish Realm. East Francia and Holy Roman Empire.

Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. History of Germany — German reunification and History of Germany since List of cities and towns in Germany and List of cities in Germany by population.

Largest cities or towns in Germany Statistical offices in Germany 31 December Foreign relations of Germany.

Transport in Germany and Rail transport in Germany. Science and technology in Germany. Demographics of Germany and Germans. Baroque Dresden Frauenkirche Evangelical.

Gothic Cologne Cathedral Roman Catholic. German language and Languages of Germany. Friedrich , Wanderer above the Sea of Fog Franz Marc , Roe Deer in the Forest German literature and German philosophy.

Germany portal Europe portal. Forbundsrepublikken Tyskland Low German: Bundesrepubliek Düütschland Upper Sorbian: Federalni Republika Jermaniya North Frisian: Since , the third verse alone has been the national anthem.

There were also unions in other smaller German states happening independent of each other. The tax rate is eight percent of income tax and certain other taxes in Bavaria and nine percent in other states; in most cases the tax is collected by the state and in other cases data on church members' income is shared.

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Archived PDF from the original on 12 September Retrieved 1 January Archived PDF from the original on 9 February Retrieved 5 October Euro area unemployment rate at Archived from the original on 10 December Retrieved 12 December Archived from the original on 4 November Archived from the original on 2 May Retrieved 23 April Archived from the original on 15 March Archived from the original on 6 November Retrieved 28 October Archived from the original on 29 March Archived from the original PDF on 23 March Retrieved 15 March Retrieved 7 July Archived from the original on 9 August Archived from the original PDF on 10 March Air Broker Center International.

Archived from the original on 27 April Archived from the original on 17 April

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