Welcome to Germany


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Are you thinking about doing your vocational training in Germany? Or do you already have a professional qualification and can imagine doing further training in Germany or working here?

But you are missing information on

and want to know how the Germans “tick”? No problem. Take your tour through this website and see if you can find all answers. If you have still unanswered questions please do not hesitate to contact us!




Crash course “Germany”

Geography

Germany is located in central-western Europe. Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland are its neighbours. In the north of Germany, there is the North Sea, whereas the Baltic Sea is in the north-east. The Alps, which are the highest mountains in Europe, do also cross the south-east of Germany.

Germany is the seventh largest country in Europe (about 350 km²) and the 62nd largest in the world. It has about 80 million inhabitants and is therefore the most populated member state in the European Union.

Politics and Law

Germany is a democratic and social federal parliamentary republic consisting of 16 states (“Bundesländer”). Each of them has its own parliament and government, but still they all belong to the national parliament which is the “Bundestag”. It is located in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Legislation (enacting laws), executive (government) and judiciary (passing judgements) are always separated, which means that they are carried out by different institutions and consequently by different persons.

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany is called the “Basic Law” (“Grundgesetz”). It precedes all other German laws and also serves as a basis for matters of morals and values.

Economy

Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world, measured by GDP (gross domestic product: goods and services produced within the country in one year). It is a “Social Market Economy”, meaning that it operates with the motivation of free trade, but also within controlling regulations that should prevent an unequal distribution of wealth.

The industrial sector, that deals with production and construction of finished goods, makes up one third of the German economy. Did you know that Germany is the third largest automobile producer in the world?

Agricultural production is also big in Germany. Products vary from region to region, since there are different climatic and geographic conditions. The agricultural products produced in Germany cover 90 per cent of the country's own needs.

History

395: Decline of the Roman Empire, German tribes settle in areas that now belong to Germany
800: The Frankish king Charlemagne becomes Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire which includes what is Germany today
1315: German population shrinks due to the Great Famine
1348-1350: A pandemic called “The Black Death” kills millions of people in Europe
1356: First constitution
1517: Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther
1618-1648: Thirty Years' War between Lutherans and Catholics, reduction of German population
1648: The Peace of Westphalia puts an end to religious wars and leads to the empire being split up into many principalities
1814: Congress of Vienna: Foundation of the German Confederation (“Deutscher Bund”)
1871: Otto von Bismarck founds the German Empire (“Deutsches Kaiserreich”)
1918-1933: End of World War I (1914-1918, Weimar Republic (first German democracy)
1933-1945: National Socialism, World War II (1939-1945)
1945: Germany is divided into four zones of occupation (Soviet Union, USA, Great Britain and France)
1949: The Federal Republic of Germany (a parliamentary democracy with written constitution) is founded and ruled by France, Britain and the USA, The German Democratic Republic is founded by the Soviet Union and ruled by the socialist/communist party SED
1961: The Berlin Wall is erected due to the intensifying conflict between East (Soviet Union) and West (USA, Britain, France), Germany is divided into East and West Germany (German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic of Germany)
1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall after decades of struggle
1990: Germany is finally reunited

Culture

Germany's art, literature and music has a history on its own. It reflects historical developments, religious beliefs of Jewish and Christian religions and international influences, such as the impact of the U.S. American culture in modern times. Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich, Max Ernst, Joseph Beuys – just to name a few German artists.

Who doesn't know Goethe, Schiller and Lessing? Theodor Fontane, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Bertold Brecht or Erich Kästner – all these are names that appear when it comes to German literature.

Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Strauss, Schubert (just to name a few) shaped German music in the 18th and 19th century.


For more information on culture and how the Germans “tick” see “Intercultural Differences in the EU”.


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