Germany Geography

Germany Geography and Population

Germany – geography

Germany – Geography, Landscape

The whole of northern Germany is a lowland area, which consists of moraine and meltwater deposits. The coastal area facing the North Sea consists for the most part of sand surfaces, dunes and marsh areas. Along the coast are the East Frisian and North Frisian Islands.

The rivers Elbe, Weser and Ems flow into the North Sea. The Baltic coast is characterized by headlands and lagoons, the so-called Haffer, as well as the islands of Fehmarn and Rügen. On Rügen, the limestone subsoil can be seen in the large cliffs at Stubbenkammer. The land behind consists of ridges of end moraines, sandy plains and meltwater valleys as well as a large number of lakes. South of Hamburg is the large heathland Lüneburg Heath.

The German Länder
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
Schleswig Holstein

The whole of central Germany is characterized by the Hercynian mountains in a strongly divided landscape. These ancient mountains were largely worn down and were covered primarily in the Triassic by sediments.

During the alpine folding, the landscape was broken up and there were hurricanes and burial depressions. The largest of these, the Rhingraven, is surrounded by the Rhine Slate Mountains, ie. Eifel, Hunsrück, Westerwald and Taunus.

The river Main is surrounded by the volcanic mountains Vogelsberg and Rhön as well as by the mountain range Odenwald. Further east are the Harz Mountains, the Thuringian Forest and the Fichtelgebirge Mountains, which continue into the Ore Mountains and the Bohemian Forest on the Czech border.

South of the Main are streaks of cuestan landscapes: Fränkische Alb and Schwäbische Alb, and furthest to the SW horsten Schwarzwald, which borders the burial ground in the upper Rhindal. Loose soil is widespread here, as in the southern edge of the northern German lowlands.

The Bavarian plateau country is bounded on the north by the Danube and the tributaries Lech, Isar and Inn. The furthest south reaches the Alps into Germany, and here lies the country’s highest point, the Zugspitze (2962 m).


Germany has a temperate climate; the western and northern part coastal climate, the eastern and southern part mainland climate. The average temperature for July varies between 16 and 19 °C, while the winter temperature in the western parts is slightly above 0 °C and in the east and south slightly below 0 °C. Precipitation in the lowlands is 500-800 mm per year, in central Germany 1000-1400 mm and furthest south 1900 mm. The Rhine Valley is the warmest area and also the poorest in precipitation with 400-500 mm.


Apart from Russia, Germany is the most populous country in Europe. The population density is 230 residents per. km2 with large regional differences. The largest concentration is found in the Rhin-Ruhr area. From the Ruhr area runs a zone of high population density over Hanover, Braunschweig, Magdeburg, Halle and Leipzig to the area around Dresden, Chemnitz and Zwickau.

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Furthermore, there are densely populated areas around Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. The sparsely populated areas are to the north and northeast as well as to the far south and in the mountainous areas of central Germany. Since the 1960’s, there had been a declining population in the GDR; the decline has continued after reunification as many have moved from east to west.

In 1996-2006, the annual population growth was almost 0.5%; part of this low growth was even due to immigration, as the natural growth was negative. The mortality rate exceeded the birth rate by 0.1%. approximately 85% of the population lived in cities, and 83 cities had more than 100,000 residents. The largest are still Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Essen and Dortmund.

Within Germany’s borders, there are three national minorities: the Danes (50,000) and the Frisians (20,000) in Schleswig-Holstein and the Sorbs (60,000), a Slavic people to the southeast in Brandenburg and Saxony. In 2004, approximately 6.7 million non-Germans in Germany, ie. 8.1% of the country’s population are foreigners, a large proportion of whom originally came as guest workers.

In 2004, there were also more than 500,000 refugees. The largest group of foreigners are the Turks (1.7 million), the second largest people from the former Yugoslavia (736,000). Furthermore, there are more than 548,000 Italians, 316,000 Greeks, 300,000 Poles and approximately 3 mio. from a number of other countries.

Most of the foreign descent live in the western states. In the eastern states, it was especially Vietnamese and Mozambicans who came to the country in the communist era. A special ethnic group are the so-called People’s Germans or Aussiedler, ie. descendants of previously emigrated Germans in Eastern Europe, who under German law are German citizens. After the break-up in Eastern Europe, they have come from the former Soviet Union, Poland and Romania in particular (1988-2006 about 3 million).


Germany has since the late 1800’s. has been one of the world’s leading industrial nations. After the USA and Japan, the country has the largest gross domestic product and ranks in terms of income per capita. per capita among the top ten. Germany has a large and varied range of industrial products, and especially the country’s large exports of quality products are characteristic.

After the United States and Japan, Germany is the country with the largest foreign trade. Among other things. however, the high cost level and lack of manpower in information technology has from the late 1900-t. caused many companies to move production abroad. Productivity in the new states in the east is still only in the 2000’s. call; the average income of employees is less than 1/3 of what it is in the old West Germany.

The most important task in business since the reunification has been to create a balance between the old and the new states. The large, inefficient state-owned enterprises in the east have for the most part been closed down, often in connection with acquisitions from West German companies. Some of the industries that were in the east before World War II, such as car production, have to some extent returned to their old areas. However, not enough replacement jobs have been created for the many who have been laid off.

The farm, which was decorated in a Soviet pattern with giant collective farms or state farms, has slowly been transformed into smaller, private units, although problems with property conditions have delayed the process drastically. The large farms are still a characteristic feature of the east. Lack of environmental measures in connection with the overexploitation of natural resources has created overwhelming environmental problems in large parts of the former East Germany.

These problems are making it difficult to speed up production in this part of Germany. Enormous sums have been transferred from west to east since reunification, but the eastern states still contribute less to total production than their share of the population would suggest.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing. Agriculture employs 2-3% and contributes 1.5% to GDP. In the northern German lowlands, mixed uses with a wide range of crops and cattle and pig breeding are predominant. At the transition to the Central German mountain country, loose soils are cultivated on the loose soils, among other things. wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize, sugar and fodder beet as well as potatoes and other vegetables. Apart from poultry farming, which takes place all over the country, there is not much livestock production here.

In the Central German mountain country, the main emphasis is on livestock production. In addition to pig and sheep breeding, dairy cattle and beef cattle in particular play a role. Forage plants, potatoes and rye are grown. In this region, the utilization of the large forests for timber production is also important.

In southern Germany, agriculture has roughly the same composition as in the north. In the Bavarian Alps, the emphasis is on cattle farming.

About half of the farms in the former West Germany are part-time farms, and 95% of the farms have an adjoining less than 50 ha. The ones that have done best are the large farms in northern Germany, but also a number of small farms in southern Germany due to the cultivation of specialty crops such as wine, hops and tobacco, which do not require such large areas.

In the former East Germany, the number of people employed in agriculture has been sharply reduced after reunification. Agriculture is heavily subsidized, and in many parts of Germany small farmers have to supplement their income with work outside the agricultural industry.

Almost 1/3 of Germany’s forest cover and about half is state forest. The growth in the forest corresponds to approximately 2/3 of Germany’s demand for wood. As in other EU countries, efforts are underway to increase forest area.

German fishing underwent major structural changes in the late 1900’s. The fleet has thus been heavily cut. The most important catch areas today are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean west of the British Isles and the waters around Greenland. The most important fishing ports are Bremen, Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven on the North Sea and Sassnitz on the Baltic Sea. The annual catch is 295,000 t.

Tourism. Germany is a popular holiday destination; more than 69 million guests annually landed. But since the Germans themselves like to holiday abroad, approximately twice as much money outside the country’s borders as the approximately 57 billion DKK, the country’s tourism brings in.

Industry. The German industry was based on the coal and iron ore deposits on the river Ruhr and south and southeast of it. From the mid-1800’s. there was an explosive growth in this area. While iron had until then been extracted using charcoal from the large forest areas, it was possible to convert some of the coal into coke as a substitute for charcoal.

The domestic ore deposits quickly became insufficient, so Germany has since had to import iron ore, e.g. from Sweden, France and Australia. It was thus the coal that became decisive for the growth of the Ruhr area into one of Europe’s most important industrial areas. Since then, a large number of other industries developed, including in southern East Germany and in Silesia in present-day Poland, and Germany was transformed into one of the world’s leading industrial nations.

World War II destroyed large parts of the industry, and the industrial areas east of the Oder were lost, and the bonds that had been built between the industries in the different parts of Germany were broken. West Germany quickly rose to prominence and was among the founders of the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Community.

East Germany became part of the Eastern European COMECON, where each country had to specialize and be built after the Soviet model. East Germany was to focus on the machinery and transport industries, the fine mechanical and optical industries, and the chemical industry; at the same time, the country was to enter into heavy-industrial cooperation, and an iron and steel plant was established in Eisenhüttenstadt based on ore from the Soviet Union and coal from Poland.

The majority of the companies passed to the state in so-called VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb ‘ publicly owned companies’), and the economy was organized as a command or planned economy. Many of the companies that had been located in the East moved their production to West Germany.

After the reunification, all state-owned companies were handed over to the Treuhandanstalt, which was to sell the companies to private individuals or possibly close the unprofitable. The transition to a market economy has led to extensive rationalisations and environmental measures which, as a result of has had the closure of companies and a sharp reduction in the need for labor.

German industry is in many fields among the foremost in the world. This applies, for example, to the metal industry (iron, steel, aluminum), the chemical industry (synthetic fibers, plastics, synthetic rubber, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products) and the electrotechnical industry (television sets, washing machines, measuring equipment, etc.). Germany occupies a leading position in mechanical engineering. The car industry is the largest in the world after the USA and Japan.

Germany has only extraction of a few raw materials. The most important are coal and lignite as well as salts, while iron ore is mined to a lesser extent and oil and natural gas are extracted. Many other ores have today been mined or mined only to a modest extent, eg copper, uranium, lead, zinc, manganese.

The traditional industrial centers are the port cities on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, the Ruhr area, the Saarland, Berlin, southern Thuringia and Saxony. The old heavy industry areas have been in a structural crisis since the late 1900’s. In northern Germany, the Ruhr area and the Saarland, new jobs in high technology and service industries have emerged. Thuringia and Saxony are former industrial areas in the GDR and are therefore affected by the crisis that is raging throughout the former East Germany.

Compared to Central and Northern Germany until the 1960’s and 1970’s, southern Germany was only slightly industrialized. However, this has changed. Modern industries and high-tech companies are today more widespread in the south than in the north. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have the lowest unemployment rates in 2006, and incomes here are above the national average.

After a slow start, Germany has gained a strong foothold in the computer industry, and the country has a leading position in the aerospace industry and the high-tech areas of the armaments industry.


The main domestic energy raw materials are hard coal and lignite. The most important coal area is in the Ruhr area, where quarrying has taken place for centuries. The mines have become fewer and larger, and the quarry has moved ever further north with gravity today around the river Lippe. Another important coal area is located in the Saarland around Saarbrücken.

Lignite mining takes place mainly in Lower Lusatia in southeastern Germany around the city of Cottbus as well as in the Leipzig area and in the Rhine area west of Cologne. Lignite is mined in contrast to hard coal in large open pits, which entail extensive changes to the landscape with deep holes, often many square kilometers in size.

After reunification, lignite mining has decreased significantly, but it still plays a role in energy supply. Coal production in the Ruhr area has also been curtailed, but efforts are being made to keep it at current levels in order to reduce dependence on imported energy raw materials.

In 2006, Germany had 18 active nuclear power plants, accounting for approximately 1/3 of the power supply. According to a government decision from 2002, the expansion of the nuclear power sector has stopped and all German nuclear power plants must be phased out by 2020. In total energy consumption, coal accounts for 25%, oil 35%, natural gas 15% and nuclear power 10%. Water, wind and solar energy cover approximately 4%.

Germany’s oil pipelines run from Wilhelmshaven and Rotterdam on the North Sea, from Trieste, Genoa and Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean, and from Schwedt an der Oder, where the oil pipeline from Russia reaches Germany.

The largest oil refineries are located at Ingolstadt in Bavaria and on the Rhine. The German natural gas network is widely branched, but with the greatest density in the western part.


The German transport network is well developed. The road and motorway network is still under development, and major works are underway in the new Länder to bring the standard here up to par with that in the West. Most of the road connections that were disconnected during the partition of Germany have been re-established.

Huge investments are also being made in the railway network. The East German railway network was very dilapidated, and a total rebuild has been necessary for the new trains to travel on the East German railway lines. Since 1991, two new north-south lines have been arranged for the new high-speed trains, the ICE trains. In Berlin, a new, large central railway station, the Lehrter Bahnhof, was inaugurated in 2006. Here, trains from all corners of the world meet.

River and canal traffic are of great importance in Germany, where the most important waterway is the Rhine. Since the interwar years, there has been a canal connection between the Ruhr area and Berlin along the Mittelland Canal, and in the mid-1990’s a canal connection was established between the Rhine tributary Main and the Danube.

The canal network is more than 2000 km. Duisburg on the Rhine is the world’s largest river port, and Hamburg at the mouth of the Elbe is among the leading ports in the world. Other major ports are Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven, Lübeck, Travemünde and Rostock.

Domestic air traffic is of minor importance, while Germany plays a significant role in international air traffic with Frankfurt am Main as one of Europe’s most important airports; in addition, there are international airports in Cologne-Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Berlin (Schönefeld and Tegel).

Germany – language

Dominant is German, which is also the official language. Of bilingual minorities, Danish (approximately 50,000) and Frisian (approximately 12,000) are spoken south of the Danish-German border and the West Slavic language Sorbian (approximately 20,000) in Lausitz southeast of Berlin.

As an immigrant language is spoken Serbo-Croatian, Arabic and Turkish – more than 3 million people live there. Turks in Germany; in addition, a number of Slavic languages ​​are spoken by ethnic Germans who have immigrated from the East since 1989, especially Russia (so-called Spätaussiedler), but who, due to the family’s stay abroad for many generations, usually only speak a rudimentary German.

As a spoken language, regional languages ​​and dialects are widely used, the latter in the south significantly more than in the north. For culture and traditions of Germany, please check aparentingblog.

The very different names of the European languages ​​for Germany and Germans are egl. names of ancient Germanic neighboring tribes. However, the Slavic nemec, borrowed from Hungarian and Romanian, originally means ‘dumb’, ie. ‘one who does not speak our language’. The term diutisc ‘folk-‘, of oldhty. diota ‘folk’, cf. also eng. Dutch ‘Dutch’, is first found in a report from 786 to Pope Hadrian I on two synods held in England. First synod decisions were read out at the beginning of the next synod tam latine quam theodisce, quo omnes intellegere potuissent ‘in Latin and in the vernacular so that everyone could understand them’.Sort
language Germany German origin
German Germany Deutscher of oldhty. diutisc ‘ folke- ‘
English Germany German after the Germans
French Germany Everyone after the commoners
Italian Germany tedesco mix
Finnish Germany saksalainen after the Saxons
Russian Germany nemets by nemoj ‘dumb’
Croatian Swab 1 Swaps 1 after the sweeps
Latvian Vācija vācietis after the tribe Vagoth, mentioned in Jordanes
Lithuanian Voki (ecij) a vokietis
1 Designations from the spoken language: officially Njemačka/Nijemac

Germany Geography