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As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro. In January 2011, Germany assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.


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Geography

Location
Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark

Geographic coordinates
51 00 N, 9 00 E

Map references
Europe

Area World Ranking: 63
Total 357,022 sq km
Land 348,672 sq km
Water 8,350 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries
Total 3,790 km
Border countries
Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 815 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km

Coastline
2,389 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate
Temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind

Terrain
Lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
Highest point Zugspitze 2,963 m

Natural resources
Coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land

Land use
Arable land 33.13%
Permanent crops 0.6%
Other 66.27% (2005)

Irrigated land
4,850 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
188 cu km (2005)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 38.01 cu km/yr (12%/68%/20%)
Per capita 460 cu m/yr (2001)

Natural hazards
Flooding

Environment - current issues
Emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea


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  Germany (Berlin):


  GPS points from Germany (Berlin)

Vosskuhlen-berg Lower Saxony

Frankenberg Germany (general)

Madlitzer See Brandenburg

Prassreuth Bavaria

Uersfeld Rhineland-palatinate

Haiderbuhl Bavaria

Buigen Baden-wuerttemberg





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