GERMAN Facts & Figures

Size: 137,847 square miles

Population: 81,799,600

Capital:  Berlin

Currency: Euro

Weather / Climate:

Most of Germany has a temperate seasonal climate in which humid westerly winds predominate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea; consequently in the north-west and the north the climate is oceanic. Rainfall occurs year-round, especially in the summer. Winters are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F).[53]

The east has a more continental climate; winters can be very cold and summers very warm, and long dry periods are frequent. 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, characterised by lower temperatures and greater precipitation.[53]

Taken from wikipedia

GERMAN languages

The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95% of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language.[1] This figure includes speakers of Northern Low Saxon, a recognized minority or regional language which is not considered separately from Standard German in statistics.

Minority first languages include:

Immigrant languages spoken by sizable communities of first and second-generation persons of Eastern European, African, Asian and Latin American origins include:

Most Germans also learn English as their first foreign language in school. Sometimes French or Latin are taught first, but usually English is, with French and Latin as common second or third foreign languages. Russian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, classical Greek, and other languages are also offered in schools (often depending on the school's geographic location).

Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Germany

GERMAN culture


 

GERMAN people

With its estimated population of 81.8 million in January 2010,[1] Germany is the most populous country in the European Union and ranks as the 15th most populous country in the world.[126] Its population density stands at 229.4 inhabitants per square kilometre. The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is 79.9 years. The fertility rate of 1.4 children per mother, or 7.9 births per 1000 inhabitants in 2009, is one of the lowest in the world.[127] Since the 1990s, Germany's death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate.[128] The Federal Statistical Office of Germany forecast that the population will shrink to between 65 and 70 million by 2060 (depending on the level of net migration).[129]

German nationals make up 91% of the population of Germany. As of 2009[update], about seven million foreign citizens were registered in Germany, and 19% of the country's residents were of foreign or partially foreign descent (including persons descending or partially descending from ethnic German repatriates), 96% of whom lived in Western Germany or Berlin.[130] The United Nations Population Fund lists Germany as host to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants.[131] As a consequence of restrictions to Germany's formerly rather unrestricted laws on asylum and immigration, the number of immigrants seeking asylum or claiming German ethnicity (mostly from the former Soviet Union) has been declining steadily since 2000.[132] In 2009, 20% of the population had immigrant roots, the highest since 1945.[133] As of 2008[update], the largest national group was from Turkey (2.5 million), followed by Italy (776,000) and Poland (687,000).[134] About 3 million "Aussiedler"—ethnic Germans, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union—have resettled in Germany since 1987.[135]

Germanyhas a number of large cities. The largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region (11.5 million as of 2006), including Düsseldorf (the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia), Cologne, Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, and Bochum.

Germany officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ,[4] is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state and the largest economy in the European Union. It is one of the major political powers of the European continent and a technological leader in many fields.

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Age, the Germanic tribes expanded southward, and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.[5] During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years' War, marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterized German society ever since.[6] Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states into the German Empire in 1871 which was Prussian dominated. After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the Weimar Republic in 1918, and partitioned in the Versailles Treaty. Amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was proclaimed in 1933. The latter period was marked by Fascism and the Second World War. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990 Germany was reunified.

Germanywas a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area and since 1999 a member of the eurozone. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, the OECD and the Council of Europe, and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011–2012 term.

It has the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. The country has developed a very high standard of living and a comprehensive system of social security. Germany has been the home of many influential scientists and inventors, and is known for its cultural and political history.

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Germany

GERMAN food

German cuisine has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share many dishes. Furthermore, across the border in Austria one will find many similar dishes. However, ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in different variations across the country into the present day.

Meat

Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular. The average person in Germany will consume up to 61 kg (130 lb) of meat in a year.Among poultry, chicken is most common, although duck, goose, and turkey are also enjoyed. Game meats, especially boar, rabbit, and venison are also widely available all year round. Lamb and goat are also available, but are not as popular.

Meat is usually pot-roasted; pan-fried dishes also exist, but these recipes usually originate from France. Several cooking methods used to soften often tough cuts have evolved into national specialties, including Sauerbraten ('sour roast'), involving marinating beef or venison in a vinegar or wine vinegar mixture over several days. A long tradition of sausage-making exists in Germany, including hundreds of regional variations. There are more than 1500 different types of sausage (German: Wurst)[1] in Germany. Most Wurst is still made by German sausage butchers (German: Metzger, Fleischer or Schlachter) with natural casings derived from pork, sheep or lamb intestine. Among the most popular and most common are the Bratwurst ('fry-sausage'), usually made of ground pork and spices, the Wiener ('Viennese'), which may be pork or pork/beef and is smoked and fully cooked in a water bath, and Blutwurst ('blood sausage') or Schwarzwurst ('black sausage') made from blood (often of pigs or geese). There are literally thousands of types of cold cuts. Regional specialties, such as the Münchner Weißwurst ('Munich White Sausage') popular in Bavaria or the Currywurst (a special version of the Bratwurst spiced with curry ketchup) popular in the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Area, can also be found from all regions of the country.

Fish

Trout is the most common freshwater fish on the German menu; pike, carp, and European perch also are listed frequently. Seafood traditionally was restricted to the northern coastal areas, except for pickled herring, often served as Rollmops (a pickled herring fillet rolled into a cylindrical shape around a piece of pickled gherkin or onion) or Brathering (fried, marinatedherring). Today many sea fish, like fresh herring, tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are well established throughout the country. Prior to the industrial revolution and the ensuing pollution of the rivers, salmon were common in the rivers of Rhine, Elbe, and Oder.

Vegetables

Vegetables are often used in stews or vegetable soups, but are also served as a side dish. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli and many types of cabbage are very common. Fried onions are a common addition to many meat dishes throughout the country. Asparagus, especially white asparagus known in English as spargel (the German name for asparagus), is a common side dish or may be prepared as a main dish. Restaurants will sometimes devote an entire menu to nothing but white asparagus when it is in season. Spargel season (German: Spargelzeitor Spargelsaison) traditionally begins in mid-May and ends on St. John's Day (24 June).

Side dishes

Noodles, made from wheat flour and egg, are usually thicker than the Italian flat pasta. Especially in the southwestern part of the country, the predominant variety of noodles are Spätzle, made with large amounts of egg yolk, and Maultaschen, traditional stuffed noodles reminiscent of ravioli.

Besides noodles, potatoes are common. Potatoes entered the German cuisine in the late 18th century, and were almost ubiquitous in the 19th century and since. Potatoes most often are boiled (in salt water, Salzkartoffeln), but mashed (Kartoffelpüree) and friedpotatoes (Bratkartoffeln) also are traditional. French fries, called Pommes fritesor Pommes(spoken as "Pom fritz" or, respectively, "Pommes", deviating from the French pronunciation which would be "Pom freet" or "Pom") in German, are a common style of fried potatoes; they are traditionally offered with either ketchup or mayonnaise, or, as Pommes rot/weiß, with both.

Also common, especially in the south of Germany, are dumplings (including klöße or knödel) and potato noodles including schupfnudeln which are similar to Italian gnocchi.

Spices and condiments

Generally, with the exception of mustard for sausages, German dishes are rarely hot and spicy; the most popular herbs are traditionally parsley, thyme, laurel, chives, black pepper (used in small amounts), juniper berries and caraway. Cardamom, anise seed, and cinnamon are often used in sweet cakes or beverages associated with Christmas time, and sometimes in the preparation of sausages, but are otherwise rare in German meals. Other herbs and spices like basil, sage, oregano, and hot chili peppers have become more popular in recent times.

Mustard ("Senf") is a very common accompaniment to sausages and can vary in strength, the most common version being "Mittelscharf" (lit. "medium hot"), which is somewhere between traditional English and French mustards in strength. Düsseldorf and the surrounding area is known for its particularly spicy mustard, which is used both as a table condiment and in local dishes such as Senfrostbraten (roasted steak with mustard). In the southern parts of the country, a sweet variety of mustard is made which is almost exclusively served with the Bavarian speciality Weißwurst. German mustard is usually considerably less acidic than American varieties.

Horseradish is commonly used as a condiment either on its own served as a paste, enriched with cream ("Sahnemeerrettich"), or combined with mustard. In some regions of Germany it is used with meats and sausages where mustard would otherwise be used.

Garlic was long frowned upon for causing halitosis and thus has never played a large role in traditional German cuisine, but has risen in popularity in recent decades due to the influence of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish cuisine. Bear's garlic, a rediscovered spice from earlier centuries, has become quite popular again since the 1990s.

Desserts

A wide variety of cakes and tarts are served throughout the country, most commonly made with fresh fruit. Apples, plums, strawberries, and cherries are used regularly in cakes. Cheesecake is also very popular, often made with quark. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake, made with cherries) is probably the most well known example of a wide variety of typically German tortes filled with whipped or butter cream. German doughnuts (which have no hole) are usually balls of yeast dough with jam or other fillings, and are known as Berliner, Pfannkuchen (only in the Berlin area), Kreppel or Krapfen depending on the region. Eierkuchen or Pfannkuchen are large, and relatively thin pancakes, comparable to the French crêpes. They are served covered with sugar, jam or syrup. Salty variants with cheese, ground meat or bacon exist as well, but they are usually considered to be main dishes rather than desserts. In some regions Eierkuchen are filled and then wrapped, in others they're cut into small pieces and arranged in a heap. The word Pfannkuchen can either mean German doughnuts (see Berliner) or pancakes (see Eierkuchen), depending on the region.

A popular dessert in northern Germany is "Rote Grütze", red fruit pudding, which is made with black and red currants, raspberries and sometimes strawberries or cherries cooked in juice with corn starch as a thickener. It is traditionally served with cream, but also is served with vanilla sauce, milk or whipped cream. "Rhabarbergrütze" (rhubarb pudding) and "Grüne Grütze" (gooseberry fruit pudding) are variations of the "Rote Grütze". A similar dish, Obstkaltschale, may also be found all around Germany.

Ice cream and sorbets are also very popular. Italian-run ice cream parlours were the first large wave of foreign-run eateries in Germany, becoming widespread in the 1920s. Spaghettieis, which resembles spaghetti, tomato sauce, and ground cheese on a plate, is a popular ice cream dessert.

Bread

Bread (Brot) is a significant part of German cuisine. About 600 main types of breads and 1,200 different types of pastries and rolls are produced in about 17,000 bakeries and another 10,000 in-shop bakeries.

Bread is served usually for breakfast (usually white bread, often replaced by bread rolls) and in the evening as (open) sandwiches (dark bread), but rarely as a side dish for the main meal (popular, for example, with Eintopf or Soup). The importance of bread in German cuisine is also illustrated by words such as Abendbrot (meaning supper, literally Evening Bread) and Brotzeit (snack, literally Bread Time). In fact, one of the major complaints of the German expatriates in many parts of the world is their inability to find acceptable local breads.

Regarding bread, German cuisine is more varied than that of either Eastern or Western Europe. Bread types range from white wheat bread to grey (Graubrot) to black (Schwarzbrot), actually dark brown rye bread. Most breads contain both wheat and rye flour (hence Mischbrot, mixed bread), and often wholemeal and whole seeds (such as linseed, sunflower seed, or pumpkin seed) as well. Darker, rye-dominated breads such as Vollkornbrot or Schwarzbrot are typical of German cuisine. Pumpernickel, a steamed, sweet-tasting bread, is internationally well known, although not representative of German black bread as a whole. Most German breads are made with sourdough. Whole grain is preferred for high fibre. Germans use almost all available types of grain for their breads: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, millet, corn and rice. Some breads are made with potato starch flour.

Germany's most popular breads are:

  1. Rye-wheat ("Roggenmischbrot")
  2. Toast bread ("Toastbrot")
  3. Whole-grain ("Vollkornbrot")
  4. Wheat-rye ("Weizenmischbrot")
  5. White bread ("Weißbrot")
  6. Multi-grain, usually wheat-rye-oats with sesame or linseed ("Mehrkornbrot")
  7. Rye("Roggenbrot")
  8. Sunflower seeds in dark rye bread ("Sonnenblumenkernbrot")
  9. Pumpkin seeds in dark rye bread ("Kürbiskernbrot")
  10. Roasted onions in light wheat-rye bread ("Zwiebelbrot")

Bread rolls

Bread rolls, known in Germany as Brötchen (a diminutive of "Brot"), Semmel, Schrippe, Rundstück or Weck / Weckle / Weckli / Wecken, depending on the region, are common in German cuisine. A typical serving is a roll cut in half, and spread with butter or margarine. Cheese, honey, jam, Nutella, meat, fish, or preserves are then placed between the two halves, or on each half separately, known as a "Belegtes Brötchen".

Rolls are also used for snacks, or like a hot-dog/hamburger style roll for Bratwurst, Brätel, or Schwenker/Schwenkbraten.

A sweet roll which originated in the area of Hamburg is the Franzbrötchen, small, sweet pastry, baked with butter and cinnamon.

Drinks

Beer is very common throughout all parts of Germany, with many local and regional breweries producing a wide variety of superb beers. The pale lagerpilsener, a style developed in the mid-19th century, is predominant in most parts of the country today, whereas wheat beer (Weißbier) and other types of lager are common, especially in Bavaria. A number of regions have local specialties, many of which, like Weissbier, are more traditionally brewed ales. Among these are Altbier, a dark beer available around the lower Rhine, Kölsch, a similar style in the Cologne area, and the low-alcohol Berliner Weiße, a sour beer made in Berlin that is often mixed with raspberry syrup. Since the reunification of 1990, Schwarzbier, which was common in East Germany but could hardly be found in West Germany, has become increasingly popular in Germany as a whole. Beer may also be mixed with other beverages:

  • pils or lager and carbonated lemonade (in Europe and the UK, lemonade is a carbonated drink, in America, lemonade is a non-carbonated drink): Radler, Alsterwasser
  • pils or lager and cola: Diesel, Schmutziges or simply Colabier
  • Altbier and Malzbier: Krefelder
  • Altbier and cola: Altcola or Aco (also called Krefelder in some regions, which might lead to misunderstandings)
  • wheat beer and lemonade: Russ
  • wheat beer and cola: Colaweizen

Since a beer tax law was changed in 1993, many breweries served this trend of mixing beer with other drinks by selling bottles of already-mixed beverages. Examples are Bibob (from Köstritzer), Veltins V+, Mixery (from Karlsberg), Dimix (from Diebels) and Cab (from Krombacher).

Beer is generally sold in bottles or from draught. Canned beer is available, but cans almost vanished after the introduction of a deposit in 2003.

Wine is also popular throughout the country. German wine comes predominantly from the areas along the upper and middle Rhine and its tributaries. Riesling and Silvaner are among the best-known varieties of white wine, while Spätburgunder and Dornfelder are important German red wines. The sweet German wines sold in English speaking countries seem mostly to cater to the foreign market, as they are rare in Germany.

Korn is a German spirit made from malt (wheat, rye and/or barley), that is consumed predominantly in the middle and northern parts of Germany. Obstler on the other hand, distilled from apples and pears ("Obstler"), plums, cherries (Kirschwasser), or mirabelle plums, is preferred in the southern parts. The term Schnaps refers to both kinds of hard liquors.

Coffeeis also very common, not only for breakfast, but also accompanying a piece of cake in the afternoon, usually on Sundays or special occasions and birthdays. It is generally filter coffee, which is weaker than espresso. Tea is more common in the Northwest. East Frisians traditionally have their tea with cream and rock candy ("Kluntje").

Popular soft drinks include Schorle, juice or wine mixed with sparkling mineral water, with Apfelschorle being especially popular in southern Germany, and Spezi, made with cola and an orange-flavored drink such as Fanta. Germans are unique among their neighbors in preferring bottled, carbonated mineral water, either plain ("Sprudel") or flavored (usually lemon) to non-carbonated ones.

Drinking water of excellent quality is available everywhere and at any time in Germany. Water provided by the public water industry can be had without hesitation directly from the tap. No chlorine is added. Drinking water is controlled by state authority to ensure it is potable. Regulations are even stricter than those for bottled water (see Trinkwasserverordnung). There is no need at all to buy water in bottles in Germany for health reasons, though the taste of the tap water varies widely.

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in GERMANY

 

 

 

 

 

Doing business in GERMANY

Germany has a social market economy with a highly qualified labour force, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption,[90] and a high level of innovation.[91] It has the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth largest by nominal GDP in the world,[92] and the fifth largest by PPP[92] in 2009. The service sector contributes approximately 71% of the total GDP, industry 28%, and agriculture 0.9%.[52] The average national unemployment rate in 2010 was about 7.5%.[52] First estimates indicate a 3.6% increase in the price-adjusted GDP for 2010, following a 4.7% drop in 2009.[93]

Germany is a founding member of the EU, the G8 and the G20, and was the world's largest exporter from 2003 to 2008. In 2009 it remained the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. Most of the country's exports are in engineering, especially machinery, automobiles, chemical goods and metals.[52] Germany is a leading producer of wind turbines and solar-power technology.[95] Annual trade fairs and congresses are held in cities throughout Germany.[96]

Germanyis an advocate of closer European economic and political integration. Its commercial policies are increasingly determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Germany introduced the common European currency, the euro, on 1 January 2002.[97][98] Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank. Two decades after German reunification, standards of living and per capita incomes remain significantly higher in the states of the former West Germany than in the former East.[99] The modernisation and integration of the eastern German economy is a long-term process scheduled to last until the year 2019, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion.[100] In January 2009 the German government approved a €50 billion economic stimulus plan to protect several sectors from a downturn and a subsequent rise in unemployment rates.[101]

Of the world's 500 largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in 2010, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in Germany. 30 Germany-based companies are included in the DAX, the German stock market index. Well-known global brands are Mercedes-Benz, BMW, SAP, Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas, Audi, Allianz, Porsche, and Nivea.[102] Germany is recognised for its specialised small and medium enterprises. Around 1,000 of these companies are global market leaders in their segment and are labelled hidden champions.[103]

German working practices

• Punctuality is essential. Arriving even  five or ten minutes after  the appointment time is considered late—and disrespectful. If running late for an appointment, it is best to notify the person.

• Appointments are made for most situations, and sometimes several weeks in advance.

• Decision-making is often  a slow  and detailed process. Do not expect significant conclusions to be reached based on spontaneous or unstructured results.

Structure and hierarchy in German companies

• German business culture has a well-defined and strictly observed hierarchy, with clear  responsibilities and distinctions between roles  and departments.

• Professional rank and status in Germany is generally based on an individual’s achievement and expertise in a given field. Academic titles and backgrounds are important, conveying an individual’s expertise and thorough knowledge of their particular area  of work.

•In formal German business meetings, it is customary for the highest-ranking person to enter the room  first. However, in more informal business situations this  is less important.

Working Relationships in Germany

•The Germans are very  private, evidenced, for example, in the strict separation between private life and work. It therefore takes time  to forge  more personal relationships

• Business relationships are often  based on mutual advantage, with the overall task  as the central focus.

Business practices in Germany

•First names  are generally only  used with family and close friends and colleagues.

Therefore, always use last names  and appropriate titles.  You will often  find that  colleagues who have worked together for years still maintain this  level of formality.

• Business meetings follow a formal procedure. German managers work from precise and detailed agendas, which are usually followed rigorously; moreover, meetings always aim for decisive outcomes and results, rather than providing a forum for open and general discussion.

• German business protocol requires that  colleagues should be greeted with a firm,  but  brief, handshake on both  arrival  and departure.

•In German business dealings, it is important to provide solid facts and examples to back up  proposals, given the German preference for analytical thinking and rational explanations.

Taken from:

Wikipedia

www.communicaid.com

GERMANY: useful links

www.germany.travel/

www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1047864.stm

www.lonelyplanet.com/germany

www.reuters.com/places/germany

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