November 28, 2021
Germany (German: Deutschland), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is a country in Central Europe. The country is a federation of 16 states and is one of the world's largest industrialized countries. Germany borders the North Sea, Denmark and the Baltic Sea to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west. Germany is the largest member state of the European Union in terms of GDP.
With approx. 83.1 million inhabitants, Germany is Europe's most populous country, if one disregards Russia, which is partly located in Asia.
Topography and geology
The German landscape is divided into three areas. The northern part is a flat plain that rarely rises to over 150 masl. From a line between Dresden and Hanover, the plains cross into the Mittelgebirge with greater heights. In Bavaria and to a certain extent in Baden-Württemberg, the landscape turns into the more mountainous Alpine foreland and the southernmost in the Alps themselves.
Germany is geologically very complex. The northern German plains are covered by powerful loose deposits from the Quaternary. The oldest rocks are found in the Mittelgebirge. Here, for example, in the Black Forest there are metamorphic rocks from the earth's ancient times. In Rhineland-Palatinate there are shale rocks from Silurian and Devonian. North of these are formations from carbon with, among other things, layers of coal that have given rise to the heavy industry in the Ruhr area.
Southern Germany has rocks essentially from the Middle Ages. The Palatinate, Thuringia, parts of Bavaria and Saxony have sandstones from the Triassic, while Schwäbische and Fränkische Alb consist of limestones from the Jurassic and belong to the same formation as the Jura Mountains in Switzerland / France.
Germany is well placed on the Eurasian lithosphere plate, and has no active volcanoes. However, there are volcanic rocks of older date, for example in the Eifel and Vogelsberg in Hesse. A characteristic land formation is the mighty Rheingraben, which was formed during tectonic activity in the Permian.
Water and watercourses
Almost all of Germany is located within the catchment area of one of the six major rivers Rhine, Danube, Elbe, Oder, Weser and Ems. With its 2845 km from the source in the Danube River to the mouth of the Black Sea, the Danube is Europe's second longest river (after the Volga). The other five flow out into either the North Sea or the Baltic Sea; that is, the main watershed in Europe runs through Germany. This watershed runs from the east of the Oberrheingraben across the Black Forest and the Swabian and Frankish Alps.
Of the northern rivers, the Rhine is the longest with its 1320 km, of which 865 km through Germany. The Rhine has played a major role in the formation of German identity, and a large number of myths and legends are associated with this river. The Elbe's springs are located in the Giant Mountains on the border with the Czech Republic and Poland, and end at Cuxhaven on the North Sea coast after a race of 1165 km, of which 725 km in Germany. Oder comes from the Czech Beskids, and first flows through Poland. The lower part of the Oder forms the border between Germany and Poland, while the outlet is located at Szczecin on the Polish Baltic coast. Weser is formed by the rivers Werra and Fulda running together at Hann. Münden, and drains the central parts of the country. Weser flows into the German Bay at Bremerhaven. The Ems flows through the flat plains of northwestern Germany, and flows into the North Sea at Emden.
The southern German lakes are the result of erosion during the ice ages. They are narrow and deep, and are located in ice-eroded valleys. The largest and deepest of them is Lake Constance (which is partly located in Switzerland and Austria. On the plains of northern Germany there is a network of shallow lakes, including the Mecklenburg Sea Plateau. The largest of these lakes - and the largest located entirely in Germany - is Müritz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
In the German part of the Alps lies Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, with its 2962 masl. The highest peak in the Mittelgebirge is Feldberg in