general overview

general overview


total area: 357,581 sq km
land: 349,357 sq km
water: 8,224 sq km

lowest elevation: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest elevation: Zugspitze 2,963 m

Germany (population 83 million) is slightly smaller than Montana and its terrain is made up of lowlands in the north, uplands in the center, and a mountainous south. It is bordered by Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland.


The climate in Germany depends to some extent on the region, but it is generally mild. The north tends to have a more marine climate while the south a more continental. Temperatures generally average from the low 20’s in winter to the upper 70’s in summer, and rainfall is common throughout the year.


Germany not only has the largest economy in the European Union, it is the third largest economy in the world. Germany's key industry areas are automotive, mechanical, electrical and precision engineering, chemicals, environmental technology, optics, medical technology, biotech and genetic engineering, nanotechnology, aerospace, and logistics.


Germany’s time zone is GMT + 1 hour, and is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. They, along with the rest of Europe, observe Summer Time, (Daylight Savings Time in the U.S), and the time changes on the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October.

Because the European time system is based on 24 hours instead of twelve, AM and PM do not exist. This means that 5:00 is 5:00 am and 17:00 is 5:00 pm. The only time in which this doesn’t usually apply is when asking someone what time it is. If it is after noon, the answer will - most of the time - be in a 12-hour format (8 o’clock instead of 20 hours).


Making up approximately 60% of the population, Christianity is the largest religious faith in Germany. Of this, 50% are Protestant and 50% are Catholic. Muslims make up the next largest group, with a little over 5% of the population, and Jewish the third. Buddhists, Hindus, and Orthodox Christians are also among the larger religious minorities in Germany. In total, there are over 160 different religious communities.


Official holidays in Germany are are combination of both national and state holidays. On these days all businesses, private and commercial, are closed. Restaurants and gas stations, however, can remain open if they wish.


Jan 01

New Year's Day

all federal states

Jan 06

Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige)

Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt

March 08

International Women's Day


March 29

Good Friday (Karfreitag)

all federal states

March 31

Easter Sunday (Ostern)

no official holiday, Christian holiday

April 01

Easter Monday (Ostermontag)

all federal states

May 01

Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit)

all federal states

May 9

Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt)

all federal states

May 19

Whit Sunday (Pfingstsonntag)


May 20

Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag)

all federal states

May 30

Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam)

Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland

Aug 15

Assumption Day (Maria Himmelfahrt)

Bavaria, Saarland

Sept 20

Children's Day (Weltkindertag)


Oct 03

German Unity Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit)

all federal states

Oct 31

Reformation Day (Reformationstag)

Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia

Nov 01

All Saints Day (Allerheiligen)

Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland

Nov 20

Repentance Day (Buß- und Bettag)


Dec 25

Christmas (1. Weihnachtstag)

all federal states

Dec 26

Boxing Day (2. Weihnachtstag)

all federal states

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