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Geography

Germany is located in the Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark. Roughly the size of Montana and situated even farther north, unified Germany has an area of 356,959 square kilometers. Extending 853 kilometers from its northern border with Denmark to the Alps in the south, it is the sixth largest country in Europe. At its widest, Germany measures approximately 650 kilometers from the Belgian-German border in the west to the Polish frontier in the east.

People

The German people (German: Deutsche) are an ethnic group, in the sense of sharing a common German culture, descent, and speaking the German language as a mother tongue. Within Germany, Germans are defined by citizenship (Federal Germans, Bundesdeutsche), distinguished from people of German ancestry (Deutschstämmige). Historically, in the context of the German Empire (1871-1918), German citizens (Imperial Germans, Reichsdeutsche) were distinguished from ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche).

Out of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world, about 75 million consider themselves Germans. There are an additional 80 million people of German ancestry (mainly in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, France and Canada) who are not native speakers of German.[citation needed]

Thus, the total number of Germans worldwide lies between 75 and 160 million, depending on the criteria applied (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans, partial German ancestry, etc.). In the U.S., 43 Million or 15.2% of citizens identify as German American according to the United States Census of 2000. Although the percentage has declined, it is still more than any other group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey, approximately 51 Million citizens identify themselves as having German ancestry.

Economy

The Germans proudly label their economy a "soziale Marktwirtschaft ," or "social market economy," to show that the system as it has developed after World War II has both a material and a social--or human--dimension. They stress the importance of the term "market" because after the Nazi experience they wanted an economy free of state intervention and domination. The only state role in the new West German economy was to protect the competitive environment from monopolistic or oligopolistic tendencies--including its own. The term "social" is stressed because West Germans wanted an economy that would not only help the wealthy but also care for the workers and others who might not prove able to cope with the strenuous competitive demands of a market economy. The term "social" was chosen rather than "socialist" to distinguish their system from those in which the state claimed the right to direct the economy or to intervene in it.

Government

A federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain all political sovereignty that they do not yield to the federation. Usage of the term republic is inconsistent but, as a minimum, it means a state or federation of states that does not have a monarch as head of state.

In English, before the merger of the two German states in 1990, the phrase "Federal Republic" was often used to refer to West Germany (within its pre-1990 borders), in contrast with the German Democratic Republic, otherwise called East Germany.

Transport

As the crossroads of Europe, it’s little surprise that there’s no shortage of options if you want to travel Germany. This article will focus on the options available other than renting a car: travel by rail, travel by boat, and bus tours of Germany.

Train

A German train is another excellent choice for travel across the land. There are plenty of connections to multiple airports within the country—Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf—and over sixty connections to locales outside of Germany. Customs is usually handled onboard the train after it has left the station so that delays are avoided. Inside the major cities, you’ll also find plenty of subways to take you from place to place. Conveniently enough, a German train is often linked to another mode of transport: the bus. Where the rail leaves off, a bus is often available to take a traveler along special routes of particular interest.

Bus

A perfect option for the environmentally conscious, bus tours of Germany are a great decision. While renting a car might provide more freedom, taking a coach will ensure that you won’t get lost along the way to your destination. Traffic won’t be a concern as you relax and watch the landscape pass by. A great advantage of this method of travel is that buses typically run to and from all the major towns and cities. An international federation has set up bus tours of Germany, ensuring reliable and safe transportation. The Romantic Road is a popular choice as it features numerous picturesque villages, historical sights, and natural beauty. Another common destination is Linderhof castle. Just be sure to keep an eye on your watch lest you lose track of time while wandering the grounds of King Ludwig II.

Boat

It’s, perhaps, a less popular option but no less beautiful, traveling the rivers of Germany by boat provides a truly serene experience. With a wide variety of landscapes to admire and architecture to enjoy, there are plenty of reasons to consider traveling by boat. All manner of options are available too, from sunny afternoons in a canoe or kayak to a thrilling ride in a motor or sailing yacht to a leisurely ride in a larger boat. Ferries to the Frisian Islands are a popular choice. You can also find boats that run along the major rivers (Rhine, Main), lakes (Lake Constance).

So whether you pick a German train, bus, or boat, you’re sure to have a safe and pleasant journey.

Communications

They help you to communicate to German customers in German language. Such a means of instruction is often out of the reach of most people’s pockets, so in this article I am going to be looking at some of the most effective ways to learn the German language for free. In conclusion, with a little creativity and time, you can learn the German language for free, but it does depend on how much time you are willing to commit to the task, how successful you’ll be.

Membership

AATG, founded in 1926, is the only national individual membership organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the language, literature, and culture of the German-speaking countries. With more than 5,000 members, the AATG is for teachers of German at all levels of instruction and all those interested in the teaching of German.

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