Located in the heart of Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany is made up of 16 federal states with the capital Berlin. Germany is founding member of the European Union and a member state of the United Nations, the OECD, the NATO, the OSZE and of the G8.
Germany is one of the world’s most densely populated territorial states covering an area of 357.104,07 km² and 81.882.342 inhabitants. It is bordered by Denmark to the north, Poland to the northeast, the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and Belgium to the west and by the Netherlands to the northwest – no other state in Europe has more neighbours than Germany.
Geographically, Germany can be divided into the north German lowlands, the central German uplands and the Alpine foothills with the Alps. All of Germany is within the temperate climate zone, i.e. in the transition area between the western European maritime climate and the Eastern European continental climate. The Golf Stream also influences Germany’s climate and is responsible for milder temperatures.
Tourism in Germany is based on historical buildings and museums as well as on fairs, exhibitions and many events of international reputation.
Cultural monuments from various periods attract thousands of visitors every year. Among the most famous tourism destinations are Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the Charlottenhof Castle, the Berlin Cathedral, the Augsburg City Hall and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle and the Walhalla Memorial in Palatinate and the medieval city centre of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Middle Franconia.
Throughout Germany there are more than 6.000 museums, private and public collections, castles and gardens. Among the most famous are the German Museum in Munich (one of the world’s largest museums for technology and science), the Germanic National Museum in Nürnberg (houses one of the foremost collections on German culture and art from pre-/early history through to the present day) and the Berlin Museum Island (one of the most important museum complexes in the world).
Every autumn the world’s biggest folk festival takes place in Bavaria – the Munich Oktoberfest. Tourists also enjoy visits to German carnival events such as the Cologne or the Mainz Carnival. Hannover organises the biggest Marksmen Festival each summer. The Kiel Week Regatta is one of the world’s largest sailing events and also the largest public festival in Northern Europe.