germany

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres ...

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Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is one of the major political and economic powers of the European continent and a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields.

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Period, 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. 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. Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the German Empire, 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 parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, and some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific and artistic fields at this time, amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was established in 1933. The latter period was marked by fascism and World War II. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified.

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experiences (8)

have you spent time in germany? share your experiences

7

berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/22/13.

How much time have you spent in Germany?

In total I have spent roughly four years in Germany. One exchange year in a lovely university town called Tübingen and three years in Berlin, where I live today.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Germany?

When I did my exchange year I had freshly turned 21 and when I moved to Berlin in 2010 I was 23.

What brought you to Germany? Where were you before?

There are many reasons I could get into as to why I chose to move to Berlin. An honest answer is always best so I will divide this into two parts: the straight-forward answer and the deeper one.

Straight-forward: When I was 18 and began my history degree in North Carolina and there was a requirement to study a language for four semesters. Being American (and of course not bilingual) I was a tad bit nervous about this, constantly remembering my struggles "studying" Spanish in high school. But things took a turn when I started dating a girl from Switzerland, who was studying at my university. When the time came to make a choice, she suggested German. At this point I was still a smartass 19 year-old and with my Jewish-American background found this to be a funny...

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6

berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/27/13.

How much time have you spent in Berlin?

Seven years in Germany, three in Berlin.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Berlin?

Early 30s.

What brought you to Berlin? Where were you before?

Was attending Uni in the Netherlands but couldn't find work, so I went to Germany where it was easier. Without an EU passport, the job scene in the Netherlands is pretty much closed. Of course there are exceptions. But, as much as I hate to say it, in my experience, this has less to do with the economy and more to do with the NL protecting their labor market

I've been offered jobs only to have the conversation end the minute they found I didn't have a legal right to work in the NL. After a few months (even with student visa) I simply gave up. Plus, Dutch language is usually a prerequisite, and how many non-Dutch people really speak Dutch?

On the other hand, in Germany, the level of Native English is lower, so they will be hiring non-Germans a bit more to support their communications. Aside from that, Germany is just bigger with more cities and more companies. So it's easier.

But I've always worked in marketing, so I'm sure other fields are different, like medical and...

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5

berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/28/13.

How much time have you spent in Germany? How old were you when you came to Germany? Where were you before? What brought you to Germany?

I moved to Berlin in April, 2006, and have spent 99% of my time there since then. I was 26, living in Union County, New Jersey. A friend of mine went to university for a year in Berlin, knew I wasn't very happy or doing much of anything in NJ, and suggested I check out Berlin as she thought I'd love it. I bought an open-ended ticket and never used the return trip - she was right.

Describe Berlin and your impressions of it.

I've haven't seen much of other German cities, but Berlin is unlike any of them, utterly unique.

Again, I think I should draw a distinction between Berliners and other Germans. Berliners are for the most part quite laid back, whereas for the rest of Germany, the anal-retentive stereotype does seem to exist for a reason.

Was making friends and meeting people in Germany in general easy or difficult?

Making friends here is ridiculously easy (for me at least). I had the advantage of having a couple of friends here already who introduced me to many others, as well as finding me a shared apartment to start off with. I...

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4

germany - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

I spent almost 11 months there. I left a little bit more than two years ago, so I was 22, 23 when I left.

I went on a scholarship, which I applied to and because nobody else in my school did, I got the scholarship just for turning in all the paper work. I live in South Alabama, so the sole idea of leaving the state is a bit too much for most of the people at my school.

I lived in Mainz. It was great! It wasn't a huge tourist trap like Munich or Heidelberg. It wasn't a small little town, either. I was near Frankfurt, Heidelberg and about 3 hours from Paris. Because there were no tourists around, people didn't speak English as much, which really helped me in with my German. But what always got me was that if I crossed the Rhein river into Wiesbaden, I'd hear English all the time because of an American military base there.

Well, before I got there, I kept on hearing that Germans were a bit reserved. Then when all the international students at the my Uni went through orientation, we were told the same thing, and most of them barely made German friends. But as for myself, my first day there, I heard two of the guys speaking out in the hall way. I just went out and introduced...

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3

germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/10/13.

What brought you to Germany? Where were you before?

I came to Germany while 21, and I'm nearing 24 now, so early 20s. I immigrated for love! My then-boyfriend is German, and things went well so he's my husband and I'm permanently transplanted. I'm originally from Texas.

Describe the city you live in in Germany and your impressions of it.

The city I live in (Cologne) is very colorful. We're the "gay capital of Germany." We have one of the biggest Christopher Street Day celebrations (gay pride) in the country. I love it! There's also a lot of immigrants so you can find nearly any kind of food you want anywhere in the city.

What makes the people of Germany unique?

Germany is unique in bread culture. I never knew you could get anything other than "wheat" or "white" square loaf bread like what you get in the States. Here, that's called "toast" and isn't considered real bread! Bakeries are abundant and very cheap; you can get 1 loaf + 10 rolls for less than 4€.

Was making friends and meeting people in Germany in general easy or difficult?

Making friends is tough when you don't speak the language well. You end up friends with a lot of similar expatriates, which doesn't...

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3

frankfurt, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

How much time have you spent in Germany?

I spent 1.5 years in Frankfurt, Germany.

How old were you when you came to Germany? Where were you before?

I was 22 when I moved to Germany. I was living in the Netherlands before that.

What brought you to Germany? What made you choose Germany over any other place you could've gone?

I had been learning German and, at the time, had a German girlfriend. I'd spent a lot of time in Germany and with Germans, so I felt a closeness with the culture.

Describe the city you live in in Germany and your impressions of it.

Frankfurt is a business oriented city with a lot of internationals. It's a hard place to love, but it has everything you could need and there's a soul if you look hard enough.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in Germany? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in Germany?

Frankfurt was pretty much trashed in WW2 and was rebuilt with the intention of being a moderm city. So there's not a whole lot in terms of old architecture like in other cities. It's also kind of a cold, business oriented place. I was drawn there because I worked at the airport, which is a huge european...

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2

bonn, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/31/13.

I'm a Slovak expat living in Bonn, Germany. I've been in Bonn for about two years. I spent most of the time since I came in the city. I go to visit my parents couple of times a year, which is surprisingly more often than when I lived in Prague. Mainly because they moved closer to big city with airport and I can afford to fly there. Although Prague was geographically closer to my hometown, it takes much less time to get to my parents now than before. I came just after mine 26th birthday shortly after finishing uni.

I grow up in a small town in Slovakia and then I went to study and work for six years to Prague. I finished my MSc there and was not really satisfied with my job. I also wanted to continue my studies with PhD and stay in academia. I got accepted to another PhD position in Prague, but I did not really feel I belong there and I wanted to change my environment completely and start over. So when an opportunity opened (through an old friend of mine) to come to Germany, I went for it. It was more less random set of circumstances that brought me here. The only obstacle was that I did not speak the language, but on the other hand it was conveniently close (not that it played...

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2

germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 10/15/13.

What brought you to Germany? Where were you before?

I came from Florida. My wife and I moved here because she got a job in a research lab here.

Describe the city you live in in Germany and your impressions of it.

I live in Dresden. It's a beautiful place, they've put a lot of effort into rebuilding it into what it was 100 years ago. It's surrounded by fields and forests, but it has an operahouse and a lot of museums as well. You can take public transport anywhere (we haven't bought a car here, we've been here for over a year and it hasn't been a problem). Biking is popular, and there's lots of bike trails through woods and along the Elbe river. We're also 2 hours (by train) from both Berlin and Prague, two of my favorite cities.

What makes the people of Germany unique?

The people here are really no different than you'd find in the US, aside from a different language. The biggest differences are probably a much more positive view of public transport and the things they like to do for fun. The parks here fill up on nice weekends with people who all bring little charcoal grills. When we first got here we came across a park and we thought there were fireworks or something...

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demographics

population

81,305,856 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)

languages

German

religions

Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 13.2% (male 5,499,555/ female 5,216,066)

15-64: 15-64 years: 66.1% (male 27,173,860/ female 26,587,068)

65+: 65 years and over: 20.7% (male 7,273,915/ female 9,555,392) (2012 est.)

urbanization

74% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

80.19 years

obesity rate

12.9% (2003)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

6/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household...

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The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms. Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, contributed to strong growth in 2006 and 2007 and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the 2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II - and its decrease to 6.0% in 2011. GDP contracted 5.1% in 2009 but grew by 3.6% in 2010, and 2.7% in 2011. The recovery was attributable primarily to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports - increasingly outside the Euro Zone. Germany's central bank projects that GDP will grow 0.6% in 2012, a reflection of the worsening euro-zone financial crisis and the financial burden it places on Germany as well as falling demand for German exports. Domestic demand is therefore becoming a more significant driver of Germany's economic expansion. Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term increased Germany's budget deficit to 3.3% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduce the deficit to 1.7% in 2011, below the EU's 3% limit. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in May 2011 that eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022. Germany hopes to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its energy and 46% of its base-load electrical production.

major industries

among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and...

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among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles

gdp per capita

$38,100 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

3.1% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 0.8% industry: 28.6% services: 70.6% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

6% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

15.5% (2010 est.)

gini index

27 (2006) country comparison to the world: 124 30 (1994)