GERMANY >> GEOGRAPHY OF GERMANY
GEOGRAPHY OF GERMANY
Located in west-central Europe, the country stretches from the most prominent mountain range of Europe, the Alps in the South, to the German and Baltic Sea in the North. The nation´s territory covers 137.969 square miles (357.340km²), consisting of 3011 square miles of waters. Germany is the 7th largest European country. The country shares borders with nine other European countries, namely: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Germany can be divided into four geographical regions (from north to south):
■The Northern Lowland (including the German Islands)
■The low mountain range
■The pre-alpine lands
■The mountainous highlands
Germany's highest peak is the Zugspitze which peak is nearly 10.000 feet (2962 m). This mountain is located in the (Bavarian) Alps. Forests cover almost a third of the country' s total surface. The Rhine, which is located in the very West, is the longest river with a length of 820 miles, followed by the Elbe as the country's second-largest. Another important river is the Danube which rises in the Black Forest and stretches to the Black Sea. Lakes of note are the Chiemsee, Bodensee and the Muritz lake. Germany's largest islands are Rügen and Usedom, both located at the northeastern Baltic coast.
German farmers secure the national food supply and agriculture and forestry make up 83 per cent of land use.
There are regional disparities between the north and south, an in particular between the former West and East German states due to the transition to a market-oriented economy after the German Democratic Republic (GDR) collapsed in 1989. Germany's reunification resulted in the closure of many industries in the former GDR.
A significant movement of people from rural areas to Germany's cities has been taken place since 1990. Germany's capital Berlin was once divided into West and East with West Berlin separated from the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. Today, Berlin is a fast changing capital and an economic as well as a cultural center of the nation.
Munich is the capital of the state of Bavaria, located in the south of Germany. It is often referred to as the "Silicon Valley" of Germany as it is the most important location for IT in the country. Global players such as BMW or Siemens have chosen Munich as the base for their headquarters. Today, Munich has one of the nations strongest economic zones with the lowest unemployment rate.