Country Portrait: Germany

Country facts:

  • Full name: Federal Republic of Germany
  • Capital: Berlin
  • 62nd largest country in the world (357,021 km²)
  • Largest cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich
  • Population: 82.3 Mio
  • Growth rate: 0.05%
  • Age expectancy: 79.3 years
  • Languages: German, Turkish, various Dialects
  • Ethnic Mix: German (95%), other

What should I write about my home country. There are so many things one could write. Well, let me just start with this: Germany has the largest population among member states of the European Union, and it is also home to the third-largest number of international migrants worldwide.

We have a very rich history. Germany is historically called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. As a result, it is difficult to identify a specific German tradition separated from the larger framework of European high culture. Another consequence of these circumstances is the fact that some historical figures, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka and Paul Celan, though not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, must be considered in the context of the German cultural sphere in order to understand their historical situation, work and social relations. The Pop group Tokio Hotel is one of the internationally famous groups, also known in the US (though I don’t like them very much…).

So much for the music…

Sport forms an integral part of German life. Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually. Association football is the most popular sport. With more than 6.3 million official members, the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) is the largest sports organisation of its kind worldwide. The Bundesliga attracts the second highestaverage attendance of any professional sports league in the world. The German national football team won theFIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and the European Football Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Germany has hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 2006 and the UEFA European Football Championshipin 1988. Among the most successful and renowned footballers are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, and Oliver Kahn.

We all still hope that 2010 will be OUR year and that after waiting for 20 years the German team will win the Cup again. They were very close in 2002 (2nd place) and 2006 (3rd). Historically speaking they are a tournament team, which means that at the moment they’re playing lousy, but the moment they arrive at the Cup you’ll see a completely different team. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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