Brief History of Germany

The history of Germany is vast and multifaceted, stretching back to ancient times when various tribes inhabited the region. By the Early Middle Ages, a number of these tribes (such as the Franks, Saxons, and Bavarians) had formed loose confederations.

Charlemagne, King of the Franks, emerged in the 8th century, and his Carolingian Empire laid the foundation for what would later become known as the Holy Roman Empire, a collection of semi-autonomous territories in central Europe. Over the centuries, this empire experienced fluctuating power dynamics, often caught between Papal interests in Rome and regional Germanic princes.

By the Late Middle Ages, cities within Germany like Nuremberg and Augsburg became centers of trade and culture. However, the 16th century brought the Reformation, initiated by Martin Luther, leading to religious wars and tensions between Protestants and Catholics.

In the 19th century, under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck, the many Germanic states were unified into the German Empire, with the Prussian monarchy at its helm. This empire pursued colonial and continental ambitions, culminating in World War I.

Post-WWI, the Treaty of Versailles imposed heavy reparations on Germany. The Weimar Republic that followed faced economic hardships, hyperinflation, and political extremism.

This volatility led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, ushering in a dark chapter of genocide, repression, and militarism. World War II devastated Europe, and post-war Germany was divided into East and West – a Soviet-controlled East Germany and a Western-aligned Federal Republic of Germany.

The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, became the literal and symbolic divider of these two worlds until its fall in 1989. This event paved the way for German reunification in 1990.

Today’s Germany is a leading European and global power, known for its economic prowess, cultural contributions, and commitment to democracy and human rights.

About Germany

Country Code: +49.

Crime: Post-WWII Germany saw an increase in crime due to the devastating consequences of the war, leading to social and economic dislocation. The division of Germany into East and West also affected crime rates, with each side experiencing unique challenges.

Historically, Germany has had a low homicide rate, especially in comparison with other large countries. The reasons are multifaceted, including effective law enforcement, a strong social welfare system, and rigorous gun control.

The country has grappled with organized crime, especially groups involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking. The ‘Ndrangheta, an Italian mafia group, has also been active in Germany.

Post-reunification saw the rise of right-wing extremism in some parts of the country, leading to hate crimes against immigrants and other minorities. The NSU (National Socialist Underground) is a notable example of a far-right terrorist group active in the early 2000s. On the other end of the spectrum, left-wing extremism has also been present, though its manifestations differ.

With the digital age, cybercrime has been on the rise in Germany, as it has worldwide. This includes hacking, online fraud, and other forms of digital malfeasance.

The refugee crisis starting around 2015, where Germany accepted over a million refugees, stirred debate on crime. While the overall crime rate saw a slight increase with the influx, extensive studies showed that the majority of the refugees were not involved in criminal activity. It’s essential to note that public perception and media portrayals can sometimes differ from statistical realities.

Germany’s police forces are known for their efficiency and effectiveness. The country also has several programs for crime prevention, focusing on youth engagement, social integration, and urban planning to reduce crime hotspots.

Germany’s legal system, rooted in the civil law tradition, is methodical and thorough. It includes a focus on rehabilitation rather than mere punishment, especially for younger offenders.

Currency: EU Euro.

Electricity: Type C (2-pin round), Type F (2-pin round, 2e earth pins).

Language: German.

Latitude and Longitude: 51.1657°N, 10.4515° E.

Population: 83.2 million (2021).

Chancellor: Olaf Scholz.

National Parks

Germany has an array of national parks that reflect its diverse landscapes, ranging from coastal terrains to mountainous regions. These parks are not only important for conservation but also serve as popular destinations for both locals and tourists who seek to experience Germany’s natural beauty.

Bavarian Forest National Park (Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald): Located in southeastern Germany along the border with the Czech Republic, this was Germany’s first national park established in 1970. It’s characterized by dense forests, mountain ranges, and is home to lynxes, wolves, and many bird species.

Together with the adjacent Šumava National Park in the Czech Republic, it forms the largest contiguous woodland in Central Europe.

Jasmund National Park (Nationalpark Jasmund): Situated in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the island of Rügen, this park is renowned for its impressive chalk cliffs rising from the Baltic Sea. The most famous cliff is the Königsstuhl.

Black Forest National Park (Nationalpark Schwarzwald): Located in the southwestern region of Germany, this park encompasses parts of the Black Forest, a large forested mountain range known for its dense evergreen forests and picturesque villages.

Eifel National Park (Nationalpark Eifel): Situated in North Rhine-Westphalia, this park showcases the diverse landscapes of the Eifel mountains. It features a mix of forests, lakes, and rivers and hosts various outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching.

Hainich National Park: In central Germany, this park preserves the ancient Hainich forest, which is one of the last remaining primeval forests in the country. It’s particularly known for its deciduous woodland and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Müritz National Park (Nationalpark Müritz): Also in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, this park is a haven for birdwatchers, characterized by its large lakes, particularly the Müritz Lake, and extensive wetlands.

Wadden Sea National Parks (Nationalparks Wattenmeer): These are a series of parks (Lower Saxony Wadden Sea, Hamburg Wadden Sea, and Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea) along Germany’s North Sea coast. They protect the unique tidal Wadden Sea environment, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Berchtesgaden National Park: Located in the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border, this park boasts stunning alpine landscapes, deep blue lakes, and is home to the iconic Mount Watzmann.

Saxon Switzerland National Park (Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz): Close to Dresden and bordering the Czech Republic, this park is known for its unique sandstone rock formations and the Elbe River Valley.

Harz National Park: Spanning the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, it covers a large portion of the Harz mountains, known for its dense forests, reservoirs, and the famous Brocken peak.

Top Tourist Attractions

Germany is a treasure trove of historical landmarks, natural wonders, and architectural marvels, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

Neuschwanstein Castle: Located in Bavaria, this fairy-tale castle was built by King Ludwig II and is said to have inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. With its romantic architecture and mountainous backdrop, it’s a favorite among tourists.

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor): An iconic symbol of Berlin and Germany, this neoclassical gate stands as a testament to the country’s history and was a focal point during the division of East and West Germany.

Berlin Wall: Though most of it has been demolished, parts of the wall still stand as a grim reminder of Germany’s divided past. The East Side Gallery, a long section of the wall covered in murals and graffiti, is particularly popular.

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom): This Gothic cathedral with its towering spires is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its impressive architecture.

The Romantic Road (Romantische Straße): A scenic drive that winds through Bavaria, connecting picturesque towns, medieval villages, and castles.

Heidelberg Castle: Overlooking the city of Heidelberg, this Renaissance ruin offers stunning views of the Neckar River below.

Black Forest (Schwarzwald): A dense forested region known for its scenic beauty, traditional cuckoo clocks, and the origin of the famous Black Forest cake.

Oktoberfest: Held in Munich, this world-famous beer festival attracts millions of visitors every year who come for the beer, food, music, and carnival rides.

Museum Island (Museumsinsel): Located in Berlin, this island on the Spree River is home to five major museums, showcasing art and artifacts from ancient to modern times.

Dachau Concentration Camp: Near Munich, it’s a poignant reminder of the Holocaust and the atrocities of WWII. Many visitors pay their respects and learn about the dark chapter of history here.

Hamburg Port: One of the world’s largest ports, it’s a lively place with boat tours, historical buildings, and the impressive Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

Rhine Valley: This region is known for its vineyards, medieval towns, and castles. A river cruise here offers breathtaking views.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part of the Romantic Road, this well-preserved medieval town is known for its timber-framed houses and historic walls.

Zugspitze: Germany’s highest peak offers panoramic views of the Alps. Tourists can reach the summit via a cogwheel train and a cable car.

Dresden’s Historic Centre: Heavily bombed during WWII, the city’s historic center has been meticulously restored and is home to impressive buildings like the Frauenkirche and the Zwinger Palace.