Germany pronounced officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular immigration destination in the world. Germany’s capital and largest metropolis is Berlin. Other major cities include Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf.
Germany was a founding member of the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD. The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential artists, philosophers, musicians, sportspeople, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and inventors.
In 2014, about seven million of Germany’s 81 million residents did not have German citizenship. Sixty-nine per cent of these people lived in western Germany and mostly in urban areas,
In the 1960s and 1970s, the German governments invited “guest workers” (Gastarbeiter) to migrate to Germany for work in the German industries. Many companies preferred to keep these workers employed in Germany after they had trained them and Germany’s immigrant population has steadily increased. As of 2011, about six million foreign citizens (7.7% of the population) were registered in Germany.
The Federal Statistical Office classifies the citizens by immigrant background. Regarding immigrant background, 20% of the country’s residents, or more than 16 million people, were of immigrant or partially immigrant descent in 2009 (including persons descending or partially descending from ethnic German repatriates) In 2010, 29% of families with children under 18 had at least one parent with immigrant roots.
In 2015, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs listed Germany as host to the second-highest number of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 12 million of all 244 million migrants. Germany ranks 7th amongst EU countries and 37th globally in terms of the percentage of migrants who made up part of the country’s population. As of 2014, the largest national group was from Turkey (2,859,000), followed by Poland (1,617,000), Russia (1,188,000), and Italy (764,000). Since 1987, around 3 million ethnic Germans, mostly from the former Eastern Bloc countries, have exercised their right of return and emigrated to Germany.
Germany has a long tradition of higher education reflecting the global status as a modern economy. The established universities in Germany include some of the oldest in the world, with Heidelberg University (established in 1386) being the oldest. It is followed by the Leipzig University (1409), the Rostock University (1419) and the Greifswald University (1456). The University of Berlin, founded in 1810 by the liberal educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt, became the academic model for many European and Western universities. In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence: Humboldt University Berlin, the University of Bremen, the University of Cologne, TU Dresden, the University of Tübingen, RWTH Aachen, FU Berlin, Heidelberg University, the University of Konstanz, LMU Munich, and the Technical University of Munich.