Federal Republic of Germany
Currency: 1 Euro = 100 cents.
Dialing code: 49.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in April).
Local time now:
Main cities: Munich (the capital of Bavaria); Dresden (the capital of Saxony), Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Dortmund, Essen, Cologne.
Land and Resources: Germany, has a varied terrain that ranges from low-lying coastal flats along the North and Baltic seas, to a central area of rolling hills and river valleys, to heavily forested mountains and snow-covered Alps in the south. Several major rivers and canals traverse the country and have helped make it a transportation center. Germany is bounded on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; on the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; on the south by Austria and Switzerland; and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and The Netherlands.
Climate: Coastal regions of Germany have a temperate climate with warm summers and mild cloudy winters. Inland, the climate is more continental with warmer summers and colder winters. The Alpine and upland regions have cooler weather and more rain. Rain can be expected throughout the country all year round.
Government: Germany has a parliamentary head of government, or prime minister, called the chancellor. The federal president is the head of state.
Population: A few ethnic minorities are represented in Germany, including the Danes and the Sorbs.
Languages: The principal and official language of Germany is German. The various immigrant populations retain their separate languages, such as Turkish, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Serbo-Croatian.
Religion: Roman Catholics make up about one third of the German population. Protestants, the great majority of whom are Lutherans, make up more than one third of the people. Protestants.
3 October - German Unity Day
1 January - Neujahr, or the New Year
30 April - Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurgis Night”)
1 May - Labor Day
31 October - Reformation Day
6 December - Saint Nicholas's day
24-26 December – Christmas
31 December - Saint Sylvester’s Eve
Visa: A visa is not required for trips up to three months in each six month period for US, UK, Irish nationals, Canadians, Australians, New Zealand citizens. South African nationals require a valid passport and visa for travel to Germany. Also required are onward or return tickets, sufficient funds to provide financial support, and documents for further travel. Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all.
Customs regulations: The following goods may be imported without incurring customs duty by visitors arriving from countries outside the EU: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1l of spirits with an alcohol content exceeding 22 per cent by volume or 2l of spirits or liqueurs with an alcohol content not exceeding 22 per cent by volume or 2l of sparkling or liqueur wine; 2l of any other wine; 50g of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extracts; personal goods to the value of €175.00. (a) The tobacco and alcohol allowances are granted only to those over 17 years of age. (b) Wine in excess of the above allowances imported for personal consumption and valued at less than €128 will be taxed at an overall rate of 16 per cent.
Transportation: The national airline is Lufthansa Many other airlines serve the country, International airports: Berlin-Tegel, Bremen, Cologne, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Mб Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart. The shipping lines serve routes to Germany from the UK. Ferry connections exist from Germany to Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation and Sweden. The quickest route by train from the UK is through the Channel Tunnel with connections from Brussels or Paris to Austria. There are excellent connections between the Federal Republic of Germany and other main European cities. Germany is connected to all surrounding countries by a first-class network of motorways and trunk roads. In every major city, there are Mitfahrerzentralen (car-sharing agencies) which offer shared car travelling to all European cities on the basis of shared costs; an agency fee is charged. Internal services are operated by Lufthansa and several regional airlines. Regular scheduled boat services operate on most rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The introduction of the high-speed InterCity Express reduced travel times between the major centres immensely. Traffic drives on the right. The Federal Republic of Germany is covered by a modern network of motorways (Autobahnen). Taxis are available everywhere. Self-drive cars are available at most towns. A high standard of public transport services is available in all towns.
Sightseeing: Berlin: the iconic Brandenburg Gate, to the path of the old Berlin Wall, a vibrant centre for the arts, with many museums, galleries and theatres. One of the most popular art galleries in Berlin is housed in a train station. The Bavarian city of Munich is one of the country’s favourite tourist destinations. Traditionally the city is famous for its breweries and beer halls. The Marienplatz is the heart of Munich and the site of its most important historic buildings. Munich’s massive Olympic park complex. One of the most beautiful lakes in the Bavarian Alps, Chiemsee boasts two islands and is lined with resorts. For tourists Frankfurt does offer some sights, some intriguing restaurants in the Nordend, a variety of artistic and cultural events, and excellent shopping opportunities. Sightseeing opportunities are mostly confined to the historical core of the city, known as the Romerberg. The well ordered and interesting Botanical Garden. A taste of ancient Rome is a popular tourist attraction in the German city of Trier. The Black Forest is renowned as a holiday mecca with its picturesque fairy-tale villages, spa-bath resorts, hiking trails and ski resorts. Germany’s famed resort town of Baden-Baden, in the heart of the Black Forest, still draws thousands of tourists who come to relax in the waters and gamble in the casino. Hamburg is known as Germany’s 'green city', sporting 1,400 parks and gardens. Most of the sights of interest to tourists in the city are centred on its maritime traditions, particularly in the harbour area, where the 'Warehouse district' has been transformed into an entertaining destination offering several attractions.
Money: ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. All major credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in most shops and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash. Travellers cheques can be cashed at banks. The quickest and most convenient way to change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that are ubiquitous features of all German streets.
Communications: Telephone numbers in Germany can range from four to nine digits. There are surcharges on international calls made from hotels; it is often cheaper to use public telephone boxes that use phone cards; these are available from post offices. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.
Shops and cafes: Special purchases include precision optical equipment such as binoculars and cameras, porcelain, handmade crystal, silver, steelware, Solingen knives, leatherwear, sports equipment, toys from Nuremberg and Bavarian Loden cloth. Special purchases in eastern Germany include musical instruments, wooden carved toys from the Erzgebirge Mountains, and Meissen china. Shops can regulate their own opening hours within these times Mon-Fri 06:00-20:00, Sat 06:00-16:00. Smaller shops may close 13:00-15:00 for lunch. All shops, except a few bakeries, are closed on Sunday.
Tipping: It is customary to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, cloakroom attendants, bar and restaurant staff; a 10 per cent tip in standard.
Health and safety: There are no serious health risks in Germany, although there have been recent outbreaks of measles. The German health service is excellent. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free medical and dental treatment on presentation of Form E111. Nationals of other countries should take out medical insurance. A visit to Germany should be trouble free, but take normal precautions to avoid mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, especially at airports and railway stations in the large cities.
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.
Important phone numbers:
Ambulance - 112
Fire brigade - 112
Police - 110
Inquiries - 11-8-33
Taxi - 44-10-11, 68-20-01
119 Empire Circuit
Tel: + 02 6270 1911
Fax: + 02 6270 1951
Tel: + 71154 0
Fax: + 7138366
Avenida das Nações Qd. 807, lote 25
Tel: + 061 443 7330
Fax: + 061 443 7508
1 Waverley Street
Tel: + 1 613 232 1101
Fax: + 1 613 594 9330
3 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Tel: +86 (10) 6532 5556 ext 61; +86 (10) 6532 1181
Fax: 86) (10) 6532 5335
13-15, avenue Franklin Roosevelt
Tel: + 33 1 53.83.45.00
Fax: + 33 1 184.108.40.206
Via Po 25/c
Tel: + (06) 884741
4-5-10, Minami-Azabu Minato-ku,
Tel: + 03 5791 7700
Fax: + 03 3473 4243
Tel: + 47 2327 5400
Fax: + 47 2244 7672
Tel: + 7 (0)95 956 1080
Fax: + 7 7095 938 2354
23 Belgrave Square
Tel: 44 (0)20 7824 1300
Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 1435
Germany (Mission: Geneva)
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Tel: +1 202 298-4000
Fax: + 1 202 298 4249; + 1 202 333 2653
Encarta World Atlas