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Germany

Germany at a glance
Germany’s position in the world economy
The Basic Law
Basic rights
The economy
Society
Health insurance


Germany at a glance

The country and the people: The Federal Republic of Germany is located in the heart of Europe, linking the west with the east, the north with the south. The most densely-populated country in Europe, Germany has been flanked by nine neighboring states since the unification of the two German states in 1990. An integral part of the European Union and NATO, Germany is a partner to the central and eastern European states that are en route to becoming part of a united Europe. Since the reunification in 1989 Germany is once more one of the biggest countries in Europe with its capital Berlin. Obviously, it contains many geographical features as varied as the shore of the Baltic and North sea and the ecosystem of the Alps.
357,000 sq km are home to 82 million people with almost 80% living in urban areas. Germany shares borders with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. Germany's climate is almost as varied as its country but mostly temperate or marine.

Extreme temperature lows and highs are rare. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with about freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in eastern Germany. Summer temperatures are typically between 20 and 30°C, with more rainfall during the summer. Frequent changes of weather make prognosis difficult. To be on the save side take a sweater or weather protection with you.

Possessing a storybook landscape of rolling hills, placid lakes generously speckling its regions, and a coastline studded with stunning beaches, Germany is a land of outstanding beauty and splendor. Visit Germany's wine country and feast your eyes and your taste buds on the region's numerous small visitor-friendly vineyards. Indulge in any of Germany's over 300 spas and health resorts and pamper yourself in a relaxing holistic approach to stress reduction. Savor an authentic German lunch of sausage (Wurst), potato salad and Germany's world-famous apple strudel while unwinding in a modest Gasthof or café. Experience Germany's diverse cultural and social scenes in one of the many theatre and opera houses, all-night discos, and numerous nightclub venues. Lastly, to achieve the ultimate Germanic experience remember to greet the Germans with Guten Tag, or Auf Wiedersehen before departing, in this magnificent country filled with beauty and excitement!

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Germany’s position in the world economy

Ranking third in terms of total economic output, Germany is one of the world’s leading nations. With regard to world trade it places second. The country continues to be an attractive market for foreign investors, offering a superbly developed infrastructure and a highly motivated, well-qualified work force. Top-notch research and development projects are additional hallmarks of the country

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  The Basic Law :

 Post-War Germany has developed into the freest and most reliable state that has ever existed on German soil. The constitution, the Basic Law, has made a fundamental contribution to this. On the one hand, it provides stability while, on the other, it offers scope for adaptation. It guarantees the individual extensive personal liberties and rights of freedom as well as social security.  

  The Basic Law has been accepted by citizens of Germany to a far greater extent than any other German constitution before it. It bears remarking here that the constitution was originally designed as a provisional arrangement, which is why it was only called "Basic Law". Drawn up in 1949, its aim was to provide public life with a new, free and democratic order "for a transitional period". At the very outset, namely in the preamble, the German people were called on "to put the finishing touches to the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination." In other words, the intention was for the country, divided into a western and an eastern section, to again reunite as soon as possible and then give itself a joint free democratic constitution. 

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Basic rights

  The first item in the Basic Law is an enumeration of basic rights, expressing the state's commitment to respecting and protecting human dignity, along with the right of every single person to self-fulfillment. This affords comprehensive protection against unlawful interference in personal matters by the state. Both Germans and foreigners can rely in equal measures on the right to self-fulfillment. The classical freedoms listed in the Basic Law include freedom of belief and conscience, right of asylum, freedom of expression including freedom of art and scholarship, freedom of the press and the guarantee of property. Others are freedom of assembly, freedom of association, the right to form coalitions, the confidentiality of letters, the post and telecommunications, freedom of movement, freedom in the choice of profession, protection from forced labor, the inviolability of the home and the right of conscientious objection.  

  Alongside these civil liberties there are rights of equality. The Basic Law expresses the general principal that all persons are equal before the law by providing that no one may be discriminated against or given preferential treatment on the grounds of his or her sex, birth, race, language, national or social origins, faith, religious persuasion or political opinions. Nor may anybody be discriminated against because of disability. Equal rights for men and women are also expressly stipulated. Finally, the constitution guarantees all Germans equal eligibility for public office. As part of these basic rights, marriage and the family are placed under the especial protection of the national order.  

  The fundamental essence of all these basic rights is inviolable and they are directly applicable as law. This is one of the most important reforms represented by the Basic Law compared to earlier German constitutions. Today, all three pillars of the state, namely the legislative, the executive and the judiciary, are strictly bound to the basic rights. Every citizen has the right to lodge a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court if he feels his basic rights have been impaired by decisions made by or actions performed by the state and has appealed to the appropriate courts without success.  

By acceding to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms and by ratifying the United Nations' international covenants on human rights, the Federal Republic of Germany is subject to international monitoring of human rights. Any individual may direct a complaint to the permanent European Court of Human Rights regarding the infringement of human rights.

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The Economy 

  The social partnership between trade unions and employers ensures a high degree of social harmony. Reforms to the social security system and structural reforms to the labor market are intended to reduce ancillary labor costs and rejuvenating economic growth, which, in comparison with other EU countries, is on a low level.  

  Compared with other industrial nation, the German economy has an almost unprecedented international focus. Companies generate almost a third of their profits through exports, and almost one in four jobs are dependent on foreign trade. The high level of international competitiveness is most evident where companies vie with others in the international arena. Despite the slump in world trade, the share of exports expanded at a higher than average rate. In addition, the continuous rise in direct investments by international companies in Germany and by German companies abroad underscores the strong position of the German economy in comparison with its international competitors. It is buttressed at the national level by a favorable inflation rate and unit labor costs as well as by a stable society.

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  Society

  Open-minded, modern and tolerant – these are the hallmarks of German society at the beginning of the 21st century. For the vast majority of people, the family still forms the nucleus of their lives, yet the forms people choose for living together have become far more numerous. Supported by consistent measures by the state to ensure equality, there has been a change in the interpretation of the roles men and women play. An increasing number of couples are now sharing domestic chores and the task of bringing up children, who are regarded as the parents’ partners. Violence as part of bringing up children is despised, whereas peaceful co-existence with people from other countries and cultures has become part and parcel of everyday life. Around nine percent of the population is foreign. In every sixth marriage one of the partners has a foreign passport. Most Germans also go abroad on holiday, and in 2002 spent € 56 billion in the process. They do, however, also place great value on their own homes and are active as volunteers in clubs and charitable organizations.

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  Health insurance

  Almost everyone living in Germany has health insurance. Some 88 percent belong to a statutory health scheme and around nine percent are privately insured.  

  Up to a certain level of income (in 2003, € 3,825 gross per month or  € 45,900 per annum), all employees are obliged to join one of the over 315 statutory health insurance schemes. Persons earning a higher gross amount than this are free to join a private scheme if they so desire. Subject to certain conditions, the statutory system also covers pensioners, the unemployed, trainees and students.  

  Employers and employees each pay half of the latter's health insurance contributions. These vary from company to company and in 2002 stood on average at 14 percent of gross earnings. However, there is an upper ceiling for the calculation of contributions. Even very high-income employees do not have to pay health contributions of more than seven percent of € 3,450. The employer pays the same amount. No contributions are payable for members of the family who do not work. From this point of view, employees with families are better off than single employees.  

  All insured persons have a free choice of panel doctors and dentists. The health insurance company pays the doctor's costs, as well as remedies, drugs, and appliances, hospital treatment and preventative health care. Patients have to pay a contribution towards medicines and certain services (spectacles, dentures). The treatment of children is exempt from such charges. The health insurance company pays all or part of the cost of curative treatment at a spa. In the event of sickness employees continue to receive their salary or wages from their employer for up to six weeks. Some collective agreements provide for an even longer period. After this the health insurance company provides sickness benefits for up to 78 weeks. 

  Nearly everyone residing in Germany is guaranteed access to high-quality comprehensive health care. Statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung--GKV) has provided an organizational framework for the delivery of public health care and has shaped the roles of payers, insurance or sickness funds, and providers, physicians, and hospitals since the Health Insurance Act was adopted in 1883.

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More :-

Politics and Administration

Want to know about German politics and foreign policy. This link might be the starting point to know what is happening in German politics.

The federal Republic of Germany consists of 16 states, each of which is unique and has a charm all of its own.

Know about The German Bundestag (Parliament).

Business and Employments

Trade Fair Center Germany - An Overview of All Faris.

Trade Fair Center Germany - CeBIT

Business Center - Germany in Figures

Culture and Media

Interested to know about cuture and media of Germany. Here are few links.

News, Analysis and Service from Germany and Europe - in 31 Languages. International Radio - Die Deutsche Welle

Know more about culture exchange program in Gothe Institute.

Know about famous Music - Conductor  Kurt Masur.

Cultural World Heritage - The UNESCO in Germany

Tourist information on Germany, list of German National Tourist Offices in Europe and overseas.

Nature and Environment

Waste Recycling - Dual System Germany.

World Climate - The Postdam-Institute fro Climate Research.

Desertification - The Secretary of the UN Convention for Combating Desertification

Science and Technology

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, SCIENCE, RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY
Provides information on the ministry's numerous funding programmes (biotechnology, basic research, environment, transport) in Germany, as well as German involvement in research projects for Europe (EUREKA, ESA, etc.) Links to related information centres in Germany and to EU educational programmes. Visit this link for details.

FRAUNHOFER SOCIETY (FHG)
One of leading research orgnisation for applied research in Europe with 56 research institutes. The Web site provides information on the fields the various Fraunhofer Institutes work in (development of new products and technologies) as well as the services they provide (trend analyses, personnel training). It posts job offers (for scientists, administrators, doctoral candidates), dates of scheduled events, current press releases. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

GERMAN AEROSPACE CENTER (DLR) Information on aerospace, energy technology and technology transfer. Aeronautics and Astronautics

MAX PLANCK SOCIETY (MPG)
Max Plank Society - The Max Planck Institutes carry out basic research in various fields of science and scholarship supplementary to the research carried out at universities. The Web site affords access to the eighty MP institutes throughout Germany, provides information on current projects (e.g. Pathfinder, cloning), the awarding of prizes, organisation of scientific conferences, includes links to other research establishments.

Guidelines for Scientist New to Germany - Sample from Max Plank Society.

ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUTE FOR POLAR AND MARINE RESEARCH (AWI)
The Web site provides information on the AWI's functions (polar research), equipment and logistics (maintenance of polar stations, research ships, polar aircraft, heavy drilling equipment), provides access to a library and reports on various research trips.

GERMAN CANCER RESEARCH CENTER (DKFZ)
Information on DKFZ research focuses, technology transfer, graduate programmes, and job offers. Links to national and international search engines.

POTSDAM GEORESEARCH CENTRE (GFZ)
The centre is home to a full range of earth science disciplines (geodesy, geophysics, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry). The Web site provides information on research into geoscience subjects as well as involvement in international projects.
 

Software - The Development of Open Source Software at BerliOS.

Genome Research - The German Humane Genome Project

Learn German
German Railways

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