Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. With about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany’s capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, with its main centers of Dortmund and Essen. The country’s other major cities are Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Bremen, Dresden, Hannover and Nuremberg.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815. At the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded: the democratic West Germany and the socialist East Germany that were reunified on 3 October 1990.
In the 21st century, Germany is a great power and has the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world’s third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled and productive society. It upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection and a tuition-free university education.
Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world, with a total of 407 million overnights during 2012. Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe. Additionally, more than 30% of Germans spend their holiday in their own country, with the biggest share going to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Germany is well known for its diverse tourist routes, such as the Romantic Road, the Wine Route, the Castle Road, and the Avenue Road. The German Timber-Frame Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße) connects towns with examples of these structures. Germany’s most-visited landmarks include e.g. Neuschwanstein Castle, Cologne Cathedral, Berlin Bundestag, Hofbräuhaus Munich, Heidelberg Castle, Dresden Zwinger, Fernsehturm Berlin and Aachen Cathedral. The Europa-Park near Freiburg is Europe’s second most popular theme park resort.