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German Geography

german_geographyGermany is located in the Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark. Roughly the size of Montana and situated even farther north, unified Germany has an area of 356,959 square kilometers. Extending 853 kilometers from its northern border with Denmark to the Alps in the south, it is the sixth largest country in Europe. At its widest, Germany measures approximately 650 kilometers from the Belgian-German border in the west to the Polish frontier in the east.

The territory of the former East Germany (divided into five new Länder in 1990) accounts for almost one-third of united Germany’s territory and one-fifth of its population. After a close vote, in 1993 the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany’s parliament, voted to transfer the capital from Bonn in the west to Berlin, a city-state in the east surrounded by the Land of Brandenburg.

Topography: With its irregular, elongated shape, Germany provides an excellent example of a recurring sequence of landforms found the world over. A plain dotted with lakes, moors, marshes, and heaths retreats from the sea and reaches inland, where it becomes a landscape of hills crisscrossed by streams, rivers, and valleys. These hills lead upward, gradually forming high plateaus and woodlands and eventually climaxing in spectacular mountain ranges.

As of the mid-1990s, about 37 percent of the country’s area was arable; 17 percent consisted of meadows and pastures; 30 percent was forests and woodlands; and 16 percent was devoted to other uses. Geographers often divide Germany into four distinct topographic regions: the North German Lowland; the Central German Uplands; Southern Germany; and the Alpine Foreland and the Alps.

total: 357,022 sq km
land: 348,672 sq km
water: 8,350 sq km

Land boundaries:
total: 3,714 km
border countries (9): Austria 801 km, Belgium 133 km, Czech Republic 704 km, Denmark 140 km, France 418 km, Luxembourg 128 km, Netherlands 575 km, Poland 467 km, Switzerland 348 km

2,389 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m

Natural resources:
coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land

Land use:
agricultural land: 48%
arable land 34.1%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 13.3%
forest: 31.8%
other: 20.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
5,157 sq km (2006)

Total renewable water resources:
154 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 32.3 cu km/yr (16%/84%/0%)
per capita: 391.4 cu m/yr (2007)

Climate: Cool, continental climate with abundant rainfall and long overcast season. Lower temperatures with considerable snowfall in east and south. Prone to rapid weather variations from merging of Gulf Stream and extreme northeastern climate conditions. More about climate in Germany…

Administrative Division: 16 states (Länder): Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia.

Population, Area, and Capitals of the Länder

State Capital Area (km2) Population
Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart 35,752 10,879,618
Bavaria Munich 70,549 12,843,514
Berlin Berlin 892 3,670,622
Brandenburg Potsdam 29,477 2,484,826
Bremen Bremen 404           671,489
Hamburg Hamburg 755 1,787,408
Hesse Wiesbaden 21,115 6,176,172
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin 23,174 1,612,362
Lower Saxony Hanover 47,618 7,926,599
North Rhine-Westphalia Düsseldorf 34,043 17,865,516
Rhineland-Palatinate Mainz 19,847 4,052,803
Saarland Saarbrücken 2,569               995,597
Saxony Dresden 18,416 4,084,851
Saxony-Anhalt Magdeburg 20,445 2,245,470
Schleswig-Holstein Kiel 15,763 2,858,714
Thuringia Erfurt 16,172 2,170,714

Related articles:
Climate In Germany

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