Deutschland (Germany) is the largest country in Central Europe and most populous EU state. It’s bordered by Denmark, Poland, Czech Rep, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. There are 16 states (Bundesländer), roughly corresponding to regions with their own distinct and unique culture. Germany is one of the most influential nations in Europe, and one of the world’s main economic powers. Known for precision engineering, high-tech products, philosophers, and composers, it’s equally admired by visitors for its old-world charm and “Gemütlichkeit” (cosiness). Discard any perceptions of Germany as homogeneous and a country of great regional diversity awaits. The states can be roughly grouped by geography as listed below, although there are other groupings. For a long time, the division between north and south was the most notable, nw, due to the Cold War legacy, there also is a great division between the cultures of east and west.
* Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Niedersachsen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein) – windswept land, maritime culture, busy harbors, beaches, and the popular vacation destinations of the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
* Western Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland) – wine country, modern cities and industry, sharply cut by the Middle Rhein and Mosel valleys.
* Central Germany (Hessen, Thüringen) – the green heart of Germany, with some of the most important historical cities, financial districts, countryside, and ancient forest.
* Eastern Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt) – highlighted by the eccentric, historic capital of Berlin, and rebuilt historic Dresden, “Florence on the Elbe”.
* Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bayern) – Black Forest, Oktoberfest, Alps. The 2 states most foreigners picture as “Germany” even though it is only 1 region – the one of Lederhosen, Dirndl, romantic old cities. and alpine views.