Living in Germany
Climate and Geographic Conditions
Germany has a temperate climate. In summer the temperature is about 18-20°C although in many places the thermometer can clamber over the 30°C mark, while in winter the mean temperature is about 1.5°C in the planes and -6°C in the mountains. Rain falls all the year round, especially in autumn. The German landscape is extremely varied. The North is characterised by lakes, heath and moorland; the coast by chains of islands, estuaries and dunes. In the South is the Swabian-Bavarian plateau with its hills and large lakes as well as the German part of the Alps. In the area in between there are deciduous and coniferous forests, slate hills and a green landscape of river valleys and plains.
Facts and Figures
More than half the German people live in towns with a population of between 2,000 and 100,000 (like Wiesbaden or Mainz). There are 86 larger towns and cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants spread throughout the country. Since re-unification the capital and future seat of government is once again Berlin, with a current population of 3.5 million. The towns can boast a lively, varied cultural scene sometimes comprising distinguished theatres, orchestras, art academies, art collections, and libraries. The right to artistic freedom is guaranteed as is the right to freedom of expression. The multifarious press organs and other mass media are not censored and guarantee a democratic control of the state and society.
Germany's liberal-democratic constitution, the Basic Law, dates back to 1949. Since the Unification Treaty of 3 October 1990 between the former German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic the constitution governs the whole of Germany. The constitutional bodies comprise the Federal President, the Bundestag (Federal German Parliament), the Bundesrat (Council of Constituent States), the Federal Government, and the Federal Constitutional Court. The federal structure of Germany is reflected by the 16 Bundesländer (Federal States) which have state authority and pass their own state constitutions in accordance with the principles of a republican, democratic and social constitutional state. The entire educational system, for example, including higher education, falls within the political jurisdiction of the Länder.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />