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Germany is one of the big players in the European Union. It has the biggest population and the largest GDP in the EU.
Foreign residents come to Germany to work, to study and to raise a family. The country is politically stable, has a good job market and a well-regarded education system.
Many expats see the cities of Germany as a great combination of culture and structure: Berlin and Frankfurt are home to more the restaurants, nightclubs, museums and art galleries than you can shake a stick at - and yet the public services are efficient and the trains usually run on time.
Germany is not seen as dangerous, either - personal safety is not usually a concern in the country. There are some exceptions: public transport can be a bit dodgy at night time, and you'd be wise to stay away from crowds of drunken football fans.
Germany has suffered through a series of terrorist attacks in recent years. It is seen as a 'high risk' destination for further attacks, similar to France.
In general, though, Germany is a safe and pleasant country in which to live and work. In fact, Mercer's 2016 Quality of Living Survey, popular with potential expats, put three German cities in the top ten: Munich (4), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt (7).
The Country: Germany (Deutschland)
The Nationality: German (deutsch)
The People: Germans (das Deutsch)
Time Zone: UTC+1
Currency Code: EUR
ISO International Country Code: DEU
Internet Domain: .de
Telephone Dialling Code: +49
Capital City: Berlin (population: 3,653,000)
Terrain: Varied. Forests, mountains, plains, lowlands and lots of rivers!
Climate: Moderate. Warm summers and cool winters, with greater temperature extremes further away from the coast.
Life expectancy at Birth: 81 years
Religion: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3% (CIA World Factbook 2016)
Ethnicity: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish) (CIA World Factbook 2016)
UN Human Development Index: 6 of 188 countries. This index attempts to measure a country's achievements in education, healthcare, wealth generation and a number of other areas. In effect, it looks at the extent to which the people in a country enjoy a long and healthy life, a good education and a decent standard of living. It is a very useful indicator of what a country will be like as a place to live.
UN Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index: 6 of 188 countries. This index is a list measuring the lost development potential arising from all types of inequality in a country. With perfect equality this index and the HDI would show the same result.
Population Below Poverty Line: 15.5%
Germany has a good-quality, universal healthcase system - funded by a mixture of private and public money.
World Health Organization ranking of health systems (last release in 2000): 25 of 191 countries.
Germany is ranked 16 out of 163 countries included in the 2016 edition of the Vision of Humanity "Peace Index". This is just ahead of Norway and just behind Australia. Iceland comes first. Syria comes last.
The methodology used to make this index may be open to some debate but it is a good snapshot of criminality, conflict, political attitudes and military expenditure.
This is another interesting snapshot, from people behind the Peace Index.
Germany is ranked a very encouraging 6 out of 113 countries included in the 2016 edition of the World Justice Project's "Rule of Law Index" (with 1 being the best). Germany scored particularly well in the 'Civil Justice' and 'Regulatory Enforcement' categories.
Germany also scores well on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Germany is ranked 10 out of 176 countries included in the 2016 edition of the index. They scored similarly to Luxembourg and the UK. Denmark and New Zealand are top. Somalia, South Sudan and North Korea are bottom.
Inflation: 0.4% (2016)
Public debt: 69% of GDP (2016)
Unemployment: General: 4.2%; Youth 6.5% (the lowest in the EU)
The stereotypes ring true in Germany. Businesses in Germany are superb at forward-planning, fantastically thorough in fact-checking, and very averse to sudden changes or surprises.
As already mentioned, Germany scores well on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Germany is ranked 10 out of 176 countries included in the 2016 edition of the index. They scored similarly to Luxembourg and the UK. Denmark and New Zealand are top. Somalia, South Sudan and North Korea are bottom.
Our guides contain (or soon will do) a mass of information about living, working, doing business, retiring & investing in Germany. Check them out here.
When preparing this factsheet we made extensive use of:
In addition we would like to thank our colleagues, contributors and readers for their invaluable input.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Francine Carrel 8 March 2017
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