Cruising to Germany


As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation, Germany remains a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.


Location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Geographic coordinates: 51 00 N, 9 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 357,021 sq km
Land: 349,223 sq km
Water: 7,798 sq 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


Temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind


Lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
Highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m


Germany's affluent and technologically powerful economy - the fifth largest in the world - has become one of the slowest growing economies in the euro zone. A quick turnaround is not in the offing in the foreseeable future. Growth in 2001-03 fell short of 1%, rising to 1.7% in 2004 before falling back to 0.9% in 2005. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $70 billion. Germany's aging population, combined with high unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions from workers.

Structural rigidities in the labor market - including strict regulations on laying off workers and the setting of wages on a national basis - have made unemployment a chronic problem. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations that could allow Germany to meet the long-term challenges of European economic integration and globalization, particularly if labor market rigidities are further addressed. In the short run, however, the fall in government revenues and the rise in expenditures have raised the deficit above the EU's 3% debt limit.


Airports: 552 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 332
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 220
Heliports: 33 (2005)
Pipelines: condensate 325 km; gas 25,293 km; oil 3,540 km; refined products 3,827 km (2004)
Railways: total: 46,166 km (20,100 km electrified)
Roadways: total: 231,581 km


7,467 km; note: Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 396 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,833,329 GRT/12,866,273 DWT
By type: barge carrier 1, cargo 72, chemical tanker 14, container 267, liquefied gas 3, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 25, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 4
Foreign-owned: 3 (Finland 2, Switzerland 1)
Registered in other countries: 2,303 (Antigua and Barbuda 853, Australia 3, The Bahamas 12, Belgium 1, Belize 3, Bermuda 1, Brazil 7, Bulgaria 1, Burma 5, Cambodia 1, Canada 3, Cayman Islands 14, Cyprus 211, Ecuador 1, Faroe Islands 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 2, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 106, Guyana 1, Hong Kong 7, Ireland 3, Isle of Man 55, Jamaica 2, North Korea 1, Liberia 510, Luxembourg 8, Malaysia 2, Malta 59, Marshall Islands 157, Morocco 2, Netherlands 58, Netherlands Antilles 52, NZ 1, Norway 2, Panama 29, Philippines 2, Portugal 17, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11, Samoa 1, Singapore 7, Spain 11, Sri Lanka 8, Sweden 4, Tuvalu 2, UK 63) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brunsbuttel, Duisburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Mainz, Rostock, Wilhemshaven

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Belgium - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - Germany - Latvia - Lithuania - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Sweden

Further Reading

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