Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.v.
(DZT) Beethovenstrasse 69
Tel: 00 49 69 974 64-0, Fax: 00 49 69 751903
WATA - BBS, BERLIN
WATA - HANSEAT, HAMBURG
WATA - PRIMUS TRAVEL, FRANKFURT AM MAIN
WATA - WEICHLEIN, MUNICH (München)
Physical geographyAs a result of unification the existing 11 West German 'Lander' of Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria Berlin, Hamburg Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rhine Palatinate, the Saar and Schleswig-Holstein are joined by the five new East German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommem, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
Consequently, Germany now has even more varied and attractive amenities to offer the tourist: delightful countryside, exciting cities where there is much to be seen, historical old buildings and superb works of art, together with a wide range of holidays and recreational activities.
There are many features of interest and highlights of a centuries-old culture to make your visit a rewarding one in every part of Germany; castles and palaces, churches and monasteries, ancient walled towns with gates and towers and where the citizens' houses nestle in romantic streets and narrow alleyways.
The many major cities are leading centres of culture where you can visit the opera, concerts and museums; but they also offer good shopping facilities, excellent food and drink and exciting excursions into the surrounding districts.
Physical geographyThe Federal Republic of Germany stretches over 137,415 square miles. It is bordered north by the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and Denmark, west by the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, south by Switzerland and Austria, east by the Czech Republic and Poland.
North Germany, vast plains covered with loess, and South Germany including the South German Alpine foothills, the Bavarian and Allgau Alps; north of the Danube, the basin of Schwaben and Franconia, and a cristalline mountain mass in the Rhine Valley, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald). Erzgebirge Mountains Saxonian Hills, Spree River Forest, Harz Mountains, Thuringian forest and the Mecklenburg Lake District are the important landscapes of the new Bundeslander in the east.
ClimateThe climate of Germany is determined by its situation in the temperate zone. The annual mean temperature is 48°F. Spring is long and agreeable, the mean temperature in July is 59°F to 68°F, all lasts into October. January to March are the coldest months; there is snow in the higher mountain regions.
Economic geographyThe Federal Republic of Germany produces 60 per cent of all its agricultural needs. The forests play an important part: they cover 29 per cent of the whole area. On the other hand, it is a highly industrialised country.
DemographyGermany has a population of over 80 million (including 6.5 million foreigners). The population of the main cities is: Berlin - 3,438,000, Hamburg - 1,661,000, Munich - 1,237,000, Cologne -1,004,00 Frankfurt - 647,000.
A brief historyIn every part of the Federal Republic of Germany you will come across relics of a history dating back over 2,000 years.
Germany was, from the very outset, federalist in structure; development into a centrally governed national state - such as occurred in the case of many large neighbouring countries - never properly succeeded here. In the beginning there were only separate Germanic tribes such as the Saxons, Franks, Swabians and Bavarians who even today typify the individual character of the German regions. Then came the Romans, who incorporated the western and southern parts of Germany in their empire. Following the collapse of Roman imperial power and the transistional period of the Carolingian empire well over a thousand years ago there arose what came to be called the 'Holy Roman Empire'. This was a loose alliance of the German princes united under an elective monarchy with an emperor at its head. Within this empire, however, the German principalities became more and more fragmented until finally there were some 350 separate states - most of them, admittedly, 'pocket-sized'. In 1806, as a result of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, this empire came to an end. The re-adjustments carried out in the 19th century led to eventual unification and in 1871 the German states - now only 25 in number amalgamated under the leadership of Prussia to form the German Empire.
The end of the First World War in 1918 also spelt the end of the monarchy, and the German empire became a republic. At the end of the Second World War the country was divided the Federal Republic of Germany, a federal state comprising 11 'Lander', whereas the east saw the establishment of the German Democratic Republic. In 1990 the two German states were re-united; the five East German 'Lander' have joined the Federal Republic which now, as a result, consists of 16 'bundeslander' in all. Germany's federative history enables us today to offer you a wide variety of cultural attractions, for all these counts, princes, dukes, prince bishops and kings scattered royal palaces and capital cities of various sizes throughout the entire land.
ReligionsSome 51.5 per cent Protestant (mainly in the north), 44.3 per cent Roman Catholic.
Languages spoken by nationalsGerman is the official language; areas vary in dialect.
TimeMET one hour ahead of GMT prevails throughout the country, except during late March to Sept./Oct., when Summer time (one hour ahead of British Summer Time) is used.
CurrencyThe monetary unit is the Deutsche Mark (DM).
Official holidays (all shops and banks closed)1 January, New Years Day - 6 January, Epiphany (only in Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg) - 25 April, Good Friday - 28 April, Easter Monday - 1 May, Labour Day- May, Ascension Day - 28 May, Whit Monday -18 June, Corpus Christi (only in Hessen and areas listed by 1 Nov.) -15 August, Ascension of the Virgin (only in Bavaria, Saarland) - 3 October, Day of Unity -1 November, All Saints Day (only in Baden-Wurrtemberg Rhineland - Palatinate, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland -18 November, Day of Prayer and Repentance - 25 December, Christmas Day -26 December, Boxing Day.
What one should not fail to seeAugsburg: once the most prosperous commercial centre in Germany, is characterised by its Renaissance architecture. The town hall and the Maximilianstrasse with its fountains dating from the same period are still the town's most attractive features. In the 16th century the Fugger family of rich merchants founded the 'Fuggerei', the world's first social housing estate.
Berlin: a visit is a worthwhile experience. A variety of stage offerings, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and life along Kurfurstendamm, help make the city gay and interesting. In the Dahlem Museum are many of the paintings and sculptures of the former state museums.
Bonn: the seat of the Federal government was in days past the capital city of the prince archbishops of Cologne; their royal palace is now a university and their summer residence in nearby Bruhl now hosts official state receptions. The statue of Beethoven and the house where he was born commemorate the town's most illustrious son.
Dresden: the Royal Church and the 'Zwinger' are among the finest Baroque buildings in Germany. The Picture Gallery and 'Green Vault' are also world famous. The Semper-Oper, now restored, is once again one of Europe's most superb opera houses. Dusseldorf: gay metropolis of art and fashion on the Rhine. Carnival masquerades and the Rose Monday Pageant make the city one big playground.
Eisenach: high above the town is the Wartburg, one of Germany's most famous castles. In the town itself is the Luther House where Martin Luther lived as a schoolboy and the house (now with a museum) where Johann Sebastian Bach was born. The Thuringian Bach Festival is staged annually in Erfun, Weimar, Arnstadt and Gotha as well as Eisenach.
Erfurt: large Old Town with historic buildings. Cathedral church of St. Severin, whole streets of old dwelling-houses and the famous 'Kramerbrucke', a bridge lined with mediaeval houses. F
reiburg: the Black Forest metropolis, is noted for its Gothic cathedral, situated in the historic Old Town; its spire is regarded masterpiece of pure Gothic architecture.
Hamburg: is an important seaport. Of interest are the Hagenbeck Animal Park, the city Hall, fine churches and parks. A 40-minute drive north leads to Lübeck, famous for its many mediaeval monuments.
Hannover: noted for its great industrial trade fair, has a historic Old Town and boasts among its many parks one particular gem - the great Garden at Herrenhausen which has been completely retained in its original Baroque style.
Heidelberg: is associated worldwide with the ethos of German romanticism. Situated in the narrow Neckar Valley, this old university town is dominated by the ruined castle of the Palatinate Electors.
Koln: dates back to the Roman era. You will see remains of Roman temples, fortifications, and mosaics at a new Roman Germanic Museum. Apart from the Gothic cathedral, Cologne is famous for great Romanesque churches.
Leipzig: city and traditional trade fair centre. Market square with Renaissance Town Hall. JS Bach was choirmaster at St Thomas's Church and the concerts given by the choir here are still major musical events, as are the concerts of the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Lubeck and Bremen: are old seaports and members of the mediaeval Hanseatic League. In Lubeck whole streets of houses in brick Gothic, overlooked by magnificent churches, have been preserved. The twin-towered Holsten Gate is well known. In Bremen you will find the market-square particularly attractive; it is surrounded by superb buildings - the Renaissance town hall - the Cathedral and ancient dwelling-houses - and in the centre stands the statue of Roland now, as ever, the symbol of civic freedom.
Magdeburg: several old churches survive in this modem city including the magnificent medieval Cathedral and the Romanesque Monastery of Our Lady.
Meissen: historic Old Town with many churches and ancient dwelling-houses and courtyards. High above the Elbe is the Burgberg, on which stand the Cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle. The porcelain factory is world-famous; its products can be viewed in a display hall and during conducted tours of the workshops.
Munchen: capital of Bavaria, is a city of theatres, museums, art galleries and parks. The Deutsches Museum is the first and largest technology museum in the world. Fine art collections are shown in the famous Alte Pinakothek and at Haus der Kunst. Visit the Frauenkirche Cathedral, enjoy a magnificent view from the steeple top. Also worth seeing is Nymphenburg Palace with its vast park the huge Englischer Garten, the Tierpark Hellabrunn, Europe's largest zoo, and the new Olympic sports grounds.
Munster: an old episcopal see boasts many churches and historic old secular buildings. Notable features are the Prinzipalmarkt with its double row of arcaded houses and the Gothic town hall.
Nurnberg: is one of Germany's finest medieval cities, 125 miles north of Munchen, full of works of the famous sculptors Adam Kraft and Peter Vischer. It is the city of the great painter Albrecht Durer. Places to visit: Imperial Castle, St. Sebald's Church, St. Lorenz, Market Place with a 'Beautiful Fountain', Durer House, Germanic National Museum.
Potsdam: former seat of the Prussian kings. Baroque buildings in the Old Town: Old Town Hall, royal stables (now a film museum), dwelling-houses, gateways. Large, domed church of St. Nicholas, a major classical work by the famous Berlin architect Schinkel.
Regensburg: the old Roman town on the Danube, has always played a major role in German history: episcopal see, free imperial city and seat of the 'eternal' imperial diet until 1806. Within the splendidly preserved medieval old part of town we still find many architectural highlights: the cathedral, churches and cloisters the town hall and the bridge across the Danube, dating back to the 12th century, is one of the oldest in Europe.
Rostock: the country's largest seaport with the oldest university in Northern Europe. Evidence of past glories are various brick Gothic churches, the Town Hall and gateways in the Old Town. Nearby is the well-known seaside resort, fishing port and ferry harbour of Warnemunde.
Schwerin: former grand ducal seat with large palace. Well preserved Old Town with brick Gothic cathedral. National theatre; museum with important collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings. Stuttgart: is a lively city surrounded by vineyards. Superb parks and various palaces remind us that this was once the royal seat of the kings of Wurrtemberg. The mineral springs in Bad Canstatt are among the most productive in Europe.
Trier: the Roman city on the Moselle. Many buildings survive to remind us of its founders: the Pona Nigra, the great city gate, the Basilica; the thermal springs; the Amphitheatre - and the Moselle Bridge.
Weimar: Former royal capital, the town of the 'German classical period' where, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries Goethe, Schiller, Herder and Wieland lived and worked. The houses where Goethe and Schiller lived and Goethe's summerhouse are now museums.
Wittenberg: old Town on the Elbe, birthplace of the Reformation. It was here, in 1517, that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church. Features of interest: market-square with Renaissance buildings, Luther House, Melanchton House, Luther's grave in the castle church. Wurzburg: the Baroque palace is the finest episcopal residence in the whole country. The townscape is dominated by the many churches and Marienberg fortress.
Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touringMarch to October is the best time to visit the country; school holidays are from June to September.
How to dressDuring the summer wear light dress. In winter dress warmly even in the cities.
Main holiday resortsThe German Alps: This picturesque region is one of the most important areas for those who like walking, mountaineering and skiing. The best known resorts are Gamnisch-Panenkirchen Mittenwald, Oberstdorf, Berchtesgaden. Of the gems in mountain settings, Konigsee, the Konigsee National Parkis arguably the most beautiful.
Northern Germany boasts of resorts ideal for pleasure, health recreation. Among the seaside resorts on the Baltic shore is elegant Travemunde. In the North Sea are the Isle of Sylt linked to the mainland by dam and the unique rock island of Helgoland. Harz is a densely wooded region of medium-altitude mountains easily accessible by tourists.
There are well-signposted footpaths everywhere, but it is also possible to enjoy the superb scenery of the hills and valleys in comfort from the Harzquerbahn. The Hexentanzplatz, Rosstrappe and Brokken mountains are steeped in legend and the Rubeland stalactite caves are famous. The half-timbered buildings in the towns, particularly in Wemigerode, Quedlinburg and Stolberg, are historic features of great interest. Popular resorts in the Harz Mountains about 150 miles from Hamburg are: Bad Harzburg Braunlage, Hahnenklee.
The Black Forest is a charming sunny cluster of secondary and high mountain ranges, named 'back' because of the dark firs in the dense woods. The region is rich in curative and mineral springs. Baden-Baden as a famous spa and doorway to the Black Forest and Lake Constance. Many resorts and mountains are also fine for winter sports, eg, the Feldberg, the highest elevation (4,897 feet) in the Black Forest.
The Rhine: the 100-mile stretch connecting Cologne and Bingen along Europe's great traffic artery is called the 'Romantic Rhine'. Flanked by vine-clad hills dotted with storied castles and resort hotels on both banks, the river is served by the white fleet of the KD German Rhine Line. Weser Hills Country: a charming region in northern West Germany, rich in history and legend. Inclusive-rate boat trips on the Upper Weser with overnights at castle hotels, organised by Oberweser Dampfschiffahn, Hameln, are very popular.
Seaside resortsThe Baltic coast, together with the offshore islands of Rugen, Usedom and Hiddensee and the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula, is ideal for holidaymakers who enjoy bathing, sailing and surfing. Long, wide, flat and sandy beaches alternating with steep cliffs are characteristic features of this region. There are delightfully secluded fishing villages, particularly on Rugen and Hiddensee. The Mecklenburg lake district boasts more than 1,000 lakes of varying size. The largest inland lake, the Muritz, covers an area of 115km2. But others, too, such as the Schweriner See, Plauer See and Kolpinsee are also a paradise for camping and aquatic sports enthusiasts. The surroundings of the lake are mostly densely wooded and ideal for walking and cycling tours.
The Brandenburg lakes are very popular with keen sailors, in particular the Scharmatzelsee near Bad Saarow, the Havel lakes around Potsdam and the 'Ruppin Switzerland'. The Berlin passenger shipping line offers restful cruises along the Havel and the Spree. The spree forest is famous for its boat trips when boatmen, dressed in traditional costume, ferry visitors carefully along the myriad streams in this delightful low-lying region. A stop is usually made in Lehde, the local 'Little Venice'.
The Thuringian forest: gentle hills and deep valleys are the typical features of this wooded mountainous region. In winter it is an excellent skiing and tobogganing country, and at other times of the year ideal for keen walkers. The most famous, and also the longest footpath, the 'rennsteig', runs for 168km. The Engebirge, noted in the Middle Age for its mineral resources, is nowadays a winter sports area where visitors can be relatively sure of finding snow. It is ideal for ski-bobbing and tobogganing and, of course, hiking. Woodcarving is a traditional local craft (a good idea for souvenirs).
Main holiday sportsGolf, tennis, swimming, skiing, skating, rowing, fishing, flying.
What to eat and drinkFood is plentiful and of first-class quality. Some of the German Specialities are: Frankfurters, called 'Frankfurter Worstchen', dumnlings and strudels in Bavaria - 'Spatzle' (a special type of noodle) in Swabia and Baden -Westphalian ham; Hamburg eel soup; New Year carp in Berlin and northern Germany - a Berliner Pfannkuchen' (Berlin doughnuts), 'Kartoffelpuffer' (potato pancakes) - Helgoland lobster along the seashore; St. Manin's goose throughout Germany - Allgau district cheese - brook trout, 'Bodensee Felchen' (salmon trout) and countless others. The Germans have the famous Rhine, Moselle, and many other wines, excellent beer and liquors.
What to buySome of the best things to buy are: cutlery, Meissen Porcelain, leather goods and luggage, hand crafts, cuckoo clocks in the Black Forest, ceramics, jewellery, woodcarvings, toys.
Frontier formalitiesWhen entering the Federal Republic of Germany, foreigners must provide proof of identity, either by means of a valid passport or equivalent document (eg, child's identity card). A valid identity card also suffices in the case of citizens of most West European countries. Children must either be recorded in their parents' passport or have their own identity card; in the case of children over ten years of age, this card must also contain a photograph of the child.
a) Citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland may enter Germany with a passport valid for up to five years.
b) An identity card is permissible for citizens of: Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Denmark, France, Poland, Great Britain, Portugal, Greece, San Marino, Hungary, Slovakia, Iceland, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy.
c) Citizens of the following countries may visit Germany for up to three months with a valid passport without a visa: Argentina, Australia, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina-Faso, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Togo, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.
d) The citizens of all countries not listed under a), b) or c) above, as well as stateless persons, must obtain a visa before entering the Federal Republic of Germany.
Currency regulationsGerman Marks (DM), foreign currency, traveller's cheques and other means of payment in unlimited amounts may be imported and exported into and out of Germany without restriction. Foreign currencies traveller's cheques, and cheques on DM accounts on foreign banks can be exchanged for German Marks (DM) at banks and money exchanges. Travellers may import and export an unlimited amount of any currency.
Denomination: One German Mark (DM) equals 100 Pfennigs (Pf). Coins in circulation: 1, 2, 5, 10 or 50 Pfennigs and one, 2 and 5 Marks. Bills in circulation: 5,10, 20, 50,100, 200, 500, 1,000 Mark.
Vaccination regulationsNo vaccination certificates are required at present for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.
Domestic animalsDomestic animals (up to a maximum of three dogs and/or cats) may be taken by foreigners on holiday and by persons domiciled in the Federal Republic of Germany returning there.
A certificate confirming that the animals have been vaccinated against rabies must, however, be carried. Vaccination must have been carried out between 12 months and 30 days prior to the border-crossing. Proof must be furnished in the form of an International Vaccination Passport or a veterinary certificate of vaccination, accompanied by an attested German.
Travel requisites - ie, the items which you require or consume en route depending on your personal and professional circumstances aid the nature, duration and time of year of your journey - may be brought into the country free of tax.