Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Basic Law. The articles guaranteeing fundamental rights, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the right to resist attempts to overthrow the constitution are valid in perpetuity and cannot be amended.
Germany is the largest national economy in Europe. Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy. Germany is the world's top exporter. Most of the country's products are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods.
Even after the German reunification in 1990, the standard of living and annual income remains significantly higher in the former West German states. The government has set the goal of meeting half the country's energy demands from renewable sources by 2050.
Germany is the seventh largest country by area in Europe, traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Germany shares borders with more European countries than any other country on the continent.
The majority of Germany is covered by either arable land or forestry and woodland. Only 15 percent is covered by permanent pastures.
Germans invest a large amount of money in international travel and domestic vacation trips.
During the last decade of the 20th century Germany has transformed its attitude towards immigrants considerably; the government and German society are acknowledging the opinion that controlled immigration should be allowed based on the qualification of immigrants.
Germany is historically called the land of poets and thinkers. There are 240 subsidised theatres, hundreds of symphonic orchestras, thousands of museums and over 25,000 libraries spread over the 16 states.
Christianity is the largest religious affiliation in Germany where three in ten of the population are Protestant and three in ten Catholic. The second largest religion is Islam with one in twenty of the population as adherents; mostly from Turkey. A further three in ten Germans have no registered religious denomination.
Protestantism is concentrated in the north and east and Roman Catholicism is concentrated in the south and west. Pope Benedict XVI was born in Bavaria. Non-religious people, including atheists and agnostics are especially numerous in the former East Germany and major metropolitan areas.
For a number of years Latin Link has had a vibrant partnership with the agency DMG who have sent a handful of people to Latin America seconded through us. In addition for the first time we now have a Latin American member working in Germany: a Brazilian pastor ministering in a multinational congregation in Aachen. We have contact with a number of other agencies and Latin missionaries based in Germany hoping this will lead to partnership and stronger relationships in the future and the formation of a new Latin Link country team.
Like many other European countries, thousands of Latins have made Germany their home in recent years. Opportunities are opening up for people to serve alongside these communities principally through local Latin churches. In addition there is a need to support the many Latin missionaries already in the country who feel isolated and discouraged.