Germany's main regions are the Bavarian Alps (which form the boundaries with Austria and Switzerland), the South German Hill Region, the Central Uplands, and the North German Plain.
Major rivers include the Rhine in the west and the Danube, which flows from west to east.
These include Dieter and Helmut for boys and Katarina and Christa for girls. Its characters, including Siegfried, Brunhilde, and Hagen, have become famous around the world through the operas of Richard Wagner (1813–83).
Another important set of tales was collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the nineteenth century.
Germany has the second largest population of any European country—over 81 million.
More than 90 percent of the people are ethnic Germans, descended from Germanic tribes.
Standard (or High) German is the nation's official language, but many other dialects are spoken throughout the country.
Germany is one of Europe's largest nations, with one of the largest populations.
Since the 1950s, significant numbers of foreign workers have come into Germany from countries including Turkey, Italy, Greece, and the former Yugoslavia.
By the end of 1991, Germany had a foreign population of close to 6 million.
In the late 1980s, however, Germany became caught up in the changes sweeping communist Eastern Europe.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 became one of the most important symbols of the communist system's collapse.