Learn German from scratch!
Lesson 13-2 - Lektion 13-2

Lesson 13: Extension and revision of the third chapter of the course. Activity 2

From this activity you will learn new words, expressions, some geographical information about Germany.

The Federal Republic of Germany
A short geographical outline

The Federal Republic of Germany is situated in Central and Western Europe. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west; the natural border on the north is formed by the North sea (die Nordsee) and the Baltic see (die Ostsee). The Federal Republic of Germany covers an area of 357,022 km2. The landscape of Germany distinguishes three major regions: the Northern Lowland or North German Plain; the Central Uplands, including the Rhenish Slate Mountains (das Rheinische Schiefergebirge) with particular mountain ranges — the Taunus (der Taunus), the Hunsrück (der Hunsrück), the Eifel (die Eifel) — the Black Forest (der Schwarzwald), the Bohemian Forest (der Böhmerwald), the Bavarian Forest (der Bayrische Wald), the Thuringian Forest (der Thüringer Wald), the Ore Mountains (das Erzgebirge) and the Harz Mountains (der Harz) in the central part; and the Alpine foreland (das Alpen-vorland) with the Alps (die Alpen) in the south. The highest mountain — the Zugspitze (die Zugspitze) — 2962 m. Most rivers fall into the North Sea: the Rhine (der Rhein) — the largest river in the FRG with the tributaries the Neckar (der Neckar), the Main (der Main), the Moselle (der Mosel) and the Ruhr (die Ruhr), the Elbe (die Elbe) with its tributaries the Saale (die Saale) and the Havel (die Havel) and its tributary the Spree (die Spree), on which Berlin is located, the Weser (die Weser) and the Ems (die Ems). the Oder (die Oder) with its tributary the Neisse (die Neiße) is the border with Poland. From west to east flows the Danube (die Donau), inflowing into the Black Sea. The largest lakes are Lake Constance (der Bodensee), situated between the FRG, Austria and Switzerland, and the Müritz (die Müritz) on the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau. The best-known islands in Germany are Rügen, Sylt and Norderney. The canal system is well-developed. Most of Germany has a temperate climate. In the northern part, under the Atlantic influence, the climate is oceanic with temperate heat and mild winters. The east and the southeast have a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The weather is characterized by frequent change of warm humid air to dry and hot (cold in winter) anticyclone. The average annual temperature is +9°, in January from +1,5° in the north to -6° in the south, in July +17°-20°. The population of Germany was estimated to be 83 million people (including more than 10 million foreigners, mostly foreign workers). About one third of the population lives in cities where more than 100,000 people. The density of the population stands at 240 inhabitants per km2 and it may differ in some regions. The most densely populated area is in the Ruhr industrial area, in Frankfurt on the Main, and also Stuttgart, Hamburg and Bremen. The cities with more than one million people are Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

The FRG is a federal State which consists of 16 states (Länder): Schleswig — Holstein (Schleswig — Holstein), Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Mecklenburg — Western Pomerania (Mecklenburg — Vorpommern), North Rhine — Westphalia (Nordrhein — Westfalen), Saxony — Anhalt (Sachsen — Anhalt), Brandenburg (Brandenburg), Rhineland — Palatinate (Rheinland — Pfalz), Saarland, Hesse (Hessen), Thuringia (Thüringen), Saxony (Sachsen), Baden — Württemberg (Baden — Würtemberg), Bavaria (Bayern), and also three cities on the rights of states — Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. There were 11 states in the FRG before the unification of Germany, 5 states were formed on the territory of ex-GDR: Mecklenburg — Western Pomerania, Saxony — Anhalt, Thuringia, Brandenburg and Saxony. Each state has its own parliament, government and solves a number of political and other questions independently. The FRG has a considerable amount of hard coal and brown coal, potassium salts and iron ore; oil reserves are insignificant. The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the largest industrial countries, and it is on third place in the world after the USA and Japan. The economic system of the FRG is a capitalist system of commodity-money relations with a social orientation which is based on free competition. The role of the State is reduced to determine priorities for economic development, establishing a general framework, within which the market economy develops. The issue of how many and what commodity is required and who gets what is decided by the market. The state almost completely renounces direct intervention in questions of price formation and salaries.

The main branches of industry: coal mining, metallurgical, chemical, mechanical engineering, car manufacturing and manufacturing of motor vehicles, electrotechnical and electronics industry, light industry. Mechanical engineering employs more than 1 million people; it gives more than 10% of the total industrial turnover. Germany has the third-highest car production in the world after Japan and the USA. In 2019 the FRG manufactured 4,6 million passenger cars and around 284,000 lorries and buses. More than 60% of vehicles go on export. Leading industries also include the electrotechnical industry. Computer science also plays a key role as an area of investment into the industry itself and the whole economic development.

The FRG is not only a highly developed industrial country, but it has productive agriculture as well. However, as a result of structural changes in agriculture, the percent of employment changed from 8.5% in 1970 to 1.169% in 2020. The total number of farms declines every year by roughly 3 percent. Especially small farms close down while only the number of large farms with more than 100 hectare increases. The FRG’s agricultural output in 2019 covered only a third of demand for vegetables, and only one fifth of demand for fruit. The main products are: grain (including feed grain), potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables, fruit, grapes. Cattle breeding is developed.

(Based on the book «Tatsachen über Deutschland».
Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, Gütersloh 1989)

States of Germany

земли Германии

1. Answer the questions on the content of the text.

1. What country does the FRG border on the north? 2. Is Bonn one of the cities with more than 1 million people? 3. What major regions does the landscape of Germany distinguish? 4. What is the administrative division of the FRG? 5. Is the FRG rich in mineral resources? 6. What is the highest mountain in the FRG? 7. Do all the rivers in the FRG flow to the north? 8. What is the climate in the FRG?


2. Determine if the following statements are true or false (answer yes or no ).

  1. The northern part of the FRG forms a plain.
  2. The density of the population is almost the same in every region.
  3. About one third of the population lives in cities where more than 100 000 people.
  4. The most significant mineral resource in the FRG is oil.
  5. The weather in the FRG is characterized by frequent changes.
  6. In the northern part, the climate is oceanic with moderately hot summers and mild winters.
  7. The population of the FRG is around 40 million people.
  8. The FRG has the fifth-highest car production in the world.
  9. External trade does not play a critical role in the economy of the FRG.
  10. Mechanical engineering gives more than 10% of the total industrial turnover.
  11. The total number of farms increases every year by roughly 3 percent.
  12. Light industry plays a key role as an area of investment.
  13. The FRG cultivates grain, potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables, fruit, grapes.
  14. The state actively intervenes in the economy.
  15. The electrotechnical industry is one of the leading industries.


3. Answer the questions using the given numbers on the right.

1. How much of the population is employed in agriculture?

a. 1 mil.

2. How many passenger cars were manufactured in the FRG in 2019?

b. 4,6 mil.

3. How many people are employed in mechanical engineering in the FRG?

c. ≈ 1%

4. How much of the demand for vegetables is covered by the agriculture?

d. 3

5. What is the average annual temperature?

e. 9

6. What is the density of the population in the FRG?

f. 1/3

7. How many cities have the rights of states?

g. 240