Germany covers an area of about 357,000 square km (138,000 square miles) in
the central part of Northern Europe. The country borders on Denmark, Poland,
the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and
the Netherlands, and on the North and Baltic Seas.
As might be expected from
her geographical location, Germany enjoys a temperate climate; there are no
great extremes of heat or cold, although the weather can often only be described
as wet. The topography rises progressively from the flat plains of the northern
coasts through the undulating hills and forests in the centre of the country
(Eifel, Harz, Taunus, Black Forest and Erzgebirge) to the Alpine foothills in the
south. Indeed, the southern border passes through the Alps themselves, giving
Germany her own area for skiing and other winter sports.
Except for the Danube in the south of the country and its tributary, the Inn,
Germany’s rivers all flow in the general direction of south to north. The Danube
flows east, ultimately into the Black Sea south of Odessa. The other main rivers
are the Rhine with its tributary, the Main, the Elbe and Oder.
The Rhine and the
Main are linked to the Danube by a canal and all three rivers are navigable by
large, freshwater barges. This system is a recognised international waterway
between Rotterdam and the Black Sea ports