Year of EU entry: Founding member / Capital city: Berlin / Population: 82.5 million
Germany has the biggest population of any EU country. Its territory stretches from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south and is traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe.
Germany is the world's third largest economy, producing automobiles, precision engineering products, electronic and communications equipment, and much more. Its companies have invested heavily in the central and east European countries which joined the EU in 2004.
As the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven or Richard Wagner Germany's gift to European classical music is important. In thought and word, Germany’s huge heritage includes the works of Goethe, Nietzsche, Kant and Thomas Mann.