The eastern third of Germany is occupied by the German Plain, located east of Belgium. Near the shore of the Baltic Sea, the field is sandy and unobtrusive, sometimes covered by rocky sediment. The southern part has loess patches of soil, especially the Hannover region. In the southern extremity of Germany the mountain ranges of the Bavarian Alps rise. The northern edge of the Alps is lower, consisting of a hilly area that extends to the Danube. Between it and the German Plain alternate mountainous massifs (Middle Mountains of Germany) and low depression.
In the northwest of Germany the oceanic effect is felt; to the east the climate is more continental. In the east the winters are colder. Odra and other rivers freeze 2 to 3 months. In Berlin, the average temperature in January is 1 degrees C, in July 19 degrees C, and in Hamburg in the same month it is 0 degrees C and 18 degrees C. The southern part of the country is warmer: in Munich in January there are 2 degrees C, in July 20 degrees C. In the mountains in the central area the amount of precipitation is 100-150cm per year.
36% of the surface of Germany is arable land, 16% grassland. In the mountains sheep and cattle are raised. The main agricultural lands are in the lower regions, especially the fertile plains south of the German Plain. The most favorable agricultural areas are in the Hannover, Braunschweig and Magdeburg regions. Near the big cities are grown vegetables. Some areas of the Rhine and Mosel valleys are significant wine regions. Tobacco, cereals and hops are grown in the south and barley in the north.
Germany is one of the world’s great industrial powers. The main industrial areas are the Ruhr region and some portions of the Rhine valley. The development of the steel and machine building industry is based on the extensive coal-bearing deposits with high quality coal. Numerous chemical plants were established here, the Rhine being an important transport route. The steel industry and the machine building industry are more developed in Bochum, Essen and Dortmund, and the textile industry in Wuppertal and Krefeld. The largest ports are: Hamburg, Bremen, Kiel.
75% of electricity is produced by thermal power plants and 19% by nuclear power plants. 450 million tonnes of lignite are extracted annually. It is used in power plants for the production of electricity, as well as for the production of raw materials. Germany supplies more than 25% of the world’s lignite production. Crude oil and methane gas are exported to Lower Saxony, Emsland.
Germany is also a producer of potassium salt.
The new capital is Berlin (3437900), although the government will not transfer its residence until 2000. Hamburg (1660700) is located in the estuary of the river Elba, being a huge port and a powerful industrial center. Munich (1236500) is the largest southern city, the capital of Bavaria.
Germany’s road network is 615178km, of which 226282km the national road. From the 41525km rail network, 16285km are electrified. In Germany there is the most important river route, the Rhine.