12 | 13 AT A GLANCE GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE LOCATION Central Europe Germany lies at the heart of Europe. It shares its borders with nine other nations. No other European country has more neighbours. In the north, Germany has access to the North and Baltic Seas. In the south it borders on the Alps. At 2,962 metres the Zugspitze in Bavaria is its highest peak. At 3.54 metres below sea level the lowest point on land is near Neuendorf-Sachsenbande in Schleswig-Holstein. Measuring 357,340 square kilometres, Germany is the fourth largest country in the European Union (EU) after France, Spain, and Sweden. Forests cover almost a third of its total surface area. Lakes, rivers, and other SURFACE AREA 357,340 km2 inland waters account for more than two percent. The Rhine is the longest river. In the southwest it marks the border between Germany and France, further north Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf all lie on its banks. The Elbe, the second longest river, links Dresden, Magdeburg, and Hamburg and flows into the North Sea. Germany enjoys a moderate climate. In July, the mean maximum temperature is 21.8 degrees Celsius, the minimum 12.3 degrees. In CAPITAL January, the mean maximum is 2.1 degrees, the minimum –2.8 degrees. The highest tem- Berlin perature since records began was recorded on 891.70 km2 5 July 2015 in Kitzingen am Main, namely 40.3 degrees Celsius.