Facts about Germany 2015 2015 - Page 8

6|7 AT A GLANCE AT A GLANCE Federal Republic ∙ Crests & Symbols ∙ Demographics ∙ Geography & Climate ∙ Parliament & Parties ∙ Political System ∙ Federal Government ∙ Famous Germans FEDERAL REPUBLIC Germany is a federation. The federation and states were founded: Brandenburg, Meck- the 16 Länder (states) each have areas of re- lenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony- sponsibility of their own. Responsibility for Anhalt, and Thuringia. With 17.6 million in- internal security, schools, universities, cul- habitants, North Rhine-Westphalia is the ture, and municipal administration lies with most populous state, while its 70,550 square the states. The administrative authorities of kilometres make Bavaria the largest in the states enforce not only their own laws, terms of surface area; with 3,838 inhabit- but also those of the federation. Through ants per square kilometre Berlin, the capital, their representatives in the Bundesrat the is the most densely populated. There is one governments of the states are directly in- peculiarity: the three city states. Their terri- volved in the federation’s legislation. tory is restricted in each case to a major city, namely Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. With Federalism in Germany is more than just a 419 square kilometres and 657,000 inhabit- system of federal states; it represents the ants, Bremen is the smallest state. Econom- country’s decentral cultural and economic ically speaking, Baden-Wurttemberg is one structure and is deeply rooted in tradition. of the strongest regions in Europe. After the Over and above their political function, the Second World War, Saarland was a partly states are also a reflection of pronounced sovereign state and a French protectorate, regional identities. The strong position of and was only integrated in the former terri- the states was established in the Basic Law in tory of the Federal Republic as the tenth 1949; on reunification in 1990, five new state on 1 January 1957.