01: Page turner:
Germans still happily read actual books. Just 2 per cent of book sales in the country are for ebooks; it’s 40 per cent in the US. Book sales are helped by a lower sales tax rate: a mere 6 per cent compared to the normal 19 per cent elsewhere.
02: Not working overtime:
Germans don’t work such long hours as you might think. The average German works 1,476 hours a year – that’s almost 300 hours less than wage earners in the US.
03: In the money:
Germany’s economic reputation has a long history (the tricky Weimar period notwithstanding). The world’s oldest savings bank was established in the appropriately named Oldenburg in 1786.
04: Shop till you drop:
The largest department store in continental Europe is the KaDeWe in Berlin with over 60,000 sq m of retail to be found.
05: Living space:
Berlin is nine times bigger than Paris and yet its population of 3.5 million is only a million or so larger – the German capital’s residents are spread out over a far larger area.
06: Soldiering on:
German forces are currently in theatre in 10 countries across the world. That includes involvement as part of EU deployments in DR Congo and Bosnia Herzegovina as well as UN missions in South Sudan and Liberia (see p72 for more details).
07: Healthy climate:
Germany’s green reputation (which has been further enhanced by its decision to close down all its nuclear-power stations by 2022) has long roots: the term “ecology” was first coined by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel in 1866.
08: Sausage selection:
There are eight official types of bratwurst, the majority of which originate from the eastern part of Germany that was once known as Franconia.
09: It all adds up:
With a population of 81.7 million people, Germany is the largest country in the EU. However, this figure is expected to fall to 77.9 million by 2030 due to the number of people over 65 increasing by around 15 per cent in the same period.
10: Good job:
German’s unemployment rate is at a two-decade low of 6.8 per cent. If that sounds high, don’t forget that unemployment in East Germany was around 20 per cent at the time of reunification. In fact, the figure has never been lower since 1990; the construction and health sectors are among the strongest in terms of demand for labour.