FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
Located in the heart of Western Europe, Germany is Europe’s largest economy and, with a population of 82 million, its second most populous nation. Germany stretches from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea in the North to the Alps in the South.
After having achieved national unity later than other European nations in 1871, Germany quickly caught up economically and militarily. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro. In January 2011, Germany assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-2012 term.
Since 1949, Germany has been a democratic parliamentary federation consisting of 16 Länder (states), each with its own constitution, parliament and government. In addition to the German Bundestag (federal parliament), the Bundesrat (federal council) of delegates from Länder governments also participates in the legislative process at the federal level.
FRANKFURT AM MAIN
The Consulate General of Malaysia is located in Frankfurt am Main, right in the heart of Germany. Having been a hub of the European trading routes and the coronation place of the German emperors for centuries, Frankfurt has developed into one of the leading European financial and trading centres over time. Today, Frankfurt is the seat of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank (Bundesbank) and also houses the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the world’s fourth largest stock exchange. More than 300 banks also have their headquarters located in Frankfurt. Frankfurt also has a labyrinth of excellent transportation infrastructure, and the Frankfurt International Airport is the third largest airport in Europe after Heathrow (London) and Charles de Gaulle (Paris). As a major centre of international commerce, Frankfurt is also a multicultural city, home to people of 180 nationalities.
In addition, many large trade fairs are held in Frankfurt annually at the Frankfurt Trade Fair, which is the oldest in the world. Some of the most important trade fairs include the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA); the world's largest motor show, the Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse); the world's largest book fair, and Musikmesse, the world's largest music fair. Many cultural and educational institutions are also located in Frankfurt including the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, more than 10 museums, and two major botanical gardens, i.e. the Palmengarten and the Botanischer Garten der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.
Furthermore, Frankfurt has also become an international centre for the communication and media industry. Approximately 7000 companies, from top agencies and fiction and poetry publishers, to advertising photographers and post-production operations, are located in Frankfurt. However, despite being Europe’s financial centre and transportation hub, Frankfurt with its population of 680,000 inhabitants likes to call itself the ‘smallest metropolis in the world.’
* Frankfurt am Maine is not to be mistaken with Frankfurt an Oder, which is located in the north eastern state of Brandenburg.