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Germany is a nation that boasts an incredibly intriguing past and a significant presence on the world stage. Despite facing many challenges throughout its history – from the Holy Roman Empire to World War II and the Cold War – Germany has emerged as a dominant force within the European Union and a true economic powerhouse on a global scale.
You’d think that with a rich history and such a massive impact on world history (not to mention the world at large today) that Germany would be a pretty big country, right?
Sure! It’s enormous compared to Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, or Lesotho. But you might be surprised about the relative size of Germany compared to the United States.
So, Germany is the size of what state? What’s the population and size of Germany? Grab yourself an atlas and a full-size map of Germany, and let’s take a look! Let’s dive into this article and discover how big and significant Germany is compared to other countries while exploring its historical milestones.
- Germany’s Historical Journey
- How big is Germany?
- Germany in miles/kilometers
- Germany in square miles
- What state is Germany the size of?
- Are there any countries the same size as Germany?
- Germany States
- Germany Population
- How well does Germany’s infrastructure cope with that many people?
- Largest cities in Germany
- How does Germany’s infrastructure compare with countries of similar sizes?
- How Big is Germany Compared to Other European Countries?
- How Big is Germany Compared to Other Countries of the World?
- What are the main geographical features of Germany?
- What is the population density of Germany?
- What is the climate like in Germany?
Germany’s Historical Journey
To fully grasp the extent of Germany’s current size, we can take a fascinating trip through its rich history. Germany can trace its origins back to the Holy Roman Empire, which dominated central Europe from the 9th century until it was dissolved in 1806.
For centuries, Germany underwent some major political and territorial transformations. Different states and regions within the empire started asserting their identities and gaining more independence. Plus, Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation in the 16th century shook up the religious unity of the kingdom, causing all sorts of conflicts and even more division.
The 19th century was a tremendous change for the German government as it evolved from a patchwork of states into a unified nation. The German Empire emerged as a powerful force in Europe with a robust military and industrial infrastructure by bringing together states and principalities like Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony under one government.
The eastern part, known as the Eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany, adopted a socialist system under Soviet influence. Meanwhile, the Western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), or West Germany, embraced a capitalist system and aligned with democratic nations in the Western bloc. Despite the challenges, Germany has emerged stronger and more resilient.
The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, emphasized the separation between East and West Germany. This physical barrier represented the ideological divide between the two sides. The United States and the Soviet Union’s Cold War tensions were fully displayed in this divided country, making it a crucial battleground for competing ideologies.
Germany’s history took a significant turn with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The peaceful revolution and the yearning for liberty paved the way for Germany’s reunification in 1990.
The boundaries between East and West were removed, and Germany embarked on a journey of reintegration and unification. Modern Germany emerged as a united country, determined to make amends for its past, revive the German economy, and fortify its global position.
See Related: German Speaking Countries Around the World
How big is Germany?
The Federal Republic of Germany is a big country, around 357,588 square kilometers. That’s about half the size of Texas in the United States. As for population, Germany has a little over 80 million people living within its borders.
Compared to the United States, however, that’s a small footprint. The United States is about 9.8 million square kilometers, making it more than 27 times the size of Germany. As for population, the United States has over 330 million people living within its borders.
Germany in miles/kilometers
By size, I mean north-south and east-west dimensions. At its “tallest” or “widest” points, Germany is about 533 miles (or 857 kilometers if you’re German) from north to south and about 388 miles (or 625 kilometers) from eastern Germany to West Germany.
That means the north-south distance is about the same as the distance between the borders of Colorado and Nebraska, and the east-west difference is about the same as the driving distance between Oklahoma City and Austin, Texas.
See related: Car Museums in Germany
Germany in square miles
Germany’s area is approximately 137,847 square miles (or 357,022 square kilometers if you’re German).
Although this makes Germany the largest country in Central Europe and the 6th largest in all of Europe, it’s pretty paltry compared to the 3,796,742 square miles (or 9,833,520 square kilometers) of the United States.
Maybe we can find some other way of making that number more impressive. If we take 137,847 square miles and translate that into football fields, Germany is about 66,717,949 football fields (or 50,003,094 soccer fields if you’re German).
Much more impressive!
See related: Parks in Berlin, Germany | Berlin City Parks
What state is Germany the size of?
At roughly 138,000 square miles, Germany’s area size is somewhere in between Montana (approx. 147,000 square miles/380,728 square kilometers) and New Mexico (approx. 121,000 square miles/313,388 square kilometers).
If we look at the size of Germany compared to Texas (268,596 square miles/695,662 square kilometers), you’ll find that you can almost fit Germany into Texas twice, with maybe a little spilling over the edge.
Compare that to somewhere like the teeny-tiny Rhode Island (1,214 square miles/3,144 square kilometers), and you’ll find that Germany could house “Little Rhody” just under 114 times over!
The size of Germany compared to the United States as a whole, however, and you should be able to fit Germany 28 times into the United States.
See related: The States of Germany
Are there any countries the same size as Germany?
Regarding the total area, modern Germany is the 63rd largest country in the world. In Europe, Germany’s region is between Norway (148,729 square miles/385,207 square kilometers) and Finland (130,667 square miles/338,425 square kilometers).
Compared to the world, Germany is right between Japan (145,937 square miles/377,976 square kilometers) and The Republic of the Congo (132,000 square miles/342,000 square kilometers).
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Germany, a land steeped in captivating chronicles, dynamic culture, and impressive economic power, boasts 16 distinctive states that each offer their flair and valuable contributions. Check out some of the most renowned German states below:
Bavaria, situated in the southeastern region of Germany, boasts 13 million residents and an extensive land area of 27,239 square miles. It’s no wonder why it’s the biggest state in Germany. With its stunning Alpine scenery, delightful villages, and lively cultural heritage, Bavaria is a can’t-miss tourist destination.
North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
North Rhine-Westphalia, located in the western part of Germany, is home to around 18 million people and covers an impressive 13,052 square miles. It’s the most populous state in the country and boasts major cities like Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund. This incredible region has a fascinating industrial history and a thriving arts scene, making it a hub for cultural, economic, and recreational activities.
Baden-Württemberg is a remarkable state located in the southwest of Germany, spanning over 13,804 square miles and a population of approximately 11 million. Its stunning landscapes, including the magnificent Black Forest and Swabian Alps, will awaken you. The state’s capital, Stuttgart, is renowned for its advanced automotive industry and innovative technology.
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)
Lower Saxony, located in the northwestern region of Germany, boasts a range of landscapes stretching from the North Sea coast to the Harz Mountains, covering around 13,066 square miles with a population of roughly 8 million. The state is brimming with cultural heritage, natural beauty, and historic landmarks and is anchored by the lively city of Hanover.
Hesse (Hessen) has a population of around 6 million and covers 8,153 square miles. This incredible state in central Germany is famous for its unique blend of modernity and history. Plus, it’s home to the bustling financial hub of Frankfurt and the stunning Rhine Valley. Not to mention the charming towns like Wiesbaden and cultural gems like Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt.
See Related: Most Beautiful Villages in Germany
As of 2020, the Federal Republic of Germany is estimated to have a population of just over 83 million souls. Now that’s pretty impressive, considering that the United States is almost 30 times the size of Germany but has a population of less than 332 million.
That means Germany is far more densely populated than the United States and, in proportion to its size, has a more significant population than the United States. How much more? Let’s experiment;
Say we condensed the US to the size of Germany and the population proportionate to that size, too.
If the United States was the same size as Germany and its population was relative to that size too, based on the current numbers of residents, the population would be under 12 million, and somehow, certain people think the United States is overcrowded.
See related: The German National Anthem: Das Deutschlandlied
How well does Germany’s infrastructure cope with that many people?
Germany is an excellent example for the rest of the world regarding implementing infrastructure effectively. It also houses one of the world’s most developed transportation and communication infrastructures, which has only expanded and improved dramatically since the German Reunification in 1990.
Germany is highly accessible domestically and internationally, a significant transpiration hub for Europe. Germany has the densest road network in Europe, having over 405,000 miles (651,784 kilometers) of paved roads, nearly 12,000 miles of which (19,312 kilometers) are speed-limit free(!) autobahns (freeways to you non-German speakers).
It has over 25,000 miles (40,234 kilometers) of railroads and comprehensive, well-connected, inexpensive public transportation options. As far as flying is concerned, Germany is well connected for domestic flights with over 300 airports, many of which host international flights too.
For a country of its size, Germany has a pretty small coastline – well, it is mainly landlocked, so you can forgive them for that, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a serious seafaring nation. It has eight major ports that account for 30%-40% of Germany’s total freight annually.
Germany is one of the world’s leaders in telecommunications, with over 50 million fiber-optic lines, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and its domestic satellite system. It is also home to T-Mobile, which maintains a presence in almost every nation on Earth.
Germany offers world-class universal healthcare for all, being entirely free for necessary or life-saving medications, treatments, and procedures. Fun fact: Germany is home to the world’s first universal healthcare system, which has endured in multiple forms since the 1880s!
If Germany’s infrastructure has one issue, it is Germany’s dependence on imported energy, which has increased since the nation began closing down nuclear power plants in the 2010s.
While a good chunk of power supplied to Germans is fueled by domestically sourced coal and increasing wind farms, Germany relies on natural gas imported from the Russian Federation through pipelines.
That said, concrete plans are in place for most of Germany’s energy to be sourced domestically, renewably, and cleanly in the form of more wind and solar farms and biomass-burning power plants by 2050.
See related: Fun, Interesting Facts About the Berlin Wall
Largest cities in Germany
Germany boasts numerous stunning major German cities in their architecture and serve as vibrant centers of culture, innovation, and historical importance. These cities all play a part in Germany’s rich cultural landscape, adding their distinct flavor to the world.
Berlin, Germany‘s capital and largest city symbolizes the country’s reunification and a hub for cultural exploration. With a population of approximately 3.645 million (2019) and an area of 344.35 square miles, Berlin is a city that never fails to captivate visitors.
Its lively art scene, diverse music festivals, and world-class museums are just some of the cultural offerings that make Berlin an exciting destination. Moreover, the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall, remind it of its tumultuous past and resilience.
Discover the Maritime Charm and Cultural Vibrancy of Hamburg. With a population of approximately 1.9 million and covering 292.91 square miles, this city on the banks of the Elbe River is a bustling hub of culture and commerce.
As Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg is renowned as the “Gateway to the World,” thanks to its rich maritime heritage and one of Europe’s busiest ports. But that’s not all – with its dynamic atmosphere, cosmopolitan flair, and lively arts scene, Hamburg is a true center for creativity.
Munich is an incredible city! With a population of around 1.5 million and an area of 119.86 square miles, it’s the capital of Bavaria and has a fantastic blend of traditional Bavarian culture and modern sophistication.
There’s so much to see and do here, from the famous Oktoberfest celebrations, where you can experience Bavarian traditions, music, and cuisine, to the world-class museums like the Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek which display masterpieces from different periods of art history and other works of German Literature.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Munich, Germany
Frankfurt, known as the financial capital of Germany, is home to around 753,056 people and covers an area of 97.73 square miles. It’s a city with everything – from a thriving economy to a lively cultural scene.
With its impressive skyline dominated by towering skyscrapers, it’s clear that Frankfurt is a global financial hub. But that’s not all – connoisseurs of the arts will be delighted that the city is also home to globally recognized museums like the St del Museum, which houses an extensive collection of centuries-old art.
See Related: Interesting Facts About Germany
How does Germany’s infrastructure compare with countries of similar sizes?
Let’s break it down by country based on the examples we’ve used:
How Big is Germany Compared to Other European Countries?
Norway (Population approx 5.4 million)
- Norway has just over one-tenth of the number of paved roads that Germany has, and apart from flying, roads are the only way of accessing some of Norway’s more mountainous northern regions.
- Norway has about one-fifth of the number of railroads, predominately situated in the nation’s south, leaving the north largely inaccessible by rail.
- Norway has 98 airports, domestic flights being a necessary means of accessing parts of northern Norway.
- Norway is one of the world’s largest shipping nations and depends entirely on sea trade. She possesses around 10% of the world’s shipping fleet, 20% of the world’s oil and gas tankers, and 25% of the world’s passenger liners. Boats are also vital for public and private transit across Norway.
- Norway’s telecommunications and internet infrastructure is one of the best in the world, with a completely digitized network. She is also a world leader in mobile phone development and technology, along with her Scandinavian sisters.
- Norway’s healthcare system is frequently regarded as the best in the world and free and accessible.
- Norway is self-sufficient in energy production and has a booming oil industry, mostly from oil rigs in the North Sea. But, most of this oil is exported as Norway gets over 95% of its power from hydroelectric plants.
See related: Things to Do in Potsdam, Germany
Finland (Population approx 5.5 million)
- Finland has about one-tenth of the number of paved roads that the Federal Republic of Germany has augmented with car ferries in coastal and lake-land areas.
- Finland has about one-tenth of Germany’s railroads and is primarily situated in the southeast.
- Finland has nearly 160 airports, although most are for internal or short-distance international flights.
- Finland is a major shipping nation with 23 major seaports. There are also around 50 smaller ports, vital for domestic travel and shipping.
- Finland’s telecommunications and internet infrastructure is among the best in the world, and it is a world leader in mobile phone development and technology, being the home of Nokia.
- The quality of healthcare in Finland is top-notch and available to all. While it isn’t free, the charges are nominal, even for extensive procedures, treatments, or medication.
- Finland imports about a quarter of its energy (oil and natural gas) from Russia, with most of its energy coming from hydrocarbon (e.g., wood or peat) burning plants and nuclear power stations.
See related: Things to Do in Leverkusen
How Big is Germany Compared to Other Countries of the World?
The Republic of the Congo (Population approx 5.2 million)
- Congo has just under 8,000 miles (12,800 kilometers) of roads, but only about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) are paved.
- Congo’s rail network connects the two main cities, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire (along with many smaller towns and villages) but is limited to about 350 miles (563 kilometers) of the railroad.
- Congo has only 36 airports, 4 of which have paved runways, and only two offer international flights.
- Congo has one coastal port at Pointe-Noire and four smaller river ports along the three major rivers running through the country. These river ports are vital for trade and transit.
- Congo’s internet and telephone infrastructure are minimal, only existing in significant towns and cities.
- The cost of healthcare in Congo is meager by Western standards but relatively high for most of the population. The quality of healthcare is pretty dire, and access to it is challenging outside urban areas.
- Electricity is not guaranteed for everyone outside of major urban areas, and while most of Congo’s domestically sourced energy is clean hydroelectric power, about a quarter of her energy is imported from her neighbor, The Democratic Republic of the Congo. In rural areas, heat and light are still predominately provided by burning wood.
See related: Things to Do in Lower Saxony
Japan (Population approx. 125 million)
- Japan has extensive roadways, with about 540,000 miles (869,046 kilometers) of paved roads and just under 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometers) of them being freeways.
- Japan’s rail network is among the best in the world, with about 16,900 miles (27,197 kilometers) of railroads. It connects all major and minor population centers and just under 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) of rail lines dedicated to the 200mph bullet trains!
- Japan has the world’s fourth-largest passenger air travel market and 175 airports. Although only five are for international travel, most airports are indispensable for domestic travel.
- Japan is a major maritime nation, having 23 major international shipping ports. It also has 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) of inland waterways for domestic travel and shipping.
- Japan’s telephone and internet infrastructure is well-integrated and extensive. Japan is also one of the most significant internet users on Earth.
- Japan’s universal healthcare is top-notch and easily accessible, with the nation having the longest life expectancy on Earth. Costs are relatively low, with the government paying for 70% of all medical expenses.
- Most of Japan’s energy is imported fossil fuels (around 80%), partly thanks to the shutting down of all nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster. There are plans to increase the number of solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, and hydroelectric plants in the future.
So as you can see, based on similar-sized nations with much smaller and much larger populations, Germany’s infrastructure is capable of supporting her residents, da Kannst du Gift drauf nehmen!
What are the main geographical features of Germany?
Germany’s geography is remarkable! The country is flanked to the north by the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, providing stunning coastal views and crucial ports. As you venture inland, you’ll come across some of the most significant rivers in Europe, such as the Rhine, Danube, and Elbe. These waterways are not only stunning but also vital for transportation.
Moving south, you’ll be blown away by the jaw-dropping Bavarian Alps with their snow-capped peaks and charming mountain villages. But that’s not all! Germany boasts vast forests, rolling hills, and fertile plains contributing to its rich agricultural heritage. With such diverse geographical features, it’s no wonder Germany is such a visually fascinating country.
What is the population density of Germany?
Germany’s population density is relatively high compared to other countries. Based on the latest data, around 83 million people live within its borders, with a land area of roughly 357,022 square kilometers. It means that there are approximately 233 people per square kilometer in Germany.
Of course, this is due to the urbanization and concentration of people in major cities and metropolitan areas. It’s fascinating that population density can also vary across regions within Germany, with some areas being more densely populated than others.
What is the climate like in Germany?
Germany has a fantastic temperate seasonal climate. It’s characterized by mild summers and cool winters, influenced by its proximity to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
During summer, temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), making it perfect for outdoor activities. And during winter, you can expect some snowfall, especially in the southern regions and higher elevations. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, so you can plan your trip any time!
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- About the Author
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James is a British-American writer and editor for Via Travelers who has been writing since he was wee. As someone who has spent much time trotting around the globe, James appreciates traveling smart and comfortably, and has every intention of helping VT’s readers do the same!
Hey, looking for more amazing places to visit in Germany? We have a ton of posts about this beautiful country. Check them out here: