Germany, formally the Federal Republic of Germany, is a Central European nation. It is Europe's second most populated nation, behind Russia, and the European Union's most populous member state. Germany is located between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps to the south; it has a land area of 357,022 square kilometers (137,847 square miles) and a population of more than 83 million people divided among its 16 component states. Germany is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The nation's capital and biggest city is Berlin, and its financial center is Frankfurt; the Ruhr is the largest metropolitan region.
Since ancient antiquity, many Germanic tribes have occupied the northern areas of contemporary Germany. Before the year 100, there existed an area known as Germania. German regions were an important element of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century. Northern German territories were the Protestant Reformation's epicenter throughout the 16th century. The German Confederation was created in 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars and the breakup of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Germany became a nation-state in 1871 when the majority of German states merged to form the Prussian-dominated German Empire. The Empire was superseded by the semi-presidential Weimar Republic after World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919.
The Nazi takeover of power in 1933 resulted in a totalitarian government, World War II, and the Holocaust. Following the conclusion of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Germany was split into the Federal Republic of Germany, often referred to as West Germany, and the German Democratic Republic commonly referred to as East Germany. The German Democratic Republic was a communist Eastern Bloc state and Warsaw Pact member, whereas the Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community and the European Union. Following the collapse of communism, the former East German states joined the Federal Republic of Germany on 3 October 1990, becoming a federal parliamentary republic.
Germany is a major power with a robust economy; it is Europe's biggest economy, the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the fifth-largest by PPP. It is the world's third-largest exporter and importer of products, as well as a worldwide leader in various industrial, scientific, and technical fields. As a developed nation with a high Human Development Index score, it provides social security and a universal health care system, as well as environmental safeguards and tuition-free university education. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Group of Seven, the Group of Twenty, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is home to the third-most UNESCO World Heritage Sites.