Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is one of the world's leading industrialised countries. Located in Central Europe, it is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, 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.
Germany is a democratic parliamentary federal republic, made up of 16 states, which in certain spheres act independently of the federation. Historically consisting of several sovereign nations with their own history, culture and religion, Germany was unified as a nation state during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870/1871.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and the G4 nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It is the European Union's most populous and most economically powerful member state. Germany also plays a role as one of the world's major powers.