Germany is one of the world's most industrialised countries, located in central-western Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, to the west by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic.
Germany is a democratic federal parliamentary republic, containing 16 federal states (Bundesländer), which in certain spheres act independently of the Federation or "Bund".
Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living, and it maintains a comprehensive social security, a universal health care system and diverse environmental protection laws. It is a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 nations, and a founding member of the European Union.