Germany

Located in the heart of Europe, Germany can be divided into five distinct environmental regions: north lowlands, southern hills, central uplands, alpine foothills and the Rhine River Valley. Wolves, bears and other large carnivores are making a comeback in some of these regions after being hunted to extinction in the 20th century. Other wild animals in Germany include roe deer, wild boar, fox, badger, hare and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross the country in spring and autumn.

About one-third of Germany is woodlands, with large preserved areas of oak, ash, elm, beech, birch and pine. Factory and car pollution, however, is blamed for the widespread destruction of many forests from acid rain. In addition, agricultural run-off, including fertilizers and pesticides, has polluted many lakes and streams.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Fritz POLKING
Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) in Aril Seeve lowland Hamburg, Germany
© WWF-Canon / Fritz POLKING

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Drinking water in Germany is very good. However, Germans still tend to drink bottled mineral water, preferably carbonated.
  • To save water, there are not many drinking fountains in buildings or in public parks.
  • Germany is the world’s largest user of wind power.

  • Germany is not the sunniest country in Europe but many people are installing solar panels on their roofs to save on electric bills.
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Recycling
  • Germans separate their waste. In Berlin, you can find seven different bins for various recyclable waste: general waste, paper, compost, plastic/metal, amber glass, clear glass and green glass.
  • Gelbesacks is the German word for a large yellow bag for recycling anything that is plastic, aluminum, styrofoam or has a waxy coating like milk cartons.
  • The standard deposit for all single-use containers (cans, glass and plastic bottles) is €0.25.
  • Supermarket car parks generally have bottle banks for non-deposit/return glass,
  • Batteries can be disposed at local shopping areas. Look for a small bin (it looks like a small garbage bin).
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Transport
  • Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) is Germany’s major railway operator, offering comfortable, reliable and fast service.
  • Several German cities have underground U-bahn, systems: Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Nuremberg.
  • Through Germany’s bike rental system, Call a Bike – a subsidiary of German Railway – you can rent a bike via the phone or Internet in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart or Karlsruhe.
  • To improve air quality, cities like Berlin, Hanover, Cologne and others have implemented low emission “green zones” where vehicles need to display a badge (Umweltplakette) to enter certain districts of the city centre or face a fine.
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Food
  • More than 50,000 products with the Bio-Siegel organic eco-label can be found in supermarkets throughout Germany.
  • Vegetarian restaurants and health food stores are easy to find in most cities throughout Germany - http://www.happycow.net/europe/germany/index.html
  • Many hotels and restaurants provide Bioprodukte - the German word for organic food products - for their guests.
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Souvenirs
  • In Germany, a person caught importing prohibited wildlife goods is liable to up to five years imprisonment.
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Green Spots
  • Black Forest: One of Germany’s most popular tourist destinations, the Black Forest is a wooded mountain region in the country’s southwest. The region is ideal for hikers, with well-marked trails that reach areas and vistas often inaccessible by car, including castle ruins and waterfalls.
  • Bavarian Forest National Park: Located in southeastern Germany, the park, together with the Sumava (Bohemian Forest) National Park adjoining it to the east, make up the largest contiguous area of protected forest in central Europe. A network of over 300km of hiking trails, almost 200km of bike paths and about 80km of cross-country ski runs offers visitors plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beauties of the national park in summer and in winter.
  • Müritz National Park: Located half way between Hamburg and Berlin, this park consists mostly of forest and lakes, including Lake Müritz, and is known for spotting white tailed eagles, ospreys and cranes.
  • Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park: Bordering the northwest coastline of Germany, the park is part of the largest marine protected areas in Europe. It is known for its unique coastal landscape of tidal flats, salt marsh, dunes and beaches, and is populated by large numbers of migratory and breeding birds. On can also find seals and harbour porpoises.
  • Tiergarten Park: The largest park in Berlin, with more than 23 kilometres of pathways for bikers, runners and walkers. It is also home to the Berlin Zoo.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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