Germany offers spectacular natural geography. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps in the south to the shores of the North Sea in the northwest and the Baltic Sea in the northeast. Concentrating on the north and covering an area of approximately 47,641 km2, hosting some eight million inhabitants, Niedersachsen is the second largest German federal state in terms of surface area and the fourth largest in terms of population. With its more than 500,000 inhabitants, the state capital of Hanover is at the same time the state's largest city. Niedersachsen's lowest point lies close to the North Sea in the East Frisian community of Krummhörn located at 2.5 m below sea level. The state's highest mountain is the 971 m high Wurmberg in the Harz mountain range. Niedersachsen proper begins virtually in the sea, at the white beaches and dunes of the seven East Frisian islands. The coastline is 610 km in length and snakes from the Elbe estuary all the way to the mouth of the River Ems. Between the mudflats and the Harz muontain range lies varied, pretty scenery such as Lüneburg Heath and the Weser Uplands. Niedersachsen is centrally located in Europe and Germany. The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is made up of two cities: the metropolis of Bremen on the River Weser, and the North Sea city of Bremerhaven located some 60 km further to the north. The 2-city state was founded in 1947 and, with its surface area of 400 km2 and 663,000 inhabitants, is the smallest of the 16 federal states. 1,200 years of tradition and cosmopolitan flair characterise the Hanseatic city on the River Weser.

Historically known as ‘the land of poets and thinkers’, Germany has a strong cultural past. The country has a long-standing history of producing exceptional films that have reaped both national and international success, from Fritz Lang’s 1927 futuristic masterpiece, Metropolis, to the work of long-established filmmakers Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wolfgang Petersen, and the bright stars of the last 20 years, such as directors Tom Twyker and Fatih Akin, to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s 2007 Oscar-winning The Lives of Others. Germany is also home to the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the oldest and most respected film festivals, and the European Film Academy, founded in 1988 with the aim of promoting the European film industry world-wide. 

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