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Facts and trivia

Germany  |  Romania  |  Estonia  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Czech Republic  |  Turkey

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Country:

Germany

Government type:

Federal republic

Capital:

Berlin

Administrative divisions:

16 states

Independence:

Establishment of the German Empire: 18 January 1871; divided into four zones of occupation - UK, US, USSR, and France - in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991

National holiday:

Unity Day, 3 October (1990)

Constitution:

Previous 1919: Weimar Constitution; latest drafted 10 to 23 August 1948, approved 12 May 1949, promulgated 23 May 1949, entered into force 24 May 1949; amended many times, last in 2012

Legal system:

Civil law system

 

With 80.6 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state in the European Union.

15 million people in Germany, 18.5% of the population, are of non-German descent.

German is spoken by more than 100 million people worldwide.

West Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957.

The oldest German universities are also among the oldest and best regarded in the world, with Heidelberg University, established in 1386 and in continuous operation since then, being the oldest.

As of 2012, German athletes won a total of 1662 Olympic medals, more than any other country in the world except the USA.

The German can be credited for the discovery of insulin, the invention of the clarinet, the pocket watch, the automated calculator, the light bulb, paraffin, petrol and diesel engines, the automobile, the motorcycle, the jet engine, the LCD screen and the Walkman.

 

 

Country:

Romania

Government type:

Republic

Capital:

Bucharest

Administrative divisions:

41 counties and 1 municipality

Independence:

9 May 1877: independence proclaimed from the Ottoman Empire; independence recognized on 13 July 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin; 26 March 1881: kingdom proclaimed; 30 December 1947: republic proclaimed

National holiday:

Unification Day (of Romania and Transylvania), 1 December (1918)

Constitution:

Latest adopted 21 November 1991, approved by referendum and effective 8 December 1991 (2013)

Legal system:

Civil law system

 

Romania has the 7th largest population, with 22 million people, among the European Union member states.

Running a neo-Stalinist police state from 1967-1989, Nicolae Ceausescu wound the iron curtain tightly around the country.

Romania joined NATO in 2004, and in 2005 the EU approved the entry of Romania in 2007.

Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci instantly became a sporting icon when she earned the first perfect score in gymnastics. She made history at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where she won a total of 3 gold medals.

In its last 306 km, the Danube River flows through Romania only.

 

 

Country:

Estonia

Government type:

Parliamentary republic

Capital:

Tallinn

Administrative divisions:

15 counties

Independence:

20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution:

Latest adopted 28 June 1992; amended several times

Legal system:

Civil law system

 

Estonia is on the north-eastern edge of the European Union, bordering Russia and Latvia.

The country has a population of just 1.3 million but it is larger than Denmark or Holland.

It was occupied by the Soviets for decades but it sees itself as more influenced by Nordic tastes and traditions.

Estonia is the least religious country in the world with only 14% of the population claiming any religious beliefs.

Tallinn is a medieval capital and by far the biggest city, with a population of around 400,000.

Estonia has over 1,500 islands, and almost 50% is covered by forest. It has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA.

Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks in the second place with a literacy rate of 99.8%.

It was the first country in the world to use online political voting.

Estonia produces quality vodka and boasts Viru Valge and Saaremaa as its most popular brands. And, in case you are thinking of relocating, Estonia doesn’t accept dual citizenship.

 

 

Country:

Portugal

Government type:

Republic; parliamentary democracy

Capital:

Lisbon

Administrative divisions:

18 districts and 2 autonomous regions

Independence:

1143, Kingdom of Portugal recognized; 5 October 1910, republic proclaimed

National holiday:

Portugal Day, 10 June (1580); also called Camoes Day, the day that revered national poet Luis de Camoes (1524-80) died

Constitution:

Latest adopted 2 April 1976, effective 25 April 1976; amended several times

Legal system:

Civil law system; Constitutional Tribunal review of legislative acts

 

Portuguese is usually listed as the seventh most spoken language in the world, with approximately 210 to 215 million native speakers and 240 million total speakers.

The first pirate code was invented in the 17th century by a Portuguese buccaneer.

In 1761, Portugal became the first colonial power to abolish slavery, half a century before Spain, France, Britain or the USA.

The world-famous Port wine is a sweet Portuguese fortified wine from the Douro Valley.

Over half of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal.

Fado is a music genre which can be traced to the late 19th century. It is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a feeling of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. In 2011, fado was recognised by the UNESCO as an intangible Cultural Heritage.

The modern Portuguese legal system was primarily influenced by German law.

Portugal and Spain are the only countries in the EU where life imprisonment was abolished.

 

 

Country:

Spain

Government type:

Parliamentary monarchy

Capital:

Madrid

Administrative divisions:

17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities

Independence:

1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday:

National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas

Constitution:

Latest approved by legislature 31 October 1978, passed by referendum 6 December 1978, signed by the king 27 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978; amended 1992, 2011

Legal system:

Civil law system with regional variations

 

Spain is one of the world's most decentralised countries.

The Spaniards have a completely different life rhythm from other Europeans. They typically have lunch between 1 and 3 p.m., dinner around 10 p.m., and rarely sleep before the early hours of the night. Prime time TV in Spain starts at 10 p.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. Likewise the peak for radio listening in the morning is around 10 a.m.

Spaniards are the most enthusiastic radio listeners in Europe.

Spain is traditionally a strongly religious country - Roman Catholicism. However, only 76% of Spaniards now identify themselves as Catholics, and only about 20% are regular church-goers. Due to recent immigration, 3% of the population is now Muslim.

Personal consumption and home cultivation of cannabis are legal in Spain. As for cannabis possession, it has been decriminalised.

 

 

Country:

Czech Republic

Government type:

Parliamentary democracy

Capital:

Prague

Administrative divisions:

13 regions and 1 capital city

Independence:

1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia); note - although 1 January is the day the Czech Republic came into being, the Czechs commemorate 28 October 1918, the day the former Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as their independence day

National holiday:

Czechoslovak Founding Day, 28 October (1918)

Constitution:

Latest ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993; amended several times, last in 2013

Legal system:

In 2014, a new civil code will replace the existing civil law system, which is based on former Austro-Hungarian civil codes and socialist theory and has been amended 40 times since the Communist regime fell in 1989

 

The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small part of Silesia.

In the 19th century the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia which was formed in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.

On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks the Czech education system as the 15th best in the world, higher than the OECD average.

90% of Czechs have completed at least secondary education - the highest score in the EU, along with Poles, Slovaks, and Slovenes.

The country is renowned for its numerous spa towns, especially along the border with Germany. The most famous ones are those of Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně, and Teplice.

 

 

Country:

Turkey

Government type:

Republican parliamentary democracy

Capital:

Ankara

Administrative divisions:

81 provinces

Independence:

29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 29 October (1923)

Constitution:

Latest ratified 9 November 1982; amended 2001, 2007, 2010

Legal system:

Civil law system based on various European legal systems notably the Swiss civil code; note - member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), although Turkey claims limited derogations on the ratified European Convention on Human Rights

 

Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.

According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country's population was 74.7 million people in 2011.

The country's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population.

There are some five million Turks working and living in EU countries - most in Germany.

The new international airport of Istanbul is planned to be the largest airport in the world, with a capacity to serve 150 million passengers per annum.

The independence of the Turkic states of the Soviet Union in 1991, with which Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia.

Sources: www.eupedia.com

http://en.wikipedia.org

www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com.

 

 

Comenius Project 2013-2015