Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is one of the world's leading industrialised countries, located in 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 federal parliamentary nation, made up of 16 (federal) states (Bundesländer), which in certain spheres act independently of the Federation. Germany was formed in 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, which united a scattering of independent states into an empire.
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 what is now the European Union. It is the European Union's most populous and most economically powerful member.