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Europe's strongest economic and industrial power, Germany is also the most populous European country outside Russia. Fertile northern plains stretch south from the North and Baltic Seas changing to central highlands and then rising to the rugged Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in the southwest and to the Alps in the far south. Germans are highly urbanized; about 86 percent live in cities and towns. With one of the world's lowest birthrates, Germany is a magnet for foreign workers—some 7.3 million immigrants live here. Some German industry is well known (Daimler AG, Siemens, and Volkswagen); some, like Transrapid (the maglev railway) and Nordex wind turbines represent new environment-friendly technology.1

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