Germany is Europe's most industrialized and populous country. Famed for its technological achievements, it has also produced some of Europe's most celebrated composers, philosophers and poets. Achieving national unity later than other European nations, Germany quickly caught up economically and militarily, before defeats in World War I and II left the country shattered, facing the difficult legacy of Nazism, and divided between Europe's Cold War blocs. G ermany rebounded to become the continent's economic giant, and a prime mover of European cooperation. With the end of the Cold War, the two parts of the country were once again united, although the economy of the former east continues to lag behind that of the former west.
The territory of Germany covers 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi), consisting of 349,223 km2 (134,836 sq mi) of land and 7,798 km2 (3,011 sq mi) of waters. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 metres (9,718 ft)) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the northwest and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the northeast. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany (lowest point: Neuendorf-Sachsenbande at 3.54 metres (11.6 ft) below sea level), traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Germany shares borders with nine European countries, second only to Russia: Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Switzerland (its only non-EU neighbor) and Austria in the south, France in the southwest and Belgium,Luxembourg and the Netherlands in the west. Germany is the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and fifth by GDP (PPP). The country is a founding member of the European Union and the Eurozone. The economic model of Germany is based on the concept of the social market economy. In 2014, Germany recorded the highest trade surplus in the world worth $285 billion, making it the biggest capital exporter globally. Germany is the third largest exporter in the world with 1.13 trillion euros ($1.28 trillion) in goods and services exported in 2014. The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%.
Exports account for 41% of national output.[dated info]  The top 10 exports of Germany are vehicles, machineries, chemical goods, electronic products, electrical equipments, pharmaceuticals, transport equipments, basic metals, food products, and rubber and plastics. Science and research in Germany are characterized by a multi-faceted infrastructure, a wide variety of disciplines, well-equipped research facilities and competent staff. Germany has various types of research locations: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university institutes, companies and Federal as well as L?nder institutions. In all, there are more than 800 publicly-funded research institutions in Germany, as well as research and development centers run by industrial corporations. In selected fields or regions, these industrial and academic institutions pool their research and development activities in networks and clusters. CENTERS OF INNOVATION IN GERMANYA hub of cutting-edge research and innovative technologies, Germany is Europe?s leader in patent registrations.
The innovation centers and forward-thinking institutions listed provide information and support in a variety of areas, including innovation management and business planning, technology transfer and commercialization of patents, innovation marketing, and technology assessment The mission of the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) is to conduct experimental and clinical research in the field of nutrition and health, with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of nutrition-dependent diseases, and of developing new strategies for prevention, treatment, and nutritional recommendations. Scientists at the DIfE pursue these scientific goals by interdisciplinary cooperation comprising a broad spectrum of experimental and epidemiological methods. A particular focus of the institute is research on the most important diseases at present, i.e., obesity, diabetes, and cancer, whose development may involve nutrition-dependent factors. DIfE is an independent foundation and member of the Leibniz Association, an alliance of scientific institutions. Germany is a land of ideas and a hub for cutting-edge research. One of the most innovative countries worldwide, Germany is internationally renowned for research institutions, such as the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association and the Leibniz Association. Research in Germany divided the following 21 research areas into Environment and Energy, Health and Safety, Interdisciplinary Technologies, Communication and Mobility, and Future and Society