Almost Limitless Mobility (Karte mit Distanzen)
A dense transport network makes the residents of Germany a mobile community. There are more than 125,000 kilometers of highway, and at over 12,000 kilometers, the German motorway network is one of the longest in the world. There are no charges for car drivers using roads. Heavy goods vehicles and combined vehicles weighing more than 12 tons must pay a toll on motorways.
The most modern toll recording system in the world, Toll Collect, was installed for this. All cities and conurbations can be easily reached by road. Travelling to neighbouring countries is just as easy, because the transport connections of the individual countries are aligned with each other. There are now almost no border controls within the Schengen states anymore.
The train is another a fast mode of transport. The German rail network consists of 36,000 kilometers of track, making it the second most dense after Switzerland’s and with around 37,000 train journeys per day in the second most used rail network in the world. High-speed trains operated by the German train company (Deutsche Bahn) connect up all the main centers in the country.
The national rail network is supplemented by a tight regional network. Public and private transport companies provide transportation within the municipalities and offer an alternative to train travel on longer routes.
Germany also has the highest density of airports in the whole of Europe, with more than 60 airports providing air travel. Airlines offer regular flights between German's major cities. The airports in Frankfurt am Main and Munich are two hubs for international scheduled flights, and the Leipzig/Halle airport is being extended and from 2008 will be a European hub for logistics services. This will offer round-the-clock operations for the rapid transport of goods, particularly to the growth markets in the 10 new EU member states.
International container ports such as Hamburg and Bremerhaven ensure smooth logistics processes for container ship traffic.
The Driving License
Germany has licenses of different categories for heavy goods vehicles, cars, and motorcycles. Foreign driving licenses are usually recognized by the German authorities. However, the documents must first be translated if they were not issued by one of the European member states or a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA). German translations can be produced by the German automobile clubs or internationally recognized automobile clubs of the issuing state. The ADAC provides assistance in Germany (www.adac.de). A translation is not required for international driving licenses. In some countries (Andorra, Hong Kong, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Switzerland, and Senegal), the Federal Republic of Germany waives the need for a translation.
Foreign driving licenses that were not issued in a country belonging to the EU or EEA only retain their validity for six months after you have taken up residence in Germany. After this period, you do not have permission to drive with it, and require a driving license issued in Germany. The conditions for awarding this depend on the country of issue.
More detailed information on this can be obtained from the German consulates in the issuing countries, or from the relevant driving license authorities (a list is available at www.kba.de) in Germany. Exceptions to this ruling apply if your stay is limited to one year. An extension to the validity of your license can then be requested for this period.
One absolute prerequisite for the registration of a motor vehicle in Germany is a motor vehicle third party liability insurance policy (Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung), which must be taken out by law. The use of a motor vehicle is not covered by the general private liability insurance, which unlike motor vehicle third party liability insurance policy is optional.
Private liability insurance is also commendable, however, as it insures the policyholder and family against claims for damages by third parties to the level of cover agreed in a private – but not professional – sphere. As the liability of private persons is not limited in German law, the importance of private liability insurance should not be underestimated and is generally advised.
Media and Communication
The media landscape in Germany is more varied than in practically any other country in the world. More than 100 daily newspapers are published each day, magazines in all fields are available. A substantial number of regional and nationwide radio and television stations provide information and entertainment via cable, satellite, or antenna. The communication infrastructure is excellent across the whole country.
The telephone network covers all areas and enables fast broadband internet access practically everywhere. Other wireless networks ensure problemfree mobile communication. Mobile internet access is also possible in an ever increasing number of locations. The UMTS network enables you to use the internet on your mobile phone.