|Country name:||Kingdom of Spain/Reino de España|
|Climate:||Madrid: Madrid: Highland climate (Castillian Plateau, 680 m asl): dry, cold winters, hot summers (up to 40 °C); coast: Mediterranenan or Atlantic climate|
|Location:||Between 36 and 43.5 degrees latitude north; between 9 and 3 degrees longitude east (Iberian Peninsula, without the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta or Melilla).|
|Area:||505,990 square kilometres|
|Capital:||Madrid (metropolitan area, last update: 01.01.2011): 3.27 million inhabitants|
|Population:||01.01.2011: 46,81 million inhabitants (foreigners 11,2 percent)|
|Official language:||Spanish (Castellano) is the administrative language according to the Constitution. In the autonomous communities Basque Country, Galicia, Catalonia and Valencia, the regional languages have coofficial status.|
|Religion:||Roman-Catholic (more than 90 percent)|
|National Day:||12th October|
|Form of government:||Parliamentary monarchy|
|Head of state:||King Juan Carlos I, since 22.11.1975 (S.M. Don Juan Carlos I de Borbón, Rey de España)|
|Head of Government:||Mariano Rajoy (since 21.12.2011)|
Culture and Education Policy
Spain is an extremely rich country in terms of historical cultural treasures. From the Stone Age cave paintings, through the remains of the Celtic, Phoenician and Roman epochs, the Moorish period and the Middle Ages, to the culture treasures of the modern era: these are all the elements that make the country so attractive for visitors interested in history and culture.
Not less rich is the current artistic and cultural scene. This does not apply only to the metropolises Madrid and Barcelona, but is increasingly including the rest of the regions. The opening of Spain after the end of the dictatorship in 1975 has quickly led to the internationalisation of cultural life. Three Spanish cities have already been chosen as European capitals of culture (Madrid in 1992, Santiago de Compostela in 2000, and Salamanca in 2002). In 2016, San Sebastián will become again one of the Spanish cities that have been chosen European capitals of culture.
Art and culture are supported by public institutions, private foundations and patrons of the arts. The public institutions have been forced to decrease considerably, or cancel completely, the amount of the allowances due to the financial crisis and its consequent economy measures.
Nonetheless, the numerous festivals still play an important role, as for example the International Film Festival of San Sebastián or the International Theater Festival of Almagro. Foreign outstanding representatives of all genres of the performing arts are attracted to these festivals. With the Prado Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Reina Sofía and the collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid owns cultural treasures that make the city one of the most interesting museum spots in the world. There is an important cultural scene also in Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Bilbao (Guggenheim Museum) and other cities.
In the Spanish school system, compulsory school is firmly established up to 16 years of age. The competences in this area have been mostly transferred to the autonomous communities since the 80s. According to the Higher Education Act from April 2007, the degrees offered by the universities in the country have been gradually transformed into degrees regulated after the guidelines for the construction of a European common space for higher education (Bologna criteria).
Relations with Germany
The relations between Spain and Germany have traditionally been very good and have been supported by the positive attitudes of the population in both countries. Today, approx. 130,000 Spaniards live in Germany. They represent a good example of integration without giving up one’s own culture. Also, the latest calculations estimate that more than 500,000 German citizens live permanently (more than three months) in Spain. In addition, 9 million German tourists visit the country every year.
The political exchange between members of the Spanish and German governments is constant, also outside the framework of regular meetings at EU level. The last time the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel was invited to visit Madrid was on the 6th of September 2012. She participated with Mariano Rajoy in a conference with representatives of the economic and union sectors. On February 4th, 2013, President Mariano Rajoy, together with several ministers, participated in the bilateral Governmental Consultations in Berlin. In April 2013, the 7th Spanish-German Forum took place in Madrid. Both heads of Government were invited, as well as high-rank representatives from both countries from the fields of politics, economics, and culture.
Germany is Spain’s second biggest trade partner after France. With regard to imports, Germany is even Spain’s most important trading partner. Although Spain has traditionally exported less to Germany (value of goods 2012: 22.32 billion euros, 0.8 percent) than it has imported from Germany (value of goods 2012: 31.17 billion euros, 10.5 percent), Spain has been able to reduce the bilateral trading deficit with Germany during the last few years. In 2012, this deficit amounted to 8.85 billion euros.
The Federal Republic of Germany has an important position regarding direct investments in industries. In Spain, around 1,100 German companies are represented through subsidiaries or partnerships, many of them having their own production. Another important role in the economic relations is the German tourism, with just over 9.3 million German visitors in the year 2012.
Between Germany and Spain there is a lively and intense culture exchange. The interest in the language and the culture of Spain (literature, film) has increased dramatically in Germany.
Germany keeps Goethe Institutes in Madrid and Barcelona with branches in Granada and San Sebastián. With cultural events, language courses, and through their library and information activities, they contribute to the spreading of a multi-layered and actual image of Germany.
The German Archaeology Institute has a representative department in Madrid, which is responsible for Spain, Portugal and North Africa and has supported scientific cooperation in the region for decades.
Between the universities of both countries there are more than 1,500 formal cooperation agreements. Hundreds of common research projects in Spanish and German institutions highlight the intensive cooperation. An important pillar is the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, with a dense network of former scholarship recipients.
The German Academic Exchange Service maintains a new information centre in Madrid since November 2011, and it is present in Spanish universities with nine lectors.
Nine German international schools in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Sevilla, Málaga, San Sebastián, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas contribute to cultural encounters, as well as two professional training German schools in Madrid and Barcelona with more than 6,000 students. The schools are supported continuously by sending foreign teaching staff and learning material. The worldwide net of partner schools (PASCH) includes 23 schools in Spain.