German has around 100 million speakers worldwide. Outside of Germany itself, it is an official language in Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. In fact it has more native speakers within the EU than any other language. Furthermore, after Russian, it is the second most spoken language in all of Europe with around 13-14% of the total population (significantly above English and French, respectively, and with upwards of an estimated 30% able to speak it as a second or third language).
Germany and Austria have produced some of the world's most noteworthy philosophers, scientists, writers and composers: from Hegel to Haydn, Bach to Brecht, Goethe to Gauss, Mozart to Marx. All of these notable creative spirits produced work which is best read in its original form. Equally, from the Hanoverian Succession to Mary Shelley's gothic Frankenstein, their culture has had an impact on the fashioning of British society in more than one way. And there are lots of reasons to visit Germany, from Götterdämmerung at Bayreuth to Zwei Bier bitte! at the Oktoberfest.
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