Long before it became a joint republic it still managed to serve as the cultural centre for the continent with Goethe, Beethoven, Wagner and the Grimm Brothers serving as instantly recognisable components of this. Germany is now the industrial heart of Central Europe.
High-quality literature has been springing out of Germany for centuries. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe influenced an entire genre with Sorrows of Young Werther when first published in the 18th Century. Thomas Mann, Heinrich Boll and Herman Hesse are also some of Germany's most acclaimed writers. Understandably, foreign authors have been attracted to this country over the years, Christopher Isherwood detailed Berlin and its people to great lengths in its pre-World War II state and Kurt Vonnegut set a large part of his bestseller Slaughterhouse 5 in and around Dresden.
German cinema has in the last couple of decades propelled itself into international esteem with such undeniable classics as Good Bye Lenin!, which depicts the unification of Germany in 1989. Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall is about the last days of Adolf Hitler and the drama The Lives of Others is set in East Germany.
Classical music has a strong tradition in Germany as well, with Richard Wagner attracting a large number of opera-fans to Bayreuth every year and Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach being other unavoidable cornerstones within the history of classical music.
Today, Germany has a music scene that caters to both its local population but also it occasionally bursts onto the international stage. Electro-pioneers Kraftwerk from Dusseldorf did so in the 70s with their self-made instruments and truly unique minimalistic sound. Nena followed up by breaking through internationally in the 80s with her 99 Luftballons.