Germany is the most populous member state in the European Union, a major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields. Known for its rich cultural and political history, Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists, and inventors. Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and has been a member of the eurozone since 1999.
With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub, a fact which is reflected in its dense and modern transport networks. While it is the world's sixth-largest consumer of energy, Germany’s government policy generally promotes energy conservation and renewable energy commercialisation. It also has the world's oldest – and one of its best - universal health care system.
Of the world's 500 largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in 2010, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in Germany. 30 Germany-based companies are included in the DAX, the German stock market index.
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