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In Germany, clothing is often optional

GLOWE, Germany — On a balmy summer day, the Schaabe looks like a slice of paradise. Kids splash in the gentle surf, couples stroll hand-in-hand along the shore, families picnic on herring and beer, a naked guy stands in line at the ice-cream trolley. Other countries set aside remote spots for naturists to indulge in their love of stripping bare. In Germany, beaches along the Baltic coast tend to let them hang out alongside those who prefer to cover up with bermudas or bikinis.

Multicultural Motherland

BERLIN — If your idea of a typical German includes blond hair, blue eyes and a diet of sausage and beer, think again. Decades of immigration have turned Germany into an ethnically diverse society. But despite the country's major strides toward integration, there's a significant undercurrent of opposition to the development of a multicultural society.

German support for small business has kept its economy thriving as the rest of Europe languishes in recession

WERTHEIM AM MAIN, Germany — Tourists disembarking from luxurious Amsterdam-to-Budapest river cruises may not believe Wertheim is a global industrial powerhouse. There are no billowing smokestacks, no smog or rumble of heavy machinery. Head a couple of miles down river, however, and you discover Germany's greatest concentration of world-beating businesses. 

Missing America

HEIDELBERG — As Germans prepare for national elections on Sept. 22, political debate and media outrage have focused on US whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations that American intelligence agencies ran a vast eavesdropping operation targeting Germany and other allied nations. Although headlines have railed at the United States for paying too much attention to Europe, the longer-term concern for German policymakers may be that US interest in Europe is fading.

‘Mutti’ Merkel set to stay in charge

TEMPLIN, Germany — In Angela Merkel's hometown, you would look in vain for any sign showing Europe’s powerful politician grew up here. The house where her pastor father raised his family in a leafy complex that cares for the mentally handicapped on the edge of town is unmarked.
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