German is the most widely spoken language in Europe, over 100 million people speak German as a first language, and it is often the second language in the newer EU countries of Eastern Europe. Germany is our biggest trading partner in Europe and, with the Central European Bank based in Frankfurt, knowledge of the language opens up careers in business, manufacturing, international law and finance. German is the second most important language after English for scientific research. The study of a Germanic language gives us a wider understanding of our own English language, and throws light on the eccentricities of English spelling. It is also easier to understand other related languages, for example Dutch, Flemish and the Scandinavian languages. Germany has stood at the heart of European history and culture for centuries. An understanding of the country and its people is an important factor for European harmony and cooperation, and you will find that the study of German complements the GCSE history course. German music, sport, cinema, design and engineering all enjoy international recognition.