Vietnam Overview

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Vietnam is the most important partner country of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Southeast Asia. In terms of population, Vietnam is the third largest country in Southeast Asia. Against the background of continuously high economic growth in recent years, the education and research sector is also developing dynamically.

In addition to the area of ​​water and environmental technologies, in which Vietnam and Germany can already look back on more than 20 years of trusting cooperation, the “green growth” postulated by Vietnam and the special challenges posed by climate change open up a wide range of new opportunities for cooperation with Germany.

Population / geography

vietnam population - fertility rate

Country name Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Short form: Vietnam
Capital Hanoi (7.7 million residents, metropolitan area)
Land area 332,800 km²
Population 97,040,334 (2018 estimate)
Life expectancy Men: 71.4 years, women: 76.7 years (2018 estimate)
Age structure (2018 estimate) 0-14 years: 23.27 percent
15-64 years: 70.38 percent
65 years and older: 6.35 percent
Growth of population 0.9 percent (2018 estimate)
Population groups Vietnamese (Kinh): 85 percent,
54 ethnic groups, including Thai, Hmong, Khmer, Cham and others
Languages Vietnamese (official language), increasing use of English as a second language, otherwise: French, Chinese and Khmer; Languages ​​of the minorities in mountain regions (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
  • Buddhists approx. 20 million,
  • Catholics 6.2 million,
  • Protestants approx. 1 million,
  • various syncretistic religions
National day September 2 (Independence Day 1945)
Time zone CET + 6 (UTC + 7)
No summer / winter changeover
Currency 1 Vietnamese Dong VND / 100 Xu

Current exchange rate at

Prefix +84



Vietnam, the country in the extreme southeast of the Asian continent, forms a 3,260 km long, curved coastline to the South China Sea. The north of the country borders on China. The middle of the country, a narrow coastal strip, is bordered to the west by Laos and Cambodia and describes a southwestern arc into the Gulf of Thailand.

The core area of ​​northern Vietnam is Tonkin (Bac Bô), the vast expanse of alluvial land in the Red River Delta, where the capital Hanoi is located. The Red River, coming from the south of China’s mountain system from the north to Vietnam, is bordered by high mountain ranges after crossing the border, including the Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest mountain at 3,142 m.

To the south of the Red River Delta is a hilly coastal lowland, which is in front of the forested Annamite Cordillera (Trung Bô) and in the center of which is the coastal town of Da Nang. The Cordillera reaches its highest peaks with the Ngoc Linh (2,598 m), the Ataouat massif (2,500 m) and the Chu Yang Sin (2,405 m). In the middle part, the mountainous country slopes steeply towards the coast. Alluvial plains that are densely populated have only formed at the mouths of the rivers.

In the far south extends the swampy and very fertile delta of the Mekong with the provincial capital Can Tho (university town). Its landfill plain Cochinchina (Nam Bo), which is often flooded and extends far inland, forms the economic core area in southern Vietnam. On the northeastern edge of the Mekong Delta is Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), today the industrial center of the country.

Politics / Administration

Country name Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Short form: Vietnam
Capital Hanoi
Form of government One-party system
Head of state Nguyen Phu TRONG, President since October 2018, also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam
Head of government Nguyen Xuan PHUC, Prime Minister since April 2016
Foreign Minister Pham Binh MINH, since August 2011, also Vice Prime Minister since November 2013
Minister of Education Phung Xuan NHA, since April 2016
Minister for Science and Technology Chu Ngoc ANH, since April 2016
Houses of Parliament Unicameral parliament, 14th National Assembly, around 500 members, legislative period 2016-2021, election every 5 years
Ruling parties Communist Party of Vietnam
Opposition parties No
Administrative structure Division into 58 provinces and 5 municipalities (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Can Tho and Hai Phong)

Political system

Vietnam is in a process of transformation to a market economy system, in which the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), however, is holding on to its monopoly of power.

There is a political decision-making process in which the party, government and parliament are involved at national, provincial and district level. However, the KPV rejects a multi-party system and strong citizen participation. There is no organized opposition. Associations, organizations and the trade union are brought together in the “Fatherland Front” and are thus part of the system.

Article 4 of the old constitution stipulates the leading role of the CPV in state and society. At the beginning of 2014 a new constitution came into force, cementing the leadership role of the CPV. The CPV is now no longer just the leader of the working class, but of all Vietnamese and the whole nation. The legislative, executive and judicial branches continue to be controlled by the CPV leadership. The 16-member Politburo determines the guidelines for politics. It has been headed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong since January 2011. The party’s 175-member Central Committee is the second highest party organ and usually meets twice a year.

The members of the National Assembly are usually CPV members. The National Assembly has been emancipating itself for several years and has gained influence and power (source: Foreign Office).

Business information

Vietnam is one of the emerging economic nations in Asia. The country is a major producer of agricultural products, textiles, shoes and electronics.

Trade with Germany

Vietnam’s foreign trade balance is positive (import 236.7 billion. Vs. Export 243.5 billion. US dollars in 2018). German imports from Vietnam amounted to 9.8 billion in 2018. Euro. The most important German import goods from Vietnam are electronics (37.6 percent) and shoes (16.6 percent). German exports to Vietnam have risen steadily in recent years and reached a value of 4.1 billion in 2018. Euro. The three most important German export goods are vehicles (27.8 percent), machines (26.3 percent) and chemical products (13.3 percent). From a Vietnamese perspective, Germany is the most important trading partner in Europe after the Netherlands with a share of 3.0 percent; Vietnam’s main supplier countries are neighboring countries in Asia (China, followed by South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand). From a German perspective, Vietnam ranks 44th out of 239 countries for German exports and 25th out of 239 countries for German imports (source: Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI): Vietnam Economic Data Compact, May 2019).

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