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There are some country names with article, like der Iran, die Schweiz, die Niederlande.

But what is the gender of the country names without articles?

For example, what pronoun to use in the following case:

Frankreich hat mit Sanktionen gedroht. Er/Sie/Es(?) hat alle Bankkonten gesperrt.

My intuition says me that countries generally are feminine, when they have no article, am I right?

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3 Answers 3

c.p. is correct that countries without an article are neuter. But I would like to add that an example like yours would still sound weird ("ES hat alle Bankkonten gesperrt"). In general, pronouns are avoided with countries.

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In many publications the entity of the state would be replaced by the entity of the government when it comes to being in charge of decisions, like Frankreich hat mit Sanktionen gedroht. Die französische Regierung [or whatever entity] hat alle Bankkonten gesperrt. –  teylyn Mar 5 '14 at 9:52
Exactly - it would be very unusual to refer to a country using a personal pronoun. When it comes to actively doing something, the common solution is to name the entity responsible for the decision (Die Regierung, Das Finanzministerium, Die Bankenaufsicht), or naming the person politically responsible for the move. –  Hulk Mar 5 '14 at 9:58

All countries without article are neuter. So, das. (I've learned that from this question here.)

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Das Geschlecht der meisten Staaten ist neutral: Das schöne Deutschland, das offizielle Italien, das alte China.

Es bestehen die bekannten Ausnahmen, entweder wegen des Plurals:

die Bahamas, die Niederlande, die Philippinen, die Salomonen, die Seychellen, die USA, die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate

... oder wegen des Geschlechts:

die Dominikanische Republik, die Mongolei, die Schweiz, die Slowakei, die Türkei, die Ukraine, die Zentralafrikanische Republik

der Irak, der Iran, der Jemen, der Kongo, der Libanon, der Niger, der Sudan, der Tschad, der Vatikan.

Ganz allgemein geht die Tendenz dazu den Artikel wegzulassen und sächliches Geschlecht anzunehmen.

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