Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated her nation's Winter Olympics team as they topped the medals table in Turin.
Germany's Greis won three gold medals in Turin
The Germans won 29 medals, including 11 golds, to edge out the USA with nine golds and 25 medals in all.
Austria were third, hosts Italy were ninth and 2002 winners Norway 13th.
"All of you have confirmed impressively that Germany is and remains one of the world's great winter sports nations," said Merkel in a message to her team.
Three of Germany's golds came from biathlete Michael Greis, while the USA claimed their best-ever performance on foreign soil.
America's haul was achieved despite high-profile athletes like Alpine skier Bode Miller and speed skater Chad Hedrick falling short of pre-Games expectations.
Miller went home empty-handed while Hedrick collected one each of gold, silver and bronze medals - but missed out on his goal of five golds.
US officials said they were pleased with their team's performance, and expressed regret for pre-Olympics projections that the Americans would match or exceed the record 34 medals won at Salt Lake City in 2002.
"This has been an incredible performance," US Olympic Committee chief Jim Scherr said. "It's probably our fault that it's been viewed a little less than that."
Canada - which hosts the 2010 Games - had its best ever Winter Olympics with 24 medals, including seven golds.
And the Canadians boasted the most successful athlete in terms of number of medals won - speed-skater Cindy Klassen won a gold, two silvers and two bronze medals.
Austria, Sweden, China and South Korea also had their best ever performances.
Britain's sole silver medal for skeleton slider Shelley Rudman represented a successful Games, according to British Olympic Association chief Simon Clegg.
Team GB won curling gold and skeleton bronze in Salt Lake City.