The 16 federal states have their own parliaments and laws.
These federal states are what make Germany so full of variety.
The regions in Germany are very different from one another.
It depends on where you are.
In southern Germany, for example, there are very high mountains.
These are part of the Alps.
And then there are wide open beaches along the Baltic Sea and the North Sea coasts.
The Rhine Valley is in the western part of Germany.
The eastern part of Germany has beautiful open countryside and areas with lots of lakes.
The people, culture and economy of Germany are as varied as its landscape.
Federalism is the political system that is used in Germany.
Germany is made up of many individual states.
Federalism is the word for this system.
It allows federal states to make their own decisions about many things.
Federalism works very well in Germany because it is a flexible system.
It can take into account the variety of German culture and its economic diversity.
It also has to do with Germany’s history.
Federalism is set down in the German constitution, which is also called the Basic Law.
The constitution is the most important law in Germany.
The following pages give you information on a variety of topics, including on the different German states.
Continue reading to learn about the rich variety of Germany’s regions.
Baden-Württemberg – the home of technological wizardry
Many fantastic inventions come from Baden-Württemberg, including:
- the car
- the bicycle
- the chainsaw
And the spirit of innovation lives on.
Over 15,000 patents were registered in Baden-Württemberg in 2019.
Inventors get patents when they invent something new.
There are lots of big companies in Baden-Württemberg.
These companies are famous throughout the world and are very successful.
And then there are over 300 medium-sized companies.
They have their own particular products and are very successful too.
An inventive state
Why are the people of Baden-Württemberg so inventive?
People in this state are known for being careful with money.
They are good at saving.
They invest their money in the future.
The state’s excellent education system produces pioneering researchers.
Their research leads to lots of new inventions.
These inventions make Baden-Württemberg famous throughout the world.
There are a lot of universities all over Baden-Württemberg.
Some of the famous university towns include:
4 of the 11 top universities in Germany are in Baden-Württemberg.
New businesses get a lot of financial help.
Many young people create new businesses here in a wide range of industries.
Work hard and play hard
Of course, people in Baden-Württemberg like to take a break from work sometimes too.
The pace of life here is relaxed.
People like to enjoy themselves.
The people in this region live longer than in other parts of Germany.
The food here is delicious and the wine is good too.
There are lots of gourmet treats to enjoy, such as:
- Maultaschen (filled pasta, like Ravioli)
- Black Forest cherry cake
- wine from Baden
Gourmet refers to high-quality food and drink.
The weather in Baden-Württemberg is often good.
It has the most hours of sunshine of all the regions in Germany.
Countless leisure activities – both indoors and outdoors
Baden-Württemberg has a lot to offer if you like the arts and culture.
You can visit many different cultural places, for example:
- the Stuttgart State Opera
the Stuttgart State Gallery
- a large number of museums
- lots of concerts and festivals
- castles and palaces
Life is never boring in Baden-Württemberg.
You can take part in lots of different sports and outdoor activities, such as:
- cycling in Upper Swabia
- skiing on the Feldberg mountain
kite-surfing and sailing on Lake Constance
hiking in the Black Forest
climbing in the Swabian Jura mountains
People don’t need to travel far for their holidays.
You can reach France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland in no time at all.
These countries are not very far away.
Go to this state’s website:
If you ask a visitor from a foreign country,
what does Bavaria make you think of?
The answer will probably be:
- short leather trousers
- the October beer festival
- Bayern Munich football club
- Neuschwanstein Castle
But “typically Bavarian” means more than just these things.
A modern state with a rich history
Bavaria is almost 1500 years old.
This makes it one of the oldest states in Europe.
Tradition and progress go side by side in Bavaria.
This is what makes Bavaria so successful.
Bavaria is a confident state.
In the past, many people earned their living from farming.
That has changed over the last 70 years.
Today, many people work for modern companies, such as:
These firms are famous all over the world. They are very successful.
Then there are also many medium-sized companies.
A lot of new companies are started up in Bavaria too.
There are some excellent universities here as well.
Bavaria is a very rich and successful state.
So it has a lot to offer the people who live here.
Bavaria is particularly successful in technology.
Advances have been made here in artificial intelligence and in super computing.
These are specialist areas of information technology.
Home is where the heart is
Bavarians love their home state.
They live in a place where other people come for their holidays.
Protecting nature and culture is part of the Bavarian constitution.
The constitution is the most important law in Bavaria.
Bavaria was the first place in the world to have a ministry for the environment.
It opened in 1970.
Bavaria leads the way in nature conservation and climate protection.
Bavarians like to help other people.
They have a strong community spirit.
Many people who live in Bavaria do unpaid voluntary work.
They help to look after their delightful home state and its strong economy.
That has not changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People look after each other.
This has helped Bavaria to get through these difficult times.
Bavaria – a love of diversity
Many people think Bavaria is an attractive place.
There are 2.2 million more people living there now than in 1987.
Big companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Apple have set up their headquarters there.
Bavaria is changing.
But the Bavarians’ attitude to life stays the same.
They believe it is important to “live and let live”.
This love of diversity is a key part of people’s attitude to life here.
This is why Bavaria has supported a united Europe with strong regions for many years.
Go to this state’s website:
Berlin – Germany’s biggest and fastest-paced city
People who live in Berlin are easy-going.
The city offers music and theatre, contemporary art and a very varied fashion scene.
There is also an alternative art scene that is very lively.
A scene is when many people share common interests and work together.
A lot of up-and-coming artists work here.
Berlin has the most restaurants that have been given ‘stars’ for fine dining.
It also has the most shared offices for new businesses.
Berlin is even famous for popular comedy songs such as “Is mir egal” (It’s all the same to me).
In this song, a ticket collector sings about working on Berlin’s trains, trams and buses.
You often see people in Berlin running to the underground station.
And they get impatient if they have to wait three minutes for the next train.
Everything is hectic in Berlin.
Things are always changing.
This no longer surprises people who live in Berlin.
They always say: “Dit is Berlin” (“That’s just Berlin”).
A green city with a wall
Berlin is the biggest city in Germany.
It has more than 3 million inhabitants.
Every year about 40,000 people from all over the world move here to live.
Berlin was made the capital of Germany when it was still ruled by the Prussian kings.
After the Second World War, Berlin was divided into a west part and an east part.
East Berlin was the capital of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
West Berlin remained part of the Federal Republic of Germany.
It was like an island in the middle of East Germany.
The government in East Germany built a wall right through the city of Berlin.
The wall formed the border.
Nobody was allowed to cross it.
The wall was 43 kilometres long.
It became a symbol of the Cold War and the division of Europe.
You can still see parts of it at Berlin Wall memorial sites, such as at Bernauer Strasse.
After East and West Germany joined together to become a single country again (called re-unification), Berlin was made the German capital once more.
There are lots of green spaces in Berlin.
440,000 trees grow along the roadsides.
There are 2500 public parks in the inner city.
They include a large park on the site where Tempelhof airport used to be.
It covers 300 hectares.
This makes it one of the biggest parks in the world.
People meet here to have barbecues and picnics, do gardening, go skating or kite-surfing.
A centre for the creative industries and science
Berlin’s economy has grown a lot over the past ten years.
It has grown twice as fast as in the rest of Germany.
Information technology has been the most profitable industry in Berlin.
Berlin is one of the top places in the world for trade fairs and conferences.
The pharmaceutical industry and bio-technology industry are also very important for Berlin.
Corporations such as the main German railway company (Deutsche Bahn), Rocket Internet and Axel Springer publishers have their headquarters in Berlin.
There is an especially large number of start-ups here.
A start-up is a new company that is just starting business.
About 40,000 new companies are started each year.
Berlin is also an exceptional place for the sciences.
It has 29 universities and 70 other research institutes.
The club scene and classical music
Berlin is famous for its dance clubs.
Some examples are Berghain, Watergate and Sisyphos.
Clubs are often located in old factories, power stations or disused roof-top car parks.
Some of the most famous DJs (disc jockeys) in the world play music in these clubs.
Back in the 1920s, Berlin was also famous for its wild night-life.
The Friedrichstadt Palace was first opened at this time.
It is the largest revue theatre in Europe.
A revue is a theatre show with songs, dances, jokes and short plays etc.
The museums in Berlin are especially interesting.
There are more than 170.
There are five different museums on the famous Museum Island.
You can find world-famous collections of art here.
Berlin has 3 opera houses and more than 150 theatres.
It also has one of the top philharmonic orchestras in the world.
Berlin is one of Europe’s most important cities for culture.
Go to this state’s website:
Brandenburg – a paradise for nature-lovers
Brandenburg is the biggest state in the eastern part of Germany.
About 2.5 million people live here.
Potsdam is the state capital.
The German capital of Berlin is like a huge island situated right in the middle of Brandenburg.
The famous poet Theodor Fontane wrote about his love of Brandenburg 150 years ago.
It is just as beautiful today as it was then.
Fontane wrote detailed descriptions of the countryside and the people, the castles, gardens and mansions.
His writing made Brandenburg famous all over the world.
There are fabulous formal gardens in Brandenburg, such as Branitz, which was designed by Prince Pückler.
There are also magnificent buildings designed by architects such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the world-famous Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam.
Brandenburg also has lots of castles and village churches as well as the settler villages (Kolonisten-Dörfer) in the Oderbruch.
These settler villages were built on the orders of Emperor Frederick II in 18th century.
A protected paradise
The state of Brandenburg stretches from Prignitz and Uckermark in the north as far as the Elbe-Elster lowlands in the south.
The lowlands range from the river Oder in the east on the German-Polish border to the North German Plain in the west.
The state is known for its many lakes, rivers and forests.
It is a paradise for nature lovers.
There are 30,000 kilometres of rivers and thousands of lakes.
The state is home to animals and plants that are now rare.
One third of Brandenburg state is protected under nature conservation laws.
The goal is to protect and preserve the huge variety of animals and plants.
Sustainable tourism and organic farming play an important part in 15 large nature conservation areas.
These areas are especially valuable to Germany as a whole.
Modern towns and cities, and a centre for industry
Brandenburg attracts many well-educated professionals because it is close to Berlin.
Transport links are good here.
There are also a lot of research facilities in this area.
There are over 50 state and private universities and about 100 other research institutes.
Brandenburg was also an important place for industry in the past.
Today, you can still see steel-works, the kilns from old brick-yards and the remains of open-cast coal mining.
Farming and forestry are still very important in Brandenburg.
But there is also a modern media sector, metal, plastics and chemical industries and the energy sector.
Almost 1200 manufacturing companies have yearly earnings of nearly 30 thousand million euro.
Companies such as Rolls Royce, MTU Aero Engines, Mercedes Benz and BASF are among them.
Recently, Amazon and Zalando have opened offices in Brandenburg.
The American car manufacturer Tesla is building a gigantic European factory in Grünheide near Berlin.
It will be called the ‘giga-factory’.
In future, Tesla will produce its electric cars there.
A mix of old and modern culture
Brandenburg’s culture is a mix of the past and modern times.
Many castles, monasteries and mansions host music, theatre and literature festivals in the spring and summer.
There are evening events in palaces and castles, open-air concerts and theatre performances.
There is a very old, important film studio in Potsdam.
It is called Babelsberg.
This is where Michael Ende’s “The Never-Ending Story” was filmed.
International film productions such as “The Monuments Men” with George Clooney have even been filmed here.
A number of famous athletes also come from Brandenburg.
For example, the world champion boxer Henry Maske was born here.
Brandenburg is also home to canoeing, rowing, cycling and bob-sleigh champions.
They have won gold medals at the Olympics or at world championships.
There are lots of opportunities to do sports in Brandenburg.
For example, there is a 230-kilometre long inline skating track in Fläming and many beautiful lakes for swimming.
Go to this state’s website:
Bremen – made famous in the fairy tale of the town musicians
Visitors to the market square in Bremen can see four bronze figures standing on top of each other.
These are the Bremen town musicians from the fairy tale.
The musicians are a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cockerel.
This bronze statue is in honour of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm called “The Bremen Town Musicians”.
The statue has become a landmark for the city of Bremen.
Many people have done what the animals in the fairy tale did.
They were looking for a better life too. So they settled in Bremen.
Two cities in one single state
Bremen is called a city-state.
So Bremen is not only a city.
It is also a German state.
Bremerhaven on the North Sea also belongs to the state of Bremen.
There is a long story behind this.
The city of Bremen grew a lot in the 19th century.
It urgently needed a harbour.
So, in 1827, Bremen signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Hanover.
And Bremen was given Bremerhaven, which was 60 kilometres away.
An important sea port and a top location for research
Bremen has been an important sea port since the Middle Ages.
Today, Bremen is the second most important port in Germany after Hamburg.
Bremen is also an important city for industry.
- food and drinks producers (Beck’s, Mondelez)
- ship-building (Lürssen)
- car manufacturing (Mercedes-Benz)
- aviation companies (Airbus Group)
Beckʼs, the world-famous beer, comes from Bremen.
Bremen and Bremerhaven are important centres for research in Germany.
Researchers from here focus especially on investigating the oceans, the North and South Poles and outer space.
Bremen’s history explained
Water is one of the most important things in Bremen.
This is obvious from the city’s culture.
Many museums focus on the history of Bremen’s port.
For example, there is the historic cotton warehouse called “Speicher XI” (Warehouse XI).
Visitors can learn about the 120-year history of the port in an interactive museum.
People who used to work at the port demonstrate how they worked on land and at sea.
Visitors can lift up and carry the sacks, load a ship or learn how to tie sailors’ knots.
Plenty of cultural events are organised on the banks of the River Weser.
Go to this state’s website:
Hamburg – the port city in the north
The Elb-Philharmonie has been built on the foundation walls of an old quayside warehouse.
This new concert hall is so large it can be seen from far away.
The Elb-Philharmonie was designed so that the sound carries well.
This makes the music here sound extra special, similar to in a church.
It was built from 1,100 different-shaped pieces of glass and 18,000 tons of steel.
The huge concert hall is suspended in two concrete shells on 362 steel springs.
After it opened in 2017, the Elb-Philharmonie became one of Hamburg’s main landmarks.
The largest urban development project in Europe
The Elb-Philharmonie, the harbour and the river Elbe are part of Hamburg.
The city of Hamburg is building an entirely new district in the harbour area. It will be completed by 2025.
It is the largest urban development project in Europe.
A port city built for future generations
Hamburg is proud of its thousand-year tradition as a port city and centre for trade.
Over the years, Hamburg has also grown into an important centre for industry.
Hamburg’s industries created developments in technology, productivity and research.
The foundations for today’s Hamburg were made at that time.
Today, information technology is causing a further series of changes.
When it comes to technology, Hamburg is certainly a leader.
The following products and brands are all located in Hamburg:
- Montblanc (pens, watches, leather goods)
- Otto (mail-order shopping)
- Steinway (pianos)
- Tchibo (coffee)
- tesa (adhesive tape)
The success of these companies attracts new start-up businesses.
In addition to Berlin, Hamburg is the place where most new businesses are founded.
Hamburg has many universities too.
There are 100,000 students at the city’s 19 universities.
Successful research facilities, such as the European XFEL and the Centre for Applied Aeronautical Research, are also situated in Hamburg.
Hamburg is a very attractive city for talented young people and new companies.
- research facilities
- a strong economy
- effective networks
- a very high quality of life
A city of contrasts
There are many aspects to Hamburg.
Its diversity is reflected in the wide variety of its cultural scene. It offers:
- big concert halls
- avant-garde theatre
- huge theatres for musicals and many nightclubs
- modern art museums and galleries
St. Pauli is the famous nightclub district near the harbour.
You can experience the famous Hamburg nightlife there in clubs, pubs and beach bars, all the way down to the fish market and Hafenstrasse.
Go to this state’s website:
Hesse – the birthplace of the great German writer Goethe
The state of Hesse is in the middle of Germany.
Many centuries ago, the main European trade routes went through Hesse.
That has not changed today.
Frankfurt is the biggest town in Hesse.
This is where you will find Germany’s main airport.
Frankfurt Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe too.
It is also known as “Germany’s door to the world”.
A Natural World Heritage Site
Hesse is very rich in forests.
Almost half its area is covered in forest.
There is an ancient beech forest in Hesse.
It is part of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
World Heritage Sites are places all over the world that are very important for culture or nature.
UNESCO, which is part of the United Nations, chooses them.
It wants everyone in the world to help protect these places.
Many of the beech trees in this park are over 120 years old.
The oldest trees are in fact 260 years old.
There are several low mountain ranges in Hesse. These are:
Most people live in the Rhein-Main region in the south of Hesse.
The state capital is Wiesbaden.
A centre for international finance
The most important industries in Hesse are:
- car manufacturing
- mechanical engineering
- the chemical and electrical industries
- the financial sector
The highest number of financial organisations in the European Union are located in Frankfurt am Main. They are:
- the European Central Bank (ECB)
- the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
- the German Federal Bank
- the Frankfurt stock exchange
The tallest building in Frankfurt is the Commerzbank Tower.
It is 259 metres high.
It was designed by the British architect Norman Foster.
Hesse is often called “Germany’s literary state”. A lot of important writers were born here.
Frankfurt is where the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the book “The Sorrows of Young Werther”.
This book was a huge success when it was published.
The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau in 1785 and 1786.
Their collections of fairy tales and sagas were published in over 100 languages.
Hesse still plays an important role in the book world today.
The prestigious “Georg Büchner” literary prize is awarded every year in Darmstadt.
Frankfurt is home to many famous publishers.
The Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung comes from Frankfurt too.
It is one of the main German newspapers.
What is more, the world-famous Frankfurt Book Fair is held in Frankfurt every year.
Go to this state’s website:
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – the land of lakes
Lots of people go to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for their holidays.
About 7 million people visit the long sandy beaches on the islands and along the coast of the Baltic Sea every year.
They also go to explore the countryside inland.
The towns of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania offer tourists a rich variety of culture.
Wismar and Stralsund are very popular with visitors.
They have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2002.
There are over 2,200 lakes in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Lots of these lakes are connected to each other by canals.
Lake Müritz is the largest lake in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Many cranes and otters live here.
There are plenty of opportunities for bird watching.
The state’s long history is also evident in over 2000 castles, palaces, manor houses and mansions that are found throughout Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Nowhere in Europe are there more of these buildings in an area of this size.
Chalk cliffs and beech forests
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is a coastal state. It borders the German state of Schleswig-Holstein in the west and Poland in the east.
The coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is almost 2000 km long.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has five famous islands.
Rügen is the most famous.
Its chalk cliffs were painted by the artist Caspar David Friedrich.
The paintings are world-famous.
Also on the island of Rügen is one of Germany’s Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests.
The forests are listed as UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites and are over 700 years old.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is part of the North German Plain.
There are 3 national parks, 6 nature reserves and 3 biosphere reserves here.
Not a lot of people live in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Its state capital is Schwerin.
Sustainable development is a top priority
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania attracts a great many tourists.
This is because there is a lot of unspoilt countryside.
So the tourism sector is very important for the state’s economy.
German people really like going on holiday here.
A majority of the electricity comes from:
- wind power
- hydro power
- and solar plants
This means that Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania sets an excellent example.
The state earns a lot of money from producing renewable electricity.
Other important industries are the food sector, timber, agriculture and health care.
The universities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania offer many interesting areas of study.
These include advanced technology, the environment, biology and medicine.
Concerts in special places
Every year, large numbers of visitors come to enjoy the variety offered by the state’s museums and festivals, theatres and orchestras.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania offers something to satisfy every taste.
The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Festspiele is the third-largest festival for classical music in Germany.
Festivals are held in magnificent palace parks, churches, barns and factories.
Since 1997, a totally different type of festival has been held in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
It is called the Fusion Festival.
Several hundred bands and DJs from the electronic music scene come here every year for four days.
The festival takes place on an old military airbase called Rechlin-Lärz.
Go to this state’s website:
Lower Saxony – the land of creativity and decisive action
Lower Saxony offers lots of variety.
It is the second-largest state in Germany.
It is made up of small European regions.
They were once separate small states and principalities.
The East Frisian islands in the North Sea are also part of Lower Saxony.
Lower Saxony was founded in 1946.
All the small regions joined together.
People feel they have things in common and share a sense of being from Lower Saxony.
They are known for being independent thinkers but they are straightforward in their actions.
Sand dunes and wooded hills
8 million people live in Lower Saxony.
They live between the Ems and Elbe rivers, the North Sea coast and the Harz mountains.
The countryside is as varied as the people who live in this state.
For example, East Frisia has white beaches and sand dunes.
People from East Frisia like drinking tea.
Then there is the Emsland region in the west.
There used to be moors here.
They were gradually drained of water.
Another region is hilly Weserbergland between the state capital of Hanover and the university town of Göttingen.
There are also the densely forested Harz mountains in the east.
The sandy heathland of the Lüneburger Heide is in the north.
The long border along the east of Lower Saxony used to be the border with East Germany.
Nowadays, important traffic routes from north to south and east to west go through Lower Saxony.
Windmills and Germany’s only deep-water port
Windmills and Germany’s only deep-water port
Lower Saxony produces a lot of renewable energy.
The state is a centre for developing and manufacturing wind farms.
It is a leader in the production of wind power.
The universities of Oldenburg, Hanover and Bremen have a joint research centre for wind power.
They are continuing to develop wind power technology here.
The coastline of Lower Saxony is 600 kilometres long.
The 7 East Frisian islands are located off this coast.
There are 9 sea ports.
The port in Emden is very important for the automotive industry.
Cars and other vehicles are transported to other countries from here.
Goods are shipped all over the world from Wilhelmshaven.
Wilhelmshaven has the only deep-water port in Germany.
Huge container ships can dock here even at low tide.
Car manufacturing and farming
There are wide open fields, fertile farmland and herds of cattle in Lower Saxony.
The food industry is particularly important for this German state.
Lower Saxony produces more food than any other German state.
There is a lot of meat production in the Weser-Ems region especially.
The biggest car manufacturer is Volkswagen AG.
It has factories in Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, Emden, Osnabrück, Braunschweig and Hanover.
The Volkswagen group of companies wants to be the largest producer of environmentally-friendly cars in the world.
Lots of companies in Lower Saxony supply parts for the automotive industry.
Nobel Prize-winners and a City of Music
Research and development have always been important in Lower Saxony.
Research by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz over 300 years ago formed the basis for today’s information and communications technology.
5 scientists have won the Nobel Prize for their research work since 1945.
Hanover is famous internationally as a city for concerts and music. It has been listed as a UNESCO City of Music since 2014.
The Sprengel Museum was chosen as the Museum of the Year in 2017.
Go to this state’s website:
North Rhine-Westphalia – far away in the west
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is situated in the western part of Germany and in the centre of Europe.
“Tief im Westen” (far away in the west) are words from a well-known song about the region. It was sung by the famous German singer, Herbert Grönemeyer.
North Rhine-Westphalia has a border with the Netherlands and with Belgium.
Almost 18 million people live here.
More people live in this state than in any other German state.
Most people live in one of the 30 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia.
This state has planned well for its future.
There used to be a lot of coal-mining here.
Today, many people work in modern professions.
North Rhine-Westphalia is very beautiful.
There are 50,000 kilometres of walking trails through the countryside.
North Rhine-Westphalia is made up of these regions:
- the Sauerland
- the high moors
- the Bergisches Land
- the Teutoburg Forest
- the Siebengebirge mountains
- and the idyllic Rhine Valley with vineyards, fortresses and fantastic views
- The state capital is Düsseldorf on the river Rhine
The region’s past
In August 1946, the British military government merged the Rhine province, Aachen, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Westphalia.
This created a new German state called North Rhine-Westphalia.
Different people now needed to work together.
The Ruhr region with its heavy industry was needed for rebuilding Europe after the Second World War.
But people did not want this powerful industry to ever again make things that could be used in wars.
So, they came up with a plan to prevent this.
France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg founded the European Coal and Steel Community.
This was the first step in European unification.
Lights, camera, action: start-ups and ‘hidden champions’
North Rhine-Westphalia has changed very much since the 1960s.
It used to be a centre for the coal and steel industries.
Now it has become an important centre for manufacturing, science and the service industries.
A large part of Germany’s economic power comes from North Rhine-Westphalia today.
Very many successful German companies come from North Rhine-Westphalia, such as:
- Thyssen Krupp
- the chemicals company Bayer
- Deutsche Telekom
The 711,000 small and medium-sized companies are especially successful.
Many innovative ideas come from North Rhine-Westphalia too.
Every 5th German start-up is based here.
The media and communications industry employs 460,000 people.
Video games companies in the river Rhine and Ruhr regions are also very successful.
The most important trade fair in the world for video games is called “Gamescon”. It is held in Cologne every year.
A region known around the world for Beethoven, sports and carnival
Five of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage Sites are situated in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Aachen Cathedral, where the Emperor Charlemagne was crowned in 800
Cologne Cathedral, which took the people of the Rhineland 600 years to build
The Zollverein Coal Mine, which was once the largest hard coal mining complex in Europe.
The music composer Ludwig van Beethoven is probably the most famous person from North Rhine-Westphalia.
He was born in Bonn.
In 1985, the “Ode to Joy” from his Symphony Number 9 was made the European anthem (official song).
North Rhine-Westphalia is also a great place to enjoy sport.
Top sports events are held here regularly. They range from handball to horse-riding.
Some of the most famous football clubs and the most loyal fans are found here.
Carnival celebrations in North Rhine-Westphalia are colourful and lively.
People celebrate for six days from the Thursday before until Shrove Tuesday.
They organise carnival processions and carnival shows with songs and sketches. People dress up in all kinds of costumes and really enjoy themselves.
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Rhineland-Palatinate – Germany’s top wine-producing state
Rhineland-Palatinate is the German state with the most European borders. These are:
Rhineland-Palatinate was founded on 18 May 1947 after a vote by the people.
The state capital is Mainz on the river Rhine.
Rhineland-Palatinate has lots of different scenery:
- volcanic lakes in the Eiffel that are shaped like funnels
- steep vine-covered slopes in the Moselle valley
- many fortresses and castles in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley
- ancient beech forests in the Hunsrück-Hochwald national park
- the Pfälzerwald Forest
The Pfälzerwald is the largest forest in Germany and Rhineland-Palatinate is the state with the most forests.
An important centre for international trade
There are many large companies in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Some examples are:
- Boehringer Ingelheim
But small and medium-sized companies are especially important for the economy of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
Most people work in these kinds of companies.
These companies also train the highest number of apprentices.
The chemical industry is particularly important.
This is where most money is earned.
A lot of products from Rhineland-Palatinate are sold in foreign countries.
Welcome to Germany’s top wine-producing state
Every year, the people in the town of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse choose a wine queen.
Rhineland-Palatinate produces the most wine in Germany.
There are 6 wine regions in the state. They are:
Wine and enjoying life go together in Rhineland-Palatinate.
There are many wine festivals all over the state.
The “Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt” (Dürkheim sausage market) is the largest wine festival in the world.
It is held in Bad Dürkheim.
The state of Gutenberg and the Lorelei
500 years ago, Johannes Gutenberg invented the book printing press in Mainz.
Today, a large number of media companies are still based here.
The German television station ZDF has its headquarters here.
Rhineland-Palatinate offers a very wide variety of culture.
There are 430 museums and more than 50 cultural events and music festivals.
The Nibelung Festival in Worms is particularly popular.
One of the most famous rocks in Germany is in Rhineland-Palatinate.
It is called the Lorelei.
It is 132 metres high and is famous throughout the world.
The Lorelei is a character from a saga (a long traditional story).
The story says her beautiful singing made the boatmen on the river Rhine sail onto the rocks.
This caused the boats to sink and the boatmen drowned.
Many authors have written about it.
The author Heinrich Heine wrote an entire poem about it.
200 years ago, artists from all over Europe came here because of the Rhine Romantic movement.
One artist was the English painter William Turner.
A European region
Rhineland-Palatinate is the first state to start a partnership with a French region.
In 1962, the region of Burgundy became a partner region of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Franche-Comté region joined in 2016.
Rhineland-Palatinate is a part of a larger region.
This region also includes:
- the Grand Est region in France
- Wallonia (French-speaking Belgium)
Lots of people work in France or in Belgium.
They cross the border every day.
This region has more cross-border commuters than any other region in the European Union (about 230,000 every day).
A commuter travels a long way to work every day.
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Saarland – connecting Germany and France
Saarland is on the border with France.
The city has:
- French preschools and primary schools
- a German-French high school
- a French-German university
- a German-French theatre festival
- and much more
The French culture has a strong influence in this state.
France is right next door.
Saarland wants to maintain a good relationship with France.
Saarland considers that it is a link between Germany and France.
Saarland even wants to have French as its second official language by 2043.
Saarland almost became independent on 23 October 1955.
However, the people decided against it.
They preferred to be part of Germany.
Saarland is the smallest German state.
It has borders with Luxembourg, France and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Its name comes from the river Saar.
Saarland is one of the warmest areas in Germany. It is also one of the states with the most forests.
People can get into the forests very quickly from Saarbrücken station.
Saarland is famous for its hiking trails.
In 2017, the Saar-Hunsrück-Steig was chosen as the most beautiful long-distance hiking trail in Germany.
There is a tree-top trail and a viewing platform.
You can see the Saarschleife from here. This is a huge bend in the river Saar.
It is the most beautiful of its kind in Germany.
Successful restructuring of the economy
Saarland has needed to change a lot of things in recent years.
Mining of the former coalfields was no longer possible.
80,000 new jobs were needed.
Saarland now has more people in employment than ever before.
Many companies in Saarland use modern technologies in their work.
Many products are sold in foreign countries.
The automotive industry is very valuable for Saarland.
Many important companies are based here:
When the coal mines closed, the steel industry here needed to change.
The steel for the hull of the largest cruise ship in the world was made in Saarland.
From coal-mining to culture
Culture in Saarland is also related to its industrial history.
A perfect example is the old steel works in Völklingen.
The Völklinger Hütte steel works were named a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.
Nowadays, exhibitions and concerts are held in the large industrial building.
The world’s most important exhibition of urban art is held here regularly.
It is called UrbanArt Biennale®.
100 artists from 20 countries show their artworks along a circuit of 100,000 square metres.
The “Electro Magnetic” music festival is also held on the Völklinger Hütte World Cultural Heritage Site.
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Saxony – where old meets new
Saxony is a beautiful state with a lot of variety.
Visitors to this region can choose from a wide range of interesting sights and experiences.
Or maybe you could go swimming in one of the region’s many lakes or hike in the Ore Mountains?
You could watch motor racing at the Sachensenring race track. Or enjoy a relaxing evening at the Semper Opera in Dresden.
The countryside in Saxony varies a lot. So do the people.
Innovation in “Silicon Saxony”
The first German locomotive was built in Saxony.
The first steam ship was built here too.
And so were the first mechanical looms for weaving.
Coffee filters and tea bags were also invented in Saxony.
Many items in everyday use originally come from Saxony.
The “Saxon Route of Industrial Heritage” not only takes you to museums.
It also takes you to factories from the time of the industrial revolution.
Some are even in operation today.
This state is still well-known for innovation and inventions.
In the last 20 years, many new businesses have moved into the area around the state capital of Dresden.
They are mostly specialist companies in information technology.
Saxony is a very important centre for micro-electronics in Europe.
2,300 companies with almost 60,000 employees work in this sector.
Firms in Saxony are developing cars for the future.
Volkswagen is building the ID.3 electric car in Zwickau, for example.
Daimler is developing and manufacturing ultra-modern lithium-ion batteries in the town of Kamenz.
You can also find traditional craftsmanship in Saxony:
- wood carving from the Ore Mountains
- Meissen porcelain
- high-quality watches from Glashütte
Craftsmanship from Saxony is world-famous.
Freedom and democracy
Saxony used to be in the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany).
On 9 October 1989, more than 70,000 people gathered in front of the Nikolai Church in Leipzig.
They went through the town holding banners and shouted: “We are the people” and “No violence”.
The Monday demonstrations started in Leipzig, the biggest town in Saxony.
But they grew into protests all over the country.
Within a few weeks, the peaceful revolution led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This meant people from East Germany could travel to West Germany.
After the end of the First World War, the German royal family was removed from power.
On 10 November 1918, a group of workers and soldiers then announced the “Republic of Saxony”.
Three days later, King Friedrich August the Third gave up his throne.
The word “republic” was not used for long.
The German word “Freistaat” (free state) was soon more popular.
After the re-unification of Germany in 1990, Saxony was called the Free State of Saxony again.
Nature, culture and music
Saxony has lots to offer. For example:
- the hilly Vogtland
- the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the mining regions of the Ore Mountains and Krušnohoří (in the Czech Republic)
- Saxon Switzerland
- the lakes in the Oberlausitz region
Many famous musical composers lived here. Fore example:
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Felix Mendelssohn
- Richard Wagner
- Robert Schumann and many other great composers
Saxony remains a great place to enjoy a wide variety of music.
Art is also popular with visitors to Saxony. Examples include:
- religious art treasures in churches and monasteries
- magnificent buildings from every century
Some of the famous special foods and drinks from Saxony are:
- the local wines
- stollen cake from Dresden at Christmas
- Pulsnitzer Pfefferkuchen - spicy gingerbread from Pulsnitz
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Saxony-Anhalt – the birthplace of the Reformation and the Bauhaus arts movement
Saxony-Anhalt is situated in the centre of Germany.
It is an important state for culture and history.
Many people and ideas that changed the world came from Saxony-Anhalt, such as:
- Martin Luther and the Reformation
- the Bauhaus movement
- the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz
- the Nebra Sky Disc, and many other things
These places and things are listed by UNESCO as part of our world heritage.
People in Saxony-Anhalt were always brave enough to invent and try new things.
This has resulted in some very important research projects in Saxony-Anhalt too. Some examples:
- Tesvolt, a company from Wittenberg, has won the “Top Innovator of the Year” prize
- The largest 3D mixed reality laboratory in Europe will soon open in the Science Port district in Magdeburg
- The German Aerospace Centre is planning a national drone port for research and development in Saxony-Anhalt.
A rich variety of culture and landscapes
Saxony-Anhalt was created by the occupying Soviet authorities in 1946.
It was dissolved in 1952.
Then it was founded again on 3 October 1990, the date of German re-unification.
Saxony-Anhalt is the 8th largest state in terms of surface area.
Saxony-Anhalt is the 10th largest state in terms of inhabitants.
The larger cities include the state capital of Magdeburg and Halle (Saale).
Saxony-Anhalt has various cultural characteristics.
There are also different local forms of the German language.
It has very different landscapes. For example:
- untouched flat countryside in Altmark
- the Harz mountains are the northernmost low mountain range
- the vineyards along the Saale and Unstrut rivers
- the Elbe cycle route that follows the river Elbe for 303 km
A centre for industry and research
Industry is especially important for Saxony-Anhalt.
The most profitable industries in Saxony-Anhalt are:
- the chemicals and plastics industry
- the food industry
- mechanical and plant engineering
- the car parts supply industry
There are other important sectors, such as:
- information and communications technology
- life sciences
- clean technology
- creative industries
Saxony-Anhalt is also the centre for the chemicals industry in eastern Germany.
Leuna, in particular, is a large and modern centre for chemicals in Europe.
The idea of a chemical industry park comes from Saxony-Anhalt.
It means that the industry and external suppliers are all located in one industrial park.
They work together and do not have far to travel.
Saxony-Anhalt is considered to be a leader in renewable energy.
Germany has changed its energy polices.
It plans to use more renewable energy and will stop mining coal.
Saxony-Anhalt is a leader in research and development of ‘clean’ hydrogen.
Saxony-Anhalt is especially popular with investors from foreign countries.
They like investing here because the companies have modern working conditions.
They are also progressive and innovative.
Science and industry work closely together.
A rich and innovative past
The first airplane flight was in Saxony-Anhalt.
Colour film was also invented in this state.
In 1999, people found a sky disc from the Bronze Age in the town of Nebra in Saxony-Anhalt.
A sky disc is an ancient map of the sky with the moon and the sun.
There are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Saxony-Anhalt: They include:
- the town of Quedlinburg with Stiftsberg hill and its half-timbered houses
- Naumburg Cathedral
- Bauhaus in Dessau
- the memorials to Luther in Eisleben and Wittenberg
- Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Kingdom
Saxony-Anhalt is famous for:
- “Garden Dreams” - historic parks
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Schleswig-Holstein – from poets to sea walls
The real north.
People in Schleswig-Holstein enjoy exploring the beach mudflats with their visitors.
When the sea goes out at low tide, the sea floor is no longer covered with water.
This area is called mudflats.
There’s lots to discover here:
- shore crabs
- sand worms
- brown shrimps
- mud snails
The Wadden Sea has been listed as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site since 2009.
It is part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
There are many interesting things to see in Schleswig-Holstein, for example:
- thatched roofs
- the Viking culture
- the famous old town of Lübeck
- the largest sailing event in the world: the Kiel Week
In spring, the state is covered in sunny yellow flowers.
A no-nonsense, cheerful state
As Schleswig-Holstein is in the far north of Germany, the climate is harsher. The people who live here are known to be quite tough.
It’s often windy here.
A salty breeze comes from the sea.
The sea is often stormy.
Schleswig-Holstein is situated between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The Kiel Canal crosses Schleswig-Holstein.
The skies are wide.
People say “Moin” when they greet each other.
“The state of poets and sea walls” is how the people of Schleswig-Holstein describe their state.
They say they are the happiest people in Germany.
The relationship between Schleswig-Holstein and neighbouring Denmark was not always good.
Sometimes they were on friendly terms and sometimes they had conflicts.
Today, the people of Denmark and Germany enjoy a friendly relationship.
Minority groups are treated fairly in Denmark and in Germany.
People in Schleswig-Holstein have lots of fine traditions:
- street bowling (bosseln) is a very popular sport
- in February, they use flashing lights to keep evil spirits away
- smooth marzipan comes from Lübeck
- Kiel produces smoked delicacies such as sprats.
An important location for service industries
42,000 people in Schleswig-Holstein work in ship-building, shipping and at the ports.
The biggest German shipyard is in Kiel.
Its name is ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
A shipyard is where ships are built and repaired.
There are many small and medium-sized companies in Schleswig-Holstein.
The service industries also employ a lot of people.
The main sectors are:
- health care
The earnings from the service industry in 2018 were almost 65 thousand million euro.
Some of the most important areas for the future are medical technology, renewable energy, information technology and the food industry.
The northern gateway to the world
The rough climate in the north inspires many artists.
Many famous artists have lived in Schleswig-Holstein:
- sculptors such as Ernst Barlach
- painters such as Emil Nolde
- and writers such as Thomas Mann
- and Günter Grass
There are 250 museums in Schleswig-Holstein.
1000 artists work at cultural institutions across the state.
The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival is one of Europe’s biggest festivals for classical music.
The Wacken Open Air is actually the biggest heavy-metal music festival in the world.
Schleswig-Holstein has a thriving film industry.
Five film festivals are held here each year.
Some films get financial support.
For example, the Schleswig-Holstein cinema prize is awarded.
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Thuringia – a scientific centre in Germany’s green heartland
There are world-famous towns in Thuringia.
Jena is also called the “town of lights”.
In Jena, companies and research centres are working on developments for the future of medical technology.
German democracy was first established in Weimar.
Weimar is also home to the world-famous school of art called Bauhaus.
Scientists at the Technical University in Ilmenau are developing ultra-modern cars.
The Thuringia Forest is very popular with visitors all year long.
You can have fantastic experiences enjoying the outdoors or culture in Thuringia.
There are both traditional firms in Thuringia as well as modern research centres at famous universities.
The Free State of Thuringia was founded in 1920. It became part of the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) in 1949.
The Free State of Thuringia was dissolved in 1952.
Thuringia was formed again on 3 October 1990 as part of German re-unification.
The people in Thuringia are proud of their history.
But they also think a lot about the future.
A region of forests
Thuringia is in the centre of Germany and has very many forests.
The Thuringia Forest (Thüringer Wald) is the name for a famous low mountain range.
This mountain range is almost completely covered in forests.
The Rennsteig is a very famous hiking trail.
It goes through the Thuringia Forest and goes across the mountain ridge.
Both hikers and mountain-bikers enjoy visiting Thuringia from spring until autumn.
In winter, people go to the Olympic Centre in Oberhof to take part in winter sports.
A leader in the optics industry
The optics industry produces magnifying glasses and lenses for eyewear.
Thuringia is in the middle of Germany.
Many important roads and railways go through the state.
This is good for Thuringia.
It means it can easily deliver things to the east and to the west.
From here, trucks can reach almost every large city in Germany within just under 5 hours.
There is an important high-speed train station in the state capital of Erfurt.
Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich are only 2 hours away.
The most important industrial sectors are the automotive industry and electrical engineering.
The optics industry in Thuringia is very well known, both in Europe and all over the world.
Optics is the study of sight and light.
World-famous companies were founded here, such as:
- Carl Zeiss
This is why many people also call Thuringia the “scientific state”.
In 1846, the engineer Carl Zeiss founded his workshop for precision engineering and optics in the town of Jena.
The electrical engineer Karlheinz Brandenburg helped to develop the MP3 format in the town of Ilmenau in 2004.
Today, 10,000 scientists in Thuringia work closely with industry.
They do research at more than 40 research institutes and universities.
The land of poets and thinkers
A lot of famous artists and thinkers have lived in Thuringia. They include:
- composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt
- painters Lucas Cranach the Elder and Wassily Kandinsky
- writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller
- philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Rudolf Steiner. Steiner founded Anthroposophy, which is a system for education, therapy and creativity.
Weimar was the European Capital of Culture in 1999.
Many hundred years ago, Martin Luther made the first translation of the bible from Latin into German.
He lived in Wartburg castle.
This was the first real book to be written in the German language.
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