Federal States of Germany

Whether you’re interested in economic regions, research centers, natural landscapes or cultural scenes – here you’re given an overview.

Schwerin
Schwerin a_medvedkov - stock.adobe.com

Since reunification in 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany has had 16 rather than just eleven Länder or federal states, the five new states being Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. Districts in the former East Germany (GDR) were merged to recreate the former historic states. There were no Länder in the GDR.

Titles such as “Free State” in the case of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, “Hanseatic City” for Hamburg and “Free Hanseatic City” in the case of Bremen, are historical designations and have no legal meaning in today’s federal state.

When the former GDR was reunited with West Germany, the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany increased by 43 percent from 249,000 square kilometres to 357,000 square kilometres, and the population at the time grew by 26 percent from around 62 million to 78.2 million.

Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg

“We can do anything. Except speak standard German,“ they say in Baden-Württemberg. This official site humorously presents the “Ländle“ where four dialects are spoken.

Facts & figures
Population: 11.1 million

State capital: Stuttgart
Surface area: 35,751 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 524,325 (3rd place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 42,290 (4th place)
Unique feature: besides many world-famous companies, Baden-Württemberg is home to 277 hidden champions.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 6
Ranked first place for: Spending on research – more than five percent of GDP.
Special fact: Baden-Württemberg has more hours of sunshine per year than any other German state.

www.baden-wuerttemberg.de

Bavaria

Bavaria

Cheerful and laid back, and sometimes a little stubborn: tradition is something that’s important to the Bavarians. In Germany’s largest state, you can see people wearing dirndls and lederhosen any time and anywhere. And the locals visiting the world’s largest fair, the Oktoberfest in the state capital of Munich, often wear complete traditional costumes. Situated in the south-east of Germany, Bavaria is also famous for its industry in the automotive, mechanical engineering and electronics sectors.

Facts & figures
Population: 13.1 million
State capital: Munich
Surface area: 70,552 km2
Gross domestic product in € million(2019): 632,897 (2nd place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 48,323 (3rd place)
Unique: Home to Bayern Munich – Germany’s best football club.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 6
Ranked first place for: Lowest unemployment rate (August 2020) – 4.1 percent.
Special fact:  Bavarians love white sausage and wheat beer.

www.bayern.de

Berlin

Berlin

Creative, fast-paced, open-minded: Since the fall of the Wall, Berlin has become one of the most exciting, liveliest cities in Europe. The 3.7-million metropolis, which is the capital city of the country as well as of a German state, moves fast. Berlin is the venue of in excess of one thousand events a day, including the state opera, openings of new art exhibitions in inner courtyards or multicultural festivals.

Facts & figures
Population: 3.7 million

State capital: Berlin
Surface area: 892 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 153,291 (6th place)
Gross domestic product per capita in € (2019): 41,967 (6th place)
Unique: Until 1990, Berlin was a city divided by a wall, barbed wire and a death strip – and the capital of East Germany.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Germany’s largest city.
Special fact: The city’s governing mayor is head of the state and the city at the same time.

www.berlin.de/english/index.html

Brandenburg

Brandenburg

Prussia’s glory and Babelsberg’s glamour: Brandenburg is the German state that surrounds the exciting metropolis of the country’s capital city, Berlin. The sparsely populated state in the northeast is covered with forests, crisscrossed by canals and home to approximately 3000 lakes. The state capital is Potsdam and it’s very proud of its Rococo jewel: Sanssouci Palace. The Viadrina European University in Frankfurt (Oder), a showcase project, has been teaching German and Polish students together since 1991.

Facts & figures
Population: 2.5 million

State capital: Potsdam
Surface area: 29,486 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 74,330 (11th place)
Gross domestic product per capita in € (2019): 29,541 (14th place)
Unique: Home to Germany’s leading film studio in the Babelsberg district of Potsdam. This is also where “Babylon Berlin” was made.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Use of sustainable geothermal power.
Special fact: The Brandenburg Gate is to be found in Berlin, which in turn is completely surrounded by Brandenburg.

www.brandenburg.de

Bremen

Bremen

“Bremen in three minutes.“ Is that possible? It is – on an official tour with the “City Informants of Bremen“. Learn about the history of the tiny state, which has consisted of two cities since 1947. Bremerhaven‘s own website has been integrated into Bremen‘s.

Facts & figures
Population: 0.7 million

State capital: Bremen
Surface area: 419 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 33,623 (16th place)
Gross domestic product per capita in € (2019): 49,215 (2nd place)
Unique: The Town Musicians of Bremen – a donkey, dog, cat and a cockerel that find a better life for themselves by showing courage and sticking together in this popular fairy-tale.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 3
Ranked first place for: The smallest of Germany’s states
Special fact: This city-state comprises two cities: Bremen, plus Bremerhaven around 60 kilometres to the north.

www.bremen.de

Hamburg

Hamburg

A metropolis of millions steeped in history on the Elbe River: the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is a German state, the country’s second largest city and the most important center for foreign trade in Germany all rolled into one. Huge container ships sail daily through the “door to the world”, Hamburg’s overseas port. Every third container comes from China or is being shipped there.

Facts & figures
Population: 1.8 million

State capital: Hamburg
Surface area: 755 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 123,270 (9th place)
Gross domestic product per capita in € (2019): 66,878 (1st place)
Unique: The Elbphilharmonie is Germany’s most spectacular concert hall.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 3
Ranked first place for: Highest pay per employee (2019) – € 53,051 per year.
Special fact: St. Michael’s Church, known as the Hamburg Michel, has Germany’s biggest tower clock: its four hands each have a diameter of eight metres.

english.hamburg.de

Hesse

Hesse

Down-to-earth in the heart of Germany: The state of Hesse stretches from the Sauerland district in the north to the Oden Forest in the south. The state capital, Wiesbaden, the city of villas and wines, invites visitors out for a leisurely stroll. With the largest airport in Germany, Frankfurt is a hub for international trade. Automotive and mechanical engineering, the chemical and the electro industry play a major role in the economy.

Facts & figures
Population:6.3 million

State capital: Wiesbaden
Surface area: 21,115 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 294,477 (5th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 46,923 (5th place)
Unique: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt in 1749.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 5
Ranked first place for: Largest proportion of woodland within the city – more than 42 percent.
Special fact: Frankfurt almost became the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.

www.hessen.de

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

A natural paradise: More than 2000 lakes, over 350 kilometers of coastline along the Baltic Sea, along with spacious fields and forests characterize the countryside of the most thinly populated state in Germany. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania‘s most important industry is tourism. The home state of Chancellor Angela Merkel is also where the largest water sports region in Central Europe is located.

Facts & figures
Population: 1.6 million

State capital: Schwerin
Surface area: 23,180 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 46,567 (14th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 28,940 (15th place)
Unique: Home to Usedom, Germany’s largest island
Seats in the Bundesrat: 3
Ranked first place for: Germany’s state with the longest coastline – 2,000 kilometres.
Special fact: The most national parks in Germany, 3 out of 14, are to be found in MV.

www.mecklenburg-vorpommern.de

Lower Saxony

Lower Saxony

Diversity, tradition and the spirit of innovation: Lower Saxony, which is the second-largest state in area in the Federal Republic of Germany, stretches from the North Sea island of Borkum to the Harz Mountains. In between, you’ll find Hannover, the state capital, the Luneburg Heath and Germany’s most fertile fields. Two thirds of Lower Saxony’s acreage is used in agriculture, but the most important industry is the automotive industry.

Facts & figures
Population: 8 million
State capital: Hanover
Surface area: 47,635 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 307,036 (4th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 38,423 (8th place)
Unique: The church tower of Suurhusen leans even more (by 5.19 degrees) than the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” (3.97 degrees).
Seats in the
Bundesrat: 6

Ranked first place for: Generation of wind power – 11,325 megawatts in 2019.
Special fact: Nowhere else is more kale grown – or eaten in the winter as a traditional regional dish.

www.niedersachsen.de

North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia

From coal and steel to high-tech, fashion and theater: North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous German state and the largest industrial area in Germany, is quickly becoming a megalopolis for culture and research. “NRW” boasts the most dense research network in Europe and – in addition to New York and Paris – has been named as one of the most important cultural regions in the world by the UNESCO.

Facts & figures
Population: 17.9 million

State capital: Düsseldorf
Surface area: 34,098 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 711,419 (1st place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 39,678 (7th place)
Unique: NRW generates around a fifth of Germany’s GDP, making it one of Europe’s strongest regions in economic terms.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 6
Ranked first place for: Largest state by population
Special fact: Until reunification, Bonn was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.

www.nrw.de

Rhineland-Palatinate

Rhineland-Palatinate

Take your pick of Riesling, Müller-Thurgau or Silvaner: Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany’s first and foremost wine-producing state, harvesting two thirds of all the wine grapes grown in Germany. The official portal provides you with information on the state and its inhabitants, regional industries and popular tourist attractions of world renown.

Facts & figures
Population: 4.1 million

State capital: Mainz
Surface area: 19,853 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 145,003 (7th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 35,457 (10th place)
Unique: Nowhere else in Germany is home to more historic Roman buildings.Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Largest wine producer
Special fact: 72 of Germany’s one hundred smallest villages are to be found here, including Dierfeld, which shared first place in this category with the Hallig island of Gröde in 2019. As of 31.12.2019, both had just ten registered inhabitants.

www.rlp.de

Saarland

Saarland

Saarland has been part of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1957, before which it changed its “nationality” eight times in 200 years. Its political and economic centre is the state capital Saarbrücken. The people of Saarland have named their home region the “world capital of computer science” as a result of its many renowned research establishments. Visitors can expect to enjoy people’s hospitality and great natural beauty.

Facts & figures
Population: 1 million

State capital: Saarbrücken
Surface area: 2,570 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 36,253 (15th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 36,684 (9th place)
Unique: Did not join the Federal Republic of Germany, which was established in 1949, until 1957 (“small reunification”).
Seats in the Bundesrat: 3
Ranked first place: Cars per inhabitant – 0.64.
Special fact: In the qualifiers for the 1954 Football World Cup, Saarland played Germany and lost 0:3, and then lost 1:3 to the subsequent championship winner.

www.saarland.de

Saxony

Saxony

Lace from Plauen, Meissen porcelain or watches from Glashütte: excellence in craftsmanship and an inventive spirit have made Saxony famous throughout the world. The free state is the most populous and densely populated state in the eastern part of Germany. The locals like to call their state capital “Florence on the Elbe River”, because Dresden is situated idyllically in the heart of the Elbe Valley and is home to some of the most beautiful buildings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Facts & figures

Population: 4.1 million
State capital: Dresden

Surface area: 18,416 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 128,097 (8th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 31,453 (12th place)
Unique: Chemnitz is home to a 16-metre high bust of Karl Marx – the world’s second-largest portrait bust.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place: Gross domestic product of the new Länder – €128,097 million in 2019.
Special fact: Melitta Bentz invented the coffee filter in Dresden in 1908.

www.sachsen.de

Saxony-Anhalt

Saxony-Anhalt

Innovative and original: Saxony-Anhalt is able to boast the largest number of direct foreign investments of all the new German states in the east. Picturesque river landscapes along 303 kilometers of the Elbe River, romantic wine-growing districts and not one but four world cultural heritage sites characterize the countryside. With Saxony and Thuringia, this state forms the economic region of “Mitteldeutschland” (Central Germany).

Facts & figures
Population: 2.2 million

State capital: Magdeburg
Surface area: 20,446 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 63,545 (13th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 28,880 (16th place)
Unique: Birthplace of Protestantism – Martin Luther acquired his insights in the tower room of the cloister in Wittenberg.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Early risers – on average, the people of Saxony-Anhalt get up at 6.39 am, nine minutes earlier than the average German.
Special fact: Jawed Karim, one of the three creators of YouTube and a co-developer of PayPal, was born in Merseburg.

www.sachsen-anhalt.de

Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein

“Old salts” will feel right at home in the state nestled between the North and the Baltic Seas. Schleswig-Holstein is the most northern state in Germany and its capital city, Kiel, is a focal point of activity every year during the world’s largest sailing event, the Kiel Week. The most important industries to be found in Schleswig-Holsteins include medical technology, the maritime industry and information and communications technologies.

Facts & figures
Population: 2.9 million

State capital: Kiel
Surface area: 15,799 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 97,762 (10th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 33,712 (11th place)
Unique: Borders two seas, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and thus also known as the “land between the seas”.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Busiest artificial waterway in the world – the Kiel Canal.
Special fact: Germany’s smallest city, Arnis with a population of 300, is to be found here.

www.schleswig-holstein.de

Thuringia

Thuringia

Goethe and Bach or Bauhaus and the Reformation: Thuringia is well known as the land of poets and philosophers. The Thuringian State Chancellery portal includes a wide range of cultural treasures between Altenburg and Zeitz, just waiting to be discovered. Information on current politics, business development and the scenic diversity of the countryside complete the picture.

Facts & figures
Population: 2.1 million

State capital: Erfurt
Surface area: 16,173 km2
Gross domestic product in € million (2019): 63,866 (12th place)
Gross domestic product per capita (2019): 29,883 (13th place)
Unique: The kindergarten was invented here in 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel.
Seats in the Bundesrat: 4
Ranked first place for: Best-known hiking trail – the Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest.
Special fact: No fewer than four places in this state claim to be the geographical centre of Germany – albeit on the basis of different criteria.

www.thueringen.de

 

© www.deutschland.de

You would like to receive regular information about Germany? Subscribe here: