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Lower Saxony
Niedersachsen
Neddersassen
—  State of Germany  —

Flag

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 52°45′22″N 9°23′35″E / 52.75611°N 9.39306°E / 52.75611; 9.39306
Country Germany
Capital Hanover
Government
 - Minister-President Christian Wulff (CDU)
 - Governing parties CDU / FDP
 - Votes in Bundesrat 6 (of 69)
Area
 - Total 47,624.22 km2 (18,387.8 sq mi)
Population (2007-10-31)[1]
 - Total 7,977,000
 - Density 167.5/km2 (433.8/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-NI
GDP/ Nominal € 188 billion (2005)
NUTS Region DE9
Website www.niedersachsen.de

Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen [ˈniːdɐzaksn̩]) lies in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany. In rural areas Low German is still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining.

Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In total, Lower Saxony borders more neighboring states than any other federal state. The state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony, one being the city of Bremen, the other its seaport city of Bremerhaven. The state's principal cities include Hanover, Braunschweig, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, and Göttingen.

The northwestern portion of Lower Saxony is a part of Frisia; it is called Ostfriesland (East Frisia) and lies on the coast of the North Sea. It includes seven islands, known as the East Frisian Islands. In the extreme west of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a traditionally poor and sparsely populated area, once dominated by inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony, also known as the North German Plains, is almost invariably flat except for the gentle hills around the Bremen geestland. Towards the south and southwest lie the northern parts of the German Central Highlands, the Weserbergland (Weser mountain range) and the Harz mountains. Between these two lies the Lower Saxon Hill Country, a range of minor elevations. Lower Saxony's major cities and economic centres are mainly situated in its central and southern parts, namely Hanover, Braunschweig, Osnabrück, Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, Hildesheim and Göttingen. Oldenburg, near the northwestern coastline, is another economic center. The region in the northeast is called Lüneburger Heide (Lüneburg Heath), the largest heathland area of Germany and in medieval times wealthy due to salt mining and salt trade, as well as to a lesser degree the exploitation of its peat bogs up until about the 1960s. To the north, the Elbe river separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. The banks just south of the Elbe are known as Altes Land (Old Country). Due to its gentle local climate and fertile soil it is the state's largest area of fruit farming, its chief produce being apples.

See also List of places in Lower Saxony.

Contents

Religion

Evangelical Church in Germany 50.8 %[2], Catholic Church 17.6 %[3].

Administration

Lower Saxony is divided into 38 districts (Landkreise or simply Kreise):

Map of Lower Saxony with the district boundaries
  1. Ammerland
  2. Aurich (includes Juist, Norderney and Baltrum)
  3. Grafschaft Bentheim
  4. Celle
  5. Cloppenburg
  6. Cuxhaven
  7. Diepholz
  8. Emsland
  9. Friesland (includes Wangerooge)
  10. Gifhorn
  11. Goslar
  12. Göttingen
  13. Hamelin-Pyrmont (Hameln-Pyrmont)
  1. Hannover (Hanover)
  2. Harburg
  3. Helmstedt
  4. Hildesheim
  5. Holzminden
  6. Leer (includes Borkum)
  7. Lüchow-Dannenberg
  8. Lüneburg
  9. Nienburg
  10. Northeim
  11. Oldenburg
  12. Osnabrück
  13. Osterholz
  1. Osterode
  2. Peine
  3. Rotenburg (Wümme)
  4. Schaumburg
  5. Soltau-Fallingbostel
  6. Stade
  7. Uelzen
  8. Vechta
  9. Verden
  10. Wesermarsch
  11. Wittmund (includes Langeoog and Spiekeroog)
  12. Wolfenbüttel

Furthermore there are ten urban districts:

  1. Braunschweig
  2. Delmenhorst
  3. Emden
  4. Göttingen ¹
  5. Hannover ²
  6. Oldenburg
  7. Osnabrück
  8. Salzgitter
  9. Wilhelmshaven
  10. Wolfsburg

¹ following the "Göttingen Law" of January 1, 1964, the town of Göttingen is incorporated into the district (Landkreis) of Göttingen, but the rules on urban districts still apply, as long as no other rules exist.
² following the "Law on the region of Hanover", Hanover counts since November 1, 2001 as an urban district as long as no other rules apply.

History

Ordinance No. 55, with which on November 22, 1946 the British military government founded the state Lower Saxony retroactively to November 1, 1946.

The area is named after the Saxons. The Saxons lived in today's state of Schleswig-Holstein and merged with the Chauci on the left bank of the river Elbe until the middle of the 1st millennium AD. They then expanded over the whole of today's Lower Saxony and further. Originally the region was simply called Saxony, but as the center of gravity of the Duchy of Saxony gradually moved up the Elbe, towards the present-day states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony, the region was given the name of Lower Saxony, which it bore as an Imperial Circle Estate from the late 15th century on.

Historically, Low Saxony esp. the southern regions or the Gottingen region sought a high degree of autonomy.

The state was founded in 1946 by the British military administration, who merged the former states of Brunswick, Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe with the former Prussian province of Hanover.

After the Second World War, the military authorities appointed the first Legislative Assembly (Landtag) in 1946, followed by a direct election of Lower Saxony's legislature a year later. It resulted in the election of Social Democrat leader Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, who became the first prime minister. Kopf led a five-party coalition, whose basic task was to rebuild a state affected by the war's rigours. Kopf's cabinet had to organise an improvement of food supplies and the reconstruction of the cities and towns destroyed by the Allied air raids of the war years. In addition, the first state government also faced the challenge of integrating hundreds of thousands of refugees from Germany's former territories in the east (such as Silesia and East Prussia), which had been annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union.

Between 1978 and 2004, the state's districts and independent towns were grouped into four administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke): Since 2004 the Bezirksregierungen have been broken up again.

Economy

Agriculture has always been a very important economic factor in Lower Saxony. Wheat, potatoes, rye, and oats as well as beef, pork and poultry are some of the state's present-day agricultural products. The north and northwest of Lower Saxony are mainly made up of coarse sandy soil that makes crop farming difficult and therefore grassland and cattle farming are more prevalent in those areas. Towards the south and southeast, extensive loess layers in the soil left behind by the last ice age allow high-yield crop farming. One of the principal crops there is sugar beet.

Mining has been an important source of income in Lower Saxony for centuries. Silver ore became a foundation of notable economic prosperity in the Harz Mountains as early as the 1100s, while iron mining in the Salzgitter area and salt mining in various areas of the state became another important economic backbone. Although overall yields are comparatively low, Lower Saxony is also an important supplier of crude oil in the European Union. Mineral products still mined today include iron and lignite.

Radioactive waste is frequently transported in the area to the city of Salzgitter, for the deep geological repository Schacht Konrad and between Schacht Asse II in the Wolfenbüttel district and Lindwedel and Höfer.

Manufacturing is another large part of the regional economy. Despite decades of gradual downsizing and restructuring, the car maker Volkswagen with its five production plants within the state's borders still remains the single biggest private-sector employer, its world headquarters based in Wolfsburg. Due to a legal act commonly known as the Volkswagen Law that has just recently been ruled illegal by the European Union's high court, the state of Lower Saxony is still the second largest shareholder, owning 20.3% of the company. [4] Due to the importance of car manufacturing in Lower Saxony, a thriving supply industry is centered around its regional focal points. Other mainstays of the Lower Saxon industrial sector include aviation, shipbuilding, biotechnology, and steel.

The service sector has gained importance following the demise of manufacturing in the 1970s and 1980s. Important branches today are the tourism industry with TUI AG in Hanover, one of Europe's largest travel companies, as well as trade and telecommunication.

Politics

Since 1948, politics in the state has been dominated by the rightist Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the leftist Social Democratic Party. Lower Saxony was one of the origins of the German environmentalist movement in reaction to the state government's support for underground nuclear waste disposal. This led to the formation of the German Green Party in 1980.

The current Minister-President, Christian Wulff, has led a coalition of his CDU with the Free Democratic Party since 2003. In the most recent state election in 2008, the ruling CDU held on to its position as the leading party in the state, despite losing votes and seats. The CDU's coalition with the Free Democratic Party retained its majority although it was cut from 29 to 10.

The election also saw the entry into the state parliament for the first time of the leftist The Left party.

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Constitution

The state of Lower Saxony was formed after World War II by merging the former states of Hanover, Oldenburg, Brunswick and Schaumburg-Lippe. Hanover, a former kingdom, is by far the largest of these contributors by area and population and has been a province of Prussia since 1866. The city of Hanover is the largest and capital city of Lower Saxony.

The constitution states that Lower Saxony be a libertarian, republican, social and environmentally sustainable state inside the Federal Republic of Germany; universal human rights, peace and justice are preassigned guidelines of society, and the human rights and civil liberties proclaimed by the constitution of the Federal Republic are genuine constituents of the constitution of Lower Saxony. Each citizen is entitled for education and there is universal compulsory school attendance.

All government authority is to be sanctioned by the will of the people which expresses itself via elections and plebiscites. The legislative assembly is a unicameral parliament elected for terms of five years. The composition of the parliament obeys to the principle of proportional representation of the participating political parties, but it is also ensured that each constituency delegates one directally elected representative. If a party wins more constituency delegates than their statewide share among the parties would determine, it can keep all these constituency delegates.

The governor of the state (prime minister) and his ministers are elected by the parliament. As there is a system of five political parties in Germany and so also in Lower Saxony, it is usually the case that two or more parties negotiate for a common political agenda and a commonly determined composition of government where the party with the biggest share of the electorate fills the seat of the governor. Currently (January 2010), the coalition majority is formed by the conservative CDU party with governor Christian Wulff and the radically capitalistic FDP. The opposition thus consists of the social democrats (SPD), the liberal "Green Party" and the leftist Socialists.

The states of the Federal Republic of Germany, and so Lower Saxony, have legislative responsibility and power mainly reduced to the policy fields of the school system, higher education, culture and media and police, whereas the more important policy fields like economic and social polcies, foreign policy etc. are a prerogative of the federal government. Hence the probably most important function of the federal states is their representation in the Federal Council (Bundesrat), where their approval on many crucial federal policy fields, including the tax system, is required for laws to become inacted. Currently, the federal government which is equally to Lower Saxony formed by the CDU with chancellor Angela Merkel and the FDP, can count on a majority of CDU/FDP governments in the Federal Council; but if only one of the CDU/FDP governments would loose their majority in state elections, this majority would no longer exist so that a crucial part of federal policies would require for the federal government to negotiate with the opposition parties.

List of Minister-presidents of Lower Saxony

Minister-president Cabinet Involved parties Tenure
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf Kopf I SPD, CDU, FDP, NLP, KPD 1946 – 47
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf Kopf II SPD, CDU, FDP, DP, Zentrum, KPD 1947 – 48
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf Kopf III SPD, CDU, Zentrum 1948 – 51
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf Kopf IV SPD, GB/BHE, Zentrum 1951 – 55
Heinrich Hellwege Hellwege I DP, SPD, GB/BHE, CDU, FDP 1955 – 57
Heinrich Hellwege Hellwege II DP, SPD, CDU 1957 – 59
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf Kopf V SPD, FDP, GB/BHE 1959 – 61
Georg Diederichs Diederichs I SPD, FDP, GB/BHE 1961 – 63
Georg Diederichs Diederichs II SPD, FDP 1963 – 65
Georg Diederichs Diederichs III SPD, CDU 1965 – 67
Georg Diederichs Diederichs IV SPD, CDU 1967 – 70
Alfred Kubel Kubel I SPD 1970 – 74
Alfred Kubel Kubel II SPD, FDP 1974 – 76
Ernst Albrecht Albrecht I CDU 1976 – 77
Ernst Albrecht Albrecht II CDU, FDP, without party affiliation 1977 – 78
Ernst Albrecht Albrecht III CDU 1978 – 82
Ernst Albrecht Albrecht IV CDU 1982 – 86
Ernst Albrecht Albrecht V CDU, FDP 1986 – 90
Gerhard Schröder Schröder I SPD, Grüne, without party affiliation 1990 – 94
Gerhard Schröder Schröder II SPD, without party affiliation 1994 – 98
Gerhard Schröder Schröder III SPD 1998
Gerhard Glogowski Glogowski SPD 1998 – 99
Sigmar Gabriel Gabriel SPD, without party affiliation 1999–2003
Christian Wulff Wulff I CDU, FDP 2003 – 08
Christian Wulff Wulff II CDU, FDP since 2008

Coat of arms

The coat of arms shows a white horse (Saxon Steed) on red ground, which is an old symbol of the Saxon people.

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Central Europe : Germany : Lower Saxony

Lower Saxony [1] (German: Niedersachsen [ˈniːdərˌzaksən]) is a federal state (Bundesland, plural Bundesländer) in northwestern Germany. It is the second largest state by area (47,618 km²) and fourth largest by population (nearly eight million) among the country's sixteen states.

  • Nienburg A nice town in the middle of Lower Saxony, very nice Christmas market in one weekend in December.
  • Nordenham A town located on the Weser River

Nature Parks

There are 12 nature parks in Lower Saxony:

  • Nature park Lüneburger Heide (conservation area)
  • Nature park Münden
  • Nature park Harz
  • Nature park Nördlicher Teutoburger Wald- Wiehengebierge
  • Nature park Solling Vogler
  • Nature park Südheide
  • Nature park Weserbergland Schaumburg-Hameln
  • Nature park Elbufer- Drawehn
  • Nature park Dümmer
  • Nature park Elm-Lappwald
  • Nature park Wildeshauser Geest
  • Nature park Steinhuder Meer

Get around

There is a special ticket called the "Niedersachsen Ticket" which offers unlimited travel by regional trains inside Lower Saxony area, up to Bremen and Hamburg in one day. This ticket is not valid in fast trains (D, EC, IC, ICE) so make sure you board the right trains (RE, RB, S-Bahn, Metronom) when using this ticket. There are two types of tickets, the group ticket (up to 5 person, €28) and the single ticket (€17). These tickets are also valid inside public trasnport network in some of the cities (Hanover, Hamburg, Bremen, Brunswick). [2]

  • Waidmanns Ruh, Wensebrock 1, Brockel (On road 71 between Brockel and Soltau), 04266 2250 (). Su: 8am-2pm. Great local dishes with game and lamb €12 for mains.  edit
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Lower Saxony

Plural
-

Lower Saxony

  1. One of the component states of Germany according to the current administrative division of the nation.

Translations

See also


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Template:Previously

Niedersachsen
Lower Saxony
Flag Coat of arms
File:Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg
Location
File:Deutschland Lage von Niedersachsen.svg
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Administration
Country Germany
NUTS Region DE9
Capital Hanover
Minister-President Christian Wulff (CDUImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

)

Governing parties CDUImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
/ FDPImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Votes in Bundesrat 6 (of 69)
Basic statistics
Area  47,624 km² (18,388 sq mi)
Population 7,984,000 (11/2006)[1]
 - Density 168 /km² (434 /sq mi)
Other information
GDP/ Nominal € 188 billion (2005)
Website www.niedersachsen.de

With an area of 47,624 km² and nearly eight million inhabitants, Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen [ˈniːdɐzaksn̩]) lies in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen Länder (states) of Germany. In rural areas Low German is still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining.

Contents

Geography

Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony. The state's principal cities include Hanover, Braunschweig (Brunswick), Osnabrück, Oldenburg, and Göttingen.

The northwestern portion of Lower Saxony is a part of Frisia; it is called Ostfriesland (East Frisia) and lies on the coast of the North Sea. It includes seven islands, known as the East Frisian Islands. In the southwest of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a sparsely populated area, once full of inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony is absolutely flat, but there are two mountain chains in the south: the Weserbergland ("Weser Hilly Region") and the Harz. The middle of the state houses the largest cities and the economic centres: Hanover, Hildesheim, Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, and Braunschweig. The region in the northeast is called Lüneburger Heide (Lüneburg Heath), the largest heath of Germany and in medieval times wealthy due to the salt trade. To the north the Elbe river separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. The area on the southern banks is called Altes Land, and it is characterised by thousands of fruit trees.

See also List of places in Lower Saxony.

Lower Saxony is divided into 38 districts (Landkreise or simply Kreise):

  1. Ammerland
  2. Aurich (includes Juist, Norderney and Baltrum)
  3. Grafschaft Bentheim
  4. Celle
  5. Cloppenburg
  6. Cuxhaven
  7. Diepholz
  8. Emsland
  9. Friesland (includes Wangerooge)
  10. Gifhorn
  11. Goslar
  12. Göttingen
  13. Hamelin-Pyrmont (Hameln-Pyrmont)
  1. Hanover (Hannover)
  2. Harburg
  3. Helmstedt
  4. Hildesheim
  5. Holzminden
  6. Leer (includes Borkum)
  7. Lüchow-Dannenberg
  8. Lüneburg
  9. Nienburg
  10. Northeim
  11. Oldenburg
  12. Osnabrück
  13. Osterholz
  1. Osterode
  2. Peine
  3. Rotenburg
  4. Schaumburg
  5. Soltau-Fallingbostel
  6. Stade
  7. Uelzen
  8. Vechta
  9. Verden
  10. Wesermarsch
  11. Wittmund (includes Langeoog and Spiekeroog)
  12. Wolfenbüttel

Furthermore there are eight or ten urban districts:

  1. Braunschweig (Brunswick)
  2. Delmenhorst
  3. Emden
  4. Göttingen ¹
  5. Hanover ²
  6. Oldenburg
  7. Osnabrück
  8. Salzgitter
  9. Wilhelmshaven
  10. Wolfsburg

¹ following the "Göttingen Law" of January 1 1964, the town of Göttingen is incorporated into the district (Landkreis) of Göttingen, but the rules on urban districts still apply, as long as no other rules exist.
² following the "Law on the region of Hannover", Hannover counts since November 1 2001 as an urban district as long as no other rules apply.

History

The area is named after the Saxons. The Saxons lived in today's state of Schleswig-Holstein and merged with the Chauci on the left bank of the river Elbe until the middle of the 1st millennium AD. They then expanded over the whole of today's Lower Saxony and further. Originally the region was simply called Saxony, but as the center of gravity of the Duchy of Saxony gradually moved up the Elbe, towards the present-day states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony, the region was given the name of Lower Saxony, which it bore as an Imperial Circle Estate from the late 15th century on.

The state was founded in 1946 by the British military administration, who merged the former states of Brunswick, Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe with the former Prussian province of Hanover.

After the Second World War, the military authorities appointed the first Legislative Assembly (Landtag) in 1946, followed by a direct election of Lower Saxony's legislature a year later. It resulted in the election of Social Democrat leader Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, who became the first prime minister. Kopf led a five-party coalition, whose basic task was to rebuild a state affected by the war's rigours. Kopf's cabinet had to organise an improvement of food supplies and the reconstruction of the cities and towns destroyed by the Allied air raids of the war years. In addition, the first state government also faced the challenge of integrating hundreds of thousands of refugees from Germany's former territories in the east (such as Silesia and East Prussia), which had been annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union.

Between 1978 and 2004, the state's districts and independent towns were grouped into four administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke): Since 2004 the Bezirksregierungen have been broken up again.

  • Braunschweig (Brunswick)
  • Hannover (Hanover)
  • Lüneburg
  • Weser-Ems

Economy

Niedersachsen is one of Europe's leading producers of oil. Wheat, potatoes, rye, and oats are some of their major agricultural products. Mineral products include iron and lignite. Manufacturing is another large part of their economy.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms shows a white horse (Niedersachsenross) on red ground, which is an old symbol of the Saxon people.

List of minister presidents of Lower Saxony

  1. 1946 - 1955: Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf (SPD)
  2. 1955 - 1959: Heinrich Hellwege (DP)
  3. 1959 - 1961: Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf (SPD)
  4. 1961 - 1970: Georg Diederichs (SPD)
  5. 1970 - 1976: Alfred Kubel (SPD)
  6. 1976 - 1990: Ernst Albrecht (CDU)
  7. 1990 - 1998: Gerhard Schröder (SPD)
  8. 1998 - 1999: Gerhard Glogowski (SPD)
  9. 1999 - 2003: Sigmar Gabriel (SPD)
  10. since 2003: Christian Wulff (CDU)

External links

References

  1. ^ State population. Portal of the Federal Statistics Office Germany. Retrieved on 2007-04-25.
  1. REDIRECT Template:States of GermanyImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
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