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Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a
German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (states); commonly informally / federated state, plural / federated states). Since the Germany, Germa ...

German state
(''Land'') situated in northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, being larger than
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the most populous and politically central Constituent state, constituent of the Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, a constitutio ...

Denmark
or
the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
with , and fourth-largest in population (7.9 million) among the 16 ''
Länder
Länder
'' federated as the Federal Republic of
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
. In rural areas,
Northern Low Saxon Northern Low Saxon (in German language, High German: ') is a subgroup of West Low German dialects of Low German (also known as Low Saxon). As such, it covers a great part of the West Low German-speaking areas of northern Germany, with the except ...
(a dialect of
Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic languages, Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic languages, West Germanic , fam4 = North Sea Germ ...
) and Saterland Frisian (a variety of the
Frisian language The Frisian (, ) languages are a closely related group of West Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 Frisian people The Frisians are a West Germanic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify wit ...
) are still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining. Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain (specifically England and Scotland), Norway, Jutland (in Denmark), Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Hauts-de-France (in France). An epeiric sea, epeiric (or "shelf") sea on ...

North Sea
, the states of
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the Northern Germany, northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities a ...

Schleswig-Holstein
,
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central European Time, Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central European Summer Time, Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST ...

Hamburg
,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgisch dialect, Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its Anglicisation, anglicized name Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is a Federated state, state in the north-east of G ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
,
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
,
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
,
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a German states, state in Germany. Its capital city is Wiesbaden, and the largest urban area is Frankfurt. With an area of 21,000 squa ...
and
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, ...
, and the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
(
Drenthe Drenthe () is a provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands located in the northeastern part of the country. It is bordered by Overijssel to the south, Friesland to the west, Groningen (province), Groningen to the north, and the Ge ...

Drenthe
,
Groningen Groningen ( , , , ; gos, Grunn or ) is the capital city and main municipality of Groningen province Groningen (; gos, Grunn; fry, Grinslân) is the northeasternmost Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands. It borders on ...
and
Overijssel Overijssel (, ; nds, Oaveriessel ; german: Oberyssel) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the ...

Overijssel
). Furthermore, the state of Bremen forms two
enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly s ...

enclave
s within Lower Saxony, one being the city of
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
, the other its
seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front), the thumb is the outermost digit ...
,
Bremerhaven Bremerhaven (, , Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northern and Western Germany, western GermanyEastern NetherlandsSouthern Denmark , ethnicity = D ...

Bremerhaven
(which is a
semi-enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly s ...
, as it has a coastline). Lower Saxony thus borders more neighbours than any other single ''Bundesland''. The state's principal cities include the state capital
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Stat ...
,
Braunschweig Braunschweig () or Brunswick (, from Low German ''Brunswiek'' , Braunschweig dialect: ''Bronswiek''), is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in Lower Saxony, Germany, north of the Harz Mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oke ...

Braunschweig
(Brunswick),
Lüneburg Lüneburg (officially the ''Hanseatic City of Lüneburg'', German: ''Hansestadt Lüneburg'', , Low German ''Lümborg'', Latin ''Luneburgum'' or ''Lunaburgum'', Old High German ''Luneburc'', Old Saxon ''Hliuni'', Polabian language, Polabian ''Glai ...

Lüneburg
,
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...
, Oldenburg,
Hildesheim Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated sta ...

Hildesheim
,
Wolfenbüttel Wolfenbüttel () is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a States of Germany, German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the se ...

Wolfenbüttel
,
Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, located on the river Aller (Germany), Aller. It lies about east of Hanover and west of Berlin. Wolfsburg is famous as the location of Volkswagen AG's h ...

Wolfsburg
, and
Göttingen Göttingen (, , ; nds, Chöttingen) is a university city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is t ...
. Lower Saxony is the only ''Bundesland'' that encompasses both maritime and mountainous areas. The northwestern area of the state, on the coast of the North Sea, is called
East Frisia East Frisia or East Friesland (german: Ostfriesland; ; stq, Aastfräislound) is a historic region in the northwest of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situ ...
and the seven
East Frisian Islands The East Frisian Islands (German: ''Ostfriesische Inseln'', West Frisian: ''Eastfryske eilannen'', stq, Aastefräiske Ailounds) are a chain of islands in the North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain (speci ...
offshore are popular with tourists. In the extreme west of Lower Saxony is the
Emsland Landkreis Emsland () is a districts of Germany, district in Lower Saxony, Germany named after the river Ems (river), Ems. It is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Leer (district), Leer, Cloppenburg (district), Cloppenburg ...
, an economically emerging but rather sparsely populated area, once dominated by inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony, also known as the
North German Plain 250px, Morning fog in East Frisia. The North German Plain or Northern Lowland (german: Norddeutsches Tiefland) is one of the major geographical regions of Germany. It is the German part of the North European Plain. The region is bounded by the co ...
, is almost invariably flat except for the gentle hills around the Bremen
geest Geest is a type of landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...
land. Towards the south and southwest lie the northern parts of the German Central Uplands: the
Weser Uplands The Weser Uplands ( German: ''Weserbergland'', ) is a hill region in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , l ...
and the
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a ...

Harz
Mountains. Between these two lie the
Lower Saxon HillsThe Lower Saxon Hills (german: Niedersächsisches Bergland) are one of the 73 natural regions in Germany defined by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). Geographically it covers roughly the same area as the Weser Uplands (german: Weserbe ...
, a range of low ridges. Lower Saxony's major cities and economic centres are mainly situated in its central and southern parts, namely Hanover, Braunschweig, Osnabrück, Wolfsburg,
Salzgitter Salzgitter (; Eastphalian dialect, Eastphalian: ''Soltgitter'') is an independent city#Germany, independent city in southeast Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hildesheim and Braunschweig. Together with Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, Salzgitter ...

Salzgitter
,
Hildesheim Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated sta ...

Hildesheim
, and Göttingen. Oldenburg, near the northwestern coastline, is another economic centre. The region in the northeast, the
Lüneburg Heath near Schneverdingen Lüneburg Heath (german: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath (habitat), heath, geest Geest is a type of landform, slightly raised above the surrounding countryside, that occurs on the plains of Northern Germany ...
(''Lüneburger Heide''), is the largest heathland area of Germany. In the Middle Ages it was wealthy due to salt-mining and the salt trade, as well as, to a lesser degree, the exploitation of its
peat bog A bog or bogland is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These Bio ...

peat bog
s, which went on until the 1960s. To the north the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or ...

Elbe
River separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg,
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the Northern Germany, northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities a ...

Schleswig-Holstein
,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgisch dialect, Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its Anglicisation, anglicized name Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is a Federated state, state in the north-east of G ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
, and
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
. The banks just south of the Elbe are known as the ''
Altes Land Altes Land is an area of land reclamation, reclaimed marshland straddling parts of Lower Saxony and Hamburg. The region is situated wikt:downstream, downstream from Hamburg on the Ordinal direction, southwestern riverside of the Elbe around the to ...
'' (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
apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...

apple
s. Most of the state's territory was part of the historic
Kingdom of Hanover The Kingdom of Hanover (german: Königreich Hannover) was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Han ...
, and the state of Lower Saxony has adopted the coat of arms and other symbols of the former kingdom. It was created by the merger of the
State of Hanover The State of Hanover (german: Land Hannover) was a short-lived state within the British zone of Allied-occupied Germany Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat ...
with three smaller states on 1 November 1946.


Geography


Location

Lower Saxony has a natural boundary in the north in the North Sea and the
lower Lower may refer to: *Lower (surname)Lower is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Arthur R. M. Lower (1889–1988) Canadian historian * Britt Lower (born 1985), American actress * Cyrus B. Lower (1843–1924), American Civil War ...

lower
and middle reaches of the
River Elbe , german: Elbe, Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northern and Western Germany, western GermanyEastern NetherlandsSouthern Denmark , ethnicity = D ...
, although parts of the city of Hamburg lie south of the Elbe. The state and city of Bremen is an
enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly s ...

enclave
entirely surrounded by Lower Saxony. The
Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region The European Northwest Metropolitan Region (german: Metropolregion Nordwest), formerly Metropolitan Region of Bremen/Oldenburg (german: Metropolregion Bremen/Oldenburg) is one of the eleven metropolitan regions in Germany. It covers the area of the ...
is a cooperative body for the enclave area. To the southeast, the state border runs through the Harz, low mountains that are part of the German
Central Uplands Image:Siegtal Eitorf Merten.JPG, upright=1.2, Central Uplands in North Rhine-Westphalia: Siegtal in the Rhenish Massif The Central UplandsDickinson (1964), p.18 ff. (german: die MittelgebirgeN.B. In German die ''Mittelgebirge'' (plural) refers ...
. The northeast and west of the state, which form roughly three-quarters of its land area, belong to the North German Plain, while the south is in the
Lower Saxon HillsThe Lower Saxon Hills (german: Niedersächsisches Bergland) are one of the 73 natural regions in Germany defined by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). Geographically it covers roughly the same area as the Weser Uplands (german: Weserbe ...
, including the
Weser Uplands The Weser Uplands ( German: ''Weserbergland'', ) is a hill region in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , l ...
,
Leine Uplands The Leine Uplands (german: Leinebergland, ) is a region in Germany's Central Uplands which forms a part of the Lower Saxon Hills and lies along the River Leine between Göttingen and Hanover. It borders on the Weser Uplands in the west, the Innerst ...
, Schaumburg Land,
Brunswick Land Brunswick Land (german: Braunschweiger Land) is a historical region in the Southeast of the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, centred around the city of Braunschweig. It refers to the core territory of the historic Duchy of Brunswick and its su ...
, Untereichsfeld,
Elm Elms are and s comprising the genus ''Ulmus'' in the plant family . The genus first appeared in the about 20 million years ago, originating in what is now central Asia.Richens, R. H. (1983). ''Elm''. Cambridge University Press. These tree ...
, and
Lappwald The Lappwald is a heavily wooded range of hills, 20 km long and up to 5 km wide, in central Germany. It stretches northwards from the town of Helmstedt Helmstedt () is a town on the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony Lo ...
. In northeast, Lower Saxony is Lüneburg Heath. The heath is dominated by the poor, sandy soils of the
geest Geest is a type of landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...
, whilst in the central east and southeast in the
loess ''börde'' zone
loess ''börde'' zone
, productive soils with high natural fertility occur. Under these conditions—with
loam Soil types by clay, silt and sand composition as used by the United States Department of Agriculture Loam (in geology and soil science) is soil File:Stagnogley.JPG, Surface-water-Gley soil, gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland. S ...
and
sand Sand is a granular Granularity (also called graininess), the condition of existing in granules or grains A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of th ...

sand
-containing soils—the land is well-developed
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

agricultural
ly. In the west lie the
County of Bentheim The County of Bentheim (''Grafschaft Bentheim'', Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northern and Western Germany, western GermanyEastern NetherlandsSouther ...
,
Osnabrück Land Osnabrück Land (german: Osnabrücker Land) is a region in southwest Lower Saxony in Germany, which extends into the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Its centre is the city of Osnabrück. The region is dominated by the Teutoburg Forest and the Riv ...
,
Emsland Landkreis Emsland () is a districts of Germany, district in Lower Saxony, Germany named after the river Ems (river), Ems. It is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Leer (district), Leer, Cloppenburg (district), Cloppenburg ...
,
Oldenburg Land Oldenburg Land (german: Oldenburger Land) is a region and regional association in the German state of Lower Saxony in the area of the former Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (1815–1918), the later Free State of Oldenburg (1918–1946) and administrative ...
,
Ammerland Ammerland is a district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or counties, several muni ...
, Oldenburg Münsterland, and on the coast
East Frisia East Frisia or East Friesland (german: Ostfriesland; ; stq, Aastfräislound) is a historic region in the northwest of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situ ...
. The state is dominated by several large rivers running northwards through the state: the
Ems#REDIRECT EMS Ems or EMS may refer to: Places and rivers * Domat/Ems Domat/Ems ( rm, Domat ; german: Ems) is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powe ...
,
Weser The Weser () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without r ...
,
Aller Aller may refer to: Places Rivers *Aller (Germany), a major river in North Germany *Aller (Asturian river), a river in Asturias, Spain *River Aller, a small river on Exmoor in Somerset, England Inhabited places in the United Kingdom *Aller, Devon, ...
, and Elbe. The highest mountain in Lower Saxony is the Wurmberg (971 m) in the Harz. For other significant elevations see:
List of mountains and hills in Lower Saxony This List of mountains and hills in Lower Saxony shows a selection of high or well-known mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs fr ...
. Most of the mountains and hills are found in the southeastern part of the state. The lowest point in the state, at about 2.5 m below sea level, is a depression near Freepsum in East Frisia. The state's economy, population, and infrastructure are centred on the cities and towns of Hanover, Stadthagen, Celle, Braunschweig, Wolfsburg, Hildesheim, and Salzgitter. Together with Göttingen in southern Lower Saxony, they form the core of the
Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region The Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region (German: ''Metropolregion Hannover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg'') is an economic and cultural region in Northern Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , m ...
.


Regions


General

Lower Saxony has clear regional divisions that manifest themselves geographically, as well as historically and culturally. In the regions that used to be independent, especially the heartlands of the former states of
Brunswick Brunswick is the historical English name for the German city of Braunschweig (Low German: ''Brunswiek'', Braunschweig dialect: ''Bronswiek''). Brunswick may also refer to: Places and other topographs Australia * Brunswick, Victoria, a suburb of ...
,
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
, Oldenburg and
Schaumburg-Lippe Schaumburg-Lippe, also Lippe-Schaumburg, was created as a county in 1647, became a principality in 1807, a free state in 1918, and was until 1946 a small state in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = ...
, a marked local regional awareness exists. By contrast, the areas surrounding the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg are much more oriented towards those centres.


List of regions

Sometimes, overlaps and transition areas happen between the various regions of Lower Saxony. Several of the regions listed here are part of other, larger regions, that are also included in the list. *
Altes Land Altes Land is an area of land reclamation, reclaimed marshland straddling parts of Lower Saxony and Hamburg. The region is situated wikt:downstream, downstream from Hamburg on the Ordinal direction, southwestern riverside of the Elbe around the to ...
*
Ammerland Ammerland is a district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or counties, several muni ...
*
Artland Artland is a ''Samtgemeinde'' ("collective municipality") in the Osnabrück (district), district of Osnabrück, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated along the river Hase, approx. 45 km north of Osnabrück, and 25 km west of Vechta. It ...
*
County of Bentheim The County of Bentheim (''Grafschaft Bentheim'', Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northern and Western Germany, western GermanyEastern NetherlandsSouther ...
* Bramgau *
Brunswick Land Brunswick Land (german: Braunschweiger Land) is a historical region in the Southeast of the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, centred around the city of Braunschweig. It refers to the core territory of the historic Duchy of Brunswick and its su ...
* Calenberg Land *
Eastphalia Eastphalia (german: Ostfalen; Eastphalian: ''Oostfalen'') is a historical region in northern Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_typ ...
*
East Frisia East Frisia or East Friesland (german: Ostfriesland; ; stq, Aastfräislound) is a historic region in the northwest of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situ ...
*
Eichsfeld The Eichsfeld (English: ''Oak-field'') is a historical region in the southeast of the state of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, n ...

Eichsfeld
* Elbe-Weser Triangle *
Emsland Landkreis Emsland () is a districts of Germany, district in Lower Saxony, Germany named after the river Ems (river), Ems. It is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Leer (district), Leer, Cloppenburg (district), Cloppenburg ...
* Grönegau *
Land Hadeln Land Hadeln is a historic landscape and former administrative district in Northern Germany Northern Germany (german: Norddeutschland) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description" ...
*
Land Wursten Land Wursten is a former ''Samtgemeinde'' ("collective municipality") in the Cuxhaven (district), district of Cuxhaven, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was situated approximately southwest of Cuxhaven, and north of Bremerhaven. Its seat was in the ...
*
Hannover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...

Hannover
*
Harz Mountains The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is ...
* Hildesheim Börde * Hümmling *
Kehdingen Kehdingen is the name of a landscape in the north German district of Landkreis Stade, Stade on the Niederelbe, Lower Elbe, the lower reaches of the River Elbe. It extends roughly from the mouth of the Oste in the north to the town of Stade in the so ...
*
Leine Uplands The Leine Uplands (german: Leinebergland, ) is a region in Germany's Central Uplands which forms a part of the Lower Saxon Hills and lies along the River Leine between Göttingen and Hanover. It borders on the Weser Uplands in the west, the Innerst ...
*
Lüneburg Heath near Schneverdingen Lüneburg Heath (german: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath (habitat), heath, geest Geest is a type of landform, slightly raised above the surrounding countryside, that occurs on the plains of Northern Germany ...
*
Middle Weser RegionThe Middle Weser Region (german: Mittelweserregion) includes, in its fullest sense, the land along the Middle Weser between Minden Minden () is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany ) , ...
*
Oldenburg Land Oldenburg Land (german: Oldenburger Land) is a region and regional association in the German state of Lower Saxony in the area of the former Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (1815–1918), the later Free State of Oldenburg (1918–1946) and administrative ...
* Oldenburg Münsterland *
Osnabrück Land Osnabrück Land (german: Osnabrücker Land) is a region in southwest Lower Saxony in Germany, which extends into the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Its centre is the city of Osnabrück. The region is dominated by the Teutoburg Forest and the Riv ...
* Schaumburg Land *
Solling The Solling () is a range of hills up to high in the Weser Uplands in the German state of Lower Saxony, whose extreme southerly foothills extend into Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. Inside Lower Saxony it is the second largest range of hills ...
* South Lower Saxony *
Stade GeestThe Stade Geest (German: ''Stader Geest''; Northern Low Saxon: ''Stoder Geest'') is a natural region of low, sandy heath (Geest (topography), geest) in the North German Plain. It includes a large part of the Elbe-Weser Triangle between the cities of ...
*
Wendland The Wendland is a region in Germany on the borders of the present states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Its heart is the Land Hannover, Hanoverian Wendland in the county of Lüchow-Dannenberg in Lower ...
*
Weser Uplands The Weser Uplands ( German: ''Weserbergland'', ) is a hill region in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , l ...
*
Wesermarsch Wesermarsch is a ''Districts of Germany, Kreis'' (district) in the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. Neighboring are (from the east clockwise) the districts of Cuxhaven (district), Cuxhaven and Osterholz, the city of Bremen in the state ...
* Wümme Depression Just under 20% of the land area of Lower Saxony is designated as nature parks, i.e.: Dümmer Nature Park, Dümmer, Elbhöhen-Wendland Nature Park, Elbhöhen-Wendland, Elm-Lappwald Nature Park, Elm-Lappwald,
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a ...

Harz
, Lüneburg Heath Nature Park, Lüneburger Heide, Münden Nature Park, Münden, TERRA.vita Nature Park, Terra.vita, Solling-Vogler Nature Park, Solling-Vogler, Steinhuder Meer Nature Park, Lake Steinhude, Südheide Nature Park, Südheide, Weser Uplands Schaumburg-Hamelin Nature Park, Weser Uplands, Wildeshausen Geest, Bourtanger Moor-Bargerveen International Nature Park, Bourtanger Moor-Bargerveen.


Climate

Lower Saxony falls climatically into the Temperateness, north temperate zone of central Europe that is affected by prevailing Westerlies and is located in a transition zone between the maritime climate of Western Europe and the continental climate of Eastern Europe. This transition is clearly noticeable within the state: whilst the northwest experiences an Atlantic (North Sea coastal) to Sub-Atlantic climate, with comparatively low variations in temperature during the course of the year and a surplus water budget, the climate towards the southeast is increasingly affected by the Continent. This is clearly shown by greater temperature variations between the summer and winter halves of the year and in lower and more variable amounts of precipitation across the year. This sub-continental effect is most sharply seen in the Wendland, in the Weser Uplands (Hamelin to Göttingen) and in the area of Helmstedt. The highest levels of precipitation are experienced in the Harz because the Lower Saxon part forms the Windward and leeward, windward side of this mountain range against which orographic rain falls. The average annual temperature is 8 °C (7.5 °C in the
Altes Land Altes Land is an area of land reclamation, reclaimed marshland straddling parts of Lower Saxony and Hamburg. The region is situated wikt:downstream, downstream from Hamburg on the Ordinal direction, southwestern riverside of the Elbe around the to ...
and 8.5 °C in the Kreis Cloppenburg#Climate, district of Cloppenburg).


Administration

Lower Saxony is divided into 37 districts (''Landkreise'' or simply ''Kreise''): Furthermore, there are eight urban districts and two cities with special status: #
Braunschweig Braunschweig () or Brunswick (, from Low German ''Brunswiek'' , Braunschweig dialect: ''Bronswiek''), is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in Lower Saxony, Germany, north of the Harz Mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oke ...

Braunschweig
# Delmenhorst # Emden # ''
Göttingen Göttingen (, , ; nds, Chöttingen) is a university city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is t ...
'' ¹ # ''Hanover Region, Hanover'' ² # Oldenburg #
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...
#
Salzgitter Salzgitter (; Eastphalian dialect, Eastphalian: ''Soltgitter'') is an independent city#Germany, independent city in southeast Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hildesheim and Braunschweig. Together with Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, Salzgitter ...

Salzgitter
# Wilhelmshaven #
Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, located on the river Aller (Germany), Aller. It lies about east of Hanover and west of Berlin. Wolfsburg is famous as the location of Volkswagen AG's h ...

Wolfsburg
¹ ''following the "Göttingen Law" of 1 January 1964, the town of Göttingen is incorporated into the rural district (''Landkreis'') of Göttingen, but is treated as an urban district unless other rules apply. On 1 November 2016 the districts of Osterode and Göttingen were merged under the name Göttingen, not influencing the city's special status.''
² ''following the "Law on the region of Hanover", Hanover merged with the district of Hanover to form the Hanover Region, which has been treated mostly as a rural district, but Hanover is treated as an urban district since 1 November 2001 unless other rules apply.''


History


Regional history prior to foundation of Lower Saxony

The name of Old Saxony, Saxony derives from that of the Germanic peoples, Germanic confederation of tribes called the Saxons. Before the late medieval period, there was a single Duchy of Saxony. The term "Lower Saxony" was used after the dissolution of the stem duchy in the late 13th century to disambiguate the parts of the former duchy ruled by the House of Welf from the Electorate of Saxony on one hand, and from the Duchy of Westphalia on the other.


Period to the Congress of Vienna (1814/1815)

The name and coat of arms of the present state go back to the Germanic tribe of Saxons. During the Migration Period some of the Saxon peoples left their homeland in Holstein about the 3rd century and pushed southwards over the Elbe, where they expanded into the sparsely populated regions in the rest of the lowlands, in the present-day Northwest Germany and the northeastern part of what is now the Netherlands. From about the 7th century the Saxons had occupied a settlement area that roughly corresponds to the present state of Lower Saxony, of Westphalia and a number of areas to the east, for example, in what is now west and north Saxony-Anhalt. The land of the Saxons was divided into about 60 ''Gau (country subdivision), Gaue''. The Frisians had not moved into this region; for centuries they preserved their independence in the most northwesterly region of the present-day Lower Saxon territory. The original language of the folk in the area of Old Saxony was West Low German, one of the varieties of language in the Low German dialect group. The establishment of permanent boundaries between what later became Lower Saxony and Westphalia began in the 12th century. In 1260, in a treaty between the Archbishopric of Cologne and the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg the lands claimed by the two territories were separated from each other. The border ran along the Weser to a point north of Nienburg. The northern part of the Weser-Ems region was placed under the rule of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The word ''Niedersachsen'' was first used before 1300 in a Dutch rhyming chronicle (''Reimchronik''). From the 14th century it referred to the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (as opposed to Saxe-Wittenberg). On the creation of the imperial circles in 1500, a Lower Saxon Circle was distinguished from a Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle. The latter included the following territories that, in whole or in part, belong today to the state of Lower Saxony: the Bishopric of Osnabrück, the Bishopric of Münster, the County of Bentheim, the County of Hoya, the Principality of
East Frisia East Frisia or East Friesland (german: Ostfriesland; ; stq, Aastfräislound) is a historic region in the northwest of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situ ...
, the Verden (territory), Principality of Verden, the County of Diepholz, the Duchy of Oldenburg, County of Oldenburg, the County of Schaumburg and the Counts of Spiegelberg, County of Spiegelberg. At the same time a distinction was made with the eastern part of the old Saxon lands from the central German principalities later called Upper Saxony for dynastic reasons. (see also → Electorate of Saxony, History of Saxony). The close historical links between the domains of the Lower Saxon Circle now in modern Lower Saxony survived for centuries especially from a dynastic point of view. The majority of historic territories whose land now lies within Lower Saxony were sub-principalities of the medieval, Welf estates of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. All the Welf princes called themselves dukes "of Brunswick and Lüneburg" despite often ruling parts of a duchy that was forever being divided and reunited as various Welf lines multiplied or died out.


To the end of the Second World War

Over the course of time two great principalities survived east of the Weser: the
Kingdom of Hanover The Kingdom of Hanover (german: Königreich Hannover) was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Han ...
and the Duchy of Brunswick (after 1866 Hanover became a Province of Hanover, Prussian province; after 1919 Brunswick became a free state). Historically a close tie existed between the royal house of Hanover (Electorate of Hanover) and the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as a result of their personal union in the 18th century (the personal union was dissolved when Queen Victoria, Victoria became the Queen of the United Kingdom in 1837 because Hanover did not allow female rulers). West of the River Hunte a "de-Westphalianising process" began in 1815. After the Congress of Vienna the territories of the later administrative regions (''Regierungsbezirke'') of Regierungsbezirk Osnabrück, Osnabrück and Regierungsbezirk Aurich, Aurich transferred to the Kingdom of Hanover. Until 1946, the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg and the Schaumburg-Lippe, Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe retained state autonomy. Nevertheless, the entire Weser-Ems region (including the city of
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
) were grouped in 1920 into a Lower Saxon Constituency Association (''Wahlkreisverband IX (Niedersachsen)''). This indicates that at that time the western administrations of the Prussian Province of Hanover and the state of Oldenburg were perceived as being "Lower Saxon". The forerunners of today's state of Lower Saxony were lands that were geographically and, to some extent, institutionally interrelated from very early on. The County of Schaumburg (not to be confused with the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe) around the towns of Rinteln and Hessisch Oldendorf did indeed belong to the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau until 1932, a province that also included large parts of the present state of Hesse, including the cities of Kassel, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main; but in 1932 the County of Schaumburg became part of the Prussian Province of Hanover. Also in 1937 the city of Cuxhaven had been fully integrated into the Prussian Province of Hanover by the Greater Hamburg Act, so that in 1946, when the state of Lower Saxony was founded, only four states needed to be merged. With the exception of Bremen and the areas that were ceded to the Soviet Occupation Zone in 1945, all those areas allocated to the new state of Lower Saxony in 1946, had already been merged into the "Constituency Association of Lower Saxony" in 1920. In a lecture on 14 September 2007, Dietmar von Reeken described the emergence of a "Lower Saxony consciousness" in the 19th century, the geographical basis of which was used to invent a territorial construct: the resulting local heritage societies (''Heimatvereine'') and their associated magazines routinely used the terms "Lower Saxony" or "Lower Saxon" in their names. At the end of the 1920s in the context of discussions about a reform of the Reich, and promoted by the expanding local heritage movement (''Heimatbewegung''), a 25-year conflict started between "Lower Saxony" and "Westphalia". The supporters of this dispute were administrative officials and politicians, but regionally focussed scientists of various disciplines were supposed to have fuelled the arguments. In the 1930s, a real Lower Saxony did not yet exist, but there was a plethora of institutions that would have called themselves "Lower Saxon". The motives and arguments in the disputes between "Lower Saxony" and "Westphalia" were very similar on both sides: economic interests, political aims, cultural interests and historical aspects.


Post–Second World War

After the Second World War most of Northwest Germany lay within the British Zone of Occupation. On 23 August 1946, the Control Commission for Germany - British Element, British Military Government issued Ordinance No. 46 ''"Concerning the dissolution of the provinces of the former state of Prussia in the British Zone and their reconstitution as independent states"'', which initially established the
State of Hanover The State of Hanover (german: Land Hannover) was a short-lived state within the British zone of Allied-occupied Germany Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat ...
on the territory of the former Prussian Province of Hanover. Its minister president, Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, had already suggested in June 1945 the formation of a state of Lower Saxony, that was to include the largest possible region in the middle of the British Zone. In addition to the regions that actually became Lower Saxony subsequently, Kopf asked, in a memorandum dated April 1946, for the inclusion of the former Prussian district of Minden-Ravensberg (i.e. the Westphalian city of Bielefeld as well as the Westphalian districts of Kreis Minden, Minden, Kreis Lübbecke, Lübbecke, Kreis Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Kreis Herford, Herford and Kreis Halle, Halle), the Kreis Tecklenburg, district of Tecklenburg and the state of Lippe (state), Lippe. Kopf's plan was ultimately based on a draft for the reform of the German Empire from the late 1920s by Georg Schnath and Kurt Brüning. The strong House of Welf, Welf connotations of this draft, according to Thomas Vogtherr, did not simplify the development of a Lower Saxon identity after 1946. An alternative model, proposed by politicians in Oldenburg and Brunswick, envisaged the foundation of the independent state of "Weser-Ems", that would be formed from the state of Oldenburg, the Hanseatic City of Bremen and the administrative regions of Aurich and Osnabrück. Several representatives of the state of Oldenburg even demanded the inclusion of the Hanoverian districts of Landkreis Diepholz, Diepholz, Landkreis Grafschaft Hoya, Syke, Landkreis Osterholz, Osterholz-Scharmbeck and Landkreis Wesermünde, Wesermünde in the proposed state of "Weser-Ems". Likewise an enlarged State of Brunswick was proposed in the southeast to include the ''Regierungsbezirk'' of Regierungsbezirk Hildesheim, Hildesheim and the Landkreis Gifhorn, district of Gifhorn. Had this plan come to fruition, the territory of the present Lower Saxony would have consisted of three states of roughly equal size. The district council of Landkreis Vechta, Vechta protested on 12 June 1946 against being incorporated into the metropolitan area of Hanover (''Großraum Hannover''). If the State of Oldenburg was to be dissolved, Vechta District would much rather be included in the Westphalian region. Particularly in the districts where there was a political Catholicism the notion was widespread, that Oldenburg Münsterland and the ''Regierungsbezirk'' of Osnabrück should be part of a newly formed State of Westphalia. Since the foundation of the states of
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, ...
and State of Hanover, Hanover on 23 August 1946 the northern and eastern border of North Rhine-Westphalia has largely been identical with that of the Prussian Province of Westphalia. Only the Free State of Lippe was not incorporated into North Rhine-Westphalia until January 1947. With that the majority of the regions left of the Upper Weser became North Rhine-Westphalian. In the end, at the meeting of the Zone Advisory Board on 20 September 1946, Kopf's proposal with regard to the division of the British occupation zone into three large states proved to be capable of gaining a majority. Because this division of their occupation zone into relatively large states also met the interests of the British, on 8 November 1946 Regulation No. 55 of the United Kingdom, British Military occupation, military government was issued, by which the State of Lower Saxony with its capital
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Stat ...
were founded, backdated to 1 November 1946. The state was formed by a merger of the Free State of Brunswick, Free States of Brunswick, Free State of Oldenburg, of Oldenburg and of Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe, Schaumburg-Lippe with the previously formed State of Hanover. But there were exceptions: * In the Free State of Brunswick, the eastern part of the Kreis Blankenburg, district of Blankenburg and the exclave of Calvörde, which belonged to the Landkreis Helmstedt, district of Helmstedt fell into the Soviet Zone of Occupation and were later integrated into the state of
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
. * In the
State of Hanover The State of Hanover (german: Land Hannover) was a short-lived state within the British zone of Allied-occupied Germany Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat ...
, Amt Neuhaus and the villages of Neu Bleckede and Neu Wendischthun were allotted to the Soviet Zone and thus the subsequent East Germany. They were not returned to Lower Saxony until 1993. * The city of Wesermünde that then lay in the Regierungsbezirk Stade was renamed in 1947 to
Bremerhaven Bremerhaven (, , Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northern and Western Germany, western GermanyEastern NetherlandsSouthern Denmark , ethnicity = D ...

Bremerhaven
and incorporated into the new city state of Bremen, which became one of the federated German states. The demands of Dutch politicians that the Netherlands should be given the German regions east of the Dutch-German border as war reparations, were roundly rejected at the London Conference of 26 March 1949. In fact only about of west Lower Saxony was transferred to the Netherlands, in 1949. ''→ see main article Dutch annexation of German territory after World War II''


History of Lower Saxony as a state

The first Lower Saxon Landtag, Lower Saxon parliament or ''Landtag'' met on 9 December 1946. It was not elected; rather it was established by the British Occupation Administration (a so-called "appointed parliament"). That same day the parliament elected the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrat, Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, the former Hanoverian president (''Regierungspräsident'') as their first minister president. Kopf led a five-party coalition, whose basic task was to rebuild a state afflicted 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 Allied air raids during the war years. Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf remained – interrupted by the time in office of Heinrich Hellwege (1955–1959) – as the head of government in Lower Saxony until 1961. The greatest problem facing the first state government in the immediate post-war years was 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. Lower Saxony was at the western end of the direct escape route from East Prussia and had the longest border with the Soviet Zone. On 3 October 1950 Lower Saxony took over the sponsorship of the very large number of refugees from Silesia. In 1950 there was still a shortage of 730,000 homes according to official figures. During the period when Germany was divided, the Lower Saxon Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing, border crossing at Helmstedt found itself on the main transport artery to West Berlin and, from 1945 to 1990 was the busiest European border crossing point. Of economic significance for the state was the ''Volkswagen'' concern, that restarted the production of civilian vehicles in 1945, initially under British management, and in 1949 transferred into the ownership of the newly founded country of West Germany and state of Lower Saxony. Overall, Lower Saxony, with its large tracts of rural countryside and few urban centres, was one of the industrially weaker regions of the federal republic for a long time. In 1960, 20% of the working population worked on the land. In the rest of the federal territory the figure was just 14%. Even in economically prosperous times the jobless totals in Lower Saxony are constantly higher than the federal average. In 1961 Georg Diederichs took office as the minister president of Lower Saxony as the successor to Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf. He was replaced in 1970 by Alfred Kubel. The arguments about the Gorleben Nuclear Waste Repository, that began during the time in office of minister president Ernst Albrecht (politician, born 1930), Ernst Albrecht (1976–1990), have played an important role in state and federal politics since the end of the 1970s. In 1990 Gerhard Schröder entered the office of minister president. On 1 June 1993 the new Lower Saxon constitution entered force, replacing the "Provisional Lower Saxon Constitution" of 1951. It enables referenda and plebiscites and establishes environmental protection as a fundamental state principle. The former Hanoverian Amt Neuhaus with its parishes of Dellien, Haar, Kaarßen, Neuhaus (Elbe), Stapel, Sückau, Sumte and Tripkau as well as the villages of Neu Bleckede, Neu Wendischthun and Stiepelse in the parish of Teldau and the historic Hanoverian region in the forest district of Bohldamm in the parish of Garlitz transferred with effect from 30 June 1993 from
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgisch dialect, Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its Anglicisation, anglicized name Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is a Federated state, state in the north-east of G ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
to Lower Saxony (Landkreis Lüneburg, Lüneburg district). From these parishes the new municipality of Amt Neuhaus was created on 1 October 1993. In 1998 Gerhard Glogowski succeeded Gerhard Schröder who became Federal Chancellor. Because he had been linked with various scandals in his home city of Brunswick, he resigned in 1999 and was replaced by Sigmar Gabriel. From 2003 to his election as Federal President in 2010 Christian Wulff was minister president in Lower Saxony. The
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...
er headed a CDU-led coalition with the FDP as does his successor, David McAllister. After the elections on 20 January 2013 McAllister was Deselection, deselected.


Administrative subdivisions

Between 1946 and 2004, the state's districts and independent towns were grouped into eight regions, with different status for the two regions (''Verwaltungsbezirke'') comprising the formerly free states of Brunswick and Oldenburg. In 1978 the regions were merged into four governorates (''Regierungsbezirke''): Since 2004 the Regierungsbezirk, Bezirksregierungen (regional governments) have been broken up again. 1946–1978: * Aurich (region), Governorate of Aurich * Brunswick (administrative region), Administrative Region of Brunswick (''Braunschweig'') * Hanover (region), Governorate of Hanover (''Hannover'') * Hildesheim (region), Governorate of Hildesheim * Lüneburg (region), Governorate of Lunenburg (''Lüneburg'') * Oldenburg (administrative region), Administrative Region of Oldenburg * Osnabrück (administrative region), Administrative Region of Osnabrück * Stade (region), Governorate of Stade 1978–2004: * Braunschweig (region), Governorate of Brunswick (''Braunschweig'') * Hanover (region), Governorate of Hanover (''Hannover'') * Lüneburg (region), Governorate of Lunenburg (''Lüneburg'') * Weser-Ems, Governorate of Weser-Ems On 1 January 2005 the four administrative regions or governorates (''Regierungsbezirke''), into which Lower Saxony had been hitherto divided, were dissolved.siehe Tex
Gesetz zur Modernisierung der Verwaltung in Niedersachsen
vom 5. November 2004 (Nds. GVBl. S. 394–401), siehe dort Artikel 1 Gesetz zur Auflösung der Bezirksregierungen
These were the governorates of Braunschweig, Hanover, Lüneburg and Weser-Ems.


Archaeology

The 300,000-year-old and nearly complete remains of a female straight-tusked elephant were revealed by University of Tübingen researchers and the Senckenberg Centre for Human evolution, Human Evolution in May 2020. According to the Zooarchaeology, archaeozoologist Ivo Verheijen, the skeleton with battered teeth had a shoulder height of about . Researchers also uncovered two long bones and 30 small flint flakes that were used as tools for knapping among the elephant bones. "We found both tusks, the complete lower jaw, numerous vertebrae and ribs as well as large bones belonging to three of the legs and even all five delicate hyoid bones" said archaeologist Jordi Serangeli.


Demographics

At the end of 2014, there were almost 571,000 non-German citizens in Lower Saxony. The following table illustrates the largest minority groups in Lower Saxony:


Vital statistics

* Births from January–October 2016 = 62,761 * Births from January–October 2017 = 61,314 * Deaths from January–October 2016 = 75,733 * Deaths from January–October 2017 = 75,804 * Natural growth from January–October 2016 = -12,972 * Natural growth from January–October 2017 = -14,490


Religion

The 2011 census stated that a majority of the population were Christians (71.93%); 51.48% of the total population were member of the Evangelical Church in Germany, 18.34% were Catholics, 2.11% were member of other Christian denominations, 2.27% were member of other religions. 25.8% have no denomination. Even though there is a high level of official belonging to a Christian denomination, the peopleespecially in the citiesare highly secular in faith and behavior. As of 2018, the Evangelical Church in Germany was the faith of 43.0% of the population.Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland – Kirchemitgliederzahlen Stand 31. Dezember 2018
EKD, January 2020
It is organised in the five Landeskirchen named Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick, Evangelical Lutheran State Church in Brunswick (comprising the former Free State of Brunswick), Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover (comprising the former Province of Hanover), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg (comprising the former Free State of Oldenburg), Evangelical Lutheran Church of Schaumburg-Lippe (comprising the former Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe), and Evangelical Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany, Evangelical Reformed Church (covering all the state). Together, these member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany gather a substantial part of the Protestant population in Germany. The Catholic Church was the faith of 16.8% of the population in 2018. It is organised in the three dioceses of Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück, Osnabrück (western part of the state), Roman Catholic Diocese of Münster, Münster (comprising the former Free State of Oldenburg) and Roman Catholic Diocese of Hildesheim, Hildesheim (northern and eastern part of the state). The Catholic faith is mainly concentrated to the regions of Oldenburger Münsterland, region of Osnabrück, region of Hildesheim and in the Western Eichsfeld. 40.2% of the Low Saxons were irreligious or adhere to other religions. Judaism, Islam and Buddhism are minority faiths.


Economy

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the state was 229.5 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 8.7% of German economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 33,700 euros or 112% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 100% of the EU average. Agriculture, strongly weighted towards the livestock sector, has always been a very important economic factor in the state. 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. Lower Saxony is home, in 2017, to one in five of Germany's beef, cattle, one in three of the country's pork, pigs, and 50% of its poultry, hens. Wheat, potatoes, rye, and oats are among the state's present-day Agronomy, arable crops. Towards the south and southeast, extensive loess layers in the soil left behind by the last Quaternary glaciation, ice age allow high-yield crop farming. One of the principal crops there is sugar beet. Consequently, the Land has a big food industry, mainly organized in small and medium-sized enterprises (Small and medium-sized enterprises, SME). Big players are Deutsches Milchkontor and PHW Group (biggest German poultry farmer and producer). Mining has also 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 12th century, 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 ore, iron and lignite. Radioactive waste is frequently transported in the area to the city of
Salzgitter Salzgitter (; Eastphalian dialect, Eastphalian: ''Soltgitter'') is an independent city#Germany, independent city in southeast Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hildesheim and Braunschweig. Together with Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, Salzgitter ...

Salzgitter
, for the deep geological repository Schacht Konrad and between Schacht Asse II in the Wolfenbüttel (district), Wolfenbüttel district and Lindwedel and Höfer, Germany, 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 in
Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, located on the river Aller (Germany), Aller. It lies about east of Hanover and west of Berlin. Wolfsburg is famous as the location of Volkswagen AG's h ...

Wolfsburg
. Due to the Volkswagen Law, which has 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. Thanks to the importance of car manufacturing in Lower Saxony, a thriving supply industry is centred around its regional focal points. Other mainstays of the Lower Saxon industrial sector include aviation (the region of Stade is called CFK-Valley), shipbuilding (such as Meyer Werft), biotechnology, and steel. Medicine plays a major role; Hanover and Göttingen have two large University Medical Schools and hospitals, and Otto Bock in Duderstadt is the largest producer of prosthetics and associated componentry in the world. 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. Hanover is one of Germany's main hubs for insurance and financial-services companies, for example Talanx and Hannover Re. In October 2018, the Lower Saxony unemployment rate stood at 5.0% and was marginally higher than the national average.


World Heritage Sites

Lower Saxony has four World Heritage Sites. File:Hildesheimer Dom 2015.JPG, Hildesheim Cathedral File:St Michaels Church Hildesheim.jpg, St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim, St. Michael's Church in Hildesheim File:Rammelsberg Bergwerksanlagen.jpg, Rammelsberg, Mines of Rammelsberg File:Гослар9.jpg, Goslar, Historic Town of Goslar File:Teiche Buntenbock.jpg, Upper Harz Water Regale File:13-09-29-nordfriesisches-wattenmeer-RalfR-19.jpg, Wadden Sea, Lower Saxony Wadden Sea File:Fagus Gropius Hauptgebaeude 200705 wiki front.jpg, Fagus Factory, Fagus Factory in Alfeld


Politics

*Template:Cabinets of Lower Saxony, Cabinets of Lower Saxony Since 1948, politics in the state has been dominated by the rightist Christian Democratic Union (Germany), Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the leftist Social Democratic Party of Germany, 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 former Minister-President, Christian Wulff, led a coalition of his CDU with the Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party between 2003 and 2010. In Lower Saxony state election, 2008, the 2008 election, 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 (Germany), The Left party. On 1 July 2010 David McAllister (politician), David McAllister was elected Minister-President. After the Lower Saxony state election, 2013, state election on 20 January 2013, Stephan Weil of the Social Democrats was elected as the new Minister-President. He governed in coalition with the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Greens. After the Lower Saxony state election, 2017, state election in September 2017, Stephan Weil of the Social Democrats was again elected as the new Minister-President. He governs in coalition with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, CDU.


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 free, republican, democratic, 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 to 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 directly 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. 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 policies, 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 enacted.


Minister-President of Lower Saxony

The Minister-President heads the state government, acting as a head of state (even if the federated states have the status of a state, they don't established the office of a head of state but merged the functions with the head of the executive branch) as well as the government leader. They are elected by the Landtag of Lower Saxony.


Coat of arms

The coat of arms shows a white horse (Saxon Steed) against a red background, which is an old symbol of the Saxon people. Legend has it that the horse was a symbol of the Saxon leader Widukind, albeit a black horse against a yellow background. The colours changed after the Christian baptism of Widukind. White and red are colours (besides black and gold) of the Holy Roman Empire symbolizing Christ as the saviour, who is still shown with a red cross against a white background.


See also

* List of places in Lower Saxony * Straße der Megalithkultur - tourist route from Osnabrück to Oldenburg via some 33 Megalithic sites. * Lower Saxon Asparagus Road, Niedersächsische Spargelstraße - tourist route around the Asparagus growing areas. * Road of Weser Renaissance, Straße der Weserrenaissance - tourist route that passes through Lower Saxony * Outline of Germany


References


External links


Official governmental portal

Official website for tourism, holiday and leisure in Lower Saxony

map with tourist highlights, notepad and personal guide
* {{Authority control Lower Saxony, States of Germany 1946 establishments in Germany States and territories established in 1946 NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union