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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, 1991, p. 321. (Calling it "Low Frankish (or Netherlandish)".)Scott Shay: ...

Low Franconian
: ''Noordrien-Wesfale'';
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 ...
: ''Noordrhien-Westfalen'';
Colognian Colognian or Kölsch (; natively ''Kölsch Platt'') is a small set of very closely related dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways t ...
: ''Noodrhing-Wäßßfaale''), commonly shortened to NRW (), 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'') in
Western Germany The old states of Germany (german: die alten Länder) are the ten States of Germany which were previously states in former West Germany. Since the reunification, Germany thus consists of 16 states with equal legal statuses. Yet the process of the ...
. With more than 17.9 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state of Germany. Covering an area of , it is the fourth-largest German state by size. Apart from the
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'' ...
s, it is also the most densely populated state in Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia features 30 of the 81 German municipalities with over 100,000 inhabitants, including
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
(over 1 million), the state capital
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
,
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
and
Essen Essen (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

Essen
(all about 600,000 inhabitants) and other cities predominantly located in the Rhine-Ruhr
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories under the same administrative division, sharing industry, infrastructure and housing. A metro area u ...

metropolitan area
, the largest urban area in Germany and the fourth-largest on the
European continent Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions ...
. The location of the Rhine-Ruhr at the heart of the European
Blue Banana The Blue Banana (also known as the European Megalopolis or the Liverpool–Milan Axis) is a discontinuous corridor of urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from Rural area, rural to urban areas, the dec ...

Blue Banana
makes it well connected to other major European cities and metropolitan areas like the
Randstad The Randstad (; "Rim City") is a conurbation in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Po ...

Randstad
, the
Flemish Diamond The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: ''Vlaamse Ruit'') is the Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Southern Dutch (). Flemis ...
and the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Region. North Rhine-Westphalia was established in 1946 after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
from the
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europe ...

Prussia
n provinces of
Westphalia Westphalia (; german: Westfalen ; nds, Westfalen ) is a region of northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of and 7.9 million inhabitants. The territory of the region ...
and the northern part of
Rhine Province The Rhine Province (german: Rheinprovinz), also known as Rhenish Prussia (''Rheinpreußen'') or synonymous with the Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland, french: Rhénanie, nl, Rijnland, Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used ...
( North Rhine), and the
Free State of Lippe The Free State of Lippe (german: Freistaat Lippe) was a German state formed after the Principality of Lippe was abolished following the German Revolution German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethn ...
by the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependenc ...

British
military administration in
Allied-occupied Germany Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon German Instrument of Surrender, defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, when the victorious Allies of World War II, Allies asserte ...
and became a state of the
Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
in 1949. The city of
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language ...

Bonn
served as the federal capital until the
reunification of Germany German reunification (german: link=no, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , ...
in 1990 and as the
seat of government The seat of government is (as defined by ''Brewer's Politics'') "the building, complex of buildings or the city from which a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (po ...
until 1999. Culturally, North Rhine-Westphalia is not a uniform area; there are significant differences, especially in traditional customs, between the Rhineland region on the one hand and the regions of Westphalia and Lippe on the other. As of 2019, the state has the largest economy among German states by GDP but is below the national average in GDP per capita.


History


Creation

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia was established by the British military administration's "Operation Marriage" on 23 August 1946, by merging the
province of Westphalia The Province of Westphalia () was a Provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. History Napoleon I of France, Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client st ...
and the northern parts of the
Rhine Province The Rhine Province (german: Rheinprovinz), also known as Rhenish Prussia (''Rheinpreußen'') or synonymous with the Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland, french: Rhénanie, nl, Rijnland, Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used ...
, both being political divisions of the former state of Prussia within the
German Reich ''German Reich'' (german: Deutsches Reich, ) was the constitutional name for the German nation state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social b ...
. On 21 January 1947, the former state of
Lippe Lippe () is a ''Kreis'' (Districts of Germany, district) in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford (district), Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter (district), Höxter, Paderborn (district), Paderborn, Gütersl ...
was merged with North Rhine-Westphalia. The constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia was then ratified through a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct DIRECT was a late-2000s proposed alternative super heavy lift launch vehicle A super heavy-lift launch vehicle (SHLLV) is a launch vehicle capable of lifting more than ...

referendum
.


Rhineland

The first written account of the area was by its conqueror,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of anc ...

Julius Caesar
, the territories west of the Rhine were occupied by the
Eburones The Eburones (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
and east of the Rhine he reported the
Ubii 350px, The Ubii around AD 30 The Ubii were a Germanic tribe This list of ancient Germanic peoples is a list of groups and alliances of ancient Germanic peoples in ancient times. These reports begin in the 2nd century BC and extend into late anti ...
(across from Cologne) and the
Sugambri The Sicambri, also known as the Sugambri or Sicambrians, were a Celtic people or Germanic people who during Roman times lived on the east bank of the Rhine river ), Surselva, Graubünden, Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suiss ...
to their north. The Ubii and some other Germanic tribes such as the
Cugerni The Cugerni (or Cuberni or Guberni) were a Germanic tribal grouping with a particular territory within the Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside ...
were later settled on the west side of the Rhine in the Roman province of
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Repub ...
. Julius Caesar conquered the tribes on the left bank, and Augustus established numerous fortified posts on the Rhine, but the Romans never succeeded in gaining a firm footing on the right bank, where the Sugambri neighboured several other tribes including the
Tencteri The Tencteri or Tenchteri or Tenctheri (in Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, an ...
and
Usipetes The Usipetes or Usipii (in Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the T ...
. North of the Sigambri and the Rhine region were the
Bructeri The Bructeri (from Latin; Ancient Greek language, Greek: Βρούκτεροι, ''Broukteroi'', or Βουσάκτεροι, ''Bousakteroi''; Old English: ''Boruhtware'') were a Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe* * in Roman empire, Roman imperial time ...
. As the power of the Roman empire declined, many of these tribes came to be seen collectively as
Ripuarian Franks Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks (Latin: ''Ripuarii'' or ''Ribuarii'') were one of the two main groupings of early Frankish people, and specifically it was the name eventually applied to the tribes who settled in the old Roman territory of the Ubii, ...
and they pushed forward along both banks of the Rhine, and by the end of the fifth century had conquered all the lands that had formerly been under Roman influence. By the eighth century, the Frankish dominion was firmly established in western Germany and northern Gaul, but at the same time, to the north, Westphalia was being taken over by
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic peoples, Germanic * * * * peoples whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country (Old Saxony, la, ...

Saxons
pushing south. The
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first ...
and
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historica ...

Carolingian
Franks eventually built an empire which controlled first their Ripuarian kin, and then the Saxons. On the division of the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of ...
at the
Treaty of Verdun The Treaty of Verdun, signed on 10 August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms among the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, who was the son of Charlemagne. The treaty, signed in Verdun-s ...

Treaty of Verdun
, the part of the province to the east of the river fell to
East Francia East Francia (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rom ...
, while that to the west remained with the kingdom of
Lotharingia Lotharingia (Latin: ''regnum Lotharii, regnum Lothariense, Lotharingia'', French: ''Lotharingie'', German: ''Reich des Lothar'', ''Lotharingien'', ''Mittelreich'') was a short-lived medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire The Caro ...
. By the time of
Otto I Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (german: Otto der Große, it, Ottone il Grande), was East Francian king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry ...

Otto I
(d. 973), both banks of the Rhine had become part of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its D ...
, and the Rhenish territory was divided between the duchies of
Upper Lorraine The Duchy of Lorraine (french: Lorraine ; german: Lothringen ), originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine Lorraine , also , , ; Lorrain: ''Louréne''; Lorraine Franconian: ''Lottringe' ...
on the
Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river that rises in the Vosges mountains and flows from western Germany through Luxembourg and north-eastern France. It is a bank (geography), left bank tributary of the Rhine, which it j ...
and
Lower Lorraine The Duchy of Lower Lotharingia, also called Northern Lotharingia, Lower Lorraine or Northern Lorraine (and also referred to as ''Lothier'' or ''Lottier''
on the Meuse. The
Ottonian dynasty The Ottonian dynasty (german: Ottonen) was a Saxons, Saxon dynasty of List of German monarchs, German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I, Holy Roman Emper ...
had both Saxon and Frankish ancestry. As the central power of the Holy Roman Emperor weakened, the Rhineland split into numerous small, independent, separate vicissitudes and special chronicles. The old Lotharingian divisions became obsolete, although the name survives for example in
Lorraine Lorraine , also , , ; LorrainLorrain may refer to: * Claude Lorrain (1600–82), a 17th-century French artist of the baroque style * Lorrain language Lorrain is a dialect (often referred to as patois) spoken by a minority of people in Lor ...
in France, and throughout the Middle Ages and even into modern times, the nobility of these areas often sought to preserve the idea of a preeminent
duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, th ...

duke
within Lotharingia, something claimed by the
Dukes of Limburg A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member of royalty or nobility, historically of highest rank, below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes from Fren ...
, and the
Dukes of Brabant The Duke of Brabant (, ) was formally the ruler of the Duchy of Brabant The Duchy of Brabant was a Imperial State, State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the hi ...
. Such struggles as the
War of the Limburg Succession The War of the Limburg Succession, was a series of conflicts between 1283 and 1289 for the succession in the Duchy of Limburg. The cause of the War of the Limburg Succession was the death of Waleran IV, Duke of Limburg in 1280, and his only daughte ...
therefore continued to create military and political links between what is now Rhineland-Westphalia and neighbouring
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...

Belgium
and the
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent countries, cons ...

Netherlands
. In spite of its dismembered condition and the sufferings it underwent at the hands of its French neighbours in various periods of warfare, the Rhenish territory prospered greatly and stood in the foremost rank of German culture and progress. Aachen was the place of coronation of the German emperors, and the ecclesiastical principalities of the Rhine bulked largely in German history. Prussia first set foot on the Rhine in 1609 by the occupation of the
Duchy of Cleves The Duchy of Cleves (german: Herzogtum Kleve; nl, Hertogdom Kleef) was a Imperial State, State of the Holy Roman Empire which emerged from the medieval . It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capi ...
and about a century later
Upper Guelders{{unreferenced, date=November 2011 270px, Duchy of Guelders in 1477: Upper Guelders is the smaller southern part Upper Guelders or Spanish Guelders was one of the four quarters in the Imperial Guelders, Duchy of Guelders. In the Dutch Revolt, it was ...
and
Moers Moers (; older form: ''Mörs''; archaic Dutch: ''Murse'', ''Murs'' or ''Meurs'') is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds ...
also became Prussian. At the peace of Basel in 1795, the whole of the
left bank of the Rhine#REDIRECT Left Bank of the Rhine The Left Bank of the Rhine (german: Linkes Rheinufer, french: Rive gauche du Rhin) was the region north of Lauterbourg that is now in western Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px ...
was resigned to France, and in 1806, the Rhenish princes all joined the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederation of the Rhine (; French: officially ' (Confederated States of the Rhine), but in practice ') was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for p ...
. After the Congress of Vienna, Prussia was awarded the entire
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany The old states of Germany (german: die alten Länder) are the t ...

Rhineland
, which included the
Grand Duchy of Berg The Grand Duchy of Berg (german: Großherzogtum Berg), also known as the Grand Duchy of Berg and Cleves, was a territorial grand duchy established in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon after his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerli ...
, the ecclesiastic electorates of
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley be ...
and
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...
, the free cities of
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chap ...

Aachen
and Cologne, and nearly a hundred small lordships and abbeys. The Prussian
Rhine province The Rhine Province (german: Rheinprovinz), also known as Rhenish Prussia (''Rheinpreußen'') or synonymous with the Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland, french: Rhénanie, nl, Rijnland, Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used ...
was formed in 1822 and Prussia had the tact to leave them in undisturbed possession of the liberal institutions to which they had become accustomed under the republican rule of the French. In 1920, the districts of
Eupen Eupen (), is the capital of East Belgium, a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by natio ...
and
Malmedy Malmedy (; german: Malmünd, wa, Måmdiy) is a Wallonia, Walloon List of cities in Wallonia, city and municipality in Liège Province, Belgium. On January 1, 2006, Malmedy had a total population of 11,829. The total area is 99.96 km² which ...

Malmedy
were transferred to Belgium (see
German-speaking Community of Belgium The German-speaking Community (german: links=no, Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft, or DG; french: links=no, Communauté germanophone; nl, links=no, Duitstalige Gemeenschap), branded since 2017 as East Belgium (german: links=no, Ostbelgien), is one ...
).


Westphalia

Around AD 1, numerous incursions occurred through Westphalia and perhaps even some permanent
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
or Romanized settlements. The
Battle of Teutoburg Forest The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (, , or ), described as the Varian Disaster () by Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman peopl ...
took place near Osnabrück and some of the
Germanic tribes This list of ancient Germanic people Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors. They are also as ...
who fought at this battle came from the area of Westphalia.
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
is thought to have spent considerable time in
Paderborn Paderborn () is a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn (district), Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader (river), Pader and "born", an old German term for the source of a river. ...

Paderborn
and nearby parts. His
Saxon Wars The Saxon Wars were the campaigns and insurrections of the thirty-three years from 772, when Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der ...
also partly took place in what is thought of as Westphalia today. Popular legends link his adversary
Widukind Widukind, also known as Wittekind, was a leader of the Saxons and the chief opponent of the Francia, Frankish king Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 777 to 785. Charlemagne ultimately prevailed, organized Old Saxony, Saxony as a Frankish pro ...

Widukind
to places near
Detmold Detmold () is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of . It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947. Today it is the administrative center of th ...
,
Bielefeld Bielefeld () is a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , lang ...

Bielefeld
,
Lemgo Lemgo () is a small university town in the Lippe district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Offi ...

Lemgo
, Osnabrück, and other places in Westphalia. Widukind was buried in
Enger Enger () is a town in the Herford Herford () is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the lowlands between the hill chains of the Wiehen Hills and the Teutoburg Forest. It is the capital of the district of Herford (district), Herf ...
, which is also a subject of a legend. Along with
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 ...
and Engern, Westphalia (''Westfalahi'') was originally a district of the
Duchy of Saxony The Duchy of Saxony ( nds, Hartogdom Sassen, german: Herzogtum Sachsen) was originally the area settlement geography, settled by the Saxons in the late Early Middle Ages, when they were subdued by Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 772 and inc ...
. In 1180, Westphalia was elevated to the rank of a duchy by Emperor
Barbarossa Barbarossa, a name meaning "red beard" in Italian, may refer to: Arts and entertainment Fictional characters * Barbarossa Rugner, a character in the 1995 ''Suikoden'' PlayStation role-playing game * Barbarossa, pirate and protagonist in the 1953 ...

Barbarossa
. The
Duchy of Westphalia The Duchy of Westphalia (german: Herzogtum Westfalen) was a historic territory in the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in West ...
comprised only a small area south of the
Lippe River The Lippe () is a river in North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian: ''Noordrien-Wesfale''; Low German: ''Noordrhien-Westfalen''; Kölsch language, Kölsch: ''Noodrhing-Wäßßfaale''), commo ...
. Parts of Westphalia came under
Brandenburg-Prussia Brandenburg-Prussia (german: Brandenburg-Preußen; ) is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohe ...

Brandenburg-Prussia
n control during the 17th and 18th centuries, but most of it remained divided duchies and other feudal areas of power. The
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
of 1648, signed in Münster and Osnabrück, ended the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western ...
. The concept of nation-state sovereignty resulting from the treaty became known as "
Westphalian sovereignty Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is a principle in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nati ...
". As a result of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg, 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the larges ...
, there is no dominant religion in Westphalia. Catholicism and
Lutheranism Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life ...
are on relatively equal footing. Lutheranism is strong in the eastern and northern parts with numerous free churches.
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city#Germany, independent city (''Kreisfreie Stadt'') in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia regi ...

Münster
and especially
Paderborn Paderborn () is a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn (district), Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader (river), Pader and "born", an old German term for the source of a river. ...

Paderborn
are thought of as Catholic. Osnabrück is divided almost equally between Catholicism and Protestantism. After the defeat of the
Prussian Army The Royal Prussian Army (1701–1919, german: Königlich Preußische Armee) served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the core ...
at the
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force c ...
, the
Treaty of Tilsit The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan F ...
in 1807 made the Westphalian territories part of the
Kingdom of Westphalia The Kingdom of Westphalia was a kingdom in Germany, with a population of 2.6 million, that existed from 1807 to 1813. It included territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day History of Germany, Germany. While formally independent, it was a ...
from 1807 to 1813. It was founded by
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
and was a
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...
vassal state A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status similar to that of a vassal in the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support in exchange for certain pr ...
. This state only shared the name with the historical region; it contained only a relatively small part of Westphalia, consisting instead mostly of
Hessian A Hessian is an inhabitant of the German state of Hesse. Hessian may also refer to: Named from the toponym *Hessian (soldier), eighteenth-century German regiments in service with the British Empire **Hessian (boot), a style of boot **Hessian fa ...
and
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 ...
n regions. After the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
, the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
received a large amount of territory in the Westphalian region and created the
province of Westphalia The Province of Westphalia () was a Provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. History Napoleon I of France, Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client st ...
in 1815. The northernmost portions of the former kingdom, including the town of
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 ...
, had become part of the states 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 German ...
and Oldenburg.


Flags and coat of arms

The
flag of North Rhine-Westphalia The flag of the Germany, German State of North Rhine-Westphalia is a horizontal tricolor consisting of green, white and red. Overview After the establishment of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1946, the tricolor was first introduced in 1948, but was not ...

flag of North Rhine-Westphalia
is green-white-red with the combined coats of arms of the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany The old states of Germany (german: die alten Länder) are the t ...

Rhineland
(white line before green background, symbolizing the river Rhine), Westfalen (the white horse) and Lippe (the red rose). After the establishment of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1946, the tricolor was first introduced in 1948, but was not formally adopted until 1953. The plain variant of the tricolor is considered the civil flag and state ensign, while government authorities use the state flag (''Landesdienstflagge'') which is defaced with the coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia, state's coat of arms. The state ensign can easily be mistaken for a distressed flag of Hungary, as well as the former national flag of Iran (1964–1980). The same flag was used by the Rhenish Republic (1923–1924) as a symbol of independence and freedom. According to legend, the horse in the Westphalian coat of arms is the horse that the Saxon leader
Widukind Widukind, also known as Wittekind, was a leader of the Saxons and the chief opponent of the Francia, Frankish king Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 777 to 785. Charlemagne ultimately prevailed, organized Old Saxony, Saxony as a Frankish pro ...

Widukind
rode after his baptism. Other theories attribute the horse to Henry the Lion. Some connect it with the Germanic rulers Hengist and Horsa.


Geography

North Rhine-Westphalia encompasses the plains of the Lower Rhine region and parts of the Central Uplands (''die Mittelgebirge'') up to the gorge of Porta Westfalica (gorge), Porta Westfalica. The state covers an area of and shares borders with
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...

Belgium
(Wallonia) in the southwest and the
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent countries, cons ...

Netherlands
(Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg, Gelderland and Overijssel) in the west and northwest. It has borders with the German states of Lower Saxony to the north and northeast, Rhineland-Palatinate to the south and Hesse to the southeast. Approximately half of the state is located in the relative low-lying terrain of the Westphalian Lowland and the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany The old states of Germany (german: die alten Länder) are the t ...

Rhineland
, both extending broadly into the North German Plain. A few isolated hill ranges are located within these lowlands, among them the Hohe Mark, the Beckum Hills, the Baumberge and the Stemmer Berge.
The terrain rises towards the south and in the east of the state into parts of Germany's Central Uplands. These hill ranges are the Weser Uplands – including the Egge Hills, the Wiehen Hills, the Wesergebirge and the Teutoburg Forest in the east, the Sauerland, the Bergisches Land, the Siegerland and the Siebengebirge in the south, as well as the left-Rhenish Eifel in the southwest of the state. The Rothaargebirge in the border region with Hesse rises to height of about 800 m above sea level. The highest of these mountains are the Langenberg (Rothaargebirge), Langenberg, at 843.2 m above sea level, the Kahler Asten (840.7 m) and the Clemensberg (839.2 m). The planimetrically-determined centre of North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the south of Dortmund-Aplerbeck in the Aplerbecker Mark (51° 28' N, 7° 33' Ö). Its westernmost point is situated near Selfkant close to the Dutch border, the easternmost near Höxter on the Weser. The southernmost point lies near Hellenthal in the Eifel region. The northernmost point is the NRW-Nordpunkt near Rahden in the northeast of the state. The Nordpunkt has located the only 100  km to the south of the North Sea coast. The deepest natural dip is arranged in the district Zyfflich in the city of Kranenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Kranenburg with 9.2 m above sea level in the northwest of the state. Though, the deepest point overground results from mining. The open-pit Hambach reaches at Niederzier a deep of 293 m below sea level. At the same time, this is the deepest man-made dip in Germany. The most important rivers flowing at least partially through North Rhine-Westphalia include: the Rhine, the Ruhr (river), Ruhr, the Ems (river), Ems, the Lippe River, Lippe, and the Weser. The Rhine is by far the most important river in North Rhine-Westphalia: it enters the state as Middle Rhine near Bad Honnef, where still being part of the Mittelrhein (wine region), Mittelrhein wine region. It changes into the Lower Rhine near Bad Godesberg and leaves North Rhine-Westphalia near Emmerich at a width of 730 metres. Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The Pader (river), Pader, which flows entirely within the city of
Paderborn Paderborn () is a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn (district), Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader (river), Pader and "born", an old German term for the source of a river. ...

Paderborn
, is considered Germany's shortest river. For many, North Rhine-Westphalia is synonymous with industrial areas and urban agglomerations. However, the largest part of the state is used for agriculture (almost 52%) and forests (25%).


Subdivisions

The state consists of five Regierungsbezirk, government regions (''Regierungsbezirke''), divided into 31 districts (''Districts of Germany, Kreise'') and 23 Urban districts of Germany, urban districts (''kreisfreie Städte''). In total, North Rhine-Westphalia has 396 municipalities (1997), including the urban districts, which are municipalities by themselves. The government regions have an assembly elected by the districts and municipalities, while the ''Landschaftsverband'' has a directly elected assembly. The five government regions of North Rhine-Westphalia each belong to one of the two ''States of Germany#Area associations (Landschaftsverbände), Landschaftsverbände'':


Borders

The state's area covers a maximum distance of 291 km from north to south, and 266 km from east to west. The total length of the state's borders is 1,645 km. The following countries and states have a border with North Rhine-Westphalia: *
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...

Belgium
(99 km) *
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent countries, cons ...

Netherlands
(387 km) * Lower Saxony (583 km) * Hesse (269 km) * Rhineland-Palatinate (307 km)


Demographics

North Rhine-Westphalia has a population of approximately 17.5 million inhabitants (more than the entire former East Germany, and slightly more than the
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent countries, cons ...

Netherlands
) and is centred around the polycentric Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan regions in Germany, metropolitan region, which includes the industrial Ruhr region with the largest city of
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
and the Rhenish cities of
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language ...

Bonn
,
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
and
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
. 30 of the List of cities in Germany with more than 100,000 inhabitants, 80 largest cities in Germany are located within North Rhine-Westphalia. The state's capital is Düsseldorf; the state's largest city is Cologne. In 2015, there were 160,478 births and 204,373 deaths. The TRF reached 1.52 (2015) and was highest in Lippe (1.72) and lowest in Bochum (1.29). The following table shows the ten largest cities of North Rhine-Westphalia:


Historical population

The following table shows the population of the state since 1930. The values until 1960 are the average of the yearly population, from 1965 the population at year end is used.


Vital statistics

*Births from January–September 2016 = 130,025 *Births from January–September 2017 = 130,088 *Deaths from January–September 2016 = 150,018 *Deaths from January–September 2017 = 153,435 *Natural growth from January–September 2016 = −19,993 *Natural growth from January–September 2017 = −23,347


Religion

, 36.3% of the population of the state adhered to the Roman Catholic Church, 23.0% to the Evangelical Church in Germany and 40.7% of the population is irreligious or adheres to other denominaitons or religions. North Rhine-Westphalia ranks first in population among German states for both Roman Catholics and Protestants.Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland – Kirchenmitgliederzahlen Stand 31. Dezember 2020
EKD, November 2021
In 2016, the interior ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia reported that the number of mosques with a Islam in Germany#Salafism, salafist influence had risen from 3 to 9, which indicated both an actual increase and improved reporting. According to German authorities, Salafism is incompatible with the principles codified in the Constitution of Germany, in particular, democracy, the rule of law and a political order based on human rights.


Politics

The politics of North Rhine-Westphalia takes place within a framework of a Federal republic, federal parliamentary representative democratic republic. The two main parties are, as on the federal level, the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (Germany), Christian Democratic Union and the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party. From 1966 to 2005, North Rhine-Westphalia was continuously governed by the Social Democrats or SPD-led governments. The state's legislative body is the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, Landtag ("state diet"). It may pass laws within the competency of the state, e.g. cultural matters, the education system, matters of internal security, i.e. the police, building supervision, health supervision and the media; as opposed to matters that are reserved to Federal law. North Rhine-Westphalia uses the same electoral system as the Federal level in Germany: "''mixed member proportional representation, Personalized proportional representation''". Every five years the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia vote in a general election to elect at least 181 members of the Landtag. Only parties who win at least 5% of the votes cast may be represented in parliament. The Landtag, the parliamentary parties and groups consisting of at least 7 members of parliament have the right to table legal proposals to the Landtag for deliberation. The law that is passed by the Landtag is delivered to the Minister-President, who, together with the ministers involved, is required to sign it and announce it in the Law and Ordinance Gazette.


List of Ministers-President

These are the List of Ministers-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministers-president of the States of Germany, Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia: For the current state government, see Cabinet Laschet.


Latest election results

CDU became the largest party, whereas the ruling SPD and Greens lost votes. The Pirates were ousted from the Landtag, whereas the AfD gained parliamentary representation. FDP got their best result in history. Die Linke narrowly failed to get parliamentary representation. Voter turnout was higher than in the previous election. , colspan="7" , , - !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:left" colspan="2" rowspan="2" width=400 , Party !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:center" colspan="3" , Popular vote !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:center" colspan="3" , Seats , - !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:right" width=60, Votes !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:right" width=40, % !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:right" width=50, +/– !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:right" width=30, Seats !style="background-color:#E9E9E9; text-align:right" width=30, +/– , -
''Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands'' – CDU, , 2,796,683 , , 33.0 , , 6.7 , , 72 , , 5 , -
''Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands'' – SPD, , 2,649,205 , , 31.2 , , 7.9 , , 69 , , 30 , -
''Freie Demokratische Partei'' – FDP, , 1,065,307 , , 12.6 , , 4.0 , , 28 , , 6 , -
''Alternative für Deutschland'' – AfD, , 626,756 , , 7.4 , , 7.4 , , 16 , , 16 , -
''Bündnis 90/Die Grünen'', , 539,062 , , 6.4 , , 4.9 , , 14 , , 15 , -
''Die Linke'', , 415,936 , , 4.9 , , 2.4 , , – , , – , -
''Piratenpartei Deutschland'', , 80,780 , , 1.0 , , 6.8 , , – , , 20 , - , - style="background-color:#E9E9E9" , style="text-align:right" colspan="2" , Valid votes , 8,487,373 , 99.0% , , colspan=2 rowspan=2 style="background:#BAB8B9" , , - style="background-color:#E9E9E9" , style="text-align:right" colspan="2" , Invalid votes , 89,808 , 1.0% , , - style="background-color:#E9E9E9" , style="text-align:right" colspan="2" , Totals and voter turnout , 8,577,221 , 65.2% , 5.6% , 199 , 38 , - style="background-color:#BAB9B9" , colspan="2" , Electorate , 13,164,887 , 100.00 , — , colspan=2, , - , colspan=11 style="text-align:left" , Source
Die Landeswahlleiterin des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen


Culture


Architecture and building monuments

The state is known for the most castles and fortresses in Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia has a high concentration of museums, cultural centres, concert halls and theatres.


Historic monuments

File:Löwenstein House Aachen (Germany).jpg, Medieval architecture in
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chap ...

Aachen
File:Früh Brauhaus Köln - Am Hof 12 und 14 (4626-28).jpg, ''Cölner Hofbräu Früh'' in
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
File:Alte Markt Dortmund.JPG, ''Reinoldikirche'' and ''Alter Markt'' in
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
File:Muenster-100725-16053-Rathaus.jpg, The Historical City Hall of Münster, Historical City Hall in
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city#Germany, independent city (''Kreisfreie Stadt'') in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia regi ...

Münster
File:Warburg Sackturm-mit-Stadttor.jpg, Gate and Tower of the medieval town-fortification in Warburg File:Alt Monschau - geo.hlipp.de - 6903.jpg, Timber framing in Monschau File:20141101 Schloss Nordkirchen (06956).jpg, ''Schloss Nordkirchen'' File:Lange Straße 2, 3, Warburg, Landkreis Höxter.jpg, Eckmaenneken-House in Warburg; eldest-dated timber-framed-house of Westphalia File:Corvey Westwerk 2.jpg, Princely Abbey of Corvey nearby City of Höxter File:Hermannsdenkmal 2015.jpg, Hermann's Monument nearby
Detmold Detmold () is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of . It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947. Today it is the administrative center of th ...
File:Externsteine 14.jpg, Externsteine File:PaderbornerDom-2.JPG, Paderborn Cathedral


Modern architecture

File:Zeche Zollern Dortmund.jpg, The Zollern II/IV Colliery, Zeche Zollern in
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
File:Düsseldorf, Stresemannstraße 26, 2012 (1).jpg, Hotel Römischer Kaiser in Düsseldorf File:Düsseldorf, Medienhafen.jpg, ''Neuer Zollhof'' in
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
File:Krefeld haus lange gartenseite04 12.jpg, Haus Lange and Haus Esters in Krefeld File:Langen Foundation.jpg, The Langen Foundation in Neuss File:Schwebebahn G15.jpg, The ''Wuppertal Schwebebahn, Schwebebahn'' in Wuppertal File:Herford MARTa 88.jpg, MARTa Herford


World Heritage Sites

The state has Aachen Cathedral, the Cologne Cathedral, the Zeche Zollverein in
Essen Essen (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

Essen
, the Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces, Brühl, Augustusburg Palace in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brühl and the Imperial Abbey of Corvey in Höxter which are all World Heritage Sites. File:Schloss Augustusburg in Brühl 4.jpg, Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces, Brühl, Augustusburg and Falkenlust File:Aachen Germany Imperial-Cathedral-01.jpg, Aachen Cathedral File:Kdom.jpg, Cologne Cathedral File:Zeche Zollverein abends.jpg, The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, Zollverein Coal Mine File:Corvey Westwerk 2.jpg, The Imperial Abbey of Corvey


Cuisine


Drinks

*Kölsch (beer), Kölsch is a local beer speciality brewed in
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
. *Altbier, Alt is a local beer speciality brewed in
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
and the Lower Rhine Region. *Dortmunder Export is a local pale lager beer speciality brewed in
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
.


Festivals

North Rhine-Westphalia hosts film festivals in
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
, Bonn,
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
, Duisburg,
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city#Germany, independent city (''Kreisfreie Stadt'') in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia regi ...

Münster
, Oberhausen and Lünen. Other large festivals include Cologne Carnival, Rhenish carnivals, Ruhrtriennale. Every year GamesCom is hosted in
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
. It is the largest video game convention in Europe.


Music

* The composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language ...

Bonn
in 1770. * A regional anthem is the Lied für NRW (Song for NRW). * North Rhine-Westphalia is home to many of Germany's best-known Heavy metal music, heavy metal, speed metal and thrash metal bands: Accept (band), Accept, Angel Dust (German band), Angel Dust, Blind Guardian, Doro (musician), Doro (formerly of Warlock (band), Warlock), Grave Digger (band), Grave Digger, Holy Moses, Kreator, Rage (German band), Rage, Scanner (band), Scanner and Sodom (band), Sodom. Also, North Rhine-Westphalia is home to Kraftwerk, originally a Krautrock band for four years, then later a synth-pop band.


Economy

North Rhine-Westphalia has always been Germany's powerhouse with Economy of North Rhine-Westphalia, the largest economy among the List of German states by GDP, German states by GDP figures. In the 1950s and 1960s, Westphalia was known as ''Land von Kohle und Stahl'' (''Land of Coal and Steel''). In the post-World War II recovery, the Ruhr was one of the most important industrial regions in Europe, and contributed to the German Wirtschaftswunder. As of the late 1960s, repeated crises led to contractions of these industrial branches. On the other hand, producing sectors, particularly in mechanical engineering and metal and iron working industry, experienced substantial growth. Despite this structural change and an economic growth which was under national average, the 2018 GDP of 705 billion euro (1/4 of the total German GDP) made NRW the economically strongest state of Germany List of German states by GRP, by GRP figures, as well as one of the most important economical areas in the world. Of Germany's top 100 corporations, 37 are based in North Rhine-Westphalia. On a per capita base, however, North Rhine-Westphalia remains one of the weaker among the West Germany, Western German states. North Rhine-Westphalia attracts companies from both Germany and abroad. In 2009, the state had the most foreign direct investments (Foreign direct investment, FDI) anywhere in Germany. Around 13,100 foreign companies from the most important investment countries control their German or European operations from bases in North Rhine-Westphalia. There have been many changes in the state's economy in recent times. Among the many changes in the economy, employment in the creative industries is up while the mining sector is employing fewer people. Industrial heritage, Industrial heritage sites are now workplaces for designers, artists and the advertising industry. The Ruhr region has – since the 1960s – undergone a significant structural change away from coal mining and steel industry. Many rural parts of Eastern Westphalia, Bergisches Land and the Lower Rhine region (Germany), Lower Rhine ground their economy on "Hidden Champions" in various economic sector, sectors. As of June 2014, the unemployment rate is 8.2%, second highest among all western German states. In October 2018 the unemployment rate stood at 6.4% and was higher than the national average.


Transport

With its central location in the Blue Banana, most important European economic area, high population density, strong urbanization and numerous business locations, North Rhine-Westphalia has one of the densest transport networks in the world.


Regional rail network

The regional rail network is organised around the main in towns in Rhein-Ruhr:
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Bonn
,
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
, Wuppertal,
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
,
Essen Essen (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

Essen
and
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
. Some public transport companies in this region are run under the umbrella of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr, which provides a uniform ticket system valid for the entire area. The Ruhr region is well-integrated into the national rail system, the Deutsche Bahn, for both passenger and goods services, each city in the region has at least one or more train stations. The bigger central stations have hourly direct connections to the bigger European cities as Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Vienna or Zürich. The Rhein-Ruhr area also contains the longest tram system in the world, with tram and Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn, Stadtbahn services from Witten to Krefeld as well as the Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn network. Originally the system was even bigger, it was possible to travel from Unna to Bad Honnef without using railway or bus services. , the VRR network consists of 978 lines, of which there are: * in regional rail transit ** 11 S-Bahn lines (''see:'' Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn) ** 15 RegionalExpress lines (''see:'' List of regional railway lines in North Rhine-Westphalia) ** 24 RegionalBahn lines (''see:'' List of regional railway lines in North Rhine-Westphalia) * in local rail transit ** 19 Stadtbahn light rail lines (''see:'' Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn) ** 45 tram, streetcar (Straßenbahn) lines ** 1 Schwebebahn Wuppertal, Schwebebahn line (in Wuppertal) ** 2 H-Bahn peoplemover systems made up of three lines (two H-Bahn#Dortmund, H-Bahn lines in
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
, and the H-Bahn#Düsseldorf Airport, Düsseldorf SkyTrain at
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
airport) * in bus transit ** 906 bus, bus lines, including *** 33 express bus lines (Schnellbus, SB) *** 18 semi-fast bus lines (CityExpress, CE) ** 6 trolleybus lines (in Solingen) * 15,300 km of route network (bus, light rail, and train) * 11,500 transit stops


Road

Image:A40-Ruhrschnellweg-Huttrop.jpg, Autobahn A40 in Essen North Rhine-Westphalia has the densest network of German Autobahnen, Autobahns in Germany and similar Schnellstraßen (expressways). The Autobahn network is built in a grid network, with five east–west (Bundesautobahn 2, A2, Bundesautobahn 4, A4, Bundesautobahn 40, A40, Bundesautobahn 42, A42, Bundesautobahn 44, A44) and eight north–south (Bundesautobahn 1, A1, Bundesautobahn 3, A3, Bundesautobahn 43, A43, Bundesautobahn 45, A45, Bundesautobahn 52, A52, Bundesautobahn 57, A57, Bundesautobahn 59, A59, Bundesautobahn 61, A61) routes. The A1, A2, A3, A4 and A61 are mostly used by through traffic, while the other autobahns have a more regional function. Both the A44 and the A52 have several missing links, in various stages of planning. Some missing sections are currently in construction or planned to be constructed in the near future. Additional expressways serve as bypasses and local routes, especially around Dortmund and Bochum. Due to the density of the autobahns and expressways, Bundesstraßen are less important for intercity traffic. The first Autobahns in the Region opened during the mid-1930s. Due to the density of the network, and the number of alternative routes, traffic volumes are generally lower than other major metropolitan areas in Europe. Traffic congestion is an everyday occurrence, but far less so than in the
Randstad The Randstad (; "Rim City") is a conurbation in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Po ...

Randstad
in the Netherlands, another polycentric urban area. Most important Autobahns have six lanes.


Airports

The region benefits from the presence of several airport infrastructure. The main airport is Düsseldorf Airport, world class, which hosts 24.5 million passengers per year and offers flights to many destinations. Düsseldorf is the List of airports in Germany, third largest airport in Germany after Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt and Munich Airport, Munich; It is a airline hub, hub for Eurowings and a focus city for several more airlines. The airport has three passenger terminals and two runways and can handle wide-body aircraft up to the Airbus A380. The second airport is the international airport of Germany's fourth-largest city
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
, and also serves
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language ...

Bonn
, former capital of West Germany. With around 12.4 million passengers passing through it in 2017, it is the List of the busiest airports in Germany, seventh-largest passenger airport in Germany and the third-largest in terms of cargo operations. By traffic units, which combines cargo and passengers, the airport is in fifth position in Germany. As of March 2015, Cologne Bonn Airport had services to 115 passenger destinations in 35 countries. It is named after Konrad Adenauer, a Cologne native and the first post-war Chancellor of West Germany. Third airport in the region, Dortmund Airport is a minor international airport located east of
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian language, Westphalian nds, Düörpm ; la, Tremonia) is the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne and Düsseldorf, and the List of cities in Germany by population, eighth-largest city of Germany, with ...

Dortmund
. It serves the eastern Rhine-Ruhr, Rhine-Ruhr area, the largest urban agglomeration in Germany, and is mainly used for low-cost and leisure charter flights. In 2019 the airport served 2,719,563 passengers. Then the airport of Münster (region), Münsterland Münster Osnabrück International Airport, hosting nearly 986,260 passengers per year and Airport Weeze with 693,404 passengers.


Waterways

The Rhine flows through North Rhine-Westphalia. Its banks are usually heavily populated and industrialized, in particular the agglomerations
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...

Cologne
,
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-lar ...

Düsseldorf
and Ruhr area. Here the Rhine flows through the largest conurbation in Germany, the Rhine-Ruhr region. Duisburg Inner Harbour (Duisport) and Dortmund Port are large industrial inland ports and serve as hubs along the Rhine and the German inland water transport system. The country is crossed by many canals like Rhine–Herne Canal (RHK), der Wesel-Datteln-Kanal (WDK), der Datteln-Hamm-Kanal (DHK) and Dortmund-Ems-Kanal (DEK) an important role for inland navigation.


Education

RWTH Aachen is one of Germany's leading universities of technology and was chosen by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG as one of the German German Universities Excellence Initiative, Universities of Excellence in 2007 and again in 2012. North Rhine-Westphalia is home to :Universities and colleges in North Rhine-Westphalia, 14 universities and over 50 partly postgraduate colleges, with a total of over 500,000 students. Largest and oldest university is the University of Cologne ''(Universität zu Köln)'', founded in 1388 AD, since 2012 also one of Germany's eleven Universities of Excellence. University of Duisburg-Essen (Universität Duisburg-Essen), is also well known and is one of the largest universities in Germany.


Sports


Football

NRW is home to several football clubs of the Bundesliga including Arminia Bielefeld, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln and the 2. Bundesliga including Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC Schalke 04, VfL Bochum and SC Paderborn 07. Since the formal establishment of the German Bundesliga in 1963, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach have been the most successful teams with both winning 5 titles. FC Köln won 2 titles, including the first in 1963. Before the league's establishment, North Rhine-Westfalian teams competed for the title of Deutscher Fußballmeister (German Football Champion). Here, FC Schalke 04 brought home 7 titles, while Dortmund and Köln won an additional 3 and 1 title(s), respectively. Fortuna Düsseldorf and Rot-Weiß Essen have each been German Champion once. North Rhine-Westphalia has been a very successful footballing state having a combined total of 25 championships, fewer only than Bavaria. Other divisions: * Alemannia Aachen * Rot-Weiß Oberhausen * Rot-Weiß Essen * Fortuna Köln *MSV Duisburg * Sportfreunde Siegen * Wuppertaler SV


Basketball

The state is also home to several professional basketball teams that currently either compete in the Basketball Bundesliga or have competed there in the recent past. These teams include Telekom Baskets Bonn, Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Paderborn Baskets and Phoenix Hagen.


Ice hockey

North Rhine-Westphalia is home to Deutsche Eishockey Liga, DEL teams Düsseldorfer EG, Kölner Haie, Krefeld Pinguine, and Iserlohn Roosters.


See also

* Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen * Kunststiftung NRW * NRW Forum * Outline of Germany * List of rivers of North Rhine-Westphalia * List of lakes in North Rhine-Westphalia


References


External links


Official Government Portal

The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia

Holidays in NRW

Information and resources on the history of Westphalia on the Web portal "Westphalian History"

Guidelines for the integration of the Land Lippe within the territory of the federal state North-Rhine-Westphalia of 17 January 1947


* {{Portal bar, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany North Rhine-Westphalia, NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union States and territories established in 1946 1946 establishments in Germany States of Germany