Anthem: Bayernhymne (German)
"Hymn of Bavaria"
Coordinates: 48°46′39″N 11°25′52″E / 48.77750°N
11.43111°E / 48.77750; 11.43111
Landtag of Bavaria
Markus Söder (CSU – Christian Social Union of Bavaria)
• Governing party
• Bundesrat votes
6 (of 69)
70,550.19 km2 (27,239.58 sq mi)
180/km2 (470/sq mi)
• Summer (DST)
ISO 3166 code
€568/ $668 billion (2016) 
GDP per capita
€43,000/ $50,500 (2015)
Bavaria (/bəˈvɛəriə/ Bavarian and German: Bayern [ˈbaɪɐn];
Czech: Bavorsko), officially the Free State of
Freistaat Bayern [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈbaɪɐn]), is a landlocked federal
state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of
70,550.19 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi),
Bavaria is the largest
German state by land area. Its territory comprises roughly a fifth of
the total land area of Germany. With 12.9 million inhabitants, it
is Germany's second-most-populous state (after North
Rhine-Westphalia). Bavaria's capital and largest city, Munich, is the
third largest city in Germany.
The history of
Bavaria stretches from its earliest settlement and
formation as a duchy in the 6th century CE (AD) through the Holy Roman
Empire to becoming an independent kingdom and finally a state of the
Federal Republic of Germany.
Duchy of Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century
CE (AD), the
Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria became a
Prince-elector of the Holy Roman
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, when Bavaria
became a republic. In 1946, the Free State of
itself on democratic lines after the Second World War.
Bavaria has a unique culture, largely because of the state's Catholic
majority (52%) and conservative traditions. Bavarians have
traditionally been proud of their culture, which includes festivals
Oktoberfest and elements of Alpine symbolism. The state
also has the second largest economy among the German states by GDP
figures, giving it a status as a rather wealthy German region.
Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of
Franconia and Swabia.
1.2 Middle Ages
1.3 Electorate of Bavaria
1.4 Kingdom of Bavaria
1.5 Part of the German Empire
1.6 Free State of Bavaria
1.7 Bavarian identity
2 Coat of arms
4 Administrative divisions
4.1 Administrative districts
4.1.1 Population and area
4.4.1 Major cities
5.1.1 Minister-presidents of
Bavaria since 1945
5.2 Designation as a "free state"
5.3 Arbitrary arrest and human rights
6.1 Company names
7.1 Vital statistics
8.3 Food and drink
8.4 Language and dialects
10 Historical buildings
12 See also
14 External links
Main article: History of Bavaria
Prehistoric Heunischenburg, in the vicinity of Kronach
The Bavarians emerged in a region north of the Alps, previously
inhabited by Celts, which had been part of the Roman provinces of
Raetia and Noricum. The Bavarians spoke
Old High German
Old High German but, unlike
other Germanic groups, probably did not migrate from elsewhere.
Rather, they seem to have coalesced out of other groups left behind by
Roman withdrawal late in the 5th century. These peoples may have
included the Celtic Boii, some remaining Romans, Marcomanni,
Allemanni, Quadi, Thuringians, Goths, Scirians, Rugians, Heruli. The
name "Bavarian" ("Baiuvarii") means "Men of Baia" which may indicate
Bohemia, the homeland of the Celtic
Boii and later of the Marcomanni.
They first appear in written sources circa 520. A 17th century Jewish
chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed
that the diocese was named after an ancient Bohemian king, Boiia, in
the 14th century BCE.
Duchy of Bavaria
From about 554 to 788, the house of
Agilolfing ruled the
Bavaria, ending with
Tassilo III who was deposed by Charlemagne.
Three early dukes are named in Frankish sources:
Garibald I may have
been appointed to the office by the
Merovingian kings and married the
Lombard princess Walderada when the church forbade her to King
Chlothar I in 555. Their daughter, Theodelinde, became Queen of the
Lombards in northern
Italy and Garibald was forced to flee to her when
he fell out with his Frankish overlords. Garibald's successor, Tassilo
I, tried unsuccessfully to hold the eastern frontier against the
expansion of Slavs and Avars around 600. Tassilo's son Garibald II
seems to have achieved a balance of power between 610 and 616.
After Garibald II little is known of the Bavarians until Duke Theodo
I, whose reign may have begun as early as 680. From 696 onwards he
invited churchmen from the west to organize churches and strengthen
Christianity in his duchy (it is unclear what Bavarian religious life
consisted of before this time). His son, Theudebert, led a decisive
Bavarian campaign to intervene in a succession dispute in the Lombard
Kingdom in 714, and married his sister Guntrud to the Lombard King
Liutprand. At Theodo's death the duchy was divided among his sons, but
reunited under his grandson Hugbert.
At Hugbert's death (735) the duchy passed to a distant relative named
Odilo, from neighbouring Alemannia (modern southwest
northern Switzerland). Odilo issued a law code for Bavaria, completed
the process of church organisation in partnership with St. Boniface
(739), and tried to intervene in Frankish succession disputes by
fighting for the claims of the Carolingian Grifo. He was defeated near
Augsburg in 743 but continued to rule until his death in 748.
Saint Boniface completed the people's conversion to Christianity in
the early 8th century.
Bavaria was in many ways affected by the
Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Bavaria in the 10th century
"Beschreibvng des hochloblichen Fvrsten t.h v.b Obern vnd Nidern
Bayrn" – (National Library of Sweden)
Tassilo III (b. 741 – d. after 796) succeeded his father at the age
of eight after an unsuccessful attempt by
Grifo to rule Bavaria. He
initially ruled under Frankish oversight but began to function
independently from 763 onwards. He was particularly noted for founding
new monasteries and for expanding eastwards, fighting Slavs in the
Alps and along the
River Danube and colonising these lands.
After 781, however, his cousin
Charlemagne began to pressure Tassilo
to submit and finally deposed him in 788. The deposition was not
entirely legitimate. Dissenters attempted a coup against Charlemagne
at Tassilo's old capital of
Regensburg in 792, led by his own son
Pépin the Hunchback. The king had to drag Tassilo out of imprisonment
to formally renounce his rights and titles at the Assembly of
Frankfurt in 794. This is the last appearance of Tassilo in the
sources, and he probably died a monk. As all of his family were also
forced into monasteries, this was the end of the
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria 900
Bavarian duchies after the partition of 1392
For the next 400 years numerous families held the duchy, rarely for
more than three generations. With the revolt of duke Henry the
Quarrelsome in 976,
Bavaria lost large territories in the south and
south east. The territory of Ostarrichi was elevated to a duchy in its
own right and given to the Babenberger family. This event marks the
founding of Austria.
The last, and one of the most important, of the dukes of
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion of the house of Welf, founder of Munich, and de facto
the second most powerful man in the empire as the ruler of two
duchies. When in 1180,
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion was deposed as Duke of Saxony
Bavaria by his cousin,
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (a.k.a.
"Barbarossa" for his red beard),
Bavaria was awarded as fief to the
Wittelsbach family, counts palatinate of Schyren ("Scheyern" in modern
German). They ruled for 738 years, from 1180 to 1918. The Electorate
of the Palatinate by
Rhine (Kurpfalz in German) was also acquired by
the House of
Wittelsbach in 1214, which they would subsequently hold
for six centuries.
The first of several divisions of the duchy of
Bavaria occurred in
1255. With the extinction of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, Swabian
territories were acquired by the
Wittelsbach dukes. Emperor Louis the
Bavarian acquired Brandenburg, Tyrol, Holland and Hainaut for his
House but released the
Upper Palatinate for the Palatinate branch of
Wittelsbach in 1329. In the 14th and 15th centuries, upper and
Bavaria were repeatedly subdivided. Four Duchies existed after
the division of 1392: Bavaria-Straubing, Bavaria-Landshut,
Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Bavaria-Munich. In 1506 with the
of Succession, the other parts of
Bavaria were reunited, and Munich
became the sole capital.
Electorate of Bavaria
Further information: Electorate of Bavaria
In 1623 the Bavarian duke replaced his relative of the Palatinate
Electorate of the Palatinate
Electorate of the Palatinate in the early days of the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War and acquired the powerful prince-electoral dignity
in the Holy Roman Empire, determining its Emperor thence forward, as
well as special legal status under the empire's laws. The country
became one of the Jesuit supported counter-reformation centers. During
the early and mid-18th century the ambitions of the Bavarian prince
electors led to several wars with
Austria as well as occupations by
Austria (War of the Spanish Succession, election of a Wittelsbach
emperor instead of a Habsburger). From 1777 onwards and after the
younger Bavarian branch of the family had died out with elector Max
Bavaria and the
Electorate of the Palatinate
Electorate of the Palatinate were governed
once again in personal union, now by the Palatinian lines. The new
state also comprised the Duchies of Jülich and Berg as these on their
part were in personal union with the Palatinate.
Kingdom of Bavaria
Main article: Kingdom of Bavaria
Bavaria in the 19th century and beyond
Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire,
Bavaria became a
kingdom in 1806 due, in part, to the Confederation of the Rhine.
Its area doubled after the
Duchy of Jülich
Duchy of Jülich was ceded to France, as
Electoral Palatinate was divided between
France and the Grand
Duchy of Baden. The
Duchy of Berg was given to Jerome Bonaparte. The
Tyrol and Salzburg were temporarily reunited with
Bavaria but finally
Austria by the Congress of Vienna. In return
allowed to annex the modern-day region of Palatinate to the left of
Franconia in 1815. Between 1799 and 1817, the leading
minister, Count Montgelas, followed a strict policy of modernisation;
he laid the foundations of administrative structures that survived the
monarchy and retain core validity in the 21st century. In May 1808 a
first constitution was passed by Maximilian I, being modernized in
1818. This second version established a bicameral Parliament with a
House of Lords (Kammer der Reichsräte) and a House of Commons (Kammer
der Abgeordneten). That constitution was followed until the collapse
of the monarchy at the end of World War I.
Bavarian stamps during the German empire period
After the rise of
Prussia to power,
Bavaria preserved its independence
by playing off the rivalries of
Prussia and Austria. Allied to
Austria, it was defeated in the 1866
Austro-Prussian War and did not
belong to the
North German Federation
North German Federation of 1867, but the question of
German unity was still alive. When
France declared war on
1870, the south German states Baden, Württemberg, Hessen-Darmstadt
Bavaria joined the Prussian forces (whereas
Austria did not) and
ultimately joined the Federation, which was renamed Deutsches Reich
(German Empire) in 1871.
Bavaria continued as a monarchy, and it had
some special rights within the federation (such as an army, railways
and a postal service of its own).
Part of the German Empire
Bavaria became part of the newly formed German Empire, this
action was considered controversial by Bavarian nationalists who had
wanted to retain independence, as
Austria had. As
Bavaria had a
majority-Catholic population, many people resented being ruled by the
Protestant northerners of Prussia. As a direct result of the
Bavarian-Prussian feud, political parties formed to encourage Bavaria
to break away and regain its independence. Although the idea of
Bavarian separatism was popular in the late 19th and early 20th
century, apart from a small minority such as the
Bavaria Party, most
Bavarians have accepted that
Bavaria is part of Germany.[citation
In the early 20th century, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henrik Ibsen,
and other artists were drawn to Bavaria, especially to the Schwabing
district of Munich, a center of international artistic activity. This
area was devastated by bombing and invasion during World War II.
Free State of Bavaria
A memorial to soldiers who died in the two world wars. Dietelskirchen,
Dachau concentration camp
Dachau concentration camp memorial sculpture erected in 1968
Free State has been an adopted designation after the abolition of
monarchy in the aftermath of
World War I
World War I in several German states. On
12 November 1918, Ludwig III signed a document, the Anif declaration,
releasing both civil and military officers from their oaths; the newly
formed republican government, or "People's State" of Socialist premier
Kurt Eisner, interpreted this as an abdication. To date, however,
no member of the House of
Wittelsbach has ever formally declared
renunciation of the throne. On the other hand, none has ever since
officially called upon their Bavarian or Stuart claims. Family members
are active in cultural and social life, including the head of the
house, Franz, Duke of Bavaria. They step back from any announcements
on public affairs, showing approval or disapproval solely by Franz's
presence or absence.
Eisner was assassinated in February 1919, ultimately leading to a
Communist revolt and the short-lived
Bavarian Soviet Republic
Bavarian Soviet Republic being
proclaimed 6 April 1919. After violent suppression by elements of the
German Army and notably the Freikorps, the Bavarian Soviet Republic
fell in May 1919. The
Bamberg Constitution (Bamberger Verfassung) was
enacted on 12 or 14 August 1919 and came into force on 15 September
1919 creating the Free State of
Bavaria within the Weimar Republic.
Extremist activity further increased, notably the 1923 Beer Hall
Putsch led by the National Socialists, and
seen as Nazi strongholds under the
Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.
However, in the crucial German federal election, March 1933, the Nazis
received less than 50% of the votes cast in Bavaria.
As a manufacturing centre,
Munich was heavily bombed during World War
II and was occupied by U.S. troops, becoming a major part of the
American Zone of Allied-occupied
Germany (1945–47) and then of
The Rhenish Palatinate was detached from
Bavaria in 1946 and made part
of the new state Rhineland-Palatinate. During the Cold War, Bavaria
was part of West Germany. In 1949, the Free State of
Bavaria chose not
to sign the Founding Treaty (Gründungsvertrag) for the formation of
the Federal Republic of Germany, opposing the division of
two states, after World War II. The Bavarian Parliament did not sign
the Basic Law of Germany, mainly because it was seen as not granting
sufficient powers to the individual Länder, but at the same time
decided that it would still come into force in
Bavaria if two-thirds
of the other Länder ratified it. All of the other Länder ratified
it, and so it became law.
Bavarians have often emphasized a separate national identity and
considered themselves as "Bavarians" first, "Germans" second. This
feeling started to come about more strongly among Bavarians when the
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria joined the
Protestant Prussian-dominated German
Empire while the Bavarian nationalists wanted to keep
Catholic and an independent state. Nowadays, aside from the minority
Bavaria Party, most Bavarians accept that
Bavaria is part of
Germany. Another consideration is that Bavarians foster different
Franconia in the north, speaking East Franconian
Swabia in the south west, speaking Swabian German;
Altbayern (so-called "Old Bavaria", the regions forming the
Bavaria before the acquisitions through
the Vienna Congress, at present the districts of the Upper Palatinate,
Lower and Upper Bavaria) speaking Austro-Bavarian. In Munich, the Old
Bavarian dialect was widely spread, but nowadays High German is
predominantly spoken there.
Coat of arms
Main article: Coat of arms of Bavaria
Bavarian herald Joerg Rugenn wearing a tabard of the arms around 1510
The modern coat of arms of
Bavaria was designed by Eduard Ege in 1946,
following heraldic traditions.
The Golden Lion: At the dexter chief, sable, a lion rampant Or, armed
and langued gules. This represents the administrative region of Upper
The "Franconian Rake": At the sinister chief, per fess dancetty, gules
and argent. This represents the administrative regions of Upper,
Middle and Lower Franconia.
The Blue "Pantier" (mythical creature from French heraldry, sporting a
flame instead of a tongue): At the dexter base, argent, a Pantier
rampant azure, armed Or and langued gules. This represents the regions
of Lower and Upper Bavaria.
The Three Lions: At the sinister base, Or, three lions passant
guardant sable, armed and langued gules. This represents Swabia.
The White-And-Blue inescutcheon: The inescutcheon of white and blue
fusils askance was originally the coat of arms of the Counts of Bogen,
adopted in 1247 by the House of Wittelsbach. The white-and-blue fusils
are indisputably the emblem of
Bavaria and these arms today symbolize
Bavaria as a whole. Along with the People's Crown, it is officially
used as the Minor Coat of Arms.
The People's Crown (Volkskrone): The coat of arms is surmounted by a
crown with a golden band inset with precious stones and decorated with
five ornamental leaves. This crown first appeared in the coat of arms
to symbolize sovereignty of the people after the royal crown was
eschewed in 1923.
Bavaria shares international borders with
Austria (Salzburg, Tyrol,
Austria and Vorarlberg) and the
Czech Republic (Karlovy Vary,
Plzeň and South Bohemian Regions), as well as with Switzerland
Lake Constance to the Canton of St. Gallen). Because all of
these countries are part of the Schengen Area, the border is
completely open. Neighbouring states within
Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony. Two major rivers
flow through the state: the
Danube (Donau) and the Main. The Bavarian
Alps define the border with
Austria (including the Austrian
federal-states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg), and within the
range is the highest peak in Germany: the Zugspitze. The Bavarian
Forest and the
Bohemian Forest form the vast majority of the frontier
Czech Republic and Bohemia.
The major cities in
Munich (München), Nuremberg
(Nürnberg), Augsburg, Regensburg, Würzburg, Ingolstadt, Fürth, and
The geographic centre of the European Union is located in the
north-western corner of Bavaria.
Administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke and Bezirke) of Bavaria
Bavaria is divided into 7 administrative districts called
Regierungsbezirke (singular Regierungsbezirk).
Upper Palatinate (German: Oberpfalz)
Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern)
Lower Bavaria (Niederbayern)
Population and area
Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the
others are the Landkreise and the Gemeinden or Städte. The Bezirke in
Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke, but
are a different form of administration, having their own parliaments.
In the other larger states of Germany, there are Regierungsbezirke
which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing
entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria.
Map of the Landkreise of Bavaria
A fourth communal layer exists out of 71 administrative districts
(called Landkreise, singular Landkreis; English: rural districts) and
25 independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte, singular Kreisfreie Stadt;
English: urban districts) that are comparable to counties (only that
there is no distinction between "Ceremonial" and "Administrative" and
all have the same administrative responsibilities).
München (Landkreis München)
Neustadt (Aisch)-Bad Windsheim
The 71 administrative districts are on the lowest level divided into
2,031 regular municipalities (called Gemeinden, singular Gemeinde).
Together with the 25 independent cities (kreisfreie Städte, which are
in effect municipalities independent of Landkreis administrations),
there are a total of 2,056 municipalities in Bavaria.
In 44 of the 71 administrative districts, there are a total of 215
unincorporated areas (as of 1 January 2005, called gemeindefreie
Gebiete, singular gemeindefreies Gebiet), not belonging to any
municipality, all uninhabited, mostly forested areas, but also four
lakes (Chiemsee-without islands, Starnberger See-without island
Roseninsel, Ammersee, which are the three largest lakes of Bavaria,
and Waginger See).
Source: Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und
See also: List of places in Bavaria
Main article: Politics of Bavaria
Bavaria has a multi-party system dominated by the conservative
Christian Social Union (CSU), which has won every election since 1945,
and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) . Thus far Wilhelm Hoegner
has been the only SPD candidate to ever become Minister-President;
notable successors in office include multi-term Federal Minister Franz
Josef Strauss, a key figure among
West German conservatives during the
Cold War years, and Edmund Stoiber, who both failed with their bids
for Chancellorship. The German Greens and the center-right Free Voters
have been represented in the state parliament since 1986 and 2008
In the 2003 elections the CSU won a ⅔ supermajority – something no
party had ever achieved in post-war Germany. However, in the
subsequent 2008 elections the CSU lost the absolute majority for the
first time in 46 years. The losses were partly attributed to the
CSU's stance against an anti-smoking bill. (First anti-smoking
referendum was passed but subverted, so a second referendum enforced
it with a larger majority).
The last state elections were held on 15 September 2013; the CSU won
an absolute majority in the state parliament in spite of bad press
surrounding a cronyism affair. The CSU's former coalition partner
Free Democrats (FDP) failed to gain caucus recognition amidst a
downward trend for the party in all of Germany. The 17th parliamentary
term comprises 180 mandates of which the CSU won 101, the SPD 42, the
Free Voters 19 and the
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens 18.
Constitution of Bavaria
Constitution of Bavaria of the Free State of
Bavaria was enacted
on 8 December 1946. The new Bavarian Constitution became the basis for
the Bavarian State after the Second World War.
Bavaria has a unicameral Landtag (English: State Parliament), elected
by universal suffrage. Until December 1999, there was also a Senat, or
Senate, whose members were chosen by social and economic groups in
Bavaria, but following a referendum in 1998, this institution was
The Bavarian State Government consists of the Minister-President of
Bavaria, 11 Ministers and 6 Secretaries of State. The
Minister-President is elected for a period of five years by the State
Parliament and is head of state. With the approval of the State
Parliament he appoints the members of the State Government. The State
Government is composed of the:
Ministry of the Interior, Building and Transport (Staatsministerium
des Innern, für Bau und Verkehr)
Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and Art (Staatsministerium
für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst)
Ministry of Finance, for Rural Development and Homeland
(Staatsministerium der Finanzen, für Landesentwicklung und Heimat)
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology
(Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft und Medien, Energie und
Ministry of Environment and Consumer Protection (Staatsministerium
für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz)
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Family and Integration
(Staatsministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, Familie und Integration)
Ministry of Justice (Staatsministerium der Justiz)
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry (Staatsministerium für
Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten)
Ministry of Public Health and Care Services (Staatsministerium für
Gesundheit und Pflege)
Political processes also take place in the 7 regions
(Regierungsbezirke or Bezirke) in Bavaria, in the 71 administrative
districts (Landkreise) and the 25 towns and cities forming their own
districts (kreisfreie Städte), and in the 2,031 local authorities
Bavaria introduced direct democracy on the local level in a
referendum. This was initiated bottom-up by an association called Mehr
Demokratie (English: More Democracy). This is a grass-roots
organization which campaigns for the right to citizen-initiated
referendums. In 1997 the Bavarian Supreme Court aggravated the
regulations considerably (including by introducing a turn-out quorum).
Bavaria has the most advanced regulations on local
direct democracy in Germany. This has led to a spirited citizens'
participation in communal and municipal affairs—835 referenda took
place from 1995 through 2005.
Bavaria since 1945
See also: List of Ministers-President of Bavaria.
Minister-President of Bavaria
Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Söder
Ministers-President of Bavaria
Born and died
Begin of tenure
End of tenure
Franz Josef Strauß
Designation as a "free state"
Unlike most German states (Länder), which simply designate themselves
as "State of" (Land [...]),
Bavaria uses the style of "Free State of
Bavaria" (Freistaat Bayern). The difference from other states is
purely terminological, as German constitutional law does not draw a
distinction between "States" and "Free States". The situation is thus
analogous to the United States, where some states use the style
"Commonwealth" rather than "State". The choice of "Free State", a
creation of the early 20th century and intended to be a German
alternative to (or translation of) the Latin-derived "republic", has
Bavaria having been styled that way even before
the current 1946 Constitution was enacted (in 1918 after the de facto
abdication of Ludwig III). Two other states,
Saxony and Thuringia,
also use the style "Free State"; unlike Bavaria, however, these were
not part of the original states when the
Grundgesetz was enacted but
joined the federation later on, in 1990, as a result of German
Saxony had used the designation as "Free State" from
1918 to 1952.
Arbitrary arrest and human rights
In July 2017, Bavaria's parliament enacted a new revision of the
"Gefährdergesetz", allowing the authorities to imprison a person for
a three months term, renewable indefinitely, when he or she has not
committed a crime but it is assumed that he or she might commit a
crime "in the near future". Critics like the prominent journalist
Heribert Prantl have called the law "shameful" and compared it to
Guantanamo Bay detention camp, assessed it to be in violation of
the European Convention on Human Rights, and also compared it to
the legal situation in Russia, where a similar law allows for
imprisonment for a maximum term of two years (i.e., not
BMW Welt and
BMW Headquarters in Munich
Bavaria has long had one of the largest economies of any region in
Germany, or Europe for that matter. Its GDP in 2007 exceeded
€434 billion (about U.S. $600 billion). This makes Bavaria
itself one of the largest economies in Europe and only 20 countries in
the world have a higher GDP. Some large companies headquartered in
Bavaria include BMW, Siemens, Rohde & Schwarz, Audi,
Allianz, Infineon, MAN, Wacker Chemie, Puma, Adidas, and Ruf. Bavaria
has a GDP per capita of over U.S. $48,000. Meaning that if it were its
own independent country it would rank 7th or 8th in the world. Bavaria
has strong economical ties with Austria, the Czech Republic,
Switzerland, and Northern
The motorcycle and automobile makers
BMW Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or
Bavarian Motor Works in English, Audi, Allianz,
Siemens (electricity, telephones, informatics, medical
instruments), Amazon, Weltbild (trade)
Patrizia Immobilien (real
estate management) Continental (Automotive Tire and Electronics),
Nintendo, Adidas, Puma, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Group), Infineon,
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, MAN Diesel & Turbo, KUKA,
OSRAM and Ruf
have (or had) a Bavarian industrial base.
The population of
Bavaria is 12,930,751 (2016). Foreign population:
Births 2015 = 118,257
Births 2016 = 125,704
Deaths 2015 = 133,539
Deaths 2016 = 129,581
Natural growth 2015 = -15,282
Natural growth 2016 = -3,877
Some features of the Bavarian culture and mentality are remarkably
distinct from the rest of Germany. Noteworthy differences (especially
in rural areas, less significant in the major cities) can be found
with respect to religion, traditions and language.
Bavaria – 2014
Other or none
A Catholic church near
Füssen with the
Alps in the background
Bavarian culture (Altbayern) has a long and predominant tradition of
Catholic faith. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger)
was born in
Marktl am Inn
Marktl am Inn in
Upper Bavaria and was Cardinal-Archbishop
Munich and Freising. Otherwise, the culturally Franconian and
Swabian regions of the modern State of
Bavaria are historically more
diverse in religiosity, with both Catholic and
In 1925, 70.0% of the Bavarian population was Catholic, 28.8% was
Protestant, 0.7% was Jewish, and 0.5% was placed in other religious
As of 2014[update] 52.1% of Bavarians adhered to Catholicism but the
number is on the decline (they were 70.4% in 1970, 56.3% in
2007). 19.5% of the population adheres to the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Bavaria, and their number is declining too.
Muslims make up 4.0% of the population of Bavaria. 24% of Bavarians
are irreligious or adhere to other religions, and this number is
Second official flag of Bavaria
Bavarians commonly emphasize pride in their traditions. Traditional
costumes collectively known as
Tracht are worn on special occasions
and include in
Lederhosen for males and
Dirndl for females.
Centuries-old folk music is performed. The Maibaum, or Maypole (which
in the Middle Ages served as the community's yellow pages, as
figurettes on the pole represent the trades of the village), and the
bagpipes in the
Upper Palatinate region bear witness to the ancient
Celtic and Germanic remnants of cultural heritage of the region. There
are a lot of traditional Bavarian sports disciplines, e.g. the
Aperschnalzen is an old tradition of competitive whipcracking.
Whether actually in Bavaria, overseas or full of citizens from other
nations they continue to cultivate their traditions. They hold
festivals and dances to keep their traditions alive. In New York City
the German American Cultural Society is a larger umbrella group for
others such as the Bavarian organizations, which represent a specific
part of Germany. They proudly put forth a German Parade called Steuben
Parade each year. Various affiliated events take place amongst its
groups, one of which is the Bavarian Dancers.
Food and drink
Bavarians tend to place a great value on food and drink. In addition
to their renowned dishes, Bavarians also consume many items of food
and drink which are unusual elsewhere in Germany; for example
Weißwurst ("white sausage") or in some instances a variety of
entrails. At folk festivals and in many beer gardens, beer is
traditionally served by the litre (in a Maß). Bavarians are
particularly proud of the traditional Reinheitsgebot, or purity law,
initially established by the
Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria for the City of Munich
(e.g. the court) in 1487 and the duchy in 1516. According to this law,
only three ingredients were allowed in beer: water, barley, and hops.
In 1906 the
Reinheitsgebot made its way to all-German law, and
remained a law in
Germany until the EU partly struck it down recently
as incompatible with the European common market. German breweries,
however, cling to the principle, and Bavarian breweries still comply
with it in order to distinguish their beer blend. Bavarians are
also known as some of the world's most beer-loving people with an
average annual consumption of 170 litres per person, although figures
have been declining in recent years.
Bavaria is also home to the
Franconia wine region, which is situated
Main River in Franconia. The region has produced wine
(Frankenwein) for over 1,000 years and is famous for its use of the
Bocksbeutel wine bottle. The production of wine forms an integral part
of the regional culture, and many of its villages and cities hold
their own wine festivals (Weinfeste) throughout the year.
Language and dialects
Upper German, southern counterpart to Central German, both forming the
High German Languages. Blue are the
Mainly three German dialects are spoken in Bavaria:
Bavaria (South-East and East),
Swabian German (an Alemannic German
dialect) in the Bavarian part of
Swabia (South West) and East
Franconian German in
Franconia (North). In the small town Ludwigsstadt
in the north, district
Kronach in Upper Franconia, Thuringian dialect
is spoken. In the 20th century an increasing part of the population
began to speak Standard German, mainly in the cities.
Bavarians consider themselves to be egalitarian and informal.[citation
needed] Their sociability can be experienced at the annual
Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, which welcomes around
six million visitors every year, or in the famous beer gardens. In
traditional Bavarian beer gardens, patrons may bring their own food
but buy beer only from the brewery that runs the beer garden.
In the United States, particularly among German Americans, Bavarian
culture is viewed somewhat nostalgically, and several "Bavarian
villages" have been founded, most notably Frankenmuth, Michigan;
Helen, Georgia; and Leavenworth, Washington. Since 1962, the latter
has been styled with a Bavarian theme and is home to an Oktoberfest
celebration it claims is among the most attended in the world outside
Allianz Arena, one of the world's most famous football stadiums
Bavaria is home to several football clubs including FC Bayern Munich,
1. FC Nürnberg, FC Augsburg, TSV 1860 Munich, FC
Ingolstadt 04 and
SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Bayern
Munich is the most popular and
successful football team in
Germany having won a record 27 German
titles. They are followed by
1. FC Nürnberg
1. FC Nürnberg who have won 9 titles.
Fürth have won 3 championships while TSV 1860 Munich
have been champions once. FC Bayern won the German championship 27
times (record) and the
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League 5 times.
Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg
Fortress Marienberg and the Alte Mainbrücke in Würzburg
Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach
Cathedral in Bamberg
Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen
Veste Coburg in Coburg
Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
Imperial Castle in Nuremberg
Kastell Biriciana, Weissenburg close to the Limes
Kreuztor in Ingolstadt
Castle of Neuburg an der Donau
Old Stone Bridge and Cathedral of Regensburg
Walhalla temple in Donaustauf near Regensburg
Befreiungshalle in Kelheim
Cathedral and Oberhaus fortification in Passau
Trausnitz Castle, Landshut
Townhall in Augsburg
Frauenkirche in Munich
Residenz in Munich
Nymphenburg Palace in Munich
Cathedral in Freising
Church of St. Bartholomew at the Königssee
Many famous people have been born or lived in present-day Bavaria:
Kings: Arnulf of Carinthia, Carloman of Bavaria, Charles the
FatLothair I, Louis the Child, Louis the German, Louis the Younger,
Ludwig I of Bavaria, Ludwig II of Bavaria, Ludwig III of Bavaria,
Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, Maximilian II of Bavaria, Otto of
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger); Pope
Damasus II, Pope Victor II.
Painters: Hans Holbein the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Altdorfer,
Lucas Cranach, Carl Spitzweg, Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Stuck,
Franz Marc, Paul Klee, Erwin Eisch, Gabriele Münter.
Classical musicians Orlando di Lasso, Christoph Willibald Gluck,
Leopold Mozart, Max Reger, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Carl Orff,
Johann Pachelbel, Theobald Boehm, Klaus Nomi.
Other musicians Hans-Jürgen Buchner, Barbara Dennerlein, Klaus
Doldinger, Bands: Spider Murphy Gang, Sportfreunde Stiller, Obscura,
Opera singers Jonas Kaufmann, Diana Damrau.
Writers, poets and playwrights Hans Sachs, Jean Paul, Friedrich
Rückert, August von Platen-Hallermünde, Frank Wedekind, Christian
Morgenstern, Oskar Maria Graf, Bertolt Brecht, Lion Feuchtwanger,
Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, Golo Mann, Ludwig Thoma, Michael Ende, Ludwig
Scientists Max Planck, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Werner Heisenberg,
Adam Ries, Joseph von Fraunhofer, Georg Ohm, Johannes Stark, Carl von
Linde, Ludwig Prandtl, Rudolf Mössbauer, Lothar Rohde, Hermann
Schwarz, Robert Huber, Martin Behaim, Levi Strauss, Rudolf Diesel.
Physicians Max Joseph von Pettenkofer, Sebastian Kneipp, Alois
Politicians Horst Seehofer, Christian Ude, Kurt Eisner, Franz-Josef
Strauß, Roman Herzog, Leonard John Rose, Henry Kissinger
Football players Max Morlock, Karl Mai, Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier,
Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Bernd Schuster, Klaus Augenthaler, Lothar
Matthäus, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Holger Badstuber,
Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Dietmar Hamann, Stefan Reuter
Other sportspeople Bernhard Langer, Dirk Nowitzki
Actors Werner Stocker, Helmut Fischer, Walter Sedlmayr, Gustl
Bayrhammer, Ottfried Fischer, Ruth Drexel, Elmar Wepper, Fritz Wepper,
Uschi Glas, Yank Azman.
Entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher
Film directors Helmut Dietl, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Bernd
Eichinger, Joseph Vilsmaier,
Hans Steinhoff and Werner Herzog.
Designers Peter Schreyer, Damir Doma
Entrepreneurs Charles Diebold, Levi Strauss
Military Claus von Stauffenberg
Prominent Nazis: Sepp Dietrich, Karl Fiehler, Karl Gebhardt, Hermann
Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Jodl, Josef Kollmer, Joseph Mengele,
Ernst Röhm, Franz Ritter von Epp, Julius Streicher
Others: Kaspar Hauser, The Smith of Kochel, Mathias Kneißl, Matthias
European Union portal
Outline of Germany
List of rulers of Bavaria
List of Premiers of Bavaria
Former countries in Europe after 1815
^ "Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt
für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). January 2018.
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Portal of the Federal Statistics Office Germany.
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^ Dovid Solomon Ganz, Tzemach Dovid (3rd edition), part 2, Warsaw
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^ William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History
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Bavaria buries the royal dream Funeral
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Macleans.ca, 25 June 2009, Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
^ Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik, München 2015 (30 August
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^ Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik, München 2017 (23 April 2017).
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^ n-tv:Fiasko für die CSU Archived 29 September 2008 at the Wayback
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^ Bayern führt Unendlichkeitshaft ein, Heribert Prantl, 20 July 2017
^ Reisewarnung für Bayern, Udo Vetter, 20 July 2017
^ Erinnert ihr euch noch daran, als Bayern als Rechtsstaat galt?,
Felix von Leitner, 20 July 2017
^ Its GDP is 143% of the EU average (as of 2005[update]) against a
German average of 121.5%, see Eurostat[permanent dead link]
^ Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg. "Gemeinsames
Datenangebot der Statistischen Ämter des Bundes und der Länder".
^ See the list of countries by GDP.
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^ "Leavenworth Washington Hotels, Lodging, Festivals & Events".
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bavaria.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bavaria.
Official government website
Official website of Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH
Geographic data related to
Bavaria at OpenStreetMap
Links to related articles
Swabian League (1488–1534) of the Holy Roman Empire
St George's Shield (Gesellschaft von Sanktjörgenschild)
Bavarian Circle (1500–1806) of the Holy Roman Empire
Circles est. 1500: Bavarian, Swabian, Upper Rhenish, Lower
Rhenish–Westphalian, Franconian, (Lower) Saxon
Circles est. 1512: Austrian, Burgundian, Upper Saxon, Electoral
Rhenish · Unencircled
Electors of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire from 1356 to 1806
Added in the 17th century
Added in the 19th century
States of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–13)
1 from 1810
2 until 1810
3 until 1809
4 from 1809
5 until 1811
States of the
German Confederation (1815–66)
Reuss-Gera (Junior Line)
Reuss-Greiz (Elder Line)
Waldeck and Pyrmont
1 w/o areas listed under other territories
2 Merged with Anhalt from 1863
3 until 1847
4 from 1839
5 from 1826
6 until 1826
7 until 1850
9 as of 1849
10 until 1837
11 until 1829
12 until 1848/57
13 until 1848
14 as of 1848
15 as of 1829
16 as of 1864
States of the
German Empire (1871–1918)
Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Lauenburg (until 1876)
Reuss-Gera (Junior Line)
Reuss-Greiz (Elder Line)
Waldeck and Pyrmont
German colonial empire
States of the Federal Republic of Germany
Baden-Württemberg (since 1952)
Bavaria (since 1949)
Brandenburg (since 1990)
Hesse (since 1949)
Saxony (since 1949)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (since 1990)
North Rhine-Westphalia (since 1949)
Rhineland-Palatinate (since 1949)
Saarland (since 1957)
Saxony (since 1990)
Saxony-Anhalt (since 1990)
Holstein (since 1949)
Thuringia (since 1990)
Berlin (since 1990)
Bremen (since 1949)
Hamburg (since 1949)
South Baden (1949–1952)
Urban and rural districts in the Free State of
Neustadt (Aisch)-Bad Windsheim
Neustadt an der Waldnaab
BNF: cb119484012 (data)