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2.12 The German Länder

The Federal Republic of Germany is called "Federal" because it consists of a federation of sixteen Länder or states. There are ten Länder in the territory of the former West Germany, whilst the former GDR has been divided into five federal states. The sixteenth state is Berlin comprising what used to be West and East Berlin.

A map of the German Länder

Once you have looked at the map of the sixteen Länder, you can test your knowledge of precisely where they are in Germany by doing the online jigsaw on the homepage of UK-German Connection:

Facts and figures
As you can see from the table below, Bayern (Bavaria) is the largest Land in terms of area, whilst Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia) has the largest population. If you click on the names of each federal state, you will be taken to the homepage of the Land. Many of these homepages also have English versions.

Land  Capital  Population
Baden-Württemberg  Stuttgart  10.37  35,751 
Bayern  Munich  12.04  70,554 
Berlin  ---------  3.45     889 
Brandenburg  Potsdam  2.55  29,476 
Bremen  ---------  0.68     404 
Hamburg  ---------  1.71     755 
Hessen  Wiesbaden  6.03  21,114 
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin  1.82  23,421 
Niedersachsen  Hanover  7.82  47,348 
Nordrhein-Westfalen  Düsseldorf  17.95  34,072 
Rheinland-Pfalz  Mainz  3.88  19,846 
Saarland  Saarbrücken  1.08   2,570 
Sachsen  Dresden  4.55  18,408 
Sachsen-Anhalt  Magdeburg  2.72  20,443 
Schleswig-Holstein  Kiel  2.74  15,732 
Thüringen  Erfurt  2.49  16,176 

The English translation of the German Länder names
Many of these German Länder have English equivalents - although the English version of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is no less of a mouthful! Note in particular the very different German name for what we call Bavaria.

The German flag German The British flag English
Bayern  Bavaria
Hessen  Hesse
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern  Mecklenburg West-Vorpomerania 
Niedersachsen  Lower Saxony
Nordrhein-Westfalen  North Rhine-Westphalia 
Rheinland-Pfalz  Rhineland-Palatinate 
Sachsen  Saxony
Sachsen-Anhalt  Saxony-Anhalt 
Thüringen  Thuringia 

In the next chapter, we will visit the only German Land which is made up of territory from both East and West Germany - the new capital Berlin.

Weiter!Chapter 2: Exercises

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