Hesse

Hesse

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Hesse ˈ or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

.
  • The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate
    Rhineland-Palatinate
    Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

     state. The oldest and second largest Hessian city, Mainz
    Mainz
    Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

    , is in Rhenish Hesse.
  • The State of Hesse is part of the larger cultural region. It has an area of 21110 km² (8,150.6 sq mi) and just over six million inhabitants. The state capital is Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

    . Hesse's largest city is Frankfurt am Main.


The English name "Hesse" comes from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 or the Hessian dialect
Hessian dialect
Hessian is a West Central German group of dialects of the German language in the central German state of Hesse. The dialect most similar to Hessian is Palatinate German of the Rhine Franconian sub-family...

. The variant "Hessia" comes from the medieval latin Hassia. The German term Hessen is used by the European Commission, not because it is English, but because their general policy is to leave regional names untranslated (paragraphs 1.31 & 1.35). The term "Hesse" ultimately derives from a Germanic tribe called the Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

, who settled in the region in the first century B.C.

An inhabitant of Hesse is called a Hessian (German: Hesse (masculine) or Hessin (feminine)) (see also Hessian (soldiers)).

History


An early Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic presence in what is now Hesse is indicated by a mid 5th century BC La Tène style burial uncovered at Glauberg
Glauberg
The Glauberg is a Celtic oppidum in Hesse, Germany consisting of a fortified settlement and several burial mounds, "a princely seat of the late Hallstatt and early La Tène periods."Archaeological discoveries in the 1990s place the site among the most important early Celtic centres in Europe...

. The region was later settled by the Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

 tribe in ca. the 1st century BC, and the name Hesse is a continuation of that tribal name. In the early Middle Ages, a Frankish gau comprising an area around Fritzlar
Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

 and Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

 and a Saxon one further north were known as Hessengau
Hessengau
Hessengau is an historical region of modern-day Germany located between Beverungen and Marburg in the north and Bad Hersfeld to the south....

. In the 9th century the Saxon Hessengau also came under the rule of the Franconians. In the 12th century it was passed to Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

.

In the War of the Thuringian Succession
War of the Thuringian Succession
The War of the Thuringen Succession was a military battle over a successor to the last Landgrave of Thuringia in present-day Germany.- Source of the conflict :...

 (1247–64), Hesse gained its independence and became a Landgraviate
Landgraviate of Hesse
The Landgraviate of Hesse was a Landgraviate of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed as a unity from 1264 to 1567, when it was divided between the sons of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse.-History:...

 within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. It shortly rose to primary importance under Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous, who was one of the leaders of German Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

. After Philip's death in 1567, the territory was divided up among his four sons from his first marriage (Philip was a bigamist
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

) into four lines: Hesse-Kassel
Hesse-Kassel
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

 (or Hesse-Cassel), Hesse-Darmstadt
Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was a member state of the Holy Roman Empire. It was formed in 1567 following the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse between the four sons of Philip I, the last Landgrave of Hesse....

, Hesse-Rheinfels
Hesse-Rheinfels
Hesse-Rheinfels was created as a cadet line of Hesse for Philip II, Landgrave of Hesse-Rheinfels , landgrave from 1567 until 1583, and as a cadet line of Hesse-Kassel for Ernest, Landgrave of Hesse-Rheinfels , landgrave from 1627 until 1658.-First creation:Philip was the third son of Philip the...

 and the also previously existing Hesse-Marburg
Hesse-Marburg
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg was a German landgraviate, and independent principality, within the Holy Roman Empire, that existed between 1485 and 1500, and between 1567 and 1604/1650....

. As the latter two lines died out quite soon (1583 and 1605, respectively), Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt were the two core states within the Hessian lands. Several collateral lines split off during the centuries, such as in 1622, when Hesse-Homburg
Hesse-Homburg
Hesse-Homburg was formed into a separate landgraviate in 1622 by the landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt to be ruled by his son, although it did not become independent of Hesse-Darmstadt until 1668....

 split off from Hesse-Darmstadt. In the late 16th century, Kassel adopted Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, while Darmstadt remained Lutheran and subsequently the two lines often found themselves on different sides of a conflict, most notably in the disputes over Hesse-Marburg
Hesse-Marburg
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg was a German landgraviate, and independent principality, within the Holy Roman Empire, that existed between 1485 and 1500, and between 1567 and 1604/1650....

 and in the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

, when Darmstadt fought on the side of the Emperor, while Kassel sided with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

The Landgrave Frederick II (1720–1785) ruled as a benevolent despot, 1760-1785. He combined Enlightenment ideas with Christian values, cameralist plans for central control of the economy, and a militaristic approach toward diplomacy. He funded the depleted treasury of the poor nation by renting out 19,000 soldiers in complete military formations to Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 to fight in North America during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, 1776-1783. These soldiers, commonly known as Hessians, fought under the British flag. For further revenue the soldiers were rented out elsewhere as well. Most were conscripted, with their pay going to the Landgrave.

19th century


Hesse-Kassel
Hesse-Kassel
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

 was elevated to the rank of an Electorate in 1803, but this remained without effect as the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 was disbanded in 1806. The territory was annexed by the Kingdom of Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

 in 1806, but restored to the Elector in 1813. While other Electors had gained other titles, becoming either Kings or Grand-dukes, the Elector of Hesse-Kassel alone retained the anachronistic dignity. The name survived in the term Kurhessen, denoting the region around Kassel. In 1866 it was annexed by Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, together with the Free City of Frankfurt
Free City of Frankfurt
For almost five centuries, the German city of Frankfurt am Main was a city-state within two major Germanic states:*The Holy Roman Empire as the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt...

, Hesse-Homburg and the duchy of Nassau, which established the province of Hesse-Nassau.

Hesse-Darmstadt was elevated to the rank of a Grand Duchy in 1806. In the War of 1866, it fought on the side of Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 against Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, but retained its autonomy in defeat, because a greater part of the country was situated south of the Main river and Prussia did not dare to expand beyond the Main line as this might have provoked France. But the parts of Hesse-Darmstadt north of the Main river (the region around the town of Gießen
Gießen
Gießen, also spelt Giessen is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen...

, commonly called Oberhessen) were incorporated in the Norddeutscher Bund, a tight federation of German states, established by Prussia in 1867. In 1871 the rest of the Grand Duchy joined the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. Around the turn of the century, Darmstadt was one of the centres of the Jugendstil.
Until 1907, the Grand Duchy of Hesse used only the Hessian red and white lion as its coat-of-arms

20th century


The revolution of 1918 transformed Hesse-Darmstadt from a monarchy to a republic, which officially renamed itself to "Volksstaat Hessen
Volksstaat Hessen
The People's State of Hesse was the name of the German state of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1918 until 1945.After the end of World War I the Grand Duchy of Hesse became a republic and changed its name to People's State . Its capital was Darmstadt...

" (People's State of Hesse). The parts of Hesse-Darmstadt on the western banks of the Rhine (province Rheinhessen) were occupied by French troops until 1930 under the terms of the Versailles peace treaty that officially ended WWI in 1919.

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the Hessian territory left of the Rhine was again occupied by France, whereas the rest of the country was part of the US occupation zone. The French separated their part of Hesse from the rest of the country and incorporated it into the newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). The United States, on the other side, proclaimed the state of Greater Hesse
Greater Hesse
Greater Hesse was the provisional name given for a section of German territory created by the US military administration in at the end of World War II...

 (Groß-Hessen) on 19 September 1945, out of Hesse-Darmstadt and most of the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau
Province of Hesse-Nassau
Hesse-Nassau Province was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1868-1918, then a province of the Free State of Prussia until 1944.Hesse-Nassau was created as a consequence of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 by combining the previously independent Hesse-Kassel , the Duchy of Nassau, the Free...

. On December 4, 1946 Groß-Hessen was officially renamed Hessen.

Geography



Situated in west-central Germany, Hesse state borders the German states of (starting in the north and proceeding clockwise) Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

, Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

 and North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

.

The principal cities of Hesse include Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, Darmstadt
Darmstadt
Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

, Offenbach
Offenbach, Hesse
Offenbach am Main is a city in Hesse, Germany, located on southside of the river Main just next to Frankfurt am Main. In 2009 it had a population of 118,770. The city is part of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan area as well as the Frankfurt urban area....

, Hanau
Hanau
Hanau is a town in the Main-Kinzig-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located 25 km east of Frankfurt am Main. Its station is a major railway junction.- Geography :...

, Gießen
Gießen
Gießen, also spelt Giessen is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen...

, Wetzlar
Wetzlar
Wetzlar is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany. Located at 8° 30′ E, 50° 34′ N, Wetzlar straddles the river Lahn and is on the German Timber-Framework Road which passes mile upon mile of half-timbered houses. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis on the north edge of...

, and Limburg
Limburg an der Lahn
Limburg an der Lahn is the district seat of Limburg-Weilburg in Hesse, Germany.-Location:Limburg lies in western Hesse between the Taunus and the Westerwald on the river Lahn....

 in the greater Rhine Main Area, Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

 in the east, and Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

 and Marburg an der Lahn in the north.

The most important rivers in Hesse are the Fulda
Fulda River
The Fulda is a river in Hesse, Germany. It is one of two headstreams of the Weser . The Fulda is 218 km in length....

 and Eder
Eder
The Eder is a 177 km long river in Germany, and a tributary of the Fulda River. It was first mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus as the Adrana in the territory of the Chatti....

 rivers in the north, the Lahn
Lahn
The Lahn River is a -long, right tributary of the Rhine River in Germany. Its course passes through the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia , Hesse , and Rhineland-Palatinate ....

 in the central part of Hesse, and the Main and Rhine in the south. The countryside is hilly and there are numerous mountain ranges, including the Rhön, the Westerwald
Westerwald
The Westerwald is a low mountain range on the right bank of the River Rhine in the German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a part of the Rhine Massif...

, the Taunus
Taunus
The Taunus is a low mountain range in Hesse, Germany that composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the river valleys of Rhine, Main and Lahn. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the mountains are continued by the Hunsrück...

, the Vogelsberg
Vogelsberg Mountains
The Vogelsberg Mountains are a group duct of ancient volcanic activity and are separated from the Rhön Mountains by the Fulda River and its valley....

, the Knüll
Knüll
Knüllgebirge or Knüll is a small mountain range in Hesse, Germany. It is located in the Northern part of Hesse approximately 45 km South of Kassel, its highest peak is the Eisenberg having an altitude of 636 m. Its area has a rather low population density and is heavily forested...

 and the Spessart
Spessart
The Spessart is a low mountain range in northwestern Bavaria and southern Hesse, Germany. It is bordered on three sides by the Main River. The two most important towns located at the foot of the Spessart are Aschaffenburg and Würzburg....

.

Most of the population of Hesse is in the southern part of Hesse in the Rhine Main Area. The Rhine borders Hesse on the southwest without running through the state, only one old arm – the so-called Alt-Rhein – runs through Hesse. The mountain range between the Main and the Neckar river is called the Odenwald
Odenwald
The Odenwald is a low mountain range in Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany.- Location :The Odenwald lies between the Upper Rhine Rift Valley with the Bergstraße and the Hessisches Ried in the west, the Main and the Bauland in the east, the Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin – a subbasin of...

. The plain in between the rivers Main, Rhine and Neckar, and the Odenwald mountains is called the Ried.

Hesse is the greenest state in Germany. Forest covers 42% of the state.

Administration of the State of Hesse



Hesse is divided into 21 districts and 5 independent cities (with their abbreviations, as used on vehicle number plates):


  1. Bergstraße
    Kreis Bergstraße
    Bergstraße is a Kreis in the south of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Groß-Gerau, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Odenwaldkreis, Rhein-Neckar-Kreis, the urban district Mannheim, the Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis, and the urban district of Worms...

     (Heppenheim
    Heppenheim
    Heppenheim is the seat of Bergstraße district in Hesse, Germany, lying on the Bergstraße on the edge of the Odenwald.- Location :...

    )
    (HP)
  2. Darmstadt-Dieburg (Darmstadt
    Darmstadt
    Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

    )
    (DA)
  3. Groß-Gerau
    Groß-Gerau (district)
    Groß-Gerau is a Kreis in the south of Hesse , Germany. Neighboring districts are Main-Taunus, district-free Frankfurt, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Bergstraße, Alzey-Worms, Mainz-Bingen, and the district-free cities Mainz and Wiesbaden....

     (Groß-Gerau
    Groß-Gerau
    Groß-Gerau is the district seat of the Groß-Gerau district, lying in the southern Frankfurt Rhein-Main Region in Hesse, Germany, and serving as a hub for the surrounding area.-Location:...

    )
    (GG)
  4. Hochtaunuskreis
    Hochtaunuskreis
    The Hochtaunuskreis is a Kreis in the middle of Hesse, Germany and is part of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. Neighbouring districts are Lahn-Dill, Wetteraukreis, district-free Frankfurt, Main-Taunus, Rheingau-Taunus, Limburg-Weilburg.The Hochtaunuskreis and the Landkreis Starnberg...

     (Bad Homburg
    Bad Homburg
    Bad Homburg vor der Höhe is the district town of the Hochtaunuskreis, Hesse, Germany, on the southern slope of the Taunus, bordering among others Frankfurt am Main and Oberursel...

    )
    (HG)
  5. Main-Kinzig-Kreis
    Main-Kinzig-Kreis
    Main-Kinzig is a Kreis in the east of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Wetteraukreis, Vogelsbergkreis, Fulda, Bad Kissingen, Main-Spessart, Aschaffenburg, Offenbach and the district-free cities of Offenbach and Frankfurt.-History:...

     (Gelnhausen
    Gelnhausen
    Gelnhausen is a town and the capital of the Main-Kinzig-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located approx. 40 kilometers east of Frankfurt am Main, between the Vogelsberg mountains and the Spessart range at the river Kinzig...

    )
    (MKK)
  6. Main-Taunus-Kreis
    Main-Taunus-Kreis
    Main-Taunus is a Kreis in the middle of Hesse, Germany and is part of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region as well as the Frankfurt urban area...

     (Hofheim am Taunus) (MTK)
  7. Odenwaldkreis
    Odenwaldkreis
    The Odenwaldkreis is a Kreis in the south of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Darmstadt-Dieburg, Miltenberg,Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis, Rhein-Neckar-Kreis and Kreis Bergstraße. Odenwaldkreis belongs to the Rhine Neckar Area.-History:...

     (Erbach) (ERB)
  8. Offenbach
    Offenbach (district)
    Offenbach is a Kreis in the south of Hesse, Germany and is part of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. Neighbourhood districts are Main-Kinzig, Aschaffenburg, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Groß-Gerau and the cities of Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Offenbach.-History:The district Offenbach was first...

     (Dietzenbach
    Dietzenbach
    Dietzenbach is the seat of Offenbach district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany and lies roughly 12 km southeast of Frankfurt am Main on the river Bieber. Before the Second World War, the current town was a farming village with not quite 4,000 inhabitants...

    )
    (OF)
  9. Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis
    Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis
    Rheingau-Taunus is a Kreis in the west of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Limburg-Weilburg, Hochtaunuskreis, Main-Taunus, district-free Wiesbaden, Mainz-Bingen, Rhein-Lahn.-Geography:...

     (Bad Schwalbach
    Bad Schwalbach
    Bad Schwalbach is the district seat of Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany.- Geographic Location :Bad Schwalbach is a spa town some 20 km northwest of Wiesbaden. It lies at 289 to 465 m above sea level in the Taunus, along the small river Aar...

    )
    (RÜD)
  10. Wetteraukreis
    Wetteraukreis
    The Wetteraukreis is a Kreis in the middle of Hesse, Germany. Neighbouring districts are Landkreis Gießen, Vogelsbergkreis, Main-Kinzig-Kreis, district-free Stadt Frankfurt, Hochtaunuskreis, Lahn-Dill-Kreis.-History:...

     (Friedberg) (FB)
  11. Gießen
    Gießen (district)
    Gießen is a Kreis in the middle of Hessen, Germany. Neighboring districts are Marburg-Biedenkopf, Vogelsbergkreis, Wetteraukreis, Lahn-Dill.-History:...

     (Gießen
    Gießen
    Gießen, also spelt Giessen is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen...

    )
    (GI)
  12. Lahn-Dill-Kreis
    Lahn-Dill-Kreis
    Lahn-Dill is a Kreis in the west of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Siegen-Wittgenstein, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Gießen, Wetteraukreis, Hochtaunuskreis, Limburg-Weilburg, Westerwaldkreis.-History:...

     (Wetzlar
    Wetzlar
    Wetzlar is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany. Located at 8° 30′ E, 50° 34′ N, Wetzlar straddles the river Lahn and is on the German Timber-Framework Road which passes mile upon mile of half-timbered houses. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis on the north edge of...

    )
    (LDK)
  13. Limburg-Weilburg
    Limburg-Weilburg
    Limburg-Weilburg is a Kreis in the west of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Lahn-Dill, Hochtaunuskreis, Rheingau-Taunus, Rhein-Lahn, Westerwaldkreis.-History:...

     (Limburg
    Limburg an der Lahn
    Limburg an der Lahn is the district seat of Limburg-Weilburg in Hesse, Germany.-Location:Limburg lies in western Hesse between the Taunus and the Westerwald on the river Lahn....

    )
    (LM)
  14. Marburg-Biedenkopf
    Marburg-Biedenkopf
    Marburg-Biedenkopf is a Kreis in the west of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Waldeck-Frankenberg, Schwalm-Eder, Vogelsbergkreis, Gießen, Lahn-Dill, Siegen-Wittgenstein.- History :...

     (Marburg
    Marburg
    Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

    )
    (MR)
  15. Vogelsbergkreis
    Vogelsbergkreis
    The Vogelsbergkreis is a Kreis in the middle of Hesse, Germany. Neighbouring districts are Schwalm-Eder, Hersfeld-Rotenburg, Fulda, Main-Kinzig, Wetteraukreis, Gießen and Marburg-Biedenkopf.-Geography:...

     (Lauterbach) (VB)
  16. Fulda
    Fulda (district)
    Fulda is a Kreis in the north-east of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Hersfeld-Rotenburg, Wartburgkreis, Schmalkalden-Meiningen, Rhön-Grabfeld, Bad Kissingen, Main-Kinzig, Vogelsbergkreis.-History:...

     (Fulda
    Fulda
    Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

    )
    (FD)
  17. Hersfeld-Rotenburg (Bad Hersfeld
    Bad Hersfeld
    The festival and spa town of Bad Hersfeld is the district seat of Hersfeld-Rotenburg district in northeastern Hesse, Germany, roughly 50 km southeast of Kassel....

    )
    (HEF)
  18. Kassel (Kassel
    Kassel
    Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

    )
    (KS)
  19. Schwalm-Eder-Kreis
    Schwalm-Eder-Kreis
    Schwalm-Eder is a Kreis in the north of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Kassel, Werra-Meißner, Hersfeld-Rotenburg, Vogelsbergkreis, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Waldeck-Frankenberg.-History:...

     (Homberg (Efze)
    Homberg (Efze)
    Homberg is a small town in northern state of Hesse in central Germany with about 15,000 inhabitants. It is the seat of the Schwalm-Eder district.-Geography:...

    )
    (HR)
  20. Werra-Meißner-Kreis
    Werra-Meißner-Kreis
    Werra-Meißner is a Kreis in the north of Hesse, Germany. Neighboring districts are Göttingen, Eichsfeld, Unstrut-Hainich, Wartburgkreis, district-free Eisenach, Hersfeld-Rotenburg, Schwalm-Eder, Kassel.-History:...

     (Eschwege
    Eschwege
    Eschwege , the district seat of the Werra-Meißner-Kreis, is a town in northeastern Hesse, Germany.- Location :The town lies on a broad plain tract of the river Werra at the foot of the Leuchtberg northwest of the Schlierbachswald and east of the Hoher Meißner...

    )
    (ESW)
  21. Waldeck-Frankenberg
    Waldeck-Frankenberg
    Waldeck-Frankenberg is a Kreis in the north of Hesse, Germany. Neighbouring districts are Höxter, Kassel, Schwalm-Eder, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Hochsauerland.-History:...

     (Korbach
    Korbach
    Korbach is the district seat of Waldeck-Frankenberg in northern Hesse, Germany. It is over a thousand years old and a former Hanseatic town. It is located on the German Framework Road.- Geography and geology :...

    )
    (KB)


Independent cities:
  1. Darmstadt
    Darmstadt
    Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

     (DA)
  2. Frankfurt am Main (F)
  3. Kassel
    Kassel
    Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

     (KS)
  4. Offenbach am Main (OF)
  5. Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

     (WI)

Rhenish Hesse


Rhenish Hesse refers to the part of the former Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt
Grand Duchy of Hesse
The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine , or, between 1806 and 1816, Grand Duchy of Hesse —as it was also known after 1816—was a member state of the German Confederation from 1806, when the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was elevated to a Grand Duchy, until 1918, when all the German...

 located west of the Rhine river and now part of Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

. It is a hilly countryside largely devoted to vineyards; therefore, it is also called the "land of the thousand hills." Its larger towns include Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

, Bingen
Bingen am Rhein
Bingen am Rhein is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.The settlement’s original name was Bingium, a Celtic word that may have meant “hole in the rock”, a description of the shoal behind the Mäuseturm, known as the Binger Loch. Bingen was the starting point for the...

, Alzey
Alzey
Alzey is a Verband-free town – one belonging to no Verbandsgemeinde – in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the fourth-largest town in Rhenish Hesse, after Mainz, Worms, and Bingen....

, Nieder-Olm
Nieder-Olm
Nieder-Olm is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Until 5 November 2006 it was an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – but it was raised to town the next day...

 and Ingelheim. Many inhabitants commute to work in Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, or Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

.

Administration of Rhenish Hesse


Rhenish Hesse contains a number of municipalities and has no specific overall government. It was previously part of the government area of Rheinhessen-Pfalz
Rheinhessen-Pfalz
Rheinhessen-Pfalz was one of the three Regierungsbezirke of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, located in the south of the state...

. However, the state of Rheinland-Palatinate no longer uses this area for administrative purposes.

Politics


The Politics of Hesse takes place within a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, where the Federal Government of Germany exercises sovereign rights with certain powers reserved to the states of Germany including Hesse. The state has a multi-party system where the two main parties were long the center-right Christian Democratic Union
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

 (CDU) and the leftist Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD). However, this changed in 2009, when support for the SPD collapsed after a political crisis in 2008. There are now five parties in the Hesse Landtag.

Most recent state election


Although the government under Minister-President, Roland Koch
Roland Koch
Roland Koch is a German jurist and former conservative politician. He was Minister-President of Hesse from April 7, 1999, immediately becoming President of the Bundesrat, completing the term begun by his predecessor as Minister President, Hans Eichel, until his resignation on August 31, 2010...

 (CDU), lost their majority in the state diet Landtag of Hesse
Landtag of Hesse
The Landtag of Hesse is the state Parliament of the German State of Hesse. It convenes in Wiesbaden and currently consists of 118 members of five Parties. Currently there is coalition between the CDU and the FDP....

 following the 2008 Landtag election
Hesse state election, 2008
The state election to elect members of the Landtag of Hesse was held in the German state of Hesse on 27 January 2008.-Background and issues:...

, their rival parties were unable to form a government. A snap election was held in 2009
Hesse state election, 2009
Early state elections for the Landtag of Hesse were held in Hesse on 18 January 2009. The reason for the early elections was the inability of the parties to form a government after the inconclusive 2008 Hessian election.-Issues and background:...

, which enabled the CDU again to form a government with the FDP
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

. In May 2010, Koch announced his resignation from the post of Minister-President as well as his retirement from politics. His successor is Volker Bouffier
Volker Bouffier
Volker Bouffier is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union. Since August 31, 2010, he is the Minister-president of the German state of Hesse. Additionally, he has been the chairman of Hesse's CDU since July 2010. From 1999 to 2010, he was minister of interior and sports in the state...

.

The party strengths in the 2009 election were as follows:

Culture


The cultural region of Hesse extends into Rhenish Hesse which is in Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

. The oldest and second largest Hessian city of Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 is in Rhenish Hesse. The locals speak a Rhine Franconian
Rhine Franconian
Rhine Franconian , or Rhenish Franconian, is a dialect family of West Central German. It comprises the German dialects spoken across the western regions of the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Hesse in Germany...

 dialect known as Hessisch
Hessian dialects
Hessian is a West Central German group of dialects of the German language in the central German state of Hesse. The dialect most similar to Hessian is Palatinate German of the Rhine Franconian sub-family...

.

State anthem


The official anthem of Hesse is called "Hessenlied
Hessenlied
The Hessenlied is the official anthem of the German federal state of Hesse. The text was written by Carl Preser, the melodie was composed by Albrecht Brede. .-External links:*...

" (Song of Hesse), and was written by Albrecht Brede (music) and Carl Preser (lyrics).

TV and radio stations


Hessischer Rundfunk
Hessischer Rundfunk
Hessischer Rundfunk is the public broadcaster for the German state of Hesse. The main offices of HR are in Frankfurt am Main. HR is a member of the ARD.- Studios :...

 (HR) is the main ARD
ARD (broadcaster)
ARD is a joint organization of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters...

 broadcaster in Hesse, providing a statewide TV programme as well as its regional radio stations (HR 1, HR 2, HR 3, HR 4, you fm and HR info). Other than HR, ZDF
ZDF
Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen , ZDF, is a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz . It is run as an independent non-profit institution, which was founded by the German federal states . The ZDF is financed by television licence fees called GEZ and advertising revenues...

 and other privately run TV stations flourish. Among the commercial radio stations that are active in Hesse are Hit Radio FFH, Planet Radio, Harmony FM, Radio BOB and Main FM.

Economy


Hesse is one of the largest and healthiest economies in Germany. Its GDP in 2009 exceeded 217 billion Euros (about 300 bn US$). This makes Hesse itself one of the largest economies in Europe and the 31st largest in the world. Some large companies headquarted in Hesse include Opel
Opel
Adam Opel AG, generally shortened to Opel, is a German automobile company founded by Adam Opel in 1862. Opel has been building automobiles since 1899, and became an Aktiengesellschaft in 1929...

, Merck
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company. Merck, also known as “German Merck” and “Merck Darmstadt”, was founded in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1668, making it the world's oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company. The company was privately owned until going public in 1995...

, Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank AG is a global financial service company with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. It employs more than 100,000 people in over 70 countries, and has a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the emerging markets...

, Commerzbank
Commerzbank
Commerzbank AG is the second-largest bank in Germany, after Deutsche Bank, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main.-Activities:Commerzbank is mainly active in commercial bank, retail banking and mortgaging. It suffered reversals in investment banking in early 2000s and scaled back its Securities unit...

, Fraport
Fraport
Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide is a German transport company which operates the Frankfurt International Airport serving Frankfurt am Main and holds interests in the operation of several other airports around the world. In the past the firm also managed the smaller Frankfurt-Hahn...

, Fresenius, Sanofi Aventis, Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

, B. Braun
B. Braun Melsungen
B. Braun Melsungen AG is a German medical and pharmaceutical company, which has offices and facilities in 50 countries. Its headquarters are located in the small town of Melsungen, in central Germany...

 and Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse AG is a marketplace organizer for the trading of shares and other securities. It also is a transaction services provider. It gives companies and investors access to global capital markets. It is a joint stock company and was founded in 1993. The headquarters are in Frankfurt,...

. After figures among the GDP per capita, Hesse is the wealthiest State in Germany.

Traffic and public transportation


Hesse has one of the best transportation networks in Europe. Many trans-European and German motorways, high-speed train, and waterways lines cross Hesse. Frankfurt International Airport
Frankfurt International Airport
Frankfurt am Main Airport , or simply Frankfurt Airport, known in German as Flughafen Frankfurt am Main or Rhein-Main-Flughafen, is a major international airport located in Frankfurt, Germany, southwest of the city centre....

 is Germany's largest and Europe's third largest airport (after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle). Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
is the central station for Frankfurt am Main. In terms of railway traffic, it is the busiest railway station in Germany. With about 350,000 passengers per day the station is the second most frequented railway station in Germany and one of the most frequented in Europe.- Proto-history :In the late...

 is Germany's second busiest railway station by passengers but the busiest in terms of traffic.

Motorways


Hesse has a dense highway network with a total of 24 motorways. The internationally important motorway routes through Hesse are the A3, A5, and A7. Close to the airport of Frankfurt is the Frankfurter Kreuz
Frankfurter Kreuz
The Frankfurter Kreuz is an Autobahn interchange in the city of Frankfurt in Hessen, Germany where the autobahns A3 and A5 meet. The interchange was originally to be built from 1931 to 1933, but due to World War II construction was not finished until 1957....

, Germany's busiest and one of Europe's busiest motorway junction, where the motorways A3 (Arnhem-Cologne-Frankfurt-Nuremberg-Passau) and A5
Bundesautobahn 5
is a 445 km long Autobahn in Germany. Its northern end is the Hattenbach triangle intersection is a 445 km (277 mi) long Autobahn in Germany. Its northern end is the Hattenbach triangle intersection is a 445 km (277 mi) long Autobahn in Germany. Its northern end is the...

 (Hattenbach-Frankfurt-Karlsruhe-Basel) intersect. The A5 becomes as large as 4 lanes in each direction near the city of Frankfurt am Main. During the rush-hour its possible to use the emergency lanes on the A3 and A5 motorway in the Rhine-Main Region. In fact of this, the Motorways had 4 lanes in each direction.

Death penalty


Death penalty in Hesse is still present in article 21 of the Hessian constitution but it's not applied at all. According to article 102 of the Grundgesetz (basic law) death penalty is not allowed in Germany. The reason is that if something is not allowed by the Grundgesetz it's also not allowed in any German state law like the Hessian constitution (German principle "Bundesrecht bricht Landesrecht" → literally Federal law breaks state law). In addition to the Grundgesetz death penalty cannot be applied in Germany because the modern German criminal code doesn't know any death penalty as punishment, while earlier versions of the German criminal code (until 1953) knew death penalty as possible sentence for murder.

The Hessian constitution was written in 1946, three years before the Grundgesetz (1949), so some older laws like death penalty have been kept until today.

Article 21 of the Hessian constitution


Original text:
  1. "Ist jemand einer strafbaren Handlung für schuldig befunden worden, so können ihm auf Grund der Strafgesetze durch richterliches Urteil die Freiheit und die bürgerlichen Ehrenrechte entzogen oder beschränkt werden. Bei besonders schweren Verbrechen kann er zum Tode verurteilt werden."
  2. "Die Strafe richtet sich nach der Schwere der Tat."
  3. "Alle Gefangenen sind menschlich zu behandeln. "


English translation:
  1. "If somebody has been found guilty for a punishable act his freedom and civil rights can be deprived or limited by a judicial sentence based on the penal laws. In case of notably serious crimes he can be sentenced to death."
  2. "Sentence is determined by the seriousness of crime."
  3. "All prisoners are to be treated with humanity."

Article 102 of the Grundgesetz


Original text:

"Die Todesstrafe ist abgeschafft."

English translation:

"Death penalty is abolished."

Public discussion in Hesse


There is still a public discussion in Hesse about abolishing death penalty. Some people think that article 21 of the Hessian constitution should be ceased (if there is no death penalty at all it cannot be administered at all). Removing the death penalty from the Hessian constitution requires a referendum in Hesse. Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 held a referendum in 1998 and successfully removed the death penalty from its constitution and the Saarland
Saarland
Saarland is one of the sixteen states of Germany. The capital is Saarbrücken. It has an area of 2570 km² and 1,045,000 inhabitants. In both area and population, it is the smallest state in Germany other than the city-states...

 removed the passage concerning the death penalty on reunion with Germany in 1956.

See also


  • Landgraviate of Hesse
    Landgraviate of Hesse
    The Landgraviate of Hesse was a Landgraviate of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed as a unity from 1264 to 1567, when it was divided between the sons of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse.-History:...

  • Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
    Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
    The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was a member state of the Holy Roman Empire. It was formed in 1567 following the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse between the four sons of Philip I, the last Landgrave of Hesse....

  • Hesse-Kassel
    Hesse-Kassel
    The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

  • Hessische Bergstrasse
  • List of mountains in Hesse

External links