North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia

Overview
North Rhine-Westphalia ( ˈnɔɐ̯tʁaɪn vɛstˈfaːlən) is the most populous 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...

 of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

 and Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...

, both formerly part of 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...

. Its capital is Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

. The state is currently run by a coalition of the Social Democrats
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 and Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

.



Around 1 A.D. there were numerous incursions through Westphalia and perhaps even some permanent Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 or Romanized settlements.
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Encyclopedia
North Rhine-Westphalia ( ˈnɔɐ̯tʁaɪn vɛstˈfaːlən) is the most populous 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...

 of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

 and Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...

, both formerly part of 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...

. Its capital is Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

. The state is currently run by a coalition of the Social Democrats
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 and Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

.

History


Westphalia



Around 1 A.D. there were numerous incursions through Westphalia and perhaps even some permanent Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 or Romanized settlements. The Battle of Teutoburg Forest took place near Osnabrück (as mentioned, it is disputed whether this is in Westphalia) and some of the tribes who fought at this battle came from the area of Westphalia. Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 is thought to have spent considerable time in Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

 and nearby parts. His Saxon Wars
Saxon Wars
The Saxon Wars were the campaigns and insurrections of the more than thirty years from 772, when Charlemagne first entered Saxony with the intent to conquer, to 804, when the last rebellion of disaffected tribesmen was crushed. In all, eighteen battles were fought in what is now northwestern Germany...

 also partly took place in what is thought of as Westphalia today. Popular legends link his adversary Widukind
Widukind
Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

 to places near Detmold, Bielefeld, Lemgo, Osnabrück and other places in Westphalia. Widukind was buried in Enger
Enger
Enger is a town in the Herford district, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Enger is situated between the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehen Hills, approx...

, which is also a subject of a legend.

Along with Eastphalia
Eastphalia
Eastphalia is a historical region in northern Germany, encompassing the eastern part of the historic Duchy of Saxony, between the Elbe, Leine, Saale and Unstrut rivers. Today, it covers the southeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony and the western part of Saxony-Anhalt.-Etymology:The name...

 and Engern, Westphalia (Westfalahi) was originally a district of the Duchy of Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

. In 1180 Westphalia was elevated to the rank of a duchy by Emperor Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

. The Duchy of Westphalia
Duchy of Westphalia
The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the greater region of Westphalia, located in the east of modern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Originally, Westphalia formed with Angria and Eastphalia one of the three main regions of Saxony...

 comprised only a small area south of the Lippe River
Lippe River
The Lippe is a river in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a right tributary of the Rhine and in length.The source is located at the edge of the Teutoburg Forest in Bad Lippspringe close to the city of Paderborn. It runs westward through Paderborn, Lippstadt and then along the northern edge...

.



Parts of Westphalia came under Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohenzollern intermarried with the branch ruling the Duchy of Prussia, and secured succession...

n control during the 17th and 18th centuries, but most of it remained divided duchies and other feudal areas of power. The Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

 of 1648, signed in Münster and Osnabrück, ended 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....

. The concept of nation-state sovereignty resulting from the treaty became known as "Westphalian sovereignty
Westphalian sovereignty
Westphalian sovereignty is the concept of nation-state sovereignty based on two things: territoriality and the absence of a role for external agents in domestic structures....

".

As a result of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, there is no dominant religion in Westphalia. Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 are on relatively equal footing. Lutheranism is strong in the eastern and northern parts with numerous free churches. Münster
Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

 and especially Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

 are thought of as Catholic. Osnabrück is divided almost equally between Catholicism and Protestantism.

After the defeat of the Prussian Army
Prussian Army
The Royal Prussian Army was the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.The Prussian Army had its roots in the meager mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years' War...

 at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia...

, the Treaty of Tilsit
Treaties of Tilsit
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman...

 in 1807 made the Westphalian territories part of the Kingdom of Westphalia
Kingdom of Westphalia
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte...

 from 1807–13. It was founded by Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 and was a French
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 vassal state
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

. This state only shared the name with the historical region; it contained only a relatively small part of Westphalia, consisting instead mostly of Hessian
Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

 and Eastphalia
Eastphalia
Eastphalia is a historical region in northern Germany, encompassing the eastern part of the historic Duchy of Saxony, between the Elbe, Leine, Saale and Unstrut rivers. Today, it covers the southeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony and the western part of Saxony-Anhalt.-Etymology:The name...

n regions.

After the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

, the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 received a large amount of territory in the Westphalian region and created the province of Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...

 in 1815. The northernmost portions of the former kingdom, including the town of Osnabrück
Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

, had become part of the states of Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

 and Oldenburg
Oldenburg (state)
Oldenburg — named after its capital, the town of Oldenburg — was a state in the north of present-day Germany. Oldenburg survived from 1180 until 1918 as a county, duchy and grand duchy, and from 1918 until 1946 as a free state. It was located near the mouth of the River Weser...

.

Rhineland



At the earliest historical period, the territories between the Ardennes and the Rhine were occupied by the Treveri
Treveri
The Treveri or Treviri were a tribe of Gauls who inhabited the lower valley of the Moselle from around 150 BCE, at the latest, until their eventual absorption into the Franks...

, the Eburones
Eburones
The Eburones , were a Belgic people who lived in the northeast of Gaul, near the river Meuse and the modern provinces of Belgian and Dutch Limburg, in the period immediately before it was conquered by Rome. They played a major role in Julius Caesar's account of his "Gallic Wars", as the most...

 and other Celtic tribes, who, however, were all more or less modified and influenced by their Germanic neighbours. On the right bank of the Rhine, between the Main and the Lahn, were the settlements of the Mattiaci
Mattiaci
The Mattiaci were an ancient Germanic tribe. They were possibly a branch of the Chatti, their Germanic neighbors to the east. The Mattiaci were settled on border of the Roman Empire on the right side of the Rhine in the area of present-day Wiesbaden , the southern Taunus, and the Wetterau.Tacitus...

, a branch of the Germanic 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...

, while farther to the north were the Usipetes and Tencteri.

Julius Caesar conquered the tribes on the left bank, and Augustus established numerous fortified posts on the Rhine, but the Romans never succeeded in gaining a firm footing on the right bank. As the power of the Roman empire declined the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 pushed forward along both banks of the Rhine, and by the end of the 5th century had conquered all the lands that had formerly been under Roman influence. The Germanic conquerors of the Rhenish districts were singularly little affected by the culture of the Roman provincials they subdued, and all traces of Roman civilization were submerged. By the 8th century the Frankish dominion was firmly established in western Germany and northern Gaul.

On the division of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 at the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

 the part of the province to the east of the river fell to East Francia, while that to the west remained with the kingdom of Lotharingia
Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

.

By the time of Otto I. (d. 973) both banks of the Rhine had become part of 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...

, and the Rhenish territory was divided between the duchies of Upper Lorraine, on the Mosel, and Lower Lorraine
Lower Lorraine
The Duchy of Lower Lorraine or Lower Lotharingia , established in 959 was a stem duchy of the medieval German kingdom, which encompassed part of modern-day Belgium, the Netherlands, the northern part of the German Rhineland and a part of northern France east of the Schelde river.It was created out...

 on the Meuse.

As the central power of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 weakened, the Rhineland split up into numerous small independent principalities, each with its separate vicissitudes and special chronicles. The old Lotharingian divisions became obsolete, and the name of Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 became restricted to the district that still bears it.

In spite of its dismembered condition, and the sufferings it underwent at the hands of its French neighbours in various periods of warfare, the Rhenish territory prospered greatly and stood in the foremost rank of German culture and progress. Aachen was the place of coronation of the German emperors, and the ecclesiastical principalities of the Rhine bulked largely in German history.

Prussia first set foot on the Rhine in 1609 by the occupation of the Duchy of Cleves
Duchy of Cleves
The Duchy of Cleves was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capital Cleves and the town of Wesel, bordering the lands of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster in the east and the Duchy of Brabant in the west...

 and about a century later Upper Guelders
Prussian Guelders
Prussian Guelders or Prussian Gelderland was the part of the Duchy of Guelders ruled by the Kingdom of Prussia from 1713. Its capital was Geldern....

 and Moers
Moers
Moers is a German city on the left bank of the Rhine. Moers belongs to the district of Wesel...

 also became Prussian. At the peace of Basel in 1795 the whole of the left bank of the Rhine was resigned to France, and in 1806 the Rhenish princes all joined the Confederation of the Rhine.

After the Congress of Vienna, Prussia was awarded with the entire Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

, which included the Grand Duchy of Berg
Grand Duchy of Berg
The Grand Duchy of Berg was established by Napoleon Bonaparte after his victory at the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz on territories between the French Empire at the Rhine river and the Kingdom of Westphalia.-History:...

, the ecclesiastic electorates of Trier and Cologne, the free cities of Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 and Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, and nearly a hundred small lordships and abbeys. The Prussian Rhine province
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

 was formed in 1822 and Prussia had the tact to leave them in undisturbed possession of the liberal institutions they had become accustomed to under the republican rule of the French. In 1920, the districts of Eupen
Eupen
Eupen is a municipality in the Belgian province of Liège, from the German border , from the Dutch border and from the "High Fens" nature reserve...

 and Malmedy
Malmedy
Malmedy is a municipality of Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region, Province of Liège. It belongs to the French Community of Belgium, within which it is French-speaking with facilities for German-speakers. On January 1, 2006 Malmedy had a total population of 11,829...

 were transferred to Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 (see German-Speaking Community of Belgium
German-speaking Community of Belgium
The German-speaking Community of Belgium is one of the three federal communities of Belgium. Covering an area of 854 km² within the province of Liège in Wallonia, it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of the so-called East Cantons...

).

Creation of the state


The state of North Rhine-Westphalia was established by the British military administration's "Operation Marriage" on 23 August 1946. Originally, it consisted of Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...

 and the northern parts of the Rhine Province
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

, both formerly part of 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...

. On 21 January 1947, the former state of Lippe was merged with North Rhine-Westphalia. The constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia
Constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia
The Constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia in the constitutional document that governs the responsibilities and rights of various offices and the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany.-Background:...

 was then ratified through a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

.

Geography


North Rhine-Westphalia includes the plains of the Lower Rhine
Lower Rhine
The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands.Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The main branch is called the Waal which flows from Nijmegen to meet the river Meuse; after which it is called Merwede...

 region and parts of the Central Uplands
Central Uplands
The Central Uplands is one of the three major natural regions of Germany and covers most of the land area of the country. To the north lies the North German Plain or Northern Lowland; to the south, the Alps and the Alpine Foreland.- Formation :...

 (Mittelgebirge) up to the gorge of Porta Westfalica
Porta Westfalica (gorge)
thumb|Weser watershedThe Porta Westfalica is a gorge and water gap, where the Weser river runs through the passage between the mountain chains of the Wiehengebirge in the west and the Wesergebirge in the east...

. The state comprises a land area of 34,083 km² (13,158 square miles) and shares borders with Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 in the southwest and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 in the west and northwest. It has borders with the German states of 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...

 to the north and northeast, 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 ....

 to the south and Hesse
Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

 to the southeast.

Approximately half of the state is located in the relative shallow regions of the Westphalian Lowland
Westphalian Lowland
The Westphalian Lowland, also known as the Westphalian Basin is a flat landscape that mainly lies within the German region of Westphalia, although small areas also fall within North Rhine and in Lower Saxony...

 or rather the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

, both widely extending into the North German Plain
North German plain
The North German Plain or Northern Lowland is one of the major geographical regions of Germany. It is the German part of the North European Plain...

. A few isolated mountain ranges are located within these lowlands, among them the Hohe Mark, the Beckum Hills
Beckum Hills
The Beckum Hills , named after the town of Beckum, are a range of low hills, up to , in the region of Münsterland in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia...

, the Baumberge and the Stemmer Berge.

Towards the south as well as in the east of the state, the terrain rises. Here, the state has a stake in the Central Uplands
Central Uplands
The Central Uplands is one of the three major natural regions of Germany and covers most of the land area of the country. To the north lies the North German Plain or Northern Lowland; to the south, the Alps and the Alpine Foreland.- Formation :...

, the Mittelgebirge. To this are counted the Weser Uplands with the Eggegebirge
Eggegebirge
The Eggegebirge is a range of low, forested mountains in the very east of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.-Geography:The Eggegebirge extends from the southern tip of the Teutoburger Wald range near Horn-Bad Meinberg southwards to the northern parts of the Sauerland near Marsberg...

, the Wiehen Hills, the Wesergebirge
Wesergebirge
The Wesergebirge is a low mountain chain up to high in the Weser Uplands in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony....

 and the Teutoburg Forest
Teutoburg Forest
The Teutoburg Forest is a range of low, forested mountains in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia which used to be believed to be the scene of a decisive battle in AD 9...

 in the east, the Sauerland
Sauerland
The Sauerland is a rural, hilly area spreading across most of the south-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, in parts heavily forested and, apart from the major valleys, sparsely inhabited...

, the Bergisches Land
Bergisches Land
The Bergisches Land is a low mountain range region within the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, east of Rhine river, south of the Ruhr. The landscape is shaped by woods, meadows, rivers and creeks and contains over 20 artificial lakes...

, the Siegerland
Siegerland
The Siegerland is a region of Germany covering the old district of Siegen and the upper part of the district of Altenkirchen, belonging to the Rhineland-Palatinate adjoining it to the west.Geologically, the Siegerland belongs to the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge...

 and the Siebengebirge
Siebengebirge
The Siebengebirge is a German range of hills to the East of the Rhine, southeast of Bonn, consisting of more than 40 mountains and hills. It is located in the municipalities of Bad Honnef and Königswinter. It is of volcanic origin and came into being between 28 and 15 million years ago...

 in the south, as well as the left-Rhenish Eifel
Eifel
The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany and eastern Belgium. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium....

 in the southwest of the state. The Rothaargebirge
Rothaargebirge
The Rothaargebirge is a low mountain range reaching heights of up to 843.1 m in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, Germany....

 in the border region to Hesse
Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

 exhibits elevations about 800 m above sea level. The highest among these mountains is the Langenberg
Langenberg
Langenberg is a quarter in Velbert, a German city. Located in this district is the famous Sender Langenberg transmission site, which transmits MW, FM, and TV broadcasting signals....

 with 843.2 m above sea level, then follow the Kahler Asten
Kahler Asten
The Kahler Asten is an 841.9-meter-high mountain in the Rothaargebirge range in the district of Hochsauerland, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia...

 (840.7 m above sea level) and the Clemensberg (839.2 m above sea level).

The planimetrically ascertained centre of North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the south of Dortmund-Aplerbeck in the Aplerbecker Mark (51° 28' N, 7° 33' Ö). The westernmost point is situated near Selfkant
Selfkant
Selfkant is a municipality in the Heinsberg district, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the most westerly municipality in Germany...

 close to the Dutch border, the easternmost near Höxter
Höxter
Höxter is the seat of the Höxter district, and a town in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia on the left bank of the river Weser, 52 km north of Kassel in the centre of the Weser Uplands...

 on the Weser. The southernmost point lies near Hellenthal
Hellenthal
Hellenthal is a municipality in the district of Euskirchen in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the Eifel hills, near the border with Belgium, approx. 30 km south-west of Euskirchen and 40 km south-east of Aachen...

 in the Eifel
Eifel
The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany and eastern Belgium. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium....

 region. The northernmost point is the NRW-Nordpunkt near Rahden
Rahden
Rahden is a town in the Minden-Lübbecke district, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Rahden is situated approx. 15 km north of Lübbecke and 25 km north-west of Minden...

 in the northeast of the state. The Nordpunkt is located only 100 km to the south of the North Sea coast. The deepest natural dip is arranged in the district Zyfflich in the city of Kranenburg
Kranenburg
Kranenburg is the name of* Kranenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, municipality in the district Cleves, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany,* Kranenburg, Lower Saxony, municipality in the district Stade, Lower Saxony, Germany....

 with 9.2 m above sea level in the northwest of the state. Though, the deepest point overground results from mining. The open-pit Hambach reaches at Niederzier
Niederzier
Niederzier is a municipality in the district of Düren in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located approx. 10 km north of Düren, and 10 km south-east of Jülich....

 a deep of 293 m below sea level. At the same time, this is the deepest man-made dip in Germany.

The most important rivers flowing at least partially through North Rhine-Westphalia include: the Rhine, the Ruhr, the Ems, the Lippe
Lippe River
The Lippe is a river in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a right tributary of the Rhine and in length.The source is located at the edge of the Teutoburg Forest in Bad Lippspringe close to the city of Paderborn. It runs westward through Paderborn, Lippstadt and then along the northern edge...

, and the Weser. The Rhine is the by far most important river in North Rhine-Westphalia: it enters the state as Middle Rhine
Middle Rhine
Between Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the Rhine River flows as the Middle Rhine through the Rhine Gorge, a formation created by erosion, which happened at about the same rate as an uplift in the region, leaving the river at about its original level, and the surrounding lands raised...

 near Bad Honnef, where still being part of the Mittelrhein wine region
Mittelrhein (wine region)
Mittelrhein is a region for quality wine in Germany, and is located along a 120 km stretch of river Rhine in the touristic portions of the Rhine region known as Middle Rhine. On the left bank of Rhine, vineyards begin immediately downstream of the Nahe River estuary and last until Koblenz...

. It changes into the Lower Rhine
Lower Rhine
The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands.Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The main branch is called the Waal which flows from Nijmegen to meet the river Meuse; after which it is called Merwede...

 near Bad Godesberg and leaves North Rhine-Westphalia near Emmerich at a width of 730 metres. Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches.

The Pader, which flows entirely within the city of Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, is considered Germany's shortest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

.

For many, North Rhine-Westphalia is synonymous with industrial areas and urban agglomerations. However, the largest part of the state is used for agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 (almost 52%) and forests (25%).

Subdivisions


The state consists of five government regions
Regierungsbezirk
In Germany, a Government District, in German: Regierungsbezirk – is a subdivision of certain federal states .They are above the Kreise, Landkreise, and kreisfreie Städte...

 (Regierungsbezirke), divided into 31 districts (Kreise
Districts of Germany
The districts of Germany are known as , except in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein where they are known simply as ....

) and 23 urban districts
Urban districts of Germany
This is a list of urban districts in Germany. Germany's sixteen states are further subdivided into 402 districts of which 107 are urban districts – cities which constitute a district in their own right. A similar concept is the Statutarstadt in Austria...

 (kreisfreie Städte). In total, North Rhine-Westphalia has 396 municipalities (1997), including the urban districts, which are municipalities by themselves.

The five government regions of North Rhine-Westphalia each belong to one of the two Landschaftsverbände:
Landschaftsverband Rhineland
Landschaftsverband Westphalia-Lippe


The regional authorities Rhineland (green) and
Westphalia-Lippe (red)
Government districts
Regierungsbezirk
In Germany, a Government District, in German: Regierungsbezirk – is a subdivision of certain federal states .They are above the Kreise, Landkreise, and kreisfreie Städte...

 
(Regierungsbezirke)
historical regions
Government districts
Regierungsbezirk
In Germany, a Government District, in German: Regierungsbezirk – is a subdivision of certain federal states .They are above the Kreise, Landkreise, and kreisfreie Städte...

 
(Regierungsbezirke)
historical regions
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf (region)
Düsseldorf is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the north-west of the country. It covers the western part of the Ruhr Area, as well as the Niederrheinische Tiefebene, the lower Rhine area. It is the most populated of all German administrative areas of...

  • Rhineland
    Rhineland
    Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

    • Bergisches Land
      Bergisches Land
      The Bergisches Land is a low mountain range region within the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, east of Rhine river, south of the Ruhr. The landscape is shaped by woods, meadows, rivers and creeks and contains over 20 artificial lakes...

    • Eifel
      Eifel
      The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany and eastern Belgium. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium....

    • Aachen
    • Lower Rhine
      Lower Rhine
      The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands.Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The main branch is called the Waal which flows from Nijmegen to meet the river Meuse; after which it is called Merwede...

    • Rheinschiene
    • Cologne/Bonn
      Cologne/Bonn Region
      The Cologne/Bonn Region , also known as Cologne/Bonn Metropolitan Region is a metropolitan area in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany, covering the cities of Cologne, Bonn and Leverkusen, as well as the districts of Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis, Oberbergischer Kreis, Rhein-Erft-Kreis and Rhein-Sieg-Kreis...

Arnsberg
Arnsberg (region)
Arnsberg is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the south-east of the country. It covers the Sauerland hills as well as the east part of the Ruhr area....

  • 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"...

    • Münsterland
      Münster (region)
      Münster is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the north of the state, and named after the city of Münster. It includes the area which in medieval times was known as the Dreingau....

    • Minden-Ravensberg
    • Prince-Bishopric Paderborn
    • Sauerland
      Sauerland
      The Sauerland is a rural, hilly area spreading across most of the south-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, in parts heavily forested and, apart from the major valleys, sparsely inhabited...

    • Siegerland
      Siegerland
      The Siegerland is a region of Germany covering the old district of Siegen and the upper part of the district of Altenkirchen, belonging to the Rhineland-Palatinate adjoining it to the west.Geologically, the Siegerland belongs to the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge...

    • Tecklenburger Land
  • Lippe
    Lippe
    Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-Lippe....

    • Lipper Land, the region
      of the ancient free state
  • Köln
    Cologne (region)
    Cologne is one of the five governmental districts of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located in the south-west of that state and covers the hills of the Eifel as well as the Bergisches Land....

    Detmold
    Detmold (region)
    The Regierungsbezirk Detmold is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the north-east of the state...

    Münster
    Münster (region)
    Münster is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the north of the state, and named after the city of Münster. It includes the area which in medieval times was known as the Dreingau....


    Rural Districts (Kreise)
    Urban Districts (Kreisfreie Städte)


    1. Aachen
      Aachen (district)
      The district of Aachen is a district in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Heinsberg, Düren, Euskirchen, and also the Netherlands province of Limburg and the Belgian province of Liège.- History :...


    2. Borken
      Borken (district)
      Borken is a Kreis in the northwestern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in the Region Münsterland. Neighboring districts are Bentheim, Steinfurt, Coesfeld, Recklinghausen, Wesel, Cleves, and the Dutch provinces Gelderland and Overijssel....


    3. Coesfeld
      Coesfeld (district)
      Coesfeld is a Kreis in the northwestern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, west of the city of Münster. Neighboring districts are Steinfurt, district-free Münster, Warendorf, district-free Hamm, Unna, Recklinghausen, Borken.- History :...


    4. Düren
      Düren (district)
      Düren is a Kreis in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Heinsberg, Neuss, Rhein-Erft-Kreis, Euskirchen and Aachen.-History:...


    5. Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis
    6. Rhein-Erft-Kreis
      Rhein-Erft-Kreis
      The Rhein-Erft-Kreis is a district in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Neuss, district-free Cologne, Rhein-Sieg, Euskirchen, Düren.-History:...


    7. Euskirchen
      Euskirchen (district)
      Euskirchen is a Kreis in the south-west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Aachen, Düren, Rhein-Erft-Kreis, Rhein-Sieg, Ahrweiler, Daun, Bitburg-Prüm, and the Liège province .-History:...


    8. Gütersloh
      Gütersloh (district)
      Gütersloh is a Kreis in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Osnabrück, Herford, district-free Bielefeld, Lippe, Paderborn, Soest and Warendorf.-History:...


    9. Heinsberg
      Heinsberg (district)
      Heinsberg is a Kreis in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Viersen, district-free city Mönchengladbach, Neuss, Düren and Aachen, and also the Dutch province Limburg.-History:...


    10. Herford
      Herford (district)
      Herford is a Kreis in the northeastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Minden-Lübbecke, Lippe, the urban district of Bielefeld, and the districts Gütersloh and Osnabrück.-History:...


    11. Hochsauerland
      Hochsauerland
      Hochsauerlandkreis is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Soest, Paderborn, Höxter, Waldeck-Frankenberg, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Olpe, Märkischer Kreis.- History :...

      kreis
    12. Höxter
      Höxter (district)
      Höxter is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Holzminden, Northeim, Kassel, Waldeck-Frankenberg, Hochsauerland, Paderborn, and Lippe.-History:...


    13. Kleve
    14. Lippe
      Lippe
      Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-Lippe....


    15. Märkischer Kreis
      Märkischer Kreis
      The Märkischer Kreis is a district in central North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighbouring districts are Unna, Soest, Hochsauerland, Olpe, Oberbergischer Kreis, Ennepe-Ruhr, and the city of Hagen.-History:...


    16. Mettmann
      Mettmann (district)
      Mettmann is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring are the Ennepe-Ruhr and thedistrict-free cities Wuppertal, Solingen, Düsseldorf,Duisburg, Mülheim, Essen...





    1. Minden-Lübbecke
      Minden-Lübbecke
      Minden-Lübbecke is a Kreis in the northeastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Diepholz, Nienburg, Schaumburg, Lippe, Herford, Osnabrück.-Geography:...


    2. Rhein-Kreis Neuss
    3. Oberbergischer Kreis
    4. Olpe
      Olpe (district)
      Olpe is a Kreis in the south-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Märkischer Kreis, Hochsauerland, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Altenkirchen, Oberbergischer Kreis.- History :...


    5. Paderborn
      Paderborn (district)
      Paderborn is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Gütersloh, Lippe, Höxter, Hochsauerland, and Soest.-History:...


    6. Recklinghausen
      Recklinghausen (district)
      Recklinghausen is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Borken, Coesfeld, Unna,district-free cities Dortmund, Bochum, Herne, Essen, Gelsenkirchen and Bottrop, and the district Wesel.-History:...


    7. Rheinisch-
      Bergischer Kreis
      Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis
      The Rheinisch-Bergische Kreis is a Kreis in the Cologne Bonn Region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring are the districts Oberbergischer Kreis and Rhein-Sieg, and the district-free citiesCologne, Leverkusen, Solingen and Remscheid....


    8. Rhein-Sieg-Kreis
    9. Siegen-Wittgenstein
      Siegen-Wittgenstein
      Siegen-Wittgenstein is a Kreis in the southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Olpe, Hochsauerlandkreis, Waldeck-Frankenberg, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Lahn-Dill, Westerwaldkreis, Altenkirchen.-History:...


    10. Soest
      Soest (district)
      Soest is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Warendorf, Gütersloh, Paderborn, Hochsauerland, Märkischer Kreis, Unna and the district-free city Hamm.-History:...


    11. Steinfurt
      Steinfurt (district)
      Steinfurt is a Kreis in the northern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Bentheim, Emsland, district-free Osnabrück and the Osnabrück district, Warendorf, district-free Münster, Coesfeld, Borken.-Geography:...


    12. Unna
      Unna (district)
      The Unna district is a Kreis in central North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring authorities are the district of Coesfeld, the city of Hamm, the districts of Soest and Märkischer Kreis, the cities of Hagen and Dortmund, and the district of Recklinghausen.-History:The area of the present...


    13. Viersen
      Viersen (district)
      Viersen is a Kreis in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Cleves, Wesel, district-free Krefeld, Neuss, district-free Mönchengladbach, Heinsberg and the Dutch province of Limburg.-History:...


    14. Warendorf
      Warendorf (district)
      Warendorf is a Kreis in the northern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Steinfurt, Osnabrück , Gütersloh, Soest, district-free city Hamm, Coesfeld and the district-free city Münster.-History:...


    15. Wesel
      Wesel (district)
      Wesel is a Kreis in the northwestern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Borken, Recklinghausen, district-free cities Bottrop, Oberhausen, Duisburg and Krefeld, districts Viersen, Cleves.-History:...



    1. Aachen
      Aachen
      Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...


    2. Bielefeld
      Bielefeld
      Bielefeld is an independent city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 323,000, it is also the most populous city in the Regierungsbezirk Detmold...


    3. Bochum
      Bochum
      Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...


    4. Bonn
      Bonn
      Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....


    5. Bottrop
      Bottrop
      Bottrop is a city in west central Germany, on the Rhine-Herne Canal, in North Rhine-Westphalia. Located in the Ruhr industrial area, Bottrop adjoins Essen, Oberhausen, Gladbeck and Dorsten. The city had been a coal-mining and rail center and contains factories producing coal-tar derivatives,...


    6. Dortmund
      Dortmund
      Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....


    7. Duisburg
      Duisburg
      - History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...


    8. Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...


    9. Essen
    10. Gelsenkirchen
      Gelsenkirchen
      Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area. Its population in 2006 was c. 267,000....


    11. Hagen
      Hagen
      Hagen is the 39th-largest city in Germany, located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the eastern edge of the Ruhr area, 15 km south of Dortmund, where the rivers Lenne, Volme and Ennepe meet the river Ruhr...


    12. Hamm
      Hamm
      Hamm is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany. It is located in the northeastern part of the Ruhr area. As of December 2003 its population was 180,849. The city is situated between the A1 motorway and A2 motorway...




    1. Herne
      Herne, Germany
      Herne is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area directly between the cities of Bochum and Gelsenkirchen.- History :Like most other cities in the region Herne was a tiny village until the 19th century...


    2. Köln / Cologne
      Cologne
      Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...


    3. Krefeld
      Krefeld
      Krefeld , also known as Crefeld until 1929, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located northwest of Düsseldorf, its centre lying just a few kilometres to the west of the River Rhine; the borough of Uerdingen is situated directly on the Rhine...


    4. Leverkusen
      Leverkusen
      Leverkusen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on the eastern bank of the Rhine. To the South, Leverkusen borders the city of Cologne and to the North is the state capital Düsseldorf....


    5. Mönchengladbach
      Mönchengladbach
      Mönchengladbach , formerly known as Münchengladbach, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located west of the Rhine half way between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border....


    6. Mülheim
      Mülheim
      Mülheim an der Ruhr, also called "City on the River", is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is located in the Ruhr Area between Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen and Ratingen...


    7. Münster
      Münster
      Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...


    8. Oberhausen
      Oberhausen
      Oberhausen is a city on the river Emscher in the Ruhr Area, Germany, located between Duisburg and Essen . The city hosts the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and its Gasometer Oberhausen is an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. It is also well known for the...


    9. Remscheid
      Remscheid
      Remscheid is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is, after Wuppertal and Solingen, the third largest municipality in Bergisches Land, being located on the northern edge of the region, on south side of the Ruhr area....


    10. Solingen
      Solingen
      Solingen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area, and with a 2009 population of 161,366 is the second largest city in the Bergisches Land...


    11. Wuppertal
      Wuppertal
      Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the Wupper river valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land...



    Borders


    The state's area covers a maximum distance of 291 km from north to south, and 266 km from east to west. The total length of the state's borders is 1,645 km. The following countries and states have a border with North Rhine-Westphalia:
    • Belgium
      Belgium
      Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

       (99 km)
    • Netherlands
      Netherlands
      The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

       (387 km)
    • 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...

       (583 km)
    • Hesse
      Hesse
      Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

       (269 km)
    • Rhineland Palatinate (307 km)

    Demographics


    North Rhine-Westphalia has a population of approximately 18 million inhabitants, and is centred around the polycentric Rhine-Ruhr
    Rhine-Ruhr
    The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region is the largest metropolitan region in Germany with about 10,100,000 inhabitants. It is of polycentric nature and the only megacity in Germany. It covers an area of 7,110 square kilometers and lies entirely within the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia...

     metropolitan region
    Metropolitan regions in Germany
    The Metropolitan regions in Germany are eleven densely populated areas in the Federal Republic of Germany. They comprise the major German cities and their surrounding catchment areas and form the political, commercial and cultural centers of the country...

    , which includes the formerly industrial Ruhr
    Ruhr
    The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

     region and the Rhenish cities of Bonn
    Bonn
    Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

    , Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

     and Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

    . 30 of the 80 largest cities in Germany are located within North Rhine-Westphalia. The state's capital is Düsseldorf, the state's largest city is Cologne.

    The following table shows the ten largest cities of North Rhine-Westphalia:
    Pos. Name Pop. 2010 Area (km²) Pop. per km² map
    1 Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

     
    1,000,660 405.15 2,470
    2 Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

     
    586,564 217.01 2,703
    3 Dortmund
    Dortmund
    Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....

     
    580,688 280.37 2,071
    4 Essen
    Essen
    - Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

     
    575,027 210.38 2,733
    5 Duisburg
    Duisburg
    - History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

     
    501,564 232.81 2,154
    6 Bochum
    Bochum
    Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

     
    385,626 145.43 2,652
    7 Wuppertal
    Wuppertal
    Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the Wupper river valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land...

     
    359,237 168.37 2,134
    8 Bielefeld
    Bielefeld
    Bielefeld is an independent city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 323,000, it is also the most populous city in the Regierungsbezirk Detmold...

     
    326,925 257.83 1,268
    9 Bonn
    Bonn
    Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

     
    312,818 141.22 2,215
    10 Münster  270,868 302.91 894

    Religion


    Roman Catholics make up 42% of the people, while 28% of the people are members of the Evangelical Church in Germany
    Evangelical Church in Germany
    The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 22 Lutheran, Unified and Reformed Protestant regional church bodies in Germany. The EKD is not a church in a theological understanding because of the denominational differences. However, the member churches share full pulpit and altar...

    .

    Politics


    The politics of North Rhine-Westphalia takes place within a framework of a federal
    Federal republic
    A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

     parliamentary representative democratic republic
    Republic
    A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

    . The two main parties are the Centre-right
    Centre-right
    The centre-right or center-right is a political term commonly used to describe or denote individuals, political parties, or organizations whose views stretch from the centre to the right on the left-right spectrum, excluding far right stances. Centre-right can also describe a coalition of centrist...

     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...

     and the Centre-left
    Centre-left
    Centre-left is a political term that describes individuals, political parties or organisations such as think tanks whose ideology lies between the centre and the left on the left-right spectrum...

     Social Democratic Party
    Social Democratic Party of Germany
    The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

    .

    The task of legislating is split between the Landtag
    Landtag
    A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

     and the Bundestag
    Bundestag
    The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

    . The Landtag
    Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
    The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia is the state diet of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It convenes in Düsseldorf and currently consists of 181 members of five Parties...

     is responsible for cultural matters, the education system, matters of internal security, i.e. the police, building supervision, health supervision and the media within North Rhine-Westphalia. The Landtag may enact laws as long as the Bundestag does not make use of its right to legislate.

    North Rhine-Westphalia uses a "Personalized proportional representation
    Mixed member proportional representation
    Mixed-member proportional representation, also termed mixed-member proportional voting and commonly abbreviated to MMP, is a voting system originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag, and nowadays adopted by numerous legislatures around the world...

    " for elections of the state's Landtag. Every five years the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia vote in a general election to elect at least 181 members of the Landtag. Both, the members from the local constituency and the party-list members, are determined by one vote only. Only parties who win at least 5% of the votes cast may be represented in parliament.

    The Landtag, the parliamentary parties and groups consisting of at least 7 members of parliament have the right to table legal proposals to the Landtag for deliberation. The law that are passed by the Landtag is delivered to the Minister-President, who, together with the ministers involved, is required to sign it and announce it in the Law and Ordinance Gazette. When the law comes into force is normally determined by the legislation itself, most usually the day after its announcement.

    Current executive branch


    PositionMinisterSource
    Minister-President Hannelore Kraft
    Hannelore Kraft
    Hannelore Kraft is a German politician. She is the leader of the Social Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia and the current Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia. Kraft is the first woman to fill this post since it was created in 1946...

    Deputy Minister-President Sylvia Löhrmann
    Sylvia Löhrmann
    Sylvia Löhrmann is a German politician.Löhrmann is a member of the Green Party, and since 1995 an elected member of the parliament of the German state North-Rhine Westphalia. Since July 15, 2010 she serves as Deputy Minister-President and Minister of Schools and Education in the incumbent...

    Minister of School and Further Education
    Minister of Finance Dr. Norbert Walter-Borjans
    Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy, Building,
    Housing and Transport
    Harry Kurt Voigtsberger
    Minister of Home Affairs and Local Government Ralf Jäger
    Minister of Work, Social Integration and Welfare Guntram Schneider
    Minister of Justice Thomas Kutschaty
    Minister of Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture,
    Conservation and Consumer Affairs
    Johannes Remmel
    Minister of Innovation, Science and Research Svenja Schulze
    Minister of Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport Ute Schäfer
    Minister of Health, Equalities, Care and Ageing Barbara Steffens
    Minister of Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media Dr. Angelica Schwall-Düren

    List of Ministers-President


    These are the Ministers-president  of the Federal 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...

     of North-Rhine Westphalia:
    > > > > > > > > > >
    Ministers-president of North Rhine-Westphalia
    No. Name Born-Died Party affiliation Start of Tenure End of Tenure
    1
    Rudolf Amelunxen
    Rudolf Amelunxen
    Rudolf Amelunxen was a German politician of the Zentrum and the first Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia . He was born in Cologne and died in Düsseldorf.-External links:*...

    1888–1969 Centre Party
    Centre Party (Germany)
    The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

    1946 1947
    2
    Karl Arnold 1901–1958 CDU 1947 1956
    3
    Fritz Steinhoff 1897–1969 SPD 1956 1958
    4
    Franz Meyers
    Franz Meyers
    Franz Meyers was a German politician and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia . He was born and died in Mönchengladbach.- External links :...

    1908–2002 CDU 1958 1966
    5
    Heinz Kühn
    Heinz Kühn
    Heinz Kühn was a German politician and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia . He was born in Cologne.- External links :*...

    1912–1992 SPD 1966 1978
    6
    Johannes Rau
    Johannes Rau
    Johannes Rau was a German politician of the SPD. He was President of Germany from 1 July 1999 until 30 June 2004, and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1978 to 1998.-Education and work:...

    1931–2006 SPD 1978 1998
    7
    Wolfgang Clement
    Wolfgang Clement
    Wolfgang Clement is a German politician. Clement was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany . He was Premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1998 to 2002 and Federal Minister of Economics and Labour from 2002 to 2005.Wolfgang Clement is an Honorary Member of the...

    *1940 SPD 1998 2002
    8
    Peer Steinbrück
    Peer Steinbrück
    Peer Steinbrück is a German social democratic politician. From 2005 to 2009 he served as German Federal Minister of Finance in the cabinet of Angela Merkel.- Early political career, Minister President :...

    *1947 SPD 2002 2005
    9
    Jürgen Rüttgers
    Jürgen Rüttgers
    Jürgen Rüttgers is a German politician and former Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, widely known for his views on immigration and the much-discussed phrase "Kinder statt Inder" which was a media interpretation of "Statt Inder an die Computer müssen unsere Kinder an die Computer"...

    *1951 CDU 2005 2010
    10
    Hannelore Kraft
    Hannelore Kraft
    Hannelore Kraft is a German politician. She is the leader of the Social Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia and the current Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia. Kraft is the first woman to fill this post since it was created in 1946...

    *1961 SPD 2010 incumbent

    Latest election results



    The results of the 2010 North Rhine-Westphalia state election were as follows. Voter turnout was at 59%, a decrease of 4% over the previous election in 2005
    North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2005
    The North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2005, was conducted on May 22, 2005, to elect members to the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany...

    .

    Culture



    The flag of North Rhine-Westphalia
    Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia
    The flag of North-Rhine Westphalia is the flag of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia.After the establishment of North-Rhine Westphalia in 1946, this flag had been in use since 1948 although it was not formally established until 1953. The plain tricolour is the state's civil flag...

     is green-white-red with the combined coats of arms of the Rhineland
    Rhineland
    Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

     (white line before green background, symbolizing the river Rhine), Westfalen (the white horse) and Lippe
    Lippe
    Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-Lippe....

     (the red rose).

    According to legend the horse
    Horse
    The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

     in the Westphalian coat of arms is the horse that the Saxon leader Widukind
    Widukind
    Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

     rode after his baptism. Other theories attribute the horse to Henry the Lion
    Henry the Lion
    Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, which duchies he held until 1180....

    . Some connect it with the Germanic rulers Hengist and Horsa.

    Architecture and building monuments


    The state is not known for its castles like other regions in Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    . However, North Rhine-Westphalia has a high concentration of museums, cultural centres, concert halls and theatres.

    World Heritage Sites



    The state has Aachen Cathedral
    Aachen Cathedral
    Aachen Cathedral, frequently referred to as the "Imperial Cathedral" , is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany. The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages...

    , the Cologne Cathedral
    Cologne Cathedral
    Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

    , the Zeche Zollverein and Augustusburg Palace
    Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces, Brühl
    The Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces is a historical building complex in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which have been listed as a UNESCO cultural World Heritage Site since 1984. They are connected by the spacious gardens and trees of the Schlosspark.Augustusburg Palace and its parks...

     in Brühl
    Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia
    Brühl is a town in the Rhineland of Germany. It is located in Rhein-Erft-Kreis, 20 km south of Cologne city center and at the edge of Naturpark Kottenforst-Ville Nature Reserve.-History:...

     which are all World Heritage Sites.

    Cuisine


    Drinks

    • Alt
      Altbier
      Altbier is a German top-fermenting beer brewed in Düsseldorf and other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia.The name Altbier, which means old beer, refers to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast...

       is a local beer
      Beer
      Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

       speciality brewed in Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

       and the Lower Rhine Region.
    • Kölsch
      Kölsch (beer)
      Kölsch, also written Koelsch, is a local beer specialty brewed in Cologne, Germany. It is a clear beer with a bright straw-yellow hue, and it has a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. It is less bitter than the standard German pale lager. Furthermore, Kölsch is warm fermented at a temperature...

       is a local beer
      Beer
      Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

       speciality brewed in Cologne
      Cologne
      Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

      .

    Festivals


    North Rhine-Westphalia hosts film festivals in Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

    , Bonn
    Bonn
    Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

    , Dortmund
    Dortmund
    Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....

    , Duisburg
    Duisburg
    - History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

    , Münster
    Münster
    Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

    , Oberhausen
    Oberhausen
    Oberhausen is a city on the river Emscher in the Ruhr Area, Germany, located between Duisburg and Essen . The city hosts the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and its Gasometer Oberhausen is an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. It is also well known for the...

     and Lünen
    Lünen
    Lünen or Luenen is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located north of Dortmund along the Lippe River. It is the largest town of the Unna district, and part of the green Münster area....

    .

    Other large Festivals include Renish carnivals
    Cologne carnival
    The Cologne Carnival is a carnival that takes place every year in Cologne, Germany. Traditionally, the "fifth season" is declared open at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of November. The Carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended during the Advent and Christmas period, and picks up again in...

    , Ruhrtriennale
    Ruhrtriennale
    The Ruhrtriennale is an annual music and arts festival in the northwestern area of Germany which runs between mid-August and mid-October. It was founded in 2002 by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia with Gerard Mortier, the impresario and former artistic director of the Salzburg Festival, as...

    .

    Music


    A regional anthem is the Lied für NRW
    Lied für NRW
    Lied für NRW or Hier an Rhein und Ruhr und in Westfalen is since the 60th anniversary celebrations of North Rhine-Westphalia a non-official regional anthem of this German Bundesland...

     (Song for NRW).

    Economy



    In the 1950s and 1960s, Westphalia was known as Land von Kohle und Stahl or the land of coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

     and steel
    Steel
    Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

    . In the post-WWII recovery, the Ruhr
    Ruhr
    The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

     was one of the most important industrial regions in Europe, and contributed to the German Wirtschaftswunder
    Wirtschaftswunder
    The term describes the rapid reconstruction and development of the economies of West Germany and Austria after World War II . The expression was used by The Times in 1950...

    . As of the late 1960s, repeated crises led to contractions of these industrial branches. On the other hand, producing sectors, particularly in mechanical engineering and metal and iron working industry, experienced substantial growth. Despite this structural change and an economic growth which was under national average, the 2007 GDP of 529.4 billion euro (21.8 percent of the total German GDP) made the land the economically most important in Germany, as well as one of the most important economical areas in the world. Of Germany’s top 100 corporations, 37 are based in North Rhine-Westphalia. On a per capita base, however, Northrhine-Westphalia remains one of the weaker among the Western German
    West Germany
    West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

     states. As of November 2010, the unemployment rate is 8.1%, second highest among all western German states.

    North Rhine-Westphalia attracts companies from both Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     and abroad. In 2009, the state had the most foreign direct investments (FDI
    FDI
    -Medical:* FDI World Dental Federation, Fédération dentaire internationale. The World Dental Federation also have an , also known as the FDI.* first dorsal interosseous, one of the four dorsal interossei muscles of the hand -Finance:* FDi magazine, a UK-based publication that covers foreign direct...

    ) anywhere in Germany. Around 13,100 foreign companies from the most important investment countries control their German or European operations from bases in North Rhine-Westphalia.

    There has been many changes in the state's economy in recent times. Among the many changes in the economy, employment in the creative industries is up while the mining sector is employing less people. Industrial heritage sites
    Industrial heritage
    Industrial heritage is an aspect of cultural heritage dealing specifically with the buildings and artifacts of industry which are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations, often forming a significant attraction for tourism.The...

     are now workplaces for designers, artists and the advertising industry. The Ruhr
    Ruhr
    The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

     region, formerly known as the "land of coal and steel" (Land von Kohle und Stahl), has - since the 1960s - undergone a significant structural change away from coal mining and steel industry. Many rural parts of Eastern 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"...

    , Bergisches Land
    Bergisches Land
    The Bergisches Land is a low mountain range region within the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, east of Rhine river, south of the Ruhr. The landscape is shaped by woods, meadows, rivers and creeks and contains over 20 artificial lakes...

     and the Lower Rhine
    Lower Rhine region (Germany)
    The Lower Rhine region or Niederrhein is a region around the Lower Rhine section of the river Rhine in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany between approximately Neuss and Düsseldorf in the South and the Dutch border around Emmerich in the North...

     ground their economy on "Hidden Champions
    Hidden Champions
    Smaller but highly successful companies, concealed behind a curtain of inconspicuousness, invisibility and sometimes secrecy are called Hidden Champions. The name Hidden Champion was coined by Theodore Levitt, who used it first in a discussion with Hermann Simon. Simon later on was the first to use...

    " in various sector
    Economic sector
    An economy may include several sectors , that evolved in successive phases.* The ancient economy was mainly based on subsistence farming....

    s.

    Education



    RWTH Aachen
    RWTH Aachen
    RWTH Aachen University is a research university located in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany with roughly 33,000 students enrolled in 101 study programs....

     is one of Germany's leading universities of technology and was chosen by DFG
    DFG
    DFG may stand for:*Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a German research funding organisation, known prior to WW II as the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft.*Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft, the German Peace Society....

     as one of nine German Universities of Excellence
    German Universities Excellence Initiative
    The Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Research Foundation aims to promote cutting-edge research and to create outstanding conditions for young scientists at universities, to deepen cooperation between disciplines and institutions, to...


    North Rhine-Westphalia is home to 14 universities and over 50 partly postgraduate colleges, with a total of over 500,000 students. Largest and oldest university is the University of Cologne
    University of Cologne
    The University of Cologne is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, one of the largest universities in Germany. The university is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an association of Germany's leading research universities...

     (Universität zu Köln), originally founded in 1388 AD.

    Football


    North Rhine-Westphalia is home to several association football clubs including current German champions Borussia Dortmund
    Borussia Dortmund
    Ballspielverein Borussia Dortmund, commonly BVB, are a German sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. Dortmund are one of the most successful clubs in German football history. Borussia Dortmund play in the Bundesliga, the top league of German football...

    , as well as, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1. FC Köln
    1. FC Köln
    1. FC Köln is a German association football club based in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia. It was formed in 1948 as a merger of the clubs Kölner Ballspiel-Club 1901 and SpVgg Sülz 07....

    , Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Borussia Mönchengladbach is a German association football club based in Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia. The team plays in the Bundesliga and is one of the country's most well-known, well-supported, and successful teams. Borussia Mönchengladbach has over 40,000 members and is the sixth...

    , FC Schalke 04
    FC Schalke 04
    Fußball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly known as simply FC Schalke 04 or Schalke , is a German, association-football club originally from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Schalke has long been one of the most popular football teams in Germany, even though major...

    , MSV Duisburg
    MSV Duisburg
    MSV Duisburg is a German association football club based in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia. Nicknamed "the Zebras" for their traditional striped jerseys, the club was one of the original members of the Bundesliga when it was formed in 1963.-Early years:...

    , VfL Bochum
    VfL Bochum
    Verein für Leibesübungen Bochum 1848 Fußballgemeinschaft, commonly referred to as simply VfL Bochum, is a German association football club based in the city of Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia.-Founding to World War II:...

    , Arminia Bielefeld
    Arminia Bielefeld
    DSC Arminia Bielefeld is a German sports club from Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia. Arminia offers the sports of football, field hockey, figure skating and cue sports. The club has 11,394 members and the club colours are black, white and blue...

    , Alemannia Aachen
    Alemannia Aachen
    Alemannia Aachen is a German football club from the western city of Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia. A long term fixture of the country's second division, Alemannia enjoyed a three-year turn in the top flight in the late 1960s and, after a successful 2005–06 campaign, returned to first division play...

    , Fortuna Düsseldorf
    Fortuna Düsseldorf
    ' is a German association football club based in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, currently playing in the second tier of German league football, the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga...

    , Wuppertaler SV
    Wuppertaler SV Borussia
    Wuppertaler SV Borussia is a German association football club located in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia. The city was founded in 1929 out of the union of a number of smaller towns including Elberfeld, Barmen, Vohwinkel, Cronenberg and Ronsdorf – each with its own football club...

     and SC Paderborn 07
    SC Paderborn 07
    SC Paderborn 07 is a German association football club based in Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, currently playing in the 2. Bundesliga.-History:...

    .

    North Rhine-Westphalia have hosted several matches in the 1974
    1974 FIFA World Cup
    The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany from 13 June to 7 July. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded...

     and 2006
    2006 FIFA World Cup
    The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six...

     FIFA World Cup
    FIFA World Cup
    The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

    s and hosted matches in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
    FIFA Women's World Cup
    The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the...

    . Matches were played at Rheinstadion
    Rheinstadion
    The Rheinstadion was a multi-purpose stadium, in Düsseldorf, Germany. The stadium was built, near the Rhine, in 1926 and held 55,900 people, at the end of its life....

     in Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

     for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, RheinEnergieStadion
    RheinEnergieStadion
    The RheinEnergieStadion is a football stadium in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was built on the site of the two previous Müngersdorfer stadiums. It is the home of the local Bundesliga team, 1. FC Köln. The stadium was one of the 12 hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup...

     in Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

     for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Parkstadion
    Parkstadion
    Parkstadion was a multi-purpose stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, that is no longer used to host any major events. The stadium was built in 1973 and hosted five matches of the 1974 FIFA World Cup...

     and Veltins-Arena
    Veltins-Arena
    Veltins-Arena is a football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened in 2001, as the new home ground for German Bundesliga club Schalke 04....

     in Gelsenkirchen
    Gelsenkirchen
    Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area. Its population in 2006 was c. 267,000....

     and Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund
    Dortmund
    Dortmund is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union....

     for both World Cups. Borussia-Park
    Borussia-Park
    Borussia-Park in Mönchengladbach is the home stadium of German football Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach...

     in Mönchengladbach
    Mönchengladbach
    Mönchengladbach , formerly known as Münchengladbach, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located west of the Rhine half way between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border....

    , BayArena
    BayArena
    The BayArena is a football stadium in Leverkusen, Germany, which has been the home ground of Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen since 1958.-History:...

     in Leverkusen
    Leverkusen
    Leverkusen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on the eastern bank of the Rhine. To the South, Leverkusen borders the city of Cologne and to the North is the state capital Düsseldorf....

     and Ruhrstadion
    Ruhrstadion
    Ruhrstadion is a football stadium in Bochum, Germany. It is the home ground for the VfL Bochum and has a capacity of 29.448.-History:...

     in Bochum
    Bochum
    Bochum is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities of Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten and Hattingen.-History:...

     will hosted matches for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

    Hockey


    North Rhine-Westphalia is home to DEL teams Kölner Haie
    Kölner Haie
    The Kölner Haie are an ice hockey club based in Cologne, Germany that plays in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. The team was one of the founding members of the DEL.The team colours are red and white....

    , DEG Metro Stars
    DEG Metro Stars
    The DEG Metro Stars is a German professional ice hockey team in Düsseldorf. It was Germany's most successful hockey club for a long time and had many international players...

     and Iserlohn Roosters
    Iserlohn Roosters
    The Iserlohn Roosters are a professional ice hockey team based in Iserlohn, North-Rhine-Westphalia. They are members of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga since 2000 and play their home games at the Eissporthalle Iserlohn which is also known as Eissporthalle am Seilersee. Playing nine years in the DEL the...

    .

    See also


    • Outline of Germany
    • NRW Forum
      NRW Forum
      The NRW Forum Wirtschaft und Kultur or Forum NRW is a museum in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westfalia, dealing with the development and the economy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia or regions within it, e.g. the Rhine-Ruhr-region...

    • Kunstsammlung NRW
    • Kunststiftung NRW
      Kunststiftung NRW
      Kunststiftung NRW is a foundation created by the government of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia. It was established on September 12, 1989 and started operation in spring 1990...



    External links