North Rhine

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North Rhine

Geography

The state is centred on the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr urbanised region, which contains the cities of Dsseldorf, Bonn and Cologne as well as the Ruhr Area industrial complex. The Ruhr area consists of, among others, the cities of Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and Oberhausen.

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 (99 km)

Netherlands (387 km)

Lower Saxony (583 km)

Hesse (269 km)

Rhineland Palatinate (307 km)

For many people North Rhine-Westphalia is synonymous with industrial areas and agglomerating cities. But the largest part of the state is used for agriculture (almost 52%), and forests cover 25%. The southern parts of the Teutoburg Forest are located in the northeast. In the southwest, Nordrhein-Westfalen shares in a small part of the Eifel, located on the borders with Belgium and Rheinland-Pfalz. The southeast is occupied by the sparsely populated regions of Sauerland and Siegerland. The northwestern areas of the state are part of the Northern European Lowlands.

The most important rivers that run at least partially through North Rhine-Westphalia include: Rhine, Ruhr, Ems, Lippe and Weser. The Pader, which runs only through the city of Paderborn, is considered the shortest river in Germany.

Location and topography

North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the west of the Federal Republic of Germany. The north widely extends into the North German Plain. The northernmost point is the NRW-Nordpunkt near Rahden 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 with 9.2m above sea level in the northwest of the state. Though, the deepest point overground results from mining. The open-pit Hambach reaches at Niederzier a deep of 293m below sea level. At the same time, this is the deepest man-made dip in Germany. Approximately half of the state is located in the relative shallow regions of the Westphalian Lowland or rather the Rhineland. In the lowlands are a few isolated mountain ranges located, among them the Hohe Mark, the Beckumer Berge, the Baumberge and the Stemmer Berge. Towards the south as well as in the east of the state, the terrain rises. There, the state has a stake in the Mittelgebirgsregionen. To this are counted the Weser Hills with the Eggegebirge, the Wiehengebirge, the Wesergebirge and the Teutoburg Forest in the east, the Sauerland, the Bergisches Land, the Siegerland and the Siebengebirge in the south, as well as the Eifel left-bank in the southwest of the state. The Rothaargebirge in the border region to Hesse exhibits elevations about 800m above sea level. The highest among these mountains is the Langenberg with 843.2m above sea level, then follow the Kahler Asten (840.7m above sea level) and the Clemensberg (839.2m above sea level).

The planimetrical ascertained centre of North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the south of Dortmund-Aplerbeck in the Aplerbecker Mark (51 28′ 42″ N, 7 33′ 18″ O). The westernmost point is situated near Selfkant close to the Dutch border, the easternmost near Hxter on the Weser and the southernmost near Hellenthal in the Eifel region in the southwest of the state.

Subdivisions

See also List of places in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The state consists of five administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke), divided into 31 districts (Kreise) and 23 urban districts (kreisfreie Stdte). In total, North Rhine-Westphalia has 396 municipalities (1997), including the urban districts, which are municipalities by themselves.

(Northern) Rhineland and Westphalia

The districts of North Rhine-Westphalia:

Aachen

Borken

Coesfeld

Dren

Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis

Rhein-Erft-Kreis

Euskirchen

Gtersloh

Heinsberg

Herford

Hochsauerlandkreis

Hxter

Kleve

Lippe

Mrkischer Kreis

Mettmann

Minden-Lbbecke

Rhein-Kreis Neuss

Oberbergischer Kreis

Olpe

Paderborn

Recklinghausen

Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis

Rhein-Sieg-Kreis

Siegen-Wittgenstein

Soest

Steinfurt

Unna

Viersen

Warendorf

Wesel

The urban districts:

Aachen

Bielefeld

Bochum

Bonn

Bottrop

Cologne

Dortmund

Duisburg

Dsseldorf

Essen

Gelsenkirchen

Hagen

Hamm

Herne

Krefeld

Leverkusen

Mnchengladbach

Mlheim

Mnster

Oberhausen

Remscheid

Solingen

Wuppertal

Duisburg Lake Masuren in the industrial region of the Ruhr

The five administrative regionslso called regional districtselonging to one of two Landschaftsverbnde:

Rheinland (LVR)

Kln

Dsseldorf

Westfalen-Lippe (LWL)

Arnsberg

Mnster

Detmold

According to the concept used, the state can be differently arranged. Most common is the subdivision according to several sociocultural, historical, biogeographical and agricultural references. Thus, North Rhine-Westphalia firstly has to be divided into its three parts Northrhine (northern Rhineland, mostly simply called Rhineland), Westfalen and Lippe, which were allied in 1946/47 to the state North Rhine-Westphalia. Especially between Lippe and Westfalen on the one side and the Rhineland on the other side, there are clear historical and cultural differences. The third part of the state, Lippe, which did not enter the already existing state of North Rhine-Westphalia until 1947/48, is – as a former German Federal State which had been independent for about 800 years – mostly seen as an independent region and its own part of the landscape. According to the criteria chosen, an approximate further subdivision could be made like this:

Rhineland

Bergisches Land

Eifel

Aachen

Lower Rhine

Rheinschiene

Cologne/Bonn

Westfalen

Mnsterland

Minden-Ravensberg

Prince-Bishopric Paderborn

Sauerland

Siegerland

Tecklenburger Land

Lippe

Lipper Land, the region of the ancient free state

History

Augustusburg Palace in Brhl, North Rhine-Westphalia.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia was established by the British military administration on 23 August 1946. Originally it consisted of Westphalia and the northern parts of the Rhine Province, both formerly belonging to Prussia. In 1947 the former state of Lippe was merged with North Rhine-Westphalia, hence leading to the present borders of the state. It then passed, and ratified through a plebiscite the constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state election on May 22, 2005 granted the CDU an unexpected victory. Their top candidate Jrgen Rttgers built a new coalition government consisting of CDU and FDP that replaced the former government headed by Peer Steinbrck. Rttgers was elected new Prime Minister (German: Ministerprsident) of the federal state on June 22, 2005.

Flag

The flag of North Rhine-Westphalia is green-white-red with the combined coats of arms of the Prussian Rhine province (white line before green background, symbolizing the river Rhine), Westfalen (the white horse) and Lippe (the red rose).

According to legend the horse in the Westphalian coat of arms is the horse that the Saxon leader Widukind rode after his baptism. Other theories attribute the horse to Henry the Lion. Some connect it with the saxon rulers Hengest and Horsa.

A regional anthem is the Lied fr NRW (Song for NRW).

Politics

Main article: Politics of North Rhine-Westphalia

These are the Prime Ministers (German: Ministerprsident) of the Federal State (German: Bundesland) of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW):

Minister-presidents of North Rhine-Westphalia

No.

Name

Born-Died

Party affiliation

Begin of Tenure

End of Tenure

1

Rudolf Amelunxen

1888-1969

Zentrum

1946

1947

2

Karl Arnold

1901-1958

CDU

1947

1956

3

Fritz Steinhoff

1897-1969

SPD

1956

1958

4

Franz Meyers

1908-2002

CDU

1958

1966

5

Heinz Khn

1912-1992

SPD

1966

1978

6

Johannes Rau

1931-2006

SPD

1978

1998

7

Wolfgang Clement

*1940

SPD

1998

2002

8

Peer Steinbrck

*1947

SPD

2002

2005

8

Jrgen Rttgers

*1951

CDU

2005

incumbent

The results of the North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2005 were as follows. Note that overall seat totals have been reduced, lowering the seat counts for all parties.

Voter turnout was at 63%, an increase of 7% over the previous election in 2000. Prior to the election, some analysts had predicted that a CDU victory might result from disenchanted SPD voters staying home, but the turnout figures appear to reject this scenario.

Party

Party List votes

Vote percentage (change)

Total Seats (change)

Seat percentage

Christian Democratic Union (CDU)

3,695,806

44.8%

+7.9%

89

+1

47.6%

Social Democratic Party (SPD)

3,059,074

37.1%

-5.7%

74

-28

39.6%

Free Democratic Party (FDP)

508,354

6.2%

-3.7%

12

-12

6.4%

Alliance ’90/The Greens

509,219

6.2%

-0.9%

12

-5

6.4%

Electoral Alternative for Labor and Social Justice (WASG)

181,886

2.2%

+2.2%

0

+0

0.0%

National Democratic Party (NPD)

73,959

0.9%

+0.9%

0

+0

0.0%

Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS)

72,982

0.9%

-0.2%

0

+0

0.0%

The Republicans

67,282

0.8%

-0.3%

0

+0

0.0%

All Others

74,810

0.9%

+0.5%

0

+0

0.0%

Totals

8,243,372

100.0%

 

187

-44

100.0%

2005 results; SPD in red, CDU in black, FDP in yellow, Greens in green.

Religion

42 % of the people are Roman Catholic and 28 % of the people are members of the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Notes and references

^ “State population”. Portal of the German Statistical Offices. http://www.statistik-portal.de/Statistik-Portal/de_zs01_nrw.asp. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 

^ Statistisches Bundesamt

^ Length of borders taken from Statistisches Jahrbuch NRW 2005, 47. Jahrgang, Landesamt fr Datenverarbeitung und Statistik Nordrhein-Westfalen, p. 22

^ Tatsachen ber Deutschland (2003) Nordrhein-Westfalen, p. 44

^ chiesa cattolica http://www.dbk.de/imperia/md/content/kirchlichestatistik/bev-kath-l__nd-2008.pdf

^ EKD http://www.ekd.de/download/kirchenmitglieder_2007.pdf

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: North Rhine-Westphalia

Official Government Portal

The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia

Tourism

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

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

North Rhine-Westphalia images from Cologne and Duesseldorf to Paderborn and Muenster

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States of Germany

States

 Baden-Wrttemberg   Bavaria   Brandenburg   Hesse   Lower Saxony   Mecklenburg-Vorpommern   North Rhine-Westphalia   Rhineland-Palatinate   Saarland   Saxony   Saxony-Anhalt   Schleswig-Holstein   Thuringia

City-states

 Berlin   Bremen   Hamburg

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Urban and rural districts in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany

Urban districts

Bielefeld  Bochum  Bonn  Bottrop  Dortmund  Duisburg  Dsseldorf  Essen  Gelsenkirchen  Hagen  Hamm  Herne  Kln (Cologne)  Krefeld  Leverkusen  Mnchengladbach  Mlheim  Mnster  Oberhausen  Remscheid  Solingen  Wuppertal

Rural Districts

Aachen  Borken  Coesfeld  Dren  Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis  Euskirchen  Gtersloh  Heinsberg  Herford  Hochsauerlandkreis  Hxter  Kleve (Cleves)  Lippe  Mrkischer Kreis  Mettmann  Minden-Lbbecke  Oberbergischer Kreis  Olpe  Paderborn  Recklinghausen  Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis  Rhein-Erft-Kreis  Rhein-Kreis Neuss  Rhein-Sieg-Kreis  Siegen-Wittgenstein  Soest  Steinfurt  Unna  Viersen  Warendorf  Wesel

Categories: States and territories established in 1946 | North Rhine-Westphalia | States of Germany | NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European UnionHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements | Articles containing German language text | Articles including recorded pronunciations

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