Lower Saxony became a Land on November 1, 1946. Its name recalls the tribe of the Saxons, whose settlement area extended as far as Westphalia. In the High Middle Ages, the Guelph Duke Henry the Lion exerted a great influence on the region’s fortunes. From 1714 to 1837, the Hanoverian kings were also the kings of England. History was also written by the sailors’ mutiny in Wilhelmshaven, which ended the First World War. The event marked the beginning of the November Revolution, which turned Germany into a republic in 1918.
Lower Saxony’s economy is dominated by the automobile industry. Agriculture is also significant, with almost 57,600 enterprises operating on two thirds of the total land area. Shipbuilding also has a long tradition: the Meyer Wharf in Papenburg (bottom) makes luxury liners and giant ocean-going ships. Thanks to the Hannover Messe and the CeBIT computer fair (above), Hanover is one of the most important trade-fair locations in the world. Below: the Bahlsen biscuit factory in Hanover. www.ipa-niedersachsen.de
One in four industrial workers in Lower Saxony are employed in the automobile industry. Volkswagen, the biggest carmaker in Europe, is based in Wolfsburg, a city that was built on a green-field site in 1938 – just for the automobile factory. Numerous companies supplying components are also based here, e.g. Continental and Varta. The auto industry makes a major contribution to industry’s above-average export ratio in Lower Saxony: about 40 percent of revenue comes from abroad.
Lower Saxony has the greatest variety of Renaissance buildings to offer north of the Alps. Most of these magnificent buildings and palaces are open to visitors, for example along the 400-kilometre Weser Renaissance Route. The Kunsthalle (arts centre) in Emden (below) boasts some outstanding works of modern art, and the famous “Nana” sculptures bring a splash of colour to the state capital Hanover (bottom). Wolfsburg’s art museum (above) is well-known for the originality of its exhibitions.
Lower Saxony is a renowned centre of research and science. The list speaks for itself: there are eleven universities, including the internationally famous universities of Göttingen and Braunschweig, two art academies, 13 universities of applied science and 120 research establishments. The commercial expansion of the biotechnology sector is making great strides in the Braunschweig-Göttingen-Hanover area, where businesspeople and scientists have got together to form the BioRegioN network.
East Frisia lies between Jadebusen bay and the Dutch border. The countryside is so flat here that in the morning you can already see who’s coming to tea in the afternoon. The East Frisians are famous for the rather unflattering jokes that are told about them – and for tea. East Frisian tea is only genuine when prepared with “Kluntjes” (rock-candy) and cream. But make sure you don’t stir it – and drink at least three cups! A good “Klönschnack” or chinwag is also an integral part of the East Frisian tea ceremony. And even an occasional East Frisian joke is allowed.