States of Germany

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Updates: 

Update 16 to the U.S. standard GEC is dated 2014-06-30. It provides "conventional names" (English names) for some of the states to go alongside the German names.

Kai Hamm sent me the results of the 2011 census, the first full census since 1987 in West Germany, 1981 in the East. The total population of Germany was 1.5 million less than expected. The statistics had been predicted on the basis of municipal registers. It turns out that many temporary immigrants had left the country without notifying the authorities. Note that the country population exceeds the sum of the state populations by 9,698, which represents Germans living abroad.

In the book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries", the HASC code for Brandenburg was given as DE.BR, matching the ISO 3166-2 code. In 1998, ISO changed the code, as mentioned immediately below. I also changed the HASC code to DE.BB, and used that code in databases sold beginning in 2002. In November 2004, I expanded this page to incorporate information from the book. In doing so, I failed to note the discrepancy, and used the code DE.BR again. Now (2008), I'm fixing the code on this page to match the databases that have gone out. I apologize for any inconvenience.

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Germany, the draft standard showed sixteen states. The final standard shows the same sixteen states and the same codes, with one exception. The code for Brandenburg has been altered from DE-BR to DE-BB.

The "microcensus" of 2003 calculated population projections by extrapolating from a sample consisting of 1% of the population.

Country overview: 

Short nameGERMANY
ISO codeDE
FIPS codeGM
LanguageGerman (de)
Time zone+1 ~
CapitalBerlin

 

In the last part of the 19th century, hundreds of small Germanic kingdoms, princedoms, duchies, margravates, etc., were finally united into the German Empire (Deutsches Reich). The more important units became Länder (states); others became Provinzen (provinces) within the states. In 1900, the Empire comprised all of modern Germany, Alsace-Lorraine, some communes now in Belgium, some counties now in Denmark, about half of modern Poland, the Kaliningrad oblast of Russia, and a strip of Lithuania, plus overseas colonies in Africa and the South Pacific. As a result of World War I (1914-1918), Germany became a republic in 1919, somewhat diminished in extent. The Allies stripped it of its overseas possessions and made a number of territorial alterations (see Change history). In 1933, Hitler and his supporters proclaimed the Third Reich (so called in reference to the earlier Holy Roman Empire and the Deutsches Reich of 1871-1918). Germany made a number of territorial gains at the expense of its neighbors before and during World War II. These gains were all annulled in its defeat. After the war, an even smaller Germany was partitioned among the Big Four Allies. This was intended to be a temporary arrangement, in order to handle the transition to a reconstructed postwar Germany. However, mistrust and tension between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union delayed the fulfillment of the plan for over 40 years. The Russian (Soviet) zone became East Germany (officially Deutsche Demokratische Republik, German Democratic Republic, or DDR; capital East Berlin), in effect a separate country, while the other three zones became West Germany (officially Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Federal Republic of Germany, or BRD; capital Bonn). Berlin was sometimes treated as a separate sovereignty, because there had been no peace treaty to formalize its status. The two Germanies and Berlin were finally united, under the name and administration of the BRD, as the Cold War ended.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Tyskland
  2. Dutch: Duitsland, Bondsrepubliek Duitsland (formal)
  3. English: Federal Republic of Germany (formal)
  4. Finnish: Saksa
  5. French: Allemagne, République f Fédérale d'Allemagne f (formal)
  6. German: Deutschland, Bundesrepublik f Deutschland n (formal), Deutsches Reich n (obsolete)
  7. Icelandic: Þýskaland
  8. Italian: Germania f, Repubblica f Federale Tedesca (formal)
  9. Norwegian: Forbundsrepublikken Tyskland (formal) (Bokmål), Sambandsrepublikken Tyskland (formal) (Nynorsk), Tyskland
  10. Portuguese: Alemanha, República f Federal da Alemanha f (formal)
  11. Russian: Федеративная Республика Германия (formal)
  12. Spanish: Alemania, República f Federal de Alemania f (formal)
  13. Swedish: Tyskland
  14. Turkish: Almanya Federal Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Latin germanus: original, native. Alemania, etc.: ancient tribe of Alamans, from Germanic: all men. Deutschland, etc.: ancient tribe of Teutons, from Germanic theud: people

Primary subdivisions: 

Germany is divided into sixteen Länder (sing. Land: state).

StateHASCFIPSNUTSPop-2011Pop-2003Pop-1991Area(km.²)Area(mi.²)CapitalGerman name
Baden-WurttembergDE.BWGM01DE110,486,66010,670,00010,001,84035,75213,804StuttgartBaden-Württemberg
BavariaDE.BYGM02DE212,397,61412,392,00011,595,97070,54927,239MunichBayern
BerlinDE.BEGM16DE33,292,3653,392,0003,434,000892344BerlinBerlin
BrandenburgDE.BBGM11DE42,455,7802,577,0002,542,72329,47711,381PotsdamBrandenburg
BremenDE.HBGM03DE5650,863663,000683,684404156BremenBremen
HamburgDE.HHGM04DE61,706,6961,732,0001,668,700755292HamburgHamburg
HesseDE.HEGM05DE75,971,8166,088,0005,837,33021,1158,153WiesbadenHessen
Lower SaxonyDE.NIGM06DE97,777,9927,983,0007,475,79047,61818,385HanoverNiedersachsen
Mecklenburg-West PomeraniaDE.MVGM12DE81,609,9821,739,0001,923,95923,1738,947SchwerinMecklenburg-Vorpommern
North Rhine-WestphaliaDE.NWGM07DEA17,538,25118,071,00017,509,86634,08313,159DusseldorfNordrhein-Westfalen
Rhineland-PalatinateDE.RPGM08DEB3,989,8084,054,0003,821,23519,8477,663MainzRheinland-Pfalz
SaarlandDE.SLGM09DEC999,6231,063,0001,072,9632,569992SaarbruckenSaarland
SaxonyDE.SNGM13DED4,056,7994,337,0004,678,87718,4137,109DresdenSachsen
Saxony-AnhaltDE.STGM14DEE2,287,0402,540,0002,823,32420,4457,894MagdeburgSachsen-Anhalt
Schleswig-HolsteinDE.SHGM10DEF2,800,1192,817,0002,648,53215,7636,086KielSchleswig-Holstein
ThuringiaDE.THGM15DEG2,188,5892,385,0002,637,26116,1726,244ErfurtThüringen
16 states80,219,69582,503,00080,356,054357,027137,849
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by hyphens, these are the same as
    the state codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • NUTS: Codes from Nomenclature for Statistical Territorial Units (European standard).
  • Pop-2011: 2011-05-09 census.
  • Pop-2003: Mikrozensus 2003-05.
  • Pop-1991: 1991-12-31 estimate
  • Capitals: listed in English, but the only name differences in German are München (= Munich), Düsseldorf, and Saarbrücken.

Postal codes: 

Germany uses five-digit postal codes. They don't correlate well with the states. Postal codes for German addresses can be identified by prefixing them with "D-".

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Germany page.

The states can be categorized as Flächenländer (from Fläche + Land = surface + state) and Stadtstaaten (city-states). The city-states, Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg, have no further subdivisions to be mentioned here. For convenience, I treat them as if they were subdivisions at every level. The "surface-states" are subdivided into Regierungsbezirke (sing. Regierungsbezirk: administrative district). Only five of the states, however, have more than one district; there used to be more, but districts have been merging. The "surface-states" are further subdivided into Landkreise (sing. Landkreis, sometimes Kreis for short: rural county), and kreisfreie Städte (urban counties; literally county-free cities). The rural counties are further subdivided into Gemeinden (sing. Gemeinde: commune). Some, but not all, communes form groups called Gemeinde-verbände. On 1992-01-01, there were 29 administrative districts, 543 counties, and 16,095 communes.

Territorial extent: 

In the 19th century, Germany was a crazy quilt of tiny fiefs, with exclaves everywhere. Each successive change of administrative divisions has tended to reduce the number of exclaves,until now there are hardly any left.

  1. Baden-Württemberg state (Freiburg district) includes the small exclave of Büsingen, surrounded by Schaffhausen canton in Switzerland.
  2. Bremen state has two separate parts, containing the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. Both parts are completely surrounded by Lower Saxony, if territorial waters are taken into account.
  3. Hamburg includes the North Sea islands of Neuwerk and Scharhörn. The part of Hamburg containing the city itself lies on the border between Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.
  4. Lower Saxony includes the East Frisian Islands, from Borkum in the west to Hoher Knechtsand in the east.
  5. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern includes the Baltic island of Rügen, and Usedom except for a small area around Swinoujscie, Poland.
  6. Five pieces  of North Rhine-Westphalia are cut off by the Vennbahn, a now-disused railroad line whose right-of-way is a filament of Belgian territory snaking through Germany.
  7. Schleswig-Holstein includes the North Sea island of Helgoland and the North Frisian Islands, from Trischen in the south to Sylt in the north. On the Baltic coast, it contains the island of Fehmarn.

Origins of names: 

  1. Baden-Württemberg: Germanic badun: at the baths; possibly wirten: innkeepers, berg: mountain
  2. Bavaria (Bayern): Germanic Bai: Boii (ethnic name), warioz: defender
  3. Berlin: origin unknown, but the coat of arms displays a bear because of a folk etymology from Bärlein: bear cub
  4. Brandenburg: Slavic brenna: swamp, influenced by Germanic brand: heath; burg: fort
  5. Bremen: Old High German brem: swampy coast
  6. Hamburg: possibly Germanic hamma: spit of land (between the Alster and Elbe Rivers), burg: fort
  7. Hesse: Latin Hassi: ethnic name
  8. Mecklenburg-West Pomerania: Old German mikilal: big, burg: city; Slavic po more: [dwellers] by the sea
  9. North Rhine-Westphalia: Rhine is from Celtic renos: river; Westphalia is a plain west of the Weser River, from Old German falen: plain.
  10. Rhineland-Palatinate: Land by the Rhine, and German Pfalz: royal palace, from Latin palatium: palace.
  11. Saarland: Land by the Saar River
  12. Saxony: Germanic sahsa: short sword
  13. Saxony-Anhalt: Saxony + fief of Counts von Anhalt; German anhalten: hold on to
  14. Schleswig-Holstein: Old Norse slie: rushes, reeds, vik: bay; Germanic holt: woods, sittan: to be situated (i.e. dwellers in the woods)

Change history: 

From 1871 to 1918, the German Empire was divided into 26 units. They were heterogeneous in population, size, and status (duchies, principalities, kingdoms, etc.). The word Land, however, could be applied to any of them. Here is a list of them.

DivisionPop-1910Pop-1900Pop-1890Area(km.²)CapitalFull German name
Alsace-Lorraine1,874,0141,719,4701,603,98714,504StraßburgReichsland Elsaß-Lothringen
Anhalt331,128316,085271,7592,347DessauHerzogtum Anhalt
Baden2,142,8331,867,9441,656,81715,076KarlsruheGroßherzogtum Baden
Bavaria6,887,2916,176,0575,589,38275,840MünchenKönigreich Bayern
Bremen295,715224,882180,309256BremenFreie Stadt Bremen
Brunswick494,339464,333403,0293,688BrunswickHerzogtum Braunschweig
Hamburg1,014,664768,349624,199409HamburgFreie Stadt Hamburg
Hesse1,282,2191,119,893994,6147,679DarmstadtGroßherzogtum Hessen
Lippe150,937138,952128,4141,215DetmoldFürstentum Lippe-Detmold
Lubeck116,59996,77576,459298LübeckFreie Stadt Lübeck
Mecklenburg-Schwerin639,958607,770578,56513,300SchwerinGroßherzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Mecklenburg-Strelitz106,442102,60297,9782,929Neu-StrelitzGroßherzogtum Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Oldenburg483,042399,180355,0006,421OldenburgGroßherzogtum Oldenburg
Prussia40,165,21934,472,50929,959,388348,258BerlinKönigreich Preußen
Reuss, elder branch72,76968,39662,759316GreizFürstentum Reuß-Greiz (ältere Linie)
Reuss, junior branch152,752139,210119,555826GeraFürstentum Reuß-Gera (jüngere Linie)
Saxe-Altenburg216,128194,914170,8671,323AltenburgHerzogtum Sachsen-Altenburg
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha257,177229,550206,3291,955Coburg, GothaHerzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Saxe-Meiningen278,762250,731223,9202,468MeiningenHerzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen
Saxony, Kingdom of4,806,6614,202,2163,500,51314,988DresdenKönigreich Sachsen
Saxony, Grand Duchy of417,149362,873325,8243,595WeimarGroßherzogtum Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
Schaumburg-Lippe46,65243,13239,183339BuckeburgFürstentum Schaumburg-Lippe
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt100,70293,05985,838940RudolstadtFürstentum Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Schwarzburg-Sondershausen89,91780,89875,514862SondershausenFürstentum Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Waldeck61,70757,91857,2831,121ArolsenFürstentum Waldeck
Württemberg2,437,5742,169,4802,035,44319,497StuttgartKönigreich Württemberg
Totals64,922,35056,367,17849,422,928540,450
  • Pop-1910: 1910-12-01 census
  • Pop-1900: 1900 census
  • Pop-1890: 1890-12-01 census
  • Capitals: listed in German (Straßburg = Strassbourg, München = Munich)
  • Full German names: includes status (see next paragraph).

 

The generic term for all these divisions was Länder. The status of a specific division, mentioned in its German name, can be Freie Stadt = free city, Fürstentum = principality, Großherzogtum = grand duchy, Herzogtum = duchy, Königreich = kingdom, or Reichsland = imperial state.

Some of the Länder were further subdivided. Alsace-Lorraine and Bavaria were divided into Bezirke (districts); Hesse and Prussia were divided into Provinzen (provinces); the Kingdom of Saxony into districts, and Württemberg into Kreise (circles, or counties). The following table shows these subdivisions. The slash (/) indicates an alternate form of the name. The Saxony which was a province of Prussia is not the same as the Kingdom of Saxony or the Grand Duchy of Saxony. The provinces of Alsace-Lorraine have since become French departments.

LandSubdivisionPopulationGerman nameCapital
Alsace-LorraineLorraine524,885LothringenMetz
Lower Alsace638,624UnterelsaßStraßburg
Upper Alsace477,477OberelsaßColmar
BavariaLower Bavaria673,523NiederbayernLandshut
Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg632,588Unterfranken und AschaffenburgWürzburg
Middle Franconia737,181MittelfrankenAnsbach
Palatinate/Rhenish Bavaria765,991Pfalz/RheinbayernSpeyer
Swabia and Neuburg689,416Schwaben und NeuburgAugsburg
Upper Bavaria1,186,950OberbayernMünchen
Upper Franconia586,061OberfrankenBayreuth
Upper Palatinate and Ratisbon546,834Oberpfalz und RegensburgRegensburg
HesseRhine-Hesse322,934Rhein-HessenMainz
Starkenburg444,562StarkenburgDarmstadt
Upper Hesse271,524OberhessenGiessen
PrussiaBerlin1,888,326BerlinBerlin
Brandenburg2,821,573BrandenburgPotsdam
East Prussia2,005,078OstpreußenKönigsberg
Hanover2,590,939HannoverHannover
Hesse-Nassau1,897,981Hessen-NassauKassel
Hohenzollern65,121HohenzollernSigmaringen
Pomerania1,574,020PommernStettin
Posen1,828,195PosenPosen
Rhine Province/Rhenish Prussia5,106,079Rheinprovinz/RheinpreußenKoblenz
Saxony2,832,616SachsenMagdeburg
Schleswig-Holstein1,286,330Schleswig-HolsteinKiel
Silesia4,414,460SchlesienBreslau
West Prussia1,494,114WestpreußenDanzig
Westphalia2,700,250WestfalenMünster
Saxony, Kingdom ofBauzen384,904BauzenBauzen
Dresden1,067,575DresdenDresden
Leipzig945,120LeipzigLeipzig
Zwickau1,389,337ZwickauZwickau
WürttembergBlack Forest488,431SchwarzwaldReutlingen
Danube496,460DonauUlm
Jagst398,887JagstEllwangen
Neckar697,373NeckarStuttgart
  • Population: 1895, except for Berlin, Hanover, Hesse-Nassau, and Saxony province, which are 1900
  1. 1918-11-14: Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha abdicated, thus terminating the union between Coburg and Gotha.
  2. 1919-04-04: Reuss elder branch and Reuss junior branch merged to form Reuss people's state (Volksstaat Reuss).
  3. 1919-06-28: Treaty of Versailles signed. Poland's independence, which it had proclaimed on 1918-11-09, was recognized. Germany lost most of Posen and West Prussia provinces of Prussia to Poland, leaving East Prussia and a small section of West Prussia isolated from the rest of Germany by the "Polish Corridor". The Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen (imperial state of Alsace-Lorraine) was restored to France. Memelgebiet (or Memelland, a section of East Prussia province of Prussia, north of the Memel River, containing the port of Memel (modern Klaipeda)) detached from Germany and placed under French administration. Saar Territory (Saarland) split from the southern part of Rhine province of Prussia as a French protectorate. The entities remaining to Germany changed their status to that of states.
  4. 1919-10-14: Silesia province of Prussia divided into the provinces of Lower Silesia (Niederschlesien, capital Breslau) and Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien/Oppeln, capital Oppeln).
  5. 1920-01-10: Under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Danzig split from West Prussia province of Prussia and became a free city.
  6. 1920-01-20: Following a plebiscite ordained by the Versailles Treaty, the cantons of Eupen, Malmédy, and Saint Vith transferred from Rhine province of Prussia to Belgium.
  7. 1920-02-10: Another Versailles plebiscite transferred the northern part of Schleswig province of Prussia from Germany to Denmark.
  8. 1920-05-01: The states of Reuss, Saxe-Altenburg, Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen merged to form the state of Thuringia.
  9. 1920-07-01: Coburg merged with Bavaria, following a plebiscite.
  10. 1920-10-01: Berlin city-county (Stadtkreis Berlin) split from Brandenburg province of Prussia and given status equivalent to a province.
  11. 1921-05-21: Plebiscite held in most of Upper Silesia province of Prussia. A few eastern cantons voted for union with Poland, which took place in 1922.
  12. 1921-11-30: Pyrmont county transferred from Waldeck to Hanover province of Prussia.
  13. 1922-07-21: The portions of Posen and West Prussia provinces remaining in Germany merged to form Posen-West Prussia Frontier province (Provinz Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen).
  14. 1923-02-16: Memelgebiet placed under Lithuanian administration.
  15. 1928-03-30: Thuringia and Saxony exchanged territory to remove exclaves.
  16. 1929-05-01: Waldeck state merged with Hesse-Nassau province of Prussia.
  17. 1932: Bautzen and Dresden districts merged to form the district of Dresden-Bautzen, capital Dresden.
  18. ~1932: Niederbayern and Oberpfalz districts merged to form the district of Niederbayern und Oberpfalz, capital Regensburg.
  19. 1932-10-01: Schaumburg county transferred from Hesse-Nassau province of Prussia to Hanover province. Ilfeld county transferred from Hanover province to Saxony province.
  20. 1934: Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz states merged to form Mecklenburg state.
  21. 1935-03-01: Saarland annexed to Germany after a plebiscite. It became part of Rhine province of Prussia again. At this time, the Länder stood as follows:
DivisionPopulationArea(km.²)CapitalFrom earlier division
Anhalt364,4152,314DessauAnhalt
Baden2,412,95115,070KarlsruheBaden
Bavaria7,681,58475,996MunichBavaria, SCG (part)
Bremen371,558258BremenBremen
Brunswick512,9893,672BrunswickBrunswick
Hamburg1,218,447415HamburgHamburg
Hesse1,429,0487,692DarmstadtHesse
Lippe175,5381,215DetmoldLippe
Lubeck136,413298LubeckLubeck
Mecklenburg805,21316,056SchwerinM-Sch, M-Str
Oldenburg573,8536,427OldenburgOldenburg
Prussia40,760,011294,688BerlinPrussia (part), Waldeck
Saxony5,196,65214,986DresdenKingdom of Saxony
Schaumburg-Lippe49,955340BückeburgSchaumburg-Lippe
Thuringia1,659,51011,763WeimarReuss (e/j), SA, SCG (part), SM, SWE, SL, SR, SS
Württemberg2,696,32419,508StuttgartWürttemberg
Totals66,044,461470,698
  • Population: 1933-06-16
  • From earlier division: shows which pre-war states were included in each of the
    1935 states (using abbreviations which should be self-explanatory)
  1. 1937: Birkenfeld (near Trier) and Eutin (near Lübeck), remote exclaves of Oldenburg state, merged with Prussia. Lübeck free city merged into Schleswig-Holstein province of Prussia.
  2. 1937-04-01: Hamburg annexed a number of districts from adjacent provinces of Prussia.
  3. 1938-03-13: Austria annexed by Germany in the Anschluss. The German government called the Austrian territory Ostmark.
  4. 1938-09-30: The Sudetenland, a fringe of Czechoslovakia, transferred to Germany by the Munich Pact.
  5. 1938-10-01: Posen-West Prussia Frontier province split into parts, which merged with Brandenburg, Pomerania, and Silesia.
  6. 1939: Bremerhaven transferred from Bremen to Hanover province of Prussia.
  7. 1939-03-23: Memelgebiet transferred from Lithuania to Germany in response to a German ultimatum.
  8. 1945-05-09: Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies took effect. The German Empire ceased to exist. The Allies, following preconceived plans, restored Germany to its borders of 1937-12-31, and divided it into four administrative zones: American, British, French, and Russian. Berlin, completely surrounded by the Russian zone, was partitioned in the same way. During the next few years, the administrative division of Germany was gradually redefined by the occupying forces.
  9. 1945-07-16: Potsdam Conference began. It transferred large parts of Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia, East and West Prussia provinces to Poland, except that the northern part of East Prussia became Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. The new eastern border of Germany was called the Oder-Neisse Line, as it generally followed the course of the Oder and Neisse Rivers.
  10. 1945-1946: Germany (excluding Berlin) divided into 17 states. The delineation of these states, and the establishment of their governmental institutions, was a gradual process. The following table shows the states and Berlin circa 1950. In the last column, in order to show sufficient detail, I list provinces of Prussia (indicated by PR:) and Bavaria (BA:).
StatePopulationCapitalZoneFrom earlier division
Bavaria8,789,650MunichAmerBavaria (except BA:Palatinate)
Berlin3,191,226BerlinjointPR:Brandenburg (part)
Brandenburg2,527,492PotsdamRussPR:Brandenburg (part)
Bremen485,514BremenAmerBremen
Hamburg1,418,013HamburgBritHamburg
Hesse3,995,678WiesbadenAmerHesse (part), PR:Hesse-Nassau
Lower Saxony6,277,561HannoverBritBrunswick, Oldenburg, Lippe, Schaumburg-Lippe, PR:Hanover
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern2,139,640SchwerinRussMecklenburg, PR:Pomerania (part)
North Rhine-Westphalia11,735,421DüsseldorfBritPR:Rhine (part), PR:Westphalia
Rhineland-Palatinate2,753,569MainzFrchPR:Rhine (part), BA:Palat, Hesse (part), PR:Hess-Nass (part)
Saarland851,615SaarbrückenFrchPR:Rhine (part)
Saxony5,558,566DresdenRussSaxony, PR:Silesia (part)
Saxony-Anhalt4,160,539HalleRussAnhalt, PR:Saxony, PR:Bdbg (part), Brswk (part), Thrg (part)
Schleswig-Holstein2,590,210KielBritSchleswig-Holstein
Südbaden1,190,841FreiburgFrchBaden (part)
Thuringia2,927,497WeimarRussThuringia, PR:Saxony (part), PR:Hesse-Nassau (part)
Württemberg-Baden3,607,304StuttgartAmerBaden (part), Württemberg (part)
Württemberg-Hohenzollern1,108,768TübingenFrchWürttemberg (part), PR:Hohenzollern
18 divisions66,002,547
  • Population: 1946-10-29 census; total includes 693,443 displaced persons. Source: "Volks- und
    Berufszählung vom 29. Oktober 1946 in den vier Besatzungszonen und Groß-Berlin", Duncker & Humblot, Berlin.

  1. 1946-11-01: Lower Saxony state established by British military government by merging Hanover province of Prussia, and the states of Brunswick, Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe.
  2. 1946-12-02: British and American zones merged, forming the Bizone (also called Bizonia).
  3. 1947: Schleswig-Holstein state organized.
  4. 1947: Bremerhaven transferred from Lower Saxony to Bremen state.
  5. 1947-12-15: Saarland (slightly enlarged on the north side) became a protectorate of France, after a plebiscite favored economic union with France.
  6. 1948-07-01: Separate municipal government formed for East Berlin under aegis of the Soviet Union.
  7. 1952: Baden-Württemberg state formed by merging Württemberg-Baden, Südwürttemberg-Hohenzollern, and Südbaden, following a plebiscite held 1951-12-09.
  8. 1952-07-23: East Germany reorganized from five states into 14 Bezirke (sing. Bezirk: district), plus East Berlin. This table shows the districts at that time, and how they were formed.
DistrictFormed from state(s)
ChemnitzSaxony
CottbusBrandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony
DresdenSaxony
East BerlinBerlin
ErfurtThuringia, Saxony-Anhalt
Frankfurt an der OderBrandenburg
GeraThuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony
HalleSaxony-Anhalt, Thuringia
LeipzigSaxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia
MagdeburgSaxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg
NeubrandenburgMecklenburg, Brandenburg
PotsdamBrandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt
RostockMecklenburg
SchwerinMecklenburg, Brandenburg
SuhlThuringia
  1. 1953: Chemnitz district of East Germany, and its capital, renamed to Karl-Marx-Stadt.
  2. 1957-01-01: Saar transferred to West Germany as the result of a new plebiscite.
  3. 1959-06-07: Saar became a state of West Germany.
  4. 1990-07-01: Name of Karl-Marx-Stadt restored to Chemnitz.
  5. 1990-10-03: East Germany (ISO=DD/FIPS=GC) and West Germany (ISO=DE/FIPS=GE) merged to form Germany. Also on this date, the 14 districts of East Germany reverted to the five postwar states. The capital of the unified country was to be Berlin, but Bonn remained the seat of government in the interim until the governing institutions could be moved.
  6. 1991-09-01: Berlin became seat of government.
  7. 1993-11-01: Under the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union replaced the European Communities, of which Germany was a member.

Other names of subdivisions: 

Note on spelling: the German-speaking lands have agreed on a spelling reform (Rechtschreibreform). The new orthography is supposed to be binding as of 2005-07-31. There has been significant resistance to the change, and some major periodicals are refusing to adopt the new spellings. Among other things, the character 'ß', called "scharfes s" or "eszet", will in many cases be replaced by 'ss'. There are no current state names containing eszet. The substitution need be made only in modern texts that refer to obsolete states.

  1. Baden-Württemberg: Bade-Wurtemberg (French); Land Baden-Württemberg (formal)
  2. Bavaria: Baviera (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish); Bavière (French); Bayern (German, Danish); Beieren (Dutch); Freistaat Bayern (formal); Бавария (Russian)
  3. Berlin: Berliini (Finnish); Berlijn (Dutch); Berlim (Portuguese); Berlín (Spanish); Berlino (Italian); Land Berlin (formal); Берлин (Russian)
  4. Brandenburg: Brandebourg (French); Brandeburgo (Italian); Brandemburgo (Portuguese); Land Brandenburg (formal)
  5. Bremen: Brema (Italian); Brême (French); Freie Hansestadt Bremen (formal)
  6. Hamburg: Amburgo (Italian); Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (formal); Hamborg (Danish, Icelandic); Hambourg (French); Hamburgo (Portuguese, Spanish); Hampuri (Finnish)
  7. Hesse: Assia (Italian); Hessen (German, Spanish); Land Hessen (formal)
  8. Lower Saxony: Baixa Saxónia (Portuguese-European); Baixa Saxônia (Portuguese-Brazilian); Bassa Sassonia (Italian); Basse-Saxe (French); Land Niedersachsen (formal); Niedersachsen (German)
  9. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Mecklembourg-Poméranie (French); Mecklemburgo-Baixa Pomerânia (Portuguese); Mecklenburg (variant); Meclemburgo (Italian)
  10. North Rhine-Westphalia: Noordrijn-Westfalen (Dutch); Nordrhein-Westfalen (German); Renania del Norte-Westfalia (Spanish); Renânia do Norte-Vestfália (Portuguese); Renania Settentrionale-Vestfalia (Italian); Rhénanie du Nord-Westphalie (French)
  11. Rhineland-Palatinate: Renania-Palatinado (Spanish); Renânia-Palatinado (Portuguese); Renania-Palatinato (Italian); Rheinland-Pfalz (German); Rhénanie-Palatinat (French); Rijnland-Palts (Dutch)
  12. Saarland: Saar (Italian); Saargebiet (German-obsolete); Sarre (French, Portuguese, Spanish)
  13. Saxony: Freistaat Sachsen (formal); Sachsen (Danish, German); Saksen (Dutch); Sajonia (Spanish); Sassonia (Italian); Saxe (French)
  14. Saxony-Anhalt: Land Sachsen-Anhalt (formal); Sachsen-Anhalt (German); Sassonia e Anhalt (Italian); Saxe-Anhalt (French); Saxónia-Anhalt (Portuguese-European); Saxônia-Anhalt (Portuguese-Brazilian)
  15. Schleswig-Holstein: Land Schleswig-Holstein (formal); Sleeswijk-Holstein (Dutch); Slesvig-Holsten (Danish); Sleswig-Holstein (obsolete)
  16. Thuringia: Freistaat Thüringen (formal); Thuringe (French); Thüringen (German); Turingia (Italian, Spanish)

Population history (Cold War period):

DivisionFIPSArea(km.²)195719711986
CottbusGC018,262799,160872,000883,300
DresdenGC026,7381,902,7021,845,0001,771,600
East BerlinBZ4031,110,0161,094,0001,223,300
ErfurtGC037,3491,264,4001,247,0001,235,000
FrankfurtGC047,186661,106689,000707,600
GeraGC054,004727,576739,000740,500
HalleGC068,7711,995,8791,890,0001,785,800
Karl-Marx-StadtGC076,0092,144,1911,994,0001,870,000
LeipzigGC084,9661,544,3161,458,0001,373,800
MagdeburgGC0911,5261,400,6161,298,0001,250,000
NeubrandenburgGC1010,894667,521629,000619,200
PotsdamGC1212,5681,187,6371,125,0001,120,300
RostockGC137,074828,440868,000903,000
SchwerinGC148,672634,057592,000592,100
SuhlGC153,856543,053550,000549,200
total East108,27817,410,67016,890,00016,624,700
Baden-WürttembergGE0135,7517,301,9007,759,0009,295,100
BavariaGE0270,5479,192,8009,515,00010,993,400
BremenGE03404664,100706,000675,500
HamburgGE047481,786,8001,832,0001,575,700
HesseGE0521,1134,599,7004,814,0005,531,300
Lower SaxonyGE0647,4156,496,1006,641,0007,149,300
North Rhine-WestphaliaGE0734,06915,193,30015,912,00016,665,300
Rhineland-PalatinateGE0819,8393,313,8003,417,0003,610,400
SaarlandGE092,5681,019,1001,073,0001,043,400
Schleswig-HolsteinGE1015,6962,264,3002,317,0002,612,700
West BerlinBZ4802,228,5002,197,0001,867,700
total West248,63054,060,40056,183,00061,019,800
total Germany356,90871,471,07078,471,76677,644,500
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4 (1984 edition).
  • 1957: Population estimate 1957-12-31
  • 1971: East - 1970 census; West - 1971 census
  • 1986: Population estimate 1986-06-30

Sources: 

  1. [1] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  2. [2] Statistisches Jahrbuch 1992 für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden, 1992.
  3. [3] Longman's Gazetteer (1920).
  4. [4] Zensus 2011  Dynamic and Individual Results (retrieved 2014-07-20).
  5. [5] NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics)  for Germany. Eurostat (retrieved 2014-07-20).
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