The 16 Länder

The Basic Law underlines the special role played by federalism and the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Article 20 (1)

The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.

Article 30

Except as otherwise provided or permitted by this Basic Law, the exercise of state powers and the discharge of state functions is a matter for the Länder.

The Länder are varied and distinctive in both organizational and cultural terms.

The following is a brief introduction to the 16 Länder:

Flagge Baden-Württemberg


An inventive spirit and vigour, hard work and thrift – that’s the Baden-Württembergers’ recipe for success.

Flagge Bayern


The Bavarians’ pronounced sense of belonging to their state is rooted in their history, which goes back more than a thousand years.

Flagge Berlin


Berlin – the divided city. That was the status quo after the 1948 blockade and the construction of the Wall in 1961.



In days gone by Brandenburg was the heart of Prussia; now it is a region fit for the future in a united Europe, with Berlin at its centre.

Flagge Bremen


The "Free Hanseatic City of Bremen", encompassing Bremen and Bremerhaven, has been shaped by seafaring, trade and port activities.

Flagge Hamburg


Hamburg is Germany’s gateway to the world, the country’s largest maritime port and most important focal point for foreign trade.

Flagge Hessen


Located right in the heart of the country, Hesse has one of the healthiest economies of all the German federal states.

Flagge Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, once known as the "state of castles and cottages", the landscape has a clear influence on the local people.

Flagge Niedersachsen

Lower Saxony

When West and East Germany were still divided, Lower Saxony was the federal state with the longest stretch (550 km) of the border separating the two states.

Flagge Nordrhein-Westfalen

North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia is far and away the most populous federal state.

Flagge Rheinland-Pfalz


Rhineland Palatinate lies at the centre of Europe, right at the heart of that continent striving for ever-closer integration.

Flagge Saarland


Saarland is a pioneer among the German federal states when it comes to progress towards a united Europe.

Flagge Sachsen

The Free State of Saxony

Saxony’s international historical reputation never stemmed primarily from military might, but was rooted instead in the peaceful development of trade, the economy, intellectual prowess and splendour.

Flagge Sachsen-Anhalt


Saxony-Anhalt, the federal state on the banks of the Elbe and Saale rivers, lies at the very heart of German history.

Flagge Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein, lying between the North Sea and the Baltic, constitutes a link between the European Union, Scandinavia and the other states surrounding the Baltic Sea.

Flagge Thüringen

The Free State of Thuringia

Thuringia is often described as the "green heart of Germany".

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