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Baden-Württemberg

[bahd-n-vyrt-uhm-berk]

Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states (Bundesländer) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine—but one which has some of its major cities straddling the banks of the Neckar River (Tübingen, Stuttgart, Heilbronn, Heidelberg, Mannheim). It is third largest in both area and population among the country's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants (both almost equivalent to all of Belgium). The state capital is Stuttgart.

History

This state combines the historical states of Baden, Hohenzollern and Württemberg, part of the region of Swabia. After World War II Allied forces established three states: Württemberg-Hohenzollern, South Baden (both occupied by France), and Württemberg-Baden (US-occupied). In 1949 these three states became parts of the Federal Republic of Germany. Article 118 of the new German constitution however allowed for those states to merge. After a plebiscite held on 9 December 1951 these states merged on 25 April 1952 into Baden-Württemberg.

In 1956 the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that the plebiscite was unlawful because it had disadvantaged Baden's population. The plebiscite was then held again within the area of former Baden in 1970 resulting in a majority of more than 81% for the new state.

Geography

The Rhine (Rhein) forms the western border as well as large portions of the southern border. The Black Forest (Schwarzwald), the main mountain range of the state, rises east of the Rhine valley. The high plateau Swabian Alb between Neckar, Black Forest and Danube is an important European watershed. Baden-Württemberg shares both Lake Constance (Bodensee) and the foothills of the Alps with Switzerland.

The Danube (Donau) river has its source in Baden-Württemberg near the town of Donaueschingen, in a place called Furtwangen in the Black Forest.

Administration

Baden-Württemberg is divided into 35 districts (Landkreise) and 9 independent cities (Stadtkreise), both grouped into the four Administrative Districts (Regierungsbezirke) of Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Tübingen.


Map

  1. Alb-Donau
  2. Biberach
  3. Bodensee
  4. Böblingen
  5. Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald
  6. Calw
  7. Konstanz (Constance)
  8. Emmendingen
  9. Enz
  10. Esslingen
  11. Freudenstadt
  12. Göppingen

  1. Heidenheim
  2. Heilbronn
  3. Hohenlohe
  4. Karlsruhe
  5. Lörrach
  6. Ludwigsburg
  7. Main-Tauber
  8. Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis
  9. Ortenaukreis
  10. Ostalbkreis
  11. Rastatt
  12. Ravensburg
  1. Rems-Murr-Kreis
  2. Reutlingen
  3. Rhein-Neckar-Kreis
  4. Rottweil
  5. Schwäbisch Hall
  6. Schwarzwald-Baar-Kreis
  7. Sigmaringen
  8. Tübingen
  9. Tuttlingen
  10. Waldshut
  11. Zollernalbkreis

Furthermore there are nine independent cities, which do not belong to any district:

  1. Baden-Baden
  2. Freiburg
  3. Heidelberg
  4. Heilbronn
  5. Karlsruhe
  6. Mannheim
  7. Pforzheim
  8. Stuttgart
  9. Ulm

Economy

Although it has a few multinationals, Baden-Württemberg's economy is basically dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises. Many enterprises are considered innovative. Although poor in workable natural resources (formerly lead, zinc, iron, silver, copper and salts) and still rural in many areas, the region is heavily industrialized. In 2003, there were almost 8,800 manufacturing enterprises with more than 20 employees, but only 384 with more than 500. The latter category accounts for 43% of the 1.2 million persons employed in industry. Medium-sized businesses and a tradition of branching out into different industrial sectors have ensured specialization over a wide range. A fifth of the "old" Federal Republic's industrial gross value added is generated by Baden-Württemberg. Turnover for manufacturing in 2003 exceeded 240,000 million, 43% of which came from exports. The region depends to some extent on global economic developments, though the great adaptability of the region's economy has generally helped it through crises. Half of the employees in the manufacturing industry are in mechanical and electrical engineering and automobile construction. This is also where the largest enterprises are to be found. The importance of the precision mechanics industry also extends beyond the region's borders, as does that of the optical, clock making, toy, metallurgy and electronics industries. The textile industry, which formerly dominated much of the region, has now all but disappeared from Baden-Württemberg. Research and development (R&D) is funded jointly by the State and industry. In 2001, more than a fifth of the 100,000 or so persons working in R&D in the Federal Republic were located in Baden-Württemberg, most of them in the Stuttgart area. Baden-Württemberg is also a member of the Four Motors of Europe.

A study performed in 2007 by the Initiative for Social Market Economy (German: Initiative Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM)) and the trade newspaper "Wirtschaftswoche" awarded Baden-Württemberg for being the "economically most successful and most dynamic state" among the 16 states.

Education

Baden-Württemberg is home to some of the oldest, most renowned and prestigious Universities in Germany, such as the universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg and Tübingen. It has also put forth four of the nine German excellence universities (Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, and Konstanz). The International University in Germany is situated in Bruchsal.

Other university towns are Tübingen, Mannheim and Ulm. Furthermore, two universities are located in the state capital Stuttgart, the University of Hohenheim and the University of Stuttgart. Ludwigsburg is home to the renowned national film school Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

Religious Freedom Debate

In 2003, Baden-Württemberg outlawed the wearing of headscarves by Muslim women in state schools. Several resultant cases received international attention.

In one prominent example, one of the women affected, Doris Graber, had been teaching since 1973 but began wearing a headscarf in 1995. On March 18th, 2008, a German court ruled that she could not wear a headscarf despite her argument that she should be permitted to do so under equal treatment laws since nuns are allowed to teach in state schools while wearing religious habits.

In the Fereshta Ludin case, education minister, Annette Schavan, asserted that headscarves are "understood as a symbol of the exclusion of woman from civil and cultural society," after she, herself, excluded Ms. Ludin from a teaching position because Ms. Ludin wore a scarf.

Language

In many areas of Baden-Württemberg, residents speak the distinctive dialects of Swabian (Schwäbisch) and 'Badisch'/Allemanic, both of which are known for being almost unintelligible to northern Germans, especially in its stronger forms in the countryside. In the northern part of Baden-Württemberg, i.e., the area around Heidelberg and Mannheim, a third dialect known as Kurpfälzisch is spoken.

Religion

Religion %
Roman Catholics 37.8% 4.0M
Evangelical Church in Germany 33.8% 3.6M
Muslims 5.6% 600 000
Buddhists 0.23% 25 000
Hindu 0.14% 15 000
Jews 0.08% 9 000
Non Religious 22.3% 2.4M

Politics

The politics of Baden-Württemberg are dominated by the rightist Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), who have led all but one governments since the establishment of the state in 1952. The CDU currently have a minority of one in the state assembly, and rule in coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party. The opposition is lead by the leftist Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Alliance '90/The Greens party. Until 2001 the anti-immigration The Republicans party also had seats in the state assembly.

Gallery

See also

External links

References

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