Hanover(i) (haˈnoːfɐ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, in their dignities as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (which title was later called the Elector of Hanover at the end of the historical period known as Early Modern Europe). After the Napoleonic Wars ended, the Electorate was enlarged and made into the capital of the Kingdom of Hanover.
In addition to being the capital of Lower Saxony, Hanover was the capital of the administrative area Regierungsbezirk Hannover (Hanover region) until Lower Saxony's administrative regions were disbanded at the beginning of 2005. It is, however, still part of the Hanover district (Region Hannover), which is a municipal body made up from the former district and city of Hanover.
With a population of 522,944 (1 February 2007) the city is a major center of northern Germany, known for hosting annual commercial expositions such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest Marksmen's Fun Fair, and the Oktoberfest Hannover, which is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. In 2000, Hanover hosted the world fair Expo 2000. The Hanover fairground, due to numerous extensions especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover also has regional importance because of its universities and medical school, its international airport, and its large zoo. The city is also a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in east-west-direction (Berlin - Ruhr area) and north-south-direction (Hamburg - Munich et al.).
In the 14th century the main churches of Hanover were built, as well as a city wall with three town gates to secure the city. With the coming of the beginnings of industrialization in Germany, trade in iron and silver from the northern Hartz mountains increased the city's importance.
In 1636, the Elector of Calenberg, the new Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, decided to move his residence to Hanover. His electorate was afterwards known as the Electorate of Hanover (see: House of Hanover). His descendants would later become monarchs of Great Britain (after 1801, monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland). The first of them was George I, who ascended to the British throne in 1714. Three kings of Great Britain, or the United Kingdom, were at the same time Electoral Princes of Hanover.
During the time of the personal union of the crowns of the United Kingdom and Hanover (1714–1837), the monarch rarely visited the city. In fact, during the reigns of the final three joint rulers (1760–1837), there was only one short visit, by George IV, in 1821. Usually, a viceroy represented the monarch in Hanover.
After Napoleon imposed the Convention of Artlenburg (Convention of the Elbe) on July 5, 1803, about 30,000 French soldiers occupied Hanover. The Convention also meant the disbanding of the army of Hanover. George III did not recognize the Convention of the Elbe. As a result of this, a great number of soldiers from Hanover eventually emigrated to Great Britain, leading to the formation of the King's German Legion, which was the only German army to fight continually during the entire Napoleonic wars against the French. They later played an important role in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Congress of Vienna in 1814 elevated the electorate to the Kingdom of Hanover. The capital town Hanover expanded to the western bank of the Leine and grew considerably since then.
In 1837, the personal union of the United Kingdom and Hanover ended as William IV's heir in the United Kingdom was female (Queen Victoria), and according to Salic Law Hanover could only be inherited by males. Hanover passed to William IV's brother, Ernest Augustus, as a consequence, and remained a kingdom until 1866, when Hanover, during the Austro-Prussian war, and despite having won the Battle of Langensalza against Prussia, was annexed by Prussia. The city of Hanover became the Prussian provincial capital. After the annexation, the people of Hanover opposed the Prussian regime.
However, for Hanoverian industry, the new connection to Prussia meant an improvement in the business environment. The introduction of free trade promoted economic growth, and also led in Hanover to the recovery of the Gründerzeit (founders era). In the period from 1871 to 1912 the population of Hanover grew from 87,600 to 313,400.
The upswing in Hanover started with the era of urban Director Heinrich Tramm. From 1891–1918 he was director of the city of Hanover, and fundamentally shaped the look of the city up to the turn of the century (The "Tramm Era"). The New Town Hall, the Trammplatz, is named after him.
In 1883 from the city of Hanover, the Hanover district government was created and became active.
The city was enlarged first in 1869, followed in 1882 by adding Königsworther Platz and the Welfengarten. In 1891 the municipalities of Herrenhausen, Hainholz, Vahrenwald were added and in 1907 the municipalities of Stöcken, Gutsbezirk Mecklenheide, Bothfeld, Klein-Buchholz, Groß-Buchholz, Kirchrode, Döhren and Wülfel were incorporated into Hanover
From 1937 the Lord Mayor and the state commissioners of Hanover were members of the NSDAP (NAZI party). As everywhere else in Germany, there was also a Jewish population in Hanover. In October 1938, 484 Hanoverian Jews of Polish origin were expelled to Poland, including the Grynszpan family. However, Poland refused to admit them. The Grynszpans and thousands of other Polish-Jewish deportees were left stranded at the border, fed only intermittently by the Polish Red Cross and Jewish welfare organizations. Their famous (or infamous) assassin son Herschel Grynszpan was in Paris at the time. When he heard about the expulsion of his family to Poland, he drove to the German embassy and killed the German diplomat Eduard Ernst vom Rath.
The Nazis took this act as a pretext for their November 1938 staged nationwide pogrom known as Kristallnacht. It was in Hanover on November 9, 1938 that the synagogue, designed in 1870 by Edwin Oppler in neo-romantic style, was burnt by the Nazis.
In September 1941 through the "Action Lauterbacher" plan, a ghettoisation of the remaining Hanoverian Jewish families began. Even before the Wannsee Conference, on December 15, 1941, the first Jews from Hanover were deported to Riga. A total of 2,400 people were deported, and very few survived. Of the approximately 4,800 Jews who had lived in Hannover 1938, less than 100 were still in the city when troops of the United States Army arrived on April 10, 1945 to occupy Hanover at the end of the war. Today, a memorial at the Opera Square is a reminder of the persecution of the Jews in Hanover.
During the Second World War, Hanover was an important road junction. This and the well established arms industry were the main targets from 1940 of Allied air attacks. Important war holdings were in AFA in Stöcken, Deurag-Nerag in Misburg, Continental in Vahrenwald and Limmer, Hanomag and NMH in Linden and the United light metal works (VLW) in Ricklingen and Laatzen. The air attacks were directed not only against arms holdings and the railway lines, but also against residential areas. In the course of the war about 6,700 people were killed in the Allied bombing raids. Out of around 150,000 homes, only about 5% remained undamaged. After the war, the Aegidienkirche was not rebuilt and its ruins were kept as a memorial to the victims of war and tyranny.
Today the City of Hanover is a Vice-President City of Mayors for Peace. The Mayor of Hiroshima is the President of Mayors for Peace, an international Mayoral organization mobilizing cities and citizens worldwide to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020 [See Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign http://www.2020visioncampaign.org]
One of the most famous sights is the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen: The Great Garden is an important European baroque garden. The palace itself, however, was largely destroyed by Allied bombing. Some points of interest are the Grotto (the interior was designed by the French artist Niki de Saint-Phalle), the Galery Building, the Orangerie and the two pavillons of Remy de la Fosse. The Great Garden consists of several parts. The most popular ones are the Great Ground and the Neuveau Jardin. At the centre of the Neuveau Jardin is Europe's highest garden fountain. The historic Garden Theatre hosts the musicals of the German rock musician Heinz Rudolf Kunze.
The Berggarten is an important European botanical garden. Some points of interest are the Tropical House, the Cactus House, the Canary House and the Orchid House, which hosts one of the world's biggest collection of orchids, and free-flying birds and butterflies. Near the entrance to the Berggarten is the historic Library Pavillon. The Mausoleum of the Guelphs is also located in the Berggarten. Like the Great Garden, the Berggarten also consists of several parts, for example the Paradies and the Prairie Garden. There is also the Sea Life Centre Hanover, which is the first tropical aquarium in Germany.
The Georgengarten is an English landscape garden. The Leibniz Temple and the Georgen Palace are two points of interest there.
Other gardens are the Guelph Garden with the Guelph Palace and the Prince Garden. Nearby are the Water Art, the Hardenbergsche House and the Prince House.
The landmark of Hanover is the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). Inside the building are four scale models of the town and the only working diagonal elevator in Germany, which goes up the large dome.
The Hanover Zoo is one of the most spectacular and best zoos in Europe. The zoo received the Park Scout Award for the third year running in 2008, placing it among the best zoos in Germany. The zoo consists of several theme-areas: Sambesi, Meyers Farm, Gorilla-Mountain, Jungle-Palace, and Mullewapp. Some smaller areas are Australia, the wooded area for wolves, and the so-called swimming area with many seabirds. There is also a tropical house, a jungle house, and a show arena. The new Alaska-themed area, Yukon Bay, is still under construction.
Another point of interest is the Old Town. At the centre is the huge Market Church and the Old Town Hall. Near by are the Leibniz House, the Nolte House, and the Beguine Tower. A very nice quarter of the Old Town is the Kreuz-Church-Quarter around the Kreuz Church with many nice little lanes. Nearby is the old theatre, called Ballhofeins. On the edge of the Old Town are the Market Hall, the Leine Palace, and the ruin of the Aegidien Church which is now a monument to the victims of war and violence. Through the Marstall Gate you arrive at the bank of the river Leine, where the world-famous Nanas of Niki de Saint-Phalle are located. They are part of the Mile of Sculpture which leads from the Königsworter Square up to the entrance of the Georgengarten. Near the Old Town is the district Calenberger Neustadt where the Catholic church of St. Clemens, the Reformed Church, and the Protestant Neustädter Church are located.
Some other popular sights are the Waterloo Column, the Laves House, the Wangenhaim Palace, the Lower Saxony State Archives, the Hanover Playhouse, the Kröpcke Clock, the Anzeiger Tower Block, the Administration Building of the NORD/LB, the Cupola Hall of the Congress Centre, the Lower Saxony Stock, the Ministry of Finance, the Garten Church, the Luther Church, the Gehry Tower (designed by the American architect Frank O. Gehry), the specially designed Bus Stops, the Opera House, the Central Station, the Maschsee lake and the city forest Eilenriede, which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Due to its around 40 parks, forests and gardens, a couple of lakes, two rivers and one canal, Hanover offers a large variety of leisure activities.
Since 2007 the historic Leibniz Letters, which can be visited in the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library, are an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Outside of the city centre is the EXPO-Park. Some points of interests are the Planet M., the former German Pavillon, the Yempa Event-Palace, the Expowale, the EXPO-Plaza and the EXPO-Gardens (Parc Agricole, EXPO-Park South and the Gardens of change). Via the Exponale, which is one of the largest pedestrianbridges in Europe, the fairground is reachable. The Hanover fairground is the largest in the world. Two important sights on the fairground are the Hermes Tower (88.8 metres high) and the EXPO Roof, which is the largest woodroof in the world.
In the district of Anderten is the European Cheese Centre, which is the only Cheese-Experience-Centre in Europe. Nearby is also Hanovers large funpark, the CAMPO Aktiv-Arena. It is the largest sports- and leisure facility in Northern Germany with around 60 attractions. Another important sight in Anderten is the Hindenburg Lock, which was the biggest lock in Europe at the time of construction in 1928. The Animalgarden in the district of Kirchrode is a huge forest and shows the local animals.
In the district of Groß-Buchholz is the Telemax, the tallest building in Lower Saxony and one of the highest television towers in Northern Germany. Some other remarkable towers are the VW-Tower and the old towers of the former mid-age defence belt: Döhrener Tower, Lister Tower and the Horse Tower.
The 36 most important sights of the city centre are connected with a long red line, which is painted on the pavement. This so-called Red Thread marks out a walk that starts at the Tourist Information Office and ends on the Ernst-August-Square in front of the central station. There is also a guided sightseeing-bus tour through the city.
The Kestner Museum is located in the House of 5.000 windows. The museum is named after August Kestner and exhibits 6,000 years of applied art in four areas: Ancient cultures, ancient Egypt, applied art and a valuable collection of historic coins.
The KUBUS is a forum for contemporary art. It features mostly exhibitions and projects of famous and important artists from Hanover.
The Kunstverein Hannover (Art Society Hanover) was established in 1832 as one of the first art societies in Germany. It is located in the Künstlerhaus (House of artists). There are around 7 international monografic and thematic Exhibitions in one year.
The Lower Saxony State Museum is the largest museum in Hanover. The State Gallery shows the European Art from the 11th to the 20th century, the Nature Department shows the zoology, geology, botanic, geology and a Vivarium with fishes, insects, reptiles and amphibians. The Primeval Department shows the primeval history of Lower Saxony and the Folklore Department shows the cultures from all over the world.
The Sprengel Museum shows the art of the 20th century. It is one of the most notable art museums in Germany. The focus is put on the classical modernist art with the collection of Kurt Schwitters, works of the German expressionism, and the French cubism, the cabinet of abstracts, the graphics and the department of photography and media. Furthermore the museum shows the famous works of the French artist Niki de Saint-Phalle.
The Theatre Museum shows an exhibition of the history of the theatre in Hanover from the 17th century up to now: opera, concert, drama and ballet. The museum also hosts several touring exhibitions during the year.
The Wilhelm-Busch-Museum is the German museum for caricature and critical graphics. The collection of the works of Wilhelm Busch and the extensive collection of caricatures and critical graphics is this museum unique in Germany. Furthermore the museum hosts several exhibitions of national and international artists during the year.
A cabinet of coins is the Münzkabinett der TUI-AG. The Polizeigeschichtliche Sammlung Niedersachsen is the largest police museum in Germany. Textiles from all over the world can be visited in the Museum for textile art. The EXPOseeum is the museum of the world-exhibition "EXPO 2000 Hannover". Carpets and things from the orient can be visited in the Oriental Carpet Museum. The Blind Man Museum is a rarity in Germany, another one is only in Berlin. The Museum of veterinary medicine is unique in Germany. The Museum for Energy History describes the 150 years old history of the application of energy. The Home Museum Ahlem shows the history of the district of Ahlem. The Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ahlem describes the history of the Jewish people in Hanover and the Stiftung Ahlers Pro Arte / Kestner Pro Arte shows modern art. Modern art is also the maintopic of the Kunsthalle Faust, the Nord/LB Art Gellery and of the Foro Artistico / Eisfabrik. Some leading art events in Hanover are the Long Night of the museums and the Zinnober Kunstvolkslauf which features all the galleries in Hanover.
People who are interested in space should visit the Observatory Geschwister Herrschel on the Lindener Mountain or the small planetarium inside of the Bismarck School.
Some important theatre-events are the Tanztheater International, the Long Night of the Theatres, the Festival Theaterformen and the International Competition for Choreographs.
Hanovers leading cabaret-stage is the GOP Variety theatre which is located in the Georgs Palace. Some other famous cabaret-stages are the Variety Marlene, the Uhu-Theatre. the theatre Die Hinterbühne, the Rampenlich Variety and the revue-stage TAK. The most important Cabaret-Event is the Kleines Fest im Großen Garten (Little Festival in the Great Garden) which is the most successful Cabaret Festival in Germany. It features artists from around the world. Some other important events are the Calenberger Cabaret Weeks, the Hanover Cabaret Festival and the Wintervariety.
There are/were two big international competitions for classical music in Hanover:
Hanover is one of Germany's centres for ice hockey. The Hannover Scorpions play in the top division and their home games are played in the TUI Arena. The Hannover Indians are the second ice hockey team in Hanover. Even though the Hanover Indians are in the fourth league usually more people come to matches at the "Pferde Turm" than to matches of the "Hannover Scorpions".
Hanover is also one of the Rugby union capitals in Germany. The first German Rugby team was founded in Hanover in 1878. Hanover is one of the leading towns in the German Rugby scene. DRC Hannover plays in the first division, and SV Odin von 1905 as well as SG 78/08 Hannover play in the second division.
The first German Fencing Club was founded in Hanover in 1862. Today there are three more Fencing Clubs in Hanover.
Hanover is a centre for Water Sports. Thanks to the lake Maschsee, the rivers Ihme and Leine and to the channel Mittellandkanal Hanover hosts sailing schools, yacht schools, waterski clubs, rowing clubs, canoe clubs and paddle clubs. The water polo team WASPO W98 plays in the first division.
The Hannover Regents play in the first German Baseball division.
The Hannover Marathon is the biggest running event in Hanover with more than 11.000 participants and usually around 200.000 spectators. Some other important running events are the Gilde Stadtstaffel (relay), the Sport-Check Nachtlauf (night-running), the Herrenhäuser Team-Challenge, the Hannoversche Firmenlauf (company running) and the Silvesterlauf (sylvester running).
Hanover hosts also an important international cycle race: The Nacht von Hannover (night of Hanover). The race takes place around the Market Hall.
The lake Maschsee hosts the International Dragon Boat Races and the Canoe-Polo-Tournament. Many regattas take place during the year. Head of the river Leine on the river Leine is one of the biggest rowing regattas in Hanover.
Some other important sport events are the Lower Saxony Beach Volleyball Tournament, the international horse show German Classics and the international ice hockey tournament Nations Cup.
But Hanover is not only one of the most important Exhibition Cities in the world, Hanover is also one of the German capitals for the marksmen. The Schützenfest Hannover is the largest Marksmen's Fun Fair in the world and takes place once a year. It consists of more than 260 rides and inns, five large beer tents and a big entertainment program. The highlight of this fun fair is the long Parade of the Marksmen with more than 12.000 participants from all over the world, among them around 5.000 marksmen, 128 bands and more than 70 wagons, carriages and big festival vehicles. It is the longest procession in Europe. Around 2 million people visit this fun fair every year. The landmark of this Fun Fair is the biggest transportable Ferris Wheel in the world (high). The origins of this fun fair is located in the year 1529.
Hanover also hosts one of the two largest Spring Festivals in Europe with around 180 rides and inns, 2 large beer tents and around 1.5 million visitors each year. The Oktoberfest Hannover is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world with around 160 rides and inns, two large beer tents and around 1 million visitors each year.
The Maschsee Festival takes place around the Maschsee Lake. Each year around 2 million visitors want to enjoy live music, comedy, cabaret and many more. It is the largest Volksfest of its kind in Northern Germany.
The Great Garden hosts every year the International Fireworks Competition, and the International Festival Weeks Herrenhausen with lots of music and cabaret.
The Carnival Procession is around long and consists of 3.000 participants, around 30 festival vehicles and around 20 bands and takes place every year.
Some more festivals are for example the Festival Feuer und Flamme (Fire and Flames), the Gartenfestival (Garden Festival), the Herbstfestival (Autumn Festival), the Harley Days, the Steintor Festival (Steintor is a party area in the city centre) and the Lister-Meile-Festival (Lister Meile is a large pedestrian area).
Hanover also hosts Food Festivals, for example the Wine Festival and the Gourmet Festival.
Furthermore Hanover hosts some special markets. The Old Town Flea Market is the oldest flea market in Germany and the Market for Art and Trade has a high reputation. Some other big market is of course the Christmas Market Hanover in the Old Town.
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Transporter factory at Hannover-Stöcken is the biggest employer in the region. German tire and automobile parts manufacturer Continental AG has its headquarters in Hanover.
There are several universities in Hanover:
There is one University of Applied Science and Arts in Hanover: