The District of Hanover has a unique legal status among the districts of Lower Saxony. It includes the City of Hanover, the state capital, which has the same privileges as a city that is not part of a district. As a consequence, the District is much larger in population than any other district of the state. Its administrative body is the Regionsparlament (engl.: "regional parliament"), headed by the Regionspräsident or "region president" (Hauke Jagau (SPD) since 2006). The members of the Regionsparlament are elected once every five years and the Regionspräsident is elected once every eight years in local elections.
The City of Hanover was not part of the district until 2001, when the old Hanover District and the city (then known officially as Kreisfreie Stadt Hannover, which means "District Free city of Hanover") were merged in order to form the new Region Hannover district (not to be confused with the former Regierungsbezirk Hannover).
During World War II, Hanover was the Headquarters (Hauptquartier) of the Military District (Wehrkreis) XI, which was responsible for Braunschweig, Anhalt, and part of Hanover. It was also the Garrison Town for the 71st Infanterie Division.
The district surrounds the City of Hanover and includes the outskirts of its metropolitan area. The Leine river enters the district in the south, runs through Hanover and leaves to the north. In the northwest is the Steinhuder Meer, a lake with an area of 32 km², within the region known as the Hanoverian Moor Geest.
The coat of arms was granted on May 1, 2003. The cloverleaf is from the arms of the City of Hanover. The lion was the heraldic animal of the Welfen family, which ruled the region from the Middle Ages until 1866.