Osterheide

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Osterheide
Osterheide   is located in Germany
Osterheide
Osterheide
Coordinates: 52°51′N 9°44′E / 52.850°N 9.733°E / 52.850; 9.733Coordinates: 52°51′N 9°44′E / 52.850°N 9.733°E / 52.850; 9.733
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Heidekreis
Government
 • Mayor Andreas Ege
Area
 • Total 177.99 km2 (68.72 sq mi)
Elevation 62 m (203 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 641
 • Density 3.6/km2 (9.3/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Dialling codes 05163, 05167
Vehicle registration CE
Church Ostenholz

Osterheide is an unincorporated area in the district of Heidekreis, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

The 177.99 square kilometres (68.72 sq mi) area has 815 inhabitants (as at 31 December 2007). Its administrative seat is the village of Oerbke; other villages are Ostenholz and Wense. The districts of Osterheide and Lohheide cover the Bergen-Hohne Military Training Area.

History[edit]

In 1935 the German armed forces, the Wehrmacht, established the military training area of Bergen between Bergen and Fallingbostel. A total of 24 villages were evacuated and their inhabitants relocated. In 1938 the Bergen Area Estate (Gutsbezirk Platz Bergen) was created to administer the training area and it was subordinated to Fallingbostel district. In 1945 the Gutsbezirk was split into two independent areas, known as the Osterheide and Lohheide Estates. Osterheide remained part of Fallingbostel district, whilst Lohheide was re-subordinated again to Celle district. Today Osterheide covers the NATO Bergen-Hohne firing ranges in Heidekreis district which were established in 1958.

Legal status[edit]

According to § 16 of the Lower Saxony Municipality Regulations (NGO) the management of unincorporated or unparished areas is to be governed by a regulation. The extant version of this regulation was issued on 4 December 1996. This states that "the delivery of public services for the area's sphere of activity is the responsibility of the land owner" which in the case of Lohheide and Osterheide, is the Federal Government. The constitution of an unincorporated area is different from that of municipality. Its instruments are the district principal (Bezirksvorsteher) and a council of elected representatives of the inhabitants. The mayor is proposed by the land owners and then elected by the council. The participation rights of the inhabitants are limited to the election of representatives as well as the opportunity to ask questions and listen to the public proceedings of the council.

Cultural monuments and places of interest[edit]

Cemetery of the Unknown Soldiers in Oerbke
Ostenholz

Amongst the cultural monuments and places of interest in and around Osterheide are:

  • in Oerbke (west):
    • Cemetery of the Unknown Soldiers (Friedhof der Namenlosen), a war cemetery, in which around 30,000 Russian prisoners-of-war from the Second World War are buried in mass graves
  • in and around Ostenholz' (southwest):
    • Timber-framed church with wooden tower dating from 1724
    • Hoher Stein, a monument in memory of the communities evacuated in 1936 in order to establish the military training area
    • Sieben Steinhäuser (literally: "Seven Stone Houses"), dolmens from the New Stone Age in the south of the training area
  • in Wense (northwest):
    • The estate chapel (Gutskapelle), a splendid church dating from 1558
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Osterheide.

References[edit]