Southern Germany

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Region of Southern Germany

Southern Germany (German: Süddeutschland) is the region in the south of Germany. While there is no specific boundary, it usually includes all of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Historically, this corresponds to the stem duchies of Swabia and Bavaria. The Saarland and the southern parts of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate are also often included, corresponding to historical Franconia.

Boundaries[edit]

Southern Germany roughly corresponds to the area of Germany south of the Speyer line, where Upper German dialects are spoken (shown in green).

Southern Germany contrasts with Northern Germany. The term mostly corresponds to those territories of modern Germany which did not form part of the North German Confederation in the 19th century. The boundary between the spheres of political influence of Prussia (Northern Germany) and Austria (Southern Germany) within the German Confederation (1815–1866) was known as the "Main line" (Mainlinie, after the River Main), Frankfurt am Main being the seat of the federal assembly. The "Main line" did not follow the course of the River Main upstream of Frankfurt, rather corresponding to the northern border of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Linguistically, Southern Germany corresponds to the Upper German dialects. Southern Germany is culturally and linguistically more similar to German-speaking Switzerland, Austria and German-speaking South Tyrol than to Central and Northern Germany. A jocular term referring to a cultural boundary defining Bavarian culture is Weißwurstäquator, i.e. the "equator" dividing Northern Germany from the homeland of the Weißwurst sausage.

Geography[edit]

The River Main, flowing westward, through Upper and Lower Franconia and Southern Hesse, through the city of Frankfurt, into the River Rhine at Mainz, is often cited as a natural border between Southern and Middle Germany while the border west of Mainz is in that respect less clearly determined. The border between the Palatinate and the Rhineland—roughly a line between Bonn and Bingen, in the mountain ranges (Mittelgebirge) of the Westerwald, the Taunus, and the Eifel, along the Rhine and Mosel rivers—is seen as the cultural border between Southern and Western Germany.

Population[edit]

Two of the most populous states of Germany, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, are part of Southern Germany; they have a combined population of 23,5 million people. In the broader sense (with Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland), Southern Germany includes roughly 30 million people. Thus, about 40% of the German population and almost 30% of all native speakers of the German language live there.

The region has a Catholic majority, but also a significant Lutheran Protestant population (especially in Northern Württemberg and some parts of Baden and Franconia (Northern Bavaria)), in contrast to the almost entirely Protestant Northern Germany. Due to the immigration of non-Christians, mainly Turks (see Turks in Germany) during the last decades of the 20th century, there is also a small number (roughly 250.000, i.e. 2-3% of the population) of Muslims.

Major cities[edit]

Where a city has different names in English and German, the English name is given first.

State capital


Rank City Pop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Bundesland)
1. Muenchen Kleines Stadtwappen.svg Munich / München 831,937 1,101,384 1,311,978 1,298,941 1,229,026 1,210,223 1,353,186 310,69 4,355 11.81 1852 Landessymbol Freistaat Bayern.svg Bavaria
2. Coats of arms of None.svg Frankfurt am Main 532,037 675,009 666,179 629,375 644,865 648,550 679,664 248,31 2,737 4.80 1875 Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Hesse
3. Coat of arms of Stuttgart.svg Stuttgart 496,490 637,366 634,202 580,648 579,988 583,874 606,588 207,35 2,925 3.89 1874 Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg
4. Wappen von Nürnberg.svg Nuremberg / Nürnberg 362,459 458,401 478,181 484,405 493,692 488,400 505,664 186,38 2,713 3.53 1881 Landessymbol Freistaat Bayern.svg Bavaria
5. Wappen Mannheim.svg Mannheim 245,634 311,383 332,378 304,303 310,411 306,729 313,174 144,96 2,160 2.10 1897 Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg
6. Coat of arms de-bw Karlsruhe.svg Karlsruhe 198,840 240,450 259,091 271,892 275,061 278,558 294,761 173,46 1,699 5.82 1901 Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg
7. Wappen Wiesbaden.svg Wiesbaden 220,741 257,293 250,715 274,464 260,301 270,109 275,976 203,93 1,353 2.17 1905 Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Hesse
8. Augsburg wappen.svg Augsburg 185,183 206,422 213,230 248,346 256,877 254,982 264,708 146,84 1,803 3.81 1909 Landessymbol Freistaat Bayern.svg Bavaria
9. Wappen Freiburg im Breisgau.svg Freiburg 109,717 141,637 163,568 175,106 191,029 205,102 224,191 153,06 1,465 9.31 1934 Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg
10. Coat of arms of Mainz-2008 new.svg Mainz 88,369 133,089 174,858 187,392 179,486 182,870 199,237 97,74 2,038 8.95 1908 Coat of arms of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg Rhineland-Palatinate
Rank City Pop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Land)

Characteristics[edit]

Economically, Southern Germany is the strongest part of Germany, with Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria powerhouses of manufacturing, especially in the automobile and machinery industry. Furthermore, it is home to some of the country's most prestigious universities (such as the ones in Heidelberg, Munich, Tübingen and Würzburg).

The specific features of the landscape are rolling hills, Mittelgebirge (mid-range mountains). Southern Germany also has a part of the Alps, in the southeast of the region (Allgäu and Bavarian Alps). In the culinary field, both beer and wine are produced in lots of varieties almost everywhere in the region. The regional cuisine consists of stews, sausages, cabbage, noodles and other pasta dishes as well as a variety of cakes and tarts.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 49°N 10°E / 49°N 10°E / 49; 10