Bavaria

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Free State of Bavaria

Freistaat Bayern
Anthem: Bayernhymne   (German)
"Hymn of Bavaria"
Coordinates: 48°46′39″N11°25′52″E / 48.77750°N 11.43111°E / 48.77750; 11.43111
Country Germany
Capital Munich
Government
  Body Landtag of Bavaria
   Minister-President Markus Söder (CSU – Christian Social Union of Bavaria)
  Governing parties CSU / FW
   Bundesrat votes 6 (of 69)
Area
  Total70,550.19 km2 (27,239.58 sq mi)
Population
 (2017-12-31) "Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). September 2018.
  Total12,997,204
  Density180/km2 (480/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Bavarian(s) (English)
Bayer (m), Bayerin (f) (German)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code DE-BY
GDP (nominal) €625 billion (2018) [1]
GDP per capita €47,946 (2018)
NUTS Region DE2
HDI (2017)0.944 [2]
very high · 6th of 16
Website bayern.de

Bavaria ( /bəˈvɛəriə/ ; German and Bavarian: Bayern [ˈbaɪɐn] ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: Freistaat Bayern [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈbaɪɐn] ), is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich (its capital and largest city and also the third largest city in Germany [3] ) and Nuremberg.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Bavarian language Major group of Upper German varieties spoken in the southeast of the German language area Bavaria

Bavarian is a West Germanic language belonging to the Upper German group, spoken in the southeast of the German language area, much of Bavaria, most of Austria and South Tyrol in Italy, as well as Samnaun in Switzerland. Before 1945, Bavarian was also prevalent in parts of the southern Czech Republic and western Hungary. It forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants.

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states. Since today's Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer.

Contents

The history of Bavaria includes its earliest settlement by Iron Age Celtic tribes, followed by the conquests of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, when the territory was incorporated into the provinces of Raetia and Noricum. It became a stem duchy in the 6th century AD following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It was later incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire, became an independent kingdom, joined the Prussian-led German Empire while retaining its title of kingdom, and finally became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. [4]

The history of Bavaria stretches from its earliest settlement and its formation as a stem duchy in the 6th century through its inclusion in the Holy Roman Empire to its status as an independent kingdom and finally as a large Bundesland (state) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Originally settled by Celtic peoples such as the Boii, by the 1st century BC it was eventually conquered and incorporated into the Roman Empire as the provinces of Raetia and Noricum.

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humankind. It was preceded by the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World.

Celts Ethnolinguistic group

The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC.

The Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century AD, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, when Bavaria became a republic. In 1946, the Free State of Bavaria re-organised itself on democratic lines after the Second World War.

Duchy of Bavaria Former duchy in Germany

The Duchy of Bavaria was a frontier region in the southeastern part of the Merovingian kingdom from the sixth through the eighth century. It was settled by Bavarian tribes and ruled by dukes (duces) under Frankish overlordship. A new duchy was created from this area during the decline of the Carolingian Empire in the late ninth century. It became one of the stem duchies of the East Frankish realm which evolved as the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Bavaria has a unique culture, largely because of the state's Catholic majority and conservative traditions. [5] Bavarians have traditionally been proud of their culture, which includes a language, cuisine, architecture, festivals such as Oktoberfest and elements of Alpine symbolism. [6] The state also has the second largest economy among the German states by GDP figures, giving it a status as a rather wealthy German region. [7]

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Bavarian cuisine regional cuisine

Bavarian cuisine is a style of cooking from Bavaria, Germany.

Oktoberfest worlds largest Volksfest

Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest. Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. Locally, it is often called the Wiesn, after the colloquial name for the fairgrounds, Theresa's meadows (Theresienwiese). The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.

Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia.

Franconia Cultural region of Germany

Franconia is a region in Germany, characterised by its culture and language, and may be roughly associated with the areas in which the East Franconian dialect group, colloquially referred to as "Franconian", is spoken. There are several other Franconian dialects, but only the East Franconian ones are colloquially referred to as "Franconian".

Swabia historical and cultural region of Germany

Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany. The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.

History

Prehistoric Heunischenburg, in the vicinity of Kronach Heunischenburg.jpg
Prehistoric Heunischenburg , in the vicinity of Kronach

Antiquity

The Bavarians emerged in a region north of the Alps, previously inhabited by Celts, which had been part of the Roman provinces of Raetia and Noricum. The Bavarians spoke Old High German, but, unlike other Germanic groups, they probably did not migrate from elsewhere. Rather, they seem to have coalesced out of other groups left behind by the Roman withdrawal late in the 5th century. These peoples may have included the Celtic Boii, some remaining Romans, Marcomanni, Allemanni, Quadi, Thuringians, Goths, Scirians, Rugians, Heruli. The name "Bavarian" ("Baiuvarii") means "Men of Baia" which may indicate Bohemia, the homeland of the Celtic Boii and later of the Marcomanni. They first appear in written sources circa 520. A 17th century Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the diocese was named after an ancient Bohemian king, Boiia, in the 14th century BC. [8]

Alps Major mountain range system in Central Europe

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries : France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

Raetia Roman province

Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north with Vindelicia, on the south-west with Transalpine Gaul and on the south with Venetia et Histria.

Noricum celtic kingdom, then a province of the Roman Empire

Noricum is the Latin name for the Celtic kingdom or federation of tribes that included most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia. In the first century AD, it became a province of the Roman Empire. Its borders were the Danube to the north, Raetia and Vindelicia to the west, Pannonia to the east and southeast, and Italia to the south. The kingdom was founded around 400 BC, and had its capital at the royal residence at Virunum on the Magdalensberg.

Middle Ages

From about 554 to 788, the house of Agilolfing ruled the Duchy of Bavaria, ending with Tassilo III who was deposed by Charlemagne. [9]

Three early dukes are named in Frankish sources: Garibald I may have been appointed to the office by the Merovingian kings and married the Lombard princess Walderada when the church forbade her to King Chlothar I in 555. Their daughter, Theodelinde, became Queen of the Lombards in northern Italy and Garibald was forced to flee to her when he fell out with his Frankish overlords. Garibald's successor, Tassilo I, tried unsuccessfully to hold the eastern frontier against the expansion of Slavs and Avars around 600. Tassilo's son Garibald II seems to have achieved a balance of power between 610 and 616. [10]

After Garibald II little is known of the Bavarians until Duke Theodo I, whose reign may have begun as early as 680. From 696 onwards he invited churchmen from the west to organize churches and strengthen Christianity in his duchy (it is unclear what Bavarian religious life consisted of before this time). His son, Theudebert, led a decisive Bavarian campaign to intervene in a succession dispute in the Lombard Kingdom in 714, and married his sister Guntrud to the Lombard King Liutprand. At Theodo's death the duchy was divided among his sons, but reunited under his grandson Hugbert.

Kingdom of Bavaria 900 Baiern unter den Carolingern im Jahre 900.jpg
Kingdom of Bavaria 900
Bavaria in the 10th century Karte Herzogtum Bayern im 10. Jahrhundert.png
Bavaria in the 10th century

At Hugbert's death (735) the duchy passed to a distant relative named Odilo, from neighboring Alemannia (modern southwest Germany and northern Switzerland). Odilo issued a law code for Bavaria, completed the process of church organization in partnership with St. Boniface (739), and tried to intervene in Frankish succession disputes by fighting for the claims of the Carolingian Grifo. He was defeated near Augsburg in 743 but continued to rule until his death in 748. [11] [12] Saint Boniface completed the people's conversion to Christianity in the early 8th century.

Tassilo III (b. 741 – d. after 796) succeeded his father at the age of eight after an unsuccessful attempt by Grifo to rule Bavaria. He initially ruled under Frankish oversight but began to function independently from 763 onwards. He was particularly noted for founding new monasteries and for expanding eastwards, fighting Slavs in the eastern Alps and along the River Danube and colonising these lands. After 781, however, his cousin Charlemagne began to pressure Tassilo to submit and finally deposed him in 788. The deposition was not entirely legitimate. Dissenters attempted a coup against Charlemagne at Tassilo's old capital of Regensburg in 792, led by his own son Pépin the Hunchback. The king had to drag Tassilo out of imprisonment to formally renounce his rights and titles at the Assembly of Frankfurt in 794. This is the last appearance of Tassilo in the sources, and he probably died a monk. As all of his family were also forced into monasteries, this was the end of the Agilolfing dynasty.

Bavarian duchies after the partition of 1392 Bayern nach der Teilung 1392.png
Bavarian duchies after the partition of 1392

For the next 400 years numerous families held the duchy, rarely for more than three generations. With the revolt of duke Henry the Quarrelsome in 976, Bavaria lost large territories in the south and south east. The territory of Ostarrichi was elevated to a duchy in its own right and given to the Babenberger family. This event marks the founding of Austria.

The last, and one of the most important, of the dukes of Bavaria was Henry the Lion of the house of Welf, founder of Munich, and de facto the second most powerful man in the empire as the ruler of two duchies. When in 1180, Henry the Lion was deposed as Duke of Saxony and Bavaria by his cousin, Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (a.k.a. "Barbarossa" for his red beard), Bavaria was awarded as fief to the Wittelsbach family, counts palatinate of Schyren ("Scheyern" in modern German). They ruled for 738 years, from 1180 to 1918. The Electorate of the Palatinate by Rhine (Kurpfalz in German) was also acquired by the House of Wittelsbach in 1214, which they would subsequently hold for six centuries. [13]

The first of several divisions of the duchy of Bavaria occurred in 1255. With the extinction of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, Swabian territories were acquired by the Wittelsbach dukes. Emperor Louis the Bavarian acquired Brandenburg, Tyrol, Holland and Hainaut for his House but released the Upper Palatinate for the Palatinate branch of the Wittelsbach in 1329. In the 14th and 15th centuries, upper and lower Bavaria were repeatedly subdivided. Four Duchies existed after the division of 1392: Bavaria-Straubing, Bavaria-Landshut, Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Bavaria-Munich. In 1506 with the Landshut War of Succession, the other parts of Bavaria were reunited, and Munich became the sole capital.

Bavarian herald Joerg Rugenn wearing a tabard of the arms around 1510 Bavarian Herald.jpg
Bavarian herald Joerg Rugenn wearing a tabard of the arms around 1510

Electorate of Bavaria

In 1623 the Bavarian duke replaced his relative of the Palatinate branch, the Electorate of the Palatinate in the early days of the Thirty Years' War and acquired the powerful prince-electoral dignity in the Holy Roman Empire, determining its Emperor thence forward, as well as special legal status under the empire's laws. The country became one of the Jesuit-supported counter-reformation centres. During the early and mid-18th century the ambitions of the Bavarian prince electors led to several wars with Austria as well as occupations by Austria (War of the Spanish Succession, election of a Wittelsbach emperor instead of a Habsburger). From 1777 onwards and after the younger Bavarian branch of the family had died out with elector Max III Joseph, Bavaria and the Electorate of the Palatinate were governed once again in personal union, now by the Palatinian lines. The new state also comprised the Duchies of Jülich and Berg as these on their part were in personal union with the Palatinate.

Kingdom of Bavaria

Bavaria in the 19th century and beyond Bayern von 1800 bis heute.png
Bavaria in the 19th century and beyond

When Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire, Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806 due, in part, to the Confederation of the Rhine. [14] Its area doubled after the Duchy of Jülich was ceded to France, as the Electoral Palatinate was divided between France and the Grand Duchy of Baden. The Duchy of Berg was given to Jerome Bonaparte. The Tyrol and Salzburg were temporarily reunited with Bavaria but finally ceded to Austria by the Congress of Vienna. In return Bavaria was allowed to annex the modern-day region of Palatinate to the west of the Rhine and Franconia in 1815. Between 1799 and 1817, the leading minister, Count Montgelas, followed a strict policy of modernisation; he laid the foundations of administrative structures that survived the monarchy and retain core validity in the 21st century. In May 1808 a first constitution was passed by Maximilian I, [15] being modernized in 1818. This second version established a bicameral Parliament with a House of Lords (Kammer der Reichsräte) and a House of Commons (Kammer der Abgeordneten). That constitution was followed until the collapse of the monarchy at the end of World War I.

After the rise of Prussia to power in the early 18th century, Bavaria preserved its independence by playing off the rivalry of Prussia and Austria. Allied to Austria, it was defeated along with Austrian in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War and was not incorporated into the North German Confederation of 1867, but the question of German unity was still alive. When France declared war on Prussia in 1870, the south German states Baden, Württemberg, Hessen-Darmstadt and Bavaria joined the Prussian forces (whereas Austria did not) and ultimately joined the Federation, which was renamed Deutsches Reich (German Empire) in 1871 while Austria did not. Bavaria continued as a monarchy, and it had some special rights within the federation (such as an army, railways, postal service and a diplomatic body of its own).

Part of the German Empire

Bavarian stamps during the German empire period Block of Bavarian stamps (1920s) overprinted with "Deutsches Reich".jpg
Bavarian stamps during the German empire period

When Bavaria became part of the newly formed German Empire, this action was considered controversial by Bavarian nationalists who had wanted to retain independence from the rest of Germany, as Austria had. As Bavaria had a majority-Catholic population, many people resented being ruled by the mostly Protestant northerners of Prussia. As a direct result of the Bavarian-Prussian feud, political parties formed to encourage Bavaria to break away and regain its independence. [16] Although the idea of Bavarian separatism was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, apart from a small minority such as the Bavaria Party, most Bavarians accepted that Bavaria is part of Germany. [ citation needed ]

In the early 20th century, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henrik Ibsen, and other artists were drawn to Bavaria, especially to the Schwabing district of Munich, a center of international artistic activity. This area was devastated by bombing and invasion during World War II.

Free State of Bavaria

A memorial to soldiers who died in the two world wars. Dietelskirchen, Bavaria. Kriegerdenkmal Dietelskirchen.jpg
A memorial to soldiers who died in the two world wars. Dietelskirchen, Bavaria.
Dachau concentration camp memorial sculpture erected in 1968 Dachau Memorial (iron sculpture).JPG
Dachau concentration camp memorial sculpture erected in 1968

Free State has been an adopted designation after the abolition of monarchy in the aftermath of World War I in several German states. On 12 November 1918, Ludwig III signed a document, the Anif declaration, releasing both civil and military officers from their oaths; the newly formed republican government, or "People's State" of Socialist premier Kurt Eisner, [17] interpreted this as an abdication. To date, however, no member of the House of Wittelsbach has ever formally declared renunciation of the throne. [18] On the other hand, none has ever since officially called upon their Bavarian or Stuart claims. Family members are active in cultural and social life, including the head of the house, Franz, Duke of Bavaria. They step back from any announcements on public affairs, showing approval or disapproval solely by Franz's presence or absence.

Eisner was assassinated in February 1919, ultimately leading to a Communist revolt and the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic being proclaimed 6 April 1919. After violent suppression by elements of the German Army and notably the Freikorps, the Bavarian Soviet Republic fell in May 1919. The Bamberg Constitution (Bamberger Verfassung) was enacted on 12 or 14 August 1919 and came into force on 15 September 1919 creating the Free State of Bavaria within the Weimar Republic. Extremist activity further increased, notably the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch led by the National Socialists, and Munich and Nuremberg became seen as Nazi strongholds under the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. However, in the crucial German federal election, March 1933, the Nazis received less than 50% of the votes cast in Bavaria.

As a manufacturing centre, Munich was heavily bombed during World War II and was occupied by U.S. troops, becoming a major part of the American Zone of Allied-occupied Germany (1945–47) and then of "Bizonia".

The Rhenish Palatinate was detached from Bavaria in 1946 and made part of the new state Rhineland-Palatinate. During the Cold War, Bavaria was part of West Germany. In 1949, the Free State of Bavaria chose not to sign the Founding Treaty (Gründungsvertrag) for the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany, opposing the division of Germany into two states, after World War II. The Bavarian Parliament did not sign the Basic Law of Germany, mainly because it was seen as not granting sufficient powers to the individual Länder, but at the same time decided that it would still come into force in Bavaria if two-thirds of the other Länder ratified it. All of the other Länder ratified it, and so it became law.

Bavarian identity

Bavarians have often emphasized a separate national identity and considered themselves as "Bavarians" first, "Germans" second. [19] This feeling started to come about more strongly among Bavarians when the Kingdom of Bavaria joined the Protestant Prussian-dominated German Empire while the Bavarian nationalists wanted to keep Bavaria as Catholic and an independent state. Nowadays, aside from the minority Bavaria Party, most Bavarians accept that Bavaria is part of Germany. [20] Another consideration is that Bavarians foster different cultural identities: Franconia in the north, speaking East Franconian German; Bavarian Swabia in the south west, speaking Swabian German; and Altbayern (so-called "Old Bavaria", the regions forming the "historic", pentagon-shaped Bavaria before the acquisitions through the Vienna Congress, at present the districts of the Upper Palatinate, Lower and Upper Bavaria) speaking Austro-Bavarian. In Munich, the Old Bavarian dialect was widely spread, but nowadays High German is predominantly spoken there. Moreover, by the expulsion of German speakers from Eastern Europe, Bavaria has received a large population that was not traditionally Bavarian. In particular, the Sudeten Germans, expelled from neighboring Czechoslovakia, have been deemed to have become the "fourth tribe" of Bavarians.

Flags and coat of arms

Flags

Uniquely among German states, Bavaria has two official flags of equal status, one with a white and blue stripe, the other with white and blue lozenges. Either may be used by civilians and government offices, who are free to choose between them. [21] Unofficial versions of the flag, especially a lozenge style with coat of arms, are sometimes used by civilians.

Coat of arms

The modern coat of arms of Bavaria was designed by Eduard Ege in 1946, following heraldic traditions.

Geography

Bavarian Alps Uber dem Spitzsteinhaus (3650068382).jpg
Bavarian Alps

Bavaria shares international borders with Austria (Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg) and the Czech Republic (Karlovy Vary, Plzeň and South Bohemian Regions), as well as with Switzerland (across Lake Constance to the Canton of St. Gallen). Because all of these countries are part of the Schengen Area, the border is completely open. Neighbouring states within Germany are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony. Two major rivers flow through the state: the Danube (Donau) and the Main. The Bavarian Alps define the border with Austria (including the Austrian federal-states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg), and within the range is the highest peak in Germany: the Zugspitze. The Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest form the vast majority of the frontier with the Czech Republic and Bohemia.

The major cities in Bavaria are Munich (München), Nuremberg (Nürnberg), Augsburg, Regensburg, Würzburg, Ingolstadt, Fürth, and Erlangen.

The geographic centre of the European Union is located in the north-western corner of Bavaria.

Administrative divisions

Administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke
and Bezirke
) of Bavaria WV-Bavaria regions.svg
Administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke and Bezirke) of Bavaria

Bavaria is divided into seven administrative districts called Regierungsbezirke (singular Regierungsbezirk ).

Administrative districts

  1. Upper Palatinate ( German : Oberpfalz)
  2. Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern)
  3. Lower Bavaria (Niederbayern)
  1. Upper Franconia (Oberfranken)
  2. Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken)
  3. Lower Franconia (Unterfranken)
  1. Swabia (Schwaben)

Population and area

Administrative regionCapitalPopulation (2011)Area (km2)No. municipalities
Lower Bavaria Landshut1,192,6419.48%10,33014.6%25812.5%
Lower Franconia Würzburg1,315,88210.46%8,53112.1%30815.0%
Upper Franconia Bayreuth1,067,9888.49%7,23110.2%21410.4%
Middle Franconia Ansbach1,717,67013.65%7,24510.3%21010.2%
Upper Palatinate Regensburg1,081,8008.60%9,69113.7%22611.0%
Swabia Augsburg1,788,72914.21%9,99214.2%34016.5%
Upper Bavaria Munich4,418,82835.12%17,53024.8%50024.3%
Total12,583,538100.0%70,549100.0%2,056100.0%

Districts

Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the others are the Landkreise and the Gemeinden or Städte. The Bezirke in Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke, but they are self-governing regional corporation, having their own parliaments. In the other larger states of Germany, there are Regierungsbezirke which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria.

Counties

The second communal layer exists out of 71 rural districts (called Landkreise, singular Landkreis) that are comparable to counties. They share the same administrative responsibilities as the 25 independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte, singular Kreisfreie Stadt).

Map of the Landkreise of Bavaria Bavaria, administrative divisions - de - colored.svg
Map of the Landkreise of Bavaria

Rural districts:

  1. Aichach-Friedberg
  2. Altötting
  3. Amberg-Sulzbach
  4. Ansbach
  5. Aschaffenburg
  6. Augsburg
  7. Bad Kissingen
  8. Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen
  9. Bamberg
  10. Bayreuth
  11. Berchtesgadener Land
  12. Cham
  13. Coburg
  14. Dachau
  15. Deggendorf
  16. Dillingen
  17. Dingolfing-Landau
  18. Donau-Ries
  19. Ebersberg
  20. Eichstätt
  21. Erding
  22. Erlangen-Höchstadt
  23. Forchheim
  24. Freising
  25. Freyung-Grafenau
  26. Fürstenfeldbruck
  27. Fürth
  28. Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  29. Günzburg
  30. Hassberge
  31. Hof
  32. Kelheim
  33. Kitzingen
  34. Kronach
  35. Kulmbach
  1. Landsberg
  2. Landshut
  3. Lichtenfels
  4. Lindau
  5. Main-Spessart
  6. Miesbach
  7. Miltenberg
  8. Mühldorf
  9. München (Landkreis München)
  10. Neuburg-Schrobenhausen
  11. Neumarkt
  12. Neustadt (Aisch)-Bad Windsheim
  13. Neustadt an der Waldnaab
  14. Neu-Ulm
  15. Nürnberger Land
  16. Oberallgäu
  17. Ostallgäu
  18. Passau
  19. Pfaffenhofen
  20. Regen
  21. Regensburg
  22. Rhön-Grabfeld
  23. Rosenheim
  24. Roth
  25. Rottal-Inn
  26. Schwandorf
  27. Schweinfurt
  28. Starnberg
  29. Straubing-Bogen
  30. Tirschenreuth
  31. Traunstein
  32. Unterallgäu
  33. Weilheim-Schongau
  34. Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen
  35. Wunsiedel
  36. Würzburg

Independent cities:

  1. Amberg
  2. Ansbach
  3. Aschaffenburg
  4. Augsburg
  5. Bamberg
  6. Bayreuth
  7. Coburg
  8. Erlangen
  9. Fürth
  10. Hof
  11. Ingolstadt
  12. Kaufbeuren
  13. Kempten
  1. Landshut
  2. Memmingen
  3. Munich (München)
  4. Nuremberg (Nürnberg)
  5. Passau
  6. Regensburg
  7. Rosenheim
  8. Schwabach
  9. Schweinfurt
  10. Straubing
  11. Weiden
  12. Würzburg

Municipalities

The 71 administrative districts are on the lowest level divided into 2,031 regular municipalities (called Gemeinden, singular Gemeinde). Together with the 25 independent cities (kreisfreie Städte, which are in effect municipalities independent of Landkreis administrations), there are a total of 2,056 municipalities in Bavaria.

In 44 of the 71 administrative districts, there are a total of 215 unincorporated areas (as of 1 January 2005, called gemeindefreie Gebiete, singular gemeindefreies Gebiet), not belonging to any municipality, all uninhabited, mostly forested areas, but also four lakes ( Chiemsee -without islands, Starnberger See -without island Roseninsel, Ammersee , which are the three largest lakes of Bavaria, and Waginger See ).

Major cities

CityRegionInhabitants
(2000)
Inhabitants
(2005)
Inhabitants
(2010)
Inhabitants
(2015)
Change
(%)
Munich Upper Bavaria1,210,2231,259,6771,353,1861,450,381+11.81
Nuremberg Middle Franconia488,400499,237505,664509,975+3.53
Augsburg Swabia254,982262,676264,708286,374+3.81
Regensburg Upper Palatinate125,676129,859135,520145,465+7.83
Ingolstadt Upper Bavaria115,722121,314125,088132,438+8.09
Würzburg Lower Franconia127,966133,906133,799124,873+4.56
Fürth Middle Franconia110,477113,422114,628124,171+3.76
Erlangen Middle Franconia100,778103,197105,629108,336+4.81
Bayreuth Upper Franconia74,15373,99772,68372,148−1.98
Bamberg Upper Franconia69,03670,08170,00473,331+1.40
Aschaffenburg Lower Franconia67,59268,64268,67868,986+1.61
Landshut Lower Bavaria58,74661,36863,25869,211+7.68
Kempten Swabia61,38961,36062,06066,947+1.09
Rosenheim Upper Bavaria58,90860,22661,29961,844+4.06
Neu-Ulm Swabia50,18851,41053,50457,237+6.61
Schweinfurt Lower Franconia54,32554,27353,41551,969−1.68
Passau Lower Bavaria50,53650,65150,59450,566+0.11
Freising Upper Bavaria40,89042,85445,22346,963+10.60
Straubing Lower Bavaria44,01444,63344,45046,806+0.99
Dachau Upper Bavaria38,39839,92242,95446,705+11.87

Source: Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung [22] [23]

Politics

Bavaria has a multi-party system dominated by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), which has won every election since 1945, and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) dominates in Munich. Thus far Wilhelm Hoegner has been the only SPD candidate to ever become Minister-President; notable successors in office include multi-term Federal Minister Franz Josef Strauss, a key figure among West German conservatives during the Cold War years, and Edmund Stoiber, who both failed with their bids for Chancellorship. The German Greens and the center-right Free Voters have been represented in the state parliament since 1986 and 2008 respectively.

In the 2003 elections the CSU won a ⅔ supermajority – something no party had ever achieved in post-war Germany. However, in the subsequent 2008 elections the CSU lost the absolute majority for the first time in 46 years. [24] The losses were partly attributed by some to the CSU's stance for an anti-smoking bill.[ further explanation needed ] (A first anti-smoking law had been proposed by the CSU and passed but was watered down after the election, after which a referendum enforced a strict anti-smoking bill with a large majority).

Current Landtag

Current composition of the Landtag:
SPD: 22 seats
The Greens: 38 seats
FDP: 11 seats
Free Voters: 27 seats
CSU: 85 seats
AfD: 22 seats Bavarian Landtag 2018.svg
Current composition of the Landtag:
  SPD: 22 seats
  The Greens: 38 seats
  FDP: 11 seats
  Free Voters: 27 seats
  CSU: 85 seats
  AfD: 22 seats

The last state elections were held on 14 October 2018 in which the CSU lost its absolute majority in the state parliament in part due to the party's stances as part of the federal government, winning 37.2% of the vote; the party's second worst election outcome in its history. The Greens who had surged in the polls leading up to the election have replaced the social-democratic SPD as the second biggest force in the Landtag with 17.5% of the vote. The SPD lost over half of its previous share compared to 2013 with a mere 9.7% in 2018. The liberals of the FDP were again able to reach the 5%-threshold in order to receive mandates in parliament after they were not part of the Landtag after the 2013 elections. Also entering the new parliament will be the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) with 10.2% of the vote. [25] The center-right Free Voters party gained 11.6% of the vote and formed a government coalition with the CSU which lead to the subsequent reelection of Markus Söder as Minister-President of Bavaria.

Government

The Constitution of Bavaria of the Free State of Bavaria was enacted on 8 December 1946. The new Bavarian Constitution became the basis for the Bavarian State after the Second World War.

Bavaria has a unicameral Landtag (English: State Parliament), elected by universal suffrage. Until December 1999, there was also a Senat, or Senate, whose members were chosen by social and economic groups in Bavaria, but following a referendum in 1998, this institution was abolished.

The Bavarian State Government consists of the Minister-President of Bavaria, eleven Ministers and six Secretaries of State. The Minister-President is elected for a period of five years by the State Parliament and is head of state. With the approval of the State Parliament he appoints the members of the State Government. The State Government is composed of the:

Political processes also take place in the seven regions (Regierungsbezirke or Bezirke) in Bavaria, in the 71 administrative districts (Landkreise) and the 25 towns and cities forming their own districts (kreisfreie Städte), and in the 2,031 local authorities (Gemeinden).

In 1995 Bavaria introduced direct democracy on the local level in a referendum. This was initiated bottom-up by an association called Mehr Demokratie (English: More Democracy). This is a grass-roots organization which campaigns for the right to citizen-initiated referendums. In 1997 the Bavarian Supreme Court tightened the regulations considerably (including by introducing a turn-out quorum). Nevertheless, Bavaria has the most advanced regulations on local direct democracy in Germany. This has led to a spirited citizens' participation in communal and municipal affairs—835 referenda took place from 1995 through 2005.

Minister-presidents of Bavaria since 1945

See also: List of Ministers-President of Bavaria.
Current Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Soder 7857ri-Markus Soeder.jpg
Current Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Söder
Ministers-President of Bavaria
No.NameBorn and diedParty affiliationBegin of tenureEnd of tenure
1 Fritz Schäffer 1888–1967 CSU 19451945
2 Wilhelm Hoegner 1887–1980 SPD 19451946
3 Hans Ehard 1887–1980CSU19461954
4 Wilhelm Hoegner 1887–1980SPD19541957
5 Hanns Seidel 1901–1961CSU19571960
6 Hans Ehard 1887–1980CSU19601962
7 Alfons Goppel 1905–1991CSU19621978
8 Franz Josef Strauß 1915–1988CSU19781988
9 Max Streibl 1932–1998CSU19881993
10 Edmund Stoiber *1941CSU19932007
11 Günther Beckstein *1943CSU20072008
12 Horst Seehofer *1949CSU20082018
13 Markus Söder *1967CSU2018Incumbent

Designation as a "free state"

Unlike most German states (Länder), which simply designate themselves as "State of" (Land [...]), Bavaria uses the style of "Free State of Bavaria" (Freistaat Bayern). The difference from other states is purely terminological, as German constitutional law does not draw a distinction between "States" and "Free States". The situation is thus analogous to the United States, where some states use the style "Commonwealth" rather than "State". The choice of "Free State", a creation of the early 20th century and intended to be a German alternative to (or translation of) the Latin-derived "republic", has historical reasons, Bavaria having been styled that way even before the current 1946 Constitution was enacted (in 1918 after the de facto abdication of Ludwig III). Two other states, Saxony and Thuringia, also use the style "Free State"; unlike Bavaria, however, these were not part of the original states when the Grundgesetz was enacted but joined the federation later on, in 1990, as a result of German reunification. Saxony had used the designation as "Free State" from 1918 to 1952.

Arbitrary arrest and human rights

In July 2017, Bavaria's parliament enacted a new revision of the "Gefährdergesetz", allowing the authorities to imprison a person for a three months term, renewable indefinitely, when he or she has not committed a crime but it is assumed that he or she might commit a crime "in the near future". [26] Critics like the prominent journalist Heribert Prantl have called the law "shameful" and compared it to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, [27] assessed it to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, [28] and also compared it to the legal situation in Russia, where a similar law allows for imprisonment for a maximum term of two years (i.e., not indefinitely) [29]

Economy

BMW Welt and BMW Headquarters in Munich BMW Welt y Torre BMW, Munich, Alemania, 2015-07-03, DD 25-27 HDR.JPG
BMW Welt and BMW Headquarters in Munich

Bavaria has long had one of the largest economies of any region in Germany, and in Europe. [30] Its GDP in 2007 exceeded €434 billion (about U.S. $600 billion). [31] This makes Bavaria itself one of the largest economies in Europe, and only 20 countries in the world have a higher GDP. [32] Large companies headquartered in Bavaria include BMW, Siemens, Rohde & Schwarz, Audi, Munich Re, Allianz, Infineon, MAN SE, Wacker Chemie, Puma, Adidas, and Ruf. Bavaria has a GDP per capita of over U.S. $48,000; if it were an independent country it would rank 7th or 8th[ citation needed ] in the world. Bavaria has strong economic ties with Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Northern Italy [33] .

Companies

The motorcycle and automobile maker BMW Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works in English, Audi, Allianz, Grundig (consumer electronics), Siemens (electricity, telephones, informatics, medical instruments), Amazon, Weltbild (trade) Patrizia Immobilien (real estate management) Continental (automotive tires and electronics), Nintendo, Adidas, Puma, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Group), Infineon, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, MAN Diesel & Turbo, KUKA, OSRAM and Ruf have (or had) a Bavarian industrial base.

Unemployment

The unemployment rate stood at 2.6% in October 2018, the lowest in Germany and one of the lowest in the European Union. [34]

Year [35] 200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Unemployment rate in %5.55.36.06.96.97.86.85.34.24.84.53.83.73.83.83.63.53.2

Demographics

Bavaria is one of Germany's least densely populated states Pop density of Germany.png
Bavaria is one of Germany's least densely populated states

Bavaria has a population of approximately 12.9 million inhabitants (2016). 8 of the 80 largest cities in Germany are located within Bavaria with Munich being the largest (1,450,381 inhabitants, approximately 5.7 million when including the broader metropolitan area), followed by Nuremberg (509,975 inhabitants) and Augsburg (286,374 inhabitants). All other cities in Bavaria had less than 150,000 inhabitants each in 2015. Population density in Bavaria was 182 inhabitants per square kilometre (470/sq mi), below the national average of 227 inhabitants per square kilometre (590/sq mi). Foreign nationals resident in Bavaria (both immigrants and refugees/asylum seekers) were principally from other EU countries and Turkey.

Top-ten foreign resident populations [36]
NationalityPopulation (31.12.2018)
1Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 192,885
2Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 169,085
3Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 115,925
4Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 111,235
5Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 103,675
6Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 84,895
7Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 75,820
8Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 75,465
9Flag of Syria.svg  Syria 72,565
10Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 52,305

Vital statistics

The state's population continues to decline. [37]

Culture

Some features of the Bavarian culture and mentality are remarkably distinct from the rest of Germany. Noteworthy differences (especially in rural areas, less significant in the major cities) can be found with respect to religion, traditions, and language.

Religion

Religion in Bavaria – 2017
ReligionPercent
Catholics
49.6%
EKD Protestants
18.3%
Muslims
4%
Other or none
28.1%
A Catholic church near Fussen with the Alps in the background Baroque Church of Saint-Coloman - panoramio.jpg
A Catholic church near Füssen with the Alps in the background

Bavarian culture ( Altbayern ) has a long and predominant tradition of Catholic faith. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger) was born in Marktl am Inn in Upper Bavaria and was Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Otherwise, the culturally Franconian and Swabian regions of the modern State of Bavaria are historically more diverse in religiosity, with both Catholic and Protestant traditions. In 1925, 70.0% of the Bavarian population was Catholic, 28.8% was Protestant, 0.7% was Jewish, and 0.5% was placed in other religious categories. [38]

As of 2017 49.6% of Bavarians adhered to Catholicism (a decline from 70.4% in 1970). [39] [40] 18.3% of the population adheres to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, which has also declined since 1970. [39] [40] 3% was Orthodox [ disambiguation needed ], Muslims make up 4.0% of the population of Bavaria. 28.1% of Bavarians are irreligious or adhere to other religions.

Traditions

Bavarians commonly emphasize pride in their traditions. Traditional costumes collectively known as Tracht are worn on special occasions and include in Altbayern Lederhosen for males and Dirndl for females. Centuries-old folk music is performed. The Maibaum, or Maypole (which in the Middle Ages served as the community's business directory, as figures on the pole represented the trades of the village), and the bagpipes of the Upper Palatinate region bear witness to the ancient Celtic and Germanic remnants of cultural heritage of the region. There are many traditional Bavarian sports disciplines, e.g. the Aperschnalzen, competitive whipcracking.

Whether actually in Bavaria, overseas or with citizens from other nations Bavarians continue to cultivate their traditions. They hold festivals and dances to keep their heritage alive. In New York City the German American Cultural Society is a larger umbrella group for others which represent a specific part of Germany, including the Bavarian organizations. They present a German parade called Steuben Parade each year. Various affiliated events take place amongst its groups, one of which is the Bavarian Dancers.

Food and drink

Bavarians tend to place a great value on food and drink. In addition to their renowned dishes, Bavarians also consume many items of food and drink which are unusual elsewhere in Germany; for example Weißwurst ("white sausage") or in some instances a variety of entrails. At folk festivals and in many beer gardens, beer is traditionally served by the litre (in a Maß ). Bavarians are particularly proud[ citation needed ] of the traditional Reinheitsgebot , or beer purity law, initially established by the Duke of Bavaria for the City of Munich (i.e. the court) in 1487 and the duchy in 1516. According to this law, only three ingredients were allowed in beer: water, barley, and hops. In 1906 the Reinheitsgebot made its way to all-German law, and remained a law in Germany until the EU partly struck it down in 1987 as incompatible with the European common market. [41] German breweries, however, cling to the principle, and Bavarian breweries still comply with it in order to distinguish their beer brands. [42] Bavarians are also known as some of the world's most beer-loving people with an average annual consumption of 170 litres per person, although figures have been declining in recent years.

Bavaria is also home to the Franconia wine region, which is situated along the Main River in Franconia. The region has produced wine (Frankenwein) for over 1,000 years and is famous for its use of the Bocksbeutel wine bottle. The production of wine forms an integral part of the regional culture, and many of its villages and cities hold their own wine festivals (Weinfeste) throughout the year.

Language and dialects

Upper German, southern counterpart to Central German, both forming the High German Languages. Blue are the Austro-Bavarian dialects Oberdeutsche Mundarten.png
Upper German, southern counterpart to Central German, both forming the High German Languages. Blue are the Austro-Bavarian dialects

Three German dialects are most commonly spoken in Bavaria: Austro-Bavarian in Old Bavaria (Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate), Swabian German (an Alemannic German dialect) in the Bavarian part of Swabia (south west) and East Franconian German in Franconia (North). In the small town Ludwigsstadt in the north, district Kronach in Upper Franconia, Thuringian dialect is spoken. During the 20th century an increasing part of the population began to speak Standard German (Hochdeutsch), mainly in the cities.

Ethnography

Bavarians consider themselves to be egalitarian and informal.[ citation needed ] Their sociability can be experienced at the annual Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, which welcomes around six million visitors every year, or in the famous beer gardens. In traditional Bavarian beer gardens, patrons may bring their own food but buy beer only from the brewery that runs the beer garden. [43]

In the United States, particularly among German Americans, Bavarian culture is viewed somewhat nostalgically, and several "Bavarian villages" have been founded, most notably Frankenmuth, Michigan; Helen, Georgia; and Leavenworth, Washington. Since 1962, the latter has been styled with a Bavarian theme and is home to an Oktoberfest celebration it claims is among the most attended in the world outside of Munich. [44]

Sports

Football

The Allianz Arena, one of the world's most famous football stadiums Allianz arena at night Richard Bartz.jpg
The Allianz Arena, one of the world's most famous football stadiums

Bavaria is home to several football clubs including FC Bayern Munich, 1. FC Nürnberg, FC Augsburg, TSV 1860 Munich, FC Ingolstadt 04 and SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Bayern Munich is the most popular and successful football team in Germany having won a record 27 German titles. They are followed by 1. FC Nürnberg who have won 9 titles. SpVgg Greuther Fürth have won 3 championships while TSV 1860 Munich have been champions once. FC Bayern won the German championship 27 times (record) and the UEFA Champions League 5 times.

Bavarians

Many famous people have been born or lived in present-day Bavaria:

See also

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