Central Germany (cultural area)

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Central Germany (German : Mitteldeutschland) is an economic and cultural region in Germany. Its exact borders depend on context, but it is often defined as being a region within the federal states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, or a smaller part of this region, such as the metropolitan area of Leipzig and Halle plus the surrounding counties.

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The name dates from the German Empire, when the region was approximately in the centre of the country. Since the German Empire's eastern territories became part of Poland (and Russia in the aftermath of World War II), "Central Germany" has been located east of the centre of the country, but the name is still often used in business, media and by the Central German Metropolitan Region. Against this background, the term is not or no longer to be understood as a geographic term.

History

In the German Empire, 1871-1918, Saxony occupied a central position geographically Deutsches Reich (1871-1918)-en.png
In the German Empire, 1871–1918, Saxony occupied a central position geographically

Historically also including most of Hesse, parts of Franconia and the south of Lower Saxony, [1] the region is described[ by whom? ] as an area south of the linguistic Benrath line where Central German dialects were spoken. It ranked for centuries as one of the most advanced areas in Germany, a centre of both the Protestant Reformation and the 19th-century Industrial Revolution. Large parts of the area were once governed by one of the branches of the House of Wettin, with the exception of Anhalt and Reuss and, depending on the geographical definition, the Electorate of Hesse. They, thus, were dynastically in one or the other way linked to the Electorate of Saxony, at that time a major power in the German Empire. [2] Starting from the 19th century, Prussia successively gained control over the northern parts of Central Germany.

19th century until World War II

Until World War II, this area was seen as the middle of Germany due to it lying approximately midway between Aachen and Königsberg. The Middle German Chemical Triangle was the central region of the three main German industrial areas between the Ruhr and Upper Silesia. In 1929 the Free State of Prussia and the Holy See agreed in the Prussian Concordat to combine several Catholic dioceses to form the new Middle German Ecclesiastical Province, spreading over eastern Westphalia, northern Hesse, most of Thuringia, today's Saxony-Anhalt and small parts of Saxony. During the Yalta Conference it was suggested as part of the Roosevelt Plan to create a central German state which would have combined roughly the areas formerly covered by the Saxon states of central Germany.

After 1945, when Germany lost its eastern territories, most of Middle Germany fell into the Soviet Zone of occupation, becoming Germany's new East, which is why the 1949-founded German Democratic Republic (GDR) is often referred to as East Germany.

For decades until Chancellor Willy Brandt started his Ostpolitik in 1969, official West German usage spoke of "Central Germany" to denote the German Democratic Republic. The term was used by both the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and by a large number of West German residents who had been expelled from the eastern provinces, who held a wide range of political views. However, after the West German Federal government accepted the fixed eastern border with Poland in 1970, implying that parts of Poland were still "eastern Germany" was associated only with far-right and revanchist viewpoints.[ citation needed ]

Post-reunification

German states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt Mitteldeutschland.png
German states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt

After the 1990 German reunification, activists (e.g. Aktion Mitteldeutschland e.V.) claimed that the larger LeipzigHalle area would benefit from asserting an economic identity, separate from the other more rural new states of former East Germany. The use of the term "Central Germany" was meant to underline its location in Central Europe and to recall the industrial glory of the area in former times. Mainly it is used in business and the media.

In 1991, the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia founded the public regional broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Middle German Broadcasting), a member of the ARD network. Private companies located in the area of Leipzig, Halle and Dessau often use the term "Central Germany", as do the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and some sports competitions, such as the Mitteldeutsche Meisterschaften (Central German Championships).

The Central German Metropolitan Region comprises a regional development zone in the European METREX network (see below).

Although most methods for determining the geographical center of Germany result in a point in "Central Germany" (for example Niederdorla in western Thuringia), the three-state area also comprises Görlitz, the easternmost town in Germany, which lies on the border with Poland. Arguably, this eastern part, although part of the state of Saxony, is not part of the central German cultural region, as historically, the Lusatia region has its own history and traditions (see i.a. the Lusatian League), being closely linked to Bohemia. The same is true for Magdeburg and the areas surrounding it (i.e. the areas north of Anhalt) as they neither belong to the central German dialect group nor do they have a close cultural connection with the more southern parts, they were traditionally connected to Brandenburg and Prussia.

Cultural significance

Central Germany has played a crucial role in the development of German culture and identity. Already in medieval times, the region laid at the crossroads of two major trade routes in central Europe, the Via Regia and the Via Imperii which intersected at Leipzig, which made the region economically important. The region was the starting point of reformation in Germany and the bible translation by Luther was created here. The language used by Luther in his translation serves as a major source for the written modern standard German. [3] Johann Sebastian Bach was born and worked in the region. Furthermore, the region played an important role during the period of enlightenment. It is the place where Goethe and Schiller spent their most productive years (see: Weimar Classicism). The first European porcelain was invented at Meissen by Johann Friedrich Böttger. The area has also been one of the regions with the earliest development of industrialisation in Germany and looks back to a long tradition of industry culture. Already in 1839, the Leipzig-Dresden railway was opened, the first long-distance railway in Germany. Saxony became an early home of the German labour movement and social democracy (General German Workers' Association). Karl Marx received his PhD degree from Jena University as the intellectual environment here was more liberal and open than in the Prussia-controlled Rhineland or even Berlin where his ideas had been refused. Germany's first democratic constitution, the Weimar Constitution of 1919, was deliberated and enacted in the city of Weimar. The city had intentionally been chosen as a meeting place at the center ("the heart") of Germany and as a symbol of German culture. [4]

UNESCO World Heritage sites

Central Germany is home to several UNESCO world heritage sites.

Administrative structure

Present central Germany is part of three German federal states: Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. A large part of the region is part of the Central German Metropolitan Region which comprises a regional development zone in the European METREX network. As of 2014 it includes major cities in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, as well as the "Saxon triangle" of cities that set up the organization in 1994 (Leipzig, Halle, Dresden and Chemnitz-Zwickau). [5]

Examples of use

MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) headquarters, Leipzig Leipzig MDR main building.jpg
MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) headquarters, Leipzig

See also

Related Research Articles

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked state of Germany, bordering the states of Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres (7,109 sq mi), and the sixth most populous, with more than 4 million inhabitants.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

Saxony-Anhalt State in Germany

Saxony-Anhalt (German: Sachsen-Anhalt is a state of Germany, bordering the states of Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. It covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres and has a population of 2.2 million inhabitants, making it the 8th-largest state in Germany by area and the 11th-largest by population. Its capital is Magdeburg and its largest city is Halle.

Dessau Stadtteil of Dessau-Roßlau in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Dessau is a town and former municipality in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it has been part of the newly created municipality of Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973.

History of Saxony-Anhalt aspect of history

The history of Saxony-Anhalt began with Old Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in 804 and transformed into the Duchy of Saxony within the Carolingian Empire. Saxony went on to become one of the so-called stem duchies of the German Kingdom and subsequently the Holy Roman Empire which formed out of the eastern partition of the Carolingian Empire. The duchy grew to become a powerful state within the empire, ruling over much of what is now northern Germany, but following conflicts with the emperor it was partitioned into numerous minor states around the end of the 12th century.

Altenburger Land is a district in Thuringia, Germany. It is bounded by the district of Greiz, the Burgenlandkreis (Saxony-Anhalt), and the districts Leipzig, Mittelsachsen and Zwickau in Saxony. The district is a member of the Central German Metropolitan Region.

Province of Saxony province of Prussia

The Province of Saxony, also known as Prussian Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg.

Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk is the public broadcaster for the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. Established in January 1991, its headquarters are in Leipzig, with regional studios in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg. MDR is a member of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.

Central German Metropolitan Region Place in Germany

The Central German Metropolitan Region is one of the so-called metropolitan regions in Germany. It is centered on the major cities of Leipzig and Halle, extending over Central German parts of the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony. The Central German metropolitan region is the only one located entirely within the former East Germany. The "region" is not actually a metropolitan area in the geographic sense of the word as an agglomeration of nearby urban areas, rather it is a registered association, the Europäische Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland e.V. whose membership is composed of towns, cities, municipalities, and companies, colleges and chambers of commerce in the central German geographic area, whose representatives vote upon new members. For example, Jena joined the Metropolitan Region in 2009. The registered association owns the management company Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland Management GmbH. As such it forms a planning and marketing framework for the region while retaining the legal independence of its members.

The Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen (KNK) or Conference of National Cultural Institutions is a union of more than twenty cultural organizations in the former East Germany. It was established in 2002 in Halle.

Central German football championship highest association football competition in Central Germany

The Central German football championship was the highest association football competition in Central Germany, in what is now the federal states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, established in 1902. The competition was disbanded in 1933 with the rise of the Nazis to power.

Evangelical Church in Central Germany church in Germany

The Evangelical Church in Central Germany is a United church body covering most of the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia and some adjacent areas in Brandenburg and Saxony.

Trebnitz–Leipzig railway German railway line

The Trebnitz–Leipzig railway is a double track electrified main line in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony built and originally operated by the Berlin-Anhalt Railway Company. It formally starts at Trebnitz on the former border between the Duchy of Anhalt and Prussia and runs via Dessau and Delitzsch to Leipzig. The section from Bitterfeld to Leipzig is part of Line 1 of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). Until 1871, the Zerbst–Roßlau section was called the Anhaltische Leopoldsbahn.

Dessau Hauptbahnhof railway station in Dessau-Roßlau, Germany

Dessau Hauptbahnhof is the main passenger station in the city of Dessau-Roßlau in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

<i>Mitteldeutsche Zeitung</i> German newspaper

The Mitteldeutsche Zeitung is a regional daily newspaper for southern Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Published in Halle with several local versions, the paper is owned by M. DuMont Schauberg, Cologne.

S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland

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The Halle–Cottbus railway is a 176 km long double-track electrified main line in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Brandenburg. It was opened in 1871 and 1872. It formed the central section of the network of the Halle-Sorau-Guben Railway Company. Today it is part of a connection between the Central Germany and Poland.

Merseburg Hauptbahnhof railway station in Merseburg, Germany

Merseburg Hauptbahnhof is the main station of the town of Merseburg in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is located on the Halle–Bebra railway and Deutsche Bahn assigns it to category 4. Merseburg is located in the tariff area of the Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund.

Saxony-Anhalt (1945–1952)

The State of Saxony-Anhalt was a subdivision of the Soviet occupation zone and state of East Germany which corresponds widely to the present-day German state Saxony-Anhalt. After the retreat of the US troops from the Western parts - following the agreements of the Yalta Conference - it was formed as administrative division called Province of Saxony by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) in July 1945. The province was a re-establishment of the Province of Saxony which existed in Prussia from 1816 to 1944. On 1 July 1944, the Province of Saxony was divided along the lines of its three government districts of Halle-Merseburg, Magdeburg and Erfurt. The two provinces became part of the new state including small parts of Thuringia (Allstedt) and Soviet-occupied parts of Anhalt (Dessau) and Brunswick. Following the first election for the Landtag in October 1946, the state was renamed to Province of Saxony-Anhalt on the same day. With the abolition of Prussia in February 1947, it was named State of Saxony-Anhalt. Compared to the administrative divisions of Nazi Germany, it comprised the Gaue Magdeburg-Anhalt, Halle-Merseburg and small parts of Southern Hanover-Brunswick and Thuringia.

Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund Public transportation assiciation in Germany

Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund (MDV) is a public transport association in the German Leipzig-Halle (Saale) area. The company is based in Halle (Saale), but its head office is in Leipzig.

References

  1. Werner König, "Mitteldeutschland als geografischer Begriff", in: dtv-Atlas Deutsche Sprache, December 2007, p. 120
  2. André Thieme (2007), Michael Richter; Thomas Schaarschmidt; Mike Schmeitzner; Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Sachsen (eds.), "Der Förderalismusbegriff im Wandel der Zeiten – eine Annäherung", Länder, Gaue und Bezirke (in German) (Erste ed.), Dresden: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, pp. 21f, ISBN   978-3-89812-530-7, Auch die mittelalterliche und frühneuzeitliche wettinische Herrschaft in Mitteldeutschland ist, […]. Mit Fußnote an Mitteldeuschland: Zum Begriff Mitteldeutschland vgl. Wolf, Wandlungen des Begriffs „Mitteldeutschland“, S. 3–24; Blaschke, Mitteldeutschland als geschichtlich-landeskundlicher Begriff, S. 13–24; Rutz, Mitteldeutschland. In Gesellschaft und Kultur Band 1, S. 225–258
  3. Schreiber, Mathias (2006). Deutsch for sale, Der Spiegel, no. 40, October 2, 2006 ("So schuf er eine Hochsprache aus Volkssprache, sächsischem Kanzleideutsch (aus der Gegend von Meißen), Predigt und Alltagsrede, eine in sich widersprüchliche, aber bildhafte und kraftvolle Mischung, an der die deutschsprachige Literatur im Grunde bis heute Maß nimmt.")
  4. Der Spiegel: 100 Jahre Weimarer Republik Warum Weimar?, ("Die Verlegung der Nationalversammlung nach dem Herzen Deutschlands wird den Einheitsgedanken, die Zusammengehörigkeit des Reiches mächtig stärken." ( Friedrich Ebert )
  5. Region Mitteldeutschland: history Archived August 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 30 Oct 2010
  6. Verband Mitteldeutscher Ballspiel-Vereine, German Wikipedia Retrieved 2 Nov 2011

Coordinates: 51°20′N12°10′E / 51.33°N 12.17°E / 51.33; 12.17