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Coordinates: 49°54′47″N7°27′0″E / 49.91306°N 7.45000°E / 49.91306; 7.45000
Country Germany
Capital Mainz
  Body Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate
   Minister-President Malu Dreyer (SPD)
  Governing parties SPD / FDP / Greens
   Bundesrat votes 4 (of 69)
  Total19,854.21 km2 (7,665.75 sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code DE-RP
GDP (nominal) €124 billion (2013) [1]
GDP per capita €31,100 (2013)
HDI (2017)0.927 [2]
very high · 10th of 16
Website www.rlp.de OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Rhineland-Palatinate (German : Rheinland-Pfalz, pronounced [ˈʁaɪ̯nlant ˈp͡falt͡s] ) is a state of Germany located in the west of the country. Covering an area of 19,846 km2 (7,663 sq mi) and with a population of 4.05 million inhabitants, it is the seventh-most populous German state. Mainz is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Koblenz, Trier, Kaiserslautern and Worms. [3] Rhineland-Palatinate is surrounded by the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. It also borders three foreign countries: France, Luxembourg and Belgium.


Rhineland-Palatinate was established in 1946 after World War II, from territory of the historically separate regions of the Free State of Prussia, People's State of Hesse and Bavaria, by the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate became part of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and shared the country's only border with the Saar Protectorate until it was returned to German control in 1957. Rhineland-Palatinate has since developed its own identity built on its natural and cultural heritage, including the extensive Palatinate winegrowing region, its picturesque landscapes and many castles and palaces. [4]


Minister-president Peter Altmeier at the Rittersturz Conference in 1948 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F046120-0035, Koblenz, "Rittersturz-Konferenz".jpg
Minister-president Peter Altmeier at the Rittersturz Conference in 1948
The Peter Altmeier Monument in Koblenz Koblenz im Buga-Jahr 2011 - Moselanlagen 02.jpg
The Peter Altmeier Monument in Koblenz

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate was founded shortly after the Second World War on 30 August 1946. It was formed mainly from the southern part of the Prussian Rhine Province (the Regierungsbezirke of Koblenz and Trier), from Rhenish Hesse, from the western part of Nassau and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate minus the county of Saarpfalz. The Joint German-Luxembourg Sovereign Region (Gemeinschaftliches deutsch-luxemburgisches Hoheitsgebiet) is the only unincorporated area of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. This condominium is formed by the rivers Moselle, Sauer, and Our, where they run along the border between Luxembourg and Rhineland-Palatinate or the Saarland. [3]


The present state of Rhineland-Palatinate formed part of the French Zone of Occupation (1945-1949) after the Second World War. It comprised the former Bavarian Palatinate, the Regierungsbezirke ("government districts") of Koblenz and Trier of the old Prussian Rhine Province, those parts of the Province of Rhenish Hesse (Rheinhessen) west of the River Rhine and belonging to the People's State of Hesse (Volksstaat Hessen), parts of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau (Montabaur), and the former Oldenburg region around Birkenfeld (Principality of Birkenfeld).

On 10 July 1945, the occupation authority on the soil of the present-day Rhineland-Palatinate transferred from the Americans to the French. To begin with, the French divided the region provisionally into two "upper presidiums" (Oberpräsidien), Rhineland-Hesse-Nassau (for the hitherto Prussian government districts and regions of Koblenz, Trier, and Montabaur) and Hesse-Palatinate (for the hitherto Bavarian Palatinate and old Hessian-Darmstadt province of Rhenish Hesse). The formation of the state was ordained on 30 August 1946, the last state in the Western Zone of Occupation to be established, by Regulation No. 57 of the French military government under General Marie-Pierre Kœnig. [5] It was initially called Rhenish-Palatinate (Rheinpfälzisches Land or Land Rheinpfalz); the name Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) was first confirmed in the constitution of 18 May 1947. [6]

The provisional French government at that time wanted originally to leave the option open of annexing further areas west of the Rhine after the Saarland was turned into a protectorate. When the Americans and British, however, had led the way with the establishment of German federal states, the French came under increasing pressure and eventually followed their example by setting up the states of Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, and Rhineland-Palatinate. However, the French military government forbade the Saarland joining Rhineland-Palatinate. Mainz was named as the state capital in the regulation; the "Mixed Commission" (Gemischte Kommission), named as the highest organ of state charged with the administration of the new state and with the preparation of an advisory state assembly, started its work in Mainz. However, war damage and destruction meant that Mainz did not have enough administrative buildings, so the headquarters of the state government and parliament was provisionally established in Koblenz. On 22 November 1946, the constituent meeting of the Advisory State Assembly (Beratende Landesversammlung) took place there, and a draft constitution was drawn up. Previously, local elections had been held. Wilhelm Boden was (after a short term of office as the Oberregierungspräsident of Rhineland-Hesse-Nassau) nominated on 2 December as the minister president of the new state by the French military government.

Early years

Adolf Süsterhenn submitted a draft constitution to the Advisory State Assembly, which was passed after several rounds of negotiation on 25 April 1947 in a final vote with the absolute majority of the CDU voting for and the SPD and KPD voting against it. One of the reasons for this was that the draft constitution made provision for separate schools based on Christian denomination. On 18 May 1947, the Constitution for Rhineland-Palatinate was adopted by 53% of the electorate in a referendum. While the Catholic north and west of the new state adopted the constitution by a majority, it was rejected by the majority in Rhenish Hesse and the Palatinate. On the same date, the first elections took place for the state parliament, the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate. The inaugural assembly of parliament took place on 4 June 1947 in the large city hall at Koblenz. Wilhelm Boden was elected the first minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate. Just one month later, Peter Altmeier succeeded him.

The constitutional bodies, the Government (Landesregierung), the Parliament ( Landtag ) and the Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof), established their provisional seat in Koblenz. In the following period, Koblenz and Mainz emphasized their suitability as the state capital in a public debate. From the beginning, Minister-President Altmeier pressed for Mainz as the capital because he knew that the south of the country, especially the Palatinate, would not accept Koblenz, which was far to the north and formerly Prussian. On 16 May 1950, the Landtag decided to relocate itself and the Landregierung from Koblenz to Mainz. [7] [8] After the government and parliament moved to Mainz, many state authorities and courts remained in Koblenz, including the Constitutional Court and the State Archives. In addition, the German Federal Archives and Federal Office of Hydrology were established in Koblenz in 1952.


A sense of community developed only very gradually in the "land of the retort", which had been established largely without regard to the historical affiliations of its inhabitants. It was given little chance of survival, especially as it had very few large industrial centres. However, the establishment of numerous military bases, both Allied and Bundeswehr, helped to some extent to boost the economy. In 1956, under Article 29 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, petitions were made in the regions of Koblenz, Trier, Montabaur, Rhenish Hesse, and Palatinate for their incorporation into the respective states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg. All petitions for a referendum except those in the administrative district of Palatinate won the necessary majority; however, almost 20 years passed before the referenda finally took place. On 19 January 1975, none of the regions concerned returned a majority for being transferred to another state. This put an end to decades of discussion. Only the AKK conflict, a dispute over the districts of Mainz-Amöneburg, Mainz-Kastel, and Mainz-Kostheim, has continued to exercise politicians up to the present day.


Rhineland-Palatinate shares international borders with France (Grand Est), Luxembourg (Clervaux, Diekirch, Echternach, Grevenmacher, Remich, and Vianden), and Belgium (Wallonia). Within Germany, it neighbours are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Northrhine-Westphalia, and the Saarland. It is the ninth-largest state by area. Rhineland-Palatinate is part of the SaarLorLux euregion.

With 42% of its area covered by forests, it is the most forested state along with Hesse. [9] The state's major rivers are the Rhine, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Middle Rhine, and the Moselle. Several crater lakes of volcanic origin are in the Eifel, the biggest of which is the Laacher See.

The Rhenish Massif forms roughly the northern half of the state, including the regions Eifel, Moselle Valley, Hunsrück, Westerwald, and parts of the Taunus. The Palatinate forms the biggest part of the southern half along with Rhenish Hesse. The Nahe Valley separates both parts. [10]


Politics of Rhineland-Palatinate


Rhineland-Palatinate is divided into 24 districts ( Landkreise ), 12 independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte).


Listing with Vehicle registration plates of Germany

Independent cities

Listing with Vehicle registration plates of Germany

  1. Frankenthal (Pfalz) (FT)
  2. Kaiserslautern (KL)
  3. Koblenz (KO)
  4. Landau in der Pfalz (LD)
  5. Ludwigshafen am Rhein (LU)
  6. Mainz (MZ)
  1. Neustadt an der Weinstraße (NW)
  2. Pirmasens (PS)
  3. Speyer (SP)
  4. Trier (TR)
  5. Worms (WO)
  6. Zweibrücken (ZW)


Largest cities

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [11]
foreign resident populations (2017)
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 58,130
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 43,635
Flag of Syria.svg  Syria [lower-alpha 1] 38,745
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 30,480
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 30,245
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 18,310
Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan 12,680
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 12,600
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 10,270
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo 10,130
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 9,680
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 8,965
Flag of the United States.svg  USA 8,380
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 8,325
Flag of France.svg  France 8,250
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxemburg 8,195
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 6,375
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 6,210
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia 5,985
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 5,655
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 5,280
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 5,140
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 4,225
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  UK 4,185
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia 4,015
Other Europe [lower-alpha 2] 7,295
Other Asia [lower-alpha 3] 36,195

The following table shows the ten largest cities of Rhineland-Palatinate: [13]

Pos.NamePop. 2017Area (km²)Pop. per km2
1 Mainz 215,110982,201
2 Ludwigshafen am Rhein 168,497772,176
3 Koblenz 113,8441051,082
4 Trier 110,013117940
5 Kaiserslautern 99,684140714
6 Worms 83,081109764
7 Neuwied 64,66187748
8 Neustadt an der Weinstraße 53,353117456
9 Speyer 50,931431,192
10 Bad Kreuznach 50,48456909

Vital statistics

Source: Statistical Offices of Federal Government and Federal States [14]


As of 2018, 40.3% of the population of the state adhered to the Roman Catholic Church and 26.8% to the Evangelical Church in Germany; 32.9% of the population is irreligious or adheres to other religions. [15] Muslims made up 2.5% of the total. [16]

Religion in Rhineland-Palatinate – 2018
Roman Catholics
EKD Protestants
Other or none

Jewish culture

The league of ShUM-cities in the later Rhineland-Palatinate comprised the Jewish communities of Mainz, Speyer, and Worms, which became the center of Jewish life during medieval times. [17] The Takkanot Shum (Hebrew : תקנות שו"ם), or Enactments of ShU"M were a set of decrees formulated and agreed upon over a period of decades by their Jewish community leaders. [18] [19]

  1. Denoted as "Syria, Arab Republic" in the source
  2. "Europe" consists of EU states, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine
  3. Total Asia population minus Afghanistan, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam



Rhineland-Palatinate leads all German states with an export rate around 50%. [3] Important sectors are the winegrowing, chemical, pharmaceutical, and auto parts industries. [3] "Distinctive regional industries" includes gemstones, ceramics and glass, and leather. Small and medium enterprises are considered the "backbone" of the economy in Rhineland-Palatinate. [3] The principal employer is the chemical and plastics processing industry, which is represented by BASF in Ludwigshafen. Boehringer, Joh. A. Benckiser, SGE Deutsche Holding, and Schott Glassworks conclude the top five companies in the state. [3]

Agriculture and viticulture

Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany's leading producer of wine in terms of grape cultivation and wine export. Its capital, Mainz, may be called the capital of the German wine industry, being the home of the German Wine Institute, the German Wine Fund in the Haus des Deutschen Weines (House of German Wine), and the Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter Wine Bourse, which brings together the top winemakers of Germany and the wine merchants of the world. [20]

Of 13 wine regions producing quality wine in Germany, six ( Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Mosel, Nahe, Mittelrhein , and Ahr ) are located in Rhineland-Palatinate, with 65 to 70% of the production of wine grapes in Germany having their origin within the state. [21] About 13,000 wine producers generate 80 to 90% of the German wine export. The total estimated production from the six Rhineland-Palatinate regions was nearly 7 million hectoliters in 2018. [22] [23]

Traditional grape varieties and a wide range of varieties developed during the last 125 years are characteristic for the region.

Classical white varieties are cultivated at 63,683 hectares (157,360 acres). These comprise the famous Rieslings 14,446 hectares (35,700 acres), Müller-Thurgau (8,663 hectares (21,410 acres)), Silvaner (3,701 hectares (9,150 acres)), and Kerner (3,399 hectares (8,400 acres)).

The share of red varieties grew constantly during the last decades and amounts to 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres). Dornfelder , a recent cultivar, is the leading red grape cultivated on 7,626 hectares (18,840 acres), which is more than a third. Blauer Portugieser (4,446 hectares (10,990 acres)) and Spätburgunder (3,867 hectares (9,560 acres)) show also appreciable cultivated shares. [24]

In addition, Pinot blanc , Pinot gris , Chardonnay as white varieties and Regent and St. Laurent as red varieties have been increasing their share, as the growing conditions improve in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The state supports the wine industry by providing a comprehensive consultancy and education program in the service supply centers (German: DLR) of the land. The Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding is fully financed by the state. Many well-known new varieties such as Morio-Muskat , Bacchus, Optima, and Regent have been created in these institutes.

The worldwide leader in sparkling wine production, producing 224,4 million bottles in 2017/18, is the renowned Schloss Wachenheim Group. This company is headquartered in Trier, with operations in several locations in Rhineland-Palatinate and 3 sites in France (Compagnie Française des Grands Vins (CFGV)). [25]

Other renowned sparkling wine producers such as Kupferberg, Deinhard, and Henkell also had their roots in the region, but now belong to companies outside the state as a result of business consolidation.


The unemployment rate stood at 4.1% in October 2018 and was lower than the German average. [26]

Year [27] 2000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Unemployment rate in %

See also

Related Research Articles

Palatinate (region) geographic region

The Palatinate, historically also Rhenish Palatinate, is a region in southwestern Germany. It occupies roughly the southernmost quarter of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), covering an area of 5,451 square kilometres (2,105 sq mi) with about 1.4 million inhabitants. Its residents are known as Palatines.

Rhineland historic region of Germany

The Rhineland is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly its middle section.

Trier (region) Regierungsbezirk in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Trier was one of the three Regierungsbezirke of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, located in the west of the state.

Alzey-Worms is a district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by the district Groß-Gerau (Hesse), the city of Worms and the districts of Bad Dürkheim, Donnersbergkreis, Bad Kreuznach and Mainz-Bingen.

Mainz-Bingen is a district (Kreis) in the east of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Neighboring districts are Rheingau-Taunus, the district-free cities Wiesbaden and Mainz, the districts Groß-Gerau, Alzey-Worms, Bad Kreuznach, and Rhein-Hunsrück.

Rhenish Hesse region in Germany

Rhenish Hesse or Rhine-Hesse is a region and a former government district in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, made up of those territories west of the Upper Rhine river that from 1816 were part of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and of the People's State of Hesse until 1945. The hilly countryside is largely devoted to vineyards, comprising the Rheinhessen wine region.

Rhine Province province of Prussia

The Rhine Province, also known as Rhenish Prussia (Rheinpreußen) or synonymous with the Rhineland (Rheinland), was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822 to 1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg. Its capital was Koblenz and in 1939 it had 8 million inhabitants. The Province of Hohenzollern was militarily associated with the Oberpräsident of the Rhine Province.

Middle Rhine landscape of Rhine valley between Nahe mouth and Bonn

Between Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the river Rhine flows as the Middle Rhine through the Rhine Gorge, a formation created by erosion, which happened at about the same rate as an uplift in the region, leaving the river at about its original level, and the surrounding lands raised. This gorge is quite deep, about 130 metres (430 ft) from the top of the rocks down to the average water-line.

Westhofen Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Westhofen is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Peoples State of Hesse

The People's State of Hesse was the name of the German state of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1918 until 1945.

Rheinhessen (wine region) German wine region

Rheinhessen is the largest of 13 German wine regions (Weinanbaugebiete) for quality wines with 26,758 hectares under cultivation in 2018. Named for the traditional region of Rhenish Hesse, it lies on the left bank of the Rhine between Worms and Bingen in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Despite its historic name it is currently no longer part of the federal-state of Hesse, this being the case since the end of World War II. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to legally reunite the former wine growing districts of Mainz on the hessian side during the post-war area. Rheinhessen produces mostly white wine from a variety of grapes, particularly Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner, and is best known as the home of Liebfraumilch, although some previously underrated Rieslings are also made, increasingly in a powerful dry style.

Alsheim Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Alsheim is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Hohen-Sülzen Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Hohen-Sülzen is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Dorn-Dürkheim Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Dorn-Dürkheim is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Ludwigshöhe Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Ludwigshöhe is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde Rhein-Selz.

Welgesheim Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Welgesheim is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Pfeddersheim Stadtteil of Worms in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The former free imperial city Pfeddersheim is a borough of Worms since 1969. It became a borough after 2,000 years of independent history.

Worms–Bingen Stadt railway German railway

The Worms–Bingen Stadt railway or Rheinhessenbahn is a non-electrified line that links Worms via Alzey to Bingen Stadt in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.


vlexx GmbH is a rail transport company based in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany and a subsidiary of the Regentalbahn, which in turn has been part of the Italian state railway Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) since 2011 via its parent company Netinera. Vlexx operates local rail passenger transport exclusively with diesel railcars in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Hesse as well as a connection to France on the Winden-Wissembourg railway line into the Alsace to the railway station of Wissembourg.

Zellertal (region)

The Zellertal is a valley region in the east of the North Palatine Uplands in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Its western part belongs to Palatine Donnersbergkreis, its eastern part to Rhenish Hessian Alzey-Worms. The valley is named after the old municipality of Zell, which became part of the new Zellertal municipality in 1976.


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Further reading

Coordinates: 49°54′47″N07°27′00″E / 49.91306°N 7.45000°E / 49.91306; 7.45000