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Sachsen-Anhalt (German)
Sassen-Anholt (Low German)
Anthem: Lied für Sachsen-Anhalt  (German)
"Song for Saxony-Anhalt"
Locator map Saxony-Anhalt in Germany.svg
Coordinates: 51°58′N11°28′E / 51.967°N 11.467°E / 51.967; 11.467 Coordinates: 51°58′N11°28′E / 51.967°N 11.467°E / 51.967; 11.467
Country Germany
Capital Magdeburg
Largest city Halle
  Body Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt
   Minister-President Reiner Haseloff (CDU)
  Governing parties CDU / SPD / FDP
   Bundesrat votes 4 (of 69)
   Bundestag seats 18 (of 736)
  Total20,451.7 km2 (7,896.4 sq mi)
 (2021-12-31) [2]
  Density110/km2 (270/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code DE-ST
GRP (nominal) €64 billion (2019) [3]
GRP per capita€29,000 (2019)
HDI (2018)0.917 [4]
very high · 16th of 16

Saxony-Anhalt (German : Sachsen-Anhalt [ˌzaksn̩ ˈʔanhalt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Low German : Sassen-Anholt) is a state of Germany, bordering the states of Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. It covers an area of 20,451.7 square kilometres (7,896.4 sq mi) [1] and has a population of 2.18 million inhabitants, [2] 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 (Saale).


The state of Saxony-Anhalt was formed in July 1945 after World War II, when the Soviet army administration in Allied-occupied Germany formed it from the former Prussian Province of Saxony and the Free State of Anhalt. Saxony-Anhalt became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, but was dissolved in 1952 during administrative reforms and its territory divided into the districts of Halle and Magdeburg. Following German reunification the state of Saxony-Anhalt was re-established in 1990 and became one of the new states of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Saxony-Anhalt is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and possesses the highest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Germany.


Saxony-Anhalt is one of 16 constituent states of Germany. It is located in the western part of eastern Germany. By size, it is the 8th largest state in Germany and by population, it is the 11th largest.

It borders four other states: Brandenburg to the north-east, Saxony to the south-east, Thuringia to the south-west and Lower Saxony to the north-west.

In the north, the Saxony-Anhalt landscape is dominated by the flat expanse of the North German Plain. The old Hanseatic towns Salzwedel, Gardelegen, Stendal and Tangermünde are located in the sparsely populated Altmark. The Colbitz-Letzlingen Heath and the Drömling near Wolfsburg mark the transition between the Altmark region and the Elbe-Börde-Heath region with its fertile, sparsely wooded Magdeburg Börde. Notable towns in the Magdeburg Börde are Haldensleben, Oschersleben (Bode), Wanzleben, Schönebeck (Elbe), Aschersleben and the capital Magdeburg, from which the Börde derives its name.

The Harz mountains are located in the south-west, comprising the Harz National Park, the Harz Foreland and Mansfeld Land. The highest mountain of the Harz (and of Northern Germany) is Brocken, with an elevation of 1,141 meters (3,735 ft). In this area, one can find the towns of Halberstadt, Wernigerode, Thale, Eisleben and Quedlinburg.

The wine-growing area Saale-Unstrut and the towns of Zeitz, Naumburg (Saale), Weißenfels and Freyburg (Unstrut) are located on the rivers Saale and Unstrut in the south of the state.

The metropolitan area of Halle (Saale) forms an agglomeration with Leipzig in Saxony. This area is known for its highly developed chemical industry (the Chemiedreieck – chemical triangle), with major production plants at Leuna, Schkopau (Buna-Werke) and Bitterfeld. Finally, in the east, Dessau-Roßlau and Wittenberg are situated on the Elbe (as is the capital Magdeburg) in the Anhalt-Wittenberg region.

Administrative subdivisions

Aerial view to the city centre of Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt's Capital city. Aerial view of Magdeburg.jpg
Aerial view to the city centre of Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt's Capital city.
Saxony-Anhalt's most populous city, Halle (Saale), is the seat of the state's largest university. Halleuniplatz.JPG
Saxony-Anhalt's most populous city, Halle (Saale), is the seat of the state's largest university.
Wittenberg was once one of the most important cities in Germany, especially for its close connection with Martin Luther. Wittenberg - Stadtbach in der Schlossstrasse (Town Stream in the Schlossstrasse) - - 28216.jpg
Wittenberg was once one of the most important cities in Germany, especially for its close connection with Martin Luther.

The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is Magdeburg. It is the second-largest city in the state, closely after Halle (Saale). From 1994 to 2003, the state was divided into three regions ( Regierungsbezirke ), Dessau, Halle and Magdeburg and, below the regional level, 21 districts (Landkreise). Since 2004, however, this system has been replaced by 11 rural districts and three urban districts. [5]


The districts are:

The independent cities are:

Largest towns

The largest towns in Saxony-Anhalt as of 31 December 2021: [6]

1 Halle 238,061
2 Magdeburg 236,188
3 Dessau-Roßlau 78,731
4 Lutherstadt Wittenberg 44,984
5 Weißenfels 39,745
6 Halberstadt 38,682
7 Stendal 38,359
8 Bitterfeld-Wolfen 37,047
9 Merseburg 33,641
10 Wernigerode 32,027


Coat of arms of Saxony-Anhalt between 1946 and 1952 Coat of arms of Saxony-Anhalt 1947-1952.svg
Coat of arms of Saxony-Anhalt between 1946 and 1952

Saxony-Anhalt is a federal state with a relatively short history, if compared to other German federal states. It was formed in 1945 out of former Prussian territories and mainly consists of three distinct historical regions: the area around Magdeburg, the formerly independent Anhalt and a southern part which once was part of Saxony but had been annexed by Prussia in the 19th century. This historical origin can still be seen in the coat of arms of the federal state.

In April 1945 the US Army took control of most of the western and northern area of the future Saxony-Anhalt. The U.S. Group Control Council, Germany (a precursor of the OMGUS) appointed the first non-Nazi officials in leading positions in the area. Erhard Hübener, put on leave by the Nazis, was reappointed Landeshauptmann (state governor). By early July the US Army withdrew from the former Prussian Province of Saxony to make way for the Red Army to take it as part of the Soviet occupation zone, as agreed by the London Protocol in 1944.

On 9 July the Soviet SVAG ordered the merger of the Free State of Anhalt, Halle-Merseburg, the governorate of Magdeburg (in its then borders), Allstedt (before Thuringia) and some Brunswickian eastern exclaves and salients (Calvörde and the eastern part of the former Blankenburg district [7] ) with the Province of Saxony. [8] The previously Saxon Erfurt governorate had become a part of Thuringia.

Anhalt takes its name from Anhalt Castle near Harzgerode; the origin of the name of the castle remains unknown. Anhalt was once an independent German federal state dating back for centuries.

The SVAG appointed Hübener as president of the provincial Saxon administration, a newly created function. The administration was seated in Halle an der Saale, which became the capital, also of later Saxony-Anhalt until 1952. On 3 September 1945 the new administration enacted by Soviet-inspired ordinance the mass expropriations, mostly hitting holders of large real estates, often of noble descent.

On the occasion of the first (and one and only) election in the Soviet zone, allowing parties truly to compete for seats in provincial and state parliaments, on 20 October 1946, the Province of Saxony was renamed as the Province of Saxony-Anhalt ( German : Provinz Sachsen-Anhalt), taking the prior merger into account. [8] On 3 December 1946 the members of the new provincial parliament elected Hübener the first minister-president of Saxony-Anhalt with the votes of CDU and Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD). Thus he became the only governor in the Soviet zone, who was not a member of the communist Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). He was an inconvenient governor for the Soviet rulers.

After the official Allied decision to dissolve the Free State of Prussia, which had remained in limbo since the Prussian coup of 1932, its former provinces, in as far as they still existed, achieved statehood, thus the province emerged into the State of Saxony-Anhalt on 6 October 1947. [8] It became part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. From 1952 on the East German states were dissolved, and Saxony-Anhalt's territory was divided into the East German districts of Halle and Magdeburg, except that the territory around Torgau was assigned to Leipzig. In 1990, in the course of German reunification, the districts were reintegrated as a state. But, territory around Torgau did not return to the state and joined Saxony. Now, Torgau is the centre of Nordsachsen district (since 2008).

In 2015 the skeletal remains of an ancient inhabitant of Karsdorf dated from the Early Neolithic (7200 BP) were analysed; he turned out to belong to the paternal T1a-M70 lineage and maternal lineage H1. [9] [10]


Since German reunification, there has been a continuous downward trend in the population of Saxony-Anhalt. This is partly due to outward migration and partly because the death rate exceeds the birth rate. Although the birth rate has been steady since 1994, the net reproduction rate is only approximately 70%. However, the total fertility rate reached 1.50 in 2014, the highest value since 1990.

Demographic history of Saxony-Anhalt since 1990 [11]


Religion in Saxony-Anhalt – 2018
EKD Protestants
Roman Catholics
Non religious
Other religion

The region has historically been associated with the Lutheran faith, but under Communist rule, church membership was strongly discouraged and much of the population disassociated itself from any religious body. Saxony-Anhalt contains many sites tied to Martin Luther's life, including Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg.

In 2018, the majority of citizens in Saxony-Anhalt were irreligious and more were leaving the churches than entering them [12] – in fact, Saxony-Anhalt is the most irreligious state in Germany. Of the Saxon-Anhaltish, 15.2% adhered to the major denominations of Christianity (11.9% were members of the Evangelical Church in Germany and 3.3% were Catholics), [13] 2% were members of other religions [12] (mostly Islam, Judaism, the New Apostolic Church and Mandeism). Of the citizens of Saxony-Anhalt, 82.8% were religiously unaffiliated. [12] [13] As of July 2019 there were 1,892 Jehovah's Witnesses (publishers) in Sachsen-Anhalt. Originally their branch office for Germany was in Magdeburg. When World War II ended in 1945, the property in Magdeburg, then part of East Germany, was returned and the branch was reestablished. But on 30 August 1950 Communist police stormed the facilities and arrested the workers, and the Jehovah's Witnesses in the German Democratic Republic (DDR) were banned.


The percentage of foreigners in Saxony-Anhalt was 4.9 percent by 31 December 2018, the third lowest among the 16 states of Germany (together with Saxony and Thuringia). [14]

The largest foreign resident groups by 31 December 2019 were: [15]

Flag of Syria.svg  Syria 23,390
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 11,200
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 8,240


List of minister presidents


2021 state election

2021 Saxony-Anhalt state election - composition chart.svg
PartyConstituencyParty listTotal
Christian Democratic Union (CDU)362,33334.13+4.5840394,80837.12+7.37040+10
Alternative for Germany (AfD)231,87521.84–1.281221,49820.82–3.452223–2
The Left (LINKE)135,41912.76–5.910116,90210.99–5.331212–4
Social Democratic Party (SPD)116,45310.97–3.32089,4758.41–2.2299–2
Free Democratic Party (FDP)70,7256.66+1.19068,3056.42+1.5677+7
Alliance 90/The Greens (GRÜNE)60,5215.70+0.42063,1485.94+0.7666+1
Free Voters 57,5365.42+3.35033,2883.13+0.9700±0
Human Environment Animal Protection 1,0560.10+0.10015,2741.44–0.0400±0
Garden Party3,2160.30+0.0808,5770.81+0.3800±0
Die PARTEI 3,9090.37+0.2607,7700.73+0.2000±0
Animal Protection Here!00.00New06,2390.59New00±0
Animal Protection Alliance4,5170.43+0.1905,1080.48–0.5600±0
Party for Health Research 00.00New03,9470.37New00±0
Pirate Party Germany 00.00New03,8140.36New00±0
National Democratic Party 1600.02+0.0202,8970.27–1.6200±0
Free Citizens of Central Germany2,9320.28–0.1601,6030.15–0.2200±0
The Humanists 00.00New01,4090.13New00±0
Ecological Democratic Party 1450.01New01,0620.10New00±0
Climate List Saxony-Anhalt00.00New08270.08New00±0
Liberal Conservative Reformers 00.00±0.0004730.04–0.8300±0
Independents 3,1530.30–0.10000.00000±0
Valid votes1,061,51498.351,063,69498.56
Invalid/blank votes17,7731.6515,5931.44
Total votes1,079,287100.001,079,287100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,788,95560.33–0.781,788,95560.33–0.78
Source: State Returning Officer
Popular vote
Landtag seats

Minister-president Reiner Haseloff (CDU) retained his position in a coalition with former partner SPD and newly the FDP. Before the election the coalition had consisted of the CDU, SPD and Greens.


The gross domestic product (GDP) of the state was 62.7 billion euros in 2018, which accounts for 1.9% of Germany's total economic output and ranks 13th among the 16 German states. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 26,000 euros or 86% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 88% of the EU average. The GDP per capita was the second lowest of all German states. [16]


Saxony-Anhalt was part of the communist German Democratic Republic. After the breakdown of communism and the German reunification in 1990, the collapse of non-competitive former GDR industries temporarily caused severe economic problems. In 2000, Saxony-Anhalt had the highest unemployment rate of all German states, at 20.2%. [17]

However, the process of economic transformation towards a modern market economy seems to be completed. Massive investments in modern infrastructure have taken place since 1990, and the remaining and newly created businesses are highly competitive. For example, the industry has doubled its share of international revenue from 13 percent in 1995 to 26 percent in 2008. [18] Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably. [19] By 2010 the GDP of Saxony-Anhalt was almost two and a half times higher than it was in 1991. [20]

Even though part of this recovery was induced by the quite good performance of the Germany economy, Saxony-Anhalt did not only follow the national trend, but clearly outperformed other German states. For example, it got ahead of three German states in terms of unemployment (10.8%, as of September 2011): the German capital and city-state of Berlin (12.7%), the city-state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (11.3%) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (11%). [21]

The unemployment began to fall under 10% in 2016 and stood at 7.1% in October 2018. [22]

Year [23] 200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Unemployment rate in %20.219.719.620.520.320.218.315.913.913.612.511.611.511.210.710.29.68.4



Saxony-Anhalt has seven World Heritage Sites, the highest number of all states in Germany. [25]


Aerial view of the main campus in Magdeburg Blick auf die Otto-von-Guericke Universitat Magdeburg.JPG
Aerial view of the main campus in Magdeburg

Saxony-Anhalt has several universities, including:


See also

Related Research Articles

Wittenberg is a district in the east of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Neighboring districts are Anhalt-Bitterfeld, the district-free city of Dessau-Roßlau, the districts of Potsdam-Mittelmark, Teltow-Fläming and Elbe-Elster in Brandenburg, and the district of Nordsachsen in Saxony. The capital and largest city is Wittenberg, famous for its association with the influential religious reformer Martin Luther and containing a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dr. Erhard Hübener was a German politician and member of the German Democratic Party (DDP) until 1933. After World War II he engaged in rebuilding structures of self-rule in the Soviet occupation zone and was co-founder and member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Province of Saxony</span> Province of the Kingdom 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Delitzsch</span> Town in Saxony, Germany

Delitzsch is a town in Saxony in Germany, 20 km north of Leipzig and 30 km east of Halle (Saale). With 24,850 inhabitants at the end of 2015, it is the largest town in the district of Nordsachsen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eisleben</span> Town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as both the hometown of the influential theologian Martin Luther and the place where he died; hence, its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. First mentioned in the late 10th century, Eisleben is divided into old and new towns, the latter of which was created for Eisleben's miners in the 14th century. As of 2020, Eisleben had a population of 22,668. It lies on the Halle–Kassel railway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central German Metropolitan Region</span> Place in Germany

The Central German Metropolitan Region is one of the officially established 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zörbig</span> Town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Zörbig is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approximately 15 km west of Bitterfeld, and 20 km northeast of Halle (Saale). Zörbig is well known for its molasses made from sugar beets.

Kreisreform Sachsen-Anhalt 2007 is a law in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany that came into effect on July 1, 2007, which outlines a reform of the districts of Saxony-Anhalt. It reduced the districts from 24 to 14. Nine new districts were created by amalgamating existing districts, while the rural districts of Altmarkkreis Salzwedel and Stendal as well as the urban districts of Halle and Magdeburg were untouched.

Börde is a district in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. Its seat is the town Haldensleben. It takes its name from the natural region Magdeburg Börde. It is the site of the Morsleben radioactive waste repository. The disposal of waste into the facility ended in 1998.

Salzland is a district in the middle of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Its area is 1,428.1 km2 (551.4 sq mi). It is bounded by the districts Harz, Börde, Magdeburg, Jerichower Land, Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Mansfeld-Südharz and Saalekreis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dessau-Roßlau</span> Town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Dessau-Roßlau is a kreisfreie Stadt in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Mulde. The town was formed by merger of the towns of Dessau and Roßlau in the course of the "Kreisreform Sachsen-Anhalt" (Sachsen-Anhalt Regional Boundary Reforms) on 1 July 2007. The reform involved a reduction in the number of rural districts in Sachsen-Anhalt from 21 to 11 and reflected an expected continuation of the significant population decline being experienced.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bezirk Halle</span> District in 20 Kreise and 3 Stadtkreise, German Democratic Republic

The Bezirk Halle was a district (Bezirk) of East Germany. The administrative seat and the main town was Halle.

The Magdeburg Region is the name of the central region in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in North Germany. It includes the landscape units of Magdeburg Börde, Jerichow Land, the northern Harz Foreland and the Colbitz-Letzlingen Heath. The centre of the region is the city of Magdeburg; other important towns are Haldensleben, Aschersleben, Staßfurt, Oschersleben, Schönebeck (Elbe) and Burg. Towards the east the Elbe-Börde Heath transitions into the neighbouring region of Anhalt-Wittenberg. To the south lies the Harz and the Saale-Unstrut Region, to the north the Altmark. The regional tourist association uses the name Elbe-Börde-Heide which came originally from regional planning and was first coined in the 1990s. Currently it is used in the fields of tourism or regional marketing.

Anhalt-Wittenberg is the name of the easternmost region of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It includes the landscape units of Anhalt, the Fläming Heath and the region along the River Elbe in the area of the Lutherstadt Wittenberg and the town of Köthen. The centre of the region is Dessau-Roßlau. To the west Anhalt-Wittenberg borders on the Elbe-Börde Heath.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trebnitz–Leipzig railway</span>

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.

The Dessau–Köthen railway connects the cities of Dessau-Roßlau and Köthen in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is one of the oldest lines in Germany and forms the western end of the main line of the Berlin-Anhalt Railway Company. The only passenger services to use the line are regional services.

<i>Mitteldeutsche Zeitung</i> German regional daily 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saxony-Anhalt (1945–1952)</span> Subdivision of the Soviet occupation zone and one of the states of East Germany

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund</span> German public transport association

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


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