Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Landesflagge (civil flag)|
|Landesdienstflagge (state service flag)|
|Landeswappen (state coat-of-arms)|
|pop. density:||530 inh./km²|
|Minister-president:||Peer Steinbrück (SPD)|
|Ruling party:||SPD/Green coalition|
With eighteen million inhabitants inhabiting 34,080 km² in western-northwestern Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia (German Nordrhein-Westfalen) is largest in population though only fourth in area among Germany's sixteen federal states. The capital is Düsseldorf.
The state is centred on the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr urbanised region, which contains the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Bonn, as well as the Ruhr industrial complex. The Ruhr area consists, among others, of the cities of Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen.
For many people North Rhine-Westphalia is synonymous with industrial areas and agglomerating cities. But the largest part of the state is covered with forests and fields. The southern parts of the Teutoburg Forest are located in the northeast. In the southwest, North Rhine-Westphalia shares in a small part of the Eifel, located on the borders with Belgium and Rhineland-Palatinate. The southeast is occupied by the sparsely populated regions of Sauerland and Siegerland. The northwestern areas of the state are part of the Northern European Lowlands.
See also List of places in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The state consists of 5 administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke), divided into 31 districts (Kreise) and 23 urban districts (kreisfreie Städte). In total, North Rhine-Westphalia has 396 municipalities (1997), including the urban districts, which are municipalities by themselves.
The districts of North Rhine-Westphalia:
The independent cities, which do not belong to any district:
The five administrative regions, belonging to one of two Landschaftsverbände:
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia was established by the British military administration in 1947. Originally it consisted of Westphalia and the northern parts of the Rhine Province, both formerly belonging to Prussia. In 1947 the former state of Lippe was merged with North Rhine-Westphalia, hence leading to the present borders of the state.
The flag of North Rhine-Westphalia is green-white-red with the combined coats of arms of the Prussian Rhine province (white line before green background), Westphalia (the white horse) and Lippe (the red rose).
List of Minister-presidents of North Rhine-Westphalia
- 1946 - 1947: Rudolf Amelunxen
- 1947 - 1956: Karl Arnold (CDU)
- 1956 - 1958: Fritz Steinhoff (SPD)
- 1958 - 1966: Franz Meyers (CDU)
- 1966 - 1978: Heinz Kühn (SPD)
- 1978 - 1998: Johannes Rau (SPD)
- 1998 - 2002: Wolfgang Clement (SPD)
- since 2002: Peer Steinbrück (SPD)
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