Lower Saxony

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Lower Saxony,

Ger. Niedersachsen (nē`dərsäk'sən), state (1994 pop. 7,480,000), 18,295 sq mi (47,384 sq km), NW Germany. Hanover is the capital. The state was formed in 1946 by the merger of the former Prussian province of HanoverHanover
, Ger. Hannover, former independent kingdom and former province of Germany; Lower Saxony, NW Germany. Very irregular in outline, Hanover stretched from the Dutch border and the North Sea in the northwest to the Harz Mts. in the southeast.
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 with the former states of BrunswickBrunswick
, Ger. Braunschweig , former state, central Germany, surrounded by the former Prussian provinces of Saxony, Hanover, and Westphalia. The region of Braunschweig is situated on the North German plain and in the northern foothills of the Harz Mts.
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, OldenburgOldenburg
, former state, NW Germany. It is now included in the state of Lower Saxony. The city of Oldenburg was the capital. The former state consisted of three widely separated divisions.
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, and Schaumburg-LippeSchaumburg-Lippe
, former state, N Germany, E of the Weser River. In 1946 it was placed in Lower Saxony. Bückeburg was the capital. It was situated in a fertile agricultural region.
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. Situated on the North German plain, it is bordered by the Netherlands on the west; the states of North Rhine–Westphalia and Hesse on the south; the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia on the east; and the states of Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, and Hamburg and the North Sea on the north. The state is mountainous in the south (notably the Harz and Weser mts.); heaths and moors form the central belt. Lower Saxony is drained by the Weser, Ems, Aller, Leine, and Elbe rivers. Farming and cattle raising are important occupations. Industry (including the manufacture of iron and steel, textiles, machinery, food products, and chemicals) is well developed in the cities of Brunswick, Celle, Goslar, Hanover, and Osnabrück. There are oil wells in the Emsland, large iron-ore deposits at Watenstedt-Salzgitter, and lignite mines near Helmstedt. Emden, Wilhelmshaven, and Cuxhaven are the chief North Sea ports. The region of Lower Saxony has had no historic unity since 1180, when Emperor Frederick I broke up the duchy of Henry the Lion of Saxony, of which it was a part. The term "Lower Saxony" continued, however, as a geographic expression. It also designated (16th cent. to 1806) one of the imperial circles of the Holy Roman Empire; the circle included, besides present-day Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg, Holstein, and Bremen.

Lower Saxony

 

(German, Niedersachsen), a state (Land) in the northern part of the Federal Republic of Germany, lying in the basin of the navigable Weser, Ems, and Elbe rivers. Bounded by the North Sea, it includes numerous offshore islands, chiefly the East Frisian Islands. A large part of Lower Saxony lies within the Central European Plain. In the southeast are the Harz Mountains, rising to 1,142 m in Mount Brocken. Lower Saxony has an area of 47,000 sq km and a population of 7.3 million (1976), of whom 82 percent are urban dwellers. Its capital is Hannover.

The economy of Lower Saxony is based on industry and agriculture. In 1972 industry, including construction, employed 42.8 percent of the economically active population; agriculture and lumbering, 10.6 percent; and commerce and transport, 18.7 percent. In the region are the country’s largest deposits of petroeum and natural gas, iron ore (Peine, Salzgitter), nonferrous metal ores (Harz), potash and rock salt (the Hannover region), and peat, as well as small reserves of lignite (Helmstedt).

A leading branch of industry is machine building, including automotive manufacture (employing 17.0 percent of the work force in 1973), the production of electrical goods (10.5 percent), and general machine building (9.0 percent). Other major industries are food processing (9.2 percent), textile and garment manufacture (8.3 percent), chemicals and oil refining (4.6 percent), and ferrous metallurgy, including the production of cast iron and rolled steel (4.5 percent). Among the largest enterprises are a metallurgical complex in Salzgitter, Volkswagen passenger car plants in Wolfsburg (with branches in Hannover and Em-den), truck and bus plants in Hannover and Braunschweig, an office machine factory in Wilhelmshaven, and a shipyard in Emden. Most of the oil refining is done in Emden, Lingen, and Misburg; chemicals, rubber, and asbestos are produced chiefly in Hannover; and the food-processing industry is concentrated in Braunschweig, Hildesheim, and Hannover.

One of the country’s most important agricultural regions, Lower Saxony has predominantly capitalist farms. Whereas farms ranging from 0.5 to 5 hectares (38.9 percent of all farms in 1973) occupy 4.6 percent of the agricultural land, farms of more than 50 ha (5.3 percent of all farms) account for 25.2 percent of the land. The region is noted for its highly productive commercial livestock raising (dairy cattle and pigs). In 1973 meadows and pastures occupied 42.4 percent of the agricultural land. Fodder grasses, root crops, and potatoes are grown. The chief grain crops are barley, wheat, and rye.

The largest seaports are Wilhelmshaven, Emden, Nordenham, and Brake. There is shipping along the Mittelland Canal. An oil pipeline runs from Wilhelmshaven to Wesseling.

A. I. MUKHIN

Lower Saxony

a state of N Germany, on the North Sea and including the E Frisian Islands; formerly in West Germany: a leading European producer of petroleum. Capital: Hanover. Pop.: 7 993 000 (2003 est.). Area: 47 408 sq. km (18 489 sq. miles)