Southern Germany

Region of Southern Germany

Southern Germany (German: Süddeutschland) as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the historical stem duchies of Bavaria and Swabia or, in a modern context, to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg within the Federal Republic of Germany, to the exclusion of the areas of the modern states of Austria and Switzerland. The Saarland and the southern parts of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate are sometimes included as well and correspond to the historical Franconia.

Alsace, German-speaking Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and South Tyrol are no longer considered to be part of Southern Germany, but historically, culturally, and linguistically, they are related to Southern Germany in many ways. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Moldova and Ukraine also had large Upper German minorities before the 1940s.

Boundaries

Southern Germany roughly corresponds to the area of Germany south of the Speyer line, below which Upper German dialects are spoken (shown in the green are that also includes Austria, parts of Switzerland and Italy).

Southern Germany primarily contrasts with Northern Germany. The term mostly corresponds to those territories of modern Germany which did not form part of the North German Confederation in the nineteenth century.

Between Northern and Southern Germany is the loosely defined area known as Central Germany (Mitteldeutschland), roughly corresponding to the areal of Central German dialects (Franconia, Thuringia, Saxony).

The boundary between the spheres of political influence of Prussia (Northern Germany) and Austria (Southern Germany) within the German Confederation (1815–1866) was known as the "Main line" (Mainlinie, after the river Main), Frankfurt am Main being the seat of the federal assembly. The "Main line" did not follow the course of the River Main upstream of Frankfurt, however, it instead corresponded to the northern border of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Linguistically, Southern Germany corresponds to the Upper German dialects. Southern Germany is culturally and linguistically more similar to German-speaking Switzerland, Austria, and German-speaking South Tyrol than to Central and Northern Germany. A jocular term referring to a cultural boundary defining Bavarian culture is Weißwurstäquator, i.e. the "equator" dividing Northern Germany from the homeland of the Weißwurst sausage.

Geography

The river Main, flowing westward, through Upper and Lower Franconia and Southern Hesse, through the city of Frankfurt, into the river Rhine at Mainz, is often cited as a natural border between Southern and Middle Germany while the border west of Mainz is, in that respect, less clearly determined. The border between the Palatinate and the Rhineland—roughly a line between Bonn and Bingen, in the mountain ranges (Mittelgebirge) of the Westerwald, the Taunus, and the Eifel, along the Rhine and Mosel rivers—is seen as the cultural border between Southern and Western Germany.

Population

Two of the most populous states of Germany, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, are part of Southern Germany. They have a combined population of 23.5 million people. In the broader sense (with Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland), Southern Germany includes roughly 30 million people. Thus, about 40% of the German population and almost 30% of all native speakers of the German language live there.

The region has a Catholic majority, but also a significant Lutheran Protestant population (especially in Northern Württemberg and some parts of Baden and Franconia (Northern Bavaria)), in contrast to the almost entirely Protestant Northern Germany. Due to the immigration of non-Christians, mainly Turks (see Turks in Germany) during the last decades of the twentieth century, there is also a small number (roughly 250,000, i.e. 2-3% of the population) of Muslims.

Major cities

Where a city has different names in English and German, the English name is given first.

State capital
RankCityPop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Bundesland)
1. Munich / München831,9371,101,3841,311,9781,298,9411,229,0261,210,2231,353,186310,694,35511.811852 Bavaria
2.Frankfurt Frankfurt am Main532,037675,009666,179629,375644,865648,550679,664248,312,7374.801875 Hesse
3. Stuttgart496,490637,366634,202580,648579,988583,874606,588207,352,9253.891874 Baden-Württemberg
4. Nuremberg / Nürnberg362,459458,401478,181484,405493,692488,400505,664186,382,7133.531881 Bavaria
5. Mannheim245,634311,383332,378304,303310,411306,729313,174144,962,1602.101897 Baden-Württemberg
6. Karlsruhe198,840240,450259,091271,892275,061278,558294,761173,461,6995.821901 Baden-Württemberg
7. Wiesbaden220,741257,293250,715274,464260,301270,109275,976203,931,3532.171905 Hesse
8. Augsburg185,183206,422213,230248,346256,877254,982264,708146,841,8033.811909 Bavaria
9.Freiburg im Breisgau Freiburg109,717141,637163,568175,106191,029205,102224,191153,061,4659.311934 Baden-Württemberg
10. Mainz88,369133,089174,858187,392179,486182,870199,23797,742,0388.951908 Rhineland-Palatinate
RankCityPop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Land)

Characteristics

Economically, Southern Germany is the strongest part of Germany, with Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria being the powerhouses of manufacturing, especially in the automobile and machinery industry. Furthermore, it is home to some of the country's most prestigious universities (such as the ones in Heidelberg, Munich, Tübingen, and Würzburg).

The specific features of the landscape are rolling hills, Mittelgebirge (mid-range mountains). Southern Germany also has a part of the Alps, in the southeast of the region (Allgäu and Bavarian Alps). In the culinary field, both beer and wine are produced in many varieties throughout the region. The regional cuisine consists of stews, sausages, cabbage, noodles, and other pasta dishes as well as a variety of holiday cookies, cakes, and tarts.

See also

References

  • Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany: Being a Guide to Wuertemberg, Bavaria, Austria, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, &c., the Austrian and Bavarian Alps, and the Danube from Ulm to the Black Sea, Murray's foreign handbooks, 1871

Coordinates:49°N 10°E / 49°N 10°E / 49; 10

Media files used on this page

Sueddeutschland.jpg
Author/Creator: Flammingo, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Süddeutschland Southern Germany
Insigne Francofurti.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
The coat of arms of Frankfurt
The division of the German-speaking area according to the Benrather and Speyrer line.png
Author/Creator: MicBy67, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

Representation of the three current language regions of the German language (Low German = yellow, Middle German = orange, Upper German = red), which are compared to the historical, closed German language regions in the former eastern German areas and the Sudetenland before 1945 (classification according to color, weaker coloring).

Language regions (current as well as historical) are drawn from the map "Verbreitung und Raumgliederung deutscher und niederländischer Sprache als Mundart der ländlichen Bevölkerung in Mitteleuropa um 1900“ (Distribution and spatial division of the German and Dutch languages as a dialect of the rural population in Central Europe around 1900); Regionalssprache.de
State map and relief from Marble (public domain)
Arms of the Free State of Bavaria.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The coat of arms of Bavaria
Coat of arms of Mainz-2008 new.svg
Neues Wappen der Landeshauptstadt Mainz seit 2008-05-15
Muenchen Kleines Stadtwappen.svg
Lesser coat of arms of the Bavarian state capital city of Munich
Wappen Wiesbaden.svg
Coat of arms of the city of Wiesbaden, Germany
Wappen von Nürnberg.svg
Lesser Coats of arms of the city of Nürnberg.