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Sachsen-Anhalt (German)
State of Germany
Flag of Saxony-Anhalt
Coat of arms of Saxony-Anhalt
Coat of arms
Country Germany
Capital Magdeburg
 • Minister-President Reiner Haseloff (CDU)
 • Governing parties CDU / SPD
 • Votes in Bundesrat 4 (of 69)
 • Total 20,447.7 km2 (7,894.9 sq mi)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 2,259,393
 • Density 110/km2 (290/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-ST
GDP/ Nominal €52.16 billion (2010)

Saxony-Anhalt (German: Sachsen-Anhalt, pronounced [2]) is a landlocked federal state of Germany surrounded by the federal states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia.

Its capital is Magdeburg. Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres (7,894.9 sq mi)[3] and has a population of 2.34 million.

Saxony-Anhalt should not be confused with Saxony or Lower Saxony, also German states.


  • Geography 1
  • Administrative subdivisions 2
    • Largest cities 2.1
  • History 3
  • Demographics 4
    • Religion 4.1
  • Politics 5
    • List of minister presidents of Saxony-Anhalt 5.1
    • 20 March 2011 state election 5.2
  • Economy 6
    • Development of the economy 6.1
    • Structure of the economy 6.2
  • Culture 7
    • World Heritage Sites 7.1
  • Anthem 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Saxony-Anhalt is one of 16 Bundesländer (see German: Bundesland) 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, the 10th largest.

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

In the north, the Saxony-Anhalt landscape is dominated by plain (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 is situated on the Elbe (as is the Magdeburg) in the Anhalt-Wittenberg region.

Administrative subdivisions

View over Magdeburg, capital of Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalts most populous city Halle (Saale) is seat of the States largest University

The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is Magdeburg. It is the second-largest city in the state, closely after Halle. 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.[4]

Map of Saxony-Anhalt showing the current district boundaries.

The rural districts are

The urban districts are

Largest cities

The largest cities in Saxony-Anhalt according to 30 June 2013 estimate.[5]

Rank City Population
1 Halle (Saale) 230,429
2 Magdeburg 229,758
3 Dessau-Roßlau 84,155
4 Lutherstadt Wittenberg 46,819
5 Bitterfeld-Wolfen 41,442
6 Halberstadt 40,368
7 Stendal 40,104
8 Weißenfels 39,783
9 Bernburg 34,121
10 Merseburg 33,303


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

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. So Erhard Hübener, furloughed by the Nazis, was reappointed Landeshauptmann (state governor). By early July the US Army retired in order to allow the Red Army taking Prussian Saxony as part of its 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[6]) into the Prussian Province of Saxony.[7] While the prior Saxon Erfurt governorate had become a part of Thuringia.

For the earlier history see the respective articles of these entities before 1945. Anhalt takes its name from Anhalt Castle near Harzgerode; the origin of the name of the castle remains unknown.

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 as well as one and only election in the Soviet zone, allowing parties to really compete for seats in provincial and state parliaments, on 20 October 1946, the Province of Saxony was renamed into Province of Saxony-Anhalt (Provinz Sachsen-Anhalt), accounting for the prior merger.[7] 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). So he became the only governor in the Soviet zone, who was no 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.[7] It became part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. From 1952 to 1990 the East German states had been suppressed and Saxony-Anhalt's territory was divided into the East German districts of Halle and Magdeburg. In 1990, in the course of German reunification, the districts were reintegrated as a state.


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 approx. 50%.

Entwicklung der Bevölkerung Sachsen-Anhalts seit 1990[8]
Year Population Change
1990 2,873,957
1995 2,738,928 −135,029
2000 2,615,375 −123,553
2005 2,469,716 −145,659
2010 2,335,006 −134,710

The percentage of foreigners in the population of Saxony-Anhalt is 1.9 percent, the lowest of all the federal states of Germany.[9]


Religion in Saxony-Anhalt - 2010
religion percent
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 with any religious body. In 2010, the majority of citizens in Saxony-Anhalt were non-denominational and more were leaving the churches than entering them.[10] 17.6% of Saxon-Anhaltish adhere to the major denominations of Christianity (14.1% are members of the Evangelical Church in Germany and 3.5% are Catholics),[11] 2% are members of other religions[10] (mostly Judaism, the New Apostolic Church, Islam and Mandeism). 80.4% of the citizens of Saxony-Anhalt are religiously unaffiliated.[10]


List of minister presidents of Saxony-Anhalt

20 March 2011 state election

Former Minister-president Wolfgang Böhmer (CDU) did not run for re-election.

These are the official election results (secondary votes):[12]

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 322,897 32.5% 41 39.0
The Left Party (Die LINKE(PDS/WASG)) 234,917 23.7% 29 27.6
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 213,586 21.5% 26 24.8
Alliance '90/The Greens 70,906 7.1% 9 8.6
National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) 45,697 4.6% 0 0.0%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 38,172 3.8% 0 0.0%
All Others 67 000 6.8% 0 0.0%
Totals 993,175 100.0% 105 100.0%


Development of the economy

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%.[13]

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.[14] Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably.[15] By 2010 the GDP of Saxony-Anhalt was almost two and a half times higher than it was in 1991.[16]

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%).[17]

Structure of the economy

  • The chemical industry is quite important, with almost 25,500 employees across 214 plants in 2010.[18] One of the biggest chemical producing areas can be found around the city of Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Because of the chemical industry, Saxony-Anhalt attracts more foreign direct investments than any other state in eastern Germany.
  • The state is the location of numerous wind farms producing wind-turbine energy.
  • Saxony-Anhalt is also famous for its good soil. Hence, the food industry has an important role with almost 19,500 employees across 190 plants in 2010.[18] Some of the best known products are Baumkuchen from Salzwedel and Halloren chocolate globes from Germany’s oldest chocolate factory in Halle.


World Heritage Sites

Saxony-Anhalt has the most World Heritage Sites of all states in Germany.


See also


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden 31.12.2012".  
  2. ^ PONS Wörterbuch Englisch-Deutsch, Deutsch-Englisch, 2011
  3. ^
  4. ^ District reform law 11 November 2005 (German)
  5. ^
  6. ^ The latter, however, a salient originally not assigned as part of the Soviet zone, was unilaterally handed over by the Britons only on July 22.
  7. ^ a b c "1945–1949", on: Gedenkkultur Dessau-Roßlau. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  8. ^ Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (2014-07-17). "Deutsche und Ausländer seit 1990". Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  9. ^ , 27. November 2007Magdeburger Mathematik - LKA schönt Statistikn-tv,
  10. ^ a b c [1]
  11. ^ "Statistik der EKD für 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  12. ^ "Official results of the 2011 election". Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  13. ^ Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (2014-01-29). "Statistical Office of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (2010)". Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  14. ^ Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Halle-Dessau (2010), p. 14
  15. ^ "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin (2011), p. 2" (PDF) (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  16. ^ "(2010)". fDi Atlas. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  17. ^ "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin". 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  18. ^ a b fDi Atlas (2010)

External links

  • Official governmental portal
  • Official Directory
  • Geographic data related to Saxony-Anhalt at OpenStreetMap
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