Hesse (/ˈhɛsə/)[3] or Hessia (German: Hessen [ˈhɛsn̩], Hessian dialect: Hesse [ˈhɛzə]), officially the State of Hesse (German: Land Hessen), is a federal state (Land) of the Federal Republic of Germany, with just over six million inhabitants. The state capital is Wiesbaden; the largest city is Frankfurt am Main.

As a cultural region, Hesse also includes the area known as Rhenish Hesse (Rheinhessen) in the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate.[4]

State of Hessen

Land Hessen
Coordinates: 50°39′58″N 8°35′28″E / 50.66611°N 8.59111°E
 • BodyLandtag of Hesse
 • Minister-PresidentVolker Bouffier (CDU)
 • Governing partiesCDU / Greens
 • Bundesrat votes5 (of 69)
 • Total21,100 km2 (8,100 sq mi)
 (2017-12-31)"Bevölkerung der hessischen Gemeinden". Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt (in German). September 2018.
 • Total6,243,262
 • Density300/km2 (770/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeDE-HE
GDP (nominal)€279/ $327 billion (2017)[1]
GDP per capita€44,920/ $52,630 (2017)
NUTS RegionDE7
HDI (2017)0.947[2]
very high · 5th of 16


The German name Hessen, like the name of other German regions (Schwaben "Swabia", Franken "Franconia", Bayern "Bavaria", Sachsen "Saxony") is derived from the dative plural form of the name of the inhabitants or eponymous tribe, the Hessians (Hessen, singular Hesse), short for the older compound name Hessenland ("land of the Hessians"). The Old High German form of the name is recorded as Hessun (dative plural of Hessi), in Middle Latin as Hassia, Hessia, Hassonia. The name of the Hessians ultimately continues the tribal name of the Chatti.[5] The ancient name Chatti by the 7th century is recorded as Chassi, and from the 8th century as Hassi or Hessi.[6]

An inhabitant of Hesse is called a "Hessian" (German: Hesse (masculine) or Hessin (feminine), plural Hessen). The American English term Hessian for 18th-century British auxiliary troops originates with Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Cassel hiring out regular army units to the government of Great Britain to fight in the American Revolutionary War.

The English form Hesse is in common use by the 18th century, first in the hyphenated names Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, but the latinate form Hessia remains in common English usage well into the 19th century.[7] The German term Hessen is used by the European Commission even in English-language contexts because their policy is to leave regional names untranslated (paragraphs 1.31 and 1.35).[8]

The synthetic element hassium, number 108 on the periodic table, was named after the state of Hesse in 1997, following a proposal of 1992.[9]


The territory of Hesse was delineated only in 1945, as Greater Hesse, under American occupation. It corresponds only loosely to the medieval Landgraviate of Hesse. In the 19th century, prior to the unification of Germany, the territory of what is now Hesse comprised the territories of Grand Duchy of Hesse, the Duchy of Nassau, the free city of Frankfurt and the Electorate of Hesse (also known as Hesse-Cassel).

Early history

The Central Hessian region was inhabited in the Upper Paleolithic. Finds of tools in southern Hesse in Rüsselsheim suggest the presence of Pleistocene hunters about 13,000 years ago. A fossil hominid skull that was found in northern Hesse, just outside the village of Rhünda, has been dated at 12,000 years ago. The Züschen tomb (German: Steinkammergrab von Züschen, sometimes also Lohne-Züschen) is a prehistoric burial monument, located between Lohne and Züschen, near Fritzlar, Hesse, Germany. Classified as a gallery grave or a Hessian-Westphalian stone cist (hessisch-westfälische Steinkiste), it is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Central Europe. Dating to c. 3000 BC, it belongs to the Late Neolithic Wartberg culture.

An early Celtic presence in what is now Hesse is indicated by a mid-5th-century BC La Tène-style burial uncovered at Glauberg. The region was later settled by the Germanic Chatti tribe around the 1st century BC, and the name Hesse is a continuation of that tribal name.

The ancient Romans had a military camp in Dorlar, and in Waldgirmes directly on the eastern outskirts of Wetzlar was a civil settlement under construction. Presumably, the provincial government for the occupied territories of the right bank of Germania was planned at this location. The governor of Germania, at least temporarily, likely had resided here. The settlement appears to have been abandoned by the Romans after the devastating Battle of the Teutoburg Forest failed in the year AD 9. The Chatti were also involved in the Revolt of the Batavi in AD 69.

Hessia, from the early 7th century on, served as a buffer between areas dominated by the Saxons (to the north) and the Franks, who brought the area to the south under their control in the early sixth century and occupied Thuringia (to the east) in 531.[10] Hessia occupies the northwestern part of the modern German state of Hesse; its borders were not clearly delineated. Its geographic center is Fritzlar; it extends in the southeast to Hersfeld on the Fulda River, in the north to past Kassel and up to the rivers Diemel and Weser. To the west, it occupies the valleys of the Rivers Eder and Lahn (the latter until it turns south). It measured roughly 90 kilometers north-south, and 80 north-west.[11]

The area around Fritzlar shows evidence of significant pagan belief from the 1st century on. Geismar was a particular focus of such activity; it was continuously occupied from the Roman period on, with a settlement from the Roman period, which itself had a predecessor from the 5th century BC. Excavations have produced a horse burial and bronze artifacts. A possible religious cult may have centered on a natural spring in Geismar, called Heilgenbron; the name "Geismar" (possibly "energetic pool") itself may be derived from that spring. The village of Maden, Gudensberg, now a part of Gudensberg near Fritzlar and less than ten miles from Geismar, was likely an ancient religious center; the basaltic outcrop of Gudensberg is named after Wodan, and a two-meter tall quartzite megalith called the Wotanstein is at the center of the village.[12]

By the mid-7th century, the Franks had established themselves as overlords, which is suggested by archeological evidence of burials, and they built fortifications in various places, including Christenberg.[13] By 690, they took direct control over Hessia, apparently to counteract expansion by the Saxons, who built fortifications in Gaulskopf and Eresburg across the River Diemel, the northern boundary of Hessia. The Büraburg (which already had a Frankish settlement in the sixth century[14]) was one of the places the Franks fortified to resist the Saxon pressure, and according to John-Henry Clay, the Büraburg was "probably the largest man-made construction seen in Hessia for at least seven hundred years". Walls and trenches totaling one kilometer in length were made, and they enclosed "8 hectares of a spur that offered a commanding view over Fritzlar and the densely-populated heart of Hessia".[15]

Following Saxon incursions into Chattish territory in the 7th century, two gaue had been established; a Frankish one, comprising an area around Fritzlar and Kassel, and a Saxonian one. In the 9th century, the Saxon Hessengau also came under the rule of the Franconians.

Holy Roman Empire

COA family de Landgrafen von Hessen
The Ludovingian coat of arms with its lion rampant barry argent and gules, the so-called lion of Hesse.

In the 12th century, Hessengau was passed to Thuringia. In the War of the Thuringian Succession (1247–1264), Hesse gained independence and became a Landgraviate within the Holy Roman Empire. It shortly rose to primary importance under Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous, who was one of the leaders of German Protestantism. After Philip's death in 1567, the territory was divided among his four sons from his first marriage (Philip was a bigamist) into four lines: Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Rheinfels, and the also previously existing Hesse-Marburg. As the latter two lines died out quite soon (1583 and 1605, respectively), Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt were the two core states within the Hessian lands. Several collateral lines split off during the centuries, such as in 1622, when Hesse-Homburg split off from Hesse-Darmstadt. In the late 16th century, Kassel adopted Calvinism, while Darmstadt remained Lutheran and subsequently the two lines often found themselves on different sides of a conflict, most notably in the disputes over Hesse-Marburg and in the Thirty Years' War, when Darmstadt fought on the side of the Emperor, while Kassel sided with Sweden and France.

Hessen-Darmstadt Landgrafschaft-Wappen
Coat of arms of Hesse-Darmstadt (Johann David Köhler 1736)

The Landgrave Frederick II (1720–1785) ruled as a benevolent despot, from 1760 to 1785. He combined Enlightenment ideas with Christian values, cameralist plans for central control of the economy, and a militaristic approach toward diplomacy.[16] He funded the depleted treasury of the poor nation by loaning 19,000 soldiers in complete military formations to Great Britain to fight in North America during the American Revolutionary War, 1776–1783. These soldiers, commonly known as Hessians, fought under the British flag. The British used the Hessians in several conflicts, including in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. For further revenue, the soldiers were loaned to other places as well. Most were conscripted, with their pay going to the Landgrave.

Modern history

The ruler of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to the status of Prince-Elector in 1803, but this remained without effect, as the Holy Roman Empire was disbanded in 1806. The territory was annexed by Napoleon to the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1806, but restored to the Elector in 1813. While other Electors had gained other titles, becoming either Kings or Grand Dukes, the Elector of Hesse-Kassel alone retained the anachronistic title. The name survived in the term Kurhessen, denoting the region around Kassel. In 1866, it was annexed by Prussia, together with the Free City of Frankfurt, the small Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg, and the Duchy of Nassau, which were then combined into the province of Hesse-Nassau.

Hesse-Darmstadt was elevated by Napoleon to the status of a Grand Duchy in 1806, becoming the Grand Duchy of Hesse. In the War of 1866, it fought on the side of Austria against Prussia, but retained its autonomy in defeat because a greater part of the country was situated south of the Main River and Prussia did not dare to expand beyond the Main line, as this might have provoked France. However, the parts of Hesse-Darmstadt north of the Main (the region around the town of Gießen, commonly called Oberhessen) were incorporated in the Norddeutscher Bund, a tight federation of German states, established by Prussia in 1867. In 1871, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the rest of the Grand Duchy joined the German Empire. Around the turn of the 20th century, Darmstadt was one of the centres of the Jugendstil. Until 1907, the Grand Duchy of Hesse used the Hessian red and white lion as its coat-of-arms.

The revolution of 1918 transformed Hesse-Darmstadt from a monarchy to a republic, which officially renamed itself "Volksstaat Hessen" (People's State of Hesse). The parts of Hesse-Darmstadt on the western banks of the Rhine (province Rheinhessen) were occupied by French troops until 1930 under the terms of the Versailles peace treaty that officially ended World War I in 1919. In 1929 the Principality of Waldeck was dissolved and incorporated into Hesse-Nassau.

After World War II, the Hessian territory west of the Rhine was again occupied by France, whereas the rest of the region was part of the US occupation zone. The French separated their part of Hesse from the rest of the region and incorporated it into the newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). The United States, on the other side, proclaimed the state of Greater Hesse (Groß-Hessen) on 19 September 1945, out of Hesse-Darmstadt and most of the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau.

On 4 December 1946 Groß-Hessen was officially renamed Hessen.[17] Hesse in the 1940s received more than a million displaced ethnic Germans. Due to its proximity to the Inner German border, Hesse became an important location of NATO installations in the 1950s, especially military bases of the US V Corps and United States Army Europe. The first elected minister president of Hesse was Christian Stock, followed by Georg-August Zinn (both Social Democrats). The German Social Democrats gained an absolute majority in 1962 and pursued progressive policies with the so-called Großer Hessenplan. The CDU gained a relative majority in the 1974 elections, but the Social Democrats continued to govern in a coalition with the FDP. Hesse was first governed by the CDU under Walter Wallmann during 1987–1991, replaced by a SPD-Greens coalition under Hans Eichel during 1991–1999. From 1999, Hesse was governed by the CDU under Roland Koch (retired 2010) and Volker Bouffier (incumbent as of 2018). Frankfurt during the 1960s to 1990s developed into one of the major cities of West Germany. As of 2016, 12% of the total population of Hesse lived in the city of Frankfurt.


Hessen topografisch Relief Karte
The most important rivers, mountains, and cities of Hesse

Situated in west-central Germany, The state of Hesse borders the German states of (starting in the north and proceeding clockwise) Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Most of the population of Hesse lives in the southern part, in the Rhine Main Area. The principal cities of the area include Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Offenbach, Hanau, Gießen, Wetzlar, and Limburg. Other major towns in Hesse are Fulda in the east, and Kassel and Marburg an der Lahn in the north. The densely populated Rhine-Main region is much better developed than the rural areas in the middle and northern parts of Hesse.

The most important rivers in Hesse are the Fulda and Eder Rivers in the north, the Lahn in the central part of Hesse, and the Main and Rhine in the south. The countryside is hilly and the numerous mountain ranges include the Rhön, the Westerwald, the Taunus, the Vogelsberg, the Knüll and the Spessart.

The Rhine borders Hesse on the southwest without running through the state, only one oxbow lake —– the so-called Alt-Rhein —– runs through Hesse. The mountain range between the Main and the Neckar Rivers is called the Odenwald. The plain between the rivers Main, Rhine, and Neckar, and the Odenwald Mountains is called the Ried.

Hesse is the greenest state in Germany, as forest covers 42% of the state.[18]

Administration of the State of Hesse

Hesse is a unitary state governed directly by the Hessian government in the capital city Wiesbaden, partially through regional vicarious authorities called Regierungspräsidien. Municipal parliaments are, however, elected independently from the state government by the Hessian people. Local municipalities enjoy a considerable degree of home rule.


The state is divided into three administrative provinces (Regierungsbezirke): Kassel in the north and east, Gießen in the centre, and Darmstadt in the south, the latter being the most populous region with the Frankfurt Rhine-Main agglomeration in its central area. The administrative regions have no legislature of their own, but are executive agencies of the state government.

Map of Hesse with districts (with numbers)

Map of Hesse with districts (with numbers)
Kochbrunnenspringer Wiesbaden
State chancellery building in the capital city Wiesbaden

Hesse is divided into 21 districts (Kreise) and five independent cities, each with their own local governments. They are, shown with abbreviations as used on vehicle number plates:

  1. Bergstraße (Heppenheim) (HP)
  2. Darmstadt-Dieburg (Darmstadt) (DA, DI)
  3. Groß-Gerau (Groß-Gerau) (GG)
  4. Hochtaunuskreis (Bad Homburg) (HG, USI)
  5. Main-Kinzig-Kreis (Gelnhausen) (MKK, GN, HU, SLÜ)
  6. Main-Taunus-Kreis (Hofheim am Taunus) (MTK)
  7. Odenwaldkreis (Erbach) (ERB)
  8. Offenbach (Dietzenbach) (OF)
  9. Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis (Bad Schwalbach) (RÜD, SWA)
  10. Wetteraukreis (Friedberg) (FB, BÜD)
  11. Gießen (Gießen) (GI)
  12. Lahn-Dill-Kreis (Wetzlar) (LDK)
  13. Limburg-Weilburg (Limburg) (LM, WEL)
  14. Marburg-Biedenkopf (Marburg) (MR, BID)
  15. Vogelsbergkreis (Lauterbach) (VB)
  16. Fulda (Fulda) (FD)
  17. Hersfeld-Rotenburg (Bad Hersfeld) (HEF, ROF)
  18. Kassel (Kassel) (KS, HOG, WOH)
  19. Schwalm-Eder-Kreis (Homberg (Efze)) (HR, ZIG, FZ)
  20. Werra-Meißner-Kreis (Eschwege) (ESW, WIZ)
  21. Waldeck-Frankenberg (Korbach) (KB, FKB, WA)

Independent cities:

  1. Darmstadt (DA)
  2. Frankfurt am Main (F)
  3. Kassel (KS)
  4. Offenbach am Main (OF)
  5. Wiesbaden (WI)

Rhenish Hesse

The term "Rhenish Hesse" (German: Rheinhessen) refers to the part of the former Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt located west of the Rhine. It has not been part of the State of Hessen since 1946 due to divisions in the aftermath of World War II. This province is now part of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a hilly countryside largely devoted to vineyards; therefore, it is also called the "land of the thousand hills". Its larger towns include Mainz, Worms, Bingen, Alzey, Nieder-Olm, and Ingelheim. Many inhabitants commute to work in Mainz, Wiesbaden, or Frankfurt.

State symbols and politics

Hessen has been a parliamentary republic since 1918, except during the Third Reich 1933-1945. The German federal system has elements of exclusive federal competences, shared competences, and exclusive competences of the federal states. Hessen is famous for having a rather brisk style in its politics with the ruling parties being either the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Due to the Hessian electoral laws, the biggest party normally needs a smaller coalition partner.

Head of state

As Hesse is a federal state, its constitution combines the offices of the head of state and head of government in one office called the Minister-President (German: Ministerpräsident) which is comparable to the office of a prime minister. In the framework of the German federation, the President of Germany is de facto Hesse's head of state.

Most recent state election

In the 2018 state elections the two leading parties, CDU and SPD, lost 11.3% (7 seats) and 10.9% (8 seats) of the vote respectively. The Green party, a member of Hesse's previous governing coalition with CDU, gained 8.7% (16 seats). The largest gains during the election were made by Alternative for Germany (AfD) at 13.1%. As AfD had not passed the 5% threshold in the 2013 state election, this marked its first entry into the Hessian parliament (Hessischer Landtag). The two other parties also made gains. The major losses of the two leading parties (whose coalition made up the federal cabinet during the election) closely mirrors the results of the 2018 state elections in Bavaria. In the current parliament the conservative CDU holds a 40 seats, the centre-left SPD and the leftist Green party each hold 29 seats, the far-right AfD holds 19 seats, the liberal FDP party holds 11 seats and the socialist party Die Linke holds 9 seats.

Landtag of Hesse 2018
The Hessian parliament as of the 2018 election

Foreign affairs

As a member state of the German federation, Hesse does not have a diplomatic service of its own. However, Hessen operates representation offices in foreign countries such as the USA, China, Hungary, Cuba, Russia, Poland, and Iran. These offices are mostly used to represent Hessian interests in cultural and economic affairs. Hesse has also permanent representation offices in Berlin at the federal government of Germany and in Brussels at the European Union.[19]

Flag and anthem

The flag colors of Hesse are red and white. The Hessian coat of arms shows a lion rampant striped with red and white. The official anthem of Hesse is called "Hessenlied" ("Song of Hesse") and was written by Albrecht Brede (music) and Carl Preser (lyrics).[20]


Significant foreign resident populations[21]
Nationality Population (31.12.2017)
 Turkey 156,395
 Poland 80,905
 Syria 75,530
 Italy 73,170
 Romania 60,545
 Croatia 50,785
 Bulgaria 39,925
 Afghanistan 35,900
 Greece 35,300
 Serbia 26,640

Hesse has a population of over 6 million[22], nearly 4 million of which is concentrated in the Rhein-Main region (German: Rhein-Main Gebiet) in the south of the state, an area that includes the most populous city, Frankfurt am Main, the capital Wiesbaden, and Darmstadt and Offenbach.[23] The population of Hesse is predicted to shrink by 4.3% by 2030, with the biggest falls in the north of the state, especially in the area around the city of Kassel. Frankfurt is the fastest growing city with a predicted rise in population of 4.8% by 2030.[24] Frankfurt's growth is driven by its importance as a financial centre and it receives immigrants from all over the world: in 2015 over half of the city's population had an immigrant background.[25]

Vital statistics


  • Births from January-March 2017 = Increase 14,537
  • Births from January-March 2018 = Decrease 14,202
  • Deaths from January-March 2017 = Negative increase 19,289
  • Deaths from January-March 2018 = Positive decrease 18,831
  • Natural growth from January-March 2017 = Decrease -4,752
  • Natural growth from January-March 2018 = Increase -4,629


German is the official language, but many Hessian people also speak a Rhine Franconian dialect known as Hessisch.


The Hessian government has overall responsibility for the education within the state. Hesse has several universities, including Technische Universität Darmstadt, Goethe University Frankfurt, and the University of Marburg, one of the oldest universities in Germany.[27] There are many international schools in Hessen, primarily centred in and around Frankfurt.[28]


In 2016 Christianity was the most widespread religion in the state (63%).[29] 36% of the Hessians belonged to the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau or Evangelical Church of Hesse Electorate-Waldeck (members of the Evangelical Church in Germany), 24% adhered to the Roman Catholic Church, while other Christians constituted some 3%. The remaining one third of the Hessian population were Muslims or belonged to other faiths, or were unaffiliated. Acknowledged as a legal entity under public law in Hesse, the Ahmadiyya is the first Islamic community in all of Germany to be recognized as such.[30] The continental Baha'i House of Worship for Europe is located in the village of Langenhain in the town of Hofheim near Frankfurt.

Fulda - Stadtpfarrkirche St. Blasius
View of the Stadtpfarrkirche St. Blasius in Fulda
Religious affiliation in Hesse (2016)[29]
Affiliation Percentage of Hessian population
Christian 63
EKD Protestant 36
Catholic 24
Other Christian 3
Muslim 3
Other 1
Unaffiliated 32
Don't know/refused answer 2
Total 105


Hesse has a rich and varied cultural history, with many important cultural and historical centres and several UNESCO world-heritage sites.

Cultural influences

The southern parts of Hesse were deeply influenced by the fact that they belonged to the Grand Duchy of Hessen, an independent state until 1871, while the northern region of what is today the State of Hessen came under strong Prussian influence.

Architecture, art, literature and music

Darmstadt has a rich cultural heritage as the former seat of the Landgraves and Grand Dukes of Hesse. It is known as centre of art nouveau and modern architecture and there are also several important examples of 19th century architecture influenced by British and Russian imperial architecture due to close family ties of the Grand Duke's family to the reigning dynasties in London and Saint Petersburg in the Grand Duchy period. Darmstadt is an important centre for music, home of the Darmstadt School[31] of 20th century composers and the Jazz Institute Darmstadt, Europe's largest public jazz archive.[32]

Frankfurt am Main is a major international cultural centre. Over 2 million people visit the city's approximately 60 exhibition centres every year.[33] Amongst its most famous art galleries are the Schirn Kunsthalle, a major centre for international modern art[34], and the Städel, whose large collections include over 3000 paintings, 4000 photographs, and 100,000 drawings including works by Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and Dürer.[35] Goethe was born in Frankfurt and there is a museum in his birthplace. Frankfurt has many music venues, including an award winning opera house, the Alte Oper, and the Jahrhunderthalle. Its several theatres including the English Theatre, the largest English-speaking theatre on the European continent.[36]

Kassel has many palaces and parks, including Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a Baroque landscape park and UNESCO World Heritage site.[37] The Brothers Grimm lived and worked in Kassel for 30 years and the recently opened Grimmwelt museum explores their lives, works and influence and features their personal copies of the Children's and Household Tales, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage "Memory of the World" Document register.[38] The Fridericianum, built in 1779, is one of the oldest public museums in Europe.[39] Kassel is also home to the documenta, a large modern art exhibition that has taken place every five years since the 1950s.[40]

The Hessian Ministry of the Arts supports numerous independent cultural initiatives, organisations, and associations as well as artists from many fields including music, literature, theatre and dance, cinema and the new media, graphic art, and exhibitions. International cultural projects aim to further relations with European partners.[41]

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Hesse has several UNESCO World Heritage sites.[42] These include:


Frankfurt hosts the following professional sports teams or clubs:

Frankfurt is host to the classic cycle race Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop (known as Rund um den Henninger-Turm from 1961 to 2008). The city hosts also the annual Frankfurt Marathon and the Ironman Germany.

Outside Frankfurt, notable professional sports teams include SV Darmstadt 98, Marburg Mercenaries, Gießen 46ers, MT Melsungen, VfB Friedberg, and the Kassel Huskies.

TV and radio stations

The Hessian state broadcasting corporation is called HR (Hessischer Rundfunk). HR is a member of the federal ARD broadcasting association. HR provides a statewide TV channel as well as a range of regional radio stations (HR 1, HR 2, HR 3, HR 4, you fm and HR info). Besides the state run HR, privately run TV stations exist and are an important line of commerce. Among the commercial radio stations that are active in Hesse Hit Radio FFH, Planet Radio, Harmony FM, Radio BOB and Antenne Frankfurt are the most popular.


With Hesse's largest city Frankfurt am Main being home of the European Central Bank (ECB), the German Bundesbank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Hesse is home to the financial capital of mainland Europe. Furthermore, Hesse has always been one of the largest and healthiest economies in Germany. Its GDP in 2013 exceeded 236 billion Euros (about 316 bn US$).[51] This makes Hesse itself one of the largest economies in Europe and the 38th largest in the world.[52] According to GDP-per-capita figures, Hesse is the wealthiest State (after the City-states Hamburg and Bremen) in Germany with approx. $52.500 US.

The Rhine-Main Region has the second largest industrial density in Germany after the Ruhr area. The main economic fields of importance are the chemical and pharmaceutical industries with Sanofi, Merck, Heraeus, Messer Griesheim and Degussa. In the mechanical and automotive engineering field Opel in Rüsselsheim is worth mentioning. Frankfurt is crucial as a financial center, with both the European Central Bank and the Deutsche Bundesbank's headquarters located there. Numerous smaller banks and Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW Bank, Commerzbank are also headquartered in Frankfurt, with the offices of several international banks also being housed there. Frankfurt is also the location of the most important German stock exchange, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Insurance companies have settled mostly in Wiesbaden. The city's largest private employer is the R+V Versicherung, with about 3,900 employees, other major employers are DBV-Winterthur, the SV SparkassenVersicherung and the Delta Lloyd Group. The leather industry is predominantly settled in Offenbach. Frankfurt Airport is the largest employer in Germany with more than 70.000 employees. Companies with an international reputation are located outside the Rhine-Main region in Wetzlar. There the center of the optical, electrical and precision engineering industries Leitz, Leica, Minox, Hensoldt (Zeiss) and Buderus and Brita with several plants in central Hesse. In the east Fulda there is the rubber plant (Fulda Reifen). In northern Hesse, in Baunatal, Volkswagen AG has a large factory that manufactures spare parts. Bombardier has a large plant that manufactures Locomotives in Kassel.

In August 2008 there were 199,573 people unemployed in Hesse. The unemployment rate is thus 6.4% (August 2007: 7.6%). With 3.8% the Hochtaunuskreis has the lowest rate, while the independent city of Kassel has the highest rate nationally with 12.1%.[53] In October 2018 the unemployment rate stood at 4.4% and was the lower than the national average.[54]

Year[55] 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Unemployment rate in % 7.3 6.6 7.0 7.9 8.2 9.7 9.2 7.5 6.5 6.8 6.4 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.7 5.5 5.3 5.0

Traffic and public transportation

Hesse has one of the best transportation networks in Europe. Many trans-European and German motorways, high-speed rail lines, and waterways cross Hesse. Frankfurt International Airport is Germany's largest and Europe's third-largest airport (after London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle). Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof is Germany's second-busiest railway station by passengers but the busiest in terms of traffic.

Road transport

Hesse has a dense highway network with a total of 24 motorways. The internationally important motorway routes through Hesse are the A3, A5, and A7. Close to Frankfurt Airport is the Frankfurter Kreuz, Germany's busiest and one of Europe's busiest motorway junctions, where the motorways A3 (Arnhem-Cologne-Frankfurt-Nuremberg-Passau) and A5 (Hattenbach-Frankfurt-Karlsruhe-Basel) intersect. The A5 becomes as wide as four lanes in each direction near the city of Frankfurt am Main, and during the rush-hour, it is possible to use the emergency lanes on the A3 and A5 motorway in the Rhine-Main Region, adding additional lanes. Other major leading Hesse highways are the A4, the A44, the A45, the Federal Highway A66 and the A67. There are also a number of smaller motorways and major trunk roads, some of which are dual carriageways.

Railway transport

Hesse is accessed by many major rail lines, including the high-speed lines Cologne–Frankfurt and Hanover–Würzburg. Other north-south connections traverse major east-west routes from Wiesbaden and Mainz to Frankfurt and from Hanau and Aschaffenburg to Fulda and Kassel. The Frankfurt Central Station is the most important hub for German trains, with over 1,100 trains per day.[56]

The region around Frankfurt has an extensive S-Bahn network, the S-Bahn Rhein-Main, which is complemented by many regional train connections. In the rest of the country, the rail network is less extensive. Since 2007, the region around Kassel has been served by the RegioTram, a tram-train-concept similar to the Karlsruhe model.

Air transport

Frankfurt Airport is by far the largest airport in Germany with more than 57 million passengers each year, is and among the world's ten largest. Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport lies to the south, and is frequented by general aviation and private planes. Kassel Airport offers a few flights to holiday destinations, but has struggled to compete. There are also a number of sports airfields. Low-cost airlines, especially Ryanair, use Frankfurt-Hahn Airport as a major base, although the airport is actually located about 100 km from Frankfurt in the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The DFS (German air traffic control) has its headquarters in Langen.



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  6. ^ Christian Presche, Kassel im Mittelalter: Zur Stadtentwicklung bis 1367 vol. 1 (2013), p. 41.
  7. ^ "The Hessians, called, in the early history of Germany, Catti, lived in the present Hessia". The Popular Encyclopedia: Or, Conversations Lexicon vol. 3 (1862), p. 720. Occasional English use of Hessia is found until the present day, e.g. P.J.J. Welfens, Stabilizing and Integrating the Balkans, Springer Science & Business Media (2001), p. 119.
  8. ^ European Commission English Style Guide Archived 2010-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Names and symbols of transfermium elements (IUPAC Recommendations 1997)". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 69.12 (1997), p. 2471. doi:10.1351/pac199769122471.
  10. ^ Clay 125-27, 137-39.
  11. ^ Clay 120.
  12. ^ Clay 132–137.
  13. ^ Clay 143–155.
  14. ^ Rau 141.
  15. ^ Clay 157–158.
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  18. ^ "Our State". State of Hesse. Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
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  27. ^ "Study in Hessen". www.study-in-hessen.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  28. ^ "Newcomers Network - Your Guide to Expatriate Life in Germany". www.newcomers-network.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  29. ^ a b "Eine Umfrage zu Religiosität, religionsbezogener Toleranz und der Rolle der Religion in Hessen 2017" (PDF). soziales.hessen.de (in German). Hessisches Ministerium für Soziales und Integration. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  30. ^ Der Islam gehört nun offiziell zu Deutschland (Islam is a part of Germany now, quoting a famous speech of President Christian Wulff, by Freia Peters, Die Welt 2013
  31. ^ "Darmstädter Ferienkurse - Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt". Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  32. ^ "Jazzinstitut Darmstadt". www.jazzinstitut.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  33. ^ "Frankfurt am Main: Museums". www.frankfurt.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
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  35. ^ "About the Städel Museum". Städel Museum. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
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  38. ^ "Welcome to the GRIMM WORLD Kassel: GRIMMWELT". www.grimmwelt.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
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  40. ^ "documenta". www.documenta.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  41. ^ State of Hessen Website - Art and Culture [3] Retrieved July 21, 2015
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  43. ^ "Wilhelmshöhe Palace and Park | Hessen Tourismus". www.languages.hessen-tourismus.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  44. ^ "Germany's Ancient Beech Forests | Hessen Tourismus". www.languages.hessen-tourismus.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  45. ^ "Lorsch – Benedictine Abbey and Altenmünster | Hessen Tourismus". www.languages.hessen-tourismus.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  46. ^ "Messel Pit Fossil Site | Hessen Tourismus". www.languages.hessen-tourismus.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  47. ^ "Home". www.grube-messel.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  48. ^ "Messel Pit - Hessisches Landesmuseum". www.hlmd.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  49. ^ "SENCKENBERG world of biodiversity | Museums | Museum Frankfurt | The Museum | Exhibitions | World natural heritage "." www.senckenberg.de. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
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  52. ^ See the list of countries by GDP (nominal).
  53. ^ "EURES - Labour market information - Hessen - European Commission". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
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  56. ^ "Bahn". Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved 5 September 2018.


External links

Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse)

Alexandra Feodorovna (6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918) was Empress of Russia as the spouse of Nicholas II—the last ruler of the Russian Empire—from their marriage on 26 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. Originally Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at birth, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church and—having been killed along with her immediate family while in Bolshevik captivity in 1918—was canonized in 2000 as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.

A granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Alexandra was, like her grandmother, one of the most famous royal carriers of the haemophilia disease. Her reputation for encouraging her husband's resistance to the surrender of autocratic authority and her known faith in the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin severely damaged her popularity and that of the Romanov monarchy in its final years.


Alkaloids are a class of naturally occurring organic compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Some synthetic compounds of similar structure may also be termed alkaloids. In addition to carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, alkaloids may also contain oxygen, sulfur and, more rarely, other elements such as chlorine, bromine, and phosphorus.Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. They can be purified from crude extracts of these organisms by acid-base extraction. Alkaloids have a wide range of pharmacological activities including antimalarial (e.g. quinine), antiasthma (e.g. ephedrine), anticancer (e.g. homoharringtonine), cholinomimetic (e.g. galantamine), vasodilatory (e.g. vincamine), antiarrhythmic (e.g. quinidine), analgesic (e.g. morphine), antibacterial (e.g. chelerythrine), and antihyperglycemic activities (e.g. piperine). Many have found use in traditional or modern medicine, or as starting points for drug discovery. Other alkaloids possess psychotropic (e.g. psilocin) and stimulant activities (e.g. cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, theobromine), and have been used in entheogenic rituals or as recreational drugs. Alkaloids can be toxic too (e.g. atropine, tubocurarine). Although alkaloids act on a diversity of metabolic systems in humans and other animals, they almost uniformly evoke a bitter taste.The boundary between alkaloids and other nitrogen-containing natural compounds is not clear-cut. Compounds like amino acid peptides, proteins, nucleotides, nucleic acid, amines, and antibiotics are usually not called alkaloids. Natural compounds containing nitrogen in the exocyclic position (mescaline, serotonin, dopamine, etc.) are usually classified as amines rather than as alkaloids. Some authors, however, consider alkaloids a special case of amines.

Battenberg family

The Battenberg family was formally a morganatic branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, rulers of the Grand Duchy of Hesse in Germany. The first member was Julia Hauke, whose brother-in-law Grand Duke Louis III of Hesse created her Countess of Battenberg with the style Illustrious Highness (H. Ill.H.) in 1851, at her morganatic marriage to Grand Duke Louis' brother Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine, and elevated her title to Princess of Battenberg with the style Serene Highness (HSH) in 1858. The name Battenberg was last used by her youngest son, Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg, who died childless in 1924. Most members of the family, residing in the United Kingdom, had renounced their German titles in 1917, due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British public during World War I, and changed their name to Mountbatten, an anglicised version of Battenberg. The name Battenberg refers to the town of Battenberg in Hesse.


Darmstadt (, also UK: , US: , German: [ˈdaɐ̯mʃtat] (listen)) is a city in the state of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine-Main-Area (Frankfurt Metropolitan Region). Darmstadt had a population of around 157,437 at the end of 2016. The Darmstadt Larger Urban Zone has 430,993 inhabitants.Darmstadt holds the official title "City of Science" (German: Wissenschaftsstadt) as it is a major centre of scientific institutions, universities, and high-technology companies. The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) are located in Darmstadt, as well as GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research, where several chemical elements such as bohrium (1981), meitnerium (1982), hassium (1984), darmstadtium (1994), roentgenium (1994), and copernicium (1996) were discovered. The existence of the following elements were also confirmed at GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research: nihonium (2012), flerovium (2009), moscovium (2012), livermorium (2010), and tennessine (2012). The Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) is an international accelerator facility under construction. Darmstadt is also the seat of the world's oldest pharmaceutical company, Merck, which is the city's largest employer.

Darmstadt was formerly the capital of a sovereign country, the Grand Duchy of Hesse and its successor, the People's State of Hesse, a federal state of Germany. As the capital of an increasingly prosperous duchy, the city gained some international prominence and remains one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. In the 20th century, industry (especially chemicals), as well as large science and electronics (later information technology) sectors became increasingly important, and are still a major part of the city's economy. It is also home to the football club SV Darmstadt 98.

Electorate of Hesse

The Electorate of Hesse (German: Kurfürstentum Hessen), also known as Hesse-Kassel or Kurhessen, was a state elevated by Napoleon in 1803 from the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel. When the Holy Roman Empire was abolished in 1806, the Prince-Elector of Hesse chose to remain an Elector, even though there was no longer an Emperor to elect. In 1807, with the Treaties of Tilsit, the area was annexed to the Kingdom of Westphalia, but in 1814, the Congress of Vienna restored the electorate.

The state was the only electorate within the German Confederation. It consisted of several detached territories to the north of Frankfurt, which survived until the state was annexed by Prussia in 1866 following the Austro-Prussian War. It comprised a total land area of 3,699 square miles (9,580 km2), and its population in 1864 was 745,063.


Frankfurt (officially: Frankfurt am Main (German: [ˈfʁaŋkfʊɐ̯t ʔam ˈmaɪn] (listen); lit. "Frank ford at the Main")) is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, and its 746,878 (2017) inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. On the River Main (a tributary of the Rhine), it forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring city of Offenbach am Main, and its urban area has a population of 2.3 million. The city is at the centre of the larger Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, which has a population of 5.5 million and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr Region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km (25 mi) to the east of Frankfurt's central business district. Like France and Franconia, the city is named after the Franks. Frankfurt is the largest city in the Rhine Franconian dialect area (West Central German).

Frankfurt was a city state, the Free City of Frankfurt, for nearly five centuries, and was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire, as a site of imperial coronations; it lost its sovereignty upon the collapse of the empire in 1806 and then permanently in 1866, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia. It has been part of the federal state of Hesse since 1945. A quarter of the population are foreign nationals, including many expatriates.

Frankfurt is an alpha world city and a global hub for commerce, culture, education, tourism and transportation. It is the site of many global and European corporate headquarters. Frankfurt Airport is among the world's busiest. Frankfurt is the major financial centre of the European continent, with the headquarters of the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW, Commerzbank, several cloud and fintech startups and other institutes. Automotive, technology and research, services, consulting, media and creative industries complement the economic base. Frankfurt's DE-CIX is the world's largest internet exchange point. Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest trade fairs. Major fairs include the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world's largest motor show, the Music Fair, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest book fair.

Frankfurt is home to influential educational institutions, including the Goethe University, the UAS, the FUMPA, and graduate schools like the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Its renowned cultural venues include the concert hall Alte Oper, Europe's largest English theatre and many museums (e.g. the Museumsufer ensemble with Städel and Liebieghaus, Senckenberg Natural Museum, Goethe House, and the Schirn art venue at the old town). Frankfurt's skyline is shaped by some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers. The city is also characterised by various green areas and parks, including the central Wallanlagen, the City Forest and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten and the University's Botanical Garden. Very important is also the Frankfurt Zoo. In electronic music, Frankfurt has been a pioneering city since the 1980s, with renowned DJs including Sven Väth, Marc Trauner, Scot Project, Kai Tracid, and the clubs Dorian Gray, U60311, Omen and Cocoon. In sports, the city is known as the home of the top tier football club Eintracht Frankfurt, the Löwen Frankfurt ice hockey team, the basketball club Frankfurt Skyliners, the Frankfurt Marathon and the venue of Ironman Germany.

Grand Duchy of Hesse

The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine (German: Großherzogtum Hessen und bei Rhein) was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 (the period of German mediatization) to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy originally formed on the basis of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1806 as the Grand Duchy of Hesse (German: Großherzogtum Hessen). After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, it changed its name in 1816 to distinguish itself from the Electorate of Hesse, which had formed from neighboring Hesse-Kassel. Colloquially, the grand duchy continued to be known by its former name of Hesse-Darmstadt. It joined the German Empire in 1871 and became a republic after German defeat in World War I in 1918.

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Karl Hesse (German: [ˈhɛɐ̯man ˈhɛsə]; 2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962) was a German-born poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

House of Hesse

The House of Hesse is a European dynasty, directly descended from the House of Brabant. It ruled the region of Hesse, with one branch as prince-electors until 1866, and another branch as grand dukes until 1918.


Kassel (German pronunciation: [ˈkasl̩] (listen); spelled Cassel until 1928) is a city located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Regierungsbezirk Kassel and the district of the same name and had 200,507 inhabitants in December 2015. The former capital of the state of Hesse-Kassel has many palaces and parks, including the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kassel is also known for the documenta exhibitions of contemporary art. Kassel has a public university with 25,000 students (2018) and a multicultural population (39% of the citizens in 2017 had a migration background).

Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt (German: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Darmstadt) was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by a younger branch of the House of Hesse. It was formed in 1567 following the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse between the four sons of Landgrave Philip I.

The residence of the landgraves was in Darmstadt, hence the name. As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, the landgraviate was elevated to the Grand Duchy of Hesse following the Empire's dissolution in 1806.

Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (German: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel), spelled Hesse-Cassel during its entire existence, was a state in the Holy Roman Empire that was directly subject to the Emperor. The state was created in 1567 when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half of the Landgraviate and the capital of Kassel. The other sons received the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Rheinfels and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt.

During the Napoleonic reorganisation of the Empire in 1803, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to an Electorate and Landgrave William IX became an Imperial Elector. Many members of the Hesse-Kassel House served in the Danish military gaining high ranks and power in the Oldenburg realm due to the fact that they were a cadet branch of the Oldenburg dynasty members of the family who have been known to serve Denmark-Norway are Prince Frederik of Hesse-Kassel, Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel, Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel. It was later occupied by French troops and became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, a French satellite state. The Electorate of Hesse was restored at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, though by that time there was no longer an emperor to elect.

List of cities and towns in Germany

This is a complete list of the 2,056 towns and cities in Germany (as of January 1st, 2019). Only independent municipalities that have the right to call themselves Stadt are included. Historically, this title was associated with town privileges but today it is a mere honorific title. The title can be bestowed to a municipality by its respective state government and is generally given to such municipalities that have either had historic town rights or have attained considerable size and importance more recently. In this list, only the town names are given. For more restricted lists with more details, see:

List of cities in Germany by population (only Großstädte, i.e. cities over 100,000 population)

Metropolitan Regions in GermanyNumbers of cities and towns in the German states:

Bavaria: 317 towns and cities

Baden-Württemberg: 313 towns and cities

North Rhine-Westphalia: 272 towns and cities

Hesse: 191 towns and cities

Saxony: 169 towns and cities

Lower Saxony: 159 towns and cities

Rhineland-Palatinate: 129 towns and cities

Thuringia: 121 towns and cities

Brandenburg: 113 towns and cities

Saxony-Anhalt: 104 towns and cities

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: 84 towns and cities, see list

Schleswig-Holstein: 63 towns and cities

Saarland: 17 towns and cities

Bremen: 2 cities

Berlin: 1 city

Hamburg: 1 city

Louise of Hesse-Kassel

Louise of Hesse-Kassel (German: Luise Wilhelmine Friederike Caroline Auguste Julie von Hessen-Kassel, Danish: Louise Wilhelmine Frederikke Caroline Auguste Julie; 7 September 1817 – 29 September 1898) was Queen of Denmark by marriage to King Christian IX of Denmark.

Maria Alexandrovna (Marie of Hesse)

Maria Alexandrovna (Russian: Мария Александровна), born Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine (8 August 1824 – 3 June 1880) was Empress of Russia as the first wife of Emperor Alexander II. She was the mother of Emperor Alexander III.

She was a daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Wilhelmine of Baden. Marie was raised in austerity but was well educated by her mother, who took personal charge of her education but died when Marie was still very young. She was only fourteen years old when the Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaevich, later Tsar Alexander II of Russia, fell in love with her while he was traveling to Western Europe. She arrived in Russia in September 1840, converted to the Orthodox Church, took the title of Grand Duchess of Russia and traded the name Marie for Maria Alexandrovna. She married Alexander on 16 April 1841. The couple had eight children: two daughters and six sons. For fourteen years (1840–1855), she was Tsarevna, the wife of the heir of the Russian throne. She became the Russian Empress consort after the death of her father-in-law, Tsar Nicholas I.

Maria Alexandrovna learned the Russian language quickly; she was pious and identified with her adopted country. She did not enjoy court life of the duties of representation as she was shy and of a withdrawn nature. As a consequence she was not popular. She took a more focused interest in charitable activities after the death of her mother-in-law the Dowager Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in 1860. Maria Alexandrovna was particularly active in the field of female education, establishing Russia's first all female schools. She organized the Russian Red Cross and expanded its activities during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78.

She was deeply affected by the death of her eldest son the Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1865. By then, her fragile constitution was undermined by her numerous pregnancies and by tuberculosis which afflicted her since 1863. To avoid the harsh Russian winters, she spent long sojourns in the Crimea and in southern Europe. During many summers she visited her family in Jugenheim, where she had spent her childhood. Her marriage to Tsar Alexander II started as a love match and it was happy for some years, but Alexander II had many affairs and in 1866 he fell in love with Catherine Dolgorukova and had four children with his mistress. Maria Alexandrovna was treated with respect by her philanderer husband and she was much loved by her surviving children. After a long illness, she died in 1880. The Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the city of Mariinsk in Kemerovo Oblast, and the city of Mariehamn in Åland are named after her.

Mountbatten family

The Mountbatten family is a European dynasty originating as a cadet branch of the German princely Battenberg family. The name was adopted during World War I by family members residing in the United Kingdom due to rising anti-German sentiment amongst the British public. The name is a direct Anglicisation of the German Battenberg (literally Batten Mountain), a small town in Hesse. The title of count of Battenberg, later prince of Battenberg, was granted to a morganatic branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, itself a cadet branch of the House of Hesse, in the mid 19th century.

The family now includes the Marquesses of Milford Haven (and formerly the Marquesses of Carisbrooke), as well as the Earls Mountbatten of Burma. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II, adopted the surname of Mountbatten from his mother's family in 1947, although he is a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg by patrilineal descent. Lady Louise Mountbatten became Queen Consort of Sweden, after having married Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden.

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (Alice Maud Mary; 25 April 1843 – 14 December 1878) was the Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine from 1877 to 1878. She was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Alice was the first of Queen Victoria's nine children to die, and one of three to be outlived by their mother, who died in 1901.

Alice spent her early childhood in the company of her parents and siblings, travelling between the British royal residences. Her education was devised by Albert's close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar, and included practical activities like needlework and woodwork and languages like French and German. When her father, Prince Albert, became fatally ill in December 1861, Alice nursed him until his death. Following his death, Queen Victoria entered a period of intense mourning and Alice spent the next six months acting as her mother's unofficial secretary. On 1 July 1862, while the court was still at the height of mourning, Alice married the minor German Prince Louis of Hesse, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The ceremony—conducted privately and with unrelieved gloom at Osborne House—was described by the Queen as "more of a funeral than a wedding". The Princess's life in Darmstadt was unhappy as a result of impoverishment, family tragedy and worsening relations with her husband and mother.

Alice was a prolific patron of women's causes and showed an interest in nursing, especially the work of Florence Nightingale. When Hesse became involved in the Austro-Prussian War, Darmstadt filled with the injured; the heavily pregnant Alice devoted a lot of her time to the management of field hospitals. One of her organisations, the Princess Alice Women's Guild, took over much of the day-to-day running of the state's military hospitals. As a result of this activity, Queen Victoria became concerned about Alice's directness about medical and, in particular, gynaecological, matters. In 1871, she wrote to Alice's younger sister, Princess Louise, who had recently married: "Don't let Alice pump you. Be very silent and cautious about your 'interior'". In 1877, Alice became Grand Duchess upon the accession of her husband, her increased duties putting further strains on her health. In late 1878, diphtheria infected the Hessian court. Alice nursed her family for over a month before falling ill herself, dying late that year.

Princess Alice was the mother of Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (wife of Tsar Nicholas II), maternal grandmother of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (the last Viceroy of India), and maternal great-grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (consort of Queen Elizabeth II). Another daughter, Elisabeth, who married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, was, like the tsaritsa and her family, killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine

Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, later Victoria Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven (Victoria Alberta Elisabeth Mathilde Marie; 5 April 1863 – 24 September 1950) was the eldest daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine (1837–1892), and his first wife Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (1843–1878), daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Her mother died while her brother and sisters were still young, which placed her in an early position of responsibility over her siblings. Over her father's disapproval, she married his first cousin Prince Louis of Battenberg, an officer in the United Kingdom's Royal Navy, and lived most of her married life in various parts of Europe at her husband's naval posts and visiting her many royal relations. She was perceived by her family as liberal in outlook, straightforward, practical and bright.

During World War I, she and her husband abandoned their German titles and adopted the British-sounding surname of Mountbatten, which was simply a translation into English of the German "Battenberg". Two of her sisters—Elisabeth and Alix, who had married into the Russian imperial family—were killed by communist revolutionaries.

She was the maternal grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II.


Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz, pronounced [ˈʁaɪ̯nlant ˈp͡falt͡s]) is a state of Germany.

Rhineland-Palatinate is located in western Germany covering an area of 19,846 km2 (7,663 sq mi) and a population of 4.05 million inhabitants, the seventh-most populous German state. Mainz is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Koblenz, Trier, Kaiserslautern, and Worms. Rhineland-Palatinate is surrounded by the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, and Hesse. It also borders three foreign countries: France, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

Rhineland-Palatinate was established in 1946 after World War II from territory of the historically separate regions of the Free State of Prussia, People's State of Hesse, and Bavaria, by the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate became part of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, and shared the country's only border with the Saar Protectorate until it was returned to German control in 1957. Rhineland-Palatinate has since developed its own identity built on its natural and cultural heritage, including the extensive Palatinate winegrowing region, its picturesque landscapes, and many castles and palaces.

Former states
Flag of Hesse Urban and rural districts in the state of Hesse in Germany Flag of Germany
Urban districts
Rural districts

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