Osnabrück (German pronunciation: [ɔsnaˈbʁʏk] (listen); Westphalian: Ossenbrügge; archaic English: Osnaburg) is a city in the federal state of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It is situated in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest. With a population of 168,145 [3] Osnabrück is one of the four largest cities in Lower Saxony.[4] The city is the centrepoint of the Osnabrück Land region as well as the District of Osnabrück.[5]

The founding of Osnabrück was linked to its positioning on important European trading routes. Charles the Great founded the Diocese of Osnabrück in 780. The city was also a member of the Hanseatic League. At the end of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the Peace of Westphalia was negotiated in Osnabrück and the nearby city of Münster.[6] In recognition of its role as the site of negotiations, Osnabrück later adopted the title Friedensstadt ("city of peace"). The city is also known as the birthplace of anti-war novelist Erich-Maria Remarque and painter Felix Nussbaum.

More recently Osnabrück has become well known for its industry. Numerous companies in the automobile, paper, steel and grocery sectors are located in the city and its surrounding area.[7] In spite of the massive destruction inflicted on the city during World War II, the Altstadt (old town) was eventually reconstructed extensively with designs loyal to the original medieval architecture there. Osnabrück was also the home of the largest British garrison outside the United Kingdom.[8] Osnabrück's modern, urban image is enhanced by the presence of more than 22,000 students studying at the University and the University of Applied Sciences.[9] Although part of the state of Lower Saxony, historically, culturally and linguistically Osnabrück is considered part of the region of Westphalia.

mid-June 2009 aerial view of downtown Osnabrück
mid-June 2009 aerial view of downtown Osnabrück
Flag of Osnabrück

Coat of arms of Osnabrück

Coat of arms
Location of Osnabrück
Osnabrück is located in Germany
Osnabrück is located in Lower Saxony
Coordinates: 52°17′N 8°3′E / 52.283°N 8.050°ECoordinates: 52°17′N 8°3′E / 52.283°N 8.050°E
StateLower Saxony
DistrictUrban district
 • Lord MayorWolfgang Griesert[1] (CDU)
 • City119.80 km2 (46.26 sq mi)
63 m (207 ft)
 • City164,374
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0541
Vehicle registrationOS


The origin of the name Osnabrück is disputed. The suffix -brück suggests a bridge over or to something (from German Brücke = bridge) but the prefix Osna- is explained in at least two different ways: the traditional explanation is that today's name is a corruption of Ochsenbrücke (meaning "oxen bridge"), but others state that it is derived from the name of the Hase River which is arguably derived from Asen (Æsir), thus giving Osnabrück the meaning "bridge to the gods".[10] The way in which the city's name is pronounced can also serve as a means of telling if the speaker is a native of Osnabrück or a visitor: most locals stress the last syllable, while those from elsewhere tend to stress the first one. The city gave its name to the textile fabric of osnaburg (note: "-burg" means borough).



Osnabrück initially developed as a marketplace next to the bishopric founded by Charlemagne, King of the Franks, in 780. Some time prior to 803, the city became the seat of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück. Although the precise date is uncertain, it is likely that Osnabrück is the oldest bishopric in Lower Saxony.

In the year 804 Charlemagne was said to have founded the Gymnasium Carolinum in Osnabrück. This would make it the oldest German Gymnasium school, but the charter date is disputed by historians, some of whom believe it could be a forgery.

In 889 the town was given merchant, customs, and coinage privileges by King Arnulf of Carinthia. Osnabrück was first referred to in records as a "city" in 1147. A decade later, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city fortification privileges (Befestigungsrecht). Most of the towers which were part of the original fortifications are still visible in the city. Osnabrück became a member of the Hanseatic League in the 12th century, as well as a member of the Westphalian Federation of Cities.

The history of the town in the later Middle Ages was recorded in a chronicle by Albert Suho, one of Osnabrück's most important clerics in the 15th century.

Early Modern age

From 1561 to 1639 there was a considerable amount of social unrest and tension in Osnabrück due to the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War and also witch hunting. In 1582, during the rule of Mayor Hammacher (1565–1588), 163 women were executed as alleged witches; most of them were burned alive. In total, 276 women were executed, along with 2 men who had been charged with wizardry.

The first Lutheran services were held in Osnabrück in 1543. Over the next century, Lutheranism expanded in the city and several Protestant bishops were elected. However, the Catholic churches continued to operate, and the city never became completely Lutheran. After the Thirty Years' War broke out, a Catholic bishop was elected in 1623, and the city was occupied by troops of the Catholic League in 1628.[11] The Gymnasium Carolinum was upgraded to a Jesuit university in 1632, but the university was closed a year later when the city was taken by Swedish troops and restored to Protestant control.

Osnabrück Bischöfliche Residenz (1777)@01
The Prince-Bishop's Palace, 1777

Peace negotiations took place in Osnabrück and the nearby city of Münster from 1643 to 1648. The twin Treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, collectively known as the Peace of Westphalia, ended the Thirty Years' War. Osnabrück was officially recognized as bi-confessional Catholic and Lutheran. The prince-bishopric would be held alternately by a Catholic bishop and a Lutheran bishop. The Protestant bishop would be selected from the descendants of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, with priority given to the cadets of what became the House of Hanover. From 1667, prince-bishop Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, built the new baroque palace. His son, George I of Great Britain, died in the palace, at the time residence of his younger brother, prince-bishop Ernest Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, on a travel on 11 June 1727.

In the early 18th century, renowned local jurist and social theorist Justus Möser wrote a highly influential constitutional history of the town, the Osnabrücker Geschichte.[12] Following the Seven Years' War, the town's population fell below 6,000, however an economic revival linked to the linen and tobacco industries caused it to rise again from the 1780s onwards.[13]

19th century

The French Revolutionary Wars brought Prussian troops into the city in 1795, followed by the French in 1803.[14] As a result, the town's population was kept below 10,000 for the whole first decade of the 19th century.[14] The Napoleonic period saw possession of the city change hands several times. Control of Osnabrück passed to the Electorate of Hanover in 1803 during the German Mediatisation, and then briefly to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1806. From 1807 to 1810 the city was part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, after which it passed to the First French Empire. After 1815, it became part of the Kingdom of Hanover.

St. Peter's Cathedral

The town's first railway line was built in 1855, connecting it with Löhne. Further rail connections appeared over the following decades, connecting Osnabrück with Emden from 1856, Cologne from 1871 and Hamburg from 1874.[15] In 1866, Osnabrück was annexed by Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War and administered as part of the Province of Hanover. Growth of the local economy and population was fuelled by expansion in the engineering and textile industries, with the Hammersen Weaving Mill established in 1869 and the Osnabrücker Kupfer- und Drahtwerk metallurgical firm following in 1873.[14] The later 19th century also saw growth in the number of schools and the arrival of electricity and modern sanitation.[16]

20th century

By 1914, Osnabrück had over 70,000 inhabitants.[14] The outbreak of the First World War necessitated food rationing; the Allied blockade and a harsh winter in 1917 led to further shortages.[16] Following Germany's defeat in 1918, a council made up of workers and soldiers took control during the November Revolution, but were replaced by the new Weimar Republic the following year.[17] Similarly to many other German cities, Osnabrück experienced considerable inflation and unemployment in the 1920s, with over 2,000 out of work by 1923 and nearly 14,000 receiving some form of government assistance by 1928.[18]

Politically, Osnabrück in the 1920s was a stronghold of support for the Social Democrats and the Catholic Centre Party. However, in the Reichstag elections of September 1930, the Nazi Party received the greatest percentage of votes in the city (nearly 28%) - a more than seven-fold increase from their electoral performance in Osnabrück two years prior.[19] During the campaigns prior to the two federal elections in 1932, both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels made well-attended speeches in the city.[20]

Osnabrück Süden
Southern part of the inner city

Following the Nazis' seizure of power in January 1933, Osnabrück was subjected to the implementation of National Socialist economic, political, and social programmes. These resulted in economic growth for ethnic Germans who did not run afoul of the new regime, and the town went from having over 10,000 unemployed in early 1933 to actually having a labour shortage five years later.[21] However, dissenters, supporters of opposition parties and German Jews (who had experienced centuries of discrimination in the city[22]) did not share in this growth and found themselves discriminated against, imprisoned or forced to close their businesses and leave town.[23] During the World War II, both Jews and Romany were deported to concentration camps and extermination camps en masse.[24]

The war ended for Osnabrück on 4 April 1945, when the XVII Corps of Montgomery's Second Army entered the city with little resistance.[25] By the end of the war the city had been extensively bombed and required major reconstructive programmes following the war's end. Leading Nazis fled the city and the British appointed a new mayor, Johannes Petermann. However, during the allied occupation of Germany a British military governor, Colonel Geoffrey Day was placed in charge of administering the city.[26] Relations between the occupiers and the citizens of Osnabrück were generally peaceful, though tensions existed; some minor fights broke out between British soldiers and local youths and some Osnabrückers resented the relationships that developed between the occupiers and local women.[27] Additionally, the British took over more than seventy homes for their own use by the middle of 1946.[28] Amidst shortages, the black market thrived and became one of the main focuses of police activity.[29]

After World War II West Germany realigned its states; Osnabrück became part of the new state of Lower Saxony in 1946. The British continued to maintain Osnabrück Garrison, a garrison near the city, which at one point was the largest British garrison in the world, housing some 4,000 troops and employing around 500 local civilians.[30] It was the target of a PIRA attack in 1996.[31] Due to budget cuts, the troops were withdrawn in 2008 and the property returned to the local government.[32]

After three centuries, the city finally obtained its university when the government of Lower Saxony established the University of Osnabrück in 1974.

Largest foreign resident groups in Osnabrück as of 31.12.2017:[33]

Rank Nationality Population (31.12.2017)
1  Syria 2,725
2  Turkey 2,705
3  Bulgaria 2,025
4  Poland 1,580
5  Portugal 1,030

Main sights

Heger Tor, formerly called Waterloo Tor, a memorial to Elector Georg's 'German' Legion in Osnabrück.
Neuer Graben-Schloss Osnabrueck
Osnabrück Palace
  • Town Hall
  • St. Peter's Cathedral, founded in the 11th century. It has two façade towers, originally the same size
  • Gerdrudenberg Monastery
  • Marienkirche
  • Heger Tor ("Heger Gate"), a monument to the soldiers from Osnabrück who died at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815
  • Bucksturm, the oldest tower in the city, and once part of the city walls. It was once used as a prison for women accused of witchcraft
  • Ruwe Fountain" (1985), created to mark the city's 1200th birthday
  • Gladiator 2000 (1986), a gigantic painting measuring (45 × 6 meters), by Nicu Covaci
  • Felix Nussbaum Haus, a gallery and museum dedicated to the Jewish artist and painter Felix Nussbaum, who died during the Holocaust. It was designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind
  • Kalkriese Museum, situated on the battlefield of the Battle of the Teutoburger Wald in the Wiehen Hills, where German tribes under Arminius destroyed three Roman legions. It exhibits artefacts unearthed on the battlefield and tells the story of the battle
  • Osnabrücker Schloss (castle[34]/palace[35]) 17th century Baroque construction, nowadays the main building of the University of Osnabrück
  • Botanischer Garten der Universität Osnabrück, the university's botanical garden
  • Old town with its small streets and medieval buildings
  • Osnabrück Zoo
  • Vitischanze - formerly a defence station in the north-west of the old city, it has the only undestroyed bridge in Europe with a defence walk below its surface. It is also the site of certain faculty of the University of Applied Science. It was earlier used as a casino
  • Haseuferweg
  • Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine's Church), which dates back to 1248 and is one of the 150 tallest churches in the world, and also the tallest medieval building in Lower Saxony[36]
  • Hyde Park, a traditional music hall established in 1976, a haven of pop music and youth culture[37]
  • Leysieffer, a traditional German chocolate producer founded in Osnabrück. The main Leysieffer site is in the city centre

Notable people

Famous Osnabrück personalities include the writer Erich Maria Remarque and painters Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962) and Felix Nussbaum. Nussbaum has been honoured by Osnabrück in the form of a museum designed by Daniel Libeskind which opened in 1998; it was designed as a scaled-down version of Libeskind's own Jewish Museum in Berlin. The painter Paul Ehrhardt (1888-1981) with his local sujets was more of regional importance. The poet and scholar Johann Ernst Hanxleden was born in Osnabrück, as were reggae musician Gentleman and DJ Robin Schulz. Victory Records and recording artists Waterdown are also based in Osnabrück.

Actress Birgitta Tolksdorf, who became a well-known figure in American television in the 1970s, as well as stage and screen actor Mathias Wieman (the 1958 recipient of the Justus-Möser-Medaille) (see German article Justus-Möser-Medaille) were also born in the city. Peter van Pels, the love interest of world-famous diarist Anne Frank, and his parents Auguste van Pels and Hermann van Pels, all hailed from Osnabrück.

Friedrich Clemens Gerke, writer, journalist, musician and pioneer of telegraphy who revised the Morse code in 1848, is another of the city's famous sons. (Gerke's notation is still used today.) Fritz Buntrock, born in the city, was an SS officer at Auschwitz concentration camp and was executed for war crimes. Wilhelm Schitli, also born in the city, was also a Nazi SS concentration camp commandant.

Further notable Osnabrückers are Heinrich Abeken, theologian and Prussian Privy Legation Councillor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin; Justus Möser, jurist and historian of the city; and Hans-Gert Pöttering, former President of the European Parliament. One of the best-known Osnabrückers in recent times is Christian Wulff, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (2003–2010) and German President (2010–2012).

Notable people

Ernest August, Duke of York (1674-1728)
Ernest Augustus, Duke of York
Charlotte Sophia von Platen-Hallermund, Countess of Darlington
Charlotte Sophia, Countess of Darlington
Friedrich Clemens Gerke 1840
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R04034, Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque in 1929


Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has its headquarters in the city.[44]


There are two higher education institutions in Osnabrück, University of Osnabrück and Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences with more than 25,000 students. All of the types of German grammar schools are represented in the city, including seven Gymnasien. Gymnasium Carolinum claims to be the oldest still existing school in Germany. Another well-known Gymnasium is the Ursulaschule, a private school, located directly opposite the Carolinum.


The city of Osnabrück is connected by road to the A1, the A30 and the A33. It shares its airport with Münster.

Osnabrück Hauptbahnhof (central railway station) is an important rail travel hub. Travellers from the Netherlands heading to either Hamburg, Denmark, or Eastern Europe often have to change here.

An extensive bus network operated by the Stadtwerke Osnabrück (public utility provider) provides public transportation within the city and the surrounding region.[3] The central hub is situated on Neumarkt close to the main shopping street, roughly 10 minutes' walk from the railway station.

Districts of Osnabrück

Boroughs of Osnabrück

The city is divided into 23 districts:

Twin towns and sister cities

Osnabrück is twinned with:

Twinning with Derby

Osnabrück is twinned with the city of Derby in England.

Previously Osnabrück had made contact with the British authorities as early as 1948, hoping to find an English twin town and therefore achieve greater understanding with their former enemies in the Second World War. Unfortunately, this attempt was unsuccessful and Osnabrück did not actively consider the idea again for another quarter-century. The twinning agreement with Derby was signed on 17 February 1976 in the historic Friedenssaal (Hall of Peace) in Osnabrück's town hall. Every year since then the two towns have exchanged envoys. Derby also has a square named after Osnabrück in honour of the twinning arrangement; this features an obelisk among other things.

Osnabrück now has eleven twin and friendship cities: Derby (England), Angers (France), Haarlem (Netherlands), Çanakkale (Turkey), Tver (Russia), Greifswald (Germany), Vila Real (Portugal), Hefei (China), Evansville (USA), Gmünd (Austria), Gwangmyeong (Korea) and there are five envoys working at the twinning office in Osnabrück, who represent Derby, Angers, Haarlem, Tver and Çanakkale.

Every year, Derby and Osnabrück each appoint an envoy who spends twelve months in their respective twin city. The envoy's role is varied, but primarily focuses on promoting the exchange of ideas between the two cities, as well as acting as an educational and general information officer to promote awareness of the twinning scheme. The envoy's specific duties are numerous: translating, giving talks and presentations to local societies and schools, finding pen friends and short-term host families during work placements, working in day-to-day contact to assist groups who want to get involved in twinning by identifying and approaching possible counterparts, planning the Derby Day at the annual Maiwoche (May Week) festival, and many more.

The exchange of envoys between two cities is very unusual. The team of envoys in Osnabrück changes every year and Osnabrück also sends envoys to Derby, Angers and Çanakkale. No other city in Germany participates in this exchange of envoys, and in Britain, only one other city, Wigan, receives and sends an envoy.

The twinning gives the inhabitants of both places the opportunity to interact with their international neighbours. Town twinning aims to enhance international understanding and break down social barriers.

See also


  1. ^ Hinrichs 2013.
  2. ^ Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen, Tabelle 12411: Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes, Stand 31. Dezember 2017
  3. ^ "Osnabrück AKTUELL 4/2016" (PDF) (in German). Stadt Osnabrück. April 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  4. ^ Team Strategische Stadtentwicklung und Statistik 2013, p. 1.
  5. ^ Osnabrück: Lebendiges Zentrum im Osnabrücker Land www.osnabruecker-land.de
  6. ^ Friedensstadt Osnabrück: Der Westfälische Friede
  7. ^ Staedtereport_Osnabrueck_okt_2009.pdf (application/pdf-Objekt; 106 kB)
  8. ^ Hall, Allan (12 July 2008). "Garrison town fears slump as army pulls out". the Guardian.
  9. ^ "Stadtporträt: Osnabrück stellt sich vor".
  10. ^ "Environmental Education at the University of Osnabrück" (in German). Umweltbildung.uni-osnabrueck.de. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  11. ^ Greengrass, Mark (2014). Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517–1648. ISBN 9780698176256. Both cities carried the scars o the war, but Osnabrück suffered worse, subjected to the troops of the Catholic League (1628-32) and a forcible Catholicization, and then Swedish war contributions.
  12. ^ Panayi 2007, pp. 15-16.
  13. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 15.
  14. ^ a b c d Panayi 2007, p. 16.
  15. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 16-17.
  16. ^ a b Panayi 2007, p. 17.
  17. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 17-18.
  18. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 18.
  19. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 37.
  20. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 44.
  21. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 55.
  22. ^ "OSNABRÜCK - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com.
  23. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 23-24,81, 186-200.
  24. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 197-98,211.
  25. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 137.
  26. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 135,137.
  27. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 136-37.
  28. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 150-51.
  29. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 153-56.
  30. ^ "IOE Archives". Archive.ioe.ac.uk. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  31. ^ Geraghty, Tony (2000). The Irish War. Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 193. ISBN 0-00-255617-0
  32. ^ "British soldiers march out of Osnabrück after 63 years". The Local. 19 July 2008.
  33. ^ "Bevölkerungsaufbau 2013 und Bevölkerungsveränderungen" (PDF). Stadt Osnabrück. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  34. ^ [1] Retrieved 2015-05-26
  35. ^ [2] p.19, retrieved 2015-05-26
  36. ^ "Höchstes mittelalterliches Bauwerk Niedersachsens". Osnabrück civic site. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  37. ^ Hyde Park-Memories Archived 2012-04-06 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-12-13
  38. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 14, Friedrich Staphylus retrieved 25 February 2018
  39. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 11, Closterman, John retrieved 25 February 2018
  40. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 17, Ernest Augustus (1674-1728) retrieved 25 February 2018
  41. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18, Möser, Justus retrieved 25 February 2018
  42. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10, Fortlage, Karl retrieved 25 February 2018
  43. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 4, Blass, Friedrich retrieved 25 February 2018
  44. ^ "Imprint Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine." Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. Retrieved on September 3, 2011. "Hellmann Worldwide Logistics GmbH & Co. KG Elbestrasse 1 D-49090 Osnabrueck"


Further reading

  • Gerd Steinwascher (editor): Geschichte der Stadt Osnabrück Meinders & Elstermann, Belm 2006, ISBN 3-88926-007-1
  • Bettina Meckel: Osnabrück und Umland. Wenner, Osnabrück, 2010. An excellent picture book includes translation to English by Nick Woods. ISBN 978-3-87898-417-7
  • John M. Jeep, ed. (2001). "Osnabruck". Medieval Germany: an Encyclopedia. Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8240-7644-3.

External links

2010–11 2. Bundesliga

The 2010–11 2. Bundesliga was the 37th season of the 2. Bundesliga, Germany's second tier of its football league system. The season started on the weekend of 21 August 2010 and ended with the last games on 15 May 2011. The winter break was in effect between weekends around 18 December 2010 and 15 January 2011.

3. Liga

The 3. Liga (German: Dritte Liga when written in full; more explicit: 3. Fußball-Liga), is the third division of football in Germany. The league started with the beginning of the 2008–09 season, when it replaced the Regionalliga as the third tier football league in Germany. In the German football league system, it is positioned between the 2. Bundesliga and the semi-professional Regionalliga, which became the fourth division and initially consisted of three groups of 18 clubs playing separately. In Germany, the 3. Liga is the highest division that a football club's reserve team can play in.

Carl-Heinz Rühl

Carl-Heinz Rühl (born 14 November 1939) is a retired German football player and manager.

Classic Produktion Osnabrück

Classic Produktion Osnabrück (often referred to as cpo, in lowercase) is a record label founded in 1986 by Georg Ortmann and several others. Its declared mission is to fill niches in the recorded classical repertory, with an emphasis on romantic, late romantic and 20th-century music. The label also aims to release complete cycles of recordings, such as complete sets of symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and so forth. It is the house label of online retailer jpc.

Claus-Dieter Wollitz

Claus-Dieter Wollitz (born 19 July 1965) is a German former footballer and most recently the manager of Energie Cottbus.

Justus Möser

Justus Möser (December 14, 1720, Osnabrück – January 8, 1794, Osnabrück) was a German jurist and social theorist, best known for his innovative history of Osnabrück which stressed social and cultural themes.


Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, known commonly as Karmann, in Osnabrück, Germany, was until its 2009 bankruptcy the largest independent motor vehicle manufacturing company in Germany.

Since 1901 the company fulfilled roles including design, production and assembly of components for a wide variety of automobile manufacturers; including Chrysler, Porsche and Volkswagen Group. The company was broken up in 2010 with its components purchased by Webasto and Valmet Automotive—with the Osnabrück plant itself transferred to Volkswagen.

Lower Saxony

Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen (German pronunciation: [ˈniːdɐzaksn̩] (listen)); Low German: Neddersassen) is a German state (Land) situated in northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with 47,624 km2 (18,388 sq mi), and fourth-largest in population (7.9 million) among the 16 Länder federated as the Federal Republic of Germany. In rural areas, Northern Low Saxon (a dialect of Low German) and Saterland Frisian (a variety of the Frisian language) are still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining.

Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Netherlands (Drenthe, Groningen and Overijssel). Furthermore, the state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony, one being the city of Bremen, the other, its seaport city of Bremerhaven. In fact, Lower Saxony borders more neighbours than any other single Bundesland. The state's principal cities include the state capital Hanover, Braunschweig (Brunswick), Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Hildesheim, Wolfenbüttel, Wolfsburg, and Göttingen.

The northwestern area of Lower Saxony, which lies on the coast of the North Sea, is called East Frisia and the seven East Frisian Islands offshore are popular with tourists. In the extreme west of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a traditionally poor and sparsely populated area, once dominated by inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony, also known as the North German Plains, is almost invariably flat except for the gentle hills around the Bremen geestland. Towards the south and southwest lie the northern parts of the German Central Uplands: the Weser Uplands and the Harz mountains. Between these two lie the Lower Saxon Hills, a range of low ridges. Thus, Lower Saxony is the only Bundesland that encompasses both maritime and mountainous areas.

Lower Saxony's major cities and economic centres are mainly situated in its central and southern parts, namely Hanover, Braunschweig, Osnabrück, Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, Hildesheim, and Göttingen. Oldenburg, near the northwestern coastline, is another economic centre. The region in the northeast is called the Lüneburg Heath (Lüneburger Heide), the largest heathland area of Germany and in medieval times wealthy due to salt mining and salt trade, as well as to a lesser degree the exploitation of its peat bogs until about the 1960s. To the north, the Elbe River separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Brandenburg. The banks just south of the Elbe are known as Altes Land (Old Country). Due to its gentle local climate and fertile soil, it is the state's largest area of fruit farming, its chief produce being apples.

Most of the state's territory was part of the historic Kingdom of Hanover; the state of Lower Saxony has adopted the coat of arms and other symbols of the former kingdom. It was created by the merger of the State of Hanover with three smaller states on 1 November 1946.

Münster Osnabrück International Airport

Münster Osnabrück International Airport (IATA: FMO, ICAO: EDDG), Flughafen Münster/Osnabrück in German, is a minor international airport in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located near Greven, 25 km (16 mi) north of Münster and 35 km (22 mi) south of Osnabrück. The airport serves the area of the northern Ruhrgebiet, southern Lower Saxony, Emsland, Westphalia and parts of the Netherlands and features flights to some European city and leisure destinations.


The NordWestBahn GmbH is a private railway company providing regional train services on several routes in northern and western Germany. It is a joint venture of Stadtwerke Osnabrück AG, Verkehr und Wasser GmbH in Oldenburg and Transdev Germany GmbH, Berlin. The head office of the company is in Osnabrück. NWB claims to be Germany's largest regional railway company.

Since 5 November 2000, NordWestBahn operates, on behalf of the public transport company of Lower Saxony (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen - LNVG), the Weser-Ems-Network in Lower Saxony. In March 2008, NordWestBahn won the tender for the regional S-Bahn Bremen/Lower Saxony, defeating German National railway operator DB Regio. Operation of these routes started in December 2010.

Osnabrück (district)

Osnabrück (German pronunciation: [ɔsnaˈbʁʏk]) is a district (Landkreis) in the southwest of Lower Saxony, Germany. With 2,121 km² it is the second largest district of Lower Saxony.

Osnabrück Hauptbahnhof

Osnabrück Hauptbahnhof is a railway station located in Osnabrück, Germany. The station was opened in 1895 and is located on the Wanne-Eickel–Hamburg, Löhne–Rheine, Osnabrück–Bielefeld and the Oldenburg–Osnabrück lines. The train services are operated by Deutsche Bahn, Hamburg-Köln-Express, NordWestBahn, eurobahn and WestfalenBahn. The station features two levels, with lines at right angles to each other

Osnabrück University

Osnabrück University (German: Universität Osnabrück) is a public research university located in the city of Osnabrück in Lower Saxony, Germany.

In 2011 it was attended by 11,034 students; the staff of 1,858 consisted of 209 professors, 936 additional academic personnel (lecturers without professorships, post-doctoral researchers and post-graduate assistants) and 713 non-academic personnel. The university is known for a large number of interdisciplinary degree programmes, some of them rare or even unique among German universities, including European Studies, Migration Research, Applied Systems Science and Cognitive Science. Notably, the university is well known for its research in cognitive science, peace and conflict studies, democratic governance, European Studies, Migration studies among many others.

In addition, the university, through its Master of Arts in Democratic Governance and Civil Society graduate program, is also part of the highly prestigious DAAD Public Policy and Good Governance Scholarships for Developing Countries, along with other reputable institutions in political science and public policy such as the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy in Erfurt. The program attracts the best and the brightest young leaders from Asia, Latin America, and Africa to study in selected German universities for a policy-oriented Master's program.

Former President of Germany, Christian Wulff, is an alumnus of the university.

Osnabrück mortar attack

The Osnabrück mortar attack was an improvised mortar attack carried out by a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit based in mainland Europe on 28 June 1996 against the British Army's Quebec Barracks at Osnabrück Garrison near Osnabrück, Germany.

Peace of Westphalia

The Peace of Westphalia (German: Westfälischer Friede) was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been seriously challenged.The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two different cities, as each side wanted to meet on territory under its own control. A total of 109 delegations arrived to represent the belligerent states, but not all delegations were present at the same time. Three treaties were signed to end each of the overlapping wars: the Peace of Münster, the Treaty of Münster, and the Treaty of Osnabrück. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, battling the Protestant powers (Sweden, Denmark, Dutch, and Holy Roman principalities) allied with France (Catholic but anti-Habsburg). The treaties also ended the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognising the independence of the Dutch.

The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peace established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power, and a norm was established against interference in another state's domestic affairs. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.

Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück

The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück) (German: Hochstift Osnabrück; Fürtsbistum Osnabrück, Bistum Osnabrück) was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1225 until 1803. It should not be confused with the Diocese of Osnabrück (German: Bistum Osnabrück), which was larger and over which the prince-bishop exercised only the spiritual authority of an ordinary bishop. It was named after its capital, Osnabrück.

The still-extant Diocese of Osnabrück, erected in 772, is the oldest see founded by Charlemagne, in order to Christianize the conquered stem-duchy of Saxony. The episcopal and capitular temporal possessions of the see, originally quite limited, grew in time, and its prince-bishops exercised an extensive civil jurisdiction within the territory covered by their rights of Imperial immunity. The Prince-Bishopric continued to grow in size, making its status during the Reformation a highly contentious issue. The Peace of Westphalia left the city bi-confessional and had the Prince-Bishops alternate between Catholic and Protestant.

The bishopric was dissolved in the German Mediatisation of 1803, when it was incorporated into the neighboring Electorate of Hanover. The see, the chapter, the convents and the Catholic charitable institutions were secularized. The territory of the see passed to Prussia in 1806, to the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, to Napoleonic France in 1810, and back to Hanover in 1814.

With the end of the prince-bishopric, the future of the diocese became unclear. Klemens von Gruben, titular Bishop of Paros in Greece, was made vicar apostolic of Osnabrück, and as such cared for the spiritual interests of the Catholic population. The ordinary Latin (Roman) Catholic episcopacy was restored in 1824, but henceforth the bishops would no longer wield any temporal power.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück

The Diocese of Osnabrück is a diocese of the Catholic church in Germany; which was founded around 800. It should not be confused with the smaller Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück – an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire until 1803 – over which the bishop, as prince-bishop, exercised both temporal and spiritual authority.

Stadion an der Bremer Brücke

Stadion an der Bremer Brücke is a football stadium in Osnabrück, Germany. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of VfL Osnabrück. The stadium holds 16,667 people and was built in 1933.

Since April 1, 2008, demolishing works of the very old North Stand are under way to make way for a modern mostly roofed stand to be built at the site. The club had planned to build an entirely roofed stand; however, there has been controversy with a local resident whose property is situated very close to the ground. As a result about one-third of the construction will be significantly lower than the rest, and the overall capacity will decrease to 16,667, but seating capacity will rise to 5,728.

VfL Osnabrück

VfL Osnabrück is a German multi-sport club in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony. It currently fields teams in basketball, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, and tennis, but is by far best known for its football section.

Cities in Germany by population
Members of the Hanseatic League by quarter
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Flag of Lower Saxony Urban and rural districts in the state of Lower Saxony in Germany
Urban districts
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