What is the Saarland known for in Germany?

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State of Saarland

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1 Country and people l 2 The state capital l 3 Counties, cities and municipalities l 4 Rivers l 5 Mountains and landscapes l 6 Saarland and France l 7 Neighboring countries l 8 Large companies l 9 Parliament and government

1 country and people

In Saarland, on December 31, 2018, lived on an area of 2569 square kilometers a total of 986,887 inhabitants. So live on every square kilometer 384 Residents.

Most of the inhabitants of Saarland speak standard German, but several dialects are still common. Because of the proximity to France and Luxembourg, many also speak French. French is taught as the first foreign language in the country's high schools.

Today's Saarland suffered a lot from the effects of the Thirty Years' War. A large part of the population at that time died and large parts of the country were deserted. After this war, many people from France, Belgium, Tyrol and Switzerland immigrated to the abandoned areas.

In the 19th century, many workers were brought into the country from the coal mines and the iron and steel industries. Since coal is no longer mined today and hardly any iron and steel is processed, the population of the Saarland has been declining for several years.

Out of 100 inhabitants of the country, 62 belong to the Catholic Church, 19 are Protestant. The Saarland has only been part of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1955.

2 The capital

The capital of Saarland is Saarbrücken. The city is located on the Saar River and has 180,374 inhabitants. It was created in 1909 from the merger of the previously independent cities of Saarbrücken, St. Johann and Malstatt-Burbach. Saarbrücken is the only large city in the state of Saarland.

The Ludwigskirche is a landmark of the city. This magnificent Protestant church was completed in 1775 in the Baroque style. In 1748 the ruling princes completed the three-wing palace in the city center on the banks of the Saar. Today it houses administrations and a museum.

View of the Saar and the theater of the city of Saarbrücken - Image: Pixabay / PD

3 districts, cities and municipalities

Other larger cities in Saarland are Neunkirchen, Homburg, Völklingen, Saint Ingbert, Saarlouis, Merzig and Sankt Wendel. There are 17 cities and 35 other municipalities in Saarland. The country is divided into 6 districts.

In every rural district, in every city and in every municipality women and men are regularly elected to advise and vote on important matters. Their meeting is called a district council, city council or municipal council. At the head of the districts are elected district administrators, and mayors are elected in the municipalities and cities.

Landscape in Saarland - Image: Hamster box

4 rivers

The Saar, from which the state owes its name, is 235 km long. It arises from two source rivers in France, the Red and the White Saar, and then flows 68 km through the Saarland. In the neighboring state of Rhineland-Palatinate, it flows into the Moselle near Konz. It is known Saar loop at Merzig. Here the Saar makes a 10 km detour on its way to Mettlach and runs in a tight curve.

The Blew is a 99 km long tributary of the Saar. It rises in the village of Selbach in the St. Wendel district and then flows south. At 16 km in length, it forms the state border with France. Here it flows into the Saar in the city of Sarreguemines, which is called Saargemünd in German.

The Prims rises in the Hunsrück in Rhineland-Palatinate. It initially flows south and reaches the Saarland near the city of Nonnweiler. Here the Prims have been dammed up to form a dam. At Dillingen it flows into the Saar after 91 km.

The Saar loop near Merzig - Image: Hamster box

5 mountains and landscapes

The Black Forest high forest is in the north of the country. It is part of the Hunsrück Mountains and extends from Mettlach to Rhineland-Palatinate. At the border between the two federal states lies the highest mountain in Saarland, the Dollberg with a height of 695 meters.

The Schaumberg is located in the district of St. Wendel near the village of Theley. It is 569 meters high and protrudes from an otherwise flat landscape. That is why it is also known as "Saarland's local mountain".

The Saargau extends west of the Saar from south to north to Konz in Rhineland-Palatinate. In this undulating hilly landscape, intensive agriculture is practiced, the highest peaks are around 400 meters high.

The Saar coal forest extends over an area of ​​approx. 60 km² between Saarbrücken and Neunkirchen. This forest area used to be used economically, the wood was processed into charcoal or used in mining. Today the forest is a popular recreational area.

The Bliesgau is a gentle, hilly landscape that stretches along the river Blies. Typical is the meadow landscape along the river, which is followed by large orchards or dense beech forests.

6 The Saarland and France

The Saarland has belonged to neighboring France several times in its history. In the last century, after the First World War, it was administered by the League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN, for 15 years. After World War II it belonged to the French occupation zone and was under the influence of France from 1947 to 1956.

The Saarland was initially not allowed to join the Federal Republic of Germany, which was founded in 1949. Economically, it was linked to France with the franc as its currency. The Saarlanders had their own nationality at this time and, for example, took part with their own teams in the Olympic Games and in qualifying games for soccer world championships.

In 1956, Germany and France agreed that the Saarland should be admitted to the Federal Republic. On January 1, 1957, it became the new federal state of the Federal Republic. The German mark was only introduced on July 6, 1959.

From 1947 to 1959, people in Saarland paid with French francs, then with Saar francs
(The front and back are shown) - Image: public domain

7 neighboring countries

The Saarland borders on the European states France and Luxembourg. Rhineland-Palatinate is the only neighboring federal state of Saarland.

8 Big Companies

In the past, many people in Saarland were employed in hard coal mining. The last mine in Saarland then closed in 2012. Today the automotive industry is a big employer. ford has a factory in Saarlouis, the auto parts supplier Bosch, INA and Michelin in Homburg. The Company ZF transmission has a branch in Saarbrücken, the company Ebersbacher is based in Neunkirchen.

The Saarstahl AG and the AG of Dillinger Hüttenwerke There are two large steel companies in Völklingen and Dillingen. The enterprise Villeroy & Boch AG from Mettlach manufactures ceramic goods. The companies are in the field of computer science IDS Scheer in Saarbrücken and the SAP AG active in St. Ingbert.

Banquet table in the Villeroy & Boch - Museum Mettlach - Picture: Hamster box

9 Government and Parliament

Laws for the federal state of Saarland are passed by the members of the state parliament in Saarbrücken. The last election took place in March 2017. in the Parliament of the Saarland currently sit 51 MPs. The distribution of seats:

Party number of MPs
CDU 24
SPD 17th
AfD 3

Since the last state election, the CDU and SPD have governed together in a so-called grand coalition. Tobias Hans from the CDU has been Prime Minister since March 1, 2018.

The state parliament of Saarland meets in this building in Saarbrücken - Image: userFlicka (CC BY-SA 3.0)