North Rhine Westphalia & The Bundesliga
Hello there again, Bundesliga fans! Today, we will be taking our next step into our series about German states with one of the country’s most important, North Rhine Westphalia.
History & Geography
British’s military administration, after World War 2 back in 1946, created the North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) state by merging two provinces of the old German Empire: The Province of Westphalia and the Northern region of the Rhine Province, hence its name. In 1947, they incorporated the state of Lippe into the region, also creating the state’s constitution.
Located in the western part of Germany, North Rhine Westphalia is the country most populous and dense state, with an area of roughly 34 thousand square kilometers and a population of circa 17.6 million people. Dusseldorf is the state’s capital.
The state has borders with Belgium in the southwest and with the Netherlands in the west and northwest. NRW has borders with other German states in the North and Northeast (Lower Saxony), Rhineland Palatine in the southwest and Hesse to the southeast.
North Rhine Westphalia is located majority in a low-lying terrain, with some hills located sparsely on it. In its southern and eastern parts, the terrain starts to rise, following up into Germany’s Central Uplands. NRW highest mountain is the Langeberg, located in the border with Hesse, which rises up into 843m above sea level.
The region has many important rivers, to name: The Rhine, The Ruhr, The Ems, The Lippe, and the Weser. Regarding football, the first two have important matters, because they separate many great football clubs. The Rhine, for example, separates Leverkusen and Koln, while the Ruhr is responsible for creating the Ruhr Derby, Germany’s biggest rivalry, between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.
While known for industrial concentration, the biggest component of the territory is of forests, around 28%. Agriculture represents 52%, approximately, of the use of the soil.
Culture and Traditions
Like the many German States, NRW has some recognisable beer types: Kolsch, a beer made in Cologne and Alt, made specifically in Dusseldorf and the Lower Rhine. Dortmunder Export is a unique type of beer made in Dortmund.
There are many festivals in the region, like film festivals, held in Dortmund, Cologne, and Bonn. GamesCom, Europe’s most famous games event, happens every year in Cologne.
North Rhine Westphalia is also home of many heavy metal bands who have great success in Germany.
Known in the 50s and 60s as the “land of coal and steel”, due to a great part of their economy coming from those areas, the State is recognizable for having an industrial concentration in its territory.
However, in recent years, the region is no longer focusing on coal and steel extraction, making new ways for their economy to grow. Nevertheless, this activity still comes to the head of several people, and a big example of that is the tunnel in the Veltins Arena, home of Schalke 04, which represents a big coalmine.
Check it out: In recent years, there is a big debate regarding the Hambach Forest, located in North Rhine Westphalia, on the border with Belgium. German energy company RWE is having a clash with Ambiental activists about using the last remaining part of the area for coal extraction. Only ten percent of the forest remains and it has a rich biodiversity, home to 142 species. I am on the side of the crazy environmentalists, and you?
NRW has a national parliament, the Landtag, responsible for organizing laws in the competency of the state. The two main parties are the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and the SDP (Social Democratic-party). Elections happen every five years, and a minimum of 5% of votes is necessary for a party to join the government. The total seats of the parliament are 199.
In May 2017 happened the last election, with the CDU winning the majority and the SPD losing votes. AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) gained representation, together with the FDP (Free Democratic Party).
Bundesliga In North Rhine Westphalia
This region is the home of several and important teams in the Bundesliga history, which include Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, FC Schalke 04 and Fortuna Dusseldorf as the ones competing in the top tier this season. FC Koln, VfL Bochum, and Armenia Bielefeld are traditional teams playing actually in the 2. Bundesliga.
Due to its big concentration of competitive clubs, there are many derbys that happen between those. Germany’s most traditional is the Ruhr Derby, between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund, who are devised by the Ruhr river. Other rivalries include the ones between the Borussias and FC Koln against Bayer 04 Leverkusen/Borussia Monchengladbach.
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