The third largest state of Baden-Württemberg is located in the southwest of Germany. Stuttgart in the Middle Neckar conurbation is the state capital. The Upper Rhine Plain with its eastern boundary, the southern Odenwald and the Black Forest, the Swabian-Franconian Layered Plains and the Allgäu, which is part of the Alpine foothills, are the three major landscapes. Baden-Württemberg has a high population density and a high degree of industrialization. Tourism and bathing play a major role.
The third largest German state with an area of approx. 36,000 km² and almost 11 million residents is located in the southwest of the Federal Republic (Fig. 1).
Baden-Württemberg borders Hesse in the north, Bavaria in the north and east, Switzerland in the south and Rhineland-Palatinate and France in the west.
The state capital is Stuttgart.
According to the surface forms, three major landscapes can be distinguished in Baden-Württemberg:
In the west these are large parts of the Upper Rhine Plain and its eastern mountain range with the southern Odenwald, the Kraichgau, the volcanic Kaiserstuhl and the Black Forest. In the Black Forest, the 1493 m high Feldberg is also the highest point in the country.
Beginning between the Black Forest and the Danube in the south, the Swabian-Franconian layered stepland expands fan-like to the north and northeast to the Main. These include the karst limestone plateau of the Swabian Alb (Fig. 2) as well as the slightly hilly, mostly fertile areas around the Neckar and Tauber as well as the predominantly wooded Keuperbergland.
In the south between Lake Constance and Iller, Baden-Württemberg and the western Allgäu still have a share of the Alpine foothills.
The largest part of Baden-Württemberg belongs to the catchment area of the Rhine, especially via its largest tributary, the 367 km long Neckar. About a quarter of the country drains to the Danube, which rises with its two source streams Breg and Brigach in the eastern Black Forest. In the “battle” for the main European watershed between the North Sea and the Black Sea, the Rhine is advancing against the Danube due to its steeper slope and taps its tributaries.
Baden-Württemberg belongs to the Atlantic type of climate in Western Europe. The strong differences in relief, however, cause considerable climatic differentiations:
parts of the Upper Rhine Plain are the warmest regions in Germany. Kraichgau, Lake Constance area, Neckar basin and Taubertal are also among the climatic favored areas. Parts of the Swabian Alb, the building land and the rear Odenwald are less favored.
The highest rainfall, e.g. T. over 2000 mm, naturally preserved the highest western locations of the mountains, especially the Black Forest and the Allgäu.
The residents in the south are of Swabian-Alemannic descent and in the north of Franconian descent.
Since the post-war period, Baden-Württemberg has experienced enormous population growth due to refugees, internal migration to the south and foreign workers. Preferred destinations were the Rhine-Neckar and Middle Neckar metropolitan areas as well as the Upper Rhine Plain, the Lake Constance area and the Ulm region.
The state is one of the most urban regions in Germany. In addition to the capital Stuttgart, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn and Ulm are major cities with more than 100,000 residents.
Almost half of the population is Catholic.
Economy and Transport
More than 40% of the total area of the country can be used for agriculture.
The predominance of small businesses is characteristic of agriculture. The agricultural area is therefore very fragmented. Almost 40% of this is permanent grassland. That is why cattle farming and milk production and processing predominate in the Allgäu and the Black Forest. In arable farming, the cultivation of forage crops dominates. In addition, wheat, in the Black Forest also oats and rye are grown.
In the climate-favored areas, such as in the Neckar Valley and its side valleys, on Lake Constance, in the Kaiserstuhl and in the Upper Rhine Plain, the special crops of wine, fruit, tobacco and hops are mainly produced.
Baden-Württemberg has the largest fruit-growing area of all German federal states.
Baden-Württemberg is the most heavily industrialized German state. In addition to major large companies, there are a large number of medium-sized companies. The industrial center is the Middle Neckar economic area. Further important economic regions are in the Upper Rhine Plain around the industrial cities of Mannheim and Karlsruhe and in the Ulm region bordering Bavaria. The most important industries in these regions are machine and vehicle construction as well as metal processing, the electrotechnical and electronic industry, the chemical, plastics, textile and – especially in the Black Forest – the wood industry.
Hydropower plants, such as B. on the Upper Rhine, along with conventional thermal power plants and nuclear power plants, contribute to the energy supply.
In addition to industry and agriculture, tourism is an important economic factor in the country.
Numerous mineral springs, such as in the well-known spa and bathing resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Wildbad or Bad Mergentheim, are just as attractive as the variety of charming landscapes around Lake Constance, in the upper Danube Valley, in the Black Forest, around the Kaiserstuhl in the Upper Rhine Plain, etc.
Baden-Wuerttemberg is traffic-moderately well developed. The natural obstacles, especially the Swabian Alb and the Black Forest, have a detrimental effect on further expansion. The straightened Rhine from Rheinfelden and the navigable Neckar from Plochingen are available for inland navigation. Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Heilbronn have important inland ports. Stuttgart has an international airport.
The state of Baden-Württemberg was formed from the states of Württemberg-Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden after the referendum of December 6, 1951. A second referendum on June 7, 1970 confirmed the new formation.