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This article is about the German Bundesland Rhineland-Palatinate, or Rheinland-Pfalz. For the historical territory of the Elector Palatine, see Electoral Palatinate. For the 19th century territory, see Upper Palatinatemarker (also known as Oberpfalz). For other uses, see Palatinate .

Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of Germanymarker. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainzmarker. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ( ).


The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate was established on 30 August 1946. It was formed from the northern part of the French Occupation Zone, which included parts of Bavariamarker (the Rhenish Palatinate), the southern parts of the Prussian Rhine Provincemarker (including the District of Birkenfeldmarker which formerly belonged to Oldenburg), parts of the Prussian Province of Nassau (see Hesse-Nassau), and parts of Hesse-Darmstadtmarker (Rhinehessen on the western banks of the Rhine); the new state was legally confirmed by referendum on 18 May 1947.


Situated in western Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate borders (from the north and clockwise) North Rhine-Westphaliamarker, Hessemarker, Baden-Württembergmarker, Francemarker, Saarlandmarker, Luxembourgmarker and Belgiummarker.

The largest river in the state is the Rhinemarker, which forms the border with Baden-Württemberg and Hesse in the southeast before flowing through the northern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. The Rhine Valley is bounded by mountain chains and forms a fascinating landscape containing some of the most historically significant places in Germany.

The Eifel and Hunsrückmarker mountain chains are found on the west bank of the Rhine in northern Rhineland-Palatinate, while the Westerwaldmarker and Taunusmarker mountains are found on the east bank. The hilly lands in the southernmost region of the state are covered by the Palatinate forestmarker and the Palatinate.

These mountain chains are separated from each other by several tributaries of the Rhine: the Moselmarker, the Lahn and the Nahe.

See also List of places in Rhineland-Palatinate.


Every five years, all Germans residing in the State over the age of 18 elect the members of the Rhineland-Palatinate Landtag. This regional parliament or legislature then elects the premier and confirms the cabinet members. Rhineland-Palatinate is the only German Bundesland to have a cabinet minister for winegrowing (Ministry of Economy, Traffic, Agriculture and Winegrowing)

List of Minister-presidents of Rhineland-Palatinate

|| 1
|| Wilhelm Boden
|| 2
|| Peter Altmeier
|| 3
|| Helmut Kohl
|| 4
|| Bernhard Vogel
|| 5
|| Carl-Ludwig Wagner
|| 6
|| Rudolf Scharping
|| 7
|| Kurt Beck
Minister-presidents of Rhineland-Palatinate
No. Name Born-Died Party affiliation Begin of Tenure End of Tenure
1890–1961 CDU June 13, 1947 July 9, 1947
1899-1977 CDU 1947 1969
*1930 CDU 1969 1976
*1932 CDU 1976 1988
*1930 CDU 1988 1991
*1947 SPD 1991 1994
*1949 SPD 1994 incumbent

See also: List of Rhineland-Palatinate Cabinet Members.

26 March 2006 state election

See also:Rhineland-Palatinate state election, 2006

Kurt Beck (SPD) remained Minister-President, winning an outright majority. Beck offered the FDP to continue the coalition ("red-yellow"). The FDP, however, declined and went into opposition. The Alliance '90/The Greens lost their representation in the State Parliament.
Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 750,390 45.2% 53 52.5%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 668,610 32.8% 38 37.6%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 134,709 8.0% 10 9.9%
Alliance '90/The Greens 86,255 4.98% 0 0.0%
Electoral Alternative for Labor and Social Justice (WASG) 47,352 2.7% 0 0.0%
All Others 45,010 2.6% 0 0.0%
Totals 1,732,326 100.0% 101 100.0%


Rhineland-Palatinate is divided into 24 districts, formerly grouped into the three administrative regions: Koblenz, Triermarker and Rheinhessen-Pfalz.

Since 2000, the employees and assets of the Bezirksregierungen form the Aufsichts- und Dienstleistungsdirektion Trier (Supervisory and Service Directorate Trier) and the Struktur- und Genehmigungsdirektionen (Structural and Approval Directorates) Nord in Koblenzmarker and Süd in Neustadt marker. These administrations execute their authority over the whole state, i. e. the ADD Trier oversees all schools.

Map of the districts of Rhineland-Palatinate:

  1. Ahrweilermarker
  2. Altenkirchenmarker
  3. Alzey-Wormsmarker
  4. Bad Dürkheimmarker
  5. Bad Kreuznachmarker
  6. Bernkastel-Wittlichmarker
  7. Birkenfeldmarker
  8. Bitburg-Prümmarker
  1. Cochem-Zellmarker
  2. Vulkaneifelmarker
  3. Donnersbergkreismarker
  4. Germersheimmarker
  5. Kaiserslauternmarker
  6. Kuselmarker
  7. Rhein-Pfalz-Kreismarker
  8. Mainz-Bingenmarker
  1. Mayen-Koblenzmarker
  2. Neuwiedmarker
  3. Rhein-Hunsrückmarker
  4. Rhein-Lahnmarker
  5. Südliche Weinstraßemarker
  6. Südwestpfalzmarker
  7. Trier-Saarburgmarker
  8. Westerwaldkreismarker

Every district is composed of numerous municipalities, which can consist of cities, villages, or groups of villages known as Verbandsgemeinden.Furthermore there are twelve urban districts which are identified on the map with letters:

  1. Frankenthalmarker (F)
  2. Kaiserslauternmarker (Ka)
  3. Koblenzmarker Coblenz (Ko)
  4. Landaumarker (La, the main city and an enclave)
  5. Ludwigshafenmarker (Rheinpfalz-Kreis) (L)
  6. Mainzmarker (M)
  7. Neustadt marker (N)
  8. Pirmasensmarker (P)
  9. Speyermarker Spires (S)
  10. Triermarker (T)
  11. Wormsmarker (W)
  12. Zweibrückenmarker (Z)


Agriculture and viticulture

Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany's leading producer of wine. In terms of grape cultivation as well as wine export Rhineland-Palatinate is the leading federal state. Its capital, Mainz, may be called the capital of the German wine industry, with the home of the German Wine Institute, the German Wine Fund in the Haus des Deutschen Weines (House of the German Wine), as well as the venue of the Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter Wine Bourse, which brings together the top winemakers of Germany and the wine merchants of the world.

Six out of all thirteen wine regions for quality wine in Germany, Rheinhessenmarker, Pfalz, Mosel, Nahe, Mittelrhein and Ahr are located in Rhineland-Palatinate. Due to this fact 65% to 70% of the whole production output of wine grapes in Germany have their origin within this federal state. 13,000 wine producers generate 80% to 90% of the German wine export, which was 2.6 million hectoliters in 2003.

Traditional grape varieties as well as a wide range of varieties developed during the last 125 years are characteristic for the region.Classical white varieties are cultivated at . These comprise the famous Rieslings , Müller-Thurgau ( ), Silvaner ( ) and Kerner ( ).

The share of red varieties grew constantly during the last decades and amounts to . Dornfelder, a new breed, is the leading red grape cultivated on , which is more than a third. Blauer Portugieser ( ) and Spätburgunder ( ) show also appreciable cultivated shares.

Beside these Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay as white varieties and Regent and St. Laurent as red varieties are increasing their share throughout the years, as the growing conditions improve in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The land supports the wine industry by providing a comprehensive consultancy and education program in the service supply centers (German: DLR) of the land. The Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding and also the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institutemarker are fully or even partially financed by the land. Many well known new breeds like Morio-Muskat, Bacchus, Optima and Regent have been created in these institutes.

The world wide leader in sparkling wine production, producing 245 million bottles in 2006, is the renowned Schloss Wachenheim Group. This company has its roots and its operations at different places in Rhineland-Palatinate and is headquartered in Trier.

Other renowned sparkling wine producers like Kupferberg, Deinhard and Henkell also had their roots in the land, but now belong to companies outside this federal state, due to business consolidation.


Important sectors are the chemical industry with the largest chemical company in the world (BASFmarker), headquartered in Ludwigshafen, the pharmaceutical industry with Boehringer Ingelheim in Ingelheim am Rheinmarker and the mechanical engineering for important car manufacturers like Opel (engines in Kaiserslautern) or the biggest European truck manufacturer Daimler-Truck-Group in Wörth am Rheinmarker, as well as Stabilus, a manufacturer of shock absorbers and world market leader in pneumatic springs and Schottel for nautical engineering. Cookie and cracker specialist Griesson - de Beukelaer is one of the leading biscuit manufacturers in Germany. Bitburgermarker is one of the major brewers in Germany and the Gerolsteiner Brunnen is also a leader in its sector, the mineral water bottlers. The 17th-century brewery Königsbacher is in Koblenz. The famous electronic organ manufacturer Wersi is headquartered in Halsenbachmarker.

Frankfurt-Hahn Airportmarker is the only international passenger airport in RP.


Rhineland-Palatinate has supplied immigrants to many parts of the world. The names of the villages of New Paltzmarker, Palatine Bridgemarker and German Flatts, New Yorkmarker and Palatine, Illinoismarker attest to settlements of Palatine Germans. The Hunsrückischen dialect in Brazil also bears testimony to an immigrant community.

The Pennsylvania Dutch spoken by the Amish people in the United States is (among other dialects) derived from the German dialect spoken in the Rhineland-Palatinate, which many Palatine refugees brought to the colony in the early decades of the 1700s.

Certain colonies in the United Statesmarker were settled by major groups of poor Palatines—then refugees in Englandmarker—passage paid for by Queen Anne of Great Britain to reduce the number of impoverished families who had taken refuge at Londonmarker. In 1710 the English used ten ships to transport nearly 3,000 Germans to the colony of New York. Many died en route, as they had been weakened by disease. They were settled in work camps along the Hudson River, where they developed naval stores for the English to work off their passage. Churches set up in both the East and West Camps provided some of the earliest population records in New York. In 1723 the first hundred heads of families were allowed to acquire land west of Little Falls, New York along the Mohawk River, in what was called the Burnetsfield Patent after the governor. This became Herkimer Countymarker. The Germans and their descendants were important in the defense of the Mohawk Valley during the American Revolutionary War.

One of the most notable is New Bernmarker, one of the earliest North Carolinamarker colonies settled in 1710 by about 400 Palatines (650 left Germany, but about half died in passage) and 100 Swiss. This venture was orchestrated by the Swiss-born Christoph von Graffenried after purchasing more than from the British Proprieters of Carolana (later called Carolina).

See also


External links

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