"Anhalt" redirects here. For other uses, see Anhalt (disambiguation).
Sachsen-Anhalt (German)
State of Germany


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 51°58′16″N 11°28′12″E / 51.97111°N 11.47000°E / 51.97111; 11.47000
Country Germany
Capital Magdeburg
  Minister-President Reiner Haseloff (CDU)
  Governing parties CDU / SPD / Greens
  Bundesrat votes 4 (of 69)
  Total 20,451.58 km2 (7,896.40 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 2,245,470
  Density 110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-ST
GDP/ Nominal €56 billion (2014) [2]
GDP per capita €24,000 (2014)

Saxony-Anhalt (German: Sachsen-Anhalt, pronounced [ˌzaksn̩ ˈanhalt][3]) is a landlocked federal state of Germany surrounded by the federal states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia.

Its capital is Magdeburg and its largest city is Halle (Saale). Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres (7,894.9 sq mi)[4] and has a population of 2.34 million.

Saxony-Anhalt should not be confused with Saxony or Lower Saxony, also German states.


Saxony-Anhalt is one of 16 Bundesländer (see German: Bundesland) of Germany. It is located in the western part of eastern Germany. By size, it is the 8th largest state in Germany and by population it is the 10th largest.

It borders four fellow Bundesländer: Lower Saxony to the north-west, Brandenburg to the north-east, Saxony to the south-east, and Thuringia to the south-west.

In the north, the Saxony-Anhalt landscape is dominated by plain (North German Plain). The old Hanseatic towns Salzwedel, Gardelegen, Stendal, and Tangermünde are located in the sparsely populated Altmark. The Colbitz-Letzlingen Heath and the Drömling near Wolfsburg mark the transition between the Altmark region and the Elbe-Börde-Heath region with its fertile, sparsely wooded Magdeburg Börde. Notable towns in the Magdeburg Börde are Haldensleben, Oschersleben (Bode), Wanzleben, Schönebeck (Elbe), Aschersleben and the capital Magdeburg, from which the Börde derives its name.

The Harz mountains are located in the south-west, comprising the Harz National Park, the Harz Foreland and Mansfeld Land. The highest mountain of the Harz (and of Northern Germany) is Brocken, with an elevation of 1,141 meters (3,735 ft). In this area, one can find the towns of Halberstadt, Wernigerode, Thale, Eisleben and Quedlinburg.

The wine-growing area Saale-Unstrut and the towns of Zeitz, Naumburg (Saale), Weißenfels, and Freyburg (Unstrut) are located on the rivers Saale and Unstrut in the south of the state.

The metropolitan area of Halle (Saale) forms an agglomeration with Leipzig in Saxony. This area is known for its highly developed chemical industry (the Chemiedreieck - chemical triangle), with major production plants at Leuna, Schkopau (Buna-Werke) and Bitterfeld. Finally, in the east, Dessau-Roßlau and Wittenberg are situated on the Elbe (as is the capital Magdeburg) in the Anhalt-Wittenberg region.

Administrative subdivisions

View over Magdeburg, capital of Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalts most populous city Halle (Saale) is seat of the State's largest University

The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is Magdeburg. It is the second-largest city in the state, closely after Halle. From 1994 to 2003, the state was divided into three regions (Regierungsbezirke), Dessau, Halle and Magdeburg, and, below the regional level, 21 districts (Landkreise). Since 2004, however, this system has been replaced by 11 rural districts and three urban districts.[5]

The rural districts are:

The urban districts are:

Largest cities

The largest cities in Saxony-Anhalt according to 31 December 2014 estimate.[6]

Rank City Population
1 Halle (Saale) 232,470
2 Magdeburg 232,306
3 Dessau-Roßlau 83,061
4 Lutherstadt Wittenberg 46,621
5 Bitterfeld-Wolfen 40,779
6 Halberstadt 40,440
7 Stendal 40,079
8 Weißenfels 39,918
9 Bernburg 33,633
10 Merseburg 33,317


Coat-of-arms of Saxony-Anhalt between 1946 and 1952.

In April 1945 the US Army took control of most of the western and northern area of the future Saxony-Anhalt. The U.S. Group Control Council, Germany (a precursor of the OMGUS) appointed the first non-Nazi officials in leading positions in the area. So Erhard Hübener, furloughed by the Nazis, was reappointed Landeshauptmann (state governor). By early July the US Army retired in order to allow the Red Army taking Prussian Saxony as part of its Soviet occupation zone, as agreed by the London Protocol in 1944.

On 9 July the Soviet SVAG ordered the merger of the Free State of Anhalt, Halle-Merseburg, the governorate of Magdeburg (in its then borders), Allstedt (before Thuringia) and some Brunswickian eastern exclaves and salients (Calvörde and the eastern part of the former Blankenburg district[7]) into the Prussian Province of Saxony.[8] The previously Saxon Erfurt governorate had become a part of Thuringia.

For the earlier history see the respective articles of these entities before 1945. Anhalt takes its name from Anhalt Castle near Harzgerode; the origin of the name of the castle remains unknown.

The SVAG appointed Hübener as president of the provincial Saxon administration, a newly created function. The administration was seated in Halle an der Saale, which became the capital, also of later Saxony-Anhalt until 1952. On 3 September 1945 the new administration enacted by Soviet-inspired ordinance the mass expropriations, mostly hitting holders of large real estates, often of noble descent.

On the occasion of the first (and one and only) election in the Soviet zone, allowing parties truly to compete for seats in provincial and state parliaments, on 20 October 1946, the Province of Saxony was renamed as the Province of Saxony-Anhalt (Provinz Sachsen-Anhalt), taking the prior merger into account.[8] On 3 December 1946 the members of the new provincial parliament elected Hübener the first minister-president of Saxony-Anhalt with the votes of CDU and Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD). Thus he became the only governor in the Soviet zone, who was not a member of the communist Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). He was an inconvenient governor for the Soviet rulers.

After the official Allied decision to dissolve the Free State of Prussia, which had remained in limbo since the Prussian coup of 1932, its former provinces, in as far as they still existed, achieved statehood, thus the province emerged into the State of Saxony-Anhalt on 6 October 1947.[8] It became part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. From 1952 to 1990 the East German states were dissolved and Saxony-Anhalt's territory was divided into the East German districts of Halle and Magdeburg except territory around Torgau was in Leipzig. In 1990, in the course of German reunification, the districts were reintegrated as a state. But, territory around Torgau did not return to the state and joined Saxony. Now, Torgau is the centre of Nordsachsen district (since 2008).

In 2015 the skeletal remains of an ancient inhabitant of Karsdorf dated from the Early Neolithic (7200 BP) were analyzed, he turned out to belong to the paternal T1a-M70 lineage and maternal lineage H1.[9][10]


Since German reunification there has been a continuous downward trend in the population of Saxony-Anhalt. This is partly due to outward migration and partly because the death rate exceeds the birth rate. Although the birth rate has been steady since 1994, the net reproduction rate is only approximately 70%.However the TFR reached 1.50 in 2014, the highest value since 1990.

Entwicklung der Bevölkerung Sachsen-Anhalts seit 1990[11]
Year Population Change
1990 2,873,957
1995 2,738,928 −135,029
2000 2,615,375 −123,553
2005 2,469,716 −145,659
2010 2,335,006 −134,710

The percentage of foreigners in the population of Saxony-Anhalt is 1.9 percent, the lowest of all the federal states of Germany.[12]


Religion in Saxony-Anhalt - 2010
religion percent
EKD Protestants
Roman Catholics
Non religious
Other religion

The region has historically been associated with the Lutheran faith, but under Communist rule, church membership was strongly discouraged and much of the population disassociated itself from any religious body. Saxony-Anhalt contains many sites tied to Martin Luther's life, including Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg.

In 2010, the majority of citizens in Saxony-Anhalt were irreligious and more were leaving the churches than entering them.[13] 17.6% of Saxon-Anhaltish adhered to the major denominations of Christianity (14.1% were members of the Evangelical Church in Germany and 3.5% were Catholics),[14] 2% were members of other religions[13] (mostly Judaism, the New Apostolic Church, Islam and Mandeism). 80.4% of the citizens of Saxony-Anhalt were religiously unaffiliated.[13]


List of minister presidents of Saxony-Anhalt

Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt

13 March 2016 state election

Leading party in each electoral district. Black represents the Christian Democratic Union, blue the Alternative for Germany, and red The Left.

< 2011    Next >

 Summary of the 13 March 2016 Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt elections results
Party Popular vote Seats
Votes % +/– Seats +/–
Christian Democratic Union
Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands – CDU
334,123 29.8 Decrease2.7 30 Decrease6
Alternative for Germany
Alternative für Deutschland – AfD
271,832 24.2 Increase24.2 24 Increase24
The Left
Die Linke
183,296 16.3 Decrease7.4 17 Decrease12
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD
119,377 10.6 Decrease10.9 11 Decrease15
Alliance '90/The Greens
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
58,226 5.2 Decrease1.9 5 Decrease4
Free Democratic Party
Freie Demokratische Partei – FDP
54,525 4.9 Increase1.1
Free Voters Saxony-Anhalt
Freie Wähler
24,287 2.2 Decrease0.7
National Democratic Party of Germany
Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands – NPD
21,211 1.9 Decrease2.7
Animal Protection Party
16,613 1.5 Decrease0.1
Alliance for Human Rights, Animal and Nature Protection
11,629 1.0 Increase1.0
Alliance for Progress and Renewal
Allianz für Fortschritt und Aufbruch – ALFA
10,471 0.9 Increase0.9
Other parties 1.5 Decrease2.3
Valid votes 1,122,814 97.8% Increase0.2
Invalid votes 24,671 2.2% Decrease0.2
Totals and voter turnout 1,147,485 87 Decrease18
Electorate 1,878,095 100.00
Source: Landeswahlleiterin[15]

Minister-president Reiner Haseloff (CDU) retained his position in a coalition with former partner SPD, and the Greens.


Development of the economy

Saxony-Anhalt was part of the communist German Democratic Republic. After the breakdown of communism and the German reunification in 1990, the collapse of non competitive former GDR industries temporarily caused severe economic problems. In 2000, Saxony-Anhalt had the highest unemployment rate of all German states, at 20.2%.[16]

However, the process of economic transformation towards a modern market economy seems to be completed. Massive investments in modern infrastructure have taken place since 1990, and the remaining and newly created businesses are highly competitive. For example, the industry has doubled its share of international revenue from 13 percent in 1995 to 26 percent in 2008.[17] Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably.[18] By 2010 the GDP of Saxony-Anhalt was almost two and a half times higher than it was in 1991.[19]

Even though part of this recovery was induced by the quite good performance of the Germany economy, Saxony-Anhalt did not only follow the national trend, but clearly outperformed other German states. For example, it got ahead of three German states in terms of unemployment (10.8%, as of September 2011): the German capital and city-state of Berlin (12.7%), the city-state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (11.3%), and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (11%).[20]

Structure of the economy

World Heritage Sites

Saxony-Anhalt has the most World Heritage Sites of all states in Germany.


See also


  1. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden – Stand: 31.12.2015" (PDF). Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (in German).
  3. PONS Wörterbuch Englisch-Deutsch, Deutsch-Englisch, 2011
  5. District reform law 11 November 2005 (German)
  7. The latter, however, a salient originally not assigned as part of the Soviet zone, was unilaterally handed over by the Britons only on 22 July.
  8. 1 2 3 "1945–1949", on: Gedenkkultur Dessau-Roßlau. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  9. Our Far Forebears (Y-DNA haplogroups )
  10. Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe
  11. Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (2014-07-17). "Deutsche und Ausländer seit 1990". Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  12. n-tv, Magdeburger Mathematik - LKA schönt Statistik, 27. November 2007 Archived 16 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. 1 2 3 Archived 17 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. "Statistik der EKD für 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  15. "Wahl des 7. Landtages von Sachsen-Anhalt am 13. März 2016 – Vorläufiges Ergebnis" (in German). Landeswahlleiterin Sachsen-Anhalt. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  16. Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (2014-01-29). "Statistical Office of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (2010)". Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  17. Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Halle-Dessau (2010), p. 14
  18. "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin (2011), p. 2" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  19. "(2010)". fDi Atlas. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  20. "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin" (PDF). 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  21. 1 2 fDi Atlas (2010)
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