The Regional Patchwork, An Ancient History & The Bund and Lander
Germany has been united for no longer than 120 years, a baby compared to its European neighbors.It is not an integrated country; instead it is made up of many diverse communities called Lander.Germany is well known for having been separated into East and West Germany, but the country has been split from north to south for many more years.The south is very much a part of central Europe with it sloping hills and picturesque scenery, while the north is made up of windy plains and suffers through harsh winters. The people from the north are Protestant, stolid, reserved and sophisticated while those from the south tend to be jovial and catholic.The distinct differences between the German people have led to many stereotypical jokes.
Until unification in 1866 Germany was made up of some thirty kingdoms, duchies and free cities.The communities ranged from tiny fiefs to the empires of Prussia and Bavaria and they survived until the Weimar Republic instituted a kind of federal system in 1919.Today there are 16 Lander, and each one is in charge of education, culture, justice and even some aspects of economic policy.The Lander work along with the federal government (Bund) in a harmonious way that the Scots would envy.The Bavarians do not want to separate themselves from the Federal Republic because they realize the benefits of staying united.The Bund has increased its power over the Lander in the past thirty years; in fact the constitution has been amended 34 times in favor of the Bund.These amendments have helped to end fighting between the Lander by standardizing many things such as civil servant salaries.
Unlike many of its European neighbors, Germany never had a central city.In fact its four largest cities combined do not equal the population size of Paris or London.Each Lander in Germany has at least one large city, which is the cultural cente…