new countries

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The five states of the Federal Republic of Germany , which were formed from the 14 GDR districts (excluding East Berlin ) on the basis of the Land Introduction Act of July 22, 1990, by resolution of the People's Chamber of the German Democratic Republic , are referred to as new states (also eastern or eastern German federal states ) . The date of October 14, 1990 provided for in the law was brought forward to October 3 with the Unification Treaty , so that the new states came into being at the same time as German unification in 1990 .

A distinction must be made between the terms East German Länder (or new Länder , although this term has now been overtaken by the passage of time) and accession area , the latter necessarily includes the eastern part of the city of Berlin , as well as the areas of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania that fell to Lower Saxony in 1993 . Colloquially, the new federal states are also referred to as "East Germany", which also includes the entire state of Berlin or in some cases only the former East Berlin.

The five new federal states

The new lands are

Special case Berlin

Berlin was already a state before 1990 ( specifically referred to as Greater Berlin in Art. 23 GG old version and Art. 127 GG ), but until then it consisted only of West Berlin . In the course of German reunification , this country was expanded to include East Berlin and West Staaken . According to the Four Power Agreement , Berlin (West) was not an integral part of the Federal Republic of Germany and was not allowed to be governed by it, but it was regarded by it as a federal state and treated as such with some restrictions ( allied right of reservation ). Therefore, Berlin is not one of the new federal states.

In investigations into the development of the accession area after reunification, the area of ​​the former East Berlin is usually considered separately from the five new federal states, especially as the specific urban structure and reunification within the city gave rise to different challenges.

Border changes after reunification

The former office of Neuhaus , located east of the Elbe , and the districts of Neu Bleckede, Neu Wendischthun and Stiepelse of the municipality of Teldau in the office of Boizenburg-Land ( district of Ludwigslust ), which had existed since 1992, changed from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (or until 1990 Schweriner ) District of Hagenow to the district of Lüneburg in Lower Saxony and are therefore today in one of the old federal states . Neu Bleckede and Neu Wendischthun today form the district Bleckede-Wendischthun of the city of Bleckede , the other communities merged on October 1, 1993 to form the community of Amt Neuhaus. These border changes have no effect on the term accession area , which is still used , which accordingly also includes areas in Lower Saxony.

History and present

→  Main article on the history of the new states before 1945: history of Germany , Mecklenburg , Brandenburg , Berlin , history of Berlin , Prussia , history of Thuringia and history of Saxony
→  Main article on history after 1945: Land (GDR) , Soviet occupation zone (SBZ), history of the Germans Democratic Republic and East Berlin

Until 1990

The old states in the Soviet Zone and the early GDR (outlined in purple) compared to the federal states within their borders (red) when they were founded on October 3, 1990

The states were established in the GDR by order of the Soviet military administration in Germany . In the course of the "further perfecting of the socialist administrative structure", in fact an abolition of federalism and strict centralization , the states were instructed on July 23, 1952 to hand over their tasks to 15 districts and 217 districts. Historically grown structures were eliminated in favor of the districts being tailored according to economic and security-political aspects.

With the Land Introduction Act , the federal states were immediately reconstituted for reunification on October 3, 1990, but neither within the boundaries of 1952 nor in those of the districts of the GDR. At the time of accession to the Federal Republic of Germany , the population of the new federal states plus East Berlin was around 17 million people. Due to the general demographic development in Germany and the emigration of more than two million people to the old federal states, this number fell to less than 15 million.

In accordance with their number, in addition to the legal term “accession area”, the designation five new countries was introduced in 1990 in order to avoid those in the media. In the years after reunification or the fall of the Wall , these areas were given the following names - sometimes jokingly - (or called themselves so): Newfunland (an allusion to Newfoundland ), Fünfneuland , FNL , acceding countries , Ossiland or connecting area . The last two terms also include East Berlin.

Much more often, the five countries are collectively referred to as East Germany , which has been given an almost neutral sound due to the changed use of language . Occasionally referred to as East Germany - based on the now in rbb risen East German Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB) - only the North East , so the area of the states of Brandenburg, Berlin and partly Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony-Anhalt.

The term Central Germany is currently experiencing a reviving use - above all due to the desire of politicians in Saxony and Thuringia to distinguish themselves from the economically weaker north-east. The Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk in particular uses this term to summarize the transmission area (Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia). The term mostly emphasizes an (imaginary) cultural area and not the geographical center of Germany .

Reconstruction of the state and local administrations after 1990

The German states since 1993

Since the federal states had to be rebuilt with the unification of Germany, their public administration had to be built from scratch and brought into line with the system of the Federal Republic. According to Article 15, Paragraph 3 of the Unification Treaty , the West German states and the federal government could work on the tasks of the new states until June 30, 1991, as long as they were not yet able to do so themselves. As part of the “state programs to develop administrative structures in the new federal states”, the new federal states concluded so-called “administrative aid contracts” with federal states from the west. They should accompany and support them in setting up the administration based on the West German model, for example with training or the provision of staff. Partnerships were also concluded between the cities of the contracting parties in order to better implement the administrative restructuring at the municipal level.

This resulted in the following administrative aid pairs:

New land West German administrative aid partner
Brandenburg North Rhine-Westphalia
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Bremen , Hamburg , Schleswig-Holstein
Saxony Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria
Saxony-Anhalt Lower Saxony
Thuringia Bavaria , Hesse , Rhineland-Palatinate

This administrative aid should be based primarily on partnerships at the municipal level via the town twinning that was established in the 1980s . In practice, this role was mainly taken over by the West German state administrations, as the primary concern here was to cover the costs of this administrative aid. Administrative aid agreements were made with the newly formed East German states from the outset, so the few municipal agreements only concerned individual persons.

Especially in the early days, the commitment of the West German partners was very different. While Hesse, Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg quickly tried to establish an efficient administrative structure in the southern states of Thuringia and Saxony, Lower Saxony showed in Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania - in the hope of their own initiative Municipalities - initially only minor efforts. In Thuringia, however, there were coordination problems between Bavaria, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. This was mainly due to the municipal structure, as Bavaria and Hesse z. B. pursued distinctly different local government models.

Between 1990 and 1995 around 35,000 West German civil servants and administrative employees were deployed in the new federal states to set up the local administrations.

West German politicians like Kurt Biedenkopf and Bernhard Vogel were elected as prime ministers in the East German federal states in the 1990s and 2000s, and others like Lothar Späth were active in the economy ( Jenoptik AG ).

Parties, organizations

The East German federal states - with the exception of the regional conference of the heads of government of the East German states (MPK-Ost) - have no joint state or public representation.

Although the party Die Linke sees itself not only as an "Eastern Party", but as an all-German party , it still tries to distinguish itself primarily as a political advocacy group for the East German states and East Berlin. It has a voter potential of 13 to 30% in these. [outdated]

Many GDR organizations such as the pioneer organization , AdW der GDR and the Society for Sport and Technology have been dissolved completely since 1990 or have become part of a now nationwide organization that was based in the West German states, such as the GDR block parties CDU and DBD , both merged into the CDU as a whole, as well as the NDPD and the LDPD , which in turn both merged into the (all-German) FDP .


The population of the new federal states has declined by more than two and a half million people since 1990, since on the one hand about three million have left the area of ​​the former GDR and about one million have immigrated, mainly from the old Federal Republic . The number of immigrants from West Germany also includes East German returnees who only lived temporarily in the old federal states in this way. In individual regions, these returnees make up over 50% of the people who are statistically recorded as immigrants. In addition, well over 50% of East German emigrants to the West would like to return to East Germany if they had a better perspective there. It is noticeable that East Germans would marry or live with East Germans more often than average.

The demographic situation is classified as bad for many regions in the new federal states. Factors for this are, among other things, the emigration of young people from rural regions and increasing life expectancy, as a result of which the ratio of the age groups continues to shift upwards. In 2017, for the first time since reunification, the eastern German federal states recorded an increase in immigration through internal migration . While in 2001 more than 190,000 people had moved from the east to the old federal states, in 2017 there were fewer than 90,000. In the same period, around 94,000 people moved to the new federal states.

The total birth rate (often also referred to as the birth rate ) in the eastern German states initially fell by half at the beginning of the 1990s - mainly due to the shift in the age of first-time women - so that numerous schools and kindergartens had to be closed. In the years after 2000, the east-west convergence was achieved both in primiparous age and in the general birth rate. The combined birth rate in the new federal states in 2017 is now 1.61, slightly higher than in the old federal states (1.58). This stabilizes the demographic situation in some regions.

The demographic situation is particularly bad in Lausitz , in East Brandenburg, in the east of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and in the center of Saxony-Anhalt (between Magdeburg , Halle , Dessau-Roßlau and Halberstadt ; the Bertelsmann study , for example, predicts a population decline for Hoyerswerda by 2020 of 48%). On the other hand, there are some areas that have recorded only minor population losses, including parts of Thuringia and Saxony as well as the western parts of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (around Wismar and Schwerin ). Some metropolitan areas have even seen population increases again in recent years, including, for example, all areas around Berlin , in particular the city of Potsdam , which is one of the fastest growing cities in Germany, and the metropolitan areas around Leipzig , Dresden and Erfurt - Weimar are also growing - Jena . The regions around Magdeburg and Rostock have also stabilized .

Biggest cities

city country Residents
December 31, 1988 December 31, 2000 December 31, 2010 December 31, 2017
Leipzig Saxony 545.307 493.208 522.883 581.980
Dresden Saxony 518.057 477,807 523.058 551.072
Chemnitz Saxony 311.765 259.246 243,248 246,855
Halle (Saale) a Saxony-Anhalt ~ 330,000 247.736 232.963 239.173
Magdeburg Saxony-Anhalt 290,579 231,450 231,525 238.478
Erfurt Thuringia 220.016 200,564 204.994 212,988
Rostock Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 253,990 200.506 202.735 208,409
Potsdam Brandenburg 142,862 129,324 156.906 175.710
Jena Thuringia 108.010 99,893 105.129 111.099
cottbus Brandenburg 128,639 108,491 102.091 101.036
Schwerin Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 130,685 101,267 95,220 95,797
Gera Thuringia 134,834 112,835 99,262 94,859
Zwickau Saxony 121,749 103.008 93,750 90.192
Dessau-Rosslau Saxony-Anhalt 103,867 83.153 86.906 82.111
Brandenburg on the Havel Brandenburg 94,872 77,516 71,778 71,886
Plauen Saxony 77,593 71,543 66,098 65,148
Weimar Thuringia 63,412 62,425 65,479 64,426
Neubrandenburg Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 90,471 73,318 65,282 64,259
Stralsund Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 75,498 60,663 57,670 59,517
Frankfurt (Oder) Brandenburg 87,863 72.131 60,330 58,237
Greifswald Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 68,597 54,236 54,610 58,886
Goerlitz Saxony 77,609 61,599 55,596 56,391
aIncluding Halle-Neustadt


The new federal states should be supported in their economy with extensive funding from the Aufbau Ost , especially the German Unity Fund and the Solidarity Pacts . After 1990, unemployment rose sharply in the new federal states and was at times about twice as high as in western Germany . Large parts of the industry were wound up after 1990 , that is, closed or privatized, partially renovated and sold, for which the Treuhandanstalt was commissioned. Even in the companies that still existed, the number of employees was mostly reduced considerably. From 2005 to 2018, the unemployment rate fell from 18.7 to 6.5 percent and thus hardly differs from the overall German level.

After the GDR joined the federal territory, industrial production in the new federal states fell drastically within a few years, but has grown steadily again since the low point at the beginning of the 1990s and in some cases with significantly higher growth rates than in the old federal states; nevertheless, the share of value added in industry in total value added is still below the level in the old countries. Almost 100% of the former public property was privatized and 95% of it came into the possession of owners outside the new federal states. The gross domestic product of the new federal states has fallen below that of the GDR in 1989/90, the gross national product of the GDR was last 354 billion marks in 1990 (as of 2003). The current account deficit of the new federal states - that is, the import surplus compared to exports - was around 100 billion euros in 2003 . According to the Federal Statistical Office , the average profit that the old federal states have achieved in the new federal states since accession ("unification profit") is around EUR 100 billion per year, or around EUR 1,300 billion by 2003. Economic growth between 2001 and 2006 was around 0.2% above that of the old federal states. The new federal states have risen to become leading producers of renewable energies , with the result that three of them are now among the five largest generating countries for renewable electricity .

The prices for economic and consumer goods have mostly risen since the formation of the new federal states, sometimes even drastically by around five to ten times as much as rents, insurance, public transport, for dining out and for craftsmen and services. In the 1990s, almost all households were equipped with telephone connections.

In 2017, the economic power in eastern Germany (GDP per inhabitant) was 73.2 percent of the western German level. In 1990 the GDP per inhabitant was still 38.7% of the western German values.

In the future atlas , demographics, social situation , labor market and the ability to compete and innovate in all German regions are assessed. Many East German regions are classified as having strong future risks. However, since the ranking was introduced, 61 out of 76 regions in the East have improved their ratings. Regions and cities that have improved particularly according to the future atlas include: a. Leipzig , Erfurt , the district of Dahme-Spreewald , Weimar , Gotha and Dresden .

In many cities in the new federal states, many apartments were empty after emigration - despite demolition and demolition . However, this trend has been reversed in large cities and university towns since 2012. Cities like Dresden and Leipzig in Saxony, Jena and Erfurt in Thuringia as well as Magdeburg and Halle (Saale) in Saxony-Anhalt are growing again through immigration from the surrounding area and through a surplus of births. As the population grows, more and more large companies are relocating to these areas, which significantly eases the situation on the labor market. As a result, after decades of vacancy and the demolition of apartments, there is a real housing shortage in the large metropolitan areas, which has triggered a new building boom.


The transport infrastructure of the GDR was in a catastrophic state. Due to a lack of investment, the roads and tracks were worn out in many places and their scope was no longer sufficient for the developing transport and individual traffic. In the 1990s, therefore, a lot of money was invested in the expansion of the traffic routes connecting the old and new countries. As part of the German Unity transport projects, various high-speed rail lines were built and renewed in order to improve travel times and freight traffic.

At the same time, the number of rail and bus connections in the new federal states has been reduced, in some cases considerably, and a number of rail lines (especially branch lines) and smaller train stations have been closed. The use of buses and trains has fallen sharply, while private transport has increased . The number of motor vehicles per household rose continuously in the years after reunification (1988: Federal Republic 61%, GDR 55%; 1998: old federal states 76%, new federal states 71%).

In the GDR only a few new construction projects for motorway connections were realized. Until 1989 it consisted largely of the network of the former Reichsautobahn . Since 1990, new motorways have been built and existing ones expanded. Significant construction projects included the new construction of the A 20 between Lübeck and Stettin, the A 14 between Magdeburg and Halle and the completion of the A 4 between Bautzen and Görlitz as a transit route to Poland and the expansion of the A 2 .


In the new federal states there is a different voter behavior than in the old ones, in particular here Die Linke received on average significantly higher percentages in the local and state elections than in the west. In contrast, the CDU , SPD , Greens and FDP mostly received slightly lower election results than in West Germany. Alliance 90 / The Greens were only represented in the parliaments of all the new federal states from 2011 to 2016 . Overall, there is less traditional party affiliation and the associated greater willingness to change votes.

According to a 2003 study by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena , 23% of the population in Thuringia voted for a return to socialism , 58% assessed the GDR as more positive than negative. In a 2007 poll, 18% of the population in the new federal states voted in favor of returning. According to a survey from 2009, 57% of the local population were of the opinion that the GDR had more good sides than bad; 8% also agreed with the statement that people in the GDR were “happier” than they are today.

In the recent past, East Germany has been the starting point for right-wing populist protest movements such as PEGIDA in Dresden. The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has been able to move into all East German state parliaments and the Berlin House of Representatives since 2014 with mostly double-digit results. In addition to winning votes from the CDU, FDP, NPD and a broad mobilization of non-voters , the AfD also benefits from voter migration from the political left. The party's strongholds are in southern Saxony-Anhalt , eastern Western Pomerania and eastern Saxony. In rural areas and in small towns, the AfD achieved disproportionately high election results.


Many scientists from the GDR and members of the dissolved Academy of Sciences in the GDR organized themselves into the Leibniz Society after the new federal states were established . Some of the institutes in the GDR that were continued after the fall of the Wall are members of the Leibniz Association ; however, most were closed by the state governments, the Treuhand-Gesellschaft or the federal government. However, numerous new research institutes emerged after 1990, for example the Fraunhofer and Max Planck societies . New universities were also founded, for example the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus and the University of Erfurt (see list of universities in Germany ).


For lack of money and to quickly create living space, the GDR had mainly built prefabricated buildings. The old cities and buildings fell into disrepair. Unlike in West Germany, the old buildings were not demolished, which was Binz , Blankenburg (Harz) , Erfurt, Görlitz , Greifswald , Güstrow , Halberstadt , Halle (Saale) , Kühlungsborn , Ludwigslust , Meiningen , Meißen , Naumburg (Saale) , Pirna , Potsdam , Quedlinburg , Schwerin , Stendal , Stralsund , Weimar, Wernigerode , Wismar , Zeitz and other cities today are renewed jewels of German urban architecture. A variety of important cultural sites - u. a. Wörlitzer Park , Dornburger Schlösser , Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau  - have been restored since 1990, some of them also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site . Weimar was the European Capital of Culture in 1999 . However, the tight budget situation in the federal states also meant that museums, theaters and orchestras in smaller cities had to be closed again and again.

environmental Protection

Since 1990, environmental protection has been significantly improved in the new federal states. This applies in particular to the renaturation of opencast mining areas ( lignite , bismuth ) and the improvement of air and water quality through the use of modern filter technologies.


Many publishers, newspapers and magazines in the GDR have been closed or discontinued in the new federal states. However, some still exist or again, such as the Aufbau-Verlag , the magazines Melodie und Rhythmus , FRÖSI or Das Magazin (see the list of newspapers and magazines in the GDR ) and the daily newspaper Neues Deutschland . Most of the district newspapers in the GDR were partly taken over and continued under other names by West German publishing chains such as the Funke media group . Today they mostly cover the field of the regional and local press.

The television stations of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk and the Berlin-Brandenburg radio , which emerged from the Berlin SFB and Brandenburger ORB , as well as various regional and national radio stations such as Radio Brocken have their headquarters in the new federal states. As national newspapers in the new federal states are printed and also mostly bought there To name the former SED or FDJ organs Neues Deutschland and Junge Welt , as magazines Superillu , Funkamateur , Eulenspiegel , Bummi , Mosaik , Guter Rat , Fliegerrevue , Auto Straßenverkehr (formerly Der Deutsche Straßenverkehr ), Die Weltbühne (today Das Blättchen and Ossietzky ), Die Sterne (today united with stars and space ), the Troll , the Wochenpost (discontinued in 2002), Visier , Astronomische Nachrichten . There were hardly any new magazines founded after the fall of the Wall: Our Illustrierte ( Bauer Verlag ), Gute Idee , Spiesser .


Some polyclinics as well as various hospitals , especially in smaller towns, were closed until the end of 1991. The number of general practitioners increased.

More recently, however, as in the whole of Germany, a contrary tendency can be observed with the formation of large health and medical care centers , which is often at the expense of local medical care in rural areas ( lack of rural doctors ).

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: new federal state  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Constitutional Law on the Formation of Lands in the German Democratic Republic - Land Introduction Act of July 22, 1990 (Journal of the GDR 1990 I p. 955).
  2. Art. 1 Para. 1 i. V. m. Appendix II Chapter II Section II EV ; see. to Michael Richter : The formation of the Free State of Saxony. Peaceful Revolution, Federalization, German Unity 1989/90 , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2004, p. 737 ; Martin Heckel : Where were the people? On the constituent power of the people in unification , in: ders. (Ed.), The inner unity of Germany in the midst of European unification. Germany's way 50 years after the war , Mohr, Tübingen 1996, p. 13 ff.
  3. Oliver Scheytt : Legal and administrative assistance in the new federal states using the example of local government , in: Rainer Pitschas (Hrsg.): Administrative integration in the new federal states. Lectures and contributions to discussions at the 1992 administrative science conference of the Research Institute for Public Administration at the University of Administrative Sciences Speyer (= series of publications by the University of Speyer; vol. 110). Berlin 1993, p. 80 ff.
  4. ^ German historical institute - German History Docs: Administrative assistance between Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia.
  5. ^ Regional Conference of the Head of Government and the Heads of Government of the East German States (MPK-Ost) , website of the Saxon State Chancellery (Prime Minister). Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  6. Grit Beck: People for East Germany , Leipzig 2006 (PDF; 141 kB).
  7. More moves from west to east. January 30, 2019, accessed January 31, 2019 .
  8. Fertility rate in Germany until 2017. Accessed January 30, 2019 .
  9. Bertelsmann Stiftung : Guide to Demographic Change , 2018.
  10. Annual Report of the Federal Government 2006 on German Unity ( Memento of October 4, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Federal state overview on renewable energies on, Agency for Renewable Energies. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  12. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: Annual report of the federal government on the status of German unity in 2018. Accessed on November 22, 2018 .
  13. Comparison of West and East Germany before reunification in 1989. Accessed November 22, 2018 .
  14. Unemployment rate in Germany by federal state (as of August 2018). In: Statista. Retrieved June 12, 2018 .
  15. ^ Wilhelm Hinrichs: The East Germans in Motion: Forms and Extents of Regional Mobility in the New Federal States . In: Hinrichs / Priller (ed.): Acting in Transition: Actor Constellations in Transformation . edition sigma, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89404-213-3 , pp. 251-281 , urn : nbn: de: 0168-ssoar-197795 .
  16. Survey: East Germans reject a return to socialism (by the Institute for Market Research Leipzig on behalf of “ Super Illu ”), sz-online , September 9, 2007. Accessed May 30, 2016.
  17. GDR: 57 percent of East Germans rate GDR positively ( Emnid survey), Focus from June 26, 2009. Accessed May 30, 2016.
  18. Pegida - "A predominantly East German phenomenon". Retrieved October 1, 2016 .
  19. Why the AfD's true success in East Germany is yet to come. In: The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2016 .
  20. Election analysis: How the AfD scores in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved October 1, 2016 .
  21. Paul Blickle, Tilman Steffen, Sascha Venohr: Voter migration: where the Berlin AfD got its votes . In: The time . September 19, 2016, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed October 1, 2016]).