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Scotland (English, Scots)
Alba (Scottish Gaelic)
Flag of Scotland
Coat of arms of Scotland
flag coat of arms
Motto : In my defens God me defend ( scots )
( "In my distress protect me God")
Official language English , Scottish Gaelic , Scots
Capital Edinburgh
Form of government parliamentary monarchy
Government system decentralized parliament
within the
parliamentary monarchy
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II ,

Minister for Scotland
Alister Jack

Head of government First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon
surface 77,910 km²
population 5,438,100 (as of 2018)
Population density 70 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product 154.884 billion € (2013)
Gross domestic product per inhabitant 29,100 € (2013)
currency Pound sterling ( GBP )
National anthem Scotland the Brave , The Flower of Scotland , Scots Wha Hae (all unofficial)
National holiday St. Andrew's Day
Time zone UTC ± 0 GMT
UTC + 1 Wesz
Internet TLD .uk ; .scot 1
Telephone code +44
1 The top-level domain .scot has been available since July 2014.
Frankreich Guernsey Jersey Isle of Man Irland Wales Nordirland England SchottlandLocation of Scotland within the United Kingdom
About this picture
Location of Scotland within the United Kingdom
Scottish Borders East Lothian Midlothian Edinburgh West Lothian Falkirk Clackmannanshire Fife Perth and Kinross Stirling North Ayrshire East Ayrshire South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire East Dunbartonshire Glasgow East Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Inverclyde West Dunbartonshire Argyll and Bute Irland Nordirland England Shetland Orkney Äußere Hebriden Moray Aberdeen Dundee Angus (Schottland) Aberdeenshire Highland (Council Area) Dumfries and Galloway Scottish Borders East Lothian Midlothian Edinburgh West Lothian Falkirk Clackmannanshire Fife Perth and Kinross Stirling (Council Area) North Ayrshire East Ayrshire South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire East Dunbartonshire Glasgow East Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Inverclyde West Dunbartonshire Argyll and ButeToday's administrative division of Scotland
About this picture
Today's administrative division of Scotland

Scotland ( English / Scots Scotland [ ˈskɔtlənd ], Scottish Gaelic Alba [ ˈaləpə ], Latin Caledonia ) is a largely autonomous part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . Scotland consists of the northern third of the largest European island Great Britain and several archipelagos and has a population of around 5.5 million. The Scottish capital has been Edinburgh (previously Perth ) since 1437 .

The Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England were ruled in personal union from 1603 . In 1707 the two states were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain . The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created in 1801 through the merger with the Kingdom of Ireland .

In the last few decades there has been a strong movement in Scotland for the dissolution of the union with England and with it the secession from the United Kingdom. The country is already largely autonomous within the United Kingdom through the process of intra-British devolution . In a referendum in September 2014 , a slim majority of voters decided to remain in the UK. After the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23, 2016 , calls are being made for a new Scottish referendum on separation from the United Kingdom. The majority of Scottish citizens voted to remain in the European Union in the referendum.


Scotland comes from Scoti , the Latin name for the Gael . The further origin is uncertain, one of the suggestions is a relationship with the ancient Greek skotos (σκότος) = dark. The Latin word Scotia (land of the Gael) was originally used for Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was used in Gaelic- speaking Scotland north of the River Forth as a name for Scotland, alongside Albania or Albany , both of which came from the Gaelic equivalent of Alba . Since the late Middle Ages , the use of the words Scots and Scotland in general includes everything from Scotland.


Outline map of Scotland,
( topographic map )

Scotland covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain and has an area of ​​around 78,000 km². To the south it borders between the Solway Firth in the west and the River Tweed on the east coast for 96 km with England . It is divided into three geographic regions: the Highlands , the Central Lowlands and the Southern Uplands . The highest mountain in Scotland (and sleep Great Britain) is the 1345  m high Ben Nevis in Fort William . He belongs to the so-called Munros .

The southernmost point of mainland Scotland is at 54 degrees 38 'on the Mull of Galloway Peninsula , the northernmost at Dunnet Head at 58 degrees 40' north latitude. Thus, the southernmost mainland part of Scotland is on the same latitude as z. B. the German Hallig Langeness in the North Sea , the northernmost at the height of southern Norway. Overall, however, Scotland is essentially at the same latitude as Denmark.

Through the rugged landscape of the Highlands many lakes and sometimes deeply cut inlets, which in Scotland are incurred hole are referred. The most famous examples are Loch Ness and Loch Lomond .

Offshore Scotland is the island group of the Hebrides , which are clearly separated into the groups of the Inner and Outer Hebrides . To the north of Scotland are the archipelagos of the Orkney Islands and, much further away, the Shetland Islands .

The main population is the Central Belt between Edinburgh and Glasgow .


The climate in Scotland is temperate with the weather tending to be very changeable. In the Atlantic regions it is warmed by the Gulf Stream . Temperatures are lower than the rest of the UK , which is a result of its more northerly location. Scotland's raised bogs reached in January 1982 with approx. –27.2 ° C near Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, the lowest temperatures ever recorded in Great Britain. Summer temperatures are around 18 ° C. The highest measured temperature was recorded on August 9, 2003 with 32.9 ° C in Greycrook in the Scottish Borders region. In general, the west is warmer than the east of Scotland because the Gulf Stream makes the Atlantic water warmer than the North Sea . The Western Highlands are the wettest with 3000 mm of annual rainfall. In winter, regular snowfall can only be expected at high altitudes.


Scotland's wilderness is typical of northwest Europe, although some of the larger mammals such as the lynx, brown bear, wolf, elk and walrus were hunted to extinction in historical times. There are important seal populations and internationally significant nesting sites for a wide variety of seabirds, such as gannets and puffins . The golden eagle is something of a national symbol.

On the high mountain peaks you can see some species during the winter months, such as the Ptarmigan with their white plumage, the mountain hare and the ermine with their white winter fur. Remnants of the native Scots pine forest still exist and within these areas the Scottish crossbill , the only endemic bird and vertebrate species in Britain, can be seen alongside capercaillie , wildcat , red squirrel and pine marten . Various animals were reintroduced, including the white-tailed eagle in 1975, the red kite in the 1980s, and there were experimental projects with the beaver and the wild boar .


The country's flora is diverse and includes deciduous and coniferous forests as well as bog and tundra species. However, large-scale commercial tree planting and management of the high heather habitat for sheep grazing and commercial sporting activities affect the distribution of native plants and animals. Today, much of the remaining indigenous Caledonian forest is in the Cairngorms National Park and the rest in 84 locations across Scotland. The remains of the ancient Celtic rainforest can be found on the west coast, especially on the Taynish Peninsula in Argyll . In the course of Scottish history, many forests have fallen victim to massive deforestation, so the rainforest in Scotland is something special and rare. The UK's largest tree is a large coastal fir that was planted near Loch Fyne , Argyll in the 1870s, and the Fortingall Yew, which can be 5000 years old, is probably the oldest living thing in Europe. Although the number of native vascular plants is low by world standards, Scotland's mosses are of considerable global importance.



Three languages ​​are spoken in Scotland: English , Lowland Scots and Scottish Gaelic (English: Gaelic ; own name: Gàidhlig [ ˈgɑːlik ]).

Almost all Scots speak standard English. The registration office assumes that 30 percent of the population speaks fluent Scots (Scottish). Slightly more than one percent of the population states that their mother tongue is Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language related to Irish . Only in the Outer Hebrides is there a Scottish Gaelic-speaking majority, which is also reflected in the official Scottish Gaelic name of the islands Na h-Eileanan Siar [ ˌnaˈhelənən ˈʃa (ː) ɾ ] (English: the Western Isles; as constituency Na h -Eileanan an Iar [ ˌnaˈhɛlənən ˌaɲˈaɾ ]). Nevertheless, almost all Scottish Gaelic speakers are also fluent in English.

When King James VI. (English: James VI, Gaelic: Seumas VI [ ˈʃeiːməs ]) of Scotland in 1603 when James I ascended the English throne, Lowland Scots were still written and spoken at the Scottish court and in parliament.

Both English and Scots are recognized as official languages ​​by the Scottish Parliament, both with the same respect but not the same value. Scottish Gaelic was officially recognized in 2005 by the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act. Scots was officially recognized as a "regional or minority language" on the basis of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages , ratified by the United Kingdom in 2001 and endorsed by the Scottish Executive in the Partnership Agreement in 2003. The Scottish Dictionary project is financially supported by the state.


John Knox , the reformer of Scotland

The apostle Andrew is the national saint and patron saint of the country. Every year, on November 30th, St. Andrews Day is celebrated in his honor, which is a national holiday in Scotland. In addition, based Flag of Scotland on the St. Andrew's cross (Engl. Saltire ). Historically, Scotland has been a Protestant country since the Reformation was introduced in 1560. The Scottish National Church ( Church of Scotland , Kirk ) followed a strict Presbyterian Reformed theology and liturgy, in contrast, for example, to the English Church of England , which was organized as an Episcopal Church , which still retained some Catholic elements. Even after the introduction of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic faith did not completely disappear from Scotland, but rather stayed mainly in more remote areas of the Highlands. In the 19th century, the number of Catholics increased again significantly due to immigrants from neighboring Ireland . Since the EU's eastward expansion in 2004 , numerous migrants from Catholic countries such as Poland and Lithuania have come to the country again.

Proportion of members of the Roman Catholic Church according to the 2011 census:
  • 18% or more
  • 12-18%
  • 6-12%
  • under 6%
  • Distribution of religions in Scotland
    (according to Scotland's Census 2011)
    Proportion of the population
    in %
    Church of Scotland 1,717,871 32.4%
    Roman Catholic 841.053 15.9%
    other Christians 291,275 5.5%
    Islam 76,737 1.4%
    Hinduism 16,379 0.3%
    Buddhism 12,795 0.2%
    Sikhism 9,055 0.2%
    Judaism 5,887 0.1%
    other religions 15,196 0.3%
    without confession 1,941,116 36.7%
    No Answer 368.039 7.0%
    total 5,295,403 100%

    Selection of Scottish churches:

    Biggest cities

    Largest cities in Scotland
    (according to Scotland's Census 2011)
    rank Surname Council area Residents rank Surname Council area Residents
    Glasgow Skyline at night.jpg
    Glasgow Edinburgh

    Skyline of Edinburgh.jpg
    1 Glasgow Glasgow City 590.507 11 Dunfermline Fife 49,706 Skyline of Aberdeen, Scotland, 2010.jpg
    Aberdeen Dundee

    Midsummer night ^ - - 9752.jpg
    2 Edinburgh City of Edinburgh 459.366 12 Inverness Highland 48.201
    3 Aberdeen Aberdeen City 195.021 13 Perth Perth and Kinross 46,970
    4th Dundee Dundee City 147.285 14th Ayr South Ayrshire 46,849
    5 Paisley Renfrewshire 78,834 15th Kilmarnock East Ayrshire 46.159
    6th East Kilbride South Lanarkshire 74,395 16 Greenock Inverclyde 44,248
    7th Livingston West Lothian 56,269 17th Coatbridge North Lanarkshire 43,841
    8th Hamilton South Lanarkshire 53,188 18th Glenrothes Fife 39,277
    9 Cumbernauld North Lanarkshire 52,270 19th Airdrie North Lanarkshire 37,132
    10 Kirkcaldy Fife 49,709 20th Stirling Stirling 36,142


    The Scottish education system is different from the rest of the UK. The Curriculum for Excellence forms the framework curriculum for children and adolescents from 3 to 18 years of age. All 3 and 4 year old children in Scotland are entitled to free kindergarten. Primary education begins at around 5 years of age and lasts 7 years (P1-P7); Children in Scotland complete Standard Grades or Intermediate qualifications between the ages of 14 and 16. These are currently being superseded and replaced by the National Qualifications of the Curriculum for Excellence . The school leaving age is 16 years, after which pupils can choose whether they want to continue to school and complete medium / high-level qualifications. A small number of students at certain private, independent schools have the opportunity to continue studying according to the English system towards GCSEs and A and AS levels.

    There are fifteen Scottish universities , some of which are among the oldest in the world, including the University of St Andrews , the University of Glasgow , the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh - many of which are among the best in the UK. In proportion, Scotland had more universities in QS 'World University Rankings Top 100 in 2012 than any other nation. The country produces 1% of the world's published research with less than 0.1% of the world's population and higher education institutes make up 9% of the Scottish service sector. Scotland's University Courts are the only institutions in Scotland authorized to award degrees. The Scottish universities are supplemented in the area of ​​higher and further education by 43 colleges ( universities, similar to universities of applied sciences in Austria and Germany). Colleges offer National Certificates , higher national certificates ( Higher National Certificates ) and higher national diplomas ( Higher National Diploma in). These degrees, together with the Scottish Vocational Qualifications, are designed to ensure that the people of Scotland are qualified to meet the demands of the labor market.

    A research report published by the Bureau of National Statistics in 2014 found that Scotland ranks first in Europe in terms of participation in tertiary education and is one of the countries with the most highly educated population in the world (around 40% of the population aged 16-64 qualified by NVQ level 4 or higher). According to data from the EU statistical regions, all four Scottish regions rank well above the European average in terms of completion of tertiary education for 25 to 64 year olds.


    Logo of the NHS Scotland NHS Scotland's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow
    Logo of the NHS Scotland
    NHS Scotland's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

    Health care in Scotland is provided primarily by NHS Scotland , the public health system. This was established by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947 (later replaced by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978) and came into force on July 5, 1948, coinciding with the introduction of the NHS in England and Wales. But before 1948, half of Scotland's landmass was covered by government-sponsored health care provided by the Highlands and Islands Medical Service . Health policy and funding is the responsibility of the Health Directorate of the Scottish Government. The current Minister for Health and Sports is Jeane Freeman and the Director-General (DG) Health and Chief Executive NHS Scotland is Paul Gray .

    In 2008, the NHS in Scotland had around 158,000 employees, including more than 47,500 nurses, midwives and health visitors and over 3,800 counselors. In addition, there are also more than 12,000 doctors, general practitioners, and allied health professionals, including dentists, opticians, and pharmacists, in the communities who receive fees and allowances as independent contractors for a range of services in the NHS. These fees and allowances were removed in May 2010, and prescriptions are now completely free. Dentists and opticians may charge a fee if the patient's household earns over a certain amount, around £ 30,000 a year.


    Around 12,000 years ago, with the gradual retreat of the Ice Age glaciation, the repopulation of western, northwestern and northern Europe and thus also of today's British Isles began over the plain of Doggerland , which is now under the southern North Sea and which lasted until about 5000 BC. Connected the British Isles from East England to Jutland with the European mainland and then disappeared due to the rising sea due to the melting of the Ice Age glaciers . The earliest inhabitants were Mesolithic hunters and gatherers as well as fishermen or from around 4500 BC. Immigrant Neolithic farmers. The oldest archaeological evidence of human habitation and places of worship date from around 6000 BC. Chr.

    In 43 AD, the Emperor Claudius conquered the southern part of Britain. From around 80 AD the Romans invaded the area of ​​what is now Scotland several times, but were unable to establish permanent rule. The Hadrian's Wall as northern boundary of Roman Britain was in the years 122 to 128 between the mouths of Tyne and Solway built. Around AD 400, the Romans gave up Britain.

    In 503 the Scots ( Celts from Ireland ) landed on the west coast of Scotland. In 843, Kenneth MacAlpin united the Scots and Picts as one nation, which from then on called itself Gaelic Alba . Under Malcolm III. , who had killed King Macbeth in 1057 , the English influence increased. After the royal family died out in 1290, the English King Edward I annexed Scotland.

    Flag of the Kings of Scotland

    In 1297, William Wallace defeated the English troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge . In 1314 the Scots under Robert the Bruce defeated the English, led by Edward II , again at the Battle of Bannockburn . In 1320 the Arbroath Declaration was drawn up. It was supposed to get the Pope to recognize Scottish independence from England. Pope John XXII. in Avignon accepted the declaration.

    In the 14th century the House of Stuart ascended the Scottish throne. 1603 Jacob VI. of Scotland as James I also King of England. So the two crowns were united. For the time being, Scotland and England remained separate kingdoms.

    The Scottish opposition to Jacob's son Karl played an important role in the outbreak of the English civil war, as a result of which the monarchy was temporarily abolished in Scotland. The dethronement of Charles' son James II in 1688 also divided Scotland. In 1692, numerous members of the MacDonald clan were murdered in a punitive action by government orders during the Glencoe massacre . 78 clan members were killed or frozen to death while fleeing in the raging February snow storm. This event stuck deep in the Scottish national consciousness.

    With the Act of Union 1707 , Scotland was formally united with England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain . Scotland dissolved its parliament and sent members to the Westminster Parliament . Attempts by the Stuarts to regain the Scottish and English thrones finally failed in 1746 in the Battle of Culloden , in which " Bonnie Prince Charlie " (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) was defeated.

    Around 1780, the Highland Clearances , which continued into the second half of the 19th century, began to drive out small farmers ( crofters ), initially to make space for sheep breeding and later to build large, self-contained estates dedicated to hunting still shape the image of the Highlands today. In 1820 the industrial revolution reached Scotland. Shipbuilding, coal mining, iron and steel works replaced textile as Scotland's main industry. In 1975 the first oil was pumped ashore from the North Sea . Scotland became an oil producing country.

    In 1997, an overwhelming majority of the Scottish population voted for a separate parliament with limited powers within the UK. In 1999 a new Scottish Parliament was elected. It is responsible for matters within Scotland.

    In a referendum on September 18, 2014, the electorate voted against the dissolution of the Union with a historically high voter turnout of 85 percent with 55 percent of the votes cast. While there was a clear majority among young voters for independence for Scotland, there was a large majority among voters over 65 who were against the split.


    Political system

    Interior view of the Scottish Parliament

    Scotland got its own parliament in 1999, the first time since it was unified with England in 1707. Since then, the Scottish Parliament , First Minister (like Prime Ministers and Governors ) and the Scottish Government have been responsible for most aspects of domestic affairs. The official seat of these institutions is Edinburgh . As part of the United Kingdom, Scotland does not have its own head of state.

    legislative branch

    Scottish Parliament building

    In addition to the Scottish Parliament , the legislative power still rests with the UK Parliament in Westminster, although the latter can also overrule decisions made by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament has decision-making powers in areas delegated to it by the UK Parliament, including education, health, agriculture and justice. Parliament can legislate here and has limited leeway in setting tax rates. In addition, the Scottish Executive is accountable to Parliament. Other tasks such as the entire field of foreign policy will continue to be carried out by the British Parliament. In recent years more and more rights have been given to the Scottish Parliament.

    Since September 2004 the seat of parliament has been in the new parliament building in Holyrood, a district of Edinburgh , directly across from Holyrood Palace , the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. The design comes from the Catalan architect Enric Miralles . It is characterized by its distinctive roof in the form of an upturned ship. It was opened on October 9, 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II.


    Bute House is the official residence and workplace of the First Minister
    St. Andrew's House is the official residence of the Scottish Government
    First Minister of Scotland
    Surname Political party Period
    Donald Dewar Labor 1999-2000
    Henry McLeish Labor 2000-2001
    Jack McConnell Labor 2001-2007
    Alex Salmond SNP 2007-2014
    Nicola Sturgeon SNP since 2014

    The Scottish Government , headed by the First Minister, has been responsible for most aspects of Scottish domestic affairs since 1999 and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament. Nicola Sturgeon from the SNP has been First Minister since November 19, 2014 . The official seat of these institutions is St. Andrew's House in Edinburgh .


    Scotland has a separate legal system guaranteed in the Act of Union in 1707, which is more similar to the legal systems of continental Europe than English law. The judicial and in many cases the administrative organization are also different from the English. As part of the College of Justice , the Court of Session is the highest civil court and the High Court of Justiciary is the highest criminal court.

    The Lord Advocate is the Chief Justice of the Scottish Executive and the Crown in Scotland for civil and criminal law.

    Administrative division

    Since 1996, Scotland has had a single-tier administration nationwide. There are 32 council areas , including three island districts. Aberdeen , Dundee , Edinburgh , Glasgow , Inverness , Perth and Stirling have city status.


    The independence of the Scottish legal system, which was partly based on the reception of Roman law , was retained after the Act of Union 1707 , even if the influence of English law through the legislation of the Parliament and the jurisdiction of the House of Lords grew steadily from 1800 . Scottish law has recently received impetus from the influence of European law and the constitution of the Scottish Parliament .


    The Police Service of Scotland ( Schott.-Gäl . Seirbheis Phoilis na h-Alba , German Police Service of Scotland ), Police Scotland for short, is the national police force of Scotland. It was in 2013 with the merger of eight regional police forces in Scotland and the Scottish Police Services Authority (dt. About special services of the Scottish police stations ), including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (dt. About Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Administration), founded . Although not formally absorbing the forces, the merger also resulted in the dissolution of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland .

    Police Scotland is the second largest police force in the United Kingdom (after the Metropolitan Police Service ) in terms of number of police officers, and the largest territorial police force in terms of their area of ​​responsibility. The Chief Constable is responsible (dt. About the Scottish Police Authority Scottish Police Authority ), and the Force is of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland controlled.

    Scotland is also supported by the Ministry of Defense Police (dt. About police of Defense ), the British Transport Police (dt. About British Transport Police ) and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in their respective jurisdictions controlled. The National Crime Agency also has several jurisdictions in Scotland.

    In 2016, following the transfer of powers over the Railway Police, the Scottish Government announced plans to merge the Scottish elements of the British Transport Police into Police Scotland.

    Aspirations for independence

    Scotland was united with England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Act of Union 1707 . The Scottish government under Alex Salmond ( SNP ), which has had an absolute majority in parliament since the 2011 election , announced that it would hold a vote on independence during the current legislative period. Details on the implementation of a referendum in the second half of 2014 were made public at the end of January 2012. On October 15, 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond agreed on a time and key points for the referendum. On September 18, 2014, Scottish citizens had a final vote on whether Scotland should become a sovereign, independent state or remain part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In February 2012, the SNP government presented a timetable for the event of a victory for the independence movement. This set for Scottish Independence Day for March 2016. A written Scottish constitution should be in place by that date.

    According to the official final result of the vote, which was available on the morning of September 19, 2014, the majority of eligible voters voted no the day before the question of whether Scotland should be an independent country and secede from Great Britain. 55.3 percent voted against and 44.7 percent for a spin-off. The voter turnout was extremely high at 84.6 percent. In some constituencies it was even over 90 percent.

    Referendum on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union

    On June 23, 2016, the referendum on the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union took place, with the majority voting in favor of leaving the European Union. While the majority of the parts of England and Wales voted in favor of leaving, the majorities of the parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. On the following day, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for Scotland announced another independence referendum from the United Kingdom in order to preserve the will of the Scottish people to remain in the EU.

    On April 24, 2019, Nicola Sturgeon announced that he wanted to have another vote and a law prepared for it, as staying in the United Kingdom would inevitably result in the exit from the European Union.


    Oil production

    The center of oil production from the North Sea is Aberdeen. Here, the oil business has replaced fishing since the 1970s. Annual oil tax revenues in 2012 were over £ 7 billion . The value of the oil reserves in the North Sea off Scotland was estimated to be more than £ 4 trillion in 2013. However, the tax revenue does not benefit Scotland alone, but rather the United Kingdom as a whole - a fact that is fueling the political debate about Scotland's aspirations for independence.


    Scottish whiskey exports rose 7.8 percent year over year to around £ 4.7 billion in 2018. The EU was the largest customer region (£ 1.4 billion); the US imported £ 1.04 billion worth of Scotch whiskey. From 2016 to 2018, the Scottish whiskey industry grew 10 percent to £ 5.5 billion. The whiskey exported in 2018 was worth £ 4.7 billion, with the second largest UK food exported in 2018 being chocolate, valued at £ 0.75 billion.

    Renewable energy

    Wind farm in Bernisdale, Isle of Skye

    By 2020, according to plans by the regional government in Scotland, up to 100 percent of the electricity produced will come from renewable energies . In 2015, renewables covered 57.4% of Scotland's electricity needs; almost 8% more than in 2014. In 2015, around 21,673  gigawatt hours were produced ecologically. The most important renewable power source was wind energy (on- / offshore), which delivered 13,837 GWh. This was followed by hydropower plants with 5780 GWh, biomass with 1337 GWh, landfill gas with 503 GWh and photovoltaics with 187 GWh, with a small share also coming from ocean energy and other renewable energies.

    Wind energy in particular continues to have high growth opportunities in the future. The Scottish government sees the expansion of wind energy with an estimated investment volume of up to 30 billion pounds as a decisive criterion for economic growth and the creation of up to 40,000 new jobs, especially in rural areas. In 2013, the renewable energy sector employed around 11,700 people. In August 2016, for the first time , wind turbines supplied more electricity over the course of an entire day than was demanded in Scotland during that day.

    Media and software

    The so-called creative industry , consisting of literature, film, fashion, software and computer games, contributed £ 4.8 billion to Scottish economic output in 2010. In 2011, these industries employed around 64,000 people.

    National newspapers such as the Daily Record , The Herald and The Scotsman are all produced in Scotland. Important regional daily newspapers are the Evening News in Edinburgh, The Courier from Dundee in the east and The Press and Journal , which serves Aberdeen and the north. Scotland is represented at the Celtic Media Festival, which showcases film and television from the Celtic countries. Scottish participants have won many awards since the festival began in 1980.

    TV programs in Scotland are largely the same as those in the UK. However, the national broadcaster is BBC Scotland , a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation , the UK's publicly funded broadcaster. There are three national television stations running, and national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal , among others. Scotland also has some channels in the Gaelic language. BBC Alba is the national Gaelic language television channel. The main Scottish commercial television station is STV .


    Annual agricultural revenues in 2011 were £ 746 million.

    Scottish professional hunter beside a on the game hunted red deer

    More than three quarters of the area of ​​Scotland is used for agriculture in the form of arable and pasture farming. Most of the crops are barley, wheat, oats and potatoes, along with vegetables and fruit. Sheep farming dominates the Highlands, Islands and the Southern Uplands; In general, cattle breeding also plays a major role. Scottish meat and Scottish breeding cattle enjoy a good reputation. The dairy industry is of secondary importance. About half of land ownership privately-owned is part of large, the hunting of red deer and grouse dedicated estates, so-called "sporting estates."

    Half of the total land in the country is owned by 608 owners, while the eighteen largest landowners alone already own 10 percent of Scotland. In no other country in the western world is the distribution so uneven. It dates back to the 16th century when Scottish nobles appropriated the land of the Auld Kirk during the Reformation . Since then, the ownership structure has largely been preserved. In 2012, the government established the Scottish Land Reform Review Group with the aim of reducing this inequality. The greater part of the revenues from wind farms totaling 1 billion pounds also goes to the large landowners. A law has been proposed which provides for the compulsory sale of land from large landowners to tenants, some of whom have worked it for generations.


    The tourism sector is vital to the Scottish economy. The latest figures show that total overnight and day visitor spending in Scotland was around £ 8.9 billion in 2015 - this included overnight guest spending of £ 4.9 billion and day visitor spending of £ 3.9 billion. In 2015, Scotland attracted over 14.6 million visitors. Tourism income is around £ 12 billion in economic activity and contributes around £ 6 billion to Scotland's gross domestic product (in base prices ). This corresponds to about 5% of the total Scottish gross domestic product.

    The tourism sector has around 200,000 jobs, mostly services. The largest proportion of visitors are tourists from Great Britain . Most of the foreign visitors come from the United States , Germany , France , Australia , the Netherlands, and Canada .

    Scotland is widely regarded as a clean and relatively unspoilt travel destination, with beautiful landscapes, a long and complex history , connected with thousands of historical sites and attractions , including prehistoric stone circles , megaliths and burial chambers as well as various relics from the Bronze , Iron and Stone Ages . There are also many historical castles, buildings, battlefields, ruins and museums. Many people are drawn to Scottish culture.


    There is a Scottish peculiarity with the currency. In Scotland, as in the rest of the United Kingdom, payments are made in pounds sterling - but the three large Scottish banks, the Bank of Scotland , Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank, are allowed to issue their own banknotes . Together with the Bank of England notes, there are four different banknotes in Scotland of each face value. However, Scottish pounds sterling are not accepted in every store outside of Scotland. The banknotes can be exchanged for “non-Scottish” banknotes free of charge at all banks.

    Purchasing power

    When compared with the gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union in terms of purchasing power standards, Scotland achieved an index of 100 (EU-28: 100) in 2013.


    Scotland map-de.svg
    Road network of Scotland
    Rail map scotland.png
    Scotland's railway network
    Scotland ferries map.png
    Ferry connections in Scotland


    The Scottish motorways and major roads are managed by Transport Scotland . The rest of the road network is administered by the Scottish municipalities in each of their areas. A specialty of Scotland, especially in the north, are the single track roads , one-lane roads with regular passing points. They are the rule on secondary roads, but some sections of main roads are also designed as single track roads. Most of the main roads, however, are two-lane and are usually well developed. A 500 mile circular road (Northcoast 500) circles the northern part of the country near the coast.


    Scottish Citylink and Megabus are the two main long-distance operators in Scotland and are currently working together as a joint venture, but the agreement is being monitored by the Competition Commission to ensure that it does not cause harm to long-distance travelers in Scotland. National Express operates bus services to cities in England and Wales, as well as local buses in Dundee and Angus under the brands Xplore Dundee and Travel Wishart. Numerous local independent bus companies also operate bus services across Scotland as well as Lothian Buses, Edinburgh's largest bus operator and Scotland's last light rail bus company.

    air traffic

    In addition to local landing sites with e.g. B. Connections to Orkneys International Airports in Aberdeen , Edinburgh , Glasgow and Prestwick . Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. is a Scottish state company based at Inverness Airport , the company operates several airports in Scotland.

    Airlines in Scotland:

    British Airways , Flybe , Jet2 , Ryanair and EasyJet all offer flights between Scotland and other major UK and European airports.


    The railway network is much thinner than in the Central Belt because of the low population density, the challenging topography and various closures in the context of the Beeching Ax in the Highlands and the Borders. In the Highlands there are only connections to Oban , Mallaig and Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and Thurso . Almost all routes are operated by ScotRail , a subsidiary of Abellio with the exception of the Caledonian Sleeper night train to London-Euston . The rail network, however, belongs to the nationwide state Network Rail . Cross-border intercity services are operated by CrossCountry , London North Eastern Railway , TransPennine Express and Virgin Trains .

    The Glasgow Subway is the only underground system in Scotland and is operated by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport . The Edinburgh Trams , which opened on May 31, 2014, is the only tram in Scotland and is operated by Edinburgh Trams Ltd. operated.


    There are many regular ferry services between mainland Scotland and the Scottish Islands. These are mainly operated by Caledonian MacBrayne in the west and by Northlink Ferries in the north. Some are also in the hands of local operators. The main ferry ports in the west are Oban and Mallaig.

    International ferry connections were offered three times a week by Norfolkline (previously Superfast Ferries) from Rosyth (near Edinburgh) to Zeebrugge in Belgium. This ferry connection was discontinued in 2010. Norfolkline now runs daily to Newcastle upon Tyne , which is not far from the Scottish border. Once a week the Smyril Line offered a ferry connection from Lerwick (Shetland Islands) - later from Scrabster / Thurso (Scottish mainland) - to Bergen in Norway as well as to the Faroe Islands and Iceland . This connection was discontinued at the end of 2008. In 2016 the ferry service from Larne (Ireland) to Troon (Scotland) offered by P&O Ferries was discontinued.

    There are several ferry companies in Scotland including:

    • Caledonian MacBrayne , a subsidiary of David MacBrayne Ltd. is a public ferry company with connections between the mainland and all major islands on the west coast
    • Northlink Ferries is a state-backed company operating the routes between Scrabster and Stromness , Orkney and between Aberdeen and Lerwick , Shetland (although Kirkwall , Orkney can also be called)
    • Pentland Ferries is a privately owned company that operates car and passenger ferries between Gills Bay (Mainland Scotland) and St. Margaret's Hope (Orkney)
    • John O'Groats Ferries operates the route between John O'Groats (mainland Scotland) and Burwick (Orkney)
    • Stena Line operates the route between Cairnryan and Belfast in Northern Ireland
    • P&O operates the Cairnryan to Larne route in Northern Ireland
    • DFDS has been operating the cargo ferry between Rosyth and Zeebrugge , Belgium , since 2010. Passenger traffic on this line, previously operated by Superfast Ferries and Norfolkline , was discontinued in 2011.
    • Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd. is a privately owned company, based in Hunters Quay, Argyll , operates the Firth of Clyde route between Hunters Quay and McInroy's Point (Gourock)
    • Argyll Ferries , a subsidiary of David MacBrayne Ltd. , was founded in 2011, operates passenger ferries between Gourock and Dunoon
    • SIC Ferries , owned by the Shetland Islands Council , is the ferry company that operates between the Shetland islands
    • Orkney Ferries , owned by the Orkney Islands Council , is the ferry company that operates between the Orkney Islands

    The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, formerly Strathclyde Passenger Transport, is the only regional passenger executive in Scotland that operates public ferries on the Clyde, including Kilcreggan Ferry and Renfrew Ferry.


    The most popular and popular sports in Scotland include golf , rugby , soccer and munro bagging . Traditional weight throwing , weight throwing and tree trunk throwing are part of the Highland Games . Scotland has participated in all the Commonwealth Games since 1930 and has won 110 gold, 119 silver and 178 bronze so far for a total of 407 medals. Edinburgh hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1986 , and most recently Glasgow in 2014 .


    The modern game of golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century. The country is advertised as the home of golf . For many golfers, the Old Course in St Andrews , an old links course from before 1574, is a place of pilgrimage. In 1764, the standard 18-hole golf course at St. Andrews was created when members changed the course from 22 to 18 holes. The world's oldest golf tournament, and the first golf major, The Open Championship is first played on October 17, 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland. There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland including Carnoustie , Gleneagles , Muirfield , Royal Troon and Turnberry . The Scottish Open takes place the week before the Open Championship each year . It is a golf tournament on the European Tour and has been part of the highly endowed Rolex Series since 2017. Scottish Golf is the national sports association for amateur golf in Scotland and is based in St. Andrews, Fife. It was founded in 2015 as a merger between the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) , the men's national golf association founded in 1920, and the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association , the women's national golf association.


    Rugby union

    The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) is the national sports association for rugby union in Scotland and is one of only ten top member nations of World Rugby . She organizes international matches for the Scottish national rugby union team and is responsible for the education and training of players and referees. It was founded in 1873 as the Scottish Football Union (SFU), making it the second oldest national rugby union federation. The first international rugby match was played at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on March 27, 1871, when Scotland defeated England 4-1 in front of 4,000 people. The Scottish professional clubs play in Pro14 against teams from Ireland , Wales , Italy and South Africa and can qualify there for the European Rugby Champions Cup , in which the best European clubs meet.

    Rugby league

    The Scotland Rugby League is the national sports association for rugby leagues in Scotland. She takes on the organization of international matches for the Scottish rugby league team . The main international team has played since 1909, although their first real international game was in 1996 when they beat Ireland 26-6 in Dublin. At the Rugby League World Cup 2000 , the Scottish National Rugby League team lost only closely to Ireland, Samoa and New Zealand and was last in their group. The last two games were played in Edinburgh and Glasgow. A big boost for Rugby League in Scotland came when the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final was brought to Murrayfield , Edinburgh. More than 60,000 spectators watched the final on both occasions. That was paired with a fantastic 42:20 win over France in July 2001, possibly one of Scotland's greatest wins in their short history.

    Rugby League in Scotland is currently played by teams such as the Aberdeen Warriors, Easterhouse Panthers, Edinburgh Eagles and Strathmore. School teams such as the Turriff Academy, Gordon Schools, Westhill Academy and the Aberdeen Grammar are currently playing in a school competition. They all play in Aberdeenshire.


    There have been variations of football in Scotland for centuries, with the earliest reference dating back to 1424. Club football is the most popular sport and the Scottish Cup is the oldest national trophy in the world. The country played the first international football game against England in 1872. The game took place at Hamilton Crescent , Glasgow, home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club .

    The Scottish Football Association (SFA) was founded on March 13, 1873 and is the second oldest national football association in the world. The SFA is responsible for the running of the Scottish national football team , the annual Scottish Cup and some other duties that are important to the functioning of the game in Scotland. She is a member of FIFA , UEFA and the International Football Association Board .

    The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) is the national men's club football league in Scotland. The league was formed in June 2013 following a merger between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League . In addition to operating the league competition, which consists of the four highest levels of the Scottish football league system, the SPFL also operates two domestic cup competitions, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Challenge Cup . The SPFL is operated as a society and belongs to the 42 member clubs. Every club is a partner, everyone has one vote to vote on issues such as rule changes and contracts.

    SPFL league hierarchy:

    Scottish clubs have already been successful in European competitions. Celtic won the 1967 UEFA European Cup, Rangers and Aberdeen won the 1972 and 1983 UEFA European Cup Winners' Cup , and Aberdeen won the 1983 UEFA Super Cup .

    ice Hockey

    Scotland has a very long and successful history in ice hockey . The sport ranks third among the most visited team sports in the country, after football and rugby union. Scotland is home to the UK's oldest ice hockey team, the Fife Flyers . There are currently three Scottish teams participating in the UK's Elite Ice Hockey League . The Dundee Stars and the newly formed Braehead Clan joined the league in 2010. In 2011, the Fife Flyers joined the league. The Edinburgh Capitals played in the Elite Ice Hockey League from their inception until the 2017/18 season . 3 of the best British players of all time come from Scotland, Colin Shields , Tony Hand and Stephen Murphy .

    Scottish Ice Hockey (SIH) is the ice hockey federation in Scotland. He organizes all ice hockey activities in Scotland, with the exception of the Scottish Elite Ice Hockey League teams (currently Glasgow Clan , Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars ). SIH is also responsible for running coaching courses and training and registering officials next to and on the ice. The Scottish National League is the highest league in Scotland, it represents the third division in British ice hockey and is considered an amateur division.


    A bagpiper

    The Southern Uplands in the south of Scotland are much more strongly influenced by England than the other regions due to their proximity. This results in cultural differences between the areas.

    The bagpipe , the kilt and the whiskey are the most famous elements of Scottish culture. The bagpipes have become and are associated with Scottish culture, although there are bagpipes all over Europe. The kilt as a man's skirt was already known in the early days. Whether it was developed here in its Scottish form is controversial. The Irish claim the invention of whiskey for themselves, but the actual origin is in the dark. The quality of Scottish whiskey enjoys a worldwide reputation.

    The thistle is the national plant of the Scots, which can be traced back to the 13th century. According to her also is Order of the Thistle ( The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle ) named the highest Scottish military orders .

    The Harris Tweed , which can only be called this if it was made in the Outer Hebrides , is also widely known. In culinary terms, shortbreads , haggis and kidney pie are part of traditional Scottish cuisine .

    Remnants of old Scottish culture, which has become rare in Scotland (before the 19th century), especially in music and dance, can be found on the Canadian island of Cape Breton, which is populated by highland Scottish emigrants .

    Another special feature is the Scottish clan system , especially in the Highlands. The tartans (checked patterns) that are often associated with it , however, only emerged in their present form from the end of the 18th century.

    Every year from May to October up to 100 locations in Scotland Highland Games (Highland Games) and highlands meeting ( Highland Gathering ), mostly the latter with musical emphasis, instead. The most famous typically Scottish competition held there is tree trunk throwing ( Caber toss or Tossing the Caber ("caber" from Gäl. "Cabar" = "tree trunk")).

    There is no official anthem, but Scotland the Brave is traditionally used; however, Flower of Scotland by Roy Williamson ( The Corries ) can be heard especially at soccer and rugby matches .

    The bands Big Country , Simple Minds , Runrig , Wet Wet Wet , The Proclaimers and Texas , which were particularly successful in the 1980s and 1990s, come from Scotland . The new wave band Franz Ferdinand also comes from Scotland, as do the hard rock veterans Nazareth . Belle and Sebastian and The View are well-known bands from the indie rock / pop field. Other Scottish rock / post rock bands are Travis , Aereogramme , Mogwai , Snow Patrol and The Fratellis . Donovan , Mark Knopfler , Jack Bruce , Midge Ure and Paolo Nutini are other important musicians. Calvin Harris and Amy Macdonald are currently on the international charts .

    Picture gallery


    • Hans-Walter Arends: The Scottish Book . Luath Press, Edinburgh 2012, ISBN 978-1-908373-19-9 .
    • Hermann Schreiber : Scotland. The story of a country on the edge of Europe . Casimir Katz Verlag, Gernsbach 1990, ISBN 3-925825-41-X .
    • Markus Hilpert, Bernhard Kräusslich (Ed.): Scottland. a socio-economic and geographic excursion. Augsburg 2004, ISBN 3-923273-55-X .
    • Iseabail MacLeod (Ed.): The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Scotland . Lomond, Edinburgh 2004, ISBN 1-84204-028-6 .
    • Fitzroy Maclean: A Little History of Scotland . Busse-Seewald Verlag, Herford 1986, ISBN 3-512-00763-5 .
    • Eberhard Bort, Susanne Tschirner: Scotland: Nature, Culture & Lifestyle . DuMont, Ostfildern 2012, ISBN 978-3-7701-8920-5 .

    Web links

    Commons : Scotland  - collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Scotland  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wikivoyage: Scotland  Travel Guide

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    Coordinates: 56 °  N , 4 °  W