Baden-Württemberg is one of Germany's sixteen "Bundesländer," or federal states. Situated in the southwestern part of Germany, Baden-Württemberg forms a border with Switzerland to the south and France to the west. Within Germany's borders, the region neighbors the states of Rhineland-Palatinate to the northwest, Hessen to the north, and Bavaria to the east. The federal state of Baden-Württemberg was established in 1952 by merging three separate regions, Baden, presumably known for its number of mineral waters and spas, Hohenzollern, and Württemberg, reportedly famous for its abundance of vineyards and production of Germany's highest quality wine. Concerning production, nowadays Baden-Württemberg is known best for producing brands such as Porsche, Bosch, and Mercedes-Benz, to name a few. The region's capital city, Stuttgart, can be found in the central part of the territory, serving as one of the dominant touristic destinations of Baden-Württemberg. However, the area is also visited for several historic landmarks, such as Heidelberg Palace in the north and Hohenzollern palace at the foothills of the Swabian Alps. Schwarzwald (the Black Forest), stretching across the western part of the region and geographically part of the Swabian Alps, is Germany's most extensive forest area. Its nature is a popular destination for various activities available in the forests, such as hiking, cycling, or skiing in the winter. To the south, approximately one-third of Baden-Württemberg's border is formed by Lake Constance (Bodensee), shared between Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Bodensee also belongs among popular destinations within Baden-Württemberg's borders.
The states of Baden, Württemberg, and Hohenzollern formerly consisted primarily of arable land, with a considerable number of farms scattered across the rural area to this day. Stuttgart, the capital city of now united Baden-Württemberg, originated from a stud farm. Nowadays, Stuttgart is one of the leading industrial cities in Germany, with people who come from over 170 nations residing in the city. Several historic landmarks, such as Castle Solitude, Chapel on Württemberg hill, and more, can be found scattered across the city. Stuttgart is also Europe's second city, after Budapest, regarding the natural mineral springs, as approximately 44 million liters of mineral water rise from the depths of Stuttgart's undergrounds daily. Thus, a considerable number of spas can be found in the city as well.
Concerning the historical landmarks in the Baden-Württemberg region, Heidelberg Palace is located in the northwestern corner of the territory. Annually, approximately one million tourists visit the palace from all over the world. In 1225, many believed that it would "become one of the grandest palaces of the Renaissance." Entangled with myths and legends, the palace and its gardens are currently open to visitors. Moving to the southern part of the region, two castles that are a part of the Princely House of Hohenzollern can be found. The Hohenzollern Castle, located on the periphery of the Swabian Alps, showcases a castle gallery and the Prussian King's Crown and also hosts numerous concerts, open-air cinema, and exhibitions. The Sigmarigen Hohenzollern Castle, owned by the Hohenzollern family, is located in the town of Sigmaringen. Showcasing the castle's history, Sigmaringen serves as a venue for events as well.
Among some of the most notable natural attractions is Schwarzwald, or The Black Forest, located in the western part of the region, geographically belonging to the Swabian Alps. Schwarzwald is Germany's largest forested area, with four separate protection territories preserving the nature of the forest. Thus, the Black Forest is a relatively popular touristic destination, mainly among visitors seeking outdoor recreation. The area offers a considerable number of hiking, walking, and cycling options. Besides Schwarzwald, part of Baden-Württemberg's southern border is formed by Lake Constance, which in German is called Bodensee, with several picturesque historic towns standing on its shores. Besides water activities such as boating and fishing, the region disposes of numerous hiking, cycling, and walking routes.
Regarding regional production, the Württemberg part of the territory bears a long wine-producing tradition. The area is known as Germany's premier red wine region not only for the high quantities of wine produced (approximately 70% of Württemberg's territory is covered in vineyards) but also for reportedly "impeccable quality." In the western valleys of Schwarzwald, fruit such as grapes, plums, and cherries are grown. The cherries were traditionally used to prepare Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau), a local dessert, which translates to Black Forests' Cherry Cake. Aside from the cakes, the famous Black Forest cherry brandy also comes from the region. Some companies, such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Hugo Boss, Schwarz Group owning Lidl and Kaufland, and more, are based in Baden-Württemberg, most of them in its capital, Stuttgart.
Baden-Württemberg is located in the southwestern corner of Germany, neighboring France to the west and Switzerland to the south. Approximately one-third of the southern border is represented by Lake Constance, or Bodensee, which is shared between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Stuttgart, the region's capital, can be found in the approximate center of Baden-Württemberg. In terms of nature and landscape, Baden-Württemberg is one of Germany's most diverse states, with several upland forests, fertile highlands, meadows, lakes, and marshes. The southern part of the territory is represented by the fertile land of the Rhine valley, where several vineyards are located. Wine from Mount Kaiserstuhl is considered among the finest produced in Germany. Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest, which is Germany's largest continuous forest area, covers the western part of the territory as it occupies a portion of the Swabian Alps. From the western Hegau Mountains in the meadows of the Allgäu the landscape of alpine foreland covers an expanse, where Lake Constance can be found.
Schwarzwald, also known as the Black Forest in English, stretches across the western part of Baden-Württemberg into Germany's area, as it contains the highest concentration of protected territories. Most of Schwarzwald is protected by the Black Forest National Park. Black Forest Central, also regarded as North Nature Park, is Germany's largest nature park with 420,000 hectares. Besides that, an additional nature park and one biosphere reserve constitute the rest of the forests' territory. The Danube, Europe's second longest river that flows through ten European countries and into the Black Sea, originates in Baden-Württemberg's Schwarzwald. The Black Forest represents one of the most popular destinations in Baden-Württemberg, as it offers several outdoor activities in the preserved nature, in addition to some educational centers and historical monuments.
Concerning Baden-Württemberg's climate, conditions differ, depending significantly on the altitude above sea levels. The warmest area is the upper Rhine Valley, whereas the Alps are the most inhospitable. Concerning the region's capital, Stuttgart, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 4°C. February tends to be the driest month in Stuttgart, with an average of 38 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during June, with an average of 87 mm.
Baden-Württemberg's territory is currently composed of three of the following historical regions: Baden, Prussian Hohenzollern, and Württemberg. Celts were Württemberg's first known inhabitants. In the first century, Celtic tribes were expelled by Romans, who conquered the land. Until circa the fifth century, the area belonged to the Frankish empire, which lasted until the ninth century. At that time, Baden-Württemberg's territory was assigned to the Duchy of Swabia. During that era, different noble families ruled over other parts of the region, divided into separate Baden and Württemberg. The Hohenstaufen family had the most significant influence on Württemberg territory, which was, at that time, part of Swabia. Baden was under the rule of the Zähringen family. Other areas ended up contributing to today's state of Baden-Württemberg, namely the territory of Further Austria, ruled by Habsburgs, and the County Palatine of the Rhine, which belonged to Bavarian counts. Thus, the region's rule was not unified for most of the Middle Ages and even later eras. Due to the ununified government over the territory and the Thirty Years' War, which took place in the 17th century, the living conditions in Baden-Württemberg were said to be "not ideal." Württemberg was a central battlefield of the war, which caused 57% depopulation of the territory.
The first ideas of merging Baden and Württemberg can be dated back to 1919 but were never executed. Shortly after, Hitler came to power in Germany, and a "reign of terror" started in the region. The era was called so because of brutal policies against Jews, Social Democrats, and Communists that were enacted then. Jewish traders played a significant role in the local economy, linking the rural and urban markets. However, with the laws against Jews, most of the population moved abroad. By December 1940, over 10,654 people were killed in a facility outside Stuttgart due to the T4 program "to cleanse the German population." The demography of Württemberg changed as well, as hundreds of Poles and French people were brought to work in Württemberg as enslaved people.
After the war, three states in the Baden-Württemberg territory were established, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Baden, and Württemberg-Baden. The region was then divided between the US and French occupation zone. In December of 1951, it was decided by referendum that the three states would be united. Baden-Württemberg became a state of West Germany on the 25th of April 1952.
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