Facts & Figures
Bavaria is a federal state in the southwest of Germany. It lies in the heart of Europe. Find out more about the free state of Bavaria!
With an area of approximately 70,550 km2, Bavaria is the largest state in Germany and by all means lends itself to comparison on a European level: Bavaria is about twice as large as Denmark, which measures some 43,000 km2, and also Switzerland, which covers 41,000 km2.
Located in the southeast of Germany, Bavaria borders with neighbouring countries Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Bavaria carries the title of "Freistaat", which translates as "Free State". The origin of this appellation dates back to the 19th Century and denotes a land liberated from a monarch. Today, the term continues to be used in connection with Bavaria out of tradition.
Some 12.8 million people live in Bavaria, of whom around 1.5 million reside in the state capital, Munich. Further large cities include Nuremberg, Augsburg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Würzburg, Erlangen and Fürth. Rural areas are also important for Bavaria and cover some 85 per cent of the state. They constitute the living, economic and working base for nearly 8 million people, or roughly 60 per cent of the Bavarian population.
Location and infrastructure
Bavaria is located in the heart of Europe, making it the ideal base for developing new markets. In light of its hundreds of years of political and economic relations, Bavaria serves as a gateway to the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. However, it is not only Bavaria's geographical location in the vicinity of Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine that facilitates access to foreign markets, because infrastructure also plays a key role. The state is home to international airports in Munich and Nuremberg, 42,000 km of roads, 6,120 kilometres of railway and four freight transport centres.
Research and development
Numerous renowned organisations are headquartered in Bavaria, such as the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Societies and Institutes, the Helmholtz Association and the Leibniz Association. These institutions facilitate Bavaria's excellence in research.
The state also provides outstanding opportunities for the future of academia: Nine universities, 24 universities of applied sciences, the Munich Academy of Television and Film and numerous private institutions educate Bavarian students.
Bavaria has a great cultural offering: More than 1.350 museums present Bavaria's cultural possessions. One of the most important musuem worldwide, the Alte Pinakothek, is located in Munich. Further attractions are the Neue Pinakothek as well as the Pinakothek der Moderne.
Also when it comes to music, Bavaria has a lot to offer: there are more than 15.000 shows on various stages. A special highlights represents the Richard-Wagner-festival games in Bayreuth as well as festivals such as „Orff in Andechs“. But also folk songs and folk dance are celebrated in Bavaria since Bavarians love their traditions.
Political System of Bavaria
The Free State of Bavaria is a democratic, constitutional, cultural and social state. Bavaria is the largest federal state in Germany in terms of its area and the second largest in terms of population. Germany lies at the heart of Europe and is member of the European Union. Hence, Bavaria also benefits from the European single market, the largest economic area in the world. Bavaria carries the title “Free State”. The origin of this term goes back to the 19th century und describes a country liberated from a monarch, but the title is still in use due to tradition. The Free State of Bavaria is a parliamentary democracy just as Germany is a federal republic; it has its own state institutions, revenues, and sets its own fiscal policies. The most important state institutions are the Bavarian parliament (“Landtag”) as the legislative branch, the Bavarian State Government as the executive branch, and independent courts as the judicial branch of the state government. The prime minister of the free state of Bavaria is the head of the state government and head of state. The Constitution of the Free State of Bavaria and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (“Grundgesetz”) form the basis of all policies. The Constitution guarantees and protects the freedom and the fundamental rights of the citizens, such as the human dignity, the right to private property, and freedom of speech. Every five years elections are held for the Bavarian parliament (“Landtag”) which is responsible for passing legislation and electing the prime minister. As the head of government, the prime minister directs the government actions, defines the political guidelines, represents Bavaria externally and appoints the state ministers. In addition to the representative democracy, laws can be passed not only by the parliament, but also by referendum. The Free State of Bavaria is economically one of the strongest federal states in Germany due to sustained growth. Bavaria is characterized by political stability and high safety standards.