Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden; the majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, always known locally as the Nordic countries. While part of the Nordic countries, the remote Norwegian islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not in Scandinavia, nor is Greenland, a constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark; the Faroe Islands are sometimes included. The name Scandinavia referred to the former Danish, now Swedish, region of Scania. Scandinavia and Scandinavian entered usage in the late 18th century, being introduced by the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement; the majority of the population of Scandinavia are descended from several North Germanic tribes who inhabited the southern part of Scandinavia and spoke a Germanic language that evolved into Old Norse.
Icelanders and the Faroese are to a significant extent descended from the Norse and are therefore seen as Scandinavian. Finland is populated by Finns, with a minority of 5% of Swedish speakers. A small minority of Sami people live in the extreme north of Scandinavia; the Danish and Swedish languages form a dialect continuum and are known as the Scandinavian languages—all of which are considered mutually intelligible with one another. Faroese and Icelandic, sometimes referred to as insular Scandinavian languages, are intelligible in continental Scandinavian languages only to a limited extent. Finnish and Meänkieli are related to each other and more distantly to the Sami languages, but are unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Apart from these, German and Romani are recognized minority languages in parts of Scandinavia. "Scandinavia" refers to Denmark and Sweden. Some sources argue for the inclusion of the Faroe Islands and Iceland, though that broader region is known by the countries concerned as Norden, or the Nordic countries.
The use of "Scandinavia" as a convenient general term for Denmark and Sweden is recent. According to some historians, it was adopted and introduced in the eighteenth century, at a time when the ideas about a common heritage started to appear and develop into early literary and linguistic Scandinavism. Before this time, the term "Scandinavia" was familiar to classical scholars through Pliny the Elder's writings and was used vaguely for Scania and the southern region of the peninsula; as a political term, Scandinavia was first used by students agitating for pan-Scandinavianism in the 1830s. The popular usage of the term in Sweden and Norway as a unifying concept became established in the nineteenth century through poems such as Hans Christian Andersen's "I am a Scandinavian" of 1839. After a visit to Sweden, Andersen became a supporter of early political Scandinavism. In a letter describing the poem to a friend, he wrote: "All at once I understood how related the Swedes, the Danes and the Norwegians are, with this feeling I wrote the poem after my return:'We are one people, we are called Scandinavians!'".
The clearest example of the use of Scandinavia is Finland, based on the fact that most of modern-day Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom for hundreds of years, thus to much of the world associating Finland with all of Scandinavia. However, the creation of a Finnish identity is unique in the region in that it was formed in relation to two different imperial models, the Swedish and the Russian, as described by the University of Jyväskylä based editorial board of the Finnish journal Yearbook of Political Thought and Conceptual History. Various promotional agencies of the Nordic countries in the United States serve to promote market and tourism interests in the region. Today, the five Nordic heads of state act as the organization's patrons and according to the official statement by the organization its mission is "to promote the Nordic region as a whole while increasing the visibility of Denmark, Iceland and Sweden in New York City and the United States"; the official tourist boards of Scandinavia sometimes cooperate under one umbrella, such as the Scandinavian Tourist Board.
The cooperation was introduced for the Asian market in 1986, when the Swedish national tourist board joined the Danish national tourist board to coordinate intergovernmental promotion of the two countries. Norway's government entered one year later. All five Nordic governments participate in the joint promotional efforts in the United States through the Scandinavian Tourist Board of North America. While the term "Scandinavia" is used for Denmark and Sweden, the term "Nordic countries" is used unambiguously for Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, including their associated territories. Scandinavia can thus be considered a subset of the Nordic countries. Furthermore, the term Fennoscandia refers to Scandinavia and Karelia, excluding Denmark and overseas territories, but the usage of this term is restricted to geology when speaking of the Fennoscandian Shield. In addition to the mainland Scandinavian countries of: Denmark Norway (constitutional monarchy with a parliament
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Neubrandenburg, Wismar and Güstrow; the name Mecklenburg derives from a castle named "Mikilenburg", located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. In Slavic language it was known as Veligrad, which means "big castle", it was the ancestral seat of the House of Mecklenburg. Linguistically Mecklenburgers use many features of Low German vocabulary or phonology; the adjective for the region is Mecklenburgian. Mecklenburg is known for its flat countryside. Much of the terrain is boggy, with ponds and fields as common features, with small forests interspersed; the terrain changes as one moves north towards the Baltic Sea. Under the peat of Mecklenburg are sometimes found deposits of ancient lava flows. Traditionally, at least in the countryside, the stone from these flows is cut and used in the construction of homes in joint use with cement and wood, forming a unique look to the exterior of country houses.
Mecklenburg has productive farming. Mecklenburg is the site of many prehistoric dolmen tombs, its earliest organised inhabitants may have had Celtic origins. By no than 100 BC the area had been populated by pre-Christian Germanic peoples; the traditional symbol of Mecklenburg, the grinning steer's head, with an attached hide, a crown above, may have originated from this period. It represents what early peoples would have worn, i.e. a steers's head as a helmet, with the hide hanging down the back to protect the neck from the sun, overall as a way to instill fear in the enemy. From the 7th through the 12th centuries, the area of Mecklenburg was taken over by Western Slavic peoples, most notably the Obotrites and other tribes that Frankish sources referred to as "Wends"; the 11th century founder of the Mecklenburgian dynasty of Dukes and Grand Dukes, which lasted until 1918, was Nyklot of the Obotrites. In the late 12th century, Henry the Lion, Duke of the Saxons, conquered the region, subjugated its local lords, Christianized its people, in a precursor to the Northern Crusades.
From 12th to 14th century, large numbers of Germans and Flemings settled the area, importing German law and improved agricultural techniques. The Wends who survived all warfare and devastation of the centuries before, including invasions of and expeditions into Saxony and Liutizic areas as well as internal conflicts, were assimilated in the centuries thereafter. However, elements of certain names and words used in Mecklenburg speak to the lingering Slavic influence. An example would be the city of Schwerin, called Zuarin in Slavic. Another example is the town of Bresegard, the'gard' portion of the town name deriving from the Slavic word'grad', meaning city or town. Since the 12th century, the territory remained stable and independent of its neighbours. During the reformation the Duke in Schwerin would convert to Protestantism and so would follow the Duchy of Mecklenburg. Like many German territories, Mecklenburg was sometimes partitioned and re-partitioned among different members of the ruling dynasty.
In 1621 it was divided into the two duchies of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. With the extinction of the Güstrow line in 1701, the Güstrow lands were redivided, part going to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, part going to the new line of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In 1815, the two Mecklenburgian duchies were raised to Grand Duchies, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, subsequently existed separately as such in Germany under enlightened but absolute rule until the revolution of 1918. Life in Mecklenburg could be quite harsh. Practices such as having to ask for permission from the Grand Duke to get married, or having to apply for permission to emigrate, would linger late into the history of Mecklenburg, long after such practices had been abandoned in other German areas; as late as the half of the 19th century the Grand Duke owned half of the countryside. The last Duke abdicated in 1918; the Duke's ruling house reigned in Mecklenburg uninterrupted from its incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire until 1918.
From 1918 to 1933, the duchies were free states in the Weimar Republic. Traditionally Mecklenburg has always been one of the poorer German areas, the poorer of the provinces, or Länder, within a unified Germany; the reasons for this may be varied, but one factor stands out: agriculturally the land is poor and can not produce at the same level as other parts of Germany. The two Mecklenburgs made attempts at being independent states after 1918, but this failed as their dependence on the rest of the German lands became apparent. After three centuries of partition, Mecklenburg was united on 1 January 1934 by the Nazi government; the Wehrmacht assigned Mecklenburg and Pomerania to Wehrkreis II under the command of General der Infanterie Werner Kieni
A megalithic entrance is an architectonic feature that enables access to a megalithic tomb or structure. The design of the entrance has to seal the access to the cultic structure in such a way that it is possible to gain access to the interior again after a long time, in order to perform rituals. To that end, the practitioners of Nordic megalith architecture, the Wartberg culture and Horgen culture, used several variants, that are found in other megalithic regions in identical or modified form; as the solutions were refined in detail, they all had in common the aim of sealing the structure that its re-opening was possible under difficult but manageable conditions by the tribal community. In general the following forms of entrance may be differentiated: Simple dolmens 1. No entrance 2. Entrance on the top 3. Half-height entrance sealed with a closure stone 4. Full height half-width stone Dolmens 5. Squared entrance 6. Additional entrance to the external passagePassage graves 7. Triangular entrance 8.
Portal entrance 9. Low passage entrance in front of a portalGallery graves and stone cists 10. Round port-holeVariation 7 has its focus in the Swedish Bohuslän; the stones forming the entrance were so selected or fashioned that together they form a triangular entrance. This special form, which replaces the lintel, is found in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon, e.g. at the dolmen of Banelle, which lies near Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort in the southern French department of Gard. The portal entrance used a lintel, a horizontal block placed over two lower supporting stones in order to level out the distance to the capstone; this enabled access only by crawling, through a trilithon opening, may be seen across the whole area where Nordic megalithic architecture occurs. In portal-like openings in the chamber wall, for example, have been made by leaving out a supporting stone, a passage in front of the chamber allows the cross-section of the entrance to be reduced. An example of this type of construction is the Sieben Steinhäuser in Lower Saxony.
Such "chambers without passages" may be found in the Schleswig-Holstein. The entrance location and size determines whether the structure is a passage grave or a dolmen. In the Netherlands, where this form is common, structures with no passages are known as portal graves. Variation 7 is not dissimilar to the so-called port-hole, in which the front stone or, as in the diagram, two front stones are hewn out so as to create a circular access hole; the slabs were made of a material that enabled contemporary methods and tools to be used to fashion them. This version occurs Central Europe at sites built by the Wartberg and Horgen cultures in Baden-Württemberg and Switzerland; some Swedish so-called megalithic stone cists have port-holes. In German, such a hole is known as a Seelenloch, a name that originated because of the erroneous assumption that holes were created with the intention of releasing the soul of the deceased. In the Bronze and Iron Age sites on Sardinia and the Iberian Peninsula, similar openings are found, that are narrow, but nearer the ground, apse-like, with embedded closure stones.
Another feature of ground-level entrances is a so-called stone sill. This separates the profane area of the passage from the sacred burial chamber. In some cases, it serves to support the closure stone or slab. In some embedded simple dolmens and portal tomb it is so high that it forms a half-height front stone, enabling access above it, is thus part of the wall of the chamber. Nordic megalith architecture Jürgen E. Walkowitz: Das Megalithsyndrom. Europäische Kultplätze der Steinzeit. Beier & Beran, Langenweißbach 2003, ISBN 3-930036-70-3
Eckernförde (German pronunciation: is a German town in Schleswig-Holstein, Kreis Rendsburg-Eckernförde, on the coast of the Baltic Sea 30 km north-west of Kiel. The population is about 23,000. Eckernförde is a popular tourist destination in northern Germany; the name of Eckernförde is of mixed origin, but derived from the name of a Danish castle located near the current town, reflected in the name of the town district of Borby. This fortification is listed in the 13th century Liber Census Daniæ as Ykærnæburgh. In 1441, the town used an official seal listing its name as Eherneborgh; the first syllable corresponds to the modern Danish word "egern" meaning squirrel while "-förde" is Low German meaning fjord. The -förde ending is documented in Latinized form on two official seals used by the town in the 1602 and 1624; the etymology of the town's name is reflected in the presence of a squirrel in the town's coat of arms, a feature first documented by the 1441 seal. In 1197 Eckernförde was mentioned for the first time.
Eckernförde was mentioned in the year 1302 for the first time free of doubts as a city, but in 1288 the inhabitants were called oppidani. During the First War of Schleswig two Danish ships, the Christian VIII and the frigate Gefion tried to land in Eckernförde in April 1849, they were cannonaded from the shore. The Christian VIII exploded, while the Gefion was captured. Theodor Preusse, the commander in chief of the southern troops, died while rescuing Danish troops from the Christian VIII; the 13 November 1872 Baltic Sea flood hit the coast of the Baltic Sea from Denmark to Pomerania. Of all the German coastal settlements, Eckernförde was most damaged due to its location on Eckernförde Bay, wide open to the north-east; the entire town was flooded, 78 houses were destroyed, 138 damaged and 112 families became homeless. The Count Saint-Germain was buried in Eckernförde near the St. Nicolai Church, his grave was destroyed by the 1872 storm surge. In 1934 the seaside resort Borby was incorporated. After the Second World War a United Nations displaced persons camp for Estonians was located near Eckernförde, where a section of the Hohenstein mansion was converted into a maternity ward.
1906–1914: Karl Heldmann 1920–1921: Willers Jessen 1921–1926: Curt Pönitzsch July-September 1926: Wilhelm Kuhr 1926–1931: Walther Heinn 1931–1933: Wilhelm Sievers, NSDAP 1933–1938: Helmut Lemke, NSDAP 1938–1943: Friedrich Böhm, NSDAP 1943–1945: Heinz Loewer, NSDAP since June 1945: Hans Ohm since August 1945 Ewald Wendenburg since April 1946: Heinrich Schumacher KPD since September 1946: Daniel Hinrichsen, CDU April 1950–September 1952: Ewald Wendenburg, CDU 1952–1966 Werner Schmidt, independent FDP 1966–1969: Hans Wiedemann, independent 1969–1987: Kurt Schulz, SPD 1987–1998: Klaus Buß, SPD 1998–1999: Ingrid Ehlers, SPD 1999–2006: Susanne Jeske-Paasch, SPD since 2007: Jörg Sibbel, independent In the early 20th century, Eckernförde was known for its harbour, trade in agricultural products, manufacture of salt and iron goods. All German Navy submarines form part of 1st Ubootgeschwader, are stationed in Eckernförde, it is the home of BEHN, an alcoholic beverage family company, founded in 1792.
The headquarters of SIG Sauer are located there. Schools in the city include the Richard-Vosgerau-Schule; the Richard Vosgerau School is a public elementary school in Eckernförde. The address is 24340 Eckernförde; the current head of the school is Mrs. Koepke; the school building consists of a small outbuilding. To find are a football field and a sports hall. In the schoolyard, the school children enjoy various activities; the Kiel–Flensburg railway runs through the town with trains stopping at Eckernförde station, situated to the west of the town centre. The town's main bus station, central omnibus station, is directly connected to the train station; the operating company of the railway network is Deutsche Bahn. Eckernförde has 4 bus routes for urban connections operated by single-deck buses. Eckernförde has no trolley-buses. For transportation, the statewide Schleswig-Holstein-fare applies. At the bus station is a taxi stand located. In Eckernförde are two bike rental outlets, one is located near the beach and one is in the pedestrian area.
The nearest international Airport is Hamburg Airport. Eckernförde is twinned with: Christian Otte wholesaler, founder Lorenz von Stein a German economist and public administration scholar Karl Wilhelm Valentiner a German astronomer Frederick G. Clausen, German-American architect Friedrich Rathgen a German Chemist and a founder of the field of Conservation science Walter von Bülow-Bothkamp, a fighter pilot in World War I, winner of Pour le Mérite Ruth Halbsguth a German swimmer, silver medallist at the 1936 Summer Olympics Maria Reese and graphic artist Inge Viett a former member of the "Red Army Faction" Horst-Dieter Kolletschke, former rear admiral of the Bundeswehr Grietje Staffelt, former member of the German Bundestag Ingmar Zahorsky a photojournalist and media artistnobilityPeter, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1965-1980 Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein
The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, until European contact; the Neolithic comprises a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, "new" and λίθος líthos, "stone" meaning "New Stone Age"; the term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. Following the ASPRO chronology, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the Levant, arising from the Natufian culture, when pioneering use of wild cereals evolved into early farming.
The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, the keeping of dogs and goats. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC; the prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the collection of neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.
The Neolithic 1 period began around 10,000 BC in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period; this site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals and birds. Stone tools were used by as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, West Bank, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, Byblos, Lebanon; the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, early seed selection and re-seeding occurred; the grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, animals were herded and domesticated.
In 2006, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings; this evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick; the settlement had a surrounding stone wall and a stone tower. The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned; some of the enclosures suggest grain and meat storage. The Neolithic 2 began around 8800 BC according to the ASPRO chronology in the Levant; as with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast Anatolia and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin.
A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in th
The great dolmen or grand dolmen is a type of megalithic site of the Funnelbeaker culture that occurs in Nordic megalith architecture in the east of what is now German Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which has two different types of entrance. Neolithic monuments are features of the ideology of Neolithic communities, their evolution and function act as indicators of social development. The type of site, called Stordysse in Danish, does not follow the criteria listed below. In Germany, dolmens with three or more capstones are described as great dolmens and are divided into: Great dolmens with an antechamber Great dolmens with a porch The porch dolmen is found on the island of Rügen and on the mainland opposite the island; the antechamber dolmen is found the island of Usedom. Several variant, but rare examples recall the extended or polygonal dolmen types. In Mecklenburg there are 146 great dolmens, of which Ewald Schuldt has investigated 44. There are two great dolmens in Schleswig-Holstein, several in western Lower Saxony, but quite a few in Saxony-Anhalt.
Since the width of northern megalith sites is limited due to the source material used, the main design aim of their longitudinal extension was an effort to increase the size of the chambers. Great dolmens reach an average interior size of 14 cubic metres, a scale only otherwise matched by that of the gallery and passage grave. Great dolmens have up to five capstones lying on eight to twelve supporting stones. Several great dolmens were extended using wide piers, on which, in certain cases capstones may have been placed. Like passage graves, great dolmens are a type of layout, in which the centre capstones were sometimes placed in a bay configuration. Whilst the roof was only built in such a way that its structural stability was based on a three-point support, in the bay designs, a capstone could be supported on just two uprights, the three stones being built as one unit, like a trilithon; the 44 great dolmens that have been investigated were found in various configurations. Five were surrounded by 8 by trapezoidal frames of standing stones.
In one case, the type of mound was not known. The trapezoidally-framed dolmens have guardian stones, sometimes at both ends; the great dolmen of Gaarzerhof, which lay within a short rectangular frame, was covered with a circular mound. Nordic megalith architecture Great dolmen of Damerow Great dolmen of Dwasieden Great dolmen of Sassen Great dolmen of Serrahn Deutsches Archäologisches Institut – Abteilung Madrid: Probleme der Megalithgräberforschung. Vorträge zum 100. Geburtstag von Vera Leisner. New York: de Gruyter Berlin u. a. 1990, ISBN 3-11-011966-8. Michael Schmidt: Die alten Steine. Reisen zur Megalithkultur in Mitteleuropa. Hinstorff, Rostock 1998, ISBN 3-356-00796-3. Ewald Schuldt: Die mecklenburgischen Megalithgräber. Untersuchungen zu ihrer Architektur und Funktion. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1972. Jürgen E. Walkowitz: Das Megalithsyndrom. Europäische Kultplätze der Steinzeit. Beier & Beran, Langenweißbach 2003, ISBN 3-930036-70-3
Northern Germany is the region in the northern part of Germany which exact area is not or defined. It varies depending on whether one has a linguistic, socio-cultural or historic standpoint; the five coastal states are referred to as Northern Germany. Though geographically in the northern half of Germany, Westphalia and the northern parts of Saxony-Anhalt are referred to as Northern Germany and instead are always associated with Western Germany and the historic East Germany respectively. Northern Germany refers to the Sprachraum area north of the Uerdingen and Benrath line isoglosses, where Low German dialects are spoken; these comprise the Low Saxon dialects in the west, the East Low German region along the Baltic coast with Western Pomerania, the Altmark and northern Brandenburg, as well as the North Low German dialects. Although from the 19th century onwards the use of Standard German was promoted by the Prussian administration, Low German dialects are still present in rural areas, with an estimated number of five to eight million active speakers.
However, since World War II and the immigration of expellees from the former eastern territories of Germany, its prevalence has reduced. Besides which, Frisian is spoken in North Frisia, as well as Danish in parts of Schleswig. From a linguistic and cultural perspective, Northern Germany is linked to the Netherlands and England. For example, the German word for butcher is Fleischer or Metzger in the middle, east or south of Germany but is called a Schlachter in Northern Germany, resembling the Scandinavian terms for butcher, slagter/slakter. Other examples are the word for potato, Erdapfel in much of Southern Germany and Switzerland, but Kartoffel in Northern Germany and in Danish. Additionally, Jansen/Janssen and Petersen are the most common surnames in the far north of Germany, which are some of the most common surnames in Denmark. Hansen is the single most common surname in Norway, the third most common surname in Denmark, the third and fifth most common surname in the North German federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, respectively.
The key terrain feature of Northern Germany is the North German Plain including the marshes along the coastline of the North and Baltic Seas, as well as the geest and heaths inland. Prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, glacial valleys and Luch; these features were formed during the Weichselian glaciation and contrast topographically with the adjacent Central Uplands of Germany to the south, such as the Harz and Teutoburg Forest, which are counted as part of Northern Germany. Northern Germany has traditionally been a Protestant-majority region Lutheranism, with the two northernmost provinces of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony having the largest percentage of self-reported Lutherans in Germany. Exceptions are the Catholic districts Emsland and Vechta in the west, traditionally linked to the Catholic region of Westphalia in the south, the southernmost part of Lower Saxony,around the city Duderstadt, traditionally being part of the Catholic enclave region Eichsfeld.
Culturally and Northern Germany is characterized by higher levels of income equality and gender equality than southern and south-western Germany. While the national federal Gini coefficient for Germany stands at around 30, the southern states have a Gini coefficient of 30.6 whereas for the Northern states the Gini coefficient stands at 27.5, closer to the Scandinavian average of 25. Traditional society in the western part of Northern Germany until the early 20th century was based on well-off and landowning yeoman farmers owning large pieces of land, making a living growing grain crops and raising dairy cattle and pigs, a large and educated middle class in the towns and cities working in the civil service, or as businessmen, blue-collar workers and skilled workers. Thus, the proportion of serfs, landless labourers, semi-skilled industrial workers and large landlords was smaller, making for a more stable society than elsewhere in Germany like the Rhineland region and the region east of the Oder river.
Additionally, Northern cities like Hamburg and Rostock have always been economic powerhouses of trade and commerce and have had a long tradition of innovation and creativity in business and industry. The traditional Northern German daily diet is centered around boiled potatoes, rye bread, dairy products, cucumbers, jams and pork and beef. A breakfast specialty is the Crispbread or Knäcke, eaten with a variety of toppings such as ham, cheese and butter. Lentil stews and soups are popular as a working lunch. Regional specialties in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony include Blutwurst or Blood sausage and a variety of Blood puddings eaten for brunch. Another Northern German regional specialty are Hackbraten, meatloaves