Lüchow-Dannenberg

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Lüchow-Dannenberg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany which is usually referred to as Hannoversches Wendland or Wendland. It is bounded by (from the west and clockwise) the districts of Uelzen and Lüneburg and the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (district of Ludwigslust), Brandenburg (district of Prignitz) and Saxony-Anhalt (districts of Stendal and Altmarkkreis Salzwedel).

Contents

History

In medieval times the counties of Lüchow and Dannenberg occupied the area (from the early 12th century on). These counties were originally Slavic states that lost their independence to the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the beginning of the 14th century.

The area was ruled by Lüneburg until 1705 and became then a part of the Electorate of Hanover. When the Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia (1866), the districts of Lüchow and Dannenberg were established within the new Province of Hanover.

In 1932 the two districts of Lüchow and Dannenberg were merged into the current district with Dannenberg as capital. In 1951 the seat of the administration was moved to Lüchow.

Current issues

Since the end of the 1990s the financial problems of the municipalities in the district grew more and more severe. To save money spent for administration a major municipal reform is currently discussed. The two most likely outcomes of the reform will be either a conversion of the district to an urban district, in which the 27 municipalities will then become boroughs of one town. The other discussed solution is the merger into two Samtgemeinden. The dissolution of the district and inclusion of the two remaining Samtgemeinden into the districts of Lüneburg and Uelzen are also discussed.

Geography

The district is named for the two main towns. It is better known as the Wendland, a designation referring to the Slavic people of the Wends from Obotrite tribe Drevani, who lived there till the 18th century — the last known user of the local dialect of Polabian language died in 1752. The landscape is characterised by riverside woodlands along the Elbe river and a hilly countryside.

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