Westphalia

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Westphalia (German: Westfalen pronounced [vɛstˈfaːlən]) is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Bochum, Detmold, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Minden and Münster and included in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia" was applied to several different entities in history. For this reason specifications of area and population differ greatly. They range between 16,000 and 22,000 km2 (6,200 and 8,500 sq mi) in land area, and between 4.3 million and 8 million inhabitants. There is, however, a general consensus that Münster as well as Bielefeld and Dortmund are part of Westphalia. In principle the term "Westphalia" contrasts with the much less used term "Eastphalia", which is very roughly the area of modern Saxony-Anhalt.

A linguistic definition of Westphalia (see Westphalian language) includes the former Prussian Province of Westphalia (except Siegen-Wittgenstein), Lippe, the region around Osnabrück and the greater area of the Emsland. Present-day common use, however, often restricts the notion to the present part of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Westphalia is known for the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, as the two treaties were signed in Münster and Osnabrück. The region is also home to the headquarters of Westfalia-Werke, the contractor that built the VW Westfalia camper vans.

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