Difference between revisions of "Lower Saxony"
Revision as of 11:34, 18 May 2011
Lower Saxony  (German: Niedersachsen [ˈniːdərˌzaksən]) is a federal state (Bundesland, plural Bundesländer) in northwestern Germany. It is the second largest state by area (47,618 km²) and fourth largest by population (nearly eight million) among the country's sixteen states.
The predominant spoken form of German taught and spoken Lower Saxony is High German or hochdeutsch. Although there are different accents in several regions and some grammatical variations are regionally widespread, the language closely follows written German and is thus easy to understand.
In the north, Low German or plattdeutsch is widespread and even spoken alongside hochdeutsch, but it is not an official language. In some areas there are even different forms of plattdeutsch albeit very locally.
In the north and northeast, variants of the Frisian dialects are still officially recognised and spoken by a few thousands of people.
Whilst English is a compulsory foreign language for schoolchildren, many adults only have a basic knowledge of the language or are not confident enough to speak it. In tourist areas, many of the signs are in two or more languages. The German national railway, Deutsche Bahn, use two languages on all their signs and, in long-distance trains, even the announcements are also made in English.
There is a special ticket called the "Niedersachsen Ticket"  which offers unlimited travel by regional trains inside Lower Saxony area, up to Bremen and Hamburg in one day. This ticket is not valid in high speed trains (D, EC, IC, ICE) so make sure you board the right trains (RE, RB, S-Bahn, Metronom) when using this ticket. It is valid from 9am to 3am the following day during weekdays and the whole day on weekends. There are two types of tickets, the group ticket (up to 5 people, €28) and the single ticket (€20). These tickets are also valid inside public transport network in some of the cities (Hanover, Hamburg, Bremen, Brunswick).