Mittelhessen is perhaps best known for the three cities located along the banks of the Lahn River - Gießen, Marburg and Wetzlar. But the entire region actually encompasses 101 municipalities with a total population of around one million. Each of these towns and cities has its own history and traditions, making Mittelhessen quite diverse.
Mittelhessen is one of three planning regions in Hessen, along with North Hessen and South Hessen. It is identical to the Gießen government district (Regierungspräsidium Gießen), which encompasses the five counties of Limburg-Weilburg, Lahn-Dill, Gießen, Marburg-Biedenkopf and Vogelsbergkreis. Much of the region is forestland - the Vogelsberg mountains in the east, Westerwald in the west and the Taunus in the south. Although known for its beautiful countryside and historic small towns, Mittelhessen has also developed into a modern and innovative business location ... while still retaining a strong sense of community.
Castles and royal residences can be found throughout the region, making Mittelhessen one of the most historical regions in Germany. These architectural treasures - some in ruins and others restored to their former glory - stand witness to a bygone era in which princes, counts and dukes ruled the region. But it was really during the industrial revolution, when the Lahn river became navigable and railroad connections were established, that the cities of Mittelhessen began to flourish. The discovery of iron ore at the turn of the 19th century laid the foundation for the manufacturing and metal-working industries. Other important industrial sectors in Mittelhessen today include optical electronics, measurement and control technology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology.
It is also important to note that two of Germany's top universities are located in the Mittelhessen cities of Gießen and Marburg. The region is also home to the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in Gießen-Friedberg-Wetzlar. Taken together, more than 66,000 university students are currently matriculated in Mittelhessen, making it the region with the second highest student density in all of Germany. There has been considerable effort to create a higher "brand awareness" for Mittelhessen in recent years, due in part to the diverse historical traditions of the region. One of the most important developments was the creation of the Regional Management Mittelhessen in 2003 to foster cooperation among the region's business, science and political sectors.
Here is a brief overview of the cities of Mittelhessen: