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Schleswig-Holstein ranks 12th among the 16 German states and is 9th in terms of population with around 2.9 million. The state capital and largest city in the state is Kiel. Other important cities are Lübeck, Flensburg and Neumünster.
Schleswig-Holstein borders in the north and across a sea border in the Fehmarnbelt with Denmark, in the south with the state of Lower Saxony and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and in the south-east with the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Historically, today’s Schleswig-Holstein consists of the southern part of the Duchy of Schleswig, the Hanseatic City of Lübeck and the two duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg. The rivers Eider and Levensau marked the border between the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein and were also the northern border of the German Confederation until 1864.
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