Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) is one of the 16 federal states in Germany, located in the northwest of the country.
Lower Saxony has a natural boundary in the north in the North Sea and the lower and middle reaches of the River Elbe, although parts of the city of Hamburg lie south of the Elbe. The state and city of Bremen is an enclave entirely surrounded by Lower Saxony. To the southeast the state border runs through the Harz, low mountains that are part of the German Central Uplands. The northeast and west of the state, which form roughly three-quarters of its land area, belong to the North German Plain, while the south is in the Lower Saxon Hills, including the Weser Uplands, Leine Uplands, Schaumburg Land, Brunswick Land, Untereichsfeld, Elm and Lappwald. In northeast Lower Saxony is Lüneburg Heath. The state is dominated by several large rivers running northwards through the state: the Ems, Weser, Aller and Elbe.
The highest mountain in Lower Saxony is the Wurmberg (971 metres) in the Harz. Most of the mountains and hills are found in the southeastern part of the state. The lowest point in the state, at about 2.5 metres below sea level, is a depression near Freepsum in East Frisia.
Hannover-Langenhagen International Airport (HAJ) is a good sized airport only 11 kilometres north of the city centre. The airport has regular international flights to most cities in eastern and western Europe and some to to the Middle East. There are regular domestic flights to most cities in Germany.
In 2000 an S-Bahn connection was established between the airport and Hamelin via Hannover Central Station. Trains leave every 30 minutes for a 17-minute journey. This replaced the airport's shuttle bus service which ran every twenty minutes, more frequently than the S-Bahn, but took longer to reach the airport and railway station. The service was extended to Paderborn in 2003.
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