The region is one of the few in Germany whose population is growing. The district is home to around 177,000 women, men and children at the moment, of whom at least 72,000 live in the Hanseatic City of Lüneburg. Leuphana University Luneburg also makes the region attractive to young newcomers. Good transport links to nearby cities are favourable to commuters. It takes just 30 minutes to travel from Hamburg-Lüneburg; trains leave every half hour. To and from Hanover and Lübeck there’s an hourly service. The district, with its 1,323.4 sq km in northeastern Lower Saxony, extends about 50 km from the Elbe flood valley in the north and east to the centre of the Lüneburg Heath in the southwest.
The Hanseatic City of Lüneburg, beyond Hamburg’s city limits, first officially mentioned in 956, is more than 1,000 years old. Salt, the white gold of the Middle Ages, brought it fame and wealth. Exactly how rich the “salt city” was then, is still evident in the wonderful brick buildings in the well-preserved old town, which attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The process of reunifying Germany is a part of recent history that is still very much alive and can be experienced in the administrative district of Lüneburg in a unique constellation. The municipality office in Neuhaus, on the eastern side of the Elbe, has been part of Lüneburg district since 1993 and is the only area of the former GDR to be part of a so-called “old” federal state again.
Virtually intact nature characterises the countryside - along the old “inner German border” and the once prohibited zone along the Elbe, flora and fauna of inestimable value have been preserved. The Elbe casts a spell: a walk or bike ride alongside or on top of the river embankment is a must for Lüneburgers at the weekend. And it’s not hard to see why! Germany’s third largest river is one of the few relatively natural rivers of Central Europe.