The modern state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen in German) was formed out of the historic Kingdom of Hanover, Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, Duchy of Brunswick and Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe. It is second largest and fourth most populous of the sixteen states of Germany. It is also the least densely populated state in West Germany.
The city states of Hamburg and Bremen, in contrast, are the two smallest states. Bremen is by far the least populous, with only 547,000 inhabitants, a bit more than Luxembourg. Hamburg, Germany's second biggest city after Berlin, has 1.8 million people. Hamburg and Bremen are respectively the two richest German Länder in terms of GDP per capita.
Altogether, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Bremen have a population of 10,260,000 (similar to Belgium or the Czech Republic) and a land area of 48,700,000 km² (comparable to Slovakia).
Famous people from Lower Saxony include (chronologically): the astronomer William Herschel, the poet Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, the chemist Robert Bunsen, the inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens, the caricaturist and painter Wilhelm Busch, the entrepreneur Dr. August Oetker, and the model and actress Diane Kruger.
Famous people from Hamburg include: the composer Felix Mendelssohn, the composer Johannes Brahms, the physicist Heinrich Hertz, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gustav Ludwig Hertz, the physicist and inventor Manfred von Ardenne, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.