Lower Saxony is a German state situated in northwestern Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany. In rural areas Northern Low Saxon, a dialect of Low German, is still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining.
Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In fact, Lower Saxony borders more neighbours than any other single federal state. The state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony, one being the city of Bremen, the other, its seaport city of Bremerhaven. The state's principal cities include Hanover, Brunswick, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, and Göttingen.