Thursday, July 2, 2009

On the high bank of the Leine river: Hanover

Hanover is the capital of the state of Lower Saxony in northwest Germany. It's name is spelled with two letters of n in German: Hannover. A way above and along the Leine river in today's historic downtown area is named Am Hohen Ufer, meaning on the high bank. The name Hannover is supposedly derived from this discriptive phrase of its location when the language of Mittelniederdeutsch was spoken there. In Mittelniederdeutsch, the adjective ho or hoch means high and the noun over means bank (Ufer in German today) . The name of the English town Heanor in Derbyshire probably has a very similar origin: In 1236 its name was Henovere. Around 1150, Germany's Hanover was named vicus Honovere. The word vicus indicates that it was a market place. There are other places in Germany with related names: Hanöver near Berne in the Wesermarsch and Hahnöfersand, an island in the river Elbe near Blankenese, Hamburg. And then, there are all those Hanovers in the United States. Mapquest lists ten states with a town named Hanover.

[1] Duden Taschenbücher • Geographische Namen in Deutschland • Herkunft und Bedeutung der Namen von Ländern, Städten, Bergen und Gewässern. 2., übearbeitete Auflage von Dieter Berger, Dudenverlag, Mannheim, 1999.
[2] Ulfrid M
üller: Die Marktkirche St. Georgii et Jacobi in Hannover. F&W Mediencenter, Kienberg (brochure available inside the Marktkirche Hannover church).

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