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Saarbrücken’s film festival for German-speaking up-and-coming talent has been the launching pad for many a career, as Franka Potente and Til Schweiger have proved. The state has over the last 200 years changed nationality eight times and the French influence is highly evident. Mining is now no longer the key industry, with steel and car-making competing with IT for the number one slot. The steel industry bequeathed a fascinating attraction: Völklingen Ironworks, which is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The state’s most famous name, however, has to be that of Villeroy & Boch, a global player in the porcelain market.

Capital: Saarbrücken
Population: 986,887
Surface area: 2,569 km2