Niedersachsen, the state of Lower Saxony, situated in northwestern Germany, is #2 in area and #4 in population (8 million) among the 16 Länder of Germany. In rural areas Northern Low Saxon, a dialect of Low German, and Saterland Frisian, a variety of East Frisian, are still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining. Lower Saxony borders on the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thueringen, Hessen, and Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the Netherlands. The state borders more neighbors than any other Bundesland; principal cities include the capital Hannover, Braunschweig, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Hildesheim, Wolfenbüttel, Wolfsburg, and Göttingen. The northwestern area on the North Sea coast is called East Frisia and the 7 East Frisian Islands are popular with tourists. Lower Saxony is the only Bundesland that encompasses both maritime and mountaineous regions, including the Harz mountains where there is skiing in winter. The Lüneburger Heide here is Germany’s largest heathland area and was wealthy in medieval times due to salt mining and trade.