Hanover or Hannover is the capital of and largest city in the state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city in Germany as well as the third-largest city in Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city in the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen and Bremen.
The city is a major crossing point of railway lines and motorways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Ruhr area/Düsseldorf/Cologne) and north-south (Hamburg–Frankfurt/Stuttgart/Munich) directions. Hannover Airport lies north of the city, in Langenhagen, and is Germany's ninth-busiest airport. The city's most notable institutes of higher education are the Hannover Medical School with its university hospital (Klinikum der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover) and the Leibniz University Hannover. The Hanover fairground, owing to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover hosts annual commercial trade fairs such as the Hanover Fair and up to 2018 the CeBIT. The IAA Commercial Vehicles show takes place every two years. It is the world's leading trade show for transport, logistics and mobility. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest marksmen's festival, and the Oktoberfest Hannover.