There is some truth to most of these points: Every child in Saarland learns at school that about 1 million people live here on an area of 50 × 50 = 2.500 km² (about 1000 square miles, a bit smaller than Rhode Island). In the first half of last century, the Saar region changed several times between France (or French administration) and Gemany, but since 50 years now, the Saarland has been part of the Federal Republic of Germany. And no, French is not the native language of the Saarländer. Coal and steel industries, once the important pillar of the local economy, have vanished during the last years. One of the disused steel mills, the Völklinger Hütte, now features on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the last coal mines will be closed by 2018.
But even though the former industrial regions along the Saar river valley are very densely populated, the Saarland has never been at all a dusty and rusty region, but, on the contrary, very green. Most visitors are pleasantly surprised to find a landscape of gentle hills, with small villages interspersed between meadows, fields, and woods. That's especially so in the northern parts of the Saarland, where I grew up.
I am happy that also Bee has taken to the charme of this region. When we visited my mother over last weekend, she told me that she had been reminded of Auenland, home of the Hobbits in Middle Earth, since she had first seen it.
In case you want to come to Auenland, where she has taken the above photos (click to enlarge), you have to travel to here.