Mecklenburg-Vorpommern does not only possess the longest name of all 16 German states, it also has three of Germany’s 14 National Parks, the country’s two largest islands – Rügen and Usedom – and about 2000 kilometers of shoreline along the Baltic Sea. Thanks to these assets, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a favorite among tourists.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is Germany’s sixth-largest state by area, but the third-smallest by population. It experienced a population loss in large numbers due to many inhabitants migrating to the Western part of the country, citing a lack of economical perspectives. The state’s rate of unemployment indeed remains above the EU average, although there have recently been positive signs, in part thanks to increasing tourist numbers. Other important factors are the state’s remaining shipyards and its frontrunner position in the field of renewable energy.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, although born in Hamburg, grew up in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Coincidentally, German President Joachim Gauck is also from the Northeastern state, having spent most of his life in Rostock. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has a unique cultural history which becomes visible in a Low German dialect spoken here, particularly in rural areas as well as in a distinct, traditional architectural style which is characterized by the use of red bricks and thatched roofs. Also, the state is home to the two oldest universities in Europe, the universities of Rostock and Greifswald, both having been founded early in the 15th century.
The state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was established in 1945 after World War II through the merger of the historic regions of Mecklenburg and the Prussian Western Pomerania by the Soviet military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1947, but was dissolved in 1952 during administrative reforms and its territory divided into the districts of Rostock, Schwerin, and Neubrandenburg. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was re-established in 1990 following German reunification, and became one of the Federal Republic of Germany’s new states.
The state capital is Schwerin. The largest city is Rostock with approximately 205,000 people, followed by Schwerin. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s coastline on the Baltic Sea features many holiday resorts and unspoiled nature, including the islands such as Rügen and Usedom, as well as the Mecklenburg Lake District, making the state one of Germany’s leading tourist destinations. Three of Germany’s fourteen national parks are in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in addition to several hundred nature conservation areas. The University of Rostock, established in 1419, and the University of Greifswald, established in 1456, are among the oldest universities in Europe. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was the site of the 33rd G8 summit in 2007.