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(Image: TMV/Markus Kirchgässner)
The unique landscape of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a precious haven for plants, animals and human beings and therefore under special protection. Three national parks, seven nature parks and three biosphere reserves protect the flora and fauna here in the north – more than in any other German federal state.
West of the island of Rügen lies the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft national park. Exposed as it is to wind and water, the west coast of Darsser is constantly being reshaped by nature and gains eight to ten meters of land every year. These shallow-water areas are important feeding and resting grounds for the 250 species of migratory birds in the park. In the direct vicinity lies Jasmund National Park, the smallest national park in Germany. Part of its beech woods were recognised as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in June 2011. A part of the beech forest in Müritz National Park also shares this distinction. It is famous for its osprey and white-tailed eagles.
Today, the former internal German border area near Schaalsee lake is a protected nature reserve with UNESCO biosphere status. A no man’s land for many years, it has become a reserve for orchids, otters, bearded tits and fire-bellied toads. All of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern‘s landscape and coastal formations are represented in the UNESCO South-East Rügen biosphere reserve. The island of Vilm in the Greifswald Bodden is something really special: Nature has been able to develop here almost completely undisturbed for several centuries.
The many avenues are typical for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The federal state with the highest number of avenues after Brandenburg could bridge the distance from Lisbon to Moscow with the rows of trees along its roads: exactly 4,374 kilometres. As long ago as the 18th century, avenues were planted along roads in order to improve orientation and to protect travellers. Today, the oldest avenue trees in the region are around 250 years old. Rügen is especially well known for its avenues. The German Avenue Route, leading across Germany down to Lake Constance, begins there.
Look a crocodile in the eye, observe a pack of wolves or take a few steps and feel as if you are in Africa: you can experience all this in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where exciting nature experiences are guaranteed in the country's zoos and animal gardens. Rostock Zoo, the largest one in MV, is home to 4,000 animals of 380 different species from all over the world.In November 2018, for the second time in succession it was voted Europe's best zoo in Category B (500,000 to 1 million visitors annually). The Polarium, a new and modern facility for the zoo's famous polar bears was opened in September 2018. Another attraction is the Darwineum, which takes visitors on a spectacular journey through evolution. In contrast, the Güstrow Nature and Environment Park focuses on native nature. Here, bears, wolves, white-tailed eagles and owls can be observed up close.
Companies from MV such as Nestlé, Arla Food or Biosanica, which operate successfully across Europe and the world, show just how attractive a location Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is for the food industry. Committed to joint, innovative activities, regionalism and sectoral development, 120 enterprises from the food sector have joined together in Agrarmarketing Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V. (AMV). Likewise, more than 60 gastronomists, producers and processers have created "ländlichfein", an initiative seeking to promote the best regional and environmental projects meeting the highest demands in terms of manufacturing, processing and preparation. The "Food Academy" association promotes young talent, vocational training for career changers and the enhancement of familiarity with food branch professions.
Indulgence and taste have their home in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. For in the north, manufacturers, producers and restaurateurs devote a lot of time to quality. This can be seen in regional products such as succulent Müritz lamb, fresh whitefish caviar, delicately aromatic wild herbs or the ever more popular Baltic houting, which is enjoyed in top restaurants beyond the borders of the region. To what culinary heights this regional consciousness for quality can take you is demonstrated by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s celebrity chefs. Their craftsmanship and skilful blend of creativity and down-to-earthness are appreciated and awarded internationally.