The federal state of Brandenburg, located in the Northeastern part of Germany, is divided into a number of unique regions, each with its own cultural identity. While the area immediately surrounding the federal capital of Berlin and the state capital Potsdam grows more and more urban, the state boasts three biosphere reserves with extended bodies of water and a National Park along the Oder river. This river also marks the border to neighboring Poland.
Brandenburg is organized into 14 administrative regions. In the Middle Ages, Brandenburg was one of the electoral states of the Roman Empire, later it became the main part of the Kingdom of Prussia. It ceased to exist as a unit under the rule of the GDR and was established as a federal state upon German reunification in 1990. In recent years, thanks to the extension of the European Union to include Poland and other former Eastern Bloc countries, the state received some new and much-needed economic impulses. Nevertheless, Brandenburg shares the fate of all other Eastern German states, which all have continuously lost population after the unification, mostly due to a lack of economic perspectives.
To this day, some regions of Brandenburg suffer from extremely high unemployment rates, while others, in particular the area around Potsdam, have reached the average German level. In this region, biotechnology and general research institutions have opened facilities in recent years and it is expected that this part of the state will gain further economic strength once the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport is opened in 2013.