Schwerin has experienced a large population loss from 1990 on, going from about 130,000 inhabitants to roughly 91,600 today. Factors figuring in that development were out-migration into the suburbs and a decline in birth rates, combined with negative economic outlooks. Today, Schwerin’s inhabitants have the highest average annual income in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the population losses were significantly slowed. Among significant employers for Schwerin and the region are companies in the transportation, food and health care industries. The city is also home to a number of smaller, private institutions of higher education.
The palace and the lakes of the area are the main tourist attractions. There are even a few beach areas at some of the lakes. Further sights include the old town area (“Schelfstadt”), the zoo, the ruins of a castle and some historic church buildings, including the Schwerin Cathedral which towers above the old town core of the city (photo). Schwerin is also home to a number of museums including the State Museum with a renowned collection of paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Mecklenburg State Theatre performs stage plays, operas, musicals and ballet and also hosts the annual Schwerin Festival of performing arts in the summer, with the palace usually forming the backdrop to the performances.