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.