—  State of Germany  —
Schwerin Castle, seat of the state parliament


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°36′43″N 12°42′1″E / 53.61194°N 12.70028°E / 53.61194; 12.70028
Country Germany
Capital Schwerin
 – Minister-President Erwin Sellering (SPD)
 – Governing parties SPD / CDU
 – Votes in Bundesrat 3 (of 69)
 – City 23,174 km2 (8,947.5 sq mi)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 – City 1,642,327
 – Density 70.9/km2 (183.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-MV
Vehicle registration formerly: MP (1945–1947), SM (1948–1953)[2]
GDP/ Nominal € 31 billion (2005)[citation needed]
NUTS Region DE8

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern [ˈmeːklənbʊʁk ˈfɔʁpɔmɐn] (also known as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in English) is a federal state in northern Germany. The capital city is Schwerin. The state was formed through the merger of the historic regions of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern after World War II, dissolved in 1952 and recreated prior to the German reunification in 1990.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is the sixth largest German state by territory, and the least densely populated one. The coastline of the Baltic Sea, including islands such as Rügen and Usedom, as well as the Mecklenburg Lake District are characterised by many holiday resorts and pristine nature, making Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 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 (est. 1419) and the University of Greifswald (est. 1456) are amongst the oldest in Europe.

Major cities include Rostock, Schwerin, Neubrandenburg, Stralsund, Greifswald and Wismar. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was the site of the 33rd G8 summit in 2007.



The full name in German is pronounced [ˈmeːklənbʊɐ̯k ˈfɔʁpɔmɐn]. Sometimes, Mecklenburg is pronounced [ˈmɛklənbʊɐ̯k] due to different interpretations of the "c", which is used to prolong the preceding vowel in Low German, while ck in High German usually shortens the preceding vowel.

Due to its lengthy name, the state is often abbreviated as MV or (colloquially) shortened to MeckPomm. In English, it is sometimes translated as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or literally Mecklenburg-Cispomerania.


One of more than 1,000 megalith sites in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - the Lancken-Granitz dolmen
Slavic ring fortress at Cape Arkona (Rügen Island)
Late medieval Brick Gothic architecture in Stralsund, today a World Heritage Site.

In the aftermath of World War II and the German re-unification in 1990, the state was constituted from the historic states of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern, both of which had long and rich independent histories.


Human settlement in the area of modern Mecklenburg and Vorpommern began after the Ice Age, about 10,000 BC. About two thousand years ago, Germanic peoples were recorded in the area. Most of them left during the Migration Period, heading towards Spain, Italy and France, leaving the area relatively deserted. In the 6th century Polabian Slavs populated the area. While Mecklenburg was settled by the Obotrites, Vorpommern was settled by the Veleti (later Liuticians) and the Rani.

Along the coast, Vikings and Slavs established trade posts like Reric, Ralswiek and Menzlin. In the 12th century, Mecklenburg and Vorpommern were conquered by Henry the Lion and incorporated into the Duchy of Saxony, joining the Holy Roman Empire in the 1180s. All of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was settled with Germans in the Ostsiedlung process, starting in the 12th century.


In the late 12th century, Henry the Lion, Duke of the Saxons, conquered the Obotrites, subjugated its Nikloting dynasty, and Christianised its people. In the course of time, German monks, nobility, peasants and traders arrived to settle here. After the 12th century, the territory remained stable and relatively independent of its neighbours; one of the few German territories for which this is true. Mecklenburg first became a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire in 1348. Though later partitioned and re-partitioned within the same dynasty, Mecklenburg always shared a common history and identity. The states of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz became Grand Duchies in 1815. After World War I and the abdication of the German Kaiser, the monarchy was abolished and a republican government of Mecklenburg was established.


Vorpommern, litererally Fore-Pomerania, is the smaller, western part of the former Prussian Province of Pomerania; the eastern part became part of Poland after the end of World War II.

In the Middle Ages, the area was ruled by the Pomeranian dukes as part of the Duchy of Pomerania. Pomerania was under Swedish rule after the Peace of Westphalia from 1648 until 1815 as Swedish Pomerania. Pomerania then became a province of Prussia in 1815. It remained a Prussian province until 1947.


Rostock was East Germany's major overseas port.

In May 1945, the armies of the Soviet Union and the western allies met east of Schwerin. Following the Potsdam Agreement, the western allies handed over Mecklenburg to the Soviets. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was established on July 9, 1945, per order Nr. 5 of Red Army marshall Georgy Zhukov, head of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD), as the Province of Mecklenburg and West Pomerania (zapadnoi Pomeranii).[3]

During the war, the make-up of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern's population changed due to wartime losses and the influx of evacuees (mainly from the Berlin and Hamburg metropolitan areas that were subject to air raids). After the war, people who fled and were expelled from the former eastern territories of Germany east of the Oder-Neisse line settled in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (and elsewhere in Germany), increasing the population by 40%. Before the war, Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania had a population of 1,278,700, of whom many perished during the war and another share moved west in the course of the Red Army's advance. In 1947, some 1,426,000 refugees from the former eastern parts of Germany were counted. Most of them were settled in rural communities, but also the towns' population increased, most notably in Schwerin from 65,000 (1939) to 99,518 (January 1947), in Wismar from 29,463 to 44,173, and in Greifswald from 29,488 to 43,897.[4]

On June 5, 1946, a law enacted by the Soviets led to the constitution of a provisional German administration (Beratende Versammlung, English: consulting assembly) under Soviet supervision on June 29, 1946. After the rigged elections of October 20, 1946, a Landtag replaced the Beratende Versammlung and worked out the constitution of January 16, 1947, for the Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. On April 18, 1947, the state's name was shortened to Land Mecklenburg. The GDR regime attempted to downplay the fact that Germany had made significant concessions to Poland as a result of WWII including the discontinuing the use of any terms referring to these former territories. Mecklenburg was a constituent state of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) upon its formation in 1949. In 1952, the East Berlin government abandoned "states" in favour of districts (German: Bezirke). As a result of this, Mecklenburg and Vorpommern were replaced by three districts covering roughly the same area (Bezirk Rostock, Bezirk Schwerin and Bezirk Neubrandenburg, commonly known as the Nordbezirke (northern districts)) under the highly-centralised GDR government. The administrative changes also made the historical border between Mecklenburg and Pomerania vanish from the maps. The East German government developed the shipyards in the old Hanseatic ports (the largest being in Rostock and Stralsund), and also established a nuclear power plant in Lubmin near Greifswald.

Prior to German reunification in 1990, the postwar eastern states were reconstituted, including the use of the full historic term Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Since 1990, the state has undergone dramatic changes.


Location & towns

Map of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, showing heights, waters and locations

Sixth-largest in area but only fourteenth in overall population among Germany's sixteen Bundesländer, it is bounded to the north by the Baltic Sea, to the west by Schleswig-Holstein, to the southwest by Lower Saxony, to the south by Brandenburg, and to the east by the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's state capital is Schwerin. The largest city is Rostock with approximately 200,000 people. Other major cities include Greifswald, Güstrow, Neubrandenburg, Stralsund and Wismar.


Chalk cliffs (Rügen)

The state's Baltic Sea coast features several islands, most notably Germany's two biggest islands Rügen and Usedom, but also various smaller islands such as Hiddensee or Poel. The southern part of the state is marked by a multitude of lakes, the largest of which is Lake Müritz.

The "state of a thousand lakes" (German: 'Land der tausend Seen) is mainly characterised by its unspoilt nature. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's varied coastline offers peninsulas such as Fischland-Darß-Zingst as well islands. Germany's two largest islands, Rügen and Usedom, are part of the state as well as many smaller islands such as Hiddensee or Poel. Due to its clean air and it idyllic setting, medical tourism[5] has become a notable tourism sector in the region.[5]

A total number of 283 nature reserves, 110 landscape reserves and three of Germany's 14 national parks (see below) are scattered all over the state. Many lakes used for fishing and sailing are located in the Mecklenburg Lake District. As the state has Germany's longest coastline and some of its largest islands, it is a popular place for sailing, e.g. the Hanse Sail event, and windsurfing.

National parks

Name Established Size (km²) Map Picture
Jasmund National Park 1990 30
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located in Germany
Kreidefelsen Ruegen.jpg
Müritz National Park 1990 318
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located in Germany
Priesterbäker See.jpg
Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park 1990 805
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located in Germany


Constituent regions and districts.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is since 4 September 2011 divided into six rural Kreise (districts) and two independent urban districts:

  1. Landkreis Rostock
  2. Ludwigslust-Parchim
  3. Mecklenburgische Seenplatte
  4. Nordwestmecklenburg
  5. Vorpommern-Greifswald
  6. Vorpommern-Rügen


  1. Rostock (HRO)
  2. Schwerin (SN)


Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is the least densely populated and least industrial German state, being the sixth largest in size, but only 14th in population. The unemployment rate of 11.8% (Oktober 2009),[6] which has been negatively affected by the breakdown of non-competitive former GDR industries after the German reunification in the 1990s, is currently the lowest in more than 15 years while the economy is growing and the number of jobs is increasing continually. However, the region remains the poorest in Germany and below the EU average in terms of GDP per capita.


Over the centuries, Mecklenburg and Vorpommern have developed and maintained strong regional cultures. It can generally be described as North German and has similar linguistic and historic characteristics to other north German states, such as Schleswig-Holstein. People in Vorpommern, as a result of that territory being a former province of Prussia, tend to look slightly more towards Berlin and Brandenburg than people in Mecklenburg would.


The cities are characterised by a certain "Hanseatic" style also found in other parts of northern Germany (e.g. Lübeck) as well as in countries bordering the Baltic Sea like Estonia (e.g. Tallinn) or Latvia (e.g. Riga). A common feature of many towns in Mecklenburg and Vorpommern are Gothic red brick churches dating back to the Middle Ages. The old towns are usually built around one or several market places with a church or the town hall. Often towns were founded at the Baltic Sea, one of the many lakes or a river for logistical and trade motives.

The central market square of Greifswald (Marktplatz), showing typical architecture of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Museums, art and theatres

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is home to many cultural events throughout the year. In addition to many regular museums and art galleries, Stralsund offers the very popular Deutsches Meeresmuseum (German Maritime Museum; the most popular museum in Northern Germany), Ribnitz-Damgarten the Deutsches Bernsteinmuseum (German Amber Museum).

During summer, many open air concerts and operas are open to visitors. The Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Music Festival of MV) attract a sizeable audience by performing classical concerts in parks, churches and castles.

Caspar David Friedrich, a famous romanticist painter born in Greifswald, immortalised parts of the state in several of his paintings.


Low German dialects

Whereas today the vast majority of people speak Standard German (also called High German, Hochdeutsch), a few centuries ago most people spoke what is called Low German (German: Plattdeutsch or Niederdeutsch). It is not "low" in prestige, but rather designates origin from the lower altitude, flatter, part of northern Germany.

Due to several sound shifts in Standard German which did not occur in Low German, Low German is rather distinct and is considered a separate language by some, a dialect of German by others. At its highpoint, the late Middle Ages, it was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League, a trade organisation in northern Europe. More than 1500 years ago, "Old Low German" (also known as Old Saxon) was also the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons, who originally came from northern Germany before leaving for England. That is why, there is often a closer similarity between English and Low German words than between English and Standard/High German words, for instance:

  • English water = Low German water (High German: Wasser)
  • English he = Low German hei (High German: er)

Low German is protected by the state's constitution and, similar to Welsh in Wales, taught at school and at university level. There is also a diverse Low German literature by such authors as Fritz Reuter or Rudolf Tarnow. Low German has also been recognised by the Netherlands and by Germany (since 1999) as a regional language according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Within the official terminology defined in the charter, this status would not be available to a dialect of an official language. As a result of this, Germany would appear, therefore, to have at least implicitly adopted the stance that Low German is not a dialect of the German language, but rather a separate language.

Food and drinks

Like most German regions, Mecklenburg and Vorpommern have their own traditional dishes, often including fish, beef and pork. Rostock has its own type of bratwurst called Rostocker Bratwurst. An unusual food from Western Pomerania is Tollatsch. Rote Grütze is a popular dessert. The largest brewery produces Lübzer Pils.


Evangelical Church in Germany 17.9 %,[7] Catholic Church 3.3 %.[8]

Following the Christian Reformation, led in Germany by Martin Luther, as well as a period of Swedish rule, the traditional faith in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is Protestantism, specifically Lutheranism. There are also a number of Catholics and people of other faiths. Both confessions are split at the old border; Mecklenburg belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg and the Archdiocese of Hamburg, West Pomerania forms the Pomeranian Evangelical Church (some parts however belonging to Brandenburg in this respect) or belongs to the Archdiocese of Berlin. As to the Protestants, a union to form a North Church (together with the North Elbians) is in progress. As a result of the extremely secular laws of the former communist GDR, more than three quarters of the population are now non-religious or agnostic.


Universities and colleges

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has two of the oldest universities of Germany, and indeed Europe:

Also, there are four colleges / technological universities.

  • Fachhochschule Stralsund
  • Hochschule Wismar
  • Hochschule Neubrandenburg
  • Rostock University of Music and Theatre
  • Baltic College Güstrow
  • Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung, Rechtspflege und Polizei in Güstrow


The state's school system is centralised. There are two main types of schools, Regionalschule (for the majority of pupils) and Gymnasium (for the top 30% of each year's students, leading to the university entrance qualification "Abitur"). Besides, there are also independent schools, comprehensive schools, and trade schools.


Schwerin - State capital and seat of the state Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Article 20 of the State Constitution states that the Landtag is the "site of political decision-making".[9] The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Landtag is elected democratically by the citizens of the state who sit for one 5-year legislative period at a time.[9] At least four parties must form the Landtag. The seat of Landtag is located at Schwerin Castle in Schwerin.[9] The essential functions of the Landtag is to elect the Minister-President of the state; to discuss and decide on laws which have been proposed by the government, by a people's initiative or a petition for a referendum initiated directly by the people; and to control the state government.[9]


The executive is led by a cabinet, in turn led by a Minister-President, who is the official head of government. The election to determine the Minister-President is held no later than four weeks after the newly elected Landtag starts.[9]


The last election of the Landtag took place on 4 September 2011. As a result of the 2006 election, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is governed by a Grand coalition of SPD and CDU.[10] Whether re-elected Erwin Sellering is going to continue this coalition after the Social Democrats' victory in the 2011 election is currently subject to negotiations.

2011 preliminary election results

Social Democrat Erwin Sellering, Minister President

Official preliminary results from the election of 4 September 2011 as of 5 September 2011 (without part of Rügen, where election is postponed for two weeks due to the death of a candidate):[11]

e • d Preliminary summary of the 2011 election results for the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Party Ideology Vote % (change) Seats (change) Seat %
Social Democratic Party (SPD) Social democracy 35.7% (+3.7%) 28 (+5)
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Christian democracy 23.1% (-5.7%) 18 (-4)
Die Linke (formerly The Left Party.PDS) Democratic socialism 18.4% (+1.6%) 14 (+1)
Alliance '90/The Greens (Die Grünen) Green politics 8.4% (+5.0%) 6 (+6)
National Democratic Party (NPD) Far-right politics 6.0% (-1.3%) 5 (-1)
Free Democratic Party (FDP) Classical liberalism 2.7% (-6.9%) 0 (-7)
All Others 5.7% (+1.8%) 0 (±0)
Total 100.0%   71 100.0%


The labour market

In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, approximately 732,200 people were gainfully employed in 2008 with 657,100 of them were white and blue collar workers.[12] About 4,200 new jobs were created in 2007.[12] Employees worked an average of 1,455 hours a year.[12] The number of self-employed did not change in 2008.[12] Three out of every four of all people in work are employed in the service sector.[12]


Sellin on the Island of Rügen

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is among the top three destinations for inner-German tourism. The main tourist regions are:

As a relict of the past, nearly 2,000 castles, palaces and manor houses exist in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, many of which function as venues for public events like concerts and festivals.

Medical tourism[5] based on the clean air and idyllic settings by the Baltic Sea has a growing importance to the regional tourism industry.[5]


Main sporting attractions include Fußball-Bundesliga, F.C. Hansa Rostock and the international sailing event Hanse Sail. Had the bid for the 2012 summer Olympics in Leipzig been successful, the sailing competitions would have taken place off the coast of Rostock.

Notable people

Angela Merkel's constituency is the central northern part of MV.



See also


  1. ^ "Bevölkerungsentwicklung der Kreise und Gemeinden" (in German). Statistisches Amt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 31 December 2010. 
  2. ^ With the abolition of states in East Germany in 1952 vehicle registration followed the new Bezirk subdivisions. Since 1991 distinct prefixes are specified for each district.
  3. ^ Brunner, Detlev, Inventar der Befehle der Sowjetischen Militäradministration Mecklenburg (-Vorpommern) 1945-1949 in Texte und Materialien zur Zeitgeschichte 12, 2003, ISBN 3-598-11621-7
  4. ^ Beatrice Vierneisel, Fremde im Land: Aspekte zur kulturellen Integration von Umsiedlern in Mecklenburg und Vorpommern 1945 bis 1953, 2006, p.12, ISBN 3830917627, 9783830917625
  5. ^ a b c d "(German) Branche mit Zukunft". Die Welt. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  6. ^ Unemployment in MV, Sept '08
  7. ^ EKD
  8. ^ chiesa cattolica
  9. ^ a b c d e "State Parliament". Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ 2011 preliminary Landtag election results at SPON
  12. ^ a b c d e "Employment and Labour Market". Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

External links

53°36′43.42″N 12°42′00.70″E / 53.6120611°N 12.700194°E / 53.6120611; 12.700194

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