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Travel

A Slow Pace in Mecklenburg – West Pomerania

The Mecklenbugers are thought to be a rather distant, obstinate and cold bunch and as such they are affectionately nicknamed “Fish-heads” by other Germans. Of course, the Mecklenburgers see things quite differently.

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Beach walking on Rügen, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

“Nah We ain’t stubborn at all. That’s just the impression we give”, sys Uwe Süssmilch, a native Mecklenburger and Mecklenburg-expert, as it were.

He is the founder and chairman of the Plattdeutsch and Folklore Society “Klönschnack” in Rostock. “’Cos when a Mecklenburger comes into a pub, he always asks for an empty table to sit at”. Süssmilch explains that this is because in times past, there simply weren’t many people in Mecklenburg – West Pomerania. People lived from farming or fishing and, as he says “not enough is said about how hard life was for us”.

During the harvest and the village festivals however, the Mecklenburgers would show their more sociable qualities and even the most reticent amongst them would participate enthusiastically in the festivities. More importantly, even if they often come across rather impertinent and unapproachable, the “Fishheads” do, contrary to popular belief, have a more gentle side . “Once a Mecklenburger gets to know you and becomes your friend, you can rely on him totally”, explains Uwe proudly. Away from the coast and towards the city

The coastal dwellers in this neck of the woods are quiet types. If you like living alongside mother nature, then you’ll be a happy soul in Mecklenburg. “Why should I worry about problems which might not ever even arise?” -- that’s the way people operate around here. They just let life happen. Besides, you often can’t do anything about things anyway.

Fertile and beautiful though the region’s hinterland may be, it is the sea that shapes the way of life in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Rostock, the biggest city and economic driving force is almost entirely dependent upon its port. Vestiges of the glory of this old hanseatic city are still to be seen today: splendid patricians’ villas and typically north-German gothic brick buildings line the city’s cobbled streets.

Younger people are drawn to Rostock by its university, which lends the city a more cosmopolitan flair. 200,000 of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s 1.7million live in Rostock. And in this corner of the region, the Mecklenburgers are not at all as you would expect them to be: rather than sitting on his tod in his peaked cap, staring silently into his beer glass and retreating into the safe world of the self, the chic Mecklenburger from Rostock is more likely to be sipping a latte macchiato and posing with sunglasses resting on his head.

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