Brandenburg: an overview | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 18.11.2009
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Brandenburg: an overview

Brandenburg is often called the bedroom community of Berlin, but that characterization doesn't do it justice. After all, the state is more about gorgeous nature than commuting.

A picture of the steps at Sanssouci castle in Potsdam

Sanssouci Castle in Potsdam is one of the state's best-known landmarks

Brandenburg in northeastern Germany is one of the biggest states in the country. Its capital, Potsdam, was historically the seat of power of the Prussian rulers. The region's many palaces and parks attest to that history, and its architectural beauty and proximity to Berlin give Brandenburg a reputation for having a high quality of life.

Expansive nature reserves

But Brandenburg's most impressive calling card is its expansive nature reserves. A third of the state is protected land, with numerous rivers, around 3,000 lakes, tree-lined roads, and old-growth forests providing a playground for nature-loving tourists.

A tree-lined road in fall colors

Tree-lined alleys are a common sight in Brandenburg

Brandenburg's industry is largely based on traditional metal industries, aircraft technology, and chemicals. Recently, newer industries such as environmental technology and biotech have settled in the area. And some 250 research institutes, including the Max Planck and the Frauenhofer Institutes, are in Brandenburg as well.

Origins in a Havel settlement

The name Brandenburg goes back to the original settlement of Brennaburg on the Havel, which King Heinrich I took from the Slavs. Until the 14th century, it was one of Germany's largest duchies. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Brandenburg, together with Berlin, became the political center of Prussia and Germany.

In 1947, Prussia was finally dissolved by the controlling command of the allied occupation forces. Brandenburg became part of East Germany, and it was only formed as a new state after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification, in 1990.

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