May we introduce?

When the dirt roads are dusty already in May. When the forests are full of pines, birches and oaks. When every now and then a small lake unexpectedly flashes in front of you. And when you don't meet a soul in all this natural beauty and vastness and peace even on a sunny day in early summer. On the one hand, that's amazing. On the other hand, you're probably just in Brandenburg. The horizon is incredibly wide out there in the Uckermarkin the Prignitz region or in the Oder-Spree lake district. The light moods are especially in the morning and evening sometimes so intense that looking makes heart palpitations. You can hear cranes calling and often stand (almost) eye to eye with an astonished deer or hare. And all this happens less than 100 kilometers from Berlin.

Of course, there are also areas here where you are not so much to yourself: on a beautiful weekend around Buckow, for example, where Brecht once lived and which Wolf Biermann sings about so beautifully: "(...) it was in Buckow at cherry blossom time". At Spreewald with its idyllic system of canals, which excursionists like to navigate in punts. And in Potsdam(no, the city is not a suburb of Berlin, the capitals have really had bad luck!) with its world-famous Prussian parks and castles, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But the wonderful rest is jwd, as they say here - janz weit draußen. Lakes twinkle everywhere, reeds rustle, pines rustle. Some of the waters are crystal clear, such as the Stechlinsee in northwest Berlin or the small Tonsee in the southeast. There are many charming rivers, such as the Havel, Elbe, the Oder, the Spree or the Dosse and a new artificial lake district in the region of the open-cast lignite mine around Senftenberg, which is currently being created piece by piece.

Brandenburg also has interesting cities - besides Potsdam Cottbus, for example, Brandenburg on the Havel, Wittstock and Neuruppin. But above all, it's a great destination for being outdoors in nature: You can take off by sailboat, raft or canoe, explore nature parks and small villages by bike or on foot, experience culture or simply do nothing for a change: Just dangle your feet in the water, look out over the moor, just listen to the birds again. If you ask Brandenburgers what makes their home, they don't say much at first (which is also typical of Brandenburg). But you do learn a little bit: that they love the originality of the landscape and simplicity. That their humor is no less pronounced than that of the Berliners, but less pointed. That they are straightforward and pragmatic (you always had to make do with what you had). That they stick together in the village. And that there's one thing they really don't like: when people from somewhere else buy houses, fields and forests in a big-headed way and then immediately know everything better. The Brandenburg writer Juli Zeh described such a scenario in her novel Unterleuten.

Actually, however, a thoroughly functioning urban-rural mixed culture has long since emerged in many places in the nearer and farther sprawl around Berlin. Many Berliners are realizing their dream of rural life in Brandenburg. There are a number of interesting projects - Coconat in Bad Belzig, for example, one of the first coworking spaces in Brandenburg, where creative people can retreat to write or brainstorm with like-minded people. Or the project house in Potsdam, a multigenerational project with workshops and course offerings. Everywhere you can find special places: mansions converted into vacation homes, permaculture farms, creative learning places, farm stores, potteries, organic farms, art projects. So there is jwd also a lot of exciting to discover.

Short and crisp

Brandenburg's greatest treasure is nature - the state has 15 National Natural Landscapes covering about a third of the state's area: eleven nature parks, three biosphere reserves and the Lower Oder Valley National Park. There are 3,000 lakes and 30,000 kilometers of rivers, which is why the area surrounding Berlin is considered Germany's most water-rich state. Tourism has been growing slowly but quite steadily for years - in 2019 it was already almost 14 million overnight stays. Of course, day tourism is also important for the area around Berlin: Around 92.3 million day trips are made to and from Brandenburg every year.


Potatoes, Teltow turnips and Beelitz asparagus grow particularly well in Brandenburg's sandy soil. The latter thrives in the southwest of Berlin between Elbe, Havel and Spree rivers. In addition to potatoes, fish from the regional lakes and rivers of course plays an important role in the cuisine of the country - and in the fall also game. Quality linseed oil is a good souvenir. Otherwise, you can find a few regional specialties: Knieperkohl from the Prignitz, a dish made from several types of cabbage. Yeast pancakes, a kind of pancake that can be eaten especially in the Spreewald makes. Or Fürst Pückler ice cream - a specialty made from several types of ice cream. Brandenburgers like to sit right by the water - and especially like to eat there, too. There are also a few star restaurants and top chefs. But actually, people like it simple and uncomplicated here, but that doesn't mean it's any less quality.

The berlinern yes ooch

Do they really? The Brandenburgers themselves, of course, think that there are big differences. But in the end, the variant spoken in the capital and around it is called the Berlin-Brandenburg colloquial language. It probably developed from a mixture of Low German, which was originally widespread in Brandenburg, and Saxon, which was spoken south of the state. Low German, now recognized as a minority language in its own right, is still spoken in Prignitz and the Uckermarkbut also spoken in Havelland and Fläming. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the people of Brandenburg can still speak Low German more or less well. And the rest? They just speak Berlin, like this:

You understand ooch jarnüscht, wa?! - But you are slow on the uptake!
No hair on your head, but a comb in your pocket! - Designation for a dazzler/advertiser
Lieba een bisken mehr, aba dafür wat Jutes - rather a little more, but something good for it
We'll rock the baby - we'll get it right
ick rejoice - I am happy
Kiek ma - look
weeste - appended to the end of the sentence: not true
cutie - beautiful
oll - old
(dit) fetzt - (that) is fun
loofen - run
Beene - legs

Cover photo: The waters of the Uckermark are ideal for a tour by canoe © TMB-Fotoarchiv / Hendrik Silbermann

More articles from Brandenburg