Biosphere Reserve Spreewald and Lausitzer Seenland

Biosphere Reserve Spreewald & Lausitzer Seenland
1st Prize

The Spreewald is a unique landscape in Central Europe. After the last ice age, the Spree divided into a network of rivers that meandered through the jungle. The charm of today’s Spreewald lies in its park-like landscape with a mosaic of meadows, fields, woods and the network of rivers and canals.

The Spreewald is a man-made, yet largely natural landscape and habitat of a rich flora and fauna. In 1990, the Spreewald was declared a biosphere reserve. In 1991, it was granted UNESCO status, which included the obligation to develop this historically grown cultural landscape in a sustainable way. Today the biosphere reserve is often considered as a best practice for sustainable development, based on certified regional products, on the use of regenerative energies and on the revitalization of valuable habitats. Preserving the unique nature and – at the same time – developing it as a tourist experience is a task that is supported by all stakeholders responsible for the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve and by the citizens.

Lausitzer Seenland:
From 2000 to 2010, the IBA Fürst-Pückler-Land in Lusatia (Brandenburg) rectified a landscape in which more than 150 years of mining of lignite left their marks and changed the landscape. Creative processes helped realizing innovative uses for large-scale industrial areas, industrial buildings and other “remains” of the industrial past. The IBA has moved mountains and created new lakes.

Since the IBA, the Lausitzer Seenland e.V. continues the development of the diverse and multifunctional landscape with an emphasis on “being made by man” and requesting highest quality of use and design as well as the pursuit of the unusual. The “Lusatia Charter” serves as the base and as a model for dealing with former mining landscapes.

In the Lausitzer Seenland (Lusatian Lakeland) flora and fauna are winners of the transformation process too. Existing valuable environments have been protected and new habitats have been developed. Today, biodiversity in Lusatia is scientifically documented and at the same time a core element in the sustainable development process of this surprising cultural landscape.

Speewald and Lausitz Laudation by Jacob Fischer