Germany Quiz Nr. 5: The Answers to the Questions on Mecklenburg Pommerania

The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011
The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011

And now the answers to the Germany Quiz on Mecklenburg-Pommerania. There are many reasons why the state is so special to Germans. It is the state where many people growing up before and after 1990 went to for their vacation, both while growing up as well as while having families. For many foreigners and expatriates, it is a jewel where nature and history go hand in hand. Much of the state was not affected by World War II and the bombings that devastated much of Germany. And lastly, as you will see in the answer sheet to this quiz, there are many places to visit if you have not been there yet.  So without further ado, lets look at the reasons why we should visit the northeastern most state in the Bundesrepublik, shall we?

MATRIX:

MV Cities

1. What is the capital of Mecklenburg-Pommerania?      ANS: Schwerin

2. What is the largest city in Meck-Pomm?       ANS: Rostock

3. Which of the places in the matrix are islands?     ANS: Usedom and Rügen

4. Which of the places in the matrix is a lake?  ANS: Müritz

5. Name two cities whose respective universities are among the oldest in Europe.   ANS: Rostock and Greifswald   FAQ: The University of Rostock was founded in 1419, while the university in Greifswald was established 37 years later. 

5a. Which other cities have colleges?   ANS: Güstrow, Schwerin, Stralsund, Neubrandenburg and Wismar

6. Prior to 1945, Pommerania was considered one of the states belonging to first the Prussian kingdom and later the German Empire. The eastern half was given to Poland through the usage of the Oder-Neisse border implemented by the Soviets in 1946 and respected by Helmut Kohl in 1990 at the time of German Reunification. There are six former German cities that belong to the Polish part of  Pommerania. Which ones are they?

ANS: Stettin, Swinemünde, Pyritz, Bütow, Rummelsberg and Greifenberg

7. Which town (mythical, according to sources) sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea because of a major tide?

ANS: Vineta  (Note: A separate article is in the works…..)

8. The Störtebeker Festival, the largest and most popular open-air action festival in Germany, can be found on which island?

ANS: Rügen

9. The Ozeanum, a large maritime museum that also engages in marine reasearch, can be found in this city?

ANS: Stralsund

10. A museum, devoted to the works of Caspar David Friedrich, can be found in which city?  

ANS: Greifswald

11. Which two  towns on Usedom Island are known for its mass tourism? Hint: One are located close to the Polish border.

ANS: Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf. Ahlbeck is at the Polish Border and is known for its border shops. Wild card is Trassenheide, but it is located on the western end of the island. 

12. The _______________, Germany’s lone narrow-gauge railroad, can be found on this island?

ANS1: Rasender Roland   ANS2: Rügen

13. Which two places in Meck-Pomm can you experience the Slavic way of life? (Note: The Slavic tribes settled in the eastern part of Germany between the 9th and 12th Centuries before being driven away by Germanic tribes).

ANS: Arkona and Neustrelitz

14. Mecklenburg Pommerania is the only state in Germany (and one of only a handful of states left in the world) that has all three types of movable bridges left standing (Swing Bridge, Vertical Lift, and Bascule). Where are they located? (Hint: please click on the highlighted links to know more about what they are and what they look like)

ANS: 

The Peenebrücke in Wolgast, built in 2000 and nicknamed the Blue Wonder, is a single leaf bascule bridge that serves rail and road traffic between the main land and the island of Usedom. It replaced a draw bridge that was destroyed in World War II.

The Hubbrücke at Karnin was built in 1908 and featured a vertical lift main span and several through truss spans. The bridge was substantially damaged in World War II resulting in all but the vertical lift span to be removed by the 1960s. That remaining span still exists today and is considered a historic monument. Plans are in the making to revive the rail line which also goes to Usedom from Ducherow. This includes either restoring or replacing the bridge.

The Hubbrücke at Plaue is another vertical lift bridge that is in service. Built in 1916, this bridge, which features a deck plate girder span, can rise to 1.86 meters above the street, making it the highest functioning vertical lift bridge in the state. Prior to its construction in 1916, a double leaf bascule bridge once existed.

The Wieck Bridge in Greifswald, built in 1887, is one of the oldest functioning double leaf bascule bridges in Germany and the oldest in Mecklenburg Pommerania

Meiningen Swing Bridge, built in 1912, is located in Bresewitz. It is the lone functioning swing bridge in the state and features several Warren pony truss approach spans, a polygonal Warren through truss span and a swing span resembling a cantilever Warren through truss span.

15. Which town in Meck-Pomm once had the longest multiple span bridge in Germany, with 20+ spans? (Today, only eight of these spans exist along the River Elbe)

ANS: Dömitz.  The Dömitz Bridge spanned the Elbe River and was once owned by the German Railways. Five of the spans were either damaged or destroyed in World War II.  During the Cold War, in an attempt to halt any attempts of escaping to the west, the East German government tore down their half of the remaining spans leaving the western half under jurisdiction of Lower Saxony, which preserved it as a historical monument. The remains of the bridge is now privately owned. 

16. One of the major attractions that is a must-see is one of the largest submarines ever built in Germany. This exhibit and museum is located in this city?

ANS: Sassnitz

17. The Mecklenburg Festival, which is devoted to classic music, can be found in this city?

ANS: Schwerin (as its main location), yet other concerts take place in churches and castles throughout the state.

18. The Swedish Festival, which commemorates the conquest of the Swedes in the 1700s, can be found in which city?

ANS: Wismar.  

FAQ: The city was taken by the Swedish kingdom twice: 1632 and held until 1648 and through the war with the Danish Kingdom in 1712. The kingdom held control of the city until 1903, when it was returned to the German empire. 

19.  The widest beach in Germany (measured as 3 km from the sea to land) can be found in the area of this city? Hint: You can see the teapot lighthouse as well as one of the oldest active lighthouses along the Baltic Sea in Germany.

ANS: Rostock- specifically in Warnemünde.

20. You can enjoy a fish sandwich and cheer for your favorite soccer Bundesliga team in this city?  (Also identify name of the soccer team).  ANS: Rostock and the team: FC Hansa Rostock

Zinnowitz.
Herringsdorf.

MIX:

1. How many castles does Mecklenburg-Pommerania have? Can you name at least three of them? 

ANS: You won’t believe this but: nearly 2000 castles, palaces and manors exist in the state. There are too many to name, but one can find palaces in Rostock, Wismar, Schwerin, Greifswald, Neustrelitz, Neubrandenburg and the Island of Rügen

2. Schwerin is located in the area known as the Seven Seas. True or False?

ANS: True. Seven lakes can be found in and around Schwerin, three of which surround Schwerin Castle, a popular tourist attraction and the place where the state government carries out their daily duties.

3. Which cities in Meck-Pomm have zoos and other animal parks and can you name at least one of them?

ANS: There are plenty of possibilities to visit the animals at zoos in Stralsund (3x), Schwerin, Neustrelitz, Rostock and Wismar.

4. Rote Grütze is the German version of Jello and is the main desert in Meck-Pomm. True or False?  

ANS: False.

FAQ:Jello is an American form of gelatin that is wobbly when made. You don’t find that in Rote Grütze as it features fruit pudding (that is NOT wobbly) coated in vanilla creme. 

5. The main delicacy in Meck-Pomm is fish.  True or False?   ANS: If someone says FALSE, then he doesn’t know the state. 😉   FISH is the flagship of the state’s delicacy- regardless of type and how they are fried, smoked, or cooked. Answer is TRUE!

6. The main fruit in the state, with which you can make juice or marmalade is….

a. Strawberry    b. Sandorn      c. Peach       d. Wildberries       e. Gooseberry      

CAN YOU SPEAK PLATTDEUTSCH?  Guess which word is Plattdeutsch, the local language of Meck-Pomm and other parts of northern Germany. An English equivalent is provided.   NOTE: Answers are in bold and italicized print

1. Frau (EN: Lady/Woman)

a. Fräulein            b. Fru                c. Frilein          d. Free

2. Zeit (EN: Time)

a. Tied                  b. tiid                c. tea               d. tut

3. Haus (EN: House)

a. Houd                b. Hiess          c. Huus              d. Hoose

4. Freund (-in) (EN: Partner)

a. Uhiesscher      b. Macker       c. Freon           d. Froin

To close things off with this quiz, I would like to finish the quiz with a song sung in low German (Plattdeutsch) entitled Mein Heimat. Sung near Warnemünde near Rostock, the a group of sailors provide you with an example of how Platdeutsch is spoken. You can find the lyrics here. Enjoy! 🙂

Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.
Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.

FF 25 Logo

Germany Quiz Nr. 5: What to Know about Mecklenburg-Pommerania (Germ.: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011
The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011

Mecklenburg-Pommerania- a hidden jewel in Germany. Many people consider the northeasternmost state, which borders Poland to the east, Brandenburg to the south as well as Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein to the west, to be desolate, with many dying villages, abandoned industries, and fewer but older people. It is understandable for thanks to the pre-1990 industry disappearing combined with the constant emigration of people ages 30 and younger, the state, with 1.6 million inhabitants, has the sparsest population per square kilometer (69 inhabitants per square kilometer) and the second lowest population in all of Germany. This does not count the three German City-States of Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin.

But Mecklenburg-Pommerania does have one shining light, which attracts people to this region more than in other regions along the Baltic and North Seas. Apart from its shipping, tourism is the primary industry for the state, as the state has led the country in terms of visits and lodging. In 2012, the state set a record for the number of tourists in the season, which starts in April and ends in October, counting the shoulder months.  What makes Meck-Pomm so attractive is for starters:

  1. The state has three national parks, making it the state with the most number in Germany.

  2. Two of the cities, Stralsund and Wismar, are World Heritage Sites

  3. Two of the largest islands in Germany are in this state.

  4. The state has the longest coastal area of all of Germany, with over 2000 km of coast line.

  5. Thanks to the glaciers, Meck-Pomm has one of the flattest landscapes in Germany with hills and cliff areas located in Rügen and in the vicinity of Rostock.

There are many other factors that make Meck-Pomm a popular attraction for tourists and therefore, the Files has a rather unique Germany Quiz, designed to give you an incentive to visit the places to be mentioned below. The quiz consists of the Matrix portion, where you can choose one or more cities to answer the questions. Here, you might want to consider looking at the cities and other places first before answering the questions to not only avoid any frustration but provide you with some ideas of where to go for your next vacation. The second and third parts are much shorter, with the latter dealing with Plattdeutsch, Lower German that is spoken in Meck-Pomm.

As the quiz is long and somewhat challenging, you should allow yourself some time to answer the questions. Therefore the answers will come on the 31st of May in the Files. This will allow plenty of time to test your knowledge with your friends and family.

So without further ado, let’s plan your trip to Meck-Pomm, shall we?  🙂

MATRIX:

MV Cities

1. What is the capital of Mecklenburg-Pommerania?

2. What is the largest city in Meck-Pomm?

3. Which of the places in the matrix are islands?

4. Which of the places in the matrix is a lake?

5. Name two cities whose respective universities are among the oldest in Europe.

5a. Which other cities have colleges?

6. Prior to 1945, Pommerania was considered one of the states belonging to first the Prussian kingdom and later the German Empire. The eastern half was given to Poland through the usage of the Oder-Neisse border implemented by the Soviets in 1946 and respected by Helmut Kohl in 1990 at the time of German Reunification. There are six former German cities that belong to the Polish part of  Pommerania. Which ones are they?

7. Which town (mythical, according to sources) sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea because of a major tide?

8. The Störtebeker Festival, the largest and most popular open-air action festival in Germany, can be found on which island?

9. The Ozeanum, a large maritime museum that also engages in marine reasearch, can be found in this city?

10. A museum, devoted to the works of Caspar David Friedrich, can be found in which city?

11. Which two  towns on Usedom Island are known for its mass tourism? Hint: One are located close to the Polish border.

12. The _______________, Germany’s lone narrow-gauge railroad, can be found on this island?

13. Which two places in Meck-Pomm can you experience the Slavic way of life? (Note: The Slavic tribes settled in the eastern part of Germany between the 9th and 12th Centuries before being driven away by Germanic tribes).

14. Mecklenburg Pommerania is the only state in Germany (and one of only a handful of states left in the world) that has all three types of movable bridges left standing (Swing Bridge, Vertical Lift, and Bascule). Where are they located? (Hint: please click on the highlighted links to know more about what they are and what they look like)

15. Which town in Meck-Pomm once had the longest multiple span bridge in Germany, with 20+ spans? (Today, only eight of these spans exist along the River Elbe)

16. One of the major attractions that is a must-see is one of the largest submarines ever built in Germany. This exhibit and museum is located in this city?

17. The Mecklenburg Festival, which is devoted to classic music, can be found in this city?

18. The Swedish Festival, which commemorates the conquest of the Swedes in the 1700s, can be found in which city?

19.  The widest beach in Germany (measured as 3 km from the sea to land) can be found in the area of this city? Hint: You can see the teapot lighthouse as well as one of the oldest active lighthouses along the Baltic Sea in Germany.

20. You can enjoy a fish sandwich and cheer for your favorite soccer Bundesliga team in this city?  (Also identify name of the soccer team).

Zinnowitz.
Herringsdorf.

MIX:

1. How many castles does Mecklenburg-Pommerania have? Can you name at least three of them? 

2. Schwerin is located in the area known as the Seven Seas. True or False?

3. Which cities in Meck-Pomm have zoos and other animal parks and can you name at least one of them?

4. Rote Grütze is the German version of Jello and is the main desert in Meck-Pomm. True or False?

5. The main delicacy in Meck-Pomm is fish.  True or False?

6. The main fruit in the state, with which you can make juice or marmalade is….

a. Strawberry    b. Sandorn      c. Peach       d. Wildberries       e. Gooseberry

CAN YOU SPEAK PLATTDEUTSCH?  Guess which word is Plattdeutsch, the local language of Meck-Pomm and other parts of northern Germany. An English equivalent is provided.

1. Frau (EN: Lady/Woman)

a. Fräulein            b. Fru                c. Frilein          d. Free

2. Zeit (EN: Time)

a. Tied                  b. tiid                c. tea               d. tut

3. Haus (EN: House)

a. Houd                b. Hiess          c. Hus              d. Hoose

4. Freund (-in) (EN: Partner)

a. Uhiesscher      b. Macker       c. Freon           d. Froin

Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.
Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.

FF 25 Logo

 

More Bike Space Needed, Please.

This Easter kicks off the start of the biking season over here in Germany (and parts of Europe). After months of having the bikes in the garages for many months due to a rather wintry season with more snow than what the continent is used to, cyclists, like yours truly are taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather by packing the bikes and whatever they can use for on the way and head hundreds of kilometers away from their homes to their destinations, so that they can see many new places and pedal many kilometers, whether it is a nice 20 km scenic tour or a marathon of over 110 km long. It all depends on preference mainly, although some people go to extremes only to pay the price physically in the end.

For many who are taking their bikes with to their destinations, it is not unusual to load them up on the trains and take off with them. It’s easier than having to load them up on top of their cars or in the back of their trucks, and one only needs to pay for train fare for himself and the bike. Sadly though, as you can see in the picture, the German Railways (Die Bahn) are trying to indirectly discourage that possibility, as there are too many bikes clogging up the train. Now why would railway services, like Die Bahn would want to do that?

Photo taken by the author enroute to Hamburg on the IC

 

 

The explanation is cause and effect. In Germany (and you can also include the rest of Europe as they have the same issue), it is too expensive to own a car. Apart from the very high gas prices (please refer to my last column on dictating our driving habits), one has to worry about paying taxes for the car- let alone car insurance which is twice as expensive as in the United States (in most cases). Furthermore, it is obligatory to have your car inspected annually to ensure that it functions properly. The so-called TÜV inspection ensures that cars that do not meet strict requirements, such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions and eliminating harmful gases produced by the exhaust system, the car engine making minimum noise while in operation, and the outer body looking like brand new, are taken off the roads unless the problems are corrected. In a way, it encourages more business on the part of the car dealers and law enforcement agencies and safety on the part of the drivers. But by the same token, it discourages many drivers from purchasing a car and use alternative forms of transportation instead, such as bus, streetcar, bike, and the train.

Problem with the alternative with train and bike is  not just the overcrowding of bikes, but the lack of availability of coaches to store the bikes. While one can take their bikes onto a regional service train at no cost (most of the time, that is), these trains stop at every single train station at every town, big or small, resulting in the travel time being three times as long as it would be, if one would use long-distance train services, which travels faster and stops at only the big and most popular stations, like in Frankfurt (Main), Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg, for example.  The fastest long-distance train service in Germany is the ICE, which travels up to 300 km/h. The second quickest is the Inter City, which can clock in a maximum speed of 250 km/h. Yet the IC is the only one that provides the cyclists with the possibility to take the bike on board, even though they have to reserve a spot at a small price.  The problem with this possibility is the fact that the bike reservations on the ICs are as limited as the number of these trains that are still running on the tracks. And it will only get worse in the next decade, as many changes by Die Bahn is forcing many to either adapt to the changes or consider alternatives. First and foremost, the ICs are retiring, as many of the coaches have been in operation for 30-40 years and despite consistent renovations, they are approaching the end of their useful lives. At the same time however, the newest version of the ICE, the ICx will make its debut as early as 2017, which will make the ICs and the first two generations of the ICE trains obsolete. There are currently four types in operation: The ICE I, which has been in service since 1990, the ICE II (since 1993), the ICE T (since 2000) and the ICE III (since 2004). All four of these types cannot accommodate the bikes and are therefore forbidden to take aboard unless one wants to face legal action.  Also disturbing is the possible elimination of ICE routes as they are either considered non-profitable or are being bypassed with more efficient routes. This includes the weaning of the route Stralsund- Berlin-Leipzig-Weimar-Erfurt-Kassel-Dortmund-Cologne off the ICs and replacing them with regional services, which has caused some massive protests from those who want a quick route to either the Cathedral in Cologne and points in the Ruhrgebiet (an industrial area where Dortmund and Cologne are located) or the Baltic Sea, in places like Stralsund, or the islands of Rügen and Usedom [Oooh-se-dome]. Another route, the Berlin-Leipzig-Erfurt-Nuremberg route is getting a new route, which would go through Suhl instead of Naumburg, Jena and Lichtenfels and with that, the treacherous mountains located between Saalfeld and Lichtenfels. While it may cut down the amount of time because the trains will go through a series of bridges and tunnels, there are concerns that Jena and Naumburg may end up without long-distance train services, a discussion that was brought up last year in Jena, as the city of 120,000 inhabitants is the center of its optical industry and has two renowned universities that are focused on the sciences.

Regional services do have three advantages. First it better serves the communities as the trains stop at all stations and towns, big or small. People are more connected as they meet and get to know each other, and one can load their bikes on the train and take them to their destinations, no matter where they go, for free. But this privilege will not last for long. Already in some places, like Hesse, the trains now have limitations for the number of bikes allowed on board. And in Bavaria, bike fees are being imposed on certain routes. One wonders whether these restrictions will actually do more harm to Die Bahn and its profits, let alone the customers; especially those who do not want to resort to the car to load their bikes and go to their destinations, if they can help it.

Inside a regional train service enroute to Flensburg. Photo taken by the author.

 

 

While the situation is still bearable, it will be a matter of time before the frustration between the customers with the bikes and Die Bahn come to a boil and that solutions offering flexibility will have to be found. This includes looking at neighboring countries for references, as their systems are more complex but more logical than what Die Bahn is offering. This includes the rail service in Switzerland (the SBB), where bikes are allowed on any train regardless of whether it is the regional services or the quickest service, the ICN, which runs services between Basel, Geneva, and Zurich. The reintroduction of InterRegio services, which was discontinued in 2006, would provide passengers with better connections to medium-sized communities and more space for the bikes. This is one service that the SBB still retains alongside its InterCity services. And lastly, to better serve the customers, having more train services running regularly- namely three per hour in the more populated areas- would provide the passengers with more opportunities to travel and trains with more space for the bikes. This is being practiced in Switzerland; especially in the corridor of Geneva-Montreaux-Bern as well as Montreaux-Sion-Lugano, for example.

Whether Die Bahn will look to other sources for references or find other creative ideas on their own depends on the costs, let alone the supply vs. demand- namely what the customers want and what the rail service can provide them in order for them to be satisfied. No matter what the case may be, many people are not going to let any train service put them down. They will do whatever it takes to travel by train; especially now because of the increasing oil prices, which shows no signs of slowing down at all. And on a beautiful weekend, like Easter, with temperatures between 20 and 30°C and mostly sunny skies, many people, like myself, are taking the bikes into the trains and travelling to their destinations, where they will hit the trails and see the places that they want to see, but without the use of a set of wheels that has guzzled one liter of gas too many.

 

LINK: http://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/trains/overview/ice.shtml (All the information on the trains of the German Railways Die Bahn can be found here).

http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/services/wissen/velo/veloselbstverlad-schweiz/veloselbstverlad-icn.htm (Info on the SBB’s ICN train and it’s availability to bikers)