From death strip to nature paradise

17 August 2017
Nature reserve in Brandenburg

Green Belt: nature reserve that is witnessed history

Today the 1400km long strip of the former inner German border is called Green Belt. Where many people lost their lives during the separation of Germany, a natural paradise has developed over the years. Protecting and maintaining this unusual nature reserve is an important task.

During the decades as inaccessible border strip, nature in the area was undisturbed by the outside. As it was the infamous border during German separation, the biotope can today be seen as an important memorial of contemporary history with lots of memories of these times all over the area. A former watch tower in Hoyersburg or historic villages are just a few examples for what sits next to the 190km bicycle path between Wendland and Altmark.

In 1989, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall the German NGO BUND (German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation) organised a first meeting between East and West German conservationists. As a result of this meeting a common declaration that embossed the term Green Belt (Grünes Band) was published. The area is now home to 1.200 animals and plants in danger of extinction and connects nine German federal states in a very special way.

Additionally it has been classified as German National Natural Heritage since November 2005 and part of the National Strategy on Biological Diversity of the German Government.

Closing the gaps that still exist along the Green Belt is one of the priorities of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. It has recently increased efforts and together with locals works together to build corridors between the different habitats, which is essential for the preservation of the project for future generations

European Green Belt

It was not only Germany that was separated by mines and fences. The Iron Curtain divided the whole of Europe. Today the project Green Belt Europe connects 24 countries with 12.500km of biotopes that developed along their former borders.

Click here for more information in German.

© German Embassy London

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