German Language Blog

German Nationalparks – Part 13: Unteres Odertal Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Culture, Language

In previous months, we have already explored a large part of the geschützte Schönheit (protected beauty) of German nature. We went to the windige Küsten (windy shores) of the Wattenmeer, the eindrucksvolle Felsen (impressive rocks) of the Sächsische Schweiz, the Jahrhunderte alten Wälder  (centuries old forests) of the Bayerischer Wald, the Erzminen (ore mines) in the Harz, the Tiger (tigers) roaming around in the Eifelthe Tausend Seen (thousand lakes) of Müritz, the hohe Gebirge (high mountain ranges) of Berchtesgaden, and the atemberaubende Natur (stunning nature) of the Schwarzwald. We discovered the bedrohten Kreidefelsen (threatened chalk cliffs) of Jasmund. We visited Hainich, and its Alte Buchen (old beeches). Then, we went to Hessen, to Kellerwald-Edersee with the Staudamm (dam) of the Edersee and its old forests. Last time, we moved north to the beautiful lagoons of the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft.

I am back! Today we will visit a park located to the border of Poland, Nationalpark Unteres Odertal. Next week, we will already visit the last (and youngest) Nationalpark of Germany. I hope that you liked the series and let me know if you would like to see more posts like this and whether it helped you to learn about German culture and the German language!

The National Parks in Germany (Image by Lencer at under license CC BY SA 3.0)

Der Nationalpark Unteres Odertal

Nationalpark Unteres Odertal is a part of the Internationalpark Unteres Odertal, which is managed together with Polen (Poland). The international park was established on May 7, 1992. This was not long after the Mauerfall and the Wende in 1989. The Nationalpark was established on September 10, 1995, and has a size of 10,500 hectares (approx. 26,000 acres). This is only a small part of the whole Internationalpark, which has a size of almost 120,000 hectares (approx. 300,000 acres). In 2015, the park celebrated its 20th Jubiläum (anniversary), for which a Dokumentarfilm (documentary) was filmed (see below).

What is special about the Nationalpark Unteres Odertal?

First of all, it is not far from the capital of Germany, Berlin, and so many Stadtmenschen (city people) come during weekends and visit the park to enjoy the nature and silence that the city lacks.

Another specialty is its strange measurements. It is very narrow and long, as it follows the river Oder. It is only 2-8 km (1-5 mi) wide, while it is around 60 km (37 mi) long!


On the left, you can clearly distinguish the Sommerdeich. (Image by Uckermaerker at under license CC BY SA 4.0)

But what is really unique about the park is its PolderLandschaft (polder landscape). Polders are a Dutch phenomenon (and word!), which you can read much more about on our Dutch blog here. The park has the only intact polder landscape in the entirety of Germany. The Flussgebiet (river basin) is surrounded by a lower Sommerdeich (summer dyke) and further apart are the Winterdeiche (winter dykes), which protect the houses that stand behind the dyke from the water when it floods. The logic to have a lower Sommerdeich and a higher Winterdeich is that most water will come through the river in the winter. In November, they open the Sommerdeiche, so that the water can flood the entire Flusstal (river valley). This way, the chance of a flooding is practically zero, and in the summer months, when the water is gone, the ground is very fertile. Then, the Sommerdeiche are enough to keep the water at bay. The valley area that is dry in the summer is used as Weide (pasture).

This environment is also great for many different kinds of animals. Many Zugvögel (migrating birds) enjoy the park a lot.


All this makes the park great for Kanufahren (canoeing). The ranger of the park explains it here. A transcript and translation are below!


Das “Team” bin ich mit meinem Hund Babett. Ich war als Kind schon auch mit Booten unterwegs, und hab’ mich einfach in die Landschaft verliebt.

Also, wenn ich im Sommer Urlaub hätte, würde ich auch Kanufahren, weil man dann einfach auch alleine sein kann.

Und mit dem Kanu kann man immer neues entdecken. Die Flüsse sind unterschiedlich schnell. Hier im Odertal geht alles ganz langsam, es gibt kein schnelles Gewässer. Und ein Stückchen weiter östlich hat man dann schon wildere Flüsse die auch schneller strömen.


The “team” is I with my dog Babett. Already as a child, I was out and about with boats, and I just fell in love with the landscape.

Well, if I had a summer holiday, I would also go canoeing, because you can then just also be alone.

And with a canoe, you can always discover something new. The rivers have different speeds. Here in the Odertal everything goes very slow, there are no rapid waters. And a bit farther east, there are already wilder rivers that also stream faster.


Another specialty: the park has its own Hymne (hymn)! You can see how that came to be in the video below, from 13.45, and hear the actual song from 18.30.

As the Nationalpark Unteres Odertal had its 20th Jubiläum in 2015, a documentary was made in its honor. It is very worthwhile, watch it below!

Would you like to visit the park?

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. joyce constantine:

    excellent series on the national parks (geschützes gebiet). Freue mich zu lernen Deutsches Nationals parks.