MV, one of the five new German Bundesländer2 (re)created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall, lies in the very northeast of the Federal Republic. It ranks among the larger Länder (6th position, with an area of 23,188.98 km2), but it is one of the least populated (14th position just before Bremen and the Saarland) with 1.642 million inhabitants at the end of 2010. Compared to the rest of Germany, it is very sparsely populated with 71 inhabitants per km2 (the German average being more than three times higher at 230 inhabitants per km2 and lower than the European average of 116 inh./km2). MV is home to a great number of villages and small and medium-sized municipalities. The capital of the Land is Schwerin (95,041 inhabitants), and Rostock (201,442 inhabitants) is its largest city. MV is geographically the gateway to the Baltic North and East and to Scandinavia, with a 377 km coastline running along the Baltic Sea (excluding indentations) and a 78 km border with Poland in the east. The two cities of Hamburg and Berlin lie respectively about 60 km west and 60 km south, and Szczecin (Stettin) 10 km east of the borders (...).