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MeckPomm, RhinePal and BadWürt

Are the long, unwieldy names of the German regions holding back tourism? We think so.

Let’s face it, the popular tourist destination of Baden-Württemberg is a helluva mouthful for non-German-speaking visitors. It has a poor brand profile on the international market, and it doesn’t have much recognition factor either. You might know (part of) it better as the Black Forest. In fact, most visitors to the Black Forest will know nothing of Baden-Württemberg.

Another very popular region, the Rhineland-Palatinate, is a bit of a challenge, too, sounding like a cross between a type of rock and a metro station.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is even worse. It sounds like a disease that horses might get.

But these are key tourism destinations in Germany; besides the Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg has automotive capital Stuttgart, lovely vineyards and ancient cities like Heidelberg. Happily the regional tourism board has appreciated the problem and substituted a couple of new names for the ‘official’ title, calling the region variously ‘Southwest Germany’, which is rather nebulous, and the ‘Sunny Side of Germany’, which seems like they’re trying harder.

Meanwhile Rhineland-Palatinate, a region to the north of B-W which includes the lovely Mosel valley and the vineyards and castles of the Rhine, has subtitled itself as ‘Romantic Germany’, which just about works, although it is pretty unhelpful when you try to find it on a map.

Over in the east, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of Germany’s biggest landes covering a huge area north of Berlin which includes extensive lakeland and Germany’s most striking coastline, all the way along the Baltic Sea. Its official translated name is ‘Mecklenburg Western Pomerania’, but that clearly is no help at all, so it has taken to subtitling itself the ‘Best of Northern Germany’. Or even just ‘MeckPomm’ to its friends.

And that, in the end, may be the way ahead. If Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is MeckPomm, then Rhineland-Palatinate could be RhinePal, which means Baden-Württemberg becomes… BadWürt. Ah well, two of three ain’t bad.

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