Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in German, also used in English) is the least densely populated state in Germany, with a mere 73 inhabitants per km² (three times less than the national average). With only 1,642,000 people, it is less populous than the city of Hamburg. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is also the poorest German state measured by gross regional product per capita at purchasing power parity.
Three of Germany's fourteen national parks are in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in addition to several hundred nature conservation areas. The Baltic Sea and the numerous lakes contribute to making Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the number-one tourist destination within Germany, especially popular with Berliners. The state also boast two of Europe's oldest universities (Rostock and Greifswald, both founded in the 15th century), and two cities listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Stralsund and Wismar). Yet, the most beautiful of all is undeniably Schwerin, the state capital.
Famous people from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania include (chronologically): the field marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the archeologist Heinrich Schliemann, and the Nobel Prize biochemist and pioneer geneticist Albrecht Kossel.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's constituency is the central northern part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.