Natur » Natural Landscapes » Lower Oder Valley National Park

Lower Oder Valley National Park

(Nationalpark Unteres Odertal)

Size: 10,323 ha, broken down as follows:

  • Woodland 1,950 hectares = 19 per cent
  • Grazing land 1,895 hectares = 18 per cent
  • Mown grassland 4,500 hectares = 43 per cent
  • Open country 735 hectares = 7 per cent
  • Watercourses 1,420 hectares = 13 per cent
  • Zone Ia (existing wilderness area) and Zone Ib (planned wilderness area): 5,183 hectares = 50.1 per cent
  • Zone II (cultivation zone): 5,140 hectares = 49.9 per cent

The Lower Oder Valley in the north of Brandenburg is directly on the border between Germany and Poland and is one of the few near-natural alluvial meadow landscapes in Central Europe. The narrow valley flanked by the Oder hillsides is the only National Park with riverbank scenery in the 14-strong family of German National Parks, all united by one simple principle – "Let nature be nature". National Parks are islands of uninterrupted wilderness in Germany with its intensive land use and are of inestimable value for the conservation of the national natural landscapes.
The National Park has its attractions in every season of the year. The low autumn mist shrouds the large flocks of cranes and geese as they fly through the lowlands, and in the cold winters stillness reigns beneath the frost-covered meadows accompanied by the almost silent ice drift on the River Oder. The lure of spring awakening brings the clamorous sound of flocks of birds to the wetlands. In the summer there is a glorious display of flowering marsh plants and aquatic plants on the many shores along the oxbow channels. The National Park is best known as a breeding and resting ground for birds and a place where they spend the winter. Up to 35,000 white-fronted geese, 30,000 bean geese, 17,000 mallards, 15,000 wigeons, 8,000 teals and 9,000 northern pintails have been counted resting here. Around 200,000 aquatic birds make their way through the Oder lowlands in the autumn or spring. Every year in October up to 15,000 cranes take to their roosts in the north of the Oder Valley for a few weeks. In the past years 284 species of bird have been spotted in the Lower Oder Valley, 161 of which breed here. The densely wooded slopes at the edges of the valley in particular are established breeding grounds for rare large birds like the sea eagle, lesser spotted eagle, crane and black stork. The only place left in Germany where the aquatic warbler will raise its young is the Lower Oder Valley, and the breeding incidence of the corncrake in the National Park is one of the largest in Germany with up to 200 baby birds.
The bird kingdom is not the only unique phenomenon. With 50 species of mammal, 11 species of amphibian, 6 species of reptile and 49 species of fish, the Oder lowlands offer a major sanctuary for rare vertebrates. Following recolonisation projects in the Middle Oder in the 1970s and 1980s, there are now 50 beaver settlements again in the National Park.
The diversity of species also continues in the plant life. Still waters in the former river channels covered in water lily and floating moss are just as much part of the National Park as varicoloured marsh areas. Then there are the rugged remains of the alluvial forests and near-natural mixed deciduous forests on the Oder hillsides. The flowering dry grasslands are a very distinctive feature and form the north-west limit for many flora and fauna of the steppes.
The calm, expanse and solitude of the Lower Oder Valley are waiting to be experienced on foot and are best encountered by bicycle on more than 120 kilometres of embankment paths. The Polish landscape conservation parks are accessible from Schwedt and Mescherin. It is worth going on a guided canoe tour between the middle of July and the middle of November in order to sample the fascinating world of waterways in the Lower Oder Valley. Guided tours, excursions and nature discovery walks are offered almost every weekend.
The National Park Centre in Criewen devotes 400 square metres to an exhibition on the nature and landscape of the Lower Oder Valley. There are more than 20 native species of fish swimming in the 15,000 litres of water in the Oder aquarium. Guided tours are held every day with the expert input of the Naturwacht rangers.


Nationalparkhaus Criewen
Park 2
16303 Schwedt, OT Criewen

Tel.: (0 33 32) 2 67 72 44
E-Mail: nationalpark-unteres-odertal @

Photographs of the Lower Oder Valley National Park