Once an important industrial centre in the eastern part of Germany, Cottbus is now one of the rather underdeveloped regions of the country, with a population that is declining more and more – especially after the German reunification. Many people are looking for jobs in cities like Berlin or Dresden. The fact that one of the few major employers in the region, the Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant, currently is on the verge of being shut down, makes the situation even worse.
And yet Cottbus has a high-minded goal: by 2030, the country’s largest artificial lake is to be created in a former mining area in the outskirts of the city. That means new opportunities for the local economy, and the potential of a flourishing tourism industry. A whole decade will pass before this happens, but hope dies last.