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National Geographic publishes in 16 languages around the world. Who better to point you to the best places to see in their countries than the editors of our international editions? Each month a real insider reveals five must-see destinations.

Klaus Liedtke “We’re a place of laptops and lederhosen, blending advanced technology with tradition,” says National Geographic Deutschland editor Klaus Liedtke. “Germany is a beautiful country with a variety of landscapes and diverse cultures.”

That mix gives the central European nation its own special flavor, which Liedtke sprinkles into the magazine’s American-produced content with the skill of a Meisterchef. He routinely sends members of his ten-person staff into the field across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to generate their own stories for the magazine, which launched in September 1999. “Most of our feature stories connect to the major articles coming from the United States,” he says. “But we produce sidebars, news items, small stories, and material for Geographica that have special appeal for our nearly one million German-speaking readers.” (See “Gypsies: Forgotten Victims of the Holocaust.”)

Liedtke has spent most of his 35-year journalism career working for his magazine’s publisher, Gruner and Jahr. Part of that time he served as chief editor of Stern, Europe’s leading illustrated weekly magazine. “After living in the United States for a time and loving it, I thought becoming the editor of NGM-Deutschland would be a good way to go back once in a while to talk to Americans,” he jokes.


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Spanish—Latin America



Coming in 2001:

We asked the editor to come up with the top five places where international visitors can experience the best of Germany. Here are his favorites:

1. Hamburg
“This is Germany’s most beautiful city if it doesn’t rain, which unfortunately occurs an average of 14 days a month all over the country. It is a harbor city built around two beautiful lakes. More bridges span Hamburg than Venice or Amsterdam, and copper spires and domes dominate the skyline. The parks, lakes, and tree-lined canals are lovely. Be sure to visit the suburb of Blankenese, a picturesque village nestled on a hill overlooking the Elbe River. In the age of tall ships, captains and ship owners used to live there. It’s the Positano of the North.”

2. Berlin
“Right now, this is the most exciting city in all of Europe. It’s loud and bustling, very much like New York. Berlin is fast changing, which is particularly interesting in light of the stagnation that took place in East Berlin when the Berlin Wall divided it from the western half of the city after World War II. Now that the Wall is down, Berlin can show off its spaciousness, greenery, broad avenues, and elegant architecture.”

3. Sylt Island
“This is one of the North Frisian Islands off the coast of Germany and Denmark in the North Sea. Its beaches are fantastic. The rich and beautiful meet here for recreation and to frequent the exclusive shops, restaurants, and clubs in villages such as Kampen. Visitors can pamper themselves in the village of Wenningstedt, a health spa and resort. For a taste of the outdoors, visit the Wattenmeer mud flats or explore the nature reserve in Hörnum.”

4. The Romantic Route
“This special route takes you from the city of Würzburg in eastern Bavaria for about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south to the city of Füssen. Along the way you’ll pass through medieval villages with wood-frame houses and hilltop castles. This is the old traditional Germany most tourists expect to see.”

5. Boat Trip Down the Rhein
“This is a great opportunity to see some of our lovely towns and cities and castles along the shore. Start in Köln and travel the river as long as you want, anywhere from two or three days to a week. This is wine country, so visitors can get off in the villages and enjoy the summer wine festivals and the coronation of different wine queens. Many Americans, including Mark Twain, have taken this trip.”

Photographs by Patrick Ward (left) and Priit Vesilind.

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