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The only German federal state that lies between two seas. Between these runs the Kiel Canal, the busiest man-made waterway in the world.

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The Land Schleswig-Holstein is bordered, in the north by Denmark and the Baltic, in the east by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Baltic, in the south by Hamburg and Lower Saxony and in the west by the North Sea. Schleswig-Holstein as a whole includes three major types of natural landscape, marshland, moorland and hill country, which succeed each other from west to east.

A characteristic feature of the landscape are the Knicks, hedge and wall combinations intended to mark the boundaries between fields. These provide a retreat for insects and birds and offer protection against wind and erosion. For this reason the Knicks are identified as a protected biotope (a habitat with its associated species) under Schleswig-Holstein's nature conservation legislation.

Schleswig-Holstein has some 300 lakes, covering 28,000 hectares, approximately 1.7% of the total surface area of the Land. They are home to very many animal and plant species. Endangered species such as the sea eagle have now re-established themselves here. Schleswig-Holstein has 21,700 km of rivers and streams – something like half the circumference of the earth! They provide habitats for the otter and the kingfisher and are a paradise for canoeists.

Schleswig-Holstein is a modern region with an old tradition. It has the mediaeval Hanseatic city of Luebeck, Gothic churches in brick, and a countryside scattered with historic castles and manor houses now open to the public, set among trees and lakes in the East, or rising from marshy meadows in the West. Artists, festivals, museums and concerts contribute to the distinctive atmosphere of the Land between the Seas. Where else could one find an internationally renowned music festival, the homes of Nobel-prize-winners Thomas Mann and Gunter Grass, a Nordic Film Festival equally Baltic, and an impressive range of museums whose exhibits extend from the more-than-2000-year-old Nydam boat to the paintings of Emil Nolde?

There is much music-making in Schleswig-Holstein, from brass bands to pop, from classical choral and orchestral music to shanty-singing and folk. In addition to the music education in schools, 20 public music schools offer an introduction to music to some 23,000 pupils each year. Several festivals have an international reputation: the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival of classical music, focusing on a different country each time, the well-known Luebeck Nordic Film Festival, and Jazz Baltica, both part of the Ars Baltica network. And in Bad Segeberg every year the Karl-May-Spiele, celebrating the famous writer, gives grown-ups an opportunity to play at Indians.

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