Project 19: Baltic Sea in Cottbus

Water in sight

The Cottbus-Nord open-cast mine lies right on the edge of the city. Lignite will be mined here until 2015, when the huge trench will be flooded. It will become the largest lake in Brandenburg – the Cottbuser Ostsee or »East Lake in Cottbus.« In urban planning terms, Cottbus is already on course for its future as a lakeside city.


The Cottbus-Nord open-cast mine has been in operation since 1975, and will continue to operate for some years yet. It is one of the four active open-cast mines still remaining in Lusatia. Four communities with about 900 inhabitants were destroyed to create it, including the village of Lakoma, which was a suburb of Cottbus. At the end of the nineteen-eighties, after the village’s inhabitants moved out, political changes created the hope that the community and the protected Lakomaer Teichlandschaft landscape area would be preserved. In 1992, environmental activists occupied the village; over the years, they attracted a lot of media attention and acquired transitional use agreements for the site from the city of Cottbus. When the state of Brandenburg submitted the Teichlandschaft, with its remarkable species diversity, to the EU as a Flora-Fauna-Habitat (FFH), a long-term future seemed possible. But after a protracted legal tug-of-war, the village and the FFH area were finally destroyed in 2007. Lignite will continue to be mined here until 2015.


Once Cottbus-Nord has been shut down according to plan, it will be replaced – by 2030 – with the largest lake in the Lusatian Lake Land and in Brandenburg. 1,900 hectares wide, this lake will be a new opportunity for Cottbus. But how can the biggest city in the region be sustainably combined with the biggest lake in the region? The future lake site on the former city periphery will have to be given more prominence.

In 2001, a concept competition entitled »Cottbus-Ostsee« was launched to develop an advance city periphery and landscape architecture master plan for 2030, as a collaboration between the city of Cottbus and the communities surrounding the future lake site. From 2003 to 2005, based on the ideas from this competition, the city and the IBA conducted a »future workshop,« with several student workshops. Plans included a harbour, a beach, and a lakeside stage, and these plans in turn were the basis for a shared »Master Plan Cottbuser Ostsee«, shared by all the neighbouring communities.

The planning process was supervised by the »Inselrat Cottbuser Ostsee« island council, which brings together all those involved in the working and decision-making process. The Inselrat »Cottbuser Ostsee« was founded as an advisory committee in 2002 by the IBA and the communities, the districts, the mining company, the universities, and other parties.
The main goal is to ensure a connection between the city and the lake – the former railway to Guben, which had to be diverted due to the open-cast mine, is one way of achieving this. The unused rail bed is set to be turned into a »Parkway« – an alleyway with trees and green spaces. The plans are already complete.

Construction began in 2006, with a viewing tower in Cottbus-Merzorf financed by the Vattenfall mining company. The tower provides an impressive view of the open-cast mine and the future »Ostsee« from a height of thirty-one metres. Two »lake view containers« at the foot of the viewing tower provide information, and are also venues for concerts and events. In 2009, on what will one day be the opposite bank, the Teichland community’s first tourist project was completed: a second viewing tower on the »Ostsee« and a leisure park with a dry toboggan slope.


Some of the individual projects in this shared master plan are to be implemented over the coming years, while the open-cast mine is still active. For instance, a lake theatre on the edge of the future »Ostsee« is one of the long-term plans created by the student workshop to appeal to future users of Cottbus’ new recreational area. A circular route is being built around the future lake (it should be finished by 2015) and the embankment at Schlichow is already being flattened for the future »Cottbus beach« and the planned harbour centre. The Ostseefest, with guided cycle tours, has been held every summer for the past few years to generate local interest in the future lake.

Download the master plan East Lake Cottbus (766.1 KB)

Opening times

Sights can be accessed by the public all year round; guided tours within the open-cast mine are possible upon requesting it at Vattenfall Europe Mining & Generation.

Our partners

Stadt Cottbus
Gemeinde Teichland
Gemeinde Wiesengrund
Gemeinde Neuhausen Spree


Go by car to Baltic Sea in Cottbus or by public transportation:

VBB fahrinfo - Link (mit Vorbelegung)
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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13