The Isle of Vilm - an island with a history
The Isle of Vilm, 94 hectares in area, is a beautiful nature paradise, a Baltic Sea coast treasure.
Some 6,000 years ago, waves of the rising Litorina Sea formed an island from moraines that glaciers had left during the most recent ice age (12,000 years ago). The island's natural appearance has changed constantly since then and still continues to change.
The Isle of Vilm's great natural diversity is without parallel in the entire southern Baltic region. Not only does Vilm have nearly all types of coasts found in the southern Baltic, its coastlines are linked by never-ending processes of erosion and land formation. Vilm's flora and fauna have developed within an almost pristine wilderness; only very few other places in Germany remain as untouched as Vilm. Vilm's forests of ancient oak and magnificent beech are among the most impressive in all northern Germany.
The island's natural beauty has long fascinated people. The first steps to protect its ancient forest from logging were taken back in 1812. In 1936, the Isle of Vilm was set aside as a nature reserve; since 1990, it has been one of the core areas of the Southeast-Rügen Biosphere Reserve. Today, the island is administered by the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and is open to interested visitors for tours Booking at www.vilmexkursion.de.
Vilm's historical record reveals that the island was home to early Stone Age people, was a holy site for ancient Slaves and was a medieval Christian pilgrimage site and hermitage. It was used as a princely summer residence in the early 19th century, and it has long been an important site for landscape painters. From 1960 to 1990, the GDR maintained a holiday resort for the GDR council of ministers on the Isle of Vilm.
The inspiring power of the island's natural beauty is most apparent in paintings: over the past 200 years, Vilm has been a mecca for over 350 painters, representing virtually all phases and schools of German landscape painting beginning with Caspar David Friedrich.