Alfred Toepfer and the Lüneburg Heath
Boundless heathlands, quiet forests, extensive peat bogs, and clear streams – all these are characteristic features of the Lüneburger Heide nature reserve. It is one of the oldest and, extending over 234 sq km (ca. 90 sq miles), one of the largest strictly protected areas in Germany. Throughout his life, Dr. Alfred Toepfer, a Hamburg businessman, was committed to the conservation of the area’s variety of landscapes. Toepfer, who died in 1993 at the age of 99, was the founder of the F.V.S. foundation. Founded in 1931, it provided the financial means for the Verein Naturschutzpark (VNP) to buy Hof Möhr, the Moehr estate. The VNP then placed the farmstead at the state’s disposal on the condition that Lower Saxony houses an academy for nature conservation there. This institution was originally called Norddeutsche Naturschutzakademie (North-German Nature Conservation Academy); and although it changed its name in 1996 in honour of its founding father, the well-established acronym NNA is still in use.
Large parts of the nature reserve were used as military training grounds until 1994. Since then, the heathlands have been restored on wide areas; in other places, the landscape is akin to the austere beauty of the Hungarian Puszta. Camp Reinsehlen, the NNA’s conference centre, is situated right on the edge of that area.
Heathland - grazing by sheep
Heathland landscape 1932