Dr. Ulrike Mattig, Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education,
Research and the Arts, D-65185 Wiesbaden, Rheinstraße 23-25,
The first four Geoparks in Germany were certified on 16 December 2002 by an expert group of the Alfred Wegener Foundation (AWS): Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald, Geopark Harz-Braunschweiger Land-Ostfalen, Geopark Glacial Landscape Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Geopark Suevian Alb. This ended a project that had led from the first discussions of a largely unknown word to the preparation of general guidelines and then concrete rules for the awarding of the designation as a national geopark and the evaluation of applicants. The work was initiated and followed by the GeoResearch Committee of the Federal and State Governments (BLA-GEO).
Since establishing the award five years ago, a lot of experience had been gained. On this basis, some ideas and chances for developing National GeoParks in Germany will be outlined.