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Dark Skies in Germany

The IDA, a non-profit organization fighting to preserve the night sky, has announced Rhö̈n Biosphere in Germany as the newest Dark Sky Reserve.
Photo: Werner Klug

The International Dark-Sky Association has announced Rhö̈̈n Biosphere in Germany as the newest Dark Sky Reserve, the ninth in the world. Efforts from municipal governments, regional authorities and dedicated local activists are largely to thank for the park's new distinction, which received a silver-tier status from the IDA.

"We welcome Germany's latest entry into the family of Reserves and Parks that exhibit exceptional night sky protections," said IDA Acting Executive Director Scott Kardel. "The Rhö̈̈n Biosphere Reserve's management and regional community leaders have come together to preserve a gem for all of Europe."

The IDA designation is a welcome addition to the accolades received by the Biosphere Reserve leadership. "We are very proud of this project and fully aware that it is something special," said Torsten Raab, head of the Biosphere Reserve Administration in the German state of Hesse. "The starry night sky is a cultural good and we welcome people to come to the Rhön and enjoy a wonderful experience and a really dark sky," Raab said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, also known as Biosphärenreservat Rhö̈n, in 1991. It comprises 664 square miles of protected lands including the entire central region of the Rhö̈n Mountains.

Given the population density of central Europe, it is one of the few remaining, yet accessible dark locations in Germany offering outstanding views of the night sky. A growing understanding of dark skies' critical role in ecological conservation led to the inclusion of light pollution reduction goals in regional management documents. These goals have been given the highest priority for the period of 2014-2020.

For more information about IDA, please visit

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April 20, 2019, 3:53 pm PDT

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