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How Germany is turning wasteland into vast lakeside resorts

Last Updated Jun 14, 2018 at 4:20 am EDT

In this Wednesday, June 6, 2018 photo, the lake Sedlitzer See, a former lignite coal pit flooded with water in the Lusatia (Lausitz) area in Germany Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Volkmar Kienoel)

GROSSRAESCHEN, Germany – The town of Grossraeschen in eastern Germany is poised to celebrate the opening of a new lake this summer, one of dozens created by filling former coal mines.

Billions of euros (dollars) have been poured into the project to create Europe’s biggest artificial lake district, with the goal of turning Lusatia — a former industrial region — into a tourist destination. An official at LMBV, the state-owned company in charge of the development of 26 lakes connected by 13 canals and hundreds of miles of cycle track, calls it “the biggest landscape reconstruction in Europe.”

While tourism won’t replace all of the mining jobs that have disappeared in Lusatia, officials say the lake district could help revive a region that has been economically and ecologically scarred by mining.