The people of Brandenburg call their Stechlin the “big one”. Theodor Fontane made the lake so famous with his novel of the same name that Berlin’s elite took up quarters there. Today, visitors enjoy the Brandenburg silence. By Tilman Muller

The path leads under beeches, as if through a yellow-golden tunnel, until a silver flicker can be seen at the end of the canopy. A few more steps and then it becomes visible: the Stechlin. The secluded lake that Theodor Fontane made a place in world literature with his novel of the same name. “There it lay in front of us, the lake with its many bays,” the writer once noted, “mysterious, like a mute who feels the urge to speak. But the unloosed tongue refuses him the service, and what he wants to say remains unsaid.”