February 9, 2024

Heimat - The German Word For Home

The German term for homeland, or home town, "heimat", has become an iconic concept within modern Germany. It can be understood in various ways and used by political groups from the left to the right; its definition remains unclear but often represents a longing that seems lost during times of dislocation and exile.

One's native country can be considered home, but more frequently people feel a strong emotional attachment to specific regions with distinct traditions, landscape and dialects that they associate with being German. Home may also refer to cities or counties which have had an enormous effect on people throughout their lives or spiritual beliefs that embody what it means to be German.

Medicine and psychology, anthropology and sociology, politics and philosophy as well as literary studies and historiography have all devoted vast amounts of observational, conceptual and theoretical consideration to this subject matter. Their investigations have resulted in an incomprehensible maze of observations and definitions which has been instrumentalized for various purposes.

Florian Heise's Heimat series starring his family members and local residents from Schabbach makes use of some of this rich history. The Nazi period is depicted with both fascination and skepticism while maintaining an air of rememberance and belonging.


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