Patriotic term ‘Heimat’ driving new German ‘identity politics’

The German term “Heimat,” or “homeland” as it’s very roughly translated into English, became a hotly debated topic in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Germany.

Despite its Nazi-era connotations, citizens discussed the idea of “Heimat” at kitchen tables and in pubs, in the media and in politics, asking whether the word stood for xenophobia, or for integration and tolerance. And could Islam find a place in a German “Heimatland”?

Indeed, as a consequence of this debate around cultural identity, three patriotic-themed Heimat ministries have been created in Germany at the state and federal level.