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2019: Wanderlust

Friday, March 15, 2019: Wanderlust

Like many other German words such as Doppelgänger and Zeitgeist, Angst or Schadenfreude, the term Wanderlust has also found its place in English language. It is strongly connected to being outside with nature, from the romantic period onwards. Romantic composers like Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann musically contextualized the idyllic, nature-praising poems of their literary colleagues. The “Grand Tour” took writers and thinkers abroad (with Italy as a favored destination), and their experiences colored many of their poems and essays.

Wanderlust is much more than just a desire to travel or explore. It is a way of life, a way of looking at the world – with curiosity, an openness to new experiences, and a desire to discover and learn. It is more than just a term taught in German Literature classes. It is a very current cultural phenomenon–nowhere more so, perhaps, than in Germany, the country whose citizens for many years had a near monopoly on the title of “Reiseweltmeister,” or world champions of travel.

With Wanderlust as the theme for German Day 2019, we invite you to explore the various historical, geographic, political, and cultural dimensions of “Wandern:” its pleasures and motivations, but perhaps also its challenges and the feelings, practices, or cultural ideas to which it is linked – whether the ideas of Heimat, Heimweh, or Fernweh, or the adjacent semantic fields of “Einwandern” and “Auswandern” in their historical and current topicality.

Mit herzlichen Grüßen,

Shubhangi Dabak, German Day Coordinator