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GDR T-shirts, for sale in Berlin in 2004
GDR Memorabilia for sale in Berlin in 2006
Ostalgie is a German term referring to nostalgia for life in the former East Germanymarker. It is a portmanteau of the German words Ost (east) and Nostalgie (nostalgia).

After the fall of the Berlin wallmarker in 1989, and German reunification in the following year, most reminders of the old regime were swept away as former citizens of the German Democratic Republicmarker rushed to embrace their newfound political and economic Westernness. Initially, all GDR brands of products disappeared from the stores and were replaced by Western products. However, with the passing of time some East Germans began to feel nostalgia for certain aspects of their lives in East Germany. Ostalgie particularly refers to the nostalgia for aspects of regular daily life and culture in the former GDR, which disappeared after reunification.

Many businesses in Germanymarker cater to those who feel Ostalgie and have begun providing them with artifacts that remind them of life under the old regime; artifacts that imitate the old ones. Now available are formerly defunct brands of East German foodstuffs, old state television programmes on video and DVD, and the previously widespread Wartburg and Trabant cars. In addition, life in the GDR has been the subject of several recent films, including Leander Haußmann's Sonnenallee (1999), Wolfgang Becker's internationally successful Good Bye Lenin! (2003), and Carsten Fiebeler's Kleinruppin forever (2004).

The term Ostalgie (along with the phrase Sovietmarker chic) is occasionally used to refer to nostalgia for life under the socialist system in other former communist countries of Eastern Europe, most notably Polandmarker and the Soviet Unionmarker.

See also


  • Banchelli, Eva: Taste the East: Linguaggi e forme dell'Ostalgie, Sestante Edizioni, Bergamo 2006, ISBN 88-87445-92-3.
  • Banchelli, Eva: Ostalgie: eine vorläufige Bilanz, in Fabrizio Cambi (Hg.): Gedächtnis und Identitat. Die deutsche Literatur der Wiedervereinigung, Würzburg, Koenigshausen & Neumann, 2008, pp. 57-68.
  • Rota, Andrea: Testi pubblicitari ostalgici: una breve analisi semiotica, in «Linguistica e Filologia» 24/2007, p. 137–152.

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