The Coast – “Heimat” & Region in Transition

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The Coast –
“Heimat” & Region in Transition
Daniela Siedschlag and Kira Gee, Institute for Coastal Research, Department Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas
Concept of “Heimat”
The Concept of “Heimat” is closely related to ideas of place, place attachment
and sense of place. Despite its difficult history, it is currently experiencing a
renaissance in public interest and also in geographical, ethnological and
psychological research [1].
North Sea coast survey –
Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony (2009, N=862) [2]
What does “Heimat” mean to you?
“Heimat” is constructed individually and influenced by social norms and values.
It refers to a place or a feeling of a person and relates to:
 Social components (family, friends, …)
 Emotional components (feelings, cultural background, language, …)
 Spatial components (landscape, special places, natural phenomena, …)
other
9%
n.a.
1%
place in study area
5%
feeling of belonging
32%
living/working place
6%
Research area & empirical method
place of birth
10%
Several case studies on the European North Sea coast.
 Germany (Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony)
 The Netherlands
 Denmark
family & friends
18%
Quantitative household based questionnaires.
landscape & the coast
19%
n = 1,468
Space becomes place
The European North Sea coast is much more than an
abstract space or a planning place.
Transition processes like sea level rise, wind farming,
demographic change, ... take place in a region that people
call “Heimat”
“Heimat”
Therefore regional planning processes in context of
transition processes should include the view of coastal
residents.




Social
components
The concept of “Heimat” is an useful instrument for
exploring peoples attachment to a region. It shows how
coastal residents view the sea and shows the connections
between people and their life worlds.
Emotional
components
The concept of “Heimat” creates the basis for a
suitable management strategy on the European North
Sea coast.
Spatial
components
Land
Coast
Sea
Figure: Daniela Siedschlag, Kira Gee
References
[1] Ratter, B. M.W. & Gee, K. (2012): Heimat – A German concept of regional perception and identity as a basis for coastal
management in the Wadden Sea. Ocean & Coastal Management, doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.04.013.
[2] Ratter, B., Sobiech, C. & Lange, M. (2009): Heimat, Umwelt und Risiko an der deutschen Nordseeküste. Die Küstenregion aus
Sicht der Bevölkerung. GKSS Bericht 2009/10. Geesthacht.
Daniela Siedschlag ([email protected])
Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht | Max-Planck-Strasse 1 | 21502 Geesthacht
Phone: +49-(0)4152-87-1884 | Fax: +49-(0)4152-87-2818 | www.hzg.de
photo: M. Lange
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