German Things (Deutsche Dinge)

User-Generated History Cross Media Project


Project for the 60th Anniversary of the German Federal Republic with & DIE WELT

Germany has been founded twice after the war: 1949 saw two separate states emerging from Allied rule in the western and eastern parts. 40 years of cold war have shaped also these two entities – before history provided the unique chance of reunification, with the fall of the Berlin wall and the „Iron Curtain“ in 1989. Since then already 20 more years have elapsed – and reshaped the country again.

Although political and economical developments had great impact on the country and although these facts are reflected in the history books, our personal recollections of these 2 x 40 plus 20 = 100 stories are closely related to (mostly everyday) things of these six decades. Values, fashions, brands, feelings, experiences are reflected in these things and the personal stories linked to them, quite specifically for our country and people.

There are many „German Things“ that are universally remembered and have become part of the collective history. But there is always a private hi-story involved: How has the owner acquired it, how important was it for him or her, how has it been used, kept, rediscovered, honoured..., the website of the German newspaper family DIE WELT, WELT kompakt and WELT am Sonntag launched a comprehensive collection of these „German Things“ and published numerous articles of personal stories reflecting the history of our country. The sheer amount of entries by readers and users proved the innovative concept by Tolle Idee! right, to find new ways of commemoration with "user generate history" and crossmedia.

On the big project research, concept development and texts were delivered by Thomas and Alexander Schwarz, Gunda Borgeest und Rüdiger Dingemann.

View the project at