Lost Settlements

“Our land is like a poem, in a patchwork landscape of other poems, written by hundreds of people, both those here and now and the many hundreds that came before us…”

James Rebanks, English Pastoral. An Inheritance (2020).

Locality depends on the history and existence of a place, but what happens to our understanding of locality when it is vanished or destroyed? Since 1924, 313 villages have disappeared in Germany as a consequence of the expansion of the brown coal industry, where 136 of these settlements were once located in Lusatia.

In his article The countryside as destruction, nostalgia and re-invention: The German Case, Peter Lang, while Professor of Architectural Theory and History at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, began working on the relationship between the historic countryside and its transformation. “One of the conclusions so far is the evident perception that the sense of nostalgia arrives well before the disappearance of a memorable landscape or landmark.” In the wake of re-location and excavation, archeologists have tried to rescue fragments of Lusatian settlements and their history. Even so, many of the disappeared villages cannot be placed on the map as there are no remains or traces of the settlements.

This map shows the location of lost settlements due to the expansion of the brown coal fields in Lusatia. In total 136 villages have disappeared since 1914 to 2020.

The total population of German Lusatia is 1 152 573 in 2020.

25 483 people in German Lusatia have since 1924 been forced to move due to the expansion of brown coal open pits.

Maps on site nr 1, 2 and 3 shows the location and names of lost settlements.


Site nr 1.

Site nr 2.

Site nr 3.