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Ostalgie is a German term referring to nostalgia for life in the former East Germany. It is a portmanteau of the German words Ost (east) and Nostalgie (nostalgia). Initially, all GDR brands of products disappeared from the stores and were replaced by Western products, regardless of their quality. 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 Germany cater to those who feel Ostalgie and have begun providing them with artefacts that remind them of life under the old regime; artefacts 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. Now Berlin has opened Ostel, a Friedrichshain budget hotel rampant with Communist-era design. Most notable are the clocks in reception showing the time in Moscow, Berlin, Beijing, and Havana, and the room choices of a larger “Stasi-suite” and a multiperson “pioneer camp.” And of course expect brightly colored 1960s-style wallpaper and portraits of former Communist officials and public figures.

I’m currently looking into ideas of ostalgie and the contemporary legacy of lebensreform with migrations of German people who have moved to certain areas in the west of Ireland. All under development.

(source – good old wikipedia. See also ‘Germany Battles over Right to Reminisce’, by Clare Murphy/ BBC news online; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3077054.stm)

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