Baden

By now you probably know that the Black Forest is located in the south-west of Germany in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg – Baden being the area bordering France, Wuerttemberg the area with the state capital Stuttgart. Baden consists of 21 areas altogether, the Black Forest being the most famous one.  Other well-known areas in Baden are Lake Constance, Ortenau or Kaiserstuhl and Markgraeflerland (which are all famous for their wines).

So have you ever wondered why people in this region proudly point out that they are ‘Badenser‘ (as people from Baden are called) and should not be mistaken for  ‘Swabians‘ (people from the Wuerttemberg/Stuttgart region)? Why they make sure you know you are drinking  ‘Badischer Wein’ and are reading the ‘Badische Zeitung’ ? Isn’t it originating in the state Baden-Wuerttemberg and therefore -kind of- the same? If you ever wondered where the distinction comes from, read on.

Baden was a sovereign state until the German Reich in 1871.  In 1919 Baden even became a Republic.  In 1933 the Nationalsocialists took power. When the German Reich was dissolved after World War II, Baden was split between the French and the Americans. The north of Baden “Nord-Baden’ fell under American occupation and became a part of Wuerttemberg. But the south of Baden ‘Sued-Baden’ fell under French occupation and became independent.  Although the majority in Sued-Baden voted against it, in 1952, Sued-Baden was combined with Wuerttemberg to form the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Feelings of unfairness over vote representation in Sued-Baden resulted in protests causing the vote to be re-done in 1970. Though by that time the majority of Badenser voted to stay part of Baden-Wuerttemberg. But to this day many Badenser feel the 1952 combined state should never have come to pass, and therefore ill-will persists towards the Swabians.

Baden was the more advanced region of the two, having the warmest weather, very fertile farmland from volcanic soil, several world-renown spa towns and excellent access to Switzerland and France. This all changed after World War II when Baden became a border-region and Wuerttemberg strived to overtake the lead for Germany’s most advanced region.  But still today, Baden is a bit different than the rest of Germany. For example, the Badische Kueche (Badisch kitchen) is more akin to French cuisine than to German. Baden  shares many local specialties with the Alsace region (in France).  Where the Alsace region in France has the greatest number of restaurants with stars, Baden is similarly the region with the most restaurants with stars in Germany.

Today people from the Baden region are eager to keep their original identity intact, differentiating them from the rest of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and particularly the Swabians. The slogan  ‘Schwobe schaffe, Badner denke’ (translated “Swabians work, Badenser think“) best describes the Badenser’s dislike of Swabians. The Badner-Lied (translated: Song of the people of Baden) is the unofficial hymn of the former state of Baden and is still very popular among Badeners. The song’s popularity was of course rekindled in the 1950’s in the wake of Baden’s absorption into the state Baden-Württemberg.  Today the Badner-Lied  is the most popular regional hymn in south-west Germany.  It is sung in soccer stadiums of Freiburg and Karlsruhe before every game and at many festivals and parties.

The song originally consisted of four or five traditional verses. But over the years many more have been added.  Today there are collections containing up to 591 verses.

The Baden flag is proudly displayed throughout the Baden-region – in restaurants, at festival, in gardens.

Flag of Baden 1891-1918 Coat of Arms Baden Coat of Arms Baden Wuerttemberg