May we introduce you to HEINZ. Heinz is a garden gnome and he will represent and support all the German colleagues during the German Semester. Heinz is indispensible in Germany and has found a home in numerous gardens. It has long been said that garden gnomes protect the garden and bring luck to the owner.
The gnome as it is known today has a long history. The little garden gnomes originally came from Anatolia. The first ones could be found in the 13th century before they moved on to Italy in the 16th century. Many years later, still made from terracotta and sandstone, they arrived in the front gardens and beautiful castle gardens of Germany.
In Germany, the first garden gnomes were produced in 1870 in Thüringen. In 1872 two manufactures were established in Gräfenroda. They concentrated on the mass production of the gnomes. Heinz was presented for the first time at the Leipzig fair in 1898 and developed into an export success.
During World War I and II the export was strictly forbidden and also during WW II, the NSDAP prohibited the display of gnomes in German front gardens. They called them a disruptive factor in the landscape.
But Heinz made his way back!
In 1981 in Basel (CH) an international association was launched in order to protect the garden gnome. In 1990, another one, called Front was established to free garden gnomes. Its intention is to bring the gnomes back into the woods and in doing so, put an end to a life behind garden fences.
We are pretty sure that the gnomes of the German Semester will enjoy their stay on the Ispra site and there will be no need for them to escape!
Foto: ©Gabriele Breitenbach