240 Houses in 16 settlements, built in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, photographed by Van der Weijde in the spring of 2008
Between 1933 and 1939 many such Siedlungen (settlements) were built with the goal to provide housing to all working-class NSDAP members. This Siedlungpolitik was a powerful propaganda tool to artificially remove people from unemployment, to enforce a sense of unity and to closely control and subsume the individual to the newly constructed Nazi State. The regionally adapted style aimed to provide a certain sense of ‘Heimat’ while their over-arching utilitarian character aimed to promote notions of collective national identity and National-Socialist superiority.
Erik van der Weijde researched and photographed many of these settlements. His book shows them in their current state, often modified and individualized by past and current owners. Regardless, their initial style and agenda is still inherently visible in these houses.
With his book van der Weijde also asks about typology, one of the central issues of aesthetic and conceptual practice, particularly in what is usually labeled as German photography. Van der Weijde’s approach, however, does not follow any stringent rules; rather, it approaches the subject matter in a much more candid, individual way.