Photographer Erik van der Weijde captured the architecture of the Brazilian town Pomerode, where 90 percent of the population speaks German and culture is entrenched with German tradition.
In 1861, the town Pomerode was founded in the northeast of Santa Catarina by Pomeranian Germans (who originate from the North of Germany). Out of the roughly 25,000 inhabitants, some 90 percent still speak German, and even more curiously, with a distinct 19th century Pommersch accent.
The southernmost part of Brazil has been host to successive waves of German immigration since the 19th century, with the most significant period occurring between 1848 and 1939, and a record influx immediately after the First World War. As a result, in the state of Santa Catarina about 50 percent of all immigrants were Germans and Austrians.
This not only affected the ethnic makeup of the population but also gave rise to an eclectic culture characterised by a peculiar attachment to traditional German influences. It is a culture that has also left an indelible mark on the region’s architecture. The buildings, characterised by exposed brick within a frame of exposed wood, recall German rural settings from around 1900, but are housing people of Brazilian nationality in the 21st century. And rather than being set in an alpine landscape, they are embedded in the Brazilian subtropics.
The German government has recently acknowledged the cultural significance of this far-flung outpost of German life, resulting in a renaissance of Pomeranian cultural events and related tourism. […]