Baltic-German Cultural Relations in the Early Modern Era (16.-19. centuries): Media - Institutions - Actors

Conference I: From Reformation to Enlightenment (May 5-8, 2014)

Conference II: From Enlightenment to National Awakening (May 4-7, 2015)


Being a historically significant exception in Early Modern Europe, the Baltic countries (regarded as a cultural space including today’s Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) seem to ask for a specific historiographical approach, combining both international and multidisciplinary cooperation. The cultural turn as it has been postulated by Western historiography for nearly two decades is particularly essential for a historical understanding of the Early Modern Baltic states with a view to their long lasting duplicity of a German speaking culture alongside a political domination by multiple foreign sovereigns. Therefore, the common aspects regarding interrelations between political power and cultural life do not apply in the same way as in European Monarchies or the territories of the Holy Roman Empire.


The aim of this conference is to explore various forms and aspects of German cultural life in the Baltic states, relying rather on particular case studies than on global surveys. In order to maintain a methodical coherence, the papers presented will focus on ‚driving forces‘ of baltic-german cultural contact such as media (diaries, scene music, altar pieces), institutions (clubs, learned societies, museums, theatres) and protagonists (poets, scholars, composers, translators – also persons who combine some or all of these functions). Thus, the combination of various disciplines is supposed to render a richly nuanced image of baltic-german cultural relations including synchronic as well als diachronic perspectives. Given the long period to be investigated as well as the copiousness of sources and archive material, the conference will be split into two thematic and chronological units.


Program (May 5-8, 2014)



Raivis Bičevskis(Riga)

Jost Eickmeyer (Heidelberg)

Andris Levans (Riga)

Inga Rinau (Klaipeda)

Anu Schaper (Tallinn/Berlin)

Björn Spiekermann (Heidelberg)


Registration and questions:

Jost Eickmeyer       
Björn Spiekermann
Germanistisches Seminar der Universität Heidelberg
Hauptstr. 207-209
69117 Heidelberg

Telefon: 06221-543232 oder 543231
e-mail:  and

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Latest Revision: 2014-12-18
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