The beautiful fishing village of Nida – at the birth of the artists’ colony German and called Nidden - is situated in the extraordinary landscape of the Kurische Nehrung. It shares the special incidence of light, which is innate to places that are nearly completely surrounded by (salt) water, with artists’ colonies like Ahrenshoop in Germany and Domburg in the Netherlands.
From early on, the village was visited by writers, poets and painters, such as Lovis Corinth and Ernst Bischoff-Culm, who worked in an impressionistic style. The artists stayed at the Gasthof Hermann Blode, which in the 1920’s was taken over by the latter’s son-in-law, the expressionist painter Ernst Mollenhauer. Though in 1923 Nidden became part of Lithuania, the summer guests still came mostly from Berlin and Königsberg, among them many painters, writers and also representatives of the music- and theatre-world. Expressionism first reached Nidden with Max Pechstein, who frequented the place from 1909 onward. The most famous summer resident was Thomas Mann, whose 1930 house has seen many political changes. The Second World War and the annexation of Nida by the USSR put an end to the artists’ colony. Its history was rediscovered after Lithuania became independent and has been given a new lease of life. Thomas Mann’s house now holds the Thomas-Mann-centrum for Culture.