The beautiful fishing village of Nida – which Germans named Nidden at the birth of the artists’ colony – is situated in the extraordinary landscape of the Kurische Nehrung. It shares the special frequency 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, 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, expressionist painter Ernst Mollenhauer.
Though in 1923 Nidden became part of Lithuania, its summer guests still mostly came from Berlin and Königsberg. Among them were many painters, writers and representatives of the music and theater world. Nida’s 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. Time for revival! Thomas Mann’s house now holds the Thomas-Mann-centrum for Culture.