Historical Settlement research

The research area “Historical Settlement Research” is concerned with the historical development of territorial and population structures in present-day and former German (Danube Swabian) settlement areas in East Central Europe and South East Europe. The title should be understood in the broader sense of settlement and cultural landscape research.

The task is to investigate the development and structures of multi-ethnic regional societies in the places of origin of the Danube Swabians, whereby the analysis also maps out and reflects on development contexts, dynamics and features. It takes into account people who are interconnected due to their common migration and cultural background, economic and cultural exchange as well as ethnopolitical group-building processes.


Research activities bundle a wider range of interests, aspects and questions:

  • Settlement processes (genesis and constitution of regions from territorial, demographic, social, economic, political and cultural perspectives; formation and development of the settlement network)
  • Demographic processes and structures (population size and development in different regions; demographic change)
  • Group-building processes (significance of denomination and ethnicity; territorial differentiations in language and culture; territorial requirements for interdenominational and interethnic coexistence; interconnections between various groups)
  • Territorial knowledge (perception of territories and changes in the “real territory”; construction of regional and cultural concepts of territories)
  • Relationships between various Danube Swabian settlement regions (migration, inner colonisation, church and education)

Current research projects

  • The Satu Mare Swabians in the Interwar Years. A Minority caught between Competing National Political Interests (1918-1940). An Annotated Source Edition.
  • Administration and Administration Theory in the Hapsburg Banat. An Editorial Project.
  • Floating Spaces. Maps of the Danube Region, 1650-1800. An Exhibition.


Head of the research area

Josef Wolf, M. A.