Modern women

The year 1919 marks the beginning of Bauhaus. Yet with all eyes on the current 100th anniversary of the world famous institution, other reform movements originating in the modernist era of the 1920s still await their rediscovery.

Photo: Stiftung Loheland

In 1919, Louise Langgaard and Hedwig von Rhoden, pioneered a reform movement which went on to shape a new generation of German women. Set up next to the river Röhn near the German town of Fulda, the two formed the all-female community Loheland. Dedicated to finding new, contemporary methods of educating young women in a variety of different disciplines, Loheland's cultural heritage ranges from dance and gymnastics, to the design of objects and costumes, to photography as well as the breeding of Great Danes and the growing of fruits and vegetables to ensure self sufficiency.

"I felt I was in a colony of Tolstoy supporters in Southern Russia or in a monastic community. They had bought 160 acres of land, forest, field and meadows. In the forest on the mountain ridge they wanted to set the houses, build practice rooms and workshops. Everything as a body of a community, which should develop out of itself the modern woman to an individual being. The woman develops through the man, was my objection. No, the salvation of a woman's dormant qualities of the unconscious happens through 'movement', was given to me in response. The speech did not sound feminist at all, rather humble before the higher, the unknown god. And before my eyes stood the Vestals of the Romans, who watched the holy flame, the figures of the seers and priestesses of the past of our people with their secret powers of preservation and exaltation."

Eugen Diederichs on his visit to Loheland in autumn 1919