From the colonial-style buildings to the brochen and breakfast pastries, Germany’s influence on the city of Swakopmund extends far beyond its name alone. This coastal city was designated as Namibia’s main harbor for Germans in the 1890s, when more than 100 soldiers and a handful of settlers docked at Swakopmund and dug caves in the sand to serve as temporary shelter.
During the Herero War, when Germans tested the techniques that would later be used on Jews in the Holocaust, a concentration camp existed within city limits, where Herero people were forced into slave labor and worked tirelessly to develop what is now one of the country’s most popular destinations.
Today, Germany’s influence on this coastal town can be seen in the city’s architecture, like that of the iconic Woermannhaus with its traditional green and yellow latticework and in city street names, which nod toward a time of colonial rule. And while Swakopmund is populated by thousands of Namibians, Germans continue to make the voyage here each year and dozens remain to call this place home.