The author of some of the loveliest verse ever written in the German language, Heine was the son of prosperous, assimilated Jewish parents, and his Judaism was a theme not only during his lifetime – he converted to Christianity in 1825, declaring his act a “ticket of admission to European culture” – but also long after his death. Heine’s books were among those burned by the Nazis in 1933 as they began to fulfil his prophecy that “There, where one burns books, one also burns people in the end.” But not even they could ban his most popular work, the Loreley, which was tolerated – in poem form and in the musical setting by Friedrich Silcher – as a “folk song”. Heine was deeply influenced by the spirit of the French Revolution, which he imbibed during the years of the French occupation of Düsseldorf. A radical and a trenchant critic of German feudalism, he spent much of his life in exile in Paris, and died there in 1856.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessi…

28 Dec 2017 • Jessica Bateman local_activity Special feature
20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
A beginner's guide to the best German beers

A beginner's guide to the best German beers

Think Germany and you think beer. It’s a country whose beer culture is so ingrained and recognised that Oktoberfest (16 September–3 October 2017) is celeb…

14 Sep 2017 • Daniel Neilson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right