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Postcard of an Austrian and a German soldier in the First World War with the text "Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, for God, Emperor and Fatherland!"

Fatherland is the nation of one's "fathers", "forefathers" or "ancestors". It can be viewed as a nationalist concept, in so far as it is evocative of emotions related to family ties and links them to national identity and patriotism, but in the English language it can also simply mean the country of one's birth or origin, it can be compared to motherland and homeland, and some languages will use more than one of these terms. [1] The national anthem of the Netherlands between 1815 and 1932, "Wien Neêrlands Bloed", makes extensive use of the parallel Dutch word, as does the current Dutch national anthem, Het Wilhelmus.

The Ancient Greek patris, fatherland, led to patrios, of our fathers and thence to the Latin patriota and Old French patriote, meaning compatriot; from these the English word patriotism is derived; the related Ancient Roman word Patria led to similar forms in modern Romance languages.

"Fatherland" was first encountered by the vast majority of citizens in countries that did not themselves use it[which?] during World War II, when it was featured in news reports associated with Nazi Germany.[2][3] German government propaganda used its appeal to nationalism when making references to Germany and the state,[2][3] it was used in Mein Kampf,[4] and on a sign in a German concentration camp, also signed, Adolf Hitler.[5] As such, the word "Vaterland" could be connected with National Socialism outside Germany;[verification needed] in Germany, this is not the case.

Groups that refer to their native country as a "fatherland"[edit]

Groups with languages that refer to their native country as a "fatherland" include:

  • the Arabs as أرض الآباء 'arḍ al-'abā' ("land of the fathers")
  • the Afrikaners as Vaderland
  • the Albanians as Atdhe
  • the Amhara as አባት አገር (Abat Ager)
  • the Austrians as Vaterland
  • the Arakaneses as A pha rakhaing pray (အဖရခိုင်ပြည်)
  • the Azerbaijanis as vətən (from Arabic)
  • the Belarusians as Baćkaŭščyna (Бацькаўшчына)
  • the Bulgarians as Tatkovina (Татковина) and Otechestvo (Отечество)
  • the Czechs as otčina
  • the Chechens as "Daimokh"
  • the Danes as fædreland
  • the Dutch, as vaderland
  • the Estonians as isamaa (as in the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm)
  • the Finns as isänmaa
  • the Frisians as heitelân
  • the Flemings as Vaderland
  • the Georgians as Samshoblo (სამშობლო - "[land] of parents") or Mamuli (მამული)
  • the Germans, as Vaterland[6] (as in the national anthem Das Lied der Deutschen)
  • the Ancient Greeks as πατρις patris
  • the Greeks as πατριδα patrida
  • the Icelanders as föðurland literally meaning "land of the father"
  • the Iranians as mīhan (میهن) or vatan (وطن - Arabic loanword)
  • the Irish as Athartha
  • the Kazakhs as atameken
  • the Latvians as tēvzeme
  • the Liechtensteiners as Vaterland
  • the Lithuanians as tėvynė
  • the Nigerians as fatherland
  • the Norwegians as fedreland
  • the Oromo as Biyya Abaa
  • the Pakistanis as Vatan (madr-e-millat means motherland. Not fatherland)
  • the Poles as ojczyzna in common language literally meaning "fatherland", ziemia ojców literally meaning "land of fathers",[7] sometimes used in the phrase ziemia ojców naszych[8] literally meaning "land of our fathers"
  • the Russians as Otečestvo (Отечество)
  • the Serbs as otadžbina (отаџбина)
  • the Somali as Dhulka Abaa, land of the father
  • the Swedes as Fädernesland
  • the Swiss as Vaterland (as in the national anthem Swiss Psalm)
  • the Thais as pituphum (ปิตุภูมิ), the word is adapted from Sanskrit
  • the Tibetans as pha yul (ཕ་ཡུལ་)
  • the Ukrainians as batʹkivshchyna (батьківщина) or vitchyzna (вітчизна)
  • the Welsh as the land of my fathers (Y Wlad Fy Nhadau)

Romance languages, derived from Latin "patria"[edit]

Multiple references to parental forms[edit]

  • the Armenians, as Hayrenik (Հայրենիք), home. The national anthem Mer Hayrenik translates as Our Fatherland
  • the Azerbaijanis as Ana vətən (lit. mother homeland) or Ata ocağı (lit. father's hearth)
  • the Bosniaks as Otadžbina (Отаџбина), although Domovina (Домовина) is sometimes used colloquially meaning homeland
  • the Chinese as zǔguó (祖国or祖國(traditional chinese), "land of ancestors")
  • the Czechs as vlast, power or (rarely) otčina, fatherland
  • the Hungarians as szülőföld (literally: "bearing land" or "parental land")
  • the Indians as मातृभूमि literally meaning "motherland"
  • the Jews as Eretz Ha'Avot (Hebrew: ארץ האבות‎) - the literal translation is "Land of the Forefathers"
  • the Kurds as warê bav û kalan meaning "land of the fathers and the grandfathers"
  • the Japanese as sokoku (祖国, "land of ancestors")
  • the Koreans as joguk (조국, Hanja: 祖國, "land of ancestors")
  • French speakers: Patrie, although they also use la mère patrie, which includes the idea of motherland
  • the Latvians as tēvija or tēvzeme (although dzimtene – roughly translated as "place of birth" – is more neutral and used more commonly nowadays)
  • the Persians as Sarzamineh Pedari (Fatherland), Sarzamineh Madari (Motherland) or Meehan
  • the Poles as ojczyzna (ojczyzna is derived from ojciec, Polish for father, but ojczyzna itself and Polska are feminine, so it can also be translated as motherland), also an archaism macierz "mother" is rarely used[by whom?]
  • the Russians, as Otechestvo (отечество) or Otchizna (отчизна), both words derived from отец, Russian for father. Otechestvo is neuter, otchizna is feminine.
  • the Slovenes as očetnjava, although domovina (homeland) is more common.
  • the Swedes as fäderneslandet, although fosterlandet is more common (meaning the land that fostered/raised a person)
  • the Vietnamese as Tổ quốc (Chữ Nôm: 祖國, "land of ancestors")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/05/identity-crisis-motherland-fatherland/ "Identity Crisis: Motherland or Fatherland?" by Caroline James
  2. ^ a b Anna Wierzbicka (21 July 1997). Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words : English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese. Oxford University Press. pp. 173–175. ISBN 978-0-19-535849-0.
  3. ^ a b Witnesses of War: Children's Lives Under the Nazis, page 328, by Nicholas Stargardt
  4. ^ Six Million Crucifixions by Gabriel Wilensky. "What we have to fight for is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the creator"
  5. ^ Nazi Germany reveals official pictures of its concentration camps - LIFE magazine Aug 21, 1939. "There is a road to freedom. Its milestones are Obedience, Endeavor, Honesty, Order, Cleanliness, Sobriety, Truthfulness, Sacrifice, and love of the Fatherland."
  6. ^ Vaterland-YouTube
  7. ^ http://zpl.lt/2012/04/ziemia-ojcow/
  8. ^