Winden is a fictional town in Germany and the setting for the events of Dark .
Winden does not appear to have a major commercial center, although it is dense enough that many locations within it can be reached on foot or by bicycle. The surrounding landscape is heavily forested. In the woods lie the Winden Caves, a network of partially explored underground caves which extend as far as the power plant itself.
Although there are a number of towns and districts in Germany known as Winden, none correspond to the settlement depicted in the series. The precise location of Winden within Germany is never stated outright, and the characters do not refer to any nearby metropolitan centers or transportation infrastructure that might provide an indication.
The copper-colored 1 Pfennig coins used in the show are former West Germany currency, implying that the town is on that side of the Inner German Border. The series gives the postcode as 36177 and the Winden Police area code as 064; while both are fictional, they imply a location of central Hesse. However, license plates on police cars in 1953 begin with "AW", which at the time indicated Württemberg-Baden, part of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The dense forests seen in aerial views, furthermore, are more characteristic of northern Germany than the central plains.
Winden is dominated physically and economically by the Winden Nuclear Power Plant, whose cooling towers rise above the landscape and whose facilities employ, as of 1986, 512 people. The plant is shut down in 2020 as part of the German government's phase-out of nuclear energy, leaving the economic future of Winden uncertain.
The town is large enough to have its own police force, though other authorities or governmental figures are not depicted. Winden has at least one police station, hospital, psychiatric hospital, high school, nursing home, library, and church. It is home to the Waldhotel Winden, operated by Regina Tiedemann, in what was formerly the home of the Doppler family. It has at least one daily newspaper, the Windener Tageblatt (Winden Daily Paper), which has covered news of the disappearances of children over the years.
The name Winden is possibly a play on the word "verschwinden," which is German for "to disappear." Alternatively, or additionally, it may play on the verb "winden," meaning to writhe (e.g. in agony), to wind, and to twist; to twirl (i.e. in a circular motion).
All of the characters on the show appear to have grown up in Winden and remained there, with the exception of Aleksander Tiedemann and Clausen. Clausen finds this quite unusual for a town of Winden's size, but also gives him further cause to suspect Aleksander.