Winden is a small town in central Germany where various time travelers reside. Between the years 1888 and 2053, the events of its history are interconnected in a time loop. After the destruction of the parallel worlds of Adam and Eva, the town and its inhabitants in the original world are free of the eternal suffering of the knot.
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; additionally, there were only two nuclear plants in East Germany and both were shut down after the 1990 reunification. 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, 612 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. (However, this question comes to be irrelevant because the apocalypse destroys the town (and the world) the same day as the shutdown.)
The town is large enough to have its own police force. 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.
Government and politics
Winden seems to be part of a larger district known as the Winden-Seeburg District (Bezirk Winden-Seeburg). Certain laws such as those concerning building permits seem to be at the level of the district and apply to both towns.
At a local level, Winden is governed by a town council, which operates out of the town hall. The coal industry was highly influential in local politics during the 1950s, but it fell out of favor once the mayor, who was being paid by the coal lobby, was threatened at gunpoint and finally signed the permit for Bernd Doppler's nuclear power plant.
The name of Winden's mayor in 1954 is unknown. By 1986, however, the mayor is a man named Hans Gullman.
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, Clausen, and Peter Doppler. Clausen finds this quite unusual for a town of Winden's size, but also gives him further cause to suspect Aleksander in particular.