Herman Sörgel

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Herman Sörgel
Herman Sörgel.jpg
Born(1885-04-02)2 April 1885
Died25 December 1952(1952-12-25) (aged 67)
Known forAtlantropa

Herman Sörgel (2 April 1885 – 25 December 1952) was a German architect from Bavaria. He was known for pioneering the Atlantropa project which was initially conceived as a solution to the economic and political turmoil gripping Europe in the early 20th century. Atlantropa called for dams built across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles, and between Sicily and Tunisia. The dams would provide hydroelectric power and would be overseen by a newly formed independent body with the authority to discontinue energy to any country posing a threat to peace. Sörgel actively promoted his ideas until his death in 1952.[1]

Early life[edit]

Herman Sörgel was born in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany in 1885 to Bavarian parents.[2] From 1904 to 1908 Sörgel studied architecture at The Technical University in Munich.

Written publications[edit]

Some of his publications included:[3]

  • Sörgel, Herman (1929). Mittelmeer-Senkung. Sahara-Bewässerung = Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara (Panropa Project), pamphlet. Leipzig: J.M. Gebhardt.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1931). "Europa-Afrika: ein Weltteil" (37): 983–987. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1932). Atlantropa. Munich: Fretz & Wasmuth, Zurich / Piloty & Löhle.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1933). Foreword to "Technokratie - die neue Heilslehre" by Wayne W. Parrish. Munich: R. Piper & Co.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1938). Die drei großen "A". Großdeutschland und italienisches Imperium, die Pfeiler Atlantropas. [Amerika, Atlantropa, Asien]. Munich: Piloty & Loehle.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1942). Atlantropa-ABC: Kraft, Raum, Brot. Erläuterungen zum Atlantropa-Projekt. Leipzig: Arnd.
  • Sörgel, Herman (1948). Foreword to "Atlantropa. Wesenszüge eines Projekts" by John Knittel. Stuttgart: Behrendt.


Sörgel was the originator of the idea of Atlantropa—a utopian continent created by damming the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles, and the Congo river. His idea called for the damming, and thus lowering, of the Mediterranean Sea level and then making use of the difference between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic sea levels to generate hydro-electric power. Sorgel's idea to lower sea levels would increase the dry land areas around the Mediterranean and provide overland access to Africa. Damming the Congo river would refill the basin surrounding Lake Chad providing fresh water to irrigate the Sahara and shipping access to the African interior.[4][5] Besides creating new bodies of land, the mass amounts of hydro-electric energy that would be generating, could account for 50% of Europe's energy needs at the time. While Sörgel was dreaming up the idea, he never took into consideration how other countries would react or change. The land mass of the Levant, for example, would increase by 50% due to the water levels dropping. Sörgel would also have to go through multiple Middle Eastern countries to get to Africa where most of the major changes would take place.[6]


Sörgel died at the age of 67 shortly after having been struck by a car while on his bicycle en route to a lecture at a German university in Munich. The accident happened on a road "as straight as a die" and the driver of the car was never found.[7]


  1. ^ "Atlantropa: the colossal 1920s plan to dam the Mediterranean and create a supercontinent". The Conversation. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  2. ^ "Atlantropa: Draining the Mediterranian Sea - SciFi Ideas". SciFi Ideas. 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  3. ^ "A Monumental and Fantastically Bad Idea: Draining the Mediterranean". JF Ptak Science Books. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  4. ^ Ley, Wiley (1959). Engineers' Dreams: Great projects that could come true. Viking Press.
  5. ^ "The Atlantropa Project". Dieselpunks.org. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  6. ^ Christensen, Peter (2012-08-17). "Dam Nation: Imaging and Imagining the 'Middle East' in Herman Sörgel's Atlantropa". International Journal of Islamic Architecture. 1 (2): 325–346. doi:10.1386/ijia.1.2.325_1.
  7. ^ Wolfgang Luef (April 2006). "Weltbauen gegen den Untergang" (in German). Datum. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.