So far I've learnt to describe a noun if it has an article,but what if it has no article, how could I describe it anyway?

Heidelberg, der/die/das/… meine Heimat ist, wurde im 2. Weltkrieg nicht zerstört.

  • 2
    The rules for proper names often trump the otherwise strong compound rule, which declares that the right-most part determines the gender, i.e. der Berg is completely irrelevant here.
    – Crissov
    Jul 12, 2016 at 21:27
  • Related answer of similar question.
    – guidot
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


All nouns have a gender – a couple allegedly even three, but no name is ungendered. You just have to find out which. In this case, cities (and most countries) are regularly neuter. That rule is stronger than the rules of compound nouns (as @Crissov stated, der Berg does not influence Heidelberg → not masculine).

One could, for instance, say

Das schöne Heidelberg wurde im 2. Weltkrieg nicht zerstört.

Or your sentence:

  • Heidelberg, das/welches/[was] meine Heimat ist, wurde im 2. Weltkrieg nicht zerstört.

In the example, I wouldn't use that style and avoid the relative clause.

  • Heidelberg – meine Heimatstadt – wurde im 2. Weltkrieg nicht zerstört.
  • How we tag then your description of Heidelberg in grammar, if it is not relative clause?
    – Dragut
    Jul 12, 2016 at 21:33
  • @Dragut That is called "Einschub" - parenthesis. Could just as well be surrounded by commas or brackets instead of dashes.
    – tofro
    Jul 13, 2016 at 5:38
  • 1
    I would suggest using commas instead of parenthesis because it is more common and easier to read in my opinion.
    – JayTheKay
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:45

Cities are always neuter. Unlike countries, where a few exceptions exist (der Iran, der Sudan, die Slowakei etc.) I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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