The article “Caffè-Nostalgie in Italien. Komm doch, Starbucks.” from Der Spiegel lists and describes famous cafés in Italy, among other things. A portion of one such description reads (my question refers to the title of the description only):

Caffè Gilli in Florenz: Das Süße

Die Glastheke mit Eclairs, bunten Obsttörtchen und Petit fours des Caffè Gilli in Florenz scheint kein Ende zu nehmen. Auf Pasticceria, also Konditoreiwaren, ist dieses Haus seit seiner Gründung 1733 spezialisiert. Schließlich waren seine Gründer Feinbäcker aus der Schweiz.

Why is Süße neuter in the title above?

According to dict.cc, Süße can be only either feminine or masculine:

NOUN 1: der Süße/ein Süßer (Pl.: die Süßen)

NOUN 2: die Süße [das Süßsein; die süße Art] (kein Plural)

NOUN 3: die Süße [Mädchen, (junge) Frau] (Pl.: die Süßen)


Because here, das Süße, is a nominalization ("Substantivierung") of the adjective süß, which in principle can have any article.

There can be two reasons (thanks to @KilianFoth for pointing out one of them) for the article "das" here:

  • "Das" could refer to das Cafè. Other articles are possible, for instance if the place was a bakery (der Bäcker) it could be called "Der Süße".
  • It could refer to the sensation of sweetness rather than to the place/Cafè. In that case it has to be neuter (which is the usual case for nominalization of adjectives of non-living, uncountable things).

From the context given it is unclear whether one or both are meant here.

  • 3
    It should be added that the gender of nominalizations only follows the gender of the noun if there is a noun involved! If you're talking about abstract concepts, e.g. expressed as a subclause, then the neuter is in fact mandatory: "Das Gute an Regeln ist, dass sie Ausnahmen haben." - "Das Süße zieht den Menschen unwiderstehlich an." The name might refer to the sensation of sweetness itself rather than the café. – Kilian Foth Mar 31 '17 at 9:33

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