As far as my rather rudimentary knowledge of German tells me, one uses 'zu' to indicate that your are going to somewhere (Ich gehe zur Bibliothek), and 'nach' when this is a specific geographic location (Ich gehe nach Berlin).

However, I was wondering if it was possible to also use 'nach' to add a certian geographical definitiveness to a place, perhaps when referring to a key location such as:

Ich gehe nach Bibliothek.

when talking about the library? Supposing it's the main one on campus that all students go to.

Or even:

Kommen Sie nach Eisladen!

perhaps from an ad campaign, to artificially make the ice cream shop seem like and important place in town?

  • If it is of any further clarificaiton to my thought process, in spoken English, my repeated personal experience has been that commonly used places (within communities) often end up experiencing some sort of inadvertent proper-nounification. For example, when talking about the campus library: 'are you going to Library?' or 'I was at Library' (to clarify, this is between native speakers who otherwise speak flawless English). A more common phrase might also be: 'are you going to campus?' and not 'are you going to the campus?' May 1, 2022 at 15:20
  • Reminds me of an old joke from a time when shops used to close at 6:30: "Wo jehst du hin?" - "Isch geh' nach Aldi" - "ZU Aldi" - "watt, schon halb sieben?"
    – tofro
    May 1, 2022 at 18:25
  • Selbst den kenne ich mit "Isch geh' zum Aldi."
    – HalvarF
    May 1, 2022 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


No. I mean, of course you can always break grammar rules in advertising to stand out. I also cannot rule out that there dialects in which one would say “nach der Bibliothek” (with article). But that’s the extent of it.


The preposition "nach" isn't used in that sense, no.

Even for a place like the amusement park "Phantasialand", where they actually picked a name ending in -land, they are using "das" as an article and "Kommen Sie ins (= in das) Phantasialand" in advertising.

There is (or was?) a tendency amongst young people, influenced by immigrant culture, to leave the preposition and article out at all in slang, like in:

Gehst du heute Schule? (instead of: ... in die Schule)
Ich geh nachher Pimkie, kommst du mit? (instead of: ... zu Pimkie [a fashion store chain])

Here also, they know very well how to say it "properly". However, I wouldn't call it an emphasis or compliment to the place of any sort.

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