European ethnology is highly adept at re-inventing itself. Ethnologists draw on many other disciplines in their research, without being confined by the respective ‘purity laws’. This creates considerable hermeneutic potential, but also entails certain dangers. Many disciplines suffer from a postmodern fear of postulating cultural difference. European ethnologists should speak out against this dangerous orientation, and seek out alternatives. For example, the Central European concept of ‘from here’-ness should be explored for its hermeneutic potential. Liberating the ethnological imagination will take some time and effort – engagement with human ecology and the creative arts could be a start.