In this essay my aim is to discuss Heidegger’s and Szondi’s interpretations of Hölderlin’s first letter to Böhlendorff. I argue that at stake in these different readings is the refutation of nationalism, which comes to coincide with the question of the encounter with an “other”, identifiable with ancient civilisations or peoples of remote southern lands, in art. I will explain that both Heidegger and Szondi conceive their interpretations in opposition to the thesis of a “Western turn” in Hölderlin’s thought. At the same time, however, I will argue that Szondi’s critique of the Western turn can be pointed against Heidegger’s. Indeed, if compared to the critic and deconstructive approach of Szondi, Heidegger’s essentialist approach to the problem of the encounter with the other in art reveals a deep and implicit affinity with a nationalistic interpretation of Hölderlin’s poetry.