Discover Germany, Issue 45, December 2016

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Issue 45 | December 2016






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Discover Germany  |  Contents

Contents DECEMBER 2016

26 Photo: © DVD, Blu-ray Im Labyrinth des Schweigens, Universal Pictures

105 Photo: © Kneer-Südfenster


COVER FEATURE 24 Alexander Fehling Labyrinth of Lies, Homeland, Inglourious Basterds – the list goes on. Alexander Fehling has made it big on the international stage. Discover Germany speaks to the German actor about why Berlin is his favourite city and much more.

SPECIAL THEMES 16 Daily Design Germany Great design can brighten up one’s day. Thus, we have collected some great items to make everyday life more exciting. 36 Taste of Switzerland In this special theme, we introduce Switzerland’s great culinary innovators and show that the country has far more to offer than fondue. 54 Top Island Destinations Looking for a relaxing holiday destination? It might be closer to find than you think – find out why Germany’s islands might be your best bet. 64 Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season Once a year, Vienna turns into an enchanting hotspot for elegant balls. In our special theme, you can find out where to celebrate best. 80 We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services Find out about the trending topics in the orthopaedic, rehabilitation and nursing sectors in this special theme. 90 Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland Looking for great architecture and intriguing interior design? Take a look at our Swiss interior design and architecture special.


Culinary Christmas Eve in Germany If you have any interest in the German way of feasting on Christmas Eve, have a look at Thomas Schroer’s feature in which he explores some of Germany’s favourite dishes for 24 December.

62 Marine Biology in Germany When one thinks about marine biology, one probably thinks about the Gulf of Mexico or South Africa. However, there are various institutes that are dedicated to marine research in Germany. Our writer Nadine Carstens wanted to find out more. 72 Enjoying the Best of the Digital World Let’s find out why more and more young people choose to leave their nine-to-five jobs behind. Discover Germany spoke to two young entrepreneurs who went out to pursue their digital nomad lifestyle dreams. 76 Marc Benjamin: Switzerland’s Acting Prodigy Discover Germany talked to Marc Benjamin about his past and present projects, his career, future and much more.


Dedicated to Design This month’s design section boasts stylish, festive looks for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, fine leather products and much more.

48 Travel Whether you search for a great conference hotel, your next favourite winter destination, a design hotel or intriguing snow art, have a read of our travel section.

72 Photo: © Tina Dahmen

78 Film Column This month, Sonja Irani reviews Victoria – a film that was shot in one single take in one night in Berlin. 80 Business A top architect, an innovative trade fair for architecture, materials and systems and great legal experts fill this month’s business section. Our columnist Gregor Kleinknecht further discusses the recent Employment Tribunal decision on Uber. 118 Culture Calendar Discover Germany’s culture calendar is your perfect guide to what not to miss in December. 122 Barbara Geier This month, our columnist Barbara Geier explains how Germans solve the Christmas presents dilemma.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  3

Discover Germany | xxxxxx | xxxxxxxx

Dear Reader,

Discover Germany Issue 45, December 2016 Published 12.2016 ISSN 2051-7718 Published by Scan Magazine Ltd. Print Liquid Graphic Ltd. Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Nane Steinhoff Copy-Editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Feature Writer Thomas Schroers Contributors Barbara Geier Cornelia Brelowski Elisabeth Doehne Emmie Collinge Gregor Kleinknecht Ina Frank

Jessica Holzhausen Marilena Stracke Nadine Carstens Silke Henkele Stian Sangvig Sonja Irani Cover Photo Mathias Bothor Sales & Key Account Managers Emma Fabritius Nørregaard Laura Hummer Noura Draoui Sophie Blecha Freya Plakolb Publisher: SCAN GROUP Scan Magazine Ltd. 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421   Email: For further information please visit

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

4  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

By the time you’re reading this, you’re probably preparing for the Christmas break, maybe you’re even going home for Christmas or heading somewhere exciting for New Year’s Eve. Whatever it is, we can probably agree on the fact that this time of year is rather exciting. Airports especially turn into fascinating places. People travel all over the world to visit friends or family and arrival halls turn into places that could come straight out of a heart-warming movie. But crowded airports can also be something out of a horror movie. The flight prices are tremendously high, the queues simply take ages, delays and cancellations belong to Christmas just like Christmas cake, and overhead lockers are filled with various presents so that your luggage has to be stored in front of your seat and your leg room gets minimised to the max. Statistics reveal that it doesn’t only feel like it’s busy on airports. In the UK alone, around 3.7 million people flew abroad for Christmas in 2015. So, what can we do to travel smart this year and to avoid the crowd? Knowing that the 21 and 28 December are usually the busiest days for a flight will probably get you a heads up when trying to choose a date for your flight in advance. Furthermore, choosing an early flight is a good choice too as later flights are more likely to be delayed due to any delays that happen throughout the day. On the day of travel, it is also advised that you check your flight’s details online to be able to contact the airline early on for more information. In case of a delay, you should also pack things that will keep you entertained and fresh while you wait. If you have already beaten the queues and are now en route to your destination, why not sit back, relax and read our magazine? This month, it boasts an interview with German actor Alexander Fehling who was seen in Inglourious Basterds and Homeland amongst others. Furthermore, we handpicked some stylish items for Christmas and New Year’s Eve to help you with the decision what to wear. We further talk about German island destinations, Vienna’s ball season, finest leather design and much, much more. Thanks for reading,

Nane Steinhoff

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Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

Fashion Finds We have so much to look forward to in December. Not only is Christmas just around the corner, New Year’s Eve is another special event that we are excited for. For all of these festive occasions we want to look our best, thus we have picked some great pieces from the DACH region’s designers for you to look absolutely gorgeous. EDITOR’S PICKS  I  PRESS IMAGES

This dress by German brand Vera Mont is not your ordinary party dress. With its exceptional pattern and lace, it is sure to become an eye catcher at every event. £175.

6  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

For a New Year’s Eve event, the bling should not come too short. These adorable earrings go perfectly with a little black dress or a jumpsuit. £7.

This exquisite gold statement bracelet by JOOP! is sure to embellish every party outfit. £POA.

Vera Mont’s Autumn/Winter collection impresses with an unmistakable charm. Whether for a gala dinner, an exciting party or an exciting day-tonight outfit – this overall will surely dress you perfectly. £190. Vera-Mont This stylish clutch will fit everything that you need on a Christmas party or on New Year’s Eve. £17.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  7

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

Photo: ©, Johan Bichel Lindegaard

S P E C I A L T H E M E : F I N E S T L E AT H E R D E S I G N

Germany’s leather innovators Leather has been a staple of great design for centuries. On the next pages, find out how Germany’s designers use the finest leather to create exceptional products that are sure to stand out. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, Johan Bichel Lindegaard

8  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Photo: ©, THOR

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

ad:acta’s collection.

Where design, quality and sustainability work hand in hand German design label ad:acta offers unique handmade briefcases, purses, and bags that not only convince with their timeless elegance but are also made from discarded binders and therefore help our environment. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  |  PHOTOS: AD:ACTA

Wherever you go, binders can be found in every office and even at home. Albeit being a useful item, it is also frequently replaced and thrown away. Two designers noticed this and embarked on a mission to find a way to reuse discarded binders for something new. Determined, they experimented with the binders for a while before they opened ad:acta in 2011, a startup for tasteful briefcases. Deputy managing director Martin Brandl explains: “The design of our ad:acta bags is completely unique in the market place. We have a wide range of different bags, for men and women, including classy shoulder bags, tablet and laptop bags as well as purses and bags made from recycled coffee sacks. For us it is incredibly important to help protect the environment, for example avoiding flammable waste.” ad:acta is not only a design label but can also be a statement. Sophisticated designs can indeed go hand in hand with sustain-

ability and quality. All items are made by hand in Franconia, using top-quality upcycled materials.

fashion industry. Being the proud owner of such a beautiful item whilst helping the environment is simply a no-brainer. Check out their website and find your new upcycled companion.

The various bags are attractive for design lovers in any situation. Whether you are a businessman or woman who rushes from one meeting to the next, a trendy city hopper or a student, ad:acta’s collection suits everyone equally. Aside from their tasteful appearance, the bags also feature a smart design when it comes to functionality. Knowing that most of us carry the modern office essentials such as a laptop, mobile, charger and various files, the designers made sure everything got its place and is easily reachable. “We also absolutely love designing custom-made bags for individuals or companies,” Brandl adds. “With a custommade item, every customer can emphasise their own personal statement.”

Deputy managing director Martin Brandl.

ad:acta purse.

It should come as no surprise that ad:acta is growing steadily in the upcycling and Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  9

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

F12 DoppKit.

F35 Travel Bag.

F25 Briefcase.

F38 Trolley.

Travelling lightly

VOCIER high-tech luggage solutions for the modern global nomadic Creased suits and shirts have just recently become a thing of the past. With the unique innovation of the VOCIER ‘C38’ trolley, an award-winning design and high-tech product for frequent travellers inspired by the world of Formula One, VOCIER are proud of breathing fresh air into the world of luggage design and travel accessories. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: VOCIER

Their innovative and easy-to-use ‘ZeroCrease-System’ guarantees a perfectly elegant look for frequent travellers. Suits and shirts arrive in perfect condition. The combination of traditional craft and innovative ideas has formed a luxurious and unique product line outside of every standard category. The German Design Award Gold 2016 is just one of many prizes awarded to the VOCIER concept. With the ‘C38’, which matches international hand luggage standards, trousers and jackets can 10  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

be stored in the ‘false bottom’ at the outer side of the suitcase without creasing the material. The folding compartment, gently curving around the bag’s interior, holds up to two suits and several shirts, protected by special synthetics inspired by the automobile industry. Each VOCIER product piece is handcrafted with care, using the finest Italian leather in combination with Austrian lightweight synthetics. From PVD-coated metal details to original YKK zippers, your luggage item is made to last

through many a business trip – and the timeless design tells the same tale. VOCIER can be purchased both online and at exclusive addresses like Harrods in London and Saks in NYC, as well as at Hamburg’s Alsterhaus. As co-founder and CEO Vinzent Wuttke states: “Apart from an excellent design, we like to offer outstanding service”. With their entrepreneurship stemming from their own travelling experiences as investment bankers, co-founders Michael Kogelnik and Vinzent Wuttke admit that they found themselves “permanently dissatisfied” with what the luggage market had to offer, leading them to search for their own solution. Michael Kogelnik is also a studied industrial designer,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

who used to spend his Christmas breaks working on prototypes in a school workshop. However, the initial spark eventually came through watching a Formula One documentation. The construction of Formula One cars has the motor set into the vehicle as a self-supporting element. The car engine is the heaviest but also the most stable component of the vehicle and this concept was swiftly transferred to the VOCIER luggage design development. Apart from the mechanics, the materials had to be carefully chosen and after testing five different concepts and fabrics, 14 prototypes were designed. It took four years in total for the two entrepreneurs until their ultimately satisfying solution was reached, namely the ‘C38’ suitcase. The award-winning trolley was developed in 2012 with the financial help of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and private investors. The market launch took place in 2015. “Our clients are entrepreneurs themselves, as well as CEOs, frequent travellers, but

also musicians, artists and all those with a high expectation concerning aesthetics,” says Vinzent Wuttke. “The best example may be the pianist Inon Barnatan.” VOCIER-Titans can design their own special luggage in terms of fabric, leathers, colours, and even request extra functional details. Each Titan’s luggage item becomes a very personal piece that reflects their respective unique taste and requirements. Internationally acclaimed pianist Inon Barnatan chose an exceptionally rich leather that has a unique sheen and vibrancy to it. The reddish-brown hued leather is made in Tuscany in a painstaking vegetable tanning process, which ensures that the leather develops a patina over time and gets better with age. With a small piano and his name embossed into the centre of the leather straps, Inon Barnatan now takes his own personalised VOCIER luggage wherever his journeys take him. For him, it means worry-free travelling: “Being somewhere is wonderful, getting there sometimes is a little

less wonderful. So anything what makes it easier to travel is very, very welcome. Every detail there has been thought about and has been crafted so that it becomes a rich performance.” The entrepreneurs are currently working on yet another revolutionary innovation: The perfect four-wheel model, with exciting variations such as an ultra-lightweight carbon version, is to be launched by end of 2017. This month, the brand-new CP collection in charcoal grey will be launched, a combination of the elegant, ultra-strong hardware of the ‘Leather’ collection with the lightweight, timeless design of the ‘Black’ collection. Highly water-resistant Nylon material, exclusively manufactured for VOCIER, complemented with exclusive rich black Italian leather details will leave nothing to be desired. Check in, with VOCIER. Vinzent Wuttke and Michael Kogelnik.

C35 Travel Bag.

F22 Portfolio.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  11

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

Individual handmade leather goods

Great quality combined with a love for shapes and colours HAEUTE bags, satchels and purses are the result of modern German craftsmanship with a reduced but colourful style. Artist Marion Klatt founded HAEUTE in 2007 in a small backyard garage in Stuttgart when she developed the knapsack TONI: simple but of high quality, refined and sympathetic. Her ideas grew into today’s fine and customised projects. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: HAEUTE

Together with her partner, Claus Haas, Marion Klatt now runs a small family enterprise in Füssen, just below the famous castle of Neuschwanstein. “We both are fascinated with leather,” says Marion Klatt about working together with her partner. “It is a material that not only accompanies people today but is a common theme throughout human history. The originality, versatility and longevity fascinate us.” Choosing the right leather is already part of their ingenious designs: rough edges and unlined surfaces. “When it comes

12  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

to the form, we are inspired by our own wishes and ideas about what makes a good bag. That is why my designs are a bit more playful. Colours are always playing an important role, but also contrasts, for example between fine and rough leather,” she says.“I also like it a bit nostalgic. That’s why I love these old key locks.” Using European high-quality leather, the team of currently five employees carefully and lovingly fabricates unique products by hand.“They all captivate through timeless,

reduced and at the same time colourful designs,” says founder Marion Klatt. Colourful bags for women TONI for instance is a classic handbag for women with a huge amount of possible design combinations when it comes to colours, shapes and seams – either with a stripe on the side, in the middle or even without one. SLOP on the other hand is a leather pouch – a rather new design, stylish and un-agitated, but with everything a great bag needs to have. Even filled to the top it can still be carried comfortably on the back or over one shoulder. All bags come in a great variety: a configurator in the HAEUTE online shop allows you to choose between different colours

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Finest Leather Design

and shapes – something that may indeed be interesting for women who want to match the bag to the rest of the outfit. All products are customised and designed exactly as customers would want them to be. Outstanding bag designs for men Claus Haas’ ideas on the other hand primarily address men. “The design is always reduced to the maximum with clear forms and clean details. There is nothing else you could leave away,” he says. Take for example the BOKKA backpack that is made of three different elements: the body, a detachable inner compartment and a padded strap system. The backpack’s body needs to be hand-sewn and is closed with a high-class metal zip.

The inner compartment with its additional three smaller counterparts next to the main one creates a great system to organise the laptop computer with, for example, a mouse, power pack and headphones. BOKKA is an office on the move. The BOKKA backpack is Haas’ favourite. “It is simply ideal: cool form with a new way of construction, great materials, very comfortable and well-organised on the inside,” he explains. Far smaller is the MONO purse, miniature but with a great deal of space for money, credit and other plastic cards. Only one pre-cut part is folded and then hand-sewn together. Speaking about the MONO purse and BOKKA backpack Claus Haas says: “The hand stitching is a clear state-

ment; it makes the work effort apparent.” At the same time, the seam creates a colourful contrast to the leather. “No matter who of us is responsible for the design: the basis is always the close connection to craftsmanship,” says Claus Haas. Both have studied artistic subjects, her art and him architecture, and have also learned a traditional craft beforehand: Claus Haas became a carpenter and Marion Klatt trained as a goldsmith. This has of course influenced their respect for traditional craftsmanship that can be felt in the design that, according to Haas, is always “simply down to earth”. Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  13

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Dedicated to Design

Dedicated to Design… If there is any season that lends itself perfectly for decoration, it is Christmas time. Ever changing and still kind of similar each year, Christmas is a feast for style and design. That is why we have discovered beautiful Christmassy items and potential presents. See below to find inspiration for your Christmas home. BY: THOMAS SCHROERS


1. When the presents are lying under the tree, candles are lit and the right music is playing, all you need is a comfortable place to enjoy the evening, especially Christmas Eve. Tom Tailor designs a Nordic Chic Sofa, which is just that. With some retro details, this sofa’s charisma is irresistible. £1,250. 2. Since 2014, the porcelain manufacturer KAHLA has had its own collection of étagères. Designed in clear forms and with beautiful metal stands, the collection integrates perfectly into your Christmas time, where all kinds of treats can be served on more than one level. KAHLA étagères are available in all kinds of shapes, starting at £28. 3. This candle holder’s romantic flair makes it the perfect item to embellish your winter living room. Manufactured out of glass and coloured in an antic red-gold, it holds both block and rod candles. Ferrum Living creates the ‘Kirkenes’ in one size only, but offers others that complement it. £10. 4. This candle holder is a real highlight. Originally developed in the 1960s by Werner Stoff, it offers flexibility as it can be individually connected, combined and stacked. The material is metal and coloured in an elegant gold, making it a perfect accessory for Christmas and winter as such. £30.



3 4

5. A deer is probably the most iconic animal in relation to Christmas. Santa needs to go to many places on his sleigh and this clock helps him with time management. With an elegant, straightforward design out of dark walnut and exceptional quality, it will fit into any room. £40.

5 14  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  moveART

Unique ‘walk-in’ sculptures inspired by nature and children Sculptures in museums are something people are never allowed to touch. This is quite frustrating, especially for children. moveArt is different, with sculptures bordering between art and playground fun; an aesthetic look, but for actual use as a climbing frame, bench or sunbed. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: NORBERT ROZTOCKI

Norbert Roztocki got the idea for the Walkin, organically shaped sculptures, while observing his son Aleksander playing. Roztocki, who is a sculptor, designer and entrepreneur, was then working on large double helix sculptures.“Of course the form was so interesting that Aleksander always wanted to climb on them,” says Roztocki. “At first I did not want that.”But after while it became clear: that was exactly the point! To make objects that have the aesthetics of art but combine them with a whole spectrum of practical functions like sitting, lying, balancing, climbing and sliding. He started to build his first prototypes and shortly afterwards his concept was voted among the top five most innovative ideas in Switzerland (Swiss Innovation Challenge 2015 – fifth place).“I decided to go in that direction and found my own compa-

ny – moveART GmbH.”Currently, Norbert Roztocki lives with his family close to Basel where he occupies himself with themes of relationship between design and social surroundings. The form of his sculptures is inspired by a DNA double helix, the flowing form brought into ever-new shapes. The first objects were large scale and built for councils and cities that still count among the main clients. Currently he is building an 11-metre-long sculpture for the city of Zurich. But he has also started building smaller sculptures for parks, swimming pools or private gardens that – with their flowing forms – can be used as benches or sun loungers. “MoveART’s main focus is the development of unique solutions for private and public spaces. The sculptures are chosen and built in harmony with their

surroundings and the individual requirements of the clients,” Roztocki says. Recently, moveART was chosen as the third best Swiss Start-up in 2016 (SwissUpStart Challenge 2016) and also cooperated with the show Art Basel 2016 in the Kids Lounge. All objects are built according to the European safety standards for playground equipment SN EN 1176. Built from the highly resistant Accoya wood, objects have a lifespan of 25 years in an outdoor environment. They are not only sustainable, but also eco-friendly, multifunctional and maintenance free.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  15

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Photo: ©, Thomas Hawk

Photo: ©, Linda Baker

S P E C I A L T H E M E : D A I LY D E S I G N G E R M A N Y

Germany’s pioneering designers Whether you are looking for an exciting gadget for your kitchen, furniture pieces to brighten up your home or simply a nice gift idea, take a look at the following pages to find out what Germany’s designers have to offer. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, Erismann Tapetentrends

16  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Sustainability to go An ever-increasing pace of live confronts us with many challenges that often make it hard for us to maintain an environmentally friendly lifestyle. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  I  PHOTOS: DOLI BOTTLES

When Anatoli Teichrib and Sarina Vieth came back from an extended journey around Asia, they were stunned by the effects plastic waste had on the environment. “We were deeply shocked by the amount of plastic waste we saw in Asia. In some areas, huge piles of plastic garbage dominated whole landscapes,” reminiscences Anatoli, founder and head of Doli Bottles. Confronted with the effects of the intensive use of plastic, Anatoli and Sarina were not able to forget what they had seen on their travels and consequently wanted to do their part to change things. They took a closer look at their environment and their own busy lifestyles, and, following their maxim ‘be the change you want to see in others’, started their own business in 2016. Doli Bottles, Anatoli’s and Sarina’s label, is a successful newcomer on the market for sustainable products and produces reusable state-of-the-art bottles. “Our

dishwasher-safe bottles are made of borosilicate glass, which is much lighter and more heat resistant than conventional glass and thus can hold anything from ice cold water to piping hot coffee,” explains Anatoli.

It has never been easier to show your concern for the environment while still making a lifestyle statement through state-of-the-art design. Go and get your sustainable Doli!

Not only are Doli’s reusable bottles toxic-free, they also distinguish themselves through its timeless and stylish design and therefore serve as a wonderful example that sustainability and design can be a perfect match. Doli Bottles is out to spread the message of sustainability: “We have only recently enforced several B2B-projects, which will enable us to reach out to a considerable number of people. We are convinced that by getting in touch with a growing number of people, the importance of sustainability and the availability of reusable products will become foremost in people’s minds,” concludes Sarina.

Anatoli Teichrib and Sarina Vieth.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  17

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Mathias and Tim.

Exceptional wood products manufactured in Germany “Living should give pleasure” - this is the motto of klotzaufklotz. Carpenter Mathias Hasselmeier and web designer Tim Binder founded the small manufactory, which offers wood products for nearly every room in one’s home.

Hence, exceptional interior design and functional product enthusiasts should certainly consider klotzaufklotz.


All products by klotzaufklotz are manufactured by Mathias in the Bavarian town Eichstätt and then sold in the online shop. The product lines are small, which makes klotzaufklotz’ creations almost unique. Ideas come to the founders’ minds mainly through their own lifestyles. “More often than not we get into situations in which we think ‘there should be a proper solution’ or ‘we could do this better’,” Binder recounts. “Afterwards, we experiment a lot. Quite a few ideas do not go on sale, however, we love trying out new inventions and developing them until they are ready for the market.” Great importance is attached to a high proportion of traditionally crafted work, when it makes sense. However, they also benefit from the precision advantage of machines. The wood is locally sourced as much as possible. If they do not find a local supplier for a type of wood, they just keep on searching for one. 18  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

full of ideas, both for our kitchen and our furnishing category,” he concludes.

The varied product range leaves nothing to be desired. The products for the kitchen include precious knife blocks, functional spice shelves and different cutting boards. But there are even more eye-catchers for one’s home. klotzaufklotz offers key hooks, jewellery caddies, clocks, vases and much more. When asked about their favourite kind of wood, Binder mentions oak and walnut tree. “But also smoked oak, which is very dark – almost black – and precious, was recently used for many of our products,” he adds. Christmas is approaching – with klotzaufklotz’s advent calendars, wreaths and cribs, one can give rise to a festive atmosphere in one’s home. Yet, new products are ready for take off. “Currently there is much in the planning stage, but we do not know yet whether those ideas will actually become products for our online shop,” Binder says. “We are

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Sustainable lunchware with a stylish design Established in 2014, the small company ECO Brotbox based in Berlin goes completely without plastic and offers sustainable, toxin-free containers such as lunch boxes and bottles.

fore he personally inspects the partner company in India which produces the containers on a regular base.


By now, ECO Brotbox offers a wide range of eco-friendly bread boxes, lunch boxes, drinking bottles, as well as isolated bottles and accessories. Causing as little waste as possible is important to the company – also when it comes to business processes. “When dispatching our products, we exclusively use plastic-free packaging, too,” Demirtas explains. In 2017, he and his team want to expand the ECO Brotbox range of products by adding new insulated containers for food. He also aims to further develop his ‘Das Tiffin Projekt’, where customers have the chance to borrow stainless steel containers from partner restaurants.

Most caring parents make sure that their children eat healthy food and will not let them leave the house without some fresh sandwiches, fruit or vegetables. But what about the lunch boxes that contain those meals? From Mustafa Demirtas’ point of view, everybody should also pay attention to the quality of these containers. In February 2014, he established the company ECO Brotbox to offer a better alternative to plastic boxes. “Me and my wife felt frustrated because of the lack of healthy, toxin-free container options for our children’s school lunches,” the founder and creative head behind ECO Brotbox explains. He did not want to use plastic boxes, especially after alarming reports showed that most plastic toys contain high amounts of harmful substances.

generations.“Convinced of the benefits for people and the environment, we decided to design our own containers in Germany, ”Demirtas explains. And so, the idea for ECO Brotbox was born. Selling sustainable, fairly produced and toxin-free lunch boxes and bottles with innovative designs is therefore the small company’s aim. “We offer reusable containers made from stainless steel, hence we do not produce any waste caused by disposable containers or packaging,” Demirtas says. “No toxins can be transmitted to the meals and it is also more fun to eat your lunch when using a fancy box.” Demirtas also puts great emphasis on fair working conditions, there‘Tiffin box’. Mustafa Demirtas.

Demirtas was looking for other options and eventually came across traditional steel containers from India, which had already become part of everyday life for Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  19

9 5 8 c a z a l


Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Do it with love – or not at all Michael Rossmann and his Australian wife Sasha Rossmann-Yessayan have created a brand that is different - PAD is full of courage, it surprises and enriches everyday life with its positive energy. PAD’s collections, which comprise of enchanting cushions, blankets and living accessories, reflect the duo’s passion for opulent colours, modern designs, beautiful fabrics and a relaxed lifestyle. TEXT & PHOTOS: PAD HOME DESIGN CONCEPT GMBH; TRANSLATION: NANE STEINHOFF

True to PAD’s brand mission, ‘unexpectedly new, always different, delightfully fresh and never boring’, each cushion and each towel has its own history, its own style and texture. Inspired by current trends, the Rossmann duo brings out two large collections annually and a special Christmas edition. The likeable interior designer Sasha, who is known from the documentary soap Traumhaus oder raus, is inspired by the world’s catwalks so that the fashion scene’s trends can be immediately seen on the home textiles. The outcomes are unique designs that are market pioneers. Piece by piece, the brand is further developed, new materials are tested and only products that are exceptional make it into PAD’s product range. An example is the intelligent high-tech fibre polypropylene out of which prac-

tical doormats and large-format indoor and outdoor carpets are woven for PAD. The material is a small sensation: soft and supple like cotton but also rainproof, unsusceptible to mildew, light-resistant, dimensionally stable and easy to clean. The carpets come in the trendy ikatethnic style. They bring cosmopolitan flair to roof terraces and balconies, to tents, camper vans and summer cottages in mild summer nights. The ikat yarn is stretched across drums and painted over and over again before being dried and spun. This weaving technique was developed in different parts of the world centuries ago and today these patterns can be found in many current fashion collections. ‘WE LOVE TODAY AND ADMIRE TOMORROW’ is another credo of the Mertingen-based company. From Bavaria,

PAD delivers to over 30 countries in Europe, to Australia and the USA. Thus, the collections are sustainably manufactured. Many of the cushions, blankets and living accessories are certified to OEKO-TEX® standard 100. For over ten years, the products have been produced at selected, small handicraft businesses in Europe; far off from Asian mass production. The fabrics are often dyed and woven for weeks for PAD and when the products are sold out, there might not be additional supply. Quality not quantity with fair working conditions – this accounts for PAD’s special quality.

Michael Rossmann and wife Sasha Rossmann-Yessayan.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  21

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Daily Design Germany

Bespoke furniture with substance and style “These aren’t throwaway pieces of furniture,” begins Pierre-Gabriel Bucher, the founder and designer behind établi and Rivet, marking his latest bespoke mixedmedium furniture collection based around raw iron frames and different local woods. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE  I  PHOTOS: ÉTABLI

“I’m in the continual pursuit of perfection for designs to suit my own lifestyle,” he laughs. “Interior projects are so intimate. You’re designing as if they will all be for yourself.” The latest result is Rivet, his L-shaped iron furniture system, fully customised in terms of dimensions, finish and surfaces. Not limited to one purpose, the Rivet frame is simply the red line that gives continuity to an interior. Everything is made sustainably, using unfinished, raw metal and local woods. The look is sophisticated yet robust and cultured, much like the modest designer himself. While he admits that it is tricky to design wholly new furniture, Rivet boasts a distinguished aesthetic. He agrees: “The ‘Rivet’ connecting the frame is a great little detail. These are responsible, made-to-last goods; Rivet furniture will always find a new place in a home, repurposed from room to room, or even to the cellar for fine wines.” 22  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Since launching in Provence, France, in 2001, he quickly captured the attention of discerning buyers with his exquisite custom interiors. No stranger to the world of design, he first cut his teeth in his father’s furniture company, becoming enamoured with the perfection of woodwork. Perhaps predictably, he relocated to Germany in 2004 to restore life to his father’s old workshop.“Renovating is my real passion,” he interjects – and ample space for a new atelier and future showroom. He gestures around the studio, “we’re just 20 minutes from Basel and incredibly well connected within Europe. This inter-connectivity has a strong resonance in my work”. When it comes to the metal-based Rivet, he reveals that: “Beautiful wood and its naturally fine imperfections really completes our philosophy; our bespoke approach marries the client’s wishes with my recommendations to fit their own lifestyle.” Though made-to-order Rivet pieces are

less complex than établi’s bespoke interiors, he gleans just as much satisfaction – not to mention sustainability for the business, prompting its rapidly expanding clientele. “To make a great product you have to use equally as great materials,” he smiles.“Our interior concepts see us collaborate with many global premium brands, like Denmark’s Kvadrat, the Italian light company Flos and many other European quality manufacturers in interior products.” With high standards, he concludes: “Everything has to satisfy me first before I’ll integrate it into a client’s interior.”

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Alexander Fehling

Photo: © Mathias Bothor

24  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Alexander Fehling

Alexander Fehling Germany’s most versatile actor Labyrinth of Lies, Homeland, Inglourious Basterds, Young Goethe in Love – the list goes on. Alexander Fehling has made it big on the international stage. Discover Germany speaks to the German actor about his love for acting, his dream role, why Berlin is his favourite city and much more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Born in East Berlin in 1981, Fehling quickly noticed that acting was his passion. “There simply were no other dream jobs for me and I’m afraid I can’t do anything else,” he smiles. “I have always felt that I am very lucky to know what I want to do, what I must do.”Thus, from 2003 until 2007 he studied acting at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin which only takes on 20 to 25 new students a year. During his studies, he landed roles in big theatre productions such as director Peter Stein’s Wallenstein alongside Klaus Maria Brandauer. For his role as the prince in Schneewittchen (Snow White), he received the O.E. Hasse Prize of the Academy of Künste. Since then, his face has been seen on many national and international cinema and TV productions and the list of his film directors, which includes Thalheim, Breloer, Tarantino and Bully, reveal the actor’s broad range of talents. International breakthrough After Fehling played German Master Sgt. Wilhelm in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, the international breakthrough

was not far behind. When asked about how he prepared for the Hollywood blockbuster, he replies: “Not much at all. The text and the greatest possible freedom were the most important factors in this case. As opposed to other roles, there wasn’t a huge pile of material that I had to work through in advance.”Appearances in Young Goethe in Love or in the terror drama Wer Wenn Nicht Wir, where he played Andreas Baader, followed and it was quickly noticed that the handsome actor loves to play serious and profound characters. This can also be seen in Labyrinth of Lies – a film that represented Germany as its entry for the foreign-language film Oscar. Here, Fehling plays a hot-headed Frankfurt prosecutor in the 1960s who seeks to bring 22 former Auschwitz officials to trial. In season five of the American TV series of Homeland, Fehling further plays a legal counsel to a German philanthropist alongside CIA agent Carrie, aka Claire Danes. Fehling says: “In comparison to working on a movie, I didn’t know how the storyline of the season would develop, while working on Homeland. You of-

ten only get the scripts two weeks before filming and sometimes even nearer to the date. But this definitely also has its charm.” We ask why more and more German actors seem to be used on an international level. Fehling explains: “It’s globalisation. The so-called ‘networking of the world’ probably also reflects the storylines of films. And this obviously opens up new horizons too.” Despite his many roles on international film sets, Fehling still resides in his hometown of Berlin. “When you travel a lot, you really notice how well we live in this city. In many other metropolises people have to work so much to be able to reasonably afford their own livelihoods. Berlin is still so unfinished and this is often actually the most beautiful state. And then I obviously experienced, tried, missed or explored so much for the first time in this city,” he smiles. The roles Fehling chooses to play reveal that he is certainly one of the most versatile and successful German actors in the country. Thus, it seems no wonder that awards and nominations keep flooding in. For example, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the 2011 German Film Awards for Young Goethe in Love, he won the award for EFP Shooting Star at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival, as well as the Best Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  25

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Alexander Fehling

Actor award at the Bavarian Film Awards for Labyrinth of Lies in 2015 and he was also nominated twice as the Best Actor – National at the Bambi in 2011 and 2015 amongst others. According to GQ, he also was the ‘most stylish German in 2013’. “I search for characters that live their own lives” Even though Fehling was also seen in the comedy Buddy, he seems to prefer serious roles. But why is that? “I’m simply interested in an interesting storyline,” Fehling answers.“And that needs a drama. I sometimes get the feeling that in Germany, we often misunderstand this word in conjunction with a movie. I mean, it doesn’t

26  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

mean anything else than a storyline. And this needs a conflict. That’s the foundation of each story. I don’t necessarily search for serious or profound roles but I search for a character that I don’t immediately understand and that lives its own life. This can also be found in comedies; for this, just have a look at Denmark’s comedies. But if a screenplay already explains everything then I fall asleep. If I ask myself how I can possibly realise it, then I wake up.” Just recently, Fehling filmed in South Tyrol with Jan Zabeil – a film to look forward to in the near future. The movie is about a man who fights for an eight-year-old boy as the stepfather. One day, both decide to

go on a hike through the mountains and end up in a situation through which the duo get to know each other and themselves in a totally new way. The female lead role is played by Bérénice Bejo from The Artist by the way. Having achieved so much already at the young age of 35, we want to know what dream role Fehling has: “Well, my absolute dream role is one that I have never heard of, one that I don’t expect at all and one that simply ends up in my letter box.” He adds: “And I really want to act in the theatre again.” Certainly a dream that leads back to his roots. Photos: © DVD, Blu-ray Im Labyrinth des Schweigens, Universal Pictures

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Alexander Fehling

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  27

Discover Germany  |  xxxxxxxx  |  xxxxxxxxx

Photo: © MBJ

Building online presence from Berlin Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, finding the right strategy and design for their online identity can be challenging. Berlin-based web designer MBJ is taking up this challenge and tailoring websites to fit their client’s particular needs. In our interview, CEO Julian M. Baladurage discusses his company’s origins, the post-Brexit decision to move to Berlin, and the way the city will shape MBJ’s business.

looking to evolve, expand, and revamp their online presence. A lot of our clients don’t have the deepest understanding of online development and technology, so it is our job to make the experience of building a website as seamless as possible for them.


How was MBJ started? Take me through initial ideas that mark the foundation of your business. Baladurage: MBJ was born through collaborating with my business partner Toni Horn whom I met in a finance course while studying for my Master’s degree at Hult International Business School in London. The initial idea was to provide small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] social media consulting and the concept grew from there to encompass business consulting until, ultimately, we 28  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

saw a need and came to the niche of web design and online strategy. You are offering a full-service website solution, from conceptualisation to long-term maintenance. How does a typical MBJ project work? What can the client expect from MBJ? Baladurage: MBJ is essentially an endto-end website design and development company. We make customised, high-end websites for companies that are looking to transition into the online space or are

Typically, after a project is signed, we schedule a kick-off meeting with the client in order to understand their business and how they would like to portray themselves online. Based on this we outline milestones and specific requirements. From there, a project manager and a designer work together with the client to translate the initial concept into a website the client can be proud of. This includes constructing the architecture and user experience of the site, while considering the clients branding, logo, and colour scheme to make sure that it works for the online space.

Discover Germany  |  Interview  |  MBJ

Additionally, we have developed a range of on-going services, the most popular of these being the SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] add-on. It takes a lot more than just an expertly designed website to be at the top of search engine results. With these added services, we work together with the client to channel relevant customers to their online storefronts.

creatives looking to jumpstart their online presence, Berlin is the perfect place to be situated. The desire to increase the diversity of our clientele was certainly a factor in the decision.

You recently moved part of your business to Berlin. What were the driving forces and thoughts behind this move?

Baladurage: Berlin is an extremely creative place. I believe that tapping into the right local resource pools is going to have a tremendously positive impact on the company. Globally, the perception of both Berlin as a city and having an office here is quite positive. Moving forward in the next five to ten years, there is going to be a lot happening in Berlin and I think it’s good to be here whilst things are evolving and be part of those positive strides forward. We are certainly in Berlin at the right time.

Baladurage: The key driver of the move was to open an office for the German speaking markets in Switzerland, Austria and Germany—with the primary focus being on Germany. Secondly, a factor that sped up the whole process and prompted a desire to relocate headquarters to Berlin was Brexit. The third factor was, of course, cost. Berlin is generally more cost effective than London. There is a larger concentration of family businesses and SMEs in Berlin than other cities like Frankfurt, Munich or even Hamburg. Since our product, Website as a Service [WaaS], is geared towards SMEs and East Side Gallery. Photo: © Berlin Partner Fritsch

Do you expect the city of Berlin to have an influence on the company and its future? If so, what are your expectations?

Your company is made up of a hugely international team. How is the team feeling about MBJ in Berlin? Baladurage: Initially there were mixed feelings. There was initial apprehension about what the implications of the move Co-working space for startups. Photo: © Rainmaking Loft

might mean but that very quickly shifted to excitement. The London team is understandably adapting since their team was partially relocated to Berlin but they are doing a great job with it. Anyone that made the move to Berlin from London did so of their own accord. We communicated the opportunity to the team knowing full well the Berlin team would grow quite significantly and might be a great opportunity for growth for those that made the jump. But so far, everyone that has settled down in Berlin is really enjoying it. What are aspects about the company, of which you are particularly proud? Baladurage: At the core of MBJ is our team spirit, understanding, and respect. It might sound cheesy but everything has been built on that foundation. It’s important to us that everyone on the team understands what we are doing and what we are striving for. Each team member must feel as though they are adding significant value to the greater picture, be it for the company now, in two, five or, potentially, ten years. Potsdamer Platz. Photo: © Berlin Partner Fritsch

Photo: © MBJ

Photo: © MBJ

COO Toni Horn (left) and CEO Julian M. Baladurage (right). Photo: © MBJ

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  29

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Sierra Madre

Ron Prohibido

The forbidden rum from Mexico If a spirit claims to be forbidden, then it will likely draw plenty of attention. Especially when it comes from a country that is more famous for its mezcal and tequila than for its rum. The Mexican Ron Prohibido is a sophisticated insider tip that defied the prohibition of the Spanish king and recently reconquered the European continent. TEXT & PHOTOS: SIERRA MADRE

Ron Prohibido can be translated as ‘the forbidden rum’. The name is perfectly fitting in two respects for the distillate from Mexico. The first ban issued by the Spanish King Phillip V in the early 18th century affected this import and the second affected the rum production in Mexico at the time. Spanish ships were constantly bringing goods to the territory formally known as New Spain. Sweet wine, among other things, also came to the colony this way. Once empty, the wine barrels were refilled with ‘Chinguirito’ sugar cane liquor – the Mexican rum – and after a short stopover in Havana, they started their long journey back to Europe. On the return trip 30  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

to Spain, the rum absorbed the taste and scent of the wine from the barrels that carried it to the New World. The special aroma enjoyed booming popularity among Spaniards, much to the dismay of the local beverage manufacturers. They feared a loss of sales, which is why the Spanish king banned overseas production. For nearly a century, the very production of spirits was subject to prosecution. But the Mexicans opposed the ban and continued to dedicate themselves illegally to the ‘Chinguirito’ or the ‘Habanero’ – as the rum was affectionately known and due to the ports it visited en route – and shipped

their popular product to the European market, particularly to Spain. From prohibition to a range of aromas Fortunately, the Mexicans braved their prohibition and allowed the recipe to survive the centuries. Today, the dark rum enjoys a cult following thanks to its adventurous history and vintage flair, which characterises Mexico’s reputation far beyond its borders. The rum is still produced the same as before by the distiller Ron Prohibido, S.A. de C.V., which is located in central Mexico. The first step is the extraction process, in which the sugar cane is harvested, cut and pressed in mills several times over to obtain the juice. Afterwards, a small amount of water is added to the juice and it is filtered and refined. Once yeast is added, the liquid begins to ferment. The sugar cane wine resulting from the fermentation – also called ‘mosto’ – is distilled in

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Sierra Madre

large column installations and then matured in American oak barrels, which were formerly bourbon casks. The maturation process is done using the so-called Solera process and with its different degrees of maturity in which the distillates are mingled together. The oak barrels are then lined up in three successive tiers. The age of the rum increases moving from top to bottom, which means the rums with the highest level of maturity are on the bottom. Ron Prohibido gets its distinctive sweetbitter taste by combining old and young. After the maturation process, the rum is finished with a bit of raisin wine, which

together with the sweet wine barrels influences the harmonious and sensual flavour. Ron Prohibido is available in two different qualities: one aged up to 12 years and another up to 15 years. The taste of the forbidden fruit Anyone who wants to know why the king was forced to ban this rum, only needs to give it a try. The story is as unusual as the taste itself. The liquid from the vintage handled bottle appears to be a radiant dark brown with shimmering reddish tones. Even when first poured into the glass, the first scented sweet notes of raisins, dried fruit and the typical wooden aroma exude forth. A taste of raisins, prunes, walnut

wood, hints of chocolate and coffee hit the tongue. Long-lasting and silky smooth, Ron Prohibido leaves final hints of dried fruit, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and a little caramel on the palate. Ideally, the rum is enjoyed straight to allow the drinker to discover the bittersweet notes of wood. But even in long drinks and cocktails like El Presidente or a rum daiquiri variant, the forbidden drink is bound to make a good impression.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  31

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Product of the Month, Germany

Stevia plant – the natural sweetness lies in the leaves.


GUAMPA Energy Drink Good for you. Good for the world. GUAMPA refreshing energy is the first energy drink in the world exclusively sweetened with real stevia™ from Paraguay. TEXT: ELISABETH DOEHNE  I  PHOTOS: GUAMPA

Sourced in Paraguay and made in Germany: a symbiosis that tastes good and does good. GUAMPA, the tasty, sugar-free and sustainably sourced alternative to the typical energy drink is sweetened with Stevia. The plant extract is a healthy and natural sweetener (zero calories, 300 times as sweet as sugar) is grown in Paraguay. Stevia is a natural regulator of blood sugar levels; it is suitable as a sweetener for diabetes, neurodermatitis, sugar and sorbitol incompatibility, and it does not cause cavities. This means that GUAMPA exceeds the ‘feel good’ factor of most energy drinks, offering a real alternative to the consciously minded and healthy living. The bittersweet grapefruit flavour embodies a refreshing, natural taste, and vitamin B and caffeine with guarana extract (32 milligrams/100 millilitres) boost GUAMPA’s well-bal32  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

anced flavour. The drink is vegan, gluten free, lactose free, and low calorie (37 kilojoules, nine calories). Building on this sustainable and social philosophy, GUAMPA makes an impact: “We donate one cent per sold can to a foundation, which helps local farmers to grow Stevia plants sustainable,” explains Christine Frank, a spokesperson for the Nuremberg-based family business. “The foundation Fundación Granular addresses themselves the task to help farmers in Paraguay to cultivate Stevia with free training and further education , as well as promoting cooperation. They also take care that farmers are supplied with new seedlings.” GUAMPA refreshing energy drink is available at REWE Süd, EDEKA Südbayern/ EDEKA Minden-Hannover, Markt-

GUAMPA Paraguay.

kauf, Getränke Hoffmann Berlin, Tegut, GLOBUS and selected airport stores in Nuremberg, Munich, and Frankfurt. Tip: try swapping your usual cocktail mixer for GUAMPA Energy and taste the refreshing difference.

GUAMPA family Frank.

Paraguay farmer harvesting Stevia.

Premier address not far from Vienna

Gault&Millau ‘Collection of the Year 2017’ The Bründlmayer winery, located just an hour’s drive from Vienna in the picturesque city of Langenlois, is considered a »beacon of Austrian winegrowing«. With lots of care and attention to detail, Willi and Edwige Bründlmayer restored the historic Heurigenhof where they spoil their guests with the finest regionallyinspired dishes, which perfectly complement the famous classic and sparkling wines produced here. When the weather is cool, an open fireplace radiates warmth and comfort. Three lovely guest rooms round out the range of offers here. The Heurigenhof Bründlmayer earned the top ranking in the »Falstaff Heurigenguide«, a guide to Austria’s best wine taverns. |

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Austria’s Top Beer Specialist

Kalea beer tasting glass. Kalea beer box.

A U S T R I A’ S T O P B E E R S P E C I A L I S T

Discovering all the great tastes and drinking pleasures craft beers have to offer Kalea, founded by a young team of beer enthusiasts, has specialised on gifts based on beer such as tasting boxes with craft beers from Germany and Austria. The Austria-based company puts a focus on the growing craft beer scene. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: KALEA

It is a tradition in many countries to have an Advent calendar full of sweets or other fun stuff during the festive season. For children, it is the greatest joy to open a door each December morning until Christmas to be surprised every day anew. Kalea’s first and most successful product is an adult version of this Christmas tradition: an Advent calendar filled with 24 different beers – and an extra tasting glass to enjoy the drink. In 2010, Kalea brought the calendar to the Austrian market for the 34  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

first time. In 2011, Germany followed. For two years now the beer Advent calendar can be bought in England, the USA and Canada. In the United Kingdom, Kalea products can be ordered via Amazon or Groupon. The Advent calendar allows a taste of 24 different beers from Germany and Austria – one for every day of the Christmas season. But what makes it even more special is the fact that some of the beers were spe-

cially brewed for the calendar and therefore are simply unique. This year’s calendar not only contains different brands but also different beer styles: pils, wheat beer or, for example, a special brew honouring 500 years of German Purity Law; the so-called Reinheitsgebot. But behind the 24th door there hides a ‘Bad Santa’ beer, a surprise specially brewed for this year’s calendar. In the past years, the beer Advent calendar already came with a beer glass but only this year has Kalea developed a beer glass to make the best of the beer experience. Its form makes the beer taste as good as possible – just like the right wine glass influences how a wine tastes. “Some forms

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Austria’s Top Beer Specialist

are simply better suited to give the aromas space to develop,” says Kalea managing director Peter Reimann on the decision to design a new beer glass. To get the best result, the company cooperated with beer sommeliers. Developing a taste for quality beer Introducing the beer Advent calendar to the market was a great success because many people today have become interested in craft beers; they like to experiment and taste something new. Beer currently takes a development that reminds of what is standard for wine: Good pubs, for example, have various beers on offer – from lager to IPA or ales. While years ago drinking beer was for quenching thirst, today many want their taste buds tingled and to experience different tastes and textures. Large companies are filling the supermarket shelves with something besides the standard beers. “When we started six years ago that was still completely

different and many thought our idea was crazy,” says Peter Reimann. But indeed, Kalea discovered a trend before it became common knowledge.

It is a limited edition and Kalea especially hired an illustrator for the design.“The design is very American.” 1950s pin-up style, something that is also quite fashionable.

Today, Kalea’s assortment and product range has grown and special beer packages are available all over the year and not only around Christmas. In the company’s six years, 486 different beers have found their way into one of the Kalea beer boxes. Not only breweries are sending them samples to choose from but many friends as well; whenever they find an interesting and tasteful beer that might be suitable for a Kalea beer box.

But how do you keep up with all the different beers?“At a beer tasting for example it is not easy to keep track of the beers one has degusted,” says Peter Reimann. Kalea has now developed an app to do so: the BeerTasting App is available for iOS and Android ( Users can simply snap a picture of the bottle’s label before drinking and will get a great deal of information about the product like about the brewery, what kind of beer it is or how much alcohol it contains. The beer can be rated and archived so that app users have a virtual beer cellar. So, when looking for a special taste or not remembering which brand was your favourite – or really bad – you can simply consult the app.

Enjoying a nostalgic flair – while drinking beer This December, Kalea for example has brought a new beer box to the market: four beers and a beer guide encased in metal boxes with a nostalgic retro design. “A top present for all beer lovers,” says Reimann. Kalea beer box, ‘Bad Santa’ edition.

Kalea craft beer calendar with the beer (edition 2016).

Kalea’s beer Advent calendar.

BeerTasting App.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  35

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

Photo: ©, Richard Cassan

S P E C I A L T H E M E : TA S T E O F S W I T Z E R L A N D

More than raclette Switzerland combines German, French and Northern Italian influences in its cuisine. Apart from the omnipresent raclette and Swiss chocolate, Switzerland has a great deal more to offer. In our special theme, find out what innovative products and culinary ideas the country has brought forward recently. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, MitchelShapiroPhotography

36  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Photo: ©, Jonas Boni

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

Main photo: Historic Centre of Luzern. Just one of many delicious exhibits on view in ChocoWelt. All of Aeschbach Chocolatiers’ products are handmade with love for detail. Top left: Aeschbach Chocolatiers is well-known for its exquisite seasonal packaging. Left: One of the many highlights at Aeschbach Chocolatiers: visitors create their own confectionary! Bottom: Aeschbach Chocolatier is also specialised in the production of custom-made confectionary.

The sweetest of all worlds Chocolate. Do we need to say more to make your mouth water from sweet anticipation of sugary revelations? Available in a multitude of tastes, chocolate is certain to turn even the bleakest day into a bright and sunny adventure. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  I  PHOTOS: AESCHBACH CHOCOLATIER

When it comes to workplaces, some people are incredibly lucky. Markus Aeschbach is one of them. Based in Luzern, Switzerland, motherland of the most delicious chocolate, he is the head of Aeschbach Chocolatier, a chocolaterie that was founded by his father Charles, a connoisseur of fine chocolate, in 1972. Today chocolate lovers indulge their sweet passion on-site in Luzern, Steinhausen, Zug or Zürich where they will be spoilt for the sweet choice of more than 100 different kinds of pralines and truffles. Apart from a focus on creativity and authenticity, quality is (and always has been) one of Aeschbach’s most urgent concerns. “All our products are handmade with love. Our confectionary, of course, is always freshly made using only the best, natural and most exclusive ingredients,” stresses Aeschbach.

The team at Aeschbach Chocolatier knows that chocolate is pure fascination and therefore lets you have a peek behind the curtains to fully indulge in the pleasurable secrets of fine chocolate. In Luzern, at Aeschbach Chocolatier’s ChocoWelt (ChocoWorld), chocolate lovers can dive into the fascinating universe of chocolate. In this unique chocolate-themed little adventure park you learn about the history of chocolate, its manufacturing process and, as a sweet highlight, you can even manufacture your own chocolate and confectionary.

them (or your loved ones) to an unforgettable event that will satisfy even the sweetest tooth, Aeschbach Chocolatier will make sure that you will have memorable experiences of their products and their hospitality. Whether you visit the ChocoWelt in Luzern, one of Aeschbach Chocolatier’s shops in Switzerland or order Aeschbach Chocolatier’s superb confectionary online, brace yourself for a scrumptious experience that will make your taste buds jump for joy.

“If you haven’t found the perfect Christmas gift for your business partners yet, our team can help,” offers Aeschbach. Whether you want to surprise your business partners with a specialised company-themed bar of chocolate, or rent the ChocoWelt to invite Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  37

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

Traditional Swiss Edelweiss.

Traditional Swiss Alpine Macaroni.

Pasta made in Switzerland When thinking about Switzerland and Swiss food, pasta may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. Yet, pasta has a very old tradition in this beautiful country at the foot of the Alps. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: PASTA PREMIUM AG

The Swiss tradition of pasta production is older than some may think. The first factory to produce pasta opened its gates in 1838 in Luzern. Some say that the Italian engineers who came to Switzerland to help building the Gotthard-Railway Tunnel were the initiators of the triumphant success of Swiss-made pasta. After all, by 1920 almost 80 factories were engaged in the production of this popular delicacy. 38  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

The two brands Bschüssig and Ernst stand in this long-lasting tradition of Swiss pasta production. Both are traditional companies that have been engaged in the production of delicious pasta since the middle of the 19th century. Swiss tradition of pasta Bschüssig Pasta has been found in many Swiss private households for 140 years. It

has been an icon for the innovative art of creating Swiss pasta since 1876, and for all these years creativity has always been the guiding principle for the company that today employs around 50 highly motivated people who share Bschüssig’s vision. Although Bschüssig is a traditional company and still produces its pasta according to traditional recipes, it keeps pace with modernity. “We are very much concerned with our environment and the sustainability of our products,” says CEO Beat Grüter. “This is the reason why we only use Swiss drinking water, pure durum wheat and, last but not least, Swiss free-range eggs for the manufacture of our egg pasta. Only

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

this well-chosen and exquisite mixture of high-quality and sustainability-conscious products can guarantee the unique taste and quality of our pasta our customers rightfully expect from us.” Yet Bschüssig is more than pasta; Bschüssig is a statement. When Matthias Sempach became the Swiss Schwinger champion (Schwingsport is a popular Swiss variant of wrestling) in 2013, Bschüssig saw a unique opportunity. By becoming an important sponsor of Sempach, Bschüssig was able to make its belief public, namely that tradition appeals to the young and the old regardless whether you are engaged in traditional sport or traditional food. Swiss pasta made by Ernst is the choice of professionals. Founded in 1858, the Ernst company can look back on a success story that lasts until today. Their pasta is particularly designed for the requirements of professionals. Using only the best and most sustainable ingredients for a conscious diet, Ernst’s pasta combines Swiss quality and extraordinary taste with the demands of cooks and other professionals working in the catering business. One of these requirements is the cooking stability of pasta. Thanks to a special recipe, this kind of pasta is easier to regenerate and can be kept warmer for longer (for example in a bain-marie) without losing their consistency or form. Top chefs, canteens, institutional kitchens and similar, airlines,

but also alpine hotels and restaurants swear by this kind of pasta. Spoilt for choice Swiss pasta manufactured by Bschüssig and Ernst exists in an incredible variety of 60 forms and thus matches all kinds of tastes and can be used on a variety of occasions: as a tasty main course, an appetising side dish or a delicious addition to soup. Specialities like chilli or porcini pasta, or classics like spaghetti, tagliatelle or pappardelle are equally available as the Swiss-specific and very popular Hörnli or Krawättli (elbows or bow ties). The so-called ‘Ur-Schweizer’ (Ur-Swiss, a Switzerland-themed range of pasta) like Älpler Magronen or Edelweissli rounds up this extended offer of the Swiss art of pasta production. Although rooted in tradition, Swiss pasta manufacturers Ernst and Bschüssig have always kept an eye on current developments: “Eating habits have changed considerably over the last couple of years. Food allergies and intolerances as well as a general trend towards a healthier diet

or veganism have forced the industries to re-think. We have reacted to these trends and developments and can proudly offer a range of spelt and gluten-free pasta as well as pasta for vegans,” explains Grüter and adds:“And we don’t intend to stop the introduction of new types of pasta! Our research team is constantly scanning the market for new and revolutionary ideas for our pasta. After all, we want to keep surprising our customers with innovative products that match the requirements of the creative cuisine of the 21st century.” Swiss pasta sets standards Compared to many imported pasta brands, Swiss pasta made by Ernst and Bschüssig have many advantages: they are available in a variety of forms and types, they are Swiss-made from high-quality and sustainable ingredients and they follow a long-standing tradition that is deeply anchored in modernity. What more can you expect from healthy food?

Right: Brand Bschüssig with with Swiss wrestling Champion Matthias Sempach – current TV advertising. Opposite page, middle: This round ‘quality label’ guarantees 100 per cent Swiss, free-range eggs (as the only pasta producer in Switzerland by the way).

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  39

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

A piece of art:

Gelato by Giolito Whether it refreshes us during hot summer days or comforts you snuggled up in front of the fireplace, fresh Italian gelato is a treat for everyone. Swiss company Giolito has mastered the art of making gourmet gelato to perfection. With great passion and strictly using fresh ingredients whilst entirely avoiding any additives, Giolito has become a leading expert of the ice-cold indulgence. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE I PHOTOS: GIOLITO

When Dr. Hans Merki from Bern travelled to North Italy to visit his wine dealer over a decade ago, little did he expect to open his own gelato business shortly after. But, as it often happens in life, one small thing led to another. During his trip, Dr. Merki realised that there were no premium gelato brands presented in Switzerland. He visited the Gelateria Ghisolfi, a traditional family-run gelato parlour near Monza, which was founded by Alessandro Ghisolfi in 1958. 40  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

It only took one spoon to convince Dr. Merki that this outstanding gelato had to be made available in Switzerland. It did not matter to him that he had no experience in starting a business, let alone in the food and import sector. Dr. Merki was determined to take the Italian delicacy home at all costs and, as they say, the rest is history. In 2005, the delicious gelato, handmade in Italy by the Ghisolfi family, entered the Swiss market under the fitting brand name Giolito, which means indul-

Roberto Ghisolfi, son of Alessandro Ghisolfi.

gence or joy in Italian. From then on, the gourmet ice cream took the Swiss and German market by storm. Using the expertise of the longestablished Ghisolfi family and merging it with the innovative creativity of top patissiers such as Ernst Knam has proven to be a very successful concept. Internationally well-known leading chefs create exotic flavours so there is always something new to try. Amongst others, chocolatier Gilles Marchal, Rolf Mürner, Stefan Wiesner and Cristiano Rienzner have also created a signature gelato. Giolito’s CEO Walter Diethelm explains how the remarkable taste is achieved: “The gelato is made with a high amount of flavour-enhancing raw ingredients such as

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

mango with 68 per cent of Alfonso-mango from India. The fruit we use fully ripens on the tree in its natural environment before it is gently processed on site.” Another aspect, as Diethelm explains further, is the significant reduction of air in their gelato, which only measures around 30 per cent compared to the 80-100 per cent of their competitors. This is important because the less air the gelato contains, the longer the taste will stay in the mouth. Also important is the stirring procedure before the gelato is frozen. Giolito’s intensive stirring process of up to 36 hours gives their gelato its distinctive tenderly melting, creamy and stable structure exclusively made from natural ingredients. There are many different flavours to choose from and inspiration comes from almost everywhere, as Diethelm reveals. “It is important to keep your eyes open and recognise potential. There are conceptual ideas such as the ‘Power Fruits’, where we constantly test the suitability of new raw ingredients, which have outstanding qualities such as a high vitamin level, antioxidants or healing properties. Our Goji Latte gelato was created that way.”

“where the impossible is achieved by our creative minds. Good examples for this are the flavours Rose, 1001 Nights or Le Male, which was inspired by Jean-Paul Gaultier’s perfume of the same name.” Of course, Diethelm has his own favourite flavour and it is quite an exotic one: the Tè Verde made from the healthy Japanese Matcha tea that boosts a surprisingly strong green tea flavour. The personal Giolito favourites of the patissiers and chocolatiers are the classic Pistachio, made from Sicilian Bronte pistachios, and Caffè Bianco, a real treat for the senses made from coffee beans soaked in cream to create a sublime white coffee-cream flavour. Gilles Marchal, world-class patissier in Paris loves the flavour Cioccolato Guanaja,

consisting of a stunning 70 per cent Valrhona Grand Cru Guanaja chocolate with 70 per cent cocoa content. In 2007, Giolito’s Mango Sorbetto has already been chosen as the best mango icecream in Germany by the TK-report and many awards are consistently following. Giolito is available in Switzerland, Austria, France and Germany but is also looking to extend its network beyond their current market. The rich and beautiful flavours and the excellent quality of this homemade gelato simply speak for themselves. All you need is a spoon.

Seasonal produce can also factor into creating new flavours such as the creation ‘Dattero’, gelato made from deliciously fragrant Khalas dates. “But there is also the truly creative process,” Diethelm adds, Mojito Sorbetto.

The ‘Mondini’ gelateria in Mariano Comense was opened in 1980.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  41

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Taste of Switzerland

Back to basics produces high-quality vegetable oils in their Swiss home region and delivers these straight to the end customer. A service much appreciated since freshly pressed vegetable oils are still a rare find. TEXT: SONJA IRANI  I  PHOTOS: PFLANZENOEL.CH

“There is a noticeable trend back to a naturally sourced diet,” explains Markus Deppeler, owner of AG. “People want to know where their food is coming from and which foods offer good benefits for their health. To meet this new demand, Deppeler and his team have set up a website on which they offer about a dozen highquality vegetable oils to be sent directly to the end consumer. “Most of the recourses for these oils we even grow ourselves,” he says. “In fact, most of our products are a 100 per cent regional Swiss. The grape seeds for our popular grape seed oil, for example, come from the local winemaker in our village. Only the olive oil and the

pumpkin seed oil are imported from small family businesses in Greece and Tyrol.” As a little extra service, Pflanzenoel. ch AG allows their customers to drop off their own oilseeds so the team can press these into oils. Furthermore, health-con-

scious customers can sign up to a subscription service, which delivers freshly pressed linseed oil straight to their doorstep each month. “Our healthy linseed oil is particularly rich of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids,” explains Deppeler. “We press it fresh at least once a month. Our customers really appreciate this. After all, you won’t get such a high-quality oil any fresher anywhere else.”

A sense of home above the clouds Kernser Pasta delivers Swiss quality from Obwalden to airlines. The traditional Swiss menu whets the appetite for more enjoyment, more craftsmanship and, above all, for more pasta. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: KERNSER PASTA

Tucked away in a tranquil country setting and surrounded by the Swiss Alps, Pasta Röthlin AG has been producing varieties of their local pasta brand ‘Kernser pasta’ since 1936. Today the culinary speciality is travelling around the globe as Kernser Pasta and can now also be enjoyed in mid-air. Since this summer, Edelweiss Air and other airlines have been serving Kernser pasta as part of their in-flight menu. The airlines specifically chose a local company like Pasta Röthlin AG due to their genuine passion for the trait and the outstanding quality of their traditional product. The pasta is strictly made from natural, carefully selected produce such as authentic pure spelt from Switzerland, fresh Swiss eggs and pristine mountain spring water from 42  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Obwalden. Know-how and craftsmanship result in the supreme Kernser pasta with its rich flavour Another criterion for the airlines were the pasta’s firmness, its colour and form. For the limited-space economy class ‘shorter’ pasta such as penne, marziani and hoernli are favoured whilst spaghetti is known to be impractical during flights. Passengers can still indulge in many varied dishes such as the Ribeli salad, delicate fettuccine or the colourful tricoloured pasta. Whether you are up in the air or on the ground, delicious pasta is one of the most satisfying meals; especially when it is Kernser Pasta.

From top: Production manager Peter Wallimann at the production site for Aelper Magronen. Kernser speciality Fettuccine Alfredo are being cut and formed into nests. It is prepared to dry on the grate. Kernser Tricolore Pasta ready to eat.

ef fe c t- e n e r g y | w w w.ef fe c t- e n e r g y.c o m

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Christmas Recipes

Photo: ©, Johnny Lai

Culinary Christmas Eve in Germany Christmas is approaching quickly as always. Preparations are made, invitations are sent, presents are bought or built. But what about dinner? Well, if you have any interest in the German way of feasting on Christmas Eve, then you have found the right article. On the following pages we explore some of Germany’s favourite dishes for 24 December. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS

First things first. Whether you will like the German Christmas dishes or not, there is one big advantage to all of them: although some need more preparation and skill than others, none of the food is that unusual. In fact, all of the meals will sound fa44  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

miliar to you and you have probably even eaten most of them on occasion. The main trend A general trend is having an influence on the cooking behaviour of Germans around

Christmas time. A consciousness for healthy food has been having a great impact on meals around the country and of course this trend does not stop in December. That is why some of the classic meals, like a stuffed goose, have seen a decline in popularity. Younger people especially also do not want to experience a whole animal on the dinner table. This trend dates back to the historic perception of the time before Christmas. It always was a time of silence and sacrifice with regard to extravagant food and glut-

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Christmas Recipes

tony, making the meals more straightforward or even fasting meals.

individualisation and creativeness while minimising the overall preparation time.

Raclette from Switzerland

The modern way to serve Raclette is an electric table-top grill with small pans in which the special Raclette cheese and other ingredients are heated. The advantages are overt. Everyone can choose their own ingredients in accordance to their taste and

Getting into the numbers, studies underline the main trend. Coming in third in the ranking of most popular food for Christmas Eve is Raclette. Originally from Switzerland, Raclette allows for unique

Raclette. Photo: ©, Benjamin Jopen

Raclette. Photo: ©, Benjamin Jopen

Raclette. Photo: ©, LWYang

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  45

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Christmas Recipes

Roasted Goose. Photo: ©, jayneandd

also guests can easily participate in the preparation by bringing certain garnishes. Furthermore, Raclette is also a slow meal that, due to the cooking times, can stretch over the entire evening, allowing for conversations and gregarious times. Poultry dishes While the trend goes away from poultry, the reality shows that it is only a recent development. Still, many Germans decide on goose or duck for Christmas Eve. The classic method of serving the dish is of course as a roasted goose and preparing such a dish is quite an undertaking. People often spend a long time thinking about how to do it and some of the actual preparation time will be spent on problem solving. Especially for first timers, a roasted goose is a challenge. Important complementary decisions also include the 46  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Potato salad with sausages

Complemented with wieners, bratwurst, schnitzel or meatballs, the recipes for potato salad are as diverse as their cooks. Effectively every German family is following some kind of traditional, years old recipe, that has always worked and, of course, produces the best salad in the whole world. Some people use beetroot, some gherkins, most people onions, some apples and eggs. Some serve fresh bread or crispy toast, others do not. Naturally, the ingredients are always bought at the same store and have to be produced by the same companies.

Indeed, this is the number one favourite meal for a German Christmas Eve. One third of the population serve potato salad with sausages. This perfectly demonstrates the saying that less, in this case, really is more. Simple in preparation and execution and always fantastically delicious and perfectly suitable for larger groups, potato salad is just an all-around treat.

All of this makes the potato salad game easy for newcomers. You should not look online or in a cookbook for the perfect recipe. Just ask a German friend about his or her way of doing it. Surely your friend will have an answer for you, that will satisfy your appetite and highlight your Christmas Eve the German way.

stuffing. Apples, dried fruit or chestnuts are perfect for it, as they keep the goose from drying out. As mentioned before, time management and careful planning is the most important aspect. There are many different sources of information with regard to the stuffing, the actual cooking and potential side dishes and one should thoroughly get to know these beforehand.

Discover Germany  |  Wine & Dine  |  Christmas Recipes

Potato salad. Photo: ©, jules

Photo: ©, Antonio Castagna

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  47

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Conference Hotel of the Month, Germany


Hotel Schindlerhof:

A mecca for meditation and creation In Boxdorf near the German town of Nuremberg, the traveller will find the widely known Schindlerhof. It is much more than a hotel, it represents a rare paradise of peace and quiet that one may even call a mecca for meditation and creation. TEXT & PHOTOS: HOTEL SCHINDLERHOF

With this hotel, Klaus Kobjoll, a charismatic hotelier, alongside his wife Renate and his daughter Nicole, could realise their vision of establishing a conference centre that incorporates a vast experience of trainers and advisors for modern management procedures. The result is a unique refuge endowed with a carefully developed conference and seminar cul48  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

ture that includes elements of far-eastern origin. For example, Feng Shui is used in the Schindlerhof to achieve an atmosphere that promotes the full accord of soul and awareness, respectively of ratio and emotion. The attempt became a success. Wherever the visitor goes or what he observes in the Schindlerhof environment, he seems to sense the positive flux the ho-

tel emits. He feels and enjoys the creative passion and careful contemplation which supported the conception of this unusual place. The goal that was set by the Kobjoll family has surely been attained. The guests do not only feel protected and pleased in this environment, they can also relish their stay at the Schindlerhof with body and soul. ‘Kreativzentrum’ – A face lift for this conference unit In such an environmental background, where one can breathe pure unpolluted country air, effective studying and learn-

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Conference Hotel of the Month, Germany

ing becomes a simpler task. The ‘DenkArt’ building exists just for this purpose. The word ‘DenkArt’ does not exist in any dictionary. It is a creation of Klaus Kobjoll, a play with words in German that cannot be properly translated. The closest might be ‘a way to think’. Hence, we may call it in English ‘the Art of Thinking’, or should we not simply call it ‘Think-Tank?’ Thus, also in the Think-Tank building the identical philosophy is applied, which is used throughout the Schindlerhof design. The very first conference building in today’s Schindlerhof village, the ‘Kreativzentrum’ – Creative Centre, was in 2015 completely modernised in order to stay at the top of German conference hotels. A new lobby for coffee breaks was created with futuristic seating landscapes and a huge aquarium, a covered seating area outside for those who enjoy a smoke and a completely new state-of-the-art technology in all rooms that, depending on the size of the rooms, either have the brightest of beamers or large flat screens that work in direct sunlight without the room needing to be darkened. Even the toilets, designed

by graffiti artists, provide a flash experience. In summer 2015, 500,000 euros were invested in only four weeks. All conference rooms in this creative centre (studio, veranda, gallery and winter garden) also naturally underwent a comprehensive renovation and modernisation in which, of course, the newest technologies were also included. The creative centre was also offered a new shine with a very natural and cleverly designed lighting concept. Describing the equipment concept in detail would decisively go beyond the scope of this description “as we strongly entered into a planning of original details”, states Nicole Kobjoll, CEO of the Schindlerhof, who is elated with the successful interaction of many creative ideas. Conference rooms with a capacity of up to 160 participants The modernisation of all these conference rooms in the ‘Kreativzentrum’ was supplemented with a complete redesign of the hall. Here there is also a taste of the diversity of ideas: the visual centre is dominated by a wonderful sofa from Verpan as part

of a seat group, a real eye catcher, behind which a large aquarium found its place on the wall. Furthermore, an original old English telephone box was converted to a mini library. The ten available conference rooms in the Schindlerhof village, with a capacity of up to 160 participants, promote the required concentration for creative and productive learning with their pleasant arrangement, daylight throughout and excellent working conditions. Highly modern techniques and equipment combined with lively colours, pleasant odours and soft music shift the procedures of a seminar or conference to a new unusual level. The favourable results of such measures can be observed on the Schindlerhof’s balance sheet. Over the last 25 years, the Schindlerhof has received countless awards for various aspects of its hotel management, conference culture and gastronomic success – on a national as well as an international basis.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  49

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Design Hotel of the Month, Austria


Build your own hotel Harry’s Home Hotels allow you to customise your travel experience. With four venues in Austria, one in Germany and a forthcoming one in Switzerland, the family-owned hotel chain has created an innovative solution for both business travellers and vacationers. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS  I  PHOTOS: HARRY’S HOME HOTELS

For CEO Harald Ultsch, “Harry’s Home is the missing link between the traditional hotel industry and modern requirements of accommodation.” Originally conceived in 2004, the idea for this novel hotel was developed on the basis of studies about the market and prospective customer wishes. Ultsch, who is managing hotels in the fourth generation, worked on it together with his family and in 2006 the first Harry’s Home was opened in Graz, Austria. The unique aspect of Harry’s Home Hotels manifests itself in their one-of-a kind ability to be adapted by the visitor himself. Employing a modular design, Harry’s Home allows visitors to make their 50  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

own decisions with regard to the shape of their room and their visit. Would you like a room without breakfast? Or a room with a small one? A large buffet? Would you like to have a Nespresso machine in your room? Do you need your own kitchen? Actually, which size and design should your room have in the first place? At Harry’s Home Hotel the visitor is deciding and only paying for what they use. Regarding their rooms, Harry’s Home Hotels offer seven different versions from 22 to 65 square metres. There are spacious studios with large desks and a kitchen, which is especially liked by business travellers who want to take care of themselves.

At the same time, air conditioning and walk-in closets are available for all rooms. Furthermore, Harry’s Home offers a highspeed internet connection free of charge and every hotel features a service point with washing machines, dryers and a diverse food supply. Currently, Harry’s Home Hotel is situated in the Austrian cities Graz, Linz, Dornbirn and Vienna and also in Munich, Germany. In 2018, Ultsch will expand once more and open a new design hotel in Switzerland’s largest city Zurich. SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER Receive a ten per cent discount on the current daily rate by completing your reservation for any of the five Harry’s Home Hotels online via the own website, on the phone or via post with the code harrydirect10.

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Experience of the Month, Germany

Photo: © Michael Arndt

Photo: © Michael Arndt

Photo: © Ralf Rosa

Photo: © Michael Arndt


Enjoy winter in the Black Forest Slope and sledding fun in a fairy tale snow landscape, cosy wellness hotels, regional gourmet cuisine and as a winter highlight, the first Black Forest snow sculpture festival. The Bernau high mountain valley is one of the most beautiful winter sports resorts in the southern Black Forest.

also the longest sled run in the Black Forest: 3.5 kilometres fly by from the Krunkelbach mountain cabin, at 1,294 metres, down into the valley.


All-around recreation

Art out of snow: metre-high snow cubes, shovels, spades and peeling knives plus six European sculpting teams with patience and a good sense of proportion; that is already enough for the first Black Forest snow sculpture festival in the Bernau valley. Over four thrilling days the question is: how will the sculpture look that the artists are carving from their three-metrehigh snow blocks? “There is no theme, we just chose the most interesting of the designs,” says Werner Baur, CEO of the Tourist Information Bernau. The airy workshop of the sculptures is situated on a small plateau with a dreamlike view on the high valley and the Black Forest mountains, some 950 metres high in the ski resort. “A perfect location! Skiers are coming by on their downhill runs, winter hikers walk up,” rejoices Baur. The first Black Forest snow sculpture festival will

take place from the 9 to 12 February 2017 with free admissions to the open-air gallery. Free skiing With an altitude between 900 and 1,400 metres, the Bernau valley is one of the most attractive winter sport regions in the southern Black Forest. Two ski resorts with five lifts and ten slopes stretching over 60 kilometres are ready to be discovered. People who stay at least two nights in Bernau profit from a guest card, enabling them to use lifts and slopes cost free.

In the Bernau valley, recreation has many faces: The mountain climate gets the circulation going, three hotels spoil with top wellness, restaurants offer regional delicacies like the Black Forest trout, herbal dumplings or roast venison. For Werner Baur it is the combination of the many offerings, which makes a winter holiday in Bernau an unforgettable experience. Photo: © Ute Maier

Relaxing in the romantic winter landscape The snow scrunches under the feet and wherever one looks there is sparkling white – winter hikers especially enjoy the idyllic, extensive valley landscape. “Each year we prepare around 50 kilometres of trails in Bernau,”explains Baur. Prepared is Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  51

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Top Winter Destination, Germany

T O P W I N T E R D E S T I N AT I O N , G E R M A N Y

Left: Having fun in Spitzingsee-Tegernsee. Photo: © Hansi Heckmair / Alpenbahnen Spitzingsee Right: For ski experts: skiing region Wendelstein. Photo: © Hansi Heckmair

The perfect offer for the perfect skiing holiday Perfectly groomed slopes, exciting toboggan tracks and snow-covered mountains invite sports enthusiasts from all over the world to spend a perfect holiday in the Alps. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE

Winter in the Alps is an excellent experience. The impressive panorama of these age-old mountains is covered by metres of snow, thus magically converting the area into a proverbial winter wonderland for you to explore.

kilometres of perfectly groomed ski slopes suitable for all levels of skiing expertise.You can go to the top in comfortable state-ofthe-art ski lifts (some of them even heated) and can enjoy unique panoramic views of the Bavarian and Tyrolean Alps.

Skiing in the Alps

Sudelfeld, Spitzingsee-Tegernsee, Hocheck, Brauneck, and Wendelstein

Visitors to the Bavarian Alps are spoilt for the choice with its many exciting skiing regions. Ski fanatics will experience some memorable skiing experiences on countless 52  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

If you are travelling with small children, then skiing regions Sudelfeld and Brauneck are the perfect choice for you as easier

and wider slopes make learning to ski an adventure filled with joy and fun. Feeling adventurous? Why not try something else for your skiing holidays? Snowboarders and freestylers rave about the snow park in Spitzingsee, where Kicker, rails, boxes and tonnes await the adventurous. If you are lucky, you may even meet Konstantin Schad, World Champion 2013, Rider of the Year 2012 and German champion 2015 who is a regular visitor to his old hounds. Not much of a snowboarder? SpitzingseeTegernsee and Hocheck invite you to experience the magic of wedeling through an enchanted, snow-covered countryside. Yet if wedeling at night is not your thing, then tobogganing may be. Experience 6.5

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Top Winter Destination, Germany

kilometres of excitement and alpine bliss on one of Germany’s longest natural toboggan tracks at Wallberg/Tegernsee. Or go on Hocheck’s three-kilometre flood-lit toboggan track and speed down the Bavarian countryside. Are you more of a traditionalist? Then the skiing region Brauneck in Lenggries, home of German ski champions Hilde Gerg and Martina Ertl-Renz, will be perfect for you. A varied choice of blue, red and black slopes is ideal for the skiing expert as well as the beginner. If you should get hungry from speeding down Brauneck’s slopes, do not despair. You can revive body and spirit in one of the numerous cosy rustic Bavarian Alpine cabins along the slopes. Here you will be spoilt with delicious typical Bavarian food and beverages, or you may simply enjoy lying lazily outside in one of the cabins’ deck chairs while the crisp winter sun shines on you. Are you a real ski expert? Then Wendelstein is your choice. An insider tip: only

experienced skiers and snowboarders will take the Wendelsteinbahn, which brings them to the top to enjoy a stunning view of the Alps before heading down slopes every ski expert dreams about.

teenager and senior citizens pay 82 instead of 164 euros, children from six to 15 years pay 48 instead of 97 euros and small children pay only 12 euros. This is an offer you cannot beat!

White Weeks – explore eight skiing regions with one ski pass at half the price

Go and get your skis out. Bavaria and Tyrol are waiting for you.

Eight German and Austrian skiing regions have teamed up to get you the most out of your skiing adventures. Brauneck, Hocheck, Spitzingsee-Tegernsee, Sudelfeld, Wallberg, and Wendelstein in Germany and Hochkössen and Zahmer Kaiser in Austria are all part of a very particular offer that grants you access to the best of the Alps. Indeed, the best can cost less as your skiing adventure becomes even more fabulous during the famous Weiße Wochen (White Weeks). From 7-14 January and 11-18 March 2017, you can have more fun for less money as you may purchase a sixday skiing pass for half the price. Visitors older than 19 pay 97 instead of 193 euros,

For accommodation, see: For White Weeks, see:

Top left: Family-friendly skiing region Sudelfeld. Photo: © Pupeter-Secen, Lumi Images. Top right: Ski huts and breathtaking views in Brauneck. Photo: © Brauneck Bergbahn / Hubert Walther. Below left: Enjoy the view in Wallberg. Enjoy one of Germany’s longest natural toboggan tracks. Photo: © Hansi Heckmair. Below right: Skiing region Hocheck. Photo: © Tourist-Information Oberaudorf / Hans Osterauer

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  53

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

Photo: ©, Michael Scierski

S P E C I A L T H E M E : T O P I S L A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S

Northern Germany’s holiday treasure Some of Germany’s most beloved travel destinations are not actually connected to the country’s mainland. For many years, the various German islands in the North Sea have been offering relaxation and nature to legions of domestic visitors and fans from abroad. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS

Photo: ©, Alexander Fink

54  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

Stretching along the coastline of Lower Saxony and extending north along the lines of Schleswig Holstein to Denmark, the German islands are situated in a perfect position for travellers who want to have a unique experience without going far off into the sea. In that regard, visiting is wonderfully easy, as one can go by ferry to any of the islands. From a geographic point of view, the islands can be divided into East Frisian and North Frisian ones. While the seven East Frisian Islands span a distance of roughly 90 kilometres, the North Frisian Islands are dominated by the prominent highlight Sylt. A trip to one of the islands is a treat all year long. Not only is breathing the delicious sea air a relaxation in itself, but the surroundings make a difference as well. Miles and miles of broad sandy beaches are ready to be explored and wandered upon. Even the winter is not able to disperse this pleasure. How often will you have the experience of walking through snowy dunes almost all by yourself? Beach chair in Norderney. Photo: ©, CastlemaniaPix

Lighthouse in Amrum. Photo: ©, Norlando Pobre

Baltic Sea. Photo: ©, Philipp Zieger

UNESCO world heritage Wadden Sea - The Wadden Sea of Schleswig Holstein and Lower Saxony has been a world heritage since 2009. - The total size amounts to 11,000 square metres, with 1,200 kilometres of hiking space. - It is a feast for the animal life. Millions of migrating birds stop to rest. Mussel beds, eelgrass meadow and mudflats bear foods for the animals. - Thanks to the tides, the shape of the Wadden Sea is constantly in movement. - Visitors can experience the sea firsthand by taking part in guided tours, showing the interaction between wind and water, huge flocks of birds and the occasional seal.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  55

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

Slow and sustainable travels:

Experiencing the Wadden Sea a different way Long sandy beaches stretch over kilometres along Juist’s shoreline, framed by dunes on the one side and crashing waves on the other. This alone makes the East Frisian island a special place. But what distinguishes Juist from other tourist destinations is its eco-friendly approach. The island has made ‘sustainability’ a guiding theme for the tourism sector. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: KV JUIST

Nature dictates the rhythm of life on this small island: 17 kilometres in length and only 800 metres wide at its widest point. Locals tenderly call their home ‘Töwerland’ in their local dialect – wonderland or fairy tale land. While the island also has an airport, most guests arrive by ferry that can only reach the island during high tide. “So people will from the very beginning of their journey attune to the rhythm of nature,”says Thomas Vodde, who is responsible not only for the island’s marketing but also for sustainable development. 56  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Cars are not allowed on the island and, as it was done centuries ago, people and goods are transported with horse carts and carriages. Horse carts are even used for garbage collection on the island, or to transport heavy goods or furniture. There is only one great exception to this rule: fire services and ambulances. It is no wonder that everything is a bit slower on the island – intentionally. What has become internationally fashionable as the ‘Slow Movement’ has a long tradition

on Juist. The island is a forerunner, when it comes to sustainable tourism and living. For many regular guests, the slower path of life is the reason they come here again and again. Whoever wants to get from one point to another must go by bike, on foot or use a carriage. Horses are therefore quite characteristic for the island and part of its unique atmosphere.“Even if this means we also have horse droppings on the roads,” says Thomas Vodde with a slight wink. Coastal air is already considered to be very healthy, but since there are no cars and no heavy industry on the island, it is even cleaner on Juist. The amount of CO2 found in the air for example is negligible. In 2010, Juist gave itself the title ‘Klimainsel’: a climate-friendly island. This is not only a statement, but a promise: “In 2030 we – as an island – intend to be climate-neutral,”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

says Vodde, which means the island must fully compensate carbon emission. Today the whole island already has a low carbon emission of 27,000 tonnes a year – including the ferry trips guests must undertake to reach and leave the island. This is not much when taking into consideration that the average German emits 11 tonnes of carbon-dioxide every year. 1,700 people currently live on Juist, but more than 130,000 visit every year. The tourism information is already climate-neutral: While still emitting 13 tonnes of CO2 every year, those responsible for the eco-friendly concept decided to compensate this carbon emission completely, reducing the carbon footprint to zero. Juist’s tourism information is one of only two in Germany that have gained this status so far. The climate-friendly approach even led to establishing a veggie-day where only veg-

etarian food is served on the island, because carbon-dioxide emission and food production are closely linked – and that is something the islanders want to make people aware of. Climate protection and sustainable living is something that has to include future generations. This is why there are not only courses in the local school and kindergarten, but also a children’s summer university dedicated to the topic of sustainability. It is their aim to introduce these vital ideas to children spending their holidays on the island as well. The local administration also offers businesses operating on the island advice on energy savings free of charge. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts have already installed solar panels or are using energy from eco-friendly sources only. Others have redeveloped the building into a

low-energy house. To give tourists a better choice and to make this more transparent, the travel catalogue – also available online – displays exactly what kind of measures a hotel has taken to make the business more climate friendly. Tourists therefore have a choice how climate friendly their holidays might be. For all these efforts in 2015, Juist has won the German prize for sustainability – one of many prizes the destination was awarded in recent years. The jury especially mentioned the consistent and authentic sustainable approach. Juist is also among the top 100 green destinations and ranks 31st place among the top German tourism destination in Germany – outranking for example Sylt and playing in the same league as famous attractions like the Brandenburger Tor.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  57

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

The island of Borkum.

View of the promenade from the main beach.

New Year’s Eve in front of the promenade.

Where sea, wind and waves create a healthy retreat in a stunning landscape The island of Borkum is the westernmost and largest of the East Frisian Islands on the German North Sea coast – a famous holiday destination in the middle of the unique Wadden Sea nature reserve. Sandy beaches, salt marches and dunes form an unspoiled nature that attracts a great deal of wildlife. A special spot for nature lovers and those searching for relaxation. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: WIRTSCHAFTSBETRIEBE DER STADT NSHB BORKUM GMBH

When thinking about holidays at the German North Sea coast, many might consider going during the summer holidays when the weather is warm and the sea tame. But holidays at the island of Borkum have a special flair during the winter months: “Away from the crowds, people can find tranquillity and repose, they can enjoy the island’s gorgeous nature and the cold, clear breeze coming from the sea,” says 58  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Borkum’s director of tourism Christian Klamt. Of course, every local has his or her own favourite spot on the island, but there are some highlights none should miss.“I would recommend taking a hike to the ‘Sternklipp’ dune at the far end of the sea wall,” says Klamt. From the top of the dune one can not only see over the entire islands and the surrounding Wadden Sea. “When the weather is clear one can even

spot the neighbouring islands Juist and Memmert.” Whoever feels frozen right through after wandering along the sandy beaches or through the marches can afterwards huddle inside and for example enjoy a traditional Eastern Frisian tea ceremony. This includes black tea, rock sugar – locally called ‘Kluntje’ – and cream added with a tiny silver spoon so it forms creamy clouds inside the tea. The ceremony, for example, is celebrated in the old ‘Toornhuus’ behind the lighthouse. But there are many other small cafés serving ‘Ostfriesentee’, the strong black tea named after the region. Like the British, Eastern Frisians are keen on tea and even have their own local tea

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

brands fabricated on the mainland. Whoever has a sweet tooth can enjoy another local speciality called ‘Windbeutel’, large profiteroles filled with rich cream and, for example, cherries or liqueur made from the locally grown seabuckthorn. Healthy air and spa treatments inspired by coast and sea Everyone knows that the fresh and clear air at the coast is healthy and for centuries people with breathing problems have visited spas in unspoiled nature to get well again. With its high waves crashing to the shore, the North Sea during winter is spectacular to view but also has an additional health aspect says Christian Klamt: “Because of the high waves during winter, the air contains even more iodine and aerosol.” The island has put special focus on health and spas. The ‘Gezeitenland’ leisure centre and spa has something to offer for everyone, with swimming pools, various saunas and a huge wellness area. What is special here are the thalasso treatments. The word originates in the Greek term ‘thálassa’ which simply means ‘sea’ and so thalasso

The ‘Gezeitenland‘ leisure centre.

Compass close to the beach.

indeed uses what the sea has to offer for health and beauty treatments: sea water, salt, mud, algae, sand, aerosol and the climate found on the island.

therefore used to treat degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Take for example the sea silt found on the seabed when the North Sea retreats during low tide. It is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium, contains salt and vitamins, clay and traces of sulphur as well as organic materials like algae; a healthy combination. The sea silt used here is sourced from the UNESCO nature reserve that protects the environment of the Wadden Sea coast. Since the ground is regularly flooded, the sea silt gains a great deal of oxygen and a high concentration of organic materials, especially during the summer months between May and August. The sourced silt is purified and can be used for a warm mud bath, for facials or mudpacks. This might sound strange, but actually feels really pleasant and – as a beauty treatment – stimulates and enriches the skin. But more important is the health factor: the equal level of warmth relaxes the muscles better than for example a traditional warm water baths and is

But nature and health are not all the island has to offer. Winter, like summer, has many high-class concerts around the island such as a night inspired by music from Cuba. Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the island’s Blues Night has become somewhat of a tradition in recent years. And, of course, there is the annual New Year’s Eve party at the island’s promenade.

Concerts and a versatile cultural programme Blues Night.

The ‘Gezeitenland‘ leisure centre.

Electrical lighthouse, Südbad.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  59

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

Horse riding. Photo: Klaus Dinkla bade:haus indoor pool. Photo: Nicolas Chibac

New Year’s treats and nature-bound recreation:

Norderney’s winter magic Set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, the unique natural landscape of the North Sea island of Norderney attracts visitors throughout the year, also in winter times. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

As one of the ‘Green Destinations Top 100’ worldwide and only German winner of the international Quality Coast Gold Award, the second largest of the East Frisian islands is known not only for its Thalasso-based cures but also to beach lovers, bird watchers and to those seeking both relaxation and active recreation.

winter magic land Winterzauber on the Kurplatz square, a compact yet delightful New Year’s market, opening on 27 December. Culinary delights like hearty chorizo and regional seafood morsels, exquisite wines as well as alcohol-free cranberry punch attract the crowds from noon until evening.

In the winter time, Norderney likes to welcome anyone who wants to leave the Christmas stress behind and indulge in the island’s multiple special treats like the

Special events at the Kurtheater and Conversationshaus attract more winter guests to the island and for those who want to get rid of a few extra Christmas

60  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

kilos, the New Year’s Eve race and the first dip in the North Sea on New Year’s Day will provide for healthy endeavours. The first dip event especially is a regular crowd magnet. While several hundred people jump into the chilly waters, several thousands come along to the Westbad beach to cheer them on. Afterwards, a free visit of the Blue Night Boogie concert on the Kurplatz square is calling. However, the biggest and all time present event on Norderney is, and has always been, its natural habitat. Most winter guests indulge not only in the exclusive and manifold Spa and Thalasso treats and treatments, but also enjoy long healthy walks in fresh climate. In October, the winter season starts with bird watching

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Top Island Destinations

walks when hundreds of thousands of migrating birds take a rest on Norderney on their way to the Southern hemisphere. The Thalasso platforms hold information boards for these occasions to keep every birdwatcher abreast with the latest scientific knowledge on bird migration. The Norderney national park house, lately awarded the title of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea event centre provides further information on the island’s unique natural landscape.

This winter, an event of the special kind is planned for the Norderney Obstacle Fight on 4 February will recall East Frisian traditional defense practices against the attacking forces of the vikings. As the tale goes, the Frisians have made use of the powerful nature surrounding them as early as in the year of 884 CE, when tens of thousands of Vikings, their numbers highly exceeding those of the hard-pressed Frisians, were cunningly lured into the Wadden Sea where they drowned in the tidal waters.

Last but not least, the exclusive and award-winning Spa world of the bade:haus norderney, the biggest Thalasso house in Europe is one of the major attractions of the island. Offering a palette of amazing salt water based treatments, saunas and massages as well as North Sea-based seaweed and mud packs, the variations of treatments at the bade:haus are endless and always worth a visit. The view over the islands rooftops out to sea is unique in itself. The Best Public Bath in Europe 2015 also has multiple specials on offer, and there is something new to discover with every visit.

Asking for a lot of team spirit, the Norderney obstacle course will involve such challenges as carrying heavy beach baskets and the race course will include the island’s unique nature, the Wadden Sea and a lot of East Frisian tradition following the motto of “Eala Frya Fresena”, which translates to “Stand up for a free Frisia”.

Wide horizons. Photo: Klaus Dinkla

Sauna treat. Photo: Nicolas Chibac

A winter stay on Norderney will leave you welcoming the new year refreshed, relaxed and revived. Throughout the year, guests can count on the healing benefits of the unique natural landscape of the Wadden Sea, enjoy the Thalasso therapy treatments

Dune sculpture. Photo: Klaus Dinkla

at the bade:haus and relish in culinary delights. The event schedule shows both outdoor and indoor entertainment as well as lectures and concerts at the Conversationshaus, which also houses seminars and congresses in its elegant historical ambiance marked by classical architecture. Families will find a calendar of activities and child-appropriate knowledge transfer on the natural habitat of Norderney, sports fans are attracted by ideal and challenging surfing, sailing and stand-up paddling contests. Beach runs, horse riding and Nordic walking are calling for active outdoor hours followed by a rewarding Spa or sauna treat. From arrangements for the individual traveller to family holiday offers, from ladies’ Wellness packages to romantic stays for couples, Norderney has it all. The nature-bound sights and activities, the history, the healing powers and an everchanging sophisticated events calendar make for a rewarding stay at any time of the year.

Vast beaches and dunes. Photo: Klaus Dinkla

bade:haus sea-based treatment. Photo: Nicolas Chibac

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  61

Gannets on Helgoland.

Marine biology in Germany The ocean covers more than 70 per cent of the surface of our planet, and many questions concerning marine ecosystems and phenomena are still to be investigated. In Germany, there are various institutes that are dedicated to marine and polar research. The Alfred Wegener Institute based in Bremerhaven is one of them. TEXT & PHOTOS: NADINE CARSTENS

Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges – most scientists agree on that, even if some politicians deny that this crisis is caused by humans. Rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and changing ecosystems are among the fatal consequences of global warming, pollution and overfishing that polar and marine scientists investigate. In Germany, there are a range of universities and research institutes in Bremen, Hamburg, Rostock, Kiel and Oldenburg dedicated to deciphering the global climate system. Another notable facility for polar 62  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

and marine research is the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), named after the German polar explorer who discovered the continental drift. Its scientists primarily work in the cold and temperate regions of the world, starting their expeditions and working on their samples and data at the institute’s sites in Bremerhaven, Potsdam, Sylt and Helgoland, Germany’s only deepsea island, 70 kilometres away from the mainland. Since 1892 scientists have been fascinated by the island’s rich flora and

fauna: Being unique to Germany, the rocky mudflat, located around Helgoland, is habitat for algae, fish and invertebrates. The high cliffs of the island additionally offer perfect conditions for a wide range of sea birds such as common murres, seagulls and northern fulmars. With their blue eyes surrounded by black rings and their white plumage featuring black tips, northern gannets are also a popular subject for numerous nature photographers and tourists every year. Among the northern gannets, more than 780 breeding pairs were counted this year on Helgoland, while there were almost 4,700 pairs of black-legged kittiwakes and about 2,800 pairs of common murres. But a threat many of these sea birds face is plastic: Northern gannets for example like to use old fishnets to build their nests. As a result, many of them get

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  Marine Biology in Germany

entangled or swallow threads of the net and end up dying in agony. When diving into the water at a high speed to hunt for fish, the sea birds often get tangled up in nets with their beaks, as well. Animal conservationists can scarcely rescue the birds in such a situation, as it is difficult to reach them on the sheer cliffs. Various environmental organisations therefore demand that fishery becomes more ecological by for example using bio-degradable nets as an alternative. A major problem: Plastic litter in our oceans Plastic in the sea is also a subject the AWI scientists investigate. Tracking down micro litter is Gunnar Gerdts’ aim. The microbiologist and his colleagues are trying to determine the extent of microplastics – extremely tiny particles that can sometimes just be seen under a microscope. The extent of this pollution problem has only recently been discovered. Today, experts know that we are surrounded by microplastic almost everywhere and that it is extremely persistent. After doing research on this subject for five years, the AWI scientists concluded that these tiny plastic particles can be detected in all regions, and that particularly large amounts gather in the Arctic Sea ice. According to them, microplastic is released through the daily wear and tear of plastic sources at sea Helgoland.

and on land, such as paint coatings used on ships. In cooperation with 11 countries, Gerdts and his team are now working on developing a common method to collect, extract and measure the amount of microplastic in our oceans. Field research under extreme conditions To increase the marine diversity in the North Sea, another group of AWI scientists are trying to settle the European lobster around the island of Helgoland. Lobsters usually play a crucial role in the marine environment, as it is a top regulator that stabilises the hard-bottom biocoenosis and ensures high species diversity. But its population shrunk to a small size decades ago because lobster fishing used to be a major source of income for Helgoland for many centuries. World War II is said to have added to the shrinking lobster population as toxins were spread into the sea when Helgoland was heavily bombed. At the Biological Institute Helgoland, scientists therefore established a breeding station for the endangered species. In a pilot project, lobsters are released at a nearby offshore wind park to find out what is necessary to revitalise the population. Scientists chose the foundation structures of the wind turbines as an appropriate habitat for the lobsters, since they provide crevices the species depends on.

Field research under extreme conditions is often necessary for the work of the AWI experts from the bio, geo, and climate sciences. In order to collect and analyse sediment and ice core samples, the researches regularly travel the deep seas and the glaciers of both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Five research vessels offer the necessary equipment to make these expeditions, the most prominent one is the RV Polarstern, which has a length of 118 metres and has been driving to Polar Regions since about 30 years. Currently, the Polarstern is on its way to the Antarctica to conduct long-term measurements of ocean currents influencing the global climate and to supply the Neumayer Station III, which is the starting point for German and international field expeditions on the frozen continent.

SOME GERMAN MARINE AND POLAR RESEARCH INSTITUTES: Alfred-Wegener-Institut: Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung GEOMAR: Institut für Küstenforschung Geesthacht: Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde: Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung:

Gray seal.


Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  63

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

Photo: ©, Patrick Stoll

S P E C I A L T H E M E : E V E N T S O F T H E Y E A R – V I E N N A’ S G L O R I O U S B A L L S E A S O N

2,000 hours of dancing fun Every year from 11 November until February, Vienna celebrates a rather big spectacle: the glamorous ball season. This old tradition, which is all about exciting settings, exquisite culinary delights, expensive ball gowns and endless dancing, still lives on in the city today. On the following pages, we have handpicked some of the best balls to get you inspired. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, Didriks

64  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Photo: ©, Moritz Schmaltz

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

A glorious ball night in Vienna A colourful mix of uniforms and guests from all over the world – the Officer’s Ball in Vienna is different from similar events in many ways. However, everyone is welcome to participate and to enjoy an unforgettable night.

dances. The ‘Late Night Show’ will feature the trio Sedonia, three opera singers who will musically build a bridge between the orient and the Occident.


The Officer’s Ball is considered as the direct successor of Vienna’s Imperial Court Ball. Therefore, the Officer’s Ball takes place in the renowned scenery of the Vienna Hofburg. In 2017, according to the motto ‘Fortitudini’, the ball will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Maria Theresia, the former Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia.“Hence, it is understood that the Officer’s Ball takes place in the magnificent, ornate rooms of the Vienna Hofburg,” Franz Lang, one of the organisers, explains.“It was her residence and we want to resurge the magic of those times for our guests.” Besides, Austria’s officers are trained at the Maria Theresianische Militärakademie, which was endowed by the Archduchess back in 1751. The Officer’s Ball has taken place since 1926 and is the venue not only for officers and the Viennese society, but also for in-

ternational guests. Next January, visitors from 13 nations have confirmed their attendance. The evening’s programme will surely amaze the guests. The Officer’s Ball is known for its fulminate opening ceremony. The Débutantes will show off their skills with a beautiful waltz and the Fächerpolonaise. Another highlight will be the performance of the popular State Opera singer Ildikó Raimondi. With the song Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein (You should be the Emperor of my soul), she will introduce the ball’s motto to the guests in an outstanding way. Guests can also look forward to the midnight show in the great ballroom. Through the music and dance show Zauberhaft (Enchanting), a time travel of three centuries, they can immerse into a world of magic. According to the motto ‘So tanzt Österreich’ (This is how Austria dances), there will also be the possibility to dance along traditional folk

Reviving history, wonderful uniforms, dancing and an impressive scenery – there are many good reasons to visit the Officer’s Ball in January 2017.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  65

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

Photo: © Helmut Karl Lackner

Photo: © Barbara Hartl

Photo: © Helmut Karl Lackner

Viennese charm and international flair If you ever get an invite to a Viennese ball hosted by the city’s 500-year-old choristers, take it. For the second year running, the world-renowned Vienna Boys’ Choir Ball will sing their ode to the city and beyond during its extravagant ball season. Championing Brazil as its cultural partner this year, ‘Ballmutter’ and MuTh director Elke Hesse says that there is plenty to celebrate on 27 January. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

The Ball der Wiener Sängerknaben, the Ball of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, is the latest addition to the city’s packed ball season calendar. A very Viennese trend and surely testament to the city’s glamorous nature, the esteemed Kursalon Hübner will once again host this emerging Viennese talent – 100 of them to be specific – who will give the opening performance and more recitals throughout the evening. “We’re expecting a hugely diverse audience,” explains Hesse from her office in the architecturally striking MuTh concert 66  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

venue, the choir’s permanent home in Vienna. “Like last year, there will be many ambassadors present as well as tourists interested in the Boys’ Choir, and, of course, parents of the graduating students, the ‘debutants’; those teenagers who are completing their final year at the choir’s boarding school.” For the past five years, Hesse’s attention focused on the recently opened MuTh concert hall. Although with her 12-year-old son in the choir and her key position on the choir’s board, she is

never far away from the choral scene. “I was approached last year to become the ‘Ballmutter’, and take charge of organising this brand new event.” She pauses: “I gave a lot of thought to how we could proceed and what approach would make it a really special occasion.” Eager to shake off the notion of the Vienna ball season being an older generation-only concept, Hesse originally ran her idea by the Austrian Ministry for the Exterior (BMEIA) for a more outward-looking ball. “The choir is often dubbed the ‘singing ambassadors’, so I hoped this was a concept we could build on together.” Each year the ministry hones in on one particular country for a cultural focus, with Bosnia and Herzegovina taking centre stage in 2016 and 2017 paying heed to Brazil. Duly eschewing a traditional waltz-based event, the inaugural Ball of the Vienna

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

Boys’ Choir featured upbeat Balkan music and the first edition left an indelible mark on the Austrian capital, upholding the 500-year-old choir’s reputation and leaving guests wholly satisfied. “Right now the preparations for 2017 are going very well,” Hesse smiles. “We get a lot of support and financial assistance from sponsors, as entry fees along won’t cover much. There’s a definitely a sense of excitement and nervous anticipation, but I’m adopting a more chilled-out Brazilian mentality!” Taking more than just attitude cues from Brazil is the pressure on for guests to perfect the South American moves? “Of course there’ll be lots of dancing, and not just your typical Waltzes and polka but also samba and Bossa Nova. Before the ball begins we’ve got Brazilian dancers hosting a one-hour crash course so you can pick up the moves!” Her excitement is contagious; and it has clearly captured the passion of the well-travelled young choirboys – her son included. “One choir leader actually comes from Brazil, so that’s a huge bonus. All four of our choirs will be performing traditional Viennese songs and Brazilian ones on the night.” Despite its lengthy 500-year history and international acclaim, the ‘singing ambassadors’ had no fixed performance space until 2012, which is when Hesse’s role at

MuTh became so pivotal. The former festival director took the reins before the impeccably designed concert hall was even built, and has been unsettling audiences at MuTh ever since. Standing for Musik & Theatre as well as the German word ‘Mut’, meaning courage, the acoustically superb concert hall and café resembles an upmarket contemporary art gallery from the outside. “We hold around 250 performances each year, with around 30 per cent given by the choir,”she gestures at the frequently sold-out 400-plus seats in the venue.

and above all competitive calendar of music and theatre to rival Vienna’s more staple venues.

When she was first approached, she was eager to bring a new concept to the table: “I always knew that I wanted the concert hall to have a very open outlook.” Alongside architects Johannes Kraus and Michael Lawugger, the privately funded concert hall therefore embraced a forward-thinking approach to its design, reflecting the choir’s same youth-focused model. After taking a decade to complete, Hesse is satisfied: “It’s a very special venue and the choristers finally have the chance to present themselves regularly on their own stage in Vienna.” A quick scan of the capital’s events calendar shows it is hard to find a venue offering such bold diversity and excitement throughout the year than MuTh. Given the storming success of the choir’s inaugural ball too, Hesse has found her calling in creating and maintaining an engaging

Elke Hesse, MuTh director. Photo: © Moritz Schell

Photo: © Helmut Karl Lackner

Photo: © Barbara Hartl

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  67

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

Fête Impériale 2015. Photo: © Rainer Eckharter

Fête Impériale 2013. Photo: © Rainer Eckharter

Fête Impériale

– Spanish Riding School Vienna’s Spanish Riding School hosts next summer’s most glamorous summer ball. The Fête Impériale draws a global crowd of horse lovers, connoisseurs, and passionate dancers to its unique historic site. TEXT: ELISABETH DOEHNE

Mark your calendars for 2017 for this glamorous and unforgettable event. The Fête Impériale will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School, the most ancient ballroom in Vienna. “Our Fête Impériale will be celebrated as an imperial, magnificent and colourful summer ball for the eighth time this year,” explains chief executive officer Elisabeth Gürtler. “We revive the imperial times for one unforgettable night a year, and open 68  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

the Spanish Riding School for all Viennese people, but also for guests from all over Austria and abroad. We will see the past blending with the passion of the present again. Louis-Napoleon III already knew about the importance of glittering festivities.” Historic tradition and charm For the eighth time in a row, the Spanish Riding School will present itself as Vienna’s most beautiful summer ball location.

Fête Impériale 2011. Photo: © Spanish Riding School

In fact, next year’s Fête Impériale is expected to feature more than 2,500 guests who will enjoy a glittering evening under the stars. Both its luminous setting and its function characterise the ball’s location – normally, the Lipizzaner stallions dance here. Guests also dance under the stars in the Stallburg or take a walk in the Summer Riding School, where a variety of bars offer champagne and wine Just like imperial times, carriages will arrive on the Michaelerplatz. The riding area will turn into a dance floor and provide their guests with ample space to perform their Caprioles, Levades, Courbettes and the School Quadrilles. The open galleries of the Winter Riding School invite guests to

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

stroll around, enjoy themselves and above all enjoy a unique society event to see and be seen. A unique Viennese ball tradition The Spanish Riding School, of course, is not only famous for its celebrations – but for its Lipizzaner horsemanship. Since 1565, the Spanish Riding School has been the centre of the High School of Classical Horsemanship. However, the world’s most beautiful riding hall, the Winter Riding School, was not only used for horsemanship, it has been the backdrop for many court festivities. Maria Theresia’s ‘Ladies Carrousels’ were held here just like many masquerade balls. Therefore, the Winter Riding School is the oldest still existing ballroom in Vienna. The Stallburg adjacent to the Spanish Riding School is also considered an architectural gem.

The Federal Stud Piber is the largest and most prestigious institution for horses worldwide, setting standards on horsemanship, education, and animal care. Spanish Riding School “The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world which has practiced for nearly 450 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole,” explains a spokesperson. “The objective of classical equitation is to study the way the horse naturally moves and to cultivate the highest levels of Haute Ecole elegance the horse is capable of through systematic training. The result creates an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna’s Spanish Riding School achieve.”

Fête Impériale and other events Throughout the year, other remarkable events include conventions for horse experts, parades, the coming back of cattle in the fall, as well as Mother Day’s gala in Piber. Also, the Tributes to Vienna is a hit, presenting the highlights of the ballet of the White Stallions alternating with musical performances by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Tickets for the 2017 Fête Impériale (VIP Tickets, Flanier Tickets, Student Tickets) are available online at or directly at the Visitor Center of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Prices range from 190 euros to 55 euros, and tables and boxes are also available for larger parties.

The Renaissance building was already used as an imperial court stable in 1565. Since the Congress of Vienna in the early 19th century, balls have become a fixture in Vienna’s social calendar. Traditionally, balls take place during the carnival season in Austria, but Empress Maria Theresia added the Viennese tradition of summer balls. Arguably the world’s centre for Lipizzaner breeding and dance, the Spanish Riding School has 70 to 75 magnificent horses. Fête Impériale 2015. Photo: © Spanish Riding School, Rainer Eckharter Fête Impériale 2012. Photo: © Julie Brass

Fête Impériale 2015. Photo: © Rainer Eckharter

Fête Impériale 2011. Photo: © Andreas Tischler

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  69

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

The apogee of the ball season Nothing can truly rival this authentic 200-year-old ball held in Vienna’s Imperial Palace. Each year the venerable Juristen-Ball, the Ball of Legal Professionals, continues to entrance its well-dressed guests with impeccably curated ballrooms, a thoroughly considered wealth of music and dancing and a fairy tale-esque atmosphere. Organiser Susanne Schoener nods her head enthusiastically: “I’ll always remember a young Australian law student who exclaimed, ‘this is real! It isn’t a fairy tale and I’m actually in it!’”Capable of prompting such excitement, the 2017 event is expecting a further 3,500 guests to make the annual pilgrimage to celebrate the capital’s debutant season. With such heritage and dedication behind it, it is no real surprise that this ambitious event, held under the patronage of the Bar Association and the Notaries’ Chamber, is such a resounding success year after year – after all, it has built its success over two centuries. “As the former imperial palace of the Habsburg monarchy, the Hofburg is the perfect location

for the Juristen-Ball, which dates back to the Wiener Kongress,” explains Schoener with pride. With a sprawling layout, indulgent catering, and Dr. Eduard Strauss’ cherry-picked choice of his ancestor’s Blue Danube Waltz as the opening performance, the 2017 Juristen-Ball marks a sophisticated transformation of a ball that is still firmly on the pulse of the times. “While the classic waltzes are naturally vital,” elucidates Schoener, “we’re aware that the younger crowd also enjoy other rhythms and we’re committed to ensuring that our traditions still have a place in today’s contemporary world.”


Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season

Photo: © Concordia Ball/Philip Lipiarski

Celebrating the very best of fine Viennese ball tradition for more than 150 years The press club Concordia, an organisation of Austrian journalists and writers, has been holding a traditional ball at Vienna’s City Hall for over 150 years now. As one of the few summer balls, around 2,000 guests attend each year. While it honours old ball traditions, the organisers introduce a new exciting topic every year. The 2017 Concordia Ball on 2 June will skilfully combine Indian Bollywood spirit with Viennese Culture. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: CONCORDIA BALL

“Since 1863 the ball serves to intensify the contact between press and important personalities,” says Astrid Zimmermann, secretary general of the press club Concordia. In early years, the ball for authors and journalists gained public recognition and acceptance for the writers’ guild as well as financial support for humanitarian causes. The ball soon became an annual highlight in Viennese society and was referred to in the ‘Morning Post’ in 1865 as the ‘crown of elite balls’. It is no wonder that even Johann Strauss dedicated one of his waltzes to the Concordia. Over the course of time the ball lost its political character, going new ways while honouring its traditions. Next year, the Concordia Ball will celebrate its 120th an-

niversary due to interruptions during the 20th century. All the while it remains true to its origins: a selection of young ladies and gentlemen are forming an opening committee, there is a procession of guests of honour and of course a traditional dress code. But today the Concordia Ball is also quite successfully bringing together the traditional and the modern, introducing new exciting topics from all over the world every year. “We are building bridges between people, opinions and cultures,” says Zimmermann.

ing pleasure. It is an elegant occasion with glittering decorations, ladies and gentlemen in full evening dress and an ambience of fun and relaxation – a spectacular attraction for local and especially foreign guests. And that in one of Vienna’s most beautiful ball locations: the Vienna City Hall. The exquisitely decorated halls provide plenty of room for dancing all through the night, while the inner courtyard magically transforms into an outdoor dance floor.

The 2017 Concordia Ball will be held on Friday, 2 June, under the motto “come, dance with me!”. It skilfully combines the very best of fine Viennese ball tradition with Far Eastern joy of life and real dancIssue 45  |  December 2016  |  71

Discover Germany  |  Culture Feature  |  Digital Nomads

Photo: © Tina Dahmen

Enjoying the best of the digital world So-called digital nomads are on the rise. More and more young people choose to leave their nine-to-five jobs behind to set up online businesses that make them location independent and, at the same time, allow them to travel. Discover Germany spoke to two young entrepreneurs who went out to pursue their digital nomad lifestyle dreams. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Imagine working in a café for a couple of hours before heading to the local beach for a quick swim. This is the reality for many digital nomads all over the world. Technology has given them many freedoms and enables them to work remotely from basically anywhere in the world. Shared workspaces, so-called co-working spaces for freelancers, pop up all over the globe and make the digital lifestyle more social. According to the BBC, more than four million Britons already work from home or abroad 72  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

– while travelling, working as freelancers, full-time employees or entrepreneurs. In Germany and the entire DACH region, more and more people also see the benefits of this lifestyle. Statistics revealed that 37.2 per cent of the global workforce, or 1.3 billion mobile workers, existed by 2015 – and these numbers are rapidly growing. German-born Tina Dahmen, now living in London, is one of these digital nomads. She brought her own travel company, Take

a Trip with Tina, to life and is now mostly seen working on her laptop, while not being confined to one place. “I have always loved to discover new cultures and countries and to develop a connection with the people that live there. Travelling through a country is a totally different story than living there. You are able to get to know the country from a different perspective when you fully integrate and experience the dayto-day life there. Then, the true culture comes to life,” Tina smiles. From this love for foreign cultures derived her company idea.“When I did my Work & Travel year in Australia, I worked as a travel agent in a hostel. I didn’t want to give up on this job and have always dreamt of having my own online travel agency. I started to learn the basics with the help of

Discover Germany  |  Feature  |  Digital Nomads

websites and online businesses and when I started to go to Kingston University in London, I also worked as a tour guide. At some point, I started to plan my own trips and here we go – Take a Trip with Tina was born.” Tina now plans individual trips for interested parties, offers travelling consulting hours and organises her own trips. She noticed a gap in the market while studying at Kingston University.“The university didn’t plan any trips yet and then I came into play.” She now offers her first-hand experience to others and shares her contacts and knowledge with her clients. “No travel agency can beat this,”Tina smiles. So, what does a normal day look like for a digital nomad? Tina explains: “Normal working days don’t really exist for self-employed people. Every day is different, one communicates with different people – whether clients or business partners. Generally, I get up, organise trips, arrange new travel routes and market them. I chat with A group taking a trip with Tina. Photo: © Tina Dahmen

fellow travellers in travel communities to find out about new trends and needs to enthuse even more people about travelling. A normal nine-to-five job would probably get on my nerves quite quickly as I couldn’t divide my own time.” As one would imagine, Tina is travelling a great deal. Her next stops are Berlin and Switzerland. After, she will head to Italy to meet a potential business partner, who wants to talk about his newly developed travel application. However, her favourite destination is Bali. “In Bali, the living standard, the people and the culture is simply awesome. Many companies reside there and one enjoys a strong societal support in the middle of paradise. Healthy food, great weather, the beautiful ocean and happy locals which welcome expats – all of this together can be hardly found in many other countries.” On the other side of the globe, on Phuket in Thailand, we found another young en-

trepreneur. British-born James Scott has brought Bohemian Island - a very successful online business - to sell Thailand’s famous harem pants with elephant print and much more. James explains: “Having lived on Phuket Island in Thailand for a few years, we’d become very accustomed to the local’s laid-back way of life and relaxed attitudes towards clothing. We wanted to create a Thai-inspired brand which would resonate with a Western audience and change the way people think about comfortable clothing back home.” He adds: “We managed to create a product which was versatile, lightweight, relatively cheap to produce and most importantly incredibly comfortable. Selling that product under a brand people seemed to love and connect with from the start and we were onto a winner. It’s also vitally important to show your customers you care, too. We donate ten per cent of our proceeds to the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, who care for the stray dogs and cats on the Is-

Harem pants from Bohemian Island. Photo: © Bohemian Island

Harem pants from Bohemian Island. Photo: © Bohemian Island

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  73

Discover Germany  |  Feature  |  Digital Nomads

Photo: © Tina Dahmen

land of Phuket. People love brands that give back to the communities which serve them and are far more likely to tell their friends.” The business idea quickly proved to be a success. Today, when you google ‘Harem pants’, the Bohemian Island shop will show up on the first page of search results. How did they achieve this? James says: “Lots of hard work and also a fair amount of luck. Since Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates of a few years ago, being ‘relevant’ in the eyes of Google is paramount. We’re often being raved about by bloggers and social media influencers which shows the search engines that people are genuinely interested in us and our website. We’re lucky that people love our brand enough they want to share it with the world. That combined with the obvious stuff like having a fully 74  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

optimised site and lots of user-created content like on-page product reviews has resulted in decent rankings.” A normal working day for James usually begins with a swim or some yoga, followed by a healthy breakfast. He says: “I don’t usually start working until late morning or early afternoon. I find it difficult to focus on work-related issues immediately after waking up and much easier to get stuff done in the afternoon or late at night. Playing with my cats generally takes up most of my time, so I’m eternally thankful for the hard work of my virtual assistants in ensuring the business doesn’t come to a complete standstill!” He adds: “Every day is different, which is the beauty of running an online business.” The lives of digital nomads sounds like a dream for many. But how hard is it to get a

visa and are there any legal problems one should look out for? James explains:“Thailand is pretty open to foreigners who want to invest in their country, thus setting up a business isn’t particularly difficult. Hiring lawyers is far easier and cheaper out here than in the West but you do need to search around a bit more to ensure you find one you can truly trust.” So, if you feel like you should try out the digital nomad lifestyle, we have got you covered with some tips and tricks on how to get started. Tina says: “Passion is key. When you start a business only to start one, better stop it straight away. Passion is what brings you to the top and will get you out of the holes and these holes definitely come at some point. If you have found your passion, then you can get started – learning by doing. Don’t be afraid of not being able to achieve what you want sim-

Discover Germany  |  Feature  |  Digital Nomads

ply because you don’t know everything about entrepreneurship. Nobody knows everything at the start but that shouldn’t be a reason for not getting to the top. Learn from your and other peoples’ mistakes, search for mentors which want to help and advise you, read all books by successful entrepreneurs that you can get your hands on and enjoy the ride!”

and some basic technical skills would also be beneficial but far from essential!”

James also has some tips for aspiring digital nomads: “Just go. Do it, do something! Don’t hold back and don’t convince yourself you’re not good enough or smart enough. There are always a million reasons not to do something. For those who want to travel and work at the same time, provided you’ve got the self-discipline and ambition then you’ll be fine. The willingness to learn, the willingness to make mistakes and to never fear failure are vital. A little bravery

- Berlin: Great infrastructure and relatively low rental prices. A summer residence for many digital nomads.

Harem pants from Bohemian Island. Photo: © Bohemian Island BEST PLACES TO LIVE AS A DIGITAL NOMAD:

- Ho-Chi-Minh-City, Vietnam: Great infrastructure and large digital nomad community. - Bali, Indonesia: A blossoming digital nomad destination with volcanoes, beaches and much more. - Chiang Mai, Thailand: Fast internet, great infrastructure and sunshine.

Photo: © Tina Dahmen

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  75

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Star Interview

76  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Star Interview

Marc Benjamin

Switzerland’s acting prodigy Born in 1986 in Basel, young actor Marc Benjamin has already achieved a great deal. Having starred in Eddie the Eagle, Homeland or Vaterfreuden alongside Matthias Schweighöfer, he managed to get a leading role in Unsere Zeit ist Jetzt – a movie about the famous German rapper CRO. Discover Germany talked to Benjamin about his career, future and more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTO: RUTH KAPPUS

Was it always your dream to become an actor or did you have other aspirations?

others. Was it hard to adapt to the cinema and TV surroundings after theatres?

M. Benjamin: “No, I never had other aspirations and no plan B. I can only remember how I dreamt to be just like Lucky Luke as a young child. Today, the dream of a Lucky Luke screen adaption is still present, but more serious topics have also come about that confirm my career choice.”

M. Benjamin: “It was indeed hard to leave the permanent theatre engagement behind to switch to the unsecure film business. At some point, however, I felt stuck in the theatre and had to redefine my everyday life. At the moment, I solely concentrate on films and enjoy the irregularities in my life. At some point, I will definitely return to the theatre.”

You come from Switzerland and now live in Munich. What means ‘home’ for you? M. Benjamin: “Home is everywhere I feel comfortable. It depends on the people that surround me. I can be home everywhere to be honest.” You were part of many theatre plays in the beginning and then you were in Vaterfreuden and Homeland amongst

Now you play the leading role in Unsere Zeit ist Jetzt. How was the audition? M. Benjamin: “I was just at the set of Eddie The Eagle, when Peri Baumeister called to tell me that she proposed me for the project. However, I still had to attend the casting. After seeing the movie, I’m even more happy that it came about like

it did. I think we created a very extraordinary film which I’m very proud of.” How did you prepare for the role? M. Benjamin: “We were all involved in the production process from a very early stage. We have filed on the screenplay alongside Arend Remmers and fundamental things were changed shortly before or even during the film shooting. Through this, we were on the same wavelength and were able to rely on each other. There’s no better preparation than this.” What’s planned for the future? What can we expect from you in 2017? M. Benjamin: “In spring, the next movie will come into cinemas – Vorwärts Immer from Franziska Meletzky. It is a comedy of mistaken identities in the GDR which I’m really looking forward to. Apart from that, I have a few options in the pipeline that I can’t really talk about yet. However, I am planning to do a cooking course – I can reveal that much.” What’s your absolute dream role? M. Benjamin: “I have dreamed about filming a silent movie for a long time.” Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  77

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Film Column

The Westin Grand from the inside. Photo: © Sonja Irani /

Victoria. Photo: © Wild Bunch Germany

Film Review: Victoria

Victoria’s coffee shop: The Bio-Bistro Wilhelm & Médne. Photo: © Sonja Irani /

Shot in one single take in one night in Berlin, Victoria manages to capture the viewer in a way hardly any other film does…

atmosphere and made me as a viewer feel like I had actually been with Victoria and her friends on this crazy ride…


The story: Spanish girl meets Berlin guys After dancing euphorically in a Berlin nightclub, Victoria from Madrid (Laia Costa) decides to call it a night and grabs her bike to cycle home. But then a chance encounter with ‘real Berlin guy’ Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his friends changes that plan. Victoria and the boys hang out for the rest of an eventful night. But as dawn is approaching, she has got herself into big trouble. Suddenly, it’s all or nothing and it’s a story about life or death… The location: One night in Berlin All of the film’s locations can be found around the area of Friedrichstraße in Kreuzberg and Berlin-Mitte, which can be 78  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

easily traced on the one-hour self-guided walk I compiled for my blog about filminspired travel. You will recognise many of the film locations such as Victoria’s workplace the coffee shop - or the luxurious Westin Grand Hotel. Plus, you will pass by several historic points of interest, such as Checkpoint Charlie. What you will not find is the nightclub, in which that Victoria and her new friends dance the night away, as it was especially created for the film. The final verdict: A crazy ride that is worth the adrenaline Since the film was shot in one single take, the camera followed the actors around rather than the actors acting in front of the camera. This created a very realistic

I’m sure you will feel the same way. At the end of the film, you will be relieved that the ride is over, but will have most likely found it was worth it. ***** 5 out of 5 stars Victoria, is now available in the UK and online on DVD and Blu-ray.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Irani is a marketing translator, travel journalist and ex London expat now living back in Germany. Her second home is the cinema. If you don't find her there she is probably travelling the world in order to trace her favourite film settings while trying to stay on a budget. On her blog, she combines these two passions to share her best tips for film-inspired budget travel.

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

Photo: ©, U.S. Pacific Fleet

S P E C I A L T H E M E : O R T H O PA E D I C S , R E H A B I L I TAT I O N & N U R S I N G S E R V I C E S

We care! Just in time for your 2017 resolutions, we have put together a special theme about innovative products, institutions, as well as services that offer extensive expertise in fostering general health, regeneration processes and much more. If you are looking for a high-quality nursing service or an orthopaedist, the following pages will also be rather helpful. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, Giovanni

80  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Photo: ©, Jeff Eaton Photo: ©, Moritz Schmaltz

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

‘Quality of life has an address’ The idea of sheltered housing and residential care homes may not immediately conjure up images of wholesome dining, leafy green lawns, a plethora of cultural offerings and hotel-style luxury, but Germany’s trio of ars vivendi residences in North Hesse have spent almost three decades proving that you can age in independence and comfort. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE  I  PHOTOS: ARS VIVENDI SENIORENRESIDENZEN

Founded in the middle of the 1980’s, ars vivendi now nurture three expansive residences for the elderly, and these sprawling complexes are best described as the ultimate evergreen communities, with complete accessibility, 24-hour immediate care when needed, gyms, libraries, shops, restaurants and even on-site hairdressers. More importantly, perhaps, is their proximity to the fully accessible town centres, which fosters the residents’ sense of community and retains independence. Whether at retirement age or older, this is independent living in your own modern, self-furnished apartment – many enjoying balconies and terraces – and everyone has access to unprecedented levels of social, physical, spiritual and nutritional support. The focus is on how to create and

deliver high-quality sheltered housing with hotel-like luxury, explains director ChristianKreutz. “We provide care with warmth and understanding – in the same way we’d appreciate for ourselves in the future. Right from the beginning we’ve been able to meet the growing demand for high-quality elderly care.” Set in leafy surrounds just minutes from their respective ‘barrierefrei’ town centres, each home boasts a trident of catering, exercise and cultural options, with up to six nutritious and exquisitely presented meals per day on request, space for family get-togethers (which are positively encouraged – pets included), group exercise classes, physiotherapy, drawing classes, regular daytrips and on-site cultural gatherings amongst others.

When referring to ars vivendi, explains Kreutz, there is an often echoed phrase: ‘Quality of life has an address’, and it is much more than just marketing hype. Unlike many residential care homes, the ars vivendi facilities are so diverse that they cannot fail to infuse residents with vivacity, which certainly does its bit to soften age-related decline. Ticking all the boxes you would hope for when it comes to cultivating longevity, the team members at ars vivendi are – of course – all highly experienced with the capacity for nursing and medical care. The homes also offer short-term respite stays and willingly accommodate family members too. “Our motto is ‘the art of living’,” continues Kreutz, “and this sees us offer tailor-made care to suit each individual and their needs.”

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  81

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

Using the Franklin method for a gentle fascia training Fascia training improves the muscular connective tissue, for example the ligaments or joint capsules. Sportszeugs GbR, based in a small village in Saxony-Anhalt, offers workshops to introduce the Franklin method for fascia training, combining exercise with imagination. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN

Fasciae pervade the whole body and have a great influence on how it moves. They can be activated in different ways, but it is best to do this sustainably. This is exactly what the Franklin method aims towards. Eric Franklin, born in Switzerland, studied sport at the ETH Zurich before moving to New York to study dance in 1979. Working with André Bernard, he learned to integrate imagination and visualisation into his motion concept, allowing one to fully experience the body’s anatomy. Christiane Maneke, co-owner of the Germany-based Sportszeugs GbR, uses the Franklin method for fascia training and educates others to do the same. This way, they can easily adopt it for themselves.

“Participants gain a better understanding of their body and its function, discover unsuitable movement patterns and develop new ones,” says Maneke. The imagination enhances the interaction between mind and body. But how does one train fasciae with the Franklin method? First of all, it is necessary to experience where they are situated; touch and move them before starting to massage them, for example with a special ball. Using the fasciae’s flexibility, through three-dimensional movements, the connective tissue is activated and muscle strength is built up.

Where health and hospitality meet Set in a rustic Bavarian chalet hidden amongst the lush greenery of Bad Tölz, the Eberl family have created a distinguished private health clinic with a strong emphasis on healing in luxurious comfort. “Our house takes in patients for short recuperative stays right through to stays of several weeks so that the patient has access to the best possible medical and therapeutic treatments in our family-run clinic,” explains Georg Eberl, who founded the clinic in 1984 alongside his wife, a nutritionist and trained hotelier. Today, the spacious villa functions as a refined and welcoming rehabilitation and treatment centre. When it comes to health, the experienced private clinic has 50 beds and boasts 750 square metres of treatment space, plus a sumptuous pool, wellequipped gym and an extensive menu of personal treatments and massages. The team of four resident doctors and a number of physiotherapists led by the Eberl’s daughter have the ability and know-how to not only fend off illnesses and realign 82  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

joints, but also boost your wellness levels within a short space of time. Its range of indications has expanded over the past three decades, explains Eberl, from exclusively treating internal medicine ailments to specialising in psychosomatic and orthopaedic health issues as well. “We’re constantly developing our treatment methods, including diet and nutrition, to keep up to date with current medical research,” says Eberl knowledgably.

Photo: © Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin. Photo: © Sportszeugs GbR


Its wooden furnishings and cosy décor enhance its focus on wellbeing, while its garden, indoor heated pool and terraces are an idyllic extension of the scenic landscape. “This is what we call our ‘healing surroundings’,” continues Eberl. “This atmosphere is fundamental to ensure beneficial effects on the guests’ health.”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

Outdoor pool.

Aquabiking. Bad Waldsee lies in between two lakes.

Holistic health in natural surroundings “We aim to provide our guests with the right tools to look after their health by working with them,” Patricia Opel, marketing manager of Städtische Rehakliniken in Bad Waldsee, argues.

with the patient to help him or her to resolve the issue to hand for the short term and to improve the general health for the long term,” she says.


The clinic is beautifully situated surrounded by the picturesque valleys and lakes near Ulm, Friedrichshafen and Germany’s borders with Austria and Switzerland in southern Baden Württemberg.“We believe being close to natural beauty helps our guests in achieving their goals whilst staying with us,” she continues. Bad Waldsee’s connection with people seeking to improve their health goes back to the 19th century when the first practitioners took advantage of the natural settings to set up shop. Today’s clinic took shape in the 1950s, and its current form with its 500 beds and 500 employees goes back to 1973. Different treatments are available for anyone looking to improve their health. People could look to recover from an illness, accident or injury, as well as to get in better shape. Treatments include gynaecology,

sports medicine, pain therapy, rheumatology and orthopaedics depending on the situation at hand. Unlike at several clinics, hospitals or medical centres patients are often referred to as guests rather than patients or, as with many private centres, clients. “Regardless of issue we typically focus on rehabilitation and prevention,” Opel explains.

As health consciousness grows worldwide the future looks bright for the Städtische Rehakliniken in Bad Waldsee. “Our job is to be on top of new trends and treatment methods in order to ensure our holistic and teamwork-based approach to health, fitness and well-being for future guests,” Opel concludes.

Whilst a guest may contact the clinic regarding a particular issue, a thorough analysis is carried out by the guest’s health and life history to establish what caused the issue. Next step is to rectify the issue and what caused it together with the guest (the rehabilitation stage) before working with him or her to assist in reducing the risk of the issue coming back or others to occur (the prevention stage). “As our bodies and minds and the connections between the two are intertwined in complex ways, we aim to take a holistic approach together Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  83

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

A healthy approach to hydration The brainchild of Germany’s Stefan Hammer, the eco-conscious bottle company ISYbe launched in 2005. With the aim of becoming an ethical German brand, ISYbe produces high-quality, sustainable sports and lifestyle bottles with minimal impact on the environment. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE  I  PHOTOS: ISYBE

“The bottles are made in the Czech Republic, as back then no German companies were willing to adopt our admittedly more complex and expensive material and production methods,” explains Hammer from the company’s headquarters in Prichsenstadt. As they are BPA and PVCfree, which means they are neither polluting to you or the environment as they have a far smaller footprint. These features are 84  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

important to ISYbe, whose aim has always been to offer a better alternative to current options on the market. Sporting genuine eco-friendly credentials and collaborations with like-minded high-profile companies, each ISYbe bottle comes with eco-quality certifications from the SGS Institute Fresenius. Coming in three sizes (0.5 litres, 0.7 litres and

one litre), the subtly branded come in a vast range of designs and they can hold hot or cold drinks, even coming with a neoprene insulating case and the ability to store carbonated drinks too. “We originally began with just six colours, but now we have around 15 on offer. And we retail more than 55 different designs,” explains Hammer. Unsurprisingly, the bottles are also a hit with mass participation events, like half marathons, as ISYbe offer the option for custom-made bulk orders to commemorate events and companies, with clients including Volkswagen, Audi, Sparkasse and Milka.




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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

OCM surgery Munich. Mobility as motivation.

Your mobility is their motivation “We are moved by what moves you”. For the medical team at OCM Orthopaedic Surgery Munich, the restored function of the locomotor system is the highest goal.

success that the OCM surgery shows with both outpatient and brief inpatient interventions.


OCM is a private clinic where surgery takes place in-house. Ultramodern equipment allows a compact, brief treatment period and thus a short, efficient stay. The house provides two-bed and single-bed rooms. Professional 24-hour care is a given, as well as the constant presence of at least one in-house doctor. The clinic’s philosophy is marked by a friendly, accommodating atmosphere. The surgery centre was born as a merger of two longstanding practices in 2003. Since founding day, 300,000 patients have been treated here including countless professional athletes from all over the world. Their team today counts eight surgeons 86  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

and 12 widely recognised specialists. Based in Munich, the private medical establishment is exclusively dedicated to injuries and diseases concerning the musculoskeletal system. All performing doctors are specialised in at least one sub-region of the locomotor apparatus.

OCM offers a joint practice and medical centre. The combination of diagnostic and treatment units allows patients to have their ailments diagnosed by OCM specialists, closely followed by an immediate treatment depending on the findings. This guarantees a quick process supported by an efficient infrastructure.

From private patient to athlete to national health patient, OCM treats every customer individually, always applying a high medical standard. Anyone suffering from painful movement restrictions will receive close attention by a specialist throughout the duration of their respective therapy. Professional competence in combination with ultramodern techniques make for the

In-house operating theatres and magnetic resonance imaging guarantee a state-ofthe-art medical standard. Operative treatment of the vertebrae, for example, has recently experienced a major transformation. Comparable with the triumph of hip and knee joint replacement surgery in the field of arthrosis therapy; from minimally invasive probe technology to endoscopic sur-

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

gery (keyhole techniques) up to artificial disc-replacement, everything is possible. The clinic works jointly together with the adjacent SANA clinic Munich-SendlingSolln. Here, excellent follow-up care is being provided for those patients who undergo a longer treatment. All OCM doctors are acting doctors at the SANA clinic. Hand and foot injuries have posed special problem areas to surgeons for a long time. The complex structure of the foot consists of 26 bones, connected by 33 joints and 100 tendons. 20 muscles allow both movement and a firm stand, or foothold, literally. Pressure as well as the stretching status of the muscles and tendons are being measured by a multitude of nerves, making the foot a highly sensitive organ that allows recognising uneven surfaces, soft and hard ground, underfoot temperature as well as blunt or sharp obstacles. Blood vessels meanwhile nurture the foot with oxygen and nutrients. Similar to the amazing structure of our feet, the numerous flexible joints of the hand also ask for meticulous preciseness during surgery. OCM specialists treat ailments and

injuries as well as malformations, through both conservative and operative therapy. The knee, forming the largest joint of the human body, is the most complicated joint concerning its specific mechanics. Like the hip it is being highly stressed during lifetime and therefore often worn out with advancing age. Arthrosis especially is a major complaint here. The same goes for the hip, where injury or rheumatic arthrosis can lead to immobility as well as chronic pain. Another often afflicted part of our musculoskeletal system is the upper ankle joint – essential for numerous kinds of sports activity – which is being formed by three flexibly joint bones, stabilised by a capsule-ligament apparatus. Due to carrying the whole body, fractures of this joint are quite frequent. At OCM, both conservative and operative therapy of the upper ankle joint are possible.

The standardised treatment of shoulder complaints has significantly moved forward during the past years as well. Apparently similar in symptomatics, shoulder-related ailments can stem from a surprisingly large range of sources. Due to enhanced sporting activities combined with increasing life expectancy, both cause and triggers must be carefully analysed and treated accordingly. The goal at OCM is to provide the patient with not only a pain-free but also a well-functioning joint. For 2017, OCM is looking forward to enlarging their team by two new surgeons. The range of treatment will further expand with a special eye on the comfort factor for in-house patients, putting even further emphasis of the OCM surgery’s motto of “We Care!”

OCM reception.

MRI Scan.

Specialists’ surgery.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  87

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services




Making car travelling for wheelchair users easier and safer How to get from A to B is sometimes a tricky question, even more so for those relying on a wheelchair. The German and Czechia-based API Group has developed systems for transporting wheelchairs and their users by car – easy to handle, multifunctional systems that are available not only for commercial transport companies, but also for private use. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: ZUZANA LEGATOVA, COPYRIGHT: API GROUP

Flexibility and mobility are key factors in modern life and that is something API provides for wheelchair users relying on transport by car. The Flexi Ramp for example is one of the most successful products the API Group has developed so far. It is a ramp that allows wheelchair users easy access to the back of a car and a comfort88  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

able and safe seating position during the journey. Transforming an ordinary car into a wheelchair transporter The Flexi Ramp has great functionality and a wide field of application, says API Germany’s CEO Stephan Schwartz.“The Flexi

Ramp especially convinces through easy handling and a comfortable position for wheelchair users,” he explains. “And if no wheelchair user uses the car it can easily be transformed back into its original state. Because of the unique functionality a car with Flexi Ramp is suitable for commercial passenger transport as well as the private, family area.” The vehicle’s floor is lowered down on the full length and equipped with a painted aluminium folding ramp that has an antiskid and washable surface. When the ramp is built in, the original seats are not completely dismantled and removed from the car,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  We care! Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation & Nursing Services

but readjusted so that they can be folded back into their original position when the car is not transporting a wheelchair. The ramp itself can also be folded to make the trunk available again. Because of this flexibility, using Flexi Ramp saves commercial users and families a great deal of money. Specialist partners all over Europe The Flexi Ramp is always built into a car by a specialist firm for vehicle construction. Fitting normally takes 25 to 35 hours and the costs for end consumers are about 6,800 euros including tax. API has partners all over Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand who can build in the Flexi Ramp and other products the company has developed and who will provide technological support. The Flexi Ramp is not the only great product API has developed. Robot R11 is a fully automated wheelchair loading system that allows a wheelchair user to load his wheelchair into a car trunk without anyone’s help and then drive the car himself. “The biggest advantage of Robot R11 is its functionality and the space-saving montage in the trunk, so that all seating spaces stay available,” explains CEO Stephan Schwartz. Together with Q`Straint, the API Groups has also developed a restraint system that exactly befits the needs of wheelchair users transported in the back

of a car: the Q-Straint with static lap and shoulder belt.

the products already on the market – to make life easier for everyone.

Facilities in Germany and Czechia

Conquering new markets, creating greater mobility

The API Group is an international corporation with facilities in Czechia, Germany and Great Britain and combines specialist knowledge gained over many years. A knowledge that is used to develop new solutions to make cars adjustable to the special needs of people with limited physical mobility. Global expertise combined with local knowledge. The Czechia branch for example is to 100 per cent in the hands of Miroslav Bartos, who has developed the Flexi Ramp. The company aims at constantly developing new solutions and takes into consideration the feedback they are getting from their clients to enhance

With its various products, the API Group has become quite successful. Only recently the company was invited to a mobility conference in Dubai where API – as the only participant based in Czechia and Germany – presented its products. “In the future we will work in the field of mobility for people with restricted mobility in Dubai,” says API’s CEO Stephan Schwartz about the company’s plans for the future.

Robot R11.


Shipping department.

Laser process.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  89

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Photo: ©, Hsuanya Tsai


Switzerland’s creative minds Have you ever wondered how much work and effort is put into designing buildings, individual shops or private homes? The various thoughts behind this process are not known to many. Therefore, we try to shed some light on the ways of the creative mind and how it is implemented into innovative architecture and great interior design. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©, tommerton2010

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Photo: ©, Hannah

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Top left: Bucherer’s beautiful boutique inside the Alsterhaus department store in Hamburg, Germany. Left: Jäggi boutique for watches and jewellery in Chur, Switzerland. Honoured with European Property award for best retail architecture in Switzerland. Middle: Ellinas boutique for jewellery in Bucharest, Romania. Right: Dušák boutique for watches and jewellery in Prague.

Dobas AG Interior design and architecture The Swiss interior design and architecture firm Dobas designs and builds custom flagship stores, shop in shop boutiques, and exhibition stands around the world. As an experienced partner to the luxury goods industry, they build and deliver world-class Swiss quality. TEXT: ELISABETH DOEHNE  I  PHOTOS: DOBAS AG

Located in Lucerne, the interdisciplinary design firm is dedicated to visualising flagship stores, elegant and modern corporate cultures, shop in shop, fair booths, and creating upscale retail spaces. “Our design approach goes beyond what is visible. We develop sales-driving, experienceorchestrating environments that are tailored precisely to your company, your deliverables, and your customers,” explains CEO Patrick Buchecker. Meaningful and beautiful design Design aims to give meaning to what surrounds us. The form and matter of things reflect a purpose that only good, intuitive and holistic design can communicate. Building on this philosophy, Dobas believes that the conscious design of spaces and atmospheres helps companies or luxury retailers to express their values, culture and goals. Aesthetics, visual communication and materials are the pillars of their design suc-

cess: “When selecting materials, we factor in aesthetic criteria, as well as functional, timeline, and cost-effectiveness aspects. We place particular emphasis on lighting and choose luminaires and systems that present your products in the best light at all times,” says Buchecker. Realisation and logistics Dobas takes pride in accompanying their clients from the preliminary planning phase to realisation and implementation. “We plan the same way as we implement: carefully, down to the last detail. Regardless of the final destination of your shop interior or exhibition stand, we precisely premanufacture everything in Switzerland.” The Swiss firm works with state-of-the-art resources and technology: “We emphasise the functionality and durability of our design. We see that atractive, functional and aesthetic interior design presents a stage for the retail spaces; our design communicates with potential customers and creates

a direct relationship with the product, as well as the cultural environment.” References of Dobas’ completed projects include the National Museum-Boutique in Zurich, a number of flagship stores for Swiss luxury label Bucherer around the world, as well as fair booths at prominent retail and company fairs. Dobas’ outstanding projects have been consistently rewarded with design prices and nominations. They recently won the prestigious Marketing & Architecture Award 2016 (award winner for best temporary architecture) as well as the European Property Awards 2015-2016 (Best Retail Interior Switzerland award winner).

Swiss National Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  91

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Roland Schaad in the store in Lucerne.

objekt 13 interior design

Passionate room design The love for detail, the aspiration for harmony, the staging of dynamics – these are some of the key features of the work of objekt 13, an interior design office situated in Zurich and Bern.

the interior designer also designs rooms. Architecture, design and interior design are therefore an inseparable ensemble for Schaad.


Light and honesty The face behind objekt 13 interior design is Roland Schaad. After completing his training as a structural draughtsman at an interior architect firm, he decided to explore the world. As a flight attendant, he was inspired by people, materials and shapes. This inspiration then led him to complete an interior design course at Zurich’s university and to found the company objekt 13 in Bern in 2010. For three years, there has been an office in Zurich: “One needs 92  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

to work where there is large demand like in Zurich. Proximity to customers is essential to me.” One of Schaad’s strengths is to quickly understand a company’s individual situation and the envisaged utilisation of a room.“My starting point is always the ground plan,” he explains. After that, he thinks about what happens in the room or which specific functions it should have. “This is about much more than simply adding some nice furniture pieces.”Rather,

A room’s function influences its design, where separative elements are placed or where which furniture is suitable. “Light is also extremely important to me,” says Schaad,“and the aspect of honesty - as regards to materials for example or as regards to the room’s usage.” The room should show its function and it should be tidy in a figurative sense.“With corresponding concepts, it often succeeds to surprise or provoke clients,” says Schaad. He explains the

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

love for his work with wanting to make the world a bit more beautiful. “So many things exist that might be expedient but that are designed in a loveless way. I want to counteract this trend.” Thus, Schaad now increasingly seeks to bring this mission into companies too. “I implemented some nice things for private clients, but I find working for companies even more exciting.” An example is the YOBAR by Emmi, the travel agency ASM in Bern’s main station or the interior design for the BernMobil Restaurant tram from 1935. When working with Schaad, customers primarily benefit from the fact that they have the boss of objekt 13 as contact person – heart and soul included. But what other projects were Roland Schaad’s favourites? He reveals: “For example, I was able to design rooms and outdoor areas for the Swiss embassies in Sydney, Riad and Stockholm. These were exciting and totally different challenges. But I also like to work for hotels.” Which projects would especially excite him in the future? “Maybe designing a plane, the private Boing of a wealthy person or something. Transportation is generally an exciting topic. That’s why I’m especially thrilled

that I’m redesigning the above-mentioned Bernese tram.” Yoghurt ‘en vogue’ Objekt 13’s YOBAR by Emmi projects in Lucerne and Zurich celebrate yoghurt in an unprecedented boutique style. On a daily basis, the YOBAR turns fresh and regional ingredients into new yoghurt creations. Those who want to can become creators of their own favourite yoghurts; through choosing from seasonal fruits, mueslis, diverse toppings and savoury ingredients, they can create their individual culinary delights. Schaad developed the suitable retail concept for the two YOBARS. He explains: “It was a really interesting commission. I was told to design the rooms as yoghurt boutiques that appear pleasant, exude freshness and, of course, invite for consumption. I’m really proud of the overall design, the material combinations and the light design. It’s also really great that I now have a top reference in Zurich. Maybe more YOBARS will follow, who knows.” A simple line management, warm earth tones and loads of white now create an exquisite fundament for the trendy yoghurt

boutiques. In the concept’s centre stands the light. In a brilliant and theatrical way, it puts the fresh yoghurt and the colourful presentation of the ingredients in the spotlight. For this, Schaad worked alongside the market-leading light designer Neuco from Zurich. In a light laboratory, they tested different spotlights until they perfectly accentuated points with the right light temperature. The retail concept was first implemented in Lucerne’s flagship store and the same one was then used for the YOBAR in Zurich. Each corpus, each shelf and each showcase was designed from Schaad and was custom made from local companies. Thus, the YOBAR in Zurich seems tidied up and spacious, while the floor space only measures 60 square metres. For Schaad and client Emmi, it was important that every customer that steps into the store immediately can orient themselves. Schaad concludes: “I love to interpret a floor plan in a way that it seems open and that its functions are transparent. That’s contemporary interior design for me.”

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  93

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Margarete Steiff Museum, Giengen bei Ulm (First prize competition).

Building to their heart’s desire Ramseier & Associates Ltd. honour the Bauhaus tradition by taking it into an exciting future. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: RAMSEIER & ASSOCIATES LTD.

The legendary Walter Gropius famously quoted a Japanese fellow architect when he opened the ‘Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm’ (Ulm college of design) in 1955: “Develop an infallible technique and then place yourself at the mercy of inspiration”. To architect Andreas Ramseier, this “challenging yet wise” sentence applies today exactly as it did more than half a century ago. For the qualified architects and designers at Ramseier & Associates Ltd., a “subtle entrepreneur spirit paired with a distinctive sense for detail” is at the core of their creative process. With a varying team of 12 to 15 architects and designers, the firm 94  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

offers prototypes, interiors, corporate architecture for banks and insurance companies as well as hotels, congress centres and malls. Architecture and interiors can be provided either as a package or as separate projects. The office frequently welcomes talented co-workers from an international background who want to improve their skills, thus creating a lively atmosphere of transaction, new ideas and knowledge exchange. Thanks to partnering with highly qualified architecture firms in both Germany and the US, projects of any scale can be realised on both a national and an international basis.

Following the Bauhaus principle of the “view of the whole”, Ramseier & Associates Ltd. keep the interior and exterior connected as well as taking the building’s setting within its surroundings into account. Their Margarete Steiff Museum illustrates just that principle. Ramseier & Associates Ltd. won the assignment to plan the ten-million-euro project in Giengen near Ulm in an invited competition. The specific formal expression of the elliptical and slightly conical building reminds of the steel sculptures by Richard Serra in its clear-cut objectivity. Porthole-style and arrow slit windows mirror Hans Scharoun’s iconic design language. The museum’s exterior and interior form a set, even the design of the outside lamps reflect the shape of the slit windows. The bold, castlelike outer appearance of the building is

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

softened by warm hues, circular shapes and lively colours both on the inside and on the outside. Thus, a protective and protected surrounding welcomes visitors both short and tall. The impressive museum building primarily presents the Steiff firm’s history on 2,400 square metres and includes a peek into the production process of the classic toy animals with the traditional Steiff ear tag, as well as a restaurant and a museum shop. Finished right on time for the 125th firm anniversary in 2005, Ramseier & Associates Ltd. have since received the architectural association of Baden-Württemberg’s ‘exemplary construction’ award as well as the ‘Winner of the iconic award 2014’ for the project. The Zurich-based office was founded in 1985 by architect Andreas Ramseier who has also studied design, architecture and composition and gained experience with various US-based architects before he started his own firm. A multiple winKaufleuten, Zurich.

Confédération Centre Geneva (First prize competition).

ner of competitions and awards, Andreas Ramseier also lectures and publishes in his field on a frequent basis. His daughter, Zoé Alexa Ramseier acts as head of design and partner and the technical management is shared between engineer Professor Andreas Betz and Benedikt Homberger. Recently, Ramseier & Associates Ltd. for example won first prize for the complete reconstruction of the Confédération Centre Genf, a traditional inner city mall in Geneva, to be finished by 2019. Situated in one of the high-end shopping areas of Geneva, the building is accessible from five different points of height due to its slope position. The outer appearance takes the former ‘70s façade into account, however the only part worthy of preservation is a natural stone façade. The complete redesign of the interior aims at repositioning the Confédération Centre while providing new shop spaces in the top seg-

ment. Soft, organic shapes and wooden materials will dominate the new interiors. “An architect can only be as good as his client” is the credo at Ramseier & Associates Ltd. and they feel inspired by the range of interesting and high-ranking brands that choose the office for their projects. Porsche, Zurich Insurance group, Hyatt, airport Zurich, Swatch. When the big names and the interesting challenges come knocking, the team starts chopping – with such enthusiasm and glee that nothing seems to be going fast enough. From design to model, from rendering to prototype – everything is to happen simultaneously and ideally to be visualised by the next day at the latest. Inspiration through interaction is what makes the architects and designers at Ramseier & Associates Ltd. thrive and create, to their heart’s desire.

Zurich Financial Services / Boardroom (First prize competition).

Cossack History Museum, Volgograd.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  95

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Top left: House in Küsnacht. Photo: Federico Naef Above: Interior Designer Claudia Merlotti. Photo: Thomas Buchwalder Left: Nine-room flat in Zurich-Höngg. Photo: Francesca Giovanelli Middle: Five-room flat in Zurich. Photo: Silvio Mazzuri Right: Penthouse Zurich-City. Photo: Silvio Mazzuri

A customer’s satisfaction is the best reference Living, dining, bedrooms and much more – Claudia Merlotti has many years of experience in interior design and can make sure that every room looks impressive. TEXT: INA FRANK

After finishing an apprenticeship in interior decoration in a prestigious business, Claudia Merlotti started training to become an interior designer. For a long time, she had known that interior design is her passion. She worked as a consultant in a furniture shop for nine years and then, 20 years ago, started her own business. Being asked about her personal style of furnishing, she reports that it is characterised by reduction, simplicity and harmony. “Good quality, clear shapes and a timeless aesthetic are very important to me,” she says. However, Merlotti is noncommittal concerning materials, as there is a wide range 96  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

of nice and high-quality materials, from wooden structures to stone and different cloths and colours. The same applies to furniture and accessories, but those must be well chosen and arranged. To achieve a long-term, high-quality and beautiful living concept, Merlotti’s work starts with a detailed layout plan for the furnishing. Afterwards, she carefully chooses matching furniture, textiles and lighting for the specific room. “Concerning the materials, colours and flooring, I attach great importance to working together with the client on-site. Thereby, the

client can get a first impression of how the planned interior design will look like. I pay a lot of attention to the client’s wishes and how I can implement them.” Whether it is a penthouse, a small flat or a big house, Merlotti is an expert for any kind of project. According to her, a happy client is the best reference one could have. Merlotti loves her job for many reasons. She enjoys the different objects and clients’ requirements that she may implement. Some cooperation with clients become very intense over the time. Although she has a large and long-year experience, those reasons are what brings new ideas to her mind all the time.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Changing work environments are a key challenge for modern architecture and planning RBSGROUP, part of Drees & Sommer, offers companies support in the field of workplace consulting and learning environments. This has become more and more important with our changing work environments and new requirements of workplace and office design. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHER ARNOLD WEIHS

Interdisciplinary teams, flexible working hours and economical space allocation are now often the norm especially in creative industries. Therefore, real estate departments are faced with new challenges as they must develop and implement innovative workplace concepts. RBSGROUP assists clients in every step from the preliminary design study to analysing the property, from workplace concepts to implementing the ideas and the actual furnishing. In short, the full scope of interior architecture and general planning services and that as an independent and reliable partner. Originally founded in 1973 in Munich, RBSGROUP with its more than 120

employees today has offices in Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt and Milan. In 2015, RBSGROUP became part of international consultancy Drees & Sommer with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and mainly focus on the building and real estate sector. Drees & Sommer has subsidiaries at 40 locations and sets standards in the fields of infrastructure and real estate consulting, project management and engineering. “The strong brand RBSGROUP strengthens Drees & Sommer portfolio especially when it comes to workplace consulting and learning environments,” says management member Constanze Weihs.“Since we have already been work-

ing together on many projects in the past, this was the logic consequence, bringing these strong brands together as one.”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Sense and sensuality Go Interiors stand for sensual design based on technical know-how and building competence. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: GO INTERIORS

‘Home is where you feel at home’ applies for both your own space and for your favourite hotels and restaurants.“I’ve grown attached to that place, yet I can’t exactly tell you why!” may be a common remark that visitors pass on to friends about certain places and surroundings they have experienced. Go Interiors know why, because they put the feeling-at-home factor first. In fact, their motto of “creating emotions / feeling@home” is crucial to a philosophy of creating an environment which is both welcoming and mirrors the customer’s personality. Whether through their new online shop or directly at Go Interiors at Zurich’s Seestrasse, customers are welcome to hunt and choose at their leisure while being invited to make use of the team’s professional competence and expertise. Applying a timeless style, Go Interiors aim at creating a feeling of comfort and indulgence. 98  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Go Interiors was started 25 years ago as a one-woman office by interior designer Nicole Gottschall. Along with the number of projects, the team has steadily grown through the years and the designer declares that her highest goal was always to implement a high level of technical knowhow without losing sight of the sensual heart of a space. Today, Go Interiors oversee highly complex and challenging technical planning tasks as well as small, private projects. The designer states that both their range of projects and diversity of clientele are a source of inspiration to her. Some clients have to divide their renovation period into phases, due to economic circumstances. This fact often leads to a deepening relationship, much more so than through the usual brief business dealings between designer and customer. There are small and intimate residential projects for private

From top left: Luxury Apartment for rent at Europaallee Zurich. Luxury penthouse in Davos. Luxury Apartment in Ascona. Nicole Gottschall, owner. Oriental Style at

owners as well as large ones for hotels and gastronomy. All clients appreciate the consistent and authentic Go Interiors style, which results in creating a warm and personal ambience. Their recently launched internet presence with Shop the Style ( com) makes Go Interiors design internationally available and, if in Zurich, the sensual approach of testing the haptic qualities of the design is always worth a visit. As the designer says: “Our clients are our motivation and act as a constant inspiration for me.”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Dazzling Interior Design & Architecture, Switzerland

Branded interior design for enhanced experiences Today marketplaces are more crowded than ever before. Retail stores are threatened by online possibilities and shopping streets around the world are packed with the same stores. In this environment, Andrea Lardelli is working with Brand Oriented Interior Design (BOID) to develop architecture that highlights corporate identities and improves both customer and employee experiences.

used decoratively but coherently derived from the core topics of the brand. In terms of innovation, one of his keys to success is to be aware of modern technologies, be it 3D printing or augmented reality and use them where necessary.


Growing up, Andrea Lardelli’s time was occupied by two main interests: drawing and music. While the dream of becoming a rock star did not come to fruition, the former passion set him up for a diverse and successful career in interior architecture and design. Technical, graphic and artistic, his work combines various aspects, knowing that people are at the heart of it. “Building is an expression of human needs,” explains Lardelli. “Companies are filled with human beings, spending a lot of time in their workplace. The right interior design supports people’s health, happiness and of course their performance.” Lardelli’s approach to interior design is unique for several reasons. Indeed, he puts an emphasis on the fact that his designs are

by Lardelli for the company at hand and not Lardelli designs. This mindset is ubiquitous in his development process, which always begins with a close examination of the brand. “We distil the brand’s typical elements like shapes, colour and material and create a draft outline.” In that regard, Lardelli is working closely with the client’s management teams and with his own network of specialists from fields as varied as psychology, brain research and statistics.

Finally, Lardelli is interested in establishing trustful relationships with his clients. To do so, he is staying independent, which enables him to look at projects unbiased and present solutions to the clients that are not influenced by third parties. Rather, his solutions are brand oriented and inherently make them come to life on the inside and outside. Andrea Lardelli.

All the while, the architect and designer follows his own ethos to brand-oriented interior design, resembled in the key words modern, innovative and independent. Hence, Lardelli is working with a contemporary design vocabulary, employing classical basic elements, which are not Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  99

EXPO Astana. Photo: © Rendering BWM Architekten Genussregal (rack of delight). Photo: © BWM Architekten Motionlab

Hotel Topazz. Photo: © Lenikus / Anna Blau

T O P A R C H I T E C T, A U S T R I A

Enhanced modernism

– BWM Architekten design and transform hotel culture BWM Architekten have found their own unique way of gently transporting valued tradition into the here and now. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

TheVienna-based BWM Architekten architecture firm was founded by Erich Bernard, Daniela Walten and Johann Moser in 2004. Their cooperation began in the late ‘90s when they worked on their first retail project together. Markus Kaplan joined them in the very year the firm was established and became a partner in 2014. Today, BWM employ a team of architects, urban planners, designers and artists as well as landscape and interior architects. The multinational team’s main fields are urban planning and building, commercial, retail and hotel architecture as well as 100  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

museum and exhibition design. A general examination of buildings in the context of inner city architecture, preservation and the post-war period forms a central theme of their work. Outstanding projects include the internationally acclaimed Hotel Topazz and the Genussregal – an exhibition structure designed for businesses based in Styria. BWM developed both the concept and content for the Taste of Styria exhibition, in cooperation with the Vogau-based Vinofaktur. The elongated, industriallooking steel structure bears colourful

containers, each standing for a local producer. ‘Das Genussregal’ translates as ‘the rack of delights’ and its bold design has created a new landmark, attracting many visitors. The exhibition focuses on the tasting of regional products. Various types of interactive set-ups provide information about local produce and the Styrian region in an entertaining way, thus presenting an innovative approach to transferring knowledge. Hotel Topazz, a corner building situated on one of Vienna’s smallest property sites, was completed in 2012. Its iconic brown mosaic façade both absorbs and reflects natural light and makes the building an eye-catcher. The design of the exterior calls to mind a glistening smoky quartz and is characterised by striking ellipti-

Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Top Architect, Austria

BWM’s clients are those looking for longterm commitments marked by a professional attitude, for example enterprises looking for custom-fit architecture to match their goal. They are often lateral thinkers, looking for a joint project process at eye level. The conscientious handling of a company or builder combined with an in-depth briefing strategy form a central part of BWM’s work. Cooperation is a key principle for them and this attitude facilitates co-created business concepts such as the successful Genussregal project.

of Vienna near the main station and consists of two parts stemming from the 19th century, now joined through the new, central corner-building. The five-story clinker façade with its warm brown and red hues is reminiscent of the industrial history of Vienna’s tenth district that still marks a few buildings within the surrounding urban landscape. The rough-looking industrial exterior is contrasted by cosy interiors that form a modern version of the old Viennese salon tradition. Upholstery furniture is joined by Thonet chairs; warm wood meets smooth fabrics. The rooms are styled each in their own way, an individuality enhanced by the façade with its offset window openings, creating different variations for each floor. Timeless elegance marks this project, which brings the Viennese salon right into modern hotel culture.

Recent BWM projects include Hotel Caroline, a new building with 27 rooms joining the existing structure. BWM Architekten were responsible for both the exterior and the interior design and handover day was in June. The hotel is situated in the heart

For 2017, big plans are in the making together with the BWM sister company bwmretail, namely the Europe-wide expansion of the ‘moxy hotels’, a fresh concept of moderately priced boutique hotels with a vivacious, modern interior.

cal, slightly protruding window openings that give the façade a three-dimensional, almost sculptural quality. The unconventional, distinctive treatment of the façade forms an unusual physical presence in the fabric of Vienna’s historical architecture.

Furthermore, a new residential building will be built in Vienna’s central Traungasse. Last but not least, BWM’s very own brainchild, the young and hip ‘grätzlhotel’ concept managed by the firm itself with its partners from URBANAUTS Hospitality Group, is to expand to other cities. BWM Architekten will also participate in the ‘Future Energy’-themed EXPO 2017 in Kazakhstan with their design for the Austrian pavilion under the motto “with heart, brain and muscle strength”. Their interactive exhibit will playfully deal with the human energy potential. BWM Architekten see their work mainly as an all-round concept of joint expertise, aimed at the best possible outcome: “Our architecture is both modern and timeless, economical and sustainable. As opposed to architectural posturing, our aim is to create premium architecture, executing the highest possible standards with regards to content, design and architectural quality.”

Wombat’s Naschmarkt. Photo: © Wombat’s / Luiza Puiu

Juweliere A.E. Köchert. Photo: © Christoph Panzer

Hotel Caroline. Photo: © Wolf Silveri

Literaturmuseum. Photo: © ONB / K. Pichler

grätzlhotel karmelitermarkt. Photo: © Heidrun Henke

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  101

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

S P E C I A L T H E M E : B A U 2 0 1 7 T R A D E FA I R

The future of building From 16 to 21 January 2017, Munich’s Messe München exhibition centre is hosting the BAU 2017, the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTOS: MESSE MÜNCHEN INTERNATIONAL

102  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

The biggest and most important event in the sector is held every two years and, in 2017, over 2,000 exhibitors from more than 40 countries from all around the world will present architectural solutions, materials and systems on 180,000 square metres of exhibition space. Visitors to BAU 2017 can look forward to 17 exciting exhibition halls, which will be organised according to product, material and theme. On display are architectural solutions, materials and systems for commercial and residential construction and interiors, for both new buildings, renovations and modernisations. Topics that will be covered at this year’s trade fair are brick and roof building products, tiles, ceramics, doors and windows, chemical building products, construction tools, façades and solar-shading systems, aluminium profiles, machines and tools for working with aluminium and steel, as well as innovative solar technology and parking systems. However, these are only a few topics that will be covered by the BAU 2017. Interesting talks, presentations and the ‘Investing in the Future’ showcase in Hall B0, where visitors will be able to contact institutions and associations in the building industry, round off the programme. This broad-ranging spectrum is tailored to all the key visitor target groups of interest for the building sector so everyone from architects, engineers, housing associations, floorers, façade fitters, builder merchants to universities and research institutes can be seen at the fair. On the following pages, we have handpicked some of the most innovative companies that will be present at this year’s BAU 2017 trade fair.

BAU 2015 IN FIGURES: - 2,015 exhibitors of which 637 were from abroad. - In total, 42 countries participated. - An exhibition space of 180,000 square metres. - All 17 exhibition halls were fully booked.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  103

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

Kneer-Südfenster offers design for more sophisticated demands in windows, lift and slide doors and façade systems. Energy-efficient products for more transparency, comfort and safety stand in the focus.

Large glass panels are on trend, lift and slide doors cater for openness and light-flooded living spaces.

Quality, comfort and safety are in global demand:

Unlimited living pleasure Open, bright living with a lot of glass is on trend. Large window formats, sliding doors and glass façades cater for vision, light, open architecture and light-flooded living spaces. Kneer-Südfenster, as one of the leading German manufacturers, realises this trend according to individual wishes.

vestment – they rank among the most modern in Europe. Open for new ideas, Kneer-Südfenster thus constantly develops innovative products.


Solutions for glass architecture

Thereby, the quality ‘Made in Germany’ is in global demand: the building components are also delivered to Russia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Canada and America, as well as to neighbouring European countries.“Each of our windows is still an unicum,”explains managing director Florian Kneer,“whether for contemporary architecture, for classical restructuring or for listed buildings.”

full-range provider, the company produces high-quality building components in all materials: out of wood, wood-aluminium, aluminium, aluminium-pvc and pvc. There are top-class products in all materials that are suitable for building passive houses, such as wood and wood-aluminium windows with integrated air chambers for an optimised insulating effect.

High-quality building components

Modern windows with high-tech components

Kneer-Südfenster’s building components even achieve a high thermal insulation with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and thus save energy and heating costs. As a 104  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Kneer-Südfenster’s production plants in its three manufactories always feature the latest technology due to constant in-

Wood-aluminium windows with a puristic design are perfect solutions for modern glass architecture. For this end, Kneer-Südfenster offers high-quality constructions with best technical value – for example from insulation to passive house standard. A flush-mounted installation and hidden fittings emphasise the elegant look. Aluminium-wood windows, lift and slide doors and beam-and-post glazing in the innovative ART-Design cater for extensive transparency. The building components are manufactured with powder-coated aluminium cladding and straight stringboards. The slim profile unobtrusively integrates itself into the architecture and offers

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

stability, as well as safety for comfortable living without many barriers. Integral-windows for more glass and less frame Aluminium-wood windows, such as the AHF 105 S Integral, enable aesthetics in perfection. With its slim frame and large glass panel it looks puristic in the façade, while it shows rectilinearity on the inside. As the blind frame can be covered on three sides, one can only see glass from the outside. Like this, the Integral-window stages contemporary architecture in an entirely new way. Panoramic window with vision As a full-service provider, Kneer-Südfenster shows the newest design for more sophisticated demands in windows, lift and slide doors and façade systems. The main focus is energy-efficient products for more transparency, comfort and safety – the ‘SKY PLUS’-version for terrace and balcony doors, for example. The glass surface seamlessly extends into the threshold – the transition from inside and outside becomes fluent. Lift and slide doors in the SKY PLUS system can also be integrated without a frame as part of beam-and-post façades. Up to two storeys and six metres in height can

be designed as a transparent façade. Slim profiles, combined with the large-scale glazing, coin an elegant façade design. Windows and front doors for the ‘Smart Home’ Today, modern windows and front doors belong to the Smart Home for the highest degree of safety and contemporary comfort. Therefore, Kneer-Südfenster also offers intelligent opening systems for front doors or lift and slide doors. Venetian blinds, shutters and skylights can also be electromotively controlled – wirelessly on the basis of a radio bus system. They can be easily operated via tablet or smartphone. This is how barrier-free living spaces can be formed and houses and flats are made fit for the future. Playing safe: Building components with high burglary protection Windows and terrace doors are the most common entry points for burglars in single and two-family houses and should be fitted with anti-burglary fittings as most burglars quickly abort their mission when they notice that a house is effectively secured. Therefore, even police information centres recommend windows with resistance class RC2 or, even better, RC3. Kneer-Südfenster’s windows and French doors are serially equipped with mush-

room pins. With resistance class RC2, they additionally offer circumference locking systems in each sash, as well as an impact-resistant P4A-security glazing. The glass borders are thereby bolted or stuck together so that the window cannot be pushed inwards. Further information can be found on the following website or visit the company on the BAU 2017 in hall B4, booth 309. ABOUT THE COMPANY: Kneer-Südfenster is one of the largest and most renowned manufacturers of windows and doors on the German market. For decades, the name has stood for sustainable quality and exemplary service. The medium-sized family business employs around 700 employees in three plants and annually produces 330,000 windows and 7,000 doors in different materials. Kneer-Südfenster’s components are energy-efficient and comfortable – with sophisticated technology and state-ofthe-art design. The company offers an enormous variety of design possibilities with colours and shapes for building owners and renovators.

Perfect windows for contemporary glass architecture: Kneer-Südfenster offers high-quality construction with best technical value.

SKY PLUS’ lift and slide doors made out of wood and aluminium-wood enable seamless panoramic views – this can be seen on the BAU 2017 in hall B4, booth 309.

Brightness and transparency set the tone for living: with the beam-and-post glazing from Kneer-Südfenster.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  105

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

Project in Trier. Photo: © Sascha Kletzsch

Project in Trier. Photo: © Sascha Kletzsch

Living space for students in Heidelberg. Photo: © Sascha Kletzsch

Sustainable and responsible building That is what the Munich-based company LiWooD stands for through realising sustainable construction projects with high-quality demands. Yet the economical thought is not left out: the knowledge that sustainable building needs to correlate with a competitive cost structure solely allows timber to be the building material for LiWooD’s projects. TEXT: LIWOOD MANAGEMENT AG; TRANSLATION: NANE STEINHOFF

Building with timber is efficient and sustainable and LiWooD succeeds in uniting these two characteristics in its approach. While materials like concrete, aluminium and brick – used in conventional building – cause a high degree of CO2 emissions, solid wood can largely bind these. That is why LiWooD decided to manufacture modules out of this natural building material. Furthermore, with a high degree of pre-fabrication, extremely short construction periods enable projects and project developments to be quickly realised; extremely low energy costs over the life106  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

time of the building honour this approach. Through the LiWooD construction technique, the building owner can save up to 60 per cent in comparison to conventional building. This saving, of course, depends on the project size; the larger the project, the more the savings. This fact cannot be rejected: no other building material than wood has such a strong, positive effect on our well-being. Even touching wood is experienced more positively than touching other building materials. Thus, when one enters a

LiWooD building, these qualities quickly become obvious. Sustainable building can only be implemented through using wood as building material. LiWooD rigorously implements this knowledge and thus, helps to implement the need for more sustainability into reality in a variety of ways. Through its modular philosophy and a perfectly coordinated logistics concept, LiWooD’s construction method enables significantly reduced construction time and therefore creates living space in a short period. It should be particularly emphasised that the conventional impairments that can be found on a building site, such as noise and pollution, are significantly reduced in a qualitative and temporal sense. The logistics concept is coined by construction, plant and execution plants that

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

are created for each project by LiWooD. From these plans, the individual building parts – from reinforced concrete storey ceilings to plywood walls – are manufactured and get delivered to the building site in a time-controlled way. In LiWooD’s own field factory that is temporarily built directly on, or very close to, the building site, the prefabricated components get assembled into habitation modules. This assembly line, which is independent of weather conditions, significantly reduces the building time, whilst the high quality remains the same. With a clock rate of 60 to 90 minutes, the field factory’s capacity accounts for up to ten modules per day, depending on the complexity. With the help of a truck crane, the modules are then arrayed, stockend and bound: thus, buildings with up to eight storeys are created. After installing the modules, the completion of the façade, the roof and the outdoor areas immediately begins, while the completion on the interior takes place, built-in furniture is installed and various installations are finalised. Newest technical facilities, such as keyless entry systems or modern media equipment are already integrated. The construction of a building that is ready for occupancy with around 200 module units does not usually take longer than five months. The demand for temporary, urban living and social housing increases. The quick

and time-saving construction of LiWooD modules meets these demands. Functionality and innovative interiors result in ideal retreats from daily work routines. With the flexible sizes, almost each type and form of flat can be constructed with the modular construction system. LiWooD buildings can be built according to individual demands. The possibilities range from apartment houses for students or hotels to residential buildings. Thereby, the modular construction method allows for a variety of design possibilities and thus, entirely different room types can be realised. Large spaces are created through letting out inner walls. When using slim supports, versatile rooms with large floor spaces. In that way, a lounge, cafeteria or a larger functional space can be created. A further focus of LiWooD is energyefficient living. Thanks to the relatively low thermal conductivity of wood, passive or zero-energy houses are possible. Through the utilisation of air-water-heat pumps in conjunction with photovoltaics, environmentally friendly energy can be produced and moreover, cost-neutral heating (as well as cooling) can be gained. In 2012, within the scope of an EU-wide bidding, LiWooD was commissioned to create housing for 265 students on campus of the University of Heidelberg. Shortly after, the building of a further student residence followed in Trier. A project that was

recently completed is the building of four residential buildings for asylum seekers in Munich, which have been simultaneously erected in different quarters. Current projects are student residences in North Germany, as well as social housing projects in urban centres. In that way, building in wood suggests an answer to the main challenges of our times.

Residential buildings for asylum seekers in Munich. Photo: © Jürgen Braun

Living space for students in Heidelberg. Photo: © Sascha Kletzsch

Residential buildings for asylum seekers in Munich. Photo: © Jürgen Braun

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  107

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  BAU 2017

Left: 2.5-inch-slim elements shape the planters. Top right: The view from Liberty Park to the 1 WTC. Right: The location of Liberty Park within the World Trade Center complex. Bottom: Top view of Liberty Park with four largescale planters.

Flexible stability The creation of safe and flexible surfaces is of the highest order for the team at DUCON. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: ROBERT MEHL/DUCON

Their thin, durable concrete solutions are a winning factor when it comes to security measures for highly stressed building parts – famously so in the case of One World Trade Center (1 WTC), the impressive new building ‘sculpture’ erected between 2006 and 2014 on the site of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City. The explosion and bullet-resistant qualities that this innovative material provides are needed for construction projects with high-security measures, for example at the German embassy in Kabul where DUCON was used to build a blast wall.

weather forces or indeed any form of stress coming from the outside. The material is composed by a three-dimensional micro-reinforcement and an ultra-high performance concrete. Besides high protective measures, an energy-efficient façade as well as the thinnest concrete stairs and roof shell could be realised by DUCON. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Hauser, who invented the technology, also founded the internationally active firm in 2004. The strong but lightweight ductile material was awarded ‘best product innovation’ by the Architects’ Darling jury in 2015.

But DUCON also allows the shaping of beautiful yet endurable elements for landscape architecture as used for the new Liberty Park, recently opened to the public on the former Ground Zero right by the 1 WTC building.

Based on the high protection performance at reduced thickness, DUCON has been deployed in several critical zones of the new World Trade Center project in NYC. The measures included blast walls, fragmentation shielding as well as wall hardening and duct shield protection.

DUCON is slightly bending under pressure and therefore has a high breakage resistance, it can endure vast weight, strong

In addition, thin architectural elements in DUCON White have been executed in the new Liberty Park. Set right by the new

108  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

World Trade Center in New York City, the park was designed by the Landscape and Urban Design Studio of AECOM. A major part of the park is the white architectural DUCON-based concrete used for wall panels, copings, planters and benches. The 120 differently shaped benches are 2.5 inches slim and executed as cantilever elements, only anchored at the footing. Despite their slender and elegant look, these benches can resist earthquakes and impacts. They are aligned to form largescale planters. “It’s a gift back to the community, it’s a gift back to New York City,” said Port Authority capital planning director Steven Plate at the Liberty Park opening in June. DUCON Europe GmbH & Co. KG

The ErgoSystemÂŽ A100 sets new standards and is perfectly equipped for almost any purpose and location: randomly configurable handrail combinations with custom-scalable profiles, brackets angled for optimum grip and colour combinations to match any interior turn the issue of barrier freedom into a joy for hands and eyes alike. The unique-to-the-market diagonal-oval styling of the rails guarantees particularly dependable support, moreover. Rounding the ErgoSystemÂŽ A100 off are a maintenance-free drop-down support rail, towel holders in single and double variants, a multiple award-winning shower-head bracket, wall hooks, shelf racks and toilet-roll holders. More information at BAU Munich, hall B4, stand 131 or at

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Austria’s Legal Experts

Photo: ©, Daria / epicantus

S P E C I A L T H E M E : A U S T R I A’ S L E G A L E X P E R T S

Need juridical help? If you do, be sure to take a look at the following pages. We have handpicked some of Austria’s greatest legal experts to find out how they work, to learn more about their interesting cases and much more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Photo: ©,

110  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

Photo: ©,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Austria’s Legal Experts

Dr. Clemens Jaufer.

Project management and law The profession of the lawyer dates back to Antiquity. It was the Greeks who introduced the synegors or advocates who were allowed to speak in favour of a party at court. Today, a lawyer may be more than an advocate. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  I  PHOTO: CHRISTA STROBL

Dr. Clemens Jaufer is a lawyer by conviction. He graduated from universities in Austria and Germany and received his degree from the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, the oldest and most prestigious university in Styria. Since 2007 he has been a partner at Scherbaum Seebacher, a law firm that employs 25 lawyers and is based in Graz and Vienna. Scherbaum Seebacher is specialised in all aspects of business law and thus mainly represents corporations and entrepreneurs, private foundations or affluent private individuals. Dr. Jaufer himself is a specialist in the restructuring of companies, Directors and Officers liabilities, compliance issues and the divestiture of assets. One typical ex-

ample of his work is the extrajudicial restructuring of companies; a process that, characteristically, involves a multitude of stakeholders like banks, employees and the respective company’s management. “For multifaceted, highly sensitive projects to succeed it needs one experienced person who is accepted by all parties involved to take a lead. Beyond that, for most cases that involve various levels and parties, legal expertise is an absolute prerequisite,” says Dr. Jaufer, who gives this fact as one of the main reasons why he sees himself more as a lawyer and project manager rather than a lawyer exclusively. “In cases that comprise a variety of aspects like the restructuring of a company, one

needs to be prepared to take responsibility for the project and for any decisions that need to be taken. This willingness demands economic as well as solutiondriven thinking, an exceptional knowledge of the respective business and sufficient flexibility and expertise to appoint the appropriate multi-disciplinary staff,” explains Dr. Jaufer. Thanks to many years of experience with project work, Dr. Jaufer is an ideal partner for multi-levelled cases. He and his colleagues at Scherbaum Seebacher are mandated by an international clientele and thus happy to help with their expertise wherever you are – regardless whether you need a lawyer or a project manager with ample legal proficiency for a comprehensive legal project. Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  111

fwp reception area.

fwp lawyers compete to win, with a detailed view of the big picture Always on the ball and highly efficient, the lawyers at Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners (fwp) know their game. Highly praised by both clients and peers, the firm is constantly expanding its circle of specialised and competent partners while at the same time keeping internationally connected through influential networking. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  |  PHOTOS: CHRISTOPH PANZER

Commitment is the key word and fwp likes to use sports-related language when they speak about their passion for law: “When it comes to working out the best strategies for our clients, we get right into the thick of things. A precise knowledge of the rules of the game and maximum effort 112  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

keep us always at it. Down to the last mile, on any court, at any match.” Compete to win, indeed, with a detailed strategy laid out upfront. As an internationally active Austrian law firm, fwp covers the entire spectrum of

business law. The specialised know-how of the partners and their teams in their respective fields guarantees expertise for all scenarios. fwp represents mainly Austrian and international private companies, but also has clients from the public sector. With top modern office spaces set in the heart of Vienna, the one stop-shop law firm of Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners has made accessibility and service their highest aims. Their clients experience and appreciate a 24-hour availability. At fwp, fast response, quality and efficiency are the

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Austria’s Legal Experts

measure of all things. Academically based legal expertise combined with economic and commercial know-how form the pillars of the firm’s international success.

of large corporations. Besides his law degree, Markus Fellner holds a degree from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.

Founded in 1999 in the heart of Vienna by co-founders and lawyers Markus Fellner and Kurt Wratzfeld, the firm started out with a staff of five. Immediately adopting a pioneering role, the firm has since followed the vision of a modern working approach matching contemporary needs. fwp was founded with the goal of growing into a large law firm with a wide-reaching structure.

Co-founder and partner Kurt Wratzfeld specialises in individual and collective employment law as well as general civil law. He studied in both Vienna and Linz, where he gained his doctorate, and has been working as a lawyer since 1997 before co-founding fwp in 1999.

Today, fwp has more than a hundred qualified personnel. The fwp competence teams are led by 22 partners. One of the leading Austrian law firms in the business sector, fwp offers legal support for banking and finance, corporate, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), real estate, infrastructure and public procurement as well as reorganisation and restructuring. While mostly looking after Austrian and international companies, fwp also works for the public sector. Markus Fellner advises on high-profile corporate / M&A transactions, banking and finance law, dispute resolution and antitrust and competition law as well as on complex corporate restructurings / insolvencies. He has been extensively involved in bank rescues and restructurings

A classic tool for fwp’s own business strategy is networking. As Fellner Wratzfeld &

Partners’ work has become increasingly international, they can rely on an intensive longstanding cooperation with international partner firms. To fwp it makes all the difference and is one of the most important criteria for success. fwp has a widespread international referral network with law firms in over 110 countries. The firm is also part of the global law firm network TerraLex having more than 15,000 lawyers as members. fwp is also part of the Association of European Lawyers (AEL), which provides a strong platform for pan-European cross-border transactions and legal advice.

fwp reception area.

fwp entrance area.

Modern offices.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  113

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Austria’s Legal Experts

fwp reception area.

fwp reception area.

fwp reception area.

fwp ranks among the best of Austria’s law firms. Their wide-ranging excellence in corporate/M&A, banking & finance, capital markets, as well as labour law places them regularly at the top of rankings. This year, partner and co-founder Markus Fellner took first place in the FORMAT lawyers’ ranking in the category of banking law. A total of 100 law firms voted in 22 categories. Other top rankings went to Kurt Wratzfeld for labour law, Paul Luiki for CEE work and Gregor Schett in the field of investor lawsuits. Banking & Finance: fwp advises major banks on financing issues on an ongoing basis, not only about project financing, but also in connection with funding complex 114  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

fwp reception area.

consortiums and financing for company reorganisation purposes. fwp can anticipate the legal challenges and issues, and guide its clients accordingly. Corporate / M&A: developing optimal solutions in these fields requires extensive knowledge and vast experience in many different legal areas, including corporate, tax, capital market, labour and tenancy as well as numerous other fields. fwp advises national and international companies in the acquisition and sale of companies as a core strength of the firm. The services cover everything from legal due diligence to antitrust regulations – and fwp’s wide experience in the private and public sector, especially relating to cross-border trans-

actions, takeover bids, private equity and venture capital – ensures the highest degree of efficiency and deal stability. Other subfields of commercial and business law covered by fwp’s specialists are real estate, infrastructure and procurement as well as dispute resolution, both in court and before arbitral tribunals. Antitrust violations, another specialist field of fwp, have become more and more costly. Entire industries have come under the scrutiny of antitrust authorities. fwp is helping clients to become pro-active right from the start, for instance by implementing suitable compliance programmes. fwp also provides advice on merger control,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Austria’s Legal Experts

antitrust and market abuse proceedings, before Austrian and European courts as well as antitrust authorities. Transaction law makes up one of the biggest chunks of fwp’s work and has received significant international recognition. With long-standing experience in structuring tailor-made solutions and an all-encompassing understanding of business matters under their belt, the teams at fwp feel right at home in this area. In the ‘Chambers and Partners’ Europe 2016 rankings, fwp and especially co-founder Dr. Markus Fellner have recently received high accolades: “Very efficient, quick and straightforward. A top choice for large-scale, complex mandates with an excellent level of service.” Clients mention outstanding negotiation skills and the ability to see the big picture in a transaction. A “market leader with

an impressive track record”, Dr. Markus Fellner is known for possessing a detailed commercial understanding and for efficiently pushing transactions forward. Fast response, efficiency and a view of the whole while never forgetting a cru-

cial detail make for the highly committed full-service strategy of Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners. When fwp throws a ball, it will be the perfect throw. They are happy to catch yours at any time, safely and securely.

Dr. Markus Fellner (left) and Dr. Kurt Wratzfeld (right), co-founders and partners. Photos: © fwp

In-house library.

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  115

Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Top Legal Expert, Germany


T O P L E G A L E X P E R T, G E R M A N Y

Practicing international intellectual property law for 40 years Founded four decades ago, KUHNEN & WACKER are internationally renowned for their unique abilities as an intellectual property law firm. Through this specialisation, the law office continues to build on their values of continuity, quality and strategy, thus always working for the client’s best interests. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS  I  PHOTOS: KUHNEN & WACKER

As the office name implies, KUHNEN & WACKER initially brought together the two patent attorneys Rainer Andreas Kuhnen and Paul-Alexander Wacker. After respective studies and their licensing as patent lawyers, they launched their joined office in 1976. Due to a perfect synergy regarding strategy and structure, KUHNEN & WACKER could establish themselves as an international law firm in the following years. In the process the office steadily grew and continually integrated additional capacities for all technical fields. KUHNEN & WACKER currently employs around 90 highly qualified and multilin116  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

gual people, among them 18 lawyers, who bring expertise in engineering, electronics, physics, chemistry and branding to the firm. Furthermore, the company, which is situated in Freising, in perfect distance to the Munich airport, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, the European Patent Office and several courts, has forged a network of colleagues in more than 150 countries, adding to the flexibility, efficiency and work quality of KUHNEN & WACKER’s organisational structure. Naturally, this organisational structure can help clients in every legal IP field. KUHNEN & WACKER is the right partner for all

things technology, brand, design and especially commercial property right. With an affinity for the latter, the law office is able to work with property rights strategically. In that regard, brand applications, patent applications and resulting claims can be managed prescient and of course worldwide. The international orientation is apparent in the company’s services, which include items like international brand strategies, Japanese patent law and more. Next to their services as lawyers, KUHNEN & WACKER are organising various seminars around the world, which deal with their main topics. Apart from a one-week yearly brand and patent seminar in Freising, these events include programmes in the United States, Japan and China. Furthermore, clients can also book and receive individual training sessions.

Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Solicitor Column

The lady doth protest too much, methinks TEXT & PHOTO: GREGOR KLEINKNECHT

Uber is as well known for its run-ins with regulators and the traditional taxi trade as it is for its app and car service. Its impact on traditional business models has even spawned the term ‘Uberfication of the economy’. Uber recently added a spat with the GMB trade union to its PR portfolio, which played out at the end of October before an Employment Tribunal in London. While the GMB trade union is no doubt fighting to retain a role for itself at a time when national trade unions are increasingly marginalised and have yet to find an effective way of confronting the globalised ‘gig’ economy, this (albeit first) round went squarely and rightly to the labour movement. The test cases were brought by two Uber drivers with the support of the trade union. They claimed that they were workers within the employment rights legislation and therefore entitled to certain basic rights and safeguards. Uber maintained that its drivers are self-employed contractors. That, of course, suits its business model and corporate profits because it allows the company ready access to a workforce without having to assume any of the responsibilities of an employer. It effectively takes the model of the zero-hour contract a step further, for the proliferation of which some retailers have recently rightly been criticised. In its landmark decision, the Employment Tribunal (even quoting the headline above from Shakespeare’s Hamlet) was scathing

in its criticism of Uber’s arguments and agreed that the drivers were workers (but interestingly not employees, who have greater legal rights and protections). As a worker, drivers are entitled to paid annual leave, a maximum 48-hour average working week, minimum rest breaks, the national minimum wage and living wage, and protection against unlawful discrimination, to name a few key entitlements. They are still not entitled to statutory employment rights though, such as protection from unfair dismissal or statutory redundancy payments. Not everybody is happy. More and more Uber drivers are clogging up the streets of London and, apparently, some drivers like the flexibility and added opportunities that Uber offers them. Users (including myself) like the convenience of a cheap ride at the push of a button. Uber’s business model is of course replicated in other sectors, too, with ever growing armies of self-employed contractors on ever shrinking incomes delivering our online shopping and take-away food 24/7. The decision conceivably has a massive knock-on impact on other ‘gig’ economy businesses. Unsurprisingly, Uber has already indicated that it will appeal. Ultimately though, we will have to decide whether we want to support large multinational corporations who undermine society by eroding traditional employment models that enable people to earn a living while at the same time minimising the

taxes and national insurance contributions they pay and thereby the contributions that keep the society, in which we all live, functioning. As far as I have been able to work out, the so-called ‘sharing economy’ involves you and me sharing our money with these corporations. I for one do not believe for a moment that Uber is concerned about the flexibility that it offers to its workforce as opposed to simply its bottom line. The message has even arrived with Government, which is setting up a review of modern working practices, and with HMRC, which is setting up a new employment status and intermediaries team to investigate businesses.

Gregor Kleinknecht LM MCIArb is a German Rechtsanwalt and English solicitor, and a partner at Hunters Solicitors, a leading law firm in Central London. Hunters Solicitors, 9 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QN, E-mail:

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  117

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Calendar

chocolART Photo: ©, amol

Culture Calendar Save the date as there are plenty of great events scheduled for the weeks to come. From music festivals and exciting exhibitions, to fantastic sport events and social highlights, Discover Germany’s Culture Calendar is your perfect guide to what not to miss in December. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS

chocolART (29 November – 4 December) Germany’s largest chocolate festival, the international chocolART, takes place in Tubingen for the 11th time. More than 100 chocolatiers from Africa, South and North America and Europe will make their way to the wonderful ambiance of Tubingen old town and present their delicious diversity of sweet treats and exclusive chocolate. 118  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

German Comic Con Dortmund (2 – 4 December) More than 30,000 people visited last year’s first ever German Comic Con. This year, the fair, featuring all things comics, Hollywood and movies, returns bigger and better; promising even more fun. Guests include actors Ron Perlman, David Hasselhoff, Danny Glover and more.

Friends with Books: Art Book Fair Berlin (9 – 11 December) This fair is Europe’s foremost festival when it comes to contemporary artists’ books and periodicals by artists and art publishers. More than 150 exhibitors from all over the world will show their works, while the additional programme includes discussions, readings, presentations and performances. World cup weekend Montafon (15 – 18 December) Exciting sports meet great musical acts, at the world cup weekend in the Montafon valley in Austria. Over four days, the FIS Snowboard

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar Cross world cup and the FIS Ski Cross world cup will take place. Every night, there will be a DJ’d party and on Saturday, there will be two open-air concerts by German musicians SIDO and SDP. Christmas markets in Germany (until 24 December) It is that time of the year. The time of Christmas markets. Literally all over Germany, in large cities and small villages, the month of December up until Christmas Eve is dedicated to the markets to prepare us for the festivities. A visit to one is both a culinary and a cultural pleasure and will surely get you into that Christmas mood. Here is an overview of Germany’s best markets.

ners of all fitness levels. It is a fun run for everybody, where people often dress up and just enjoy their final run for the year. At the finish line, all participants receive pancakes as a reward. New Year’s Eve Party in Berlin (31 December) One of the biggest open-air parties in the whole world, the New Year’s Eve party of Berlin will attract more than a million people. Visitors can expect a buzzing programme with several stages, dance floors and live music by international DJs, laser and light shows, a wide array of food and of course the midnight fireworks.

Circus Conelli (17 November – 31 December) The original Swiss Christmas circus returns to Zurich to perform its new programme Conelli – Just amazing. All artists are award-winning performers of international allure. In the new programme, Circus Conelli merges traditional with modern elements for a show that includes acrobatics, dreamy poesy, humour and musical treats. Berlin New Year’s Eve run (31 December) The New Year’s Eve run around the Teufelsberg in the Grunewald offers different tracks for run-

Logo German Comic Con Dortmund. Photo: © Cool Conventions GmbH

World cup weekend Montafon. Photo: ©, ghentooo

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  119

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar Hofburg New Year’s Eve Ball Vienna (31 December) One of the New Year’s Eve highlights in Vienna is the Hofburg ball. In accordance to the theme, ‘Rhythm of Vienna’, guests can expect a unique programme full of exciting festivities. Performances will be given by artists from the Vienna opera scene, various orchestras and bands, which will play music from waltz to jazz. The culinary highlight is a four-course gala dinner, featuring all kinds of exquisite delicacies.

Above: Fast Fashion Sweater. Photo: © Manu Washaus Below: Zurich Art Prize. Photo: © Nairy Baghramian, Marian Goodman Gallery London

Montafon Winter Magic (23 December – 2 January) At the Montafon Winter Magic, visitors of the Austrian Ski region can experience a variety of concerts around the topics of Advent and Christmas. It is a series of events, that entertains both young and old with top-class musical acts.

Zurich Art Prize 2016 (until 15 January) This exhibition at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv is an exclusive opportunity to see works of the winner of the Zurich Art Prize 2016, Nairy Baghramian. Known for her minimal and context-related art in the form of sculptural installations, images and on paper, Baghramian reflects on modernity and post minimalism. The exhibition in Zurich is specifically designed for the Museum Haus Konstruktiv. Fast Fashion St. Gallen (until 5 June 2017) The exhibition Fast Fashion takes a critical look behind the scenes of the textile industries. Differentiated and comprehensive, it analyses the systems of the fashion business and its consequences. As an alternative to the current system, it presents the world of slow fashion in Switzerland.

Christmas market. Photo: ©, Rachel Docherty

New Year’s Eve Party Berlin. Photo: ©, Marcel Berkmann

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Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar

Hofburg New Year’s ball. Photo: ©, Honza Soukup

Circus Conelli. Photo: © Wikimedia Commons, Roland zh

Issue 45  |  December 2016  |  121

Discover Germany | Culture | Barbara Geier

How Germans solve the Christmas presents dilemma TEXT & PHOTO: BARBARA GEIER

Presents all sorted yet? Or still wracking your brain what to get the husband, wife, children, mum, dad, friends and the ones you really don’t want to get something for but feel – for whatever reason – that you’re still very much obliged to? Well, just do it like the Germans. According to a new Ernst & Young survey, an increasing number are taking a short cut in 2016 (or are simply being super efficient as the world expects from us) and resort to getting vouchers. Not very imaginative, but there is a very understandable reason for this number rising. The older generation in particular is at a loss more and more each year as to what to get for their grandchildren. Fashion is not that fashionable anymore; all kinds of electronical gadgets and lifestyle items are desired instead. However, grandparents are not at home in the digital world and they simply don’t know what will cut it with the kids or lead to disappointed faces. Thus, confusion and desperation leads to “let’s simply get a voucher for them to buy whatever they like”. As long as there’s peace on Christmas Eve, which is in Germany the day when presents are unwrapped under the Christmas tree, all is well. In general, Germans are planning to spend even more for Christmas 2016 as they do anyway, with the abovementioned study expecting 18 billion euros. The average spend for vouchers, the most popular present category of all thanks to Opa (Grandpa) and Oma (Grandma), is 122  |  Issue 45  |  December 2016

rising as well with Germans allocating a budget of 68 euros per gift voucher, which is 50 per cent more than last year. Books are, still, at number two on the list of the types of presents most frequently bought, followed by food or sweets, clothes and toys. If you get a voucher, you’re definitely better off because only 16 euros are pencilled in the Christmas pressies budget for food or sweets and 23 euros for clothes and toys respectively. By the way, the 18 billion spent one way or the other translate into 266 euros to be spent per person on average, a rise of three per cent in comparison to last year. So, are Germans getting richer? Or ever more generous? Well, the Ernst & Young consumer experts have the following explanation: cost for heating and petrol has gone down in Germany; couple that with rising salaries and the fact that saving money doesn’t really pay anymore because of super low interest rates and you have happy retailers wanting to spend more on Christmas presents. Speaking of which, it’s mainly good ol’ brick and mortar retail that will benefit because Germans still like proper Christmas shopping in comparison to simply clicking on a basket online: 71 per cent say that they’ll browse the shops in their respective city centres, probably because it’s part of the Christmas experience. So, not always that efficient and practical after all; buying everyday items online is all well and good but for special occasions,

the ‘sentimental’ German side comes through. The shopping experience, atmosphere, being able to see what you get in reality and expert face-to-face advice count. Well, however you’re planning to go about the yearly Christmas present buying project and however much you’re planning to spend, try not to get too stressed about it. If everything else fails, take advice from the ‘oldies’ and get a voucher …. Frohe Weihnachten, one and all! Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

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