Discover Germany, Issue 55, October 2017

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Issue 55 | October 2017







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Discover Germany  |  Contents

Contents OCTOBER 2017

18 Photo: © STUDIOCANAL 2014/Jack English

COVER FEATURE 18 Kirsten Dunst In this interview, Kirsten Dunst talks about her recent film The Beguiled, teaming up again with long-time collaborator Sofia Coppola, her preparation for roles, her upcoming directorial debut, watching herself on screen, and more.

SPECIAL THEMES 32 Culture Highlights Switzerland: Top Museums 2017 Switzerland is known for its great variety of cultural events, top-notch museums and high-quality galleries. Thus, for this month’s issue, we take a closer look at some of the great cultural institutions Switzerland has to offer. 43 Focus: Photography in Austria For this special theme, we have handpicked some of Austria’s greatest photographers to learn about their inspirations and more. 55 The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts Even though real estate agencies are manifold in the DACH region, it is important to find the right partner to buy or sell a home. Thus, we have handpicked some of the DACH region’s real estate experts for you.

26 Photo: © Spillmann Echsle AG, Hannes Henz

rity where we have handpicked some of the field’s most innovative players.


FEATURES 16 Product of the Month Since its foundation in 2011, meinwoody has made the world a better place with their innovative plant cultivation sets - no wonder their product is our product of the month. 24 Top Architects Our top architects from Germany and Switzerland reveal what makes them so special, talk about their inspiration behind their great buildings and much more. 28 Film Review: As We Were Dreaming Find out what our writer Sonja Irani thinks about As We Were Dreaming – a weird, but beautiful, coming-of-age drama set in Leipzig, Eastern Germany. 46 Star Interview: Lara Mandoki Born in Munich as the daughter of music legend Leslie Mandoki, Lara Mandoki knew she wanted to be an actor. She speaks to Discover Germany about why Munich is her city of choice, her current projects and much more.

60 Exclusive Business Profiles This month, we have handpicked some innovative companies from Germany and Austria to get you inspired.

48 Destination of the Month North Rhine-Westphalia is our destination of the month for many reasons: from one of the best snow regions north of the Alps to world famous Christmas markets, through to the certified hiking trails of the picturesque hinterland, the region has a great deal to offer.

66 Safety & Security If you have ever wondered how to stay safe at work, you should probably check out our special theme on safety and secu-

52 Where Time Flies – The German Clock Route If you love enchanting countryside and are fascinated by the history of time, its

Photo: © Florian Schaller

keepers and the ever-popular cuckoo clock, the German Clock Route awaits. Our writer Wibke Carter finds out more.

REGULARS & COLUMNS 12 Dedicated to Design Whether you are searching for Halloweeninspired gift ideas, great new autumn styles, innovative architects, fine jewellery or interior and design highlights from the DACH region, be sure to take a look at our design section. 28 Culture This month, our culture section is filled with enchanting museums, an event that should not be missed, as well as a film review and star interview. 55 Business Our business section is filled with real estate experts, exclusive business profiles, innovative companies from the field of safety and security, and more. Furthermore, our columnist Gregor Kleinknecht takes on the exciting topic of the leasehold trap. 92 Culture Calendar Discover Germany’s culture calendar is your perfect guide to what not to miss in October. 98 Barbara Geier Column This month, our columnist Barbara Geier writes about the impending election in Germany. Find out what she thinks about it.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  3

Dear Reader,

Discover Germany Issue 55, October 2017 Published 10.2017 ISSN 2051-7718 Published by Scan Magazine Ltd. Print Liquid Graphic Ltd. Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Nane Steinhoff Assistant Editor Marilena Stracke Copy-Editor Isa Hemphrey

Ina Frank Jessica Holzhausen Nadine Carstens Silke Henkele Sonja Irani Wibke Carter Cover Photo © BAKOUNINE / Sales & Key Account Managers Emma Fabritius Nørregaard Laura Hummer Noura Draoui Sophie Blecha Audrey Bardzik Publisher: SCAN GROUP Scan Magazine Ltd. 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom

Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia

Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421   Email:

Feature Writer Thomas Schroers

For further information please visit

Contributors Barbara Geier Cornelia Brelowski Gregor Kleinknecht

© 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 55  |  October 2017

Welcome to our October issue! As many of you will know, the end of October also marks one of the world’s favourite holidays: Halloween. Originally an export hit from the USA, more and more Germans, Austrians and Swiss people are also celebrating the event. The tradition started to become popular over here approximately at the end of the ‘90s. After some magazines started to publish the first articles about the new phenomena, Halloween quickly became quite trendy. More and more bars and confectionary manufacturers then adapted to the trend and today, the spooky festival is said to be the third most important event for the German confectionary industry after Christmas and Easter. Thus, if Halloween is also quite dear to you, we have handpicked some stylish and spooky design items that will be a hit at your Halloween party. If you prefer to celebrate Halloween low-key with some movies, be sure to watch The Beguiled (2017), a thriller directed by Sofia Coppola. This month’s cover star Kirsten Dunst stars in it and speaks to Discover Germany about teaming up again with longtime collaborator Coppola, her preparation for roles, her German roots, her upcoming directorial debut, watching herself on screen, and much more. Furthermore, our October issue features an interview with actor Lara Mandoki and a feature on the German Clock Route. Our writer Wibke Carter visited the route in the Black Forest to find out more about the history of time, its keepers and the ever-popular cuckoo clock. Definitely an interesting read! Inspiring architects, innovative companies, Swiss museums, autumn-inspired design and fashion ideas, a film review and much, much more round off this issue. Sit back, relax and thanks for reading.

Nane Steinhoff, Editor

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* Der Gutschein ist gültig bis 31.12.2017 nur bei - einzutragen im Warenkorb. Der Gutscheincode ist nur online einsetzbar. Keine Barauszahlung oder nachträgliche Anrechnung möglich. Nicht mit anderen Gutscheinen kombinierbar. Der Gutscheincode gilt für das gesamte Sortiment auf Die Veröffentlichung des Gutscheincodes im Internet ist nicht gestattet.

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

Fashion Finds Wrap up warm and in style this winter. To get you inspired, we have handpicked items from some of the DACH region’s creative fashion designers. Wool, darker and neutral colours, as well as elegant patterns seem to be a big part of their snazzy autumn and winter collections this year. EDITOR’S PICKS  I  PRESS IMAGES

Here is a fabulous outfit from German label CINQUE. This elegant, yet stylish, look can be worn for a classy dinner, as well as in the office. Coat ‘LEOPOLD‘ £295, blouse ‘TITUS‘ £107, pants ‘HALMA_T’ £116.

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Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

With this great outfit by German label CINQUE, you will stay warm, while looking stylish this winter. As can be seen here, CINQUE embodies inner passion and outer casualness, while subtly implementing contemporary fashion trends into their collections. Knitwear ‘PAMELA’ £161, dress ‘EMILIA’ £152, bag ‘MARA‘ £241.

The Munich-based fashion label Antonia Zander impresses with high-quality knit items that are made from 100 per cent cashmere; like the ‘Aria’ stole shown here. £492.

If you are looking for a new coat that will accompany you through this winter, look no further. The ‘Manu’ coat by German label holyGhost is made out of 90 per cent wool and 10 per cent cashmere and will be the perfect fit. £626.

xxxxxx xxxxxxxx Dress down with ripped jeans or dress up with a blazer; everything is possible with this floral blouse by Marc O’Polo. £143.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  7

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  iCrush GmbH


Fine jewellery with a story For many of us, our favourite piece of jewellery carries meaning. It has a story attached to it and often it is a symbol of a fond memory. This is also the philosophy of fine jewellery design company iCrush. Their creations are subtly elegant and delicate, and they are inspired by true stories and people. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: CHIARA LEUGH, COPYRIGHT: ICRUSH

The Cologne-based jewellery designers of iCrush seek beauty in the small details. Their filigree pieces are stunning in their simplicity, playfulness and purism. The various collections show that, in order to have an impact, jewellery does not have to be big nor pompous. Indeed, iCrush follows quite the opposite approach. “Our jewellery stands out with its delicateness 8  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

and subtlety,” explains iCrush’s marketing manager Claudia Ritzenhoff.“We love fine jewellery and we believe that one can find great beauty in small delicate things.” The idea for iCrush and the desire to design jewellery has been present for a long time, explains Ritzenhoff further. In 2013, the team behind iCrush opened its very first

retail store for fine jewellery in Cologne, not actually expecting that it would develop into a much bigger adventure. Through various trade shows, iCrush slowly made a name for itself. The creative team continuously improved the quality and designs of their pieces and, step-by-step, iCrush became a jewellery brand in its own right. Today, iCrush provides fine jewellery to over 1,000 international resellers and their fabulous pieces are also directly available in their brand-new online store. To kickstart the online shop, iCrush presents their classic collection called ‘Your Soul’ as well as their bestsellers.

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  iCrush

iCrush uses sophisticated materials such as stainless steel and sterling silver, which are later gold- or silver-plated, as well as precious stones. All of their creations are entirely handmade, and a great deal of heart and passion goes into making them. ‘Wear your own story’ is the credo of iCrush and it encourages the customer to choose and combine the jewellery to create their own individual and unique look. Ritzenhoff adds: “Jewellery is something very personal. We want to create designs that women can identify with and find a reflection of their own life story in.” Instead of being a statement piece, the jewellery by iCrush emphasises a woman’s character subtly. The various collections are designed for modern women of no particular age who follow their own style but also appreciate certain trends and who want to express part of their personality in a gentle way. Women who are inspired and know what they want but who can also pause for a moment to appreciate the beauty in the little things surrounding them. The jewellery’s diversity merged with its subtlety makes them ideal presents, as Ritzenhoff points out: “Our jewellery is, for example, also for women who would like to surprise their girlfriends, mothers and daughters with a thoughtful present.”

die Ewigkeit’ (moments for eternity),” says Ritzenhoff. “The small plates stand for personal moments, which are carried like a little treasure close to one’s heart. Moments that have become a part of us and accompany us on our journey through life. Our jewellery pieces tell stories, but every single one of us can put their own story and personality into them.” The inspiration comes from true stories and encounters that carry meaning for the designers. For example, a friend from Australia who always wanted to be a pilot inspired the travelling collection. Aside from it being a difficult path, becoming a pilot is particularly challenging as a woman as it is, unfortunately, still a very maledominated industry. But this friend did not

rest and powered through all the obstacles. Today, airplanes are her second home and iCrush made sure she can also wear little airplane earrings amongst other jewellery of the travelling collection. That there is a great deal of heart in their collections is not only evident through the stories that accompany them, but it is also a feeling communicated by the designs themselves. As the name iCrush predicts, customers fall completely in love with their pieces and never look back. It is this honest hunger for a colourful life paired with an almost quiet appreciation of beauty that makes iCrush so marvellously unique and authentic.

Of course the team behind iCrush has their own favourite pieces, although it is admittedly hard to choose between the gorgeous items. “One of our favourites is the delicate silver necklace with tiny plate pendants, which is called ‘Augenblicke für Lucky charm bracelet.

Airplane earrings.

Moments for eternity.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  9

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Zirkeltraining

The Zirkeltraining™ Sportdirektor.

Unique bags for ‘sporting directors’, business people, teachers and tech lovers Zirkeltraining™ recycles and upcycles leather and rubber from sports equipment to make beautiful bags for professional and private use. A unique design goes hand in hand with practicability and a touch of nostalgia. Since 2007, founder Bernd Dörr has fabricated these vintage pieces with great love for detail, for which Zirkeltraining™ was awarded multiple international design awards. The newest invention is a highend business bag as flexible as its users – the Zirkeltraining™ Sportdirektor. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: ZIRKELTRAINING™

Who does not remember those sweaty hours in a school gym running around, jumping over vaulting boxes, bending the body while doing gymnastics and floor exercises? While some loved the challenge PE teachers set them, for others these hours were like living a nightmare. What most people do not forget is the smell of leather 10  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

while jumping over a horse, the touch of a rubber mat under their fingers when making a cartwheel. Zirkeltraining™ bags have the same haptic and, with their unique design, bring back people’s childhood memories, their histories of triumph and failure, of struggles and success. Being reminded of one’s own childhood is often sweet, even

if it has a bitter note: the sweat, fear and excitement when participating in physical education. That is why many people actually buy a Zirkeltraining™ bag, says Bernd Dörr. Either because they were great in sports and want to be reminded of their former achievements or because they hated it and now make a statement of overcoming former disappointments. Others simply like the feel, the look and the beautiful design. Zirkeltraining™ is already celebrating its tenth anniversary. Right from the beginning, the company was very popular among people who have a keen eye for great design and innovations. But it took some time

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Zirkeltraining

to get acknowledgement from a wider customer base. This might correlate with the small number of bags the company, with its 15 employees, hand-produces: Only 10,000 to 12,000 pieces leave the manufactory each year. Zirkeltraining™ has a unique success story and in 2017 was even awarded the German Brand Award in Gold. Only recently, Zirkeltraining™ entered the high-end market for bags and with ‘Sportdirektor’ (sporting director) constructed a high-tech bag that is modular, functional and unisex, a bag that simply looks different than any other bag of its kind on the market. “Brand new and very old, indeed”– both befits the bag. The haptic and look of used materials give the bag character, while its flexible layout makes it the perfect bag for modern businessmen and women who like to have a sporty appearance. The bag’s interior is modular and can be ordered according to individual needs: for 13-inch or 15-inch notebooks or without any notebook sleeve. Like all Zirkeltraining™ bags, the ‘Sportdirektor’ can be bought at selected retailers only.

One of the main challenges Zirkeltraining™ is facing today is how to get hold of the necessary materials. “Many hours of child labour are needed,” jokes Bernd Dörr about the materials’ origins: The leather and rubber used for making the bags stem from school gyms from all over Germany. “At least 5,000 children have to have touched the leather of a horse or a vaulting box before the leather is beautiful enough to be reused as a bag.” The leather gains a unique patina left by lots of hands. All materials used are between ten and 50 years old. For gym mats, for instance, about 35 years are an optimum age, leather breaks after 40 years thus creating a unique patina no newly made leather can compete with. But how old the material must be depends on various factors: Humidity for example, or if the gymnastic apparatuses are stored in a room with open windows. Of course, the main challenge is to find a school that is currently swapping their old equipment for a new one and subsequently is ready to sell old gym mats,

horses, or vaulting boxes. This limits the amount of bags the Zirkeltraining™ craftspeople can produce each year as no new materials are used. The close connection to the world of sports is not only substantiated in the original idea or the re-cycling of sports equipment: Zirkeltraining™ is also a partner of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and a sparring partner for the Confederation’s mascot ‘Trimmy’. The tiny man in sports dress invites everyone to participate in sports activities – not on an Olympic level, but as a healthy pastime. ’Trimmy’ was the symbol for the old ‘Trimm-dich-Pfad’, fitness trails established in the 1970s especially in natural surroundings with the intention to motivate people to become active outdoors. Many of these trails were abandoned later on, but today celebrate some kind of rebirth. You can follow Zirkeltraining™ on Facebook and Instagram. – ten years of #enteronlywithlightsoles

Founder Bernd Dörr (left) with creative companion Markus Kreykenbohm (right) won gold with Zirkeltraining™ at German Brand Award 2017.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  11

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Dedicated to Design

Dedicated to Design… Young and old alike know that 31 October marks a very special holiday all over the world: Halloween. That is why we have decided to handpick some spooky, unusual decoration pieces and interior design items from the DACH region for this issue. They will be a definite highlight at your next spook-tacular Halloween party. BY: NANE STEINHOFF

1. The perfect selection for a great Halloween party: the Pumpkin Party range from Ginger Ray, comprising of tableware, bunting, backdrops and more. From £3.99.


2. The fabric probably most associated with Halloween is velvet. So, we think this elegant, yet quirky, ‘Ipsilon’ stool by German label H.O.C.K. will be a highlight at any Halloween party. £132. 3. Not only a fantastic design element, this fashionable skull also poses as a handy piggy bank for all the small coins that you collect over the months. Made out of ceramic. £13. 4. Simple, yet effective. If you are still searching for an outfit, why not simply dress up as a pineapple? It is super easy with this glittery mask from RICE. £3.99. 5. This unusual hanging lamp, called ‘Fireworks’, will not only be an eyecatcher on Halloween. It also poses as an exceptional design element all year around – whether it is installed in the living room, kitchen or bedroom. £35.




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Discover Germany  |  Design  |  CosyMe / EverGlow

The best sleep for newborn babies Is your baby a little brawler who does not want to sleep? The solution to this problem is CosyMe, a sleeping bag with useful additional functions. “CosyMe is a must-have item and should be part of every baby’s basic equipment,” says Andrea Henschel, inventor of CosyMe. She remembers how she developed CosyMe: “My first son was a little bawler and we as parents did not have a moment’s peace. After many sleepless nights, I decided to talk to doctors, midwives and other young parents, to find out how I could make the nights more comfortable for me and my son. Together with a team of experts, I finally developed CosyMe.” CosyMe is much more than a sleeping bag. It also makes possible the swaddling, a technique of wrapping. The goal of swaddling is to hinder newborns from moving too much, so they are calmer at night and sleep better. With CosyMe, parents can decide what their baby needs for a better sleep. CosyMe is also highly regarded in science. Professor Dr. Thomas Erler, a

renowned scientist in the field of sleep research, conducted a clinical study with CosyMe and determined that babies experienced a significantly better sleep in the CosyMe than with normal sleeping bags.“I am very proud of this result,”says Henschel. Also, celebrities like the German actor Birte Glang (presented in the September issue of this magazine) swear by the extraordinary sleeping bag. Besides, CosyMe can easily be taken on trips.“For instance, some customers told us that CosyMe fits perfectly into baby seats on planes,” Henschel reports. CosyMe is solely produced in Europe. Henschel explains: “My aspiration is the highest quality for a moderate price. We are paying fair prices. Our production is very employee-friendly, there is no child labour, no bad treatment. Everyone at CosyMe should feel well, not only the babies sleeping in CosyMe. This is highly important to


me!” There is more to come in the future, but Henschel does not want to reveal too much. Suffice it to say, the welfare of the smallest and their parents will always be closest to Henschel’s heart. Instagram: #cosyme_babysleepingbag Left: CosyMe.  Photo: © Thomas Schultze Bottome left: Andrea Henschel. Photo: © Lutz Hufeld. Bottom right: Photo: © Antje Egbert

Illuminating a trail through dark gardens, parks and nightly landscapes


How about walking along a path during the night as if treading on starlight? With Lumipro Deluxe, the German company EverGlow has developed an innovative, ecosustainable concept, which combines glass pebbles with natural luminescence – beautiful and functional. The effect lasts for hours without recharging through light exposure. “Lumipro Deluxe stores light energy during the day and emits it in darkness,” says EverGlow managing director Markus Thrun. “The product is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and will last for decades.” Shimmering for instance bluish and green, the small lights integrate perfectly in shaped landscapes, enhancing existing designs – no matter if a hotel garden, a swimming pool or a park. Delicate as the lights are, they create a strong visual emotion without being glaringly bright and disturbing. With 14 different pastel shades, Lumipro Deluxe blends into very different surroundings. The lights can also be embedded into a transparent resin to keep them in place.

“Long photoluminescent products until now have been known mainly from a safety-related application. But the diverse luminescent materials and production technologies today open up completely new opportunities in the consumer

sector,” says Markus Thrun. “I think with Lumipro Deluxe we again have fulfilled our own aspirations and provide architects and designers with a great new product series that offers a myriad of possibilities in design.” EverGlow, situated near Karlsruhe, has great experience in developing photoluminescent safety products and design elements for international business partners.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  13

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  HIFI-REGLER

HIFI-REGLER homepage.

Shopping sound systems in an online world – but with real-life service A great audio and sound system changes everyone’s life at home. There is nothing better for music enthusiasts when coming home from work than listening to some great sounds to relax, especially since we are surrounded by dissonances the entire day such as car engines, chatter and machinery. HIFI-REGLER sells sound systems and television online – but with the same service one would expect from a local traditional specialist retailer.

ly do not know what kind of Hi-Fi system best to pick. But the specialists at also help should any problems arise when customers set up their system for the very first time – something that can happen even with the best product.


Helping to set up complex technology Finding the right Hi-Fi system for a living room or apartment is not an easy task. Factors like the room size or the furnishing for instance determine how sound spreads. There is also the question what people intend and need: A sound system to listen to a certain kind of music or some kind of an all-rounder? Or maybe they are movie enthusiasts and simply want a cinema-like sound and television when watching the newest blockbuster at home. Above that, most people also want the sound system to look good – especially in a private envi14  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

ronment. This is why the right advice can be key when deciding what to pick. “It is our intention to offer online customers the same service and advice that they would normally only expect from their local specialist dealer – and still offer very attractive prizes,” says Susanne Schnick, who is part of the HIFI-REGLER management team. The service of course includes overall advice for customers who are interested in a certain product or are looking for a specific sound, but actual-

Many products are very complex devices. “Most times, setting them up is not only plug and play,” says Schnick. Especially when whole systems have to be set up people often need help. “We often get calls from people who have bought something somewhere online, but now are not getting any help from the store. This has shown us that there is actually great demand for the service we are offering our customers. We even had one case where someone was standing in a retail shop, calling us and asking for advice, because

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  HIFI-REGLER

the salesperson in the shop could not answer the questions,” she adds. HIFI-REGLER is indeed a longestablished company. Founded in 1981, the company opened an online shop in 2001 and since then has won multiple awards. Only recently, the German finance magazine Handelsblatt ranked HIFI-REGLER among the best online shops in the Hi-Fi sector. The team behind HIFI-REGLER are experts with many years of expertise and great enthusiasm for their job, people who themselves enjoy high-quality products and follow the newest technological developments in this area. “We like to share our own enthusiasm and know-how with other Hi-Fi and home cinema fans and everyone who wants to become one,” Susanne Schnick explains. “Our philosophy therefore is clear: It’s worth it to explore, how fantastic

great music can actually sound and how brilliant moving images can look like – especially in a time where music is often only consumed while doing other things on the side and quality has therefore become a secondary issue.”That is definitely something a high-quality audio system can change: The perception of how music can and should sound like. “It is important for us that customers love their new sound system and that they enjoy the feeling to have made the right decision,” says Schnick. “And according to the feedback we are regularly getting from customers we are doing quite a good job.” Market leading brands: TV and Hi-Fi In the TV section, HIFI-REGLER for example offers the top products from Panasonic and Samsung. The latter will bring a new television on the market this autumn that might be interesting for design lovers.

Called ‘The Frame’, it actually looks like one. “Above that, we offer high-quality speaker series by renowned companies like Canton, Dali, Dynaudio, Elac or KEF as well as the matching electronic components,” says manager Susanne Schnick. The newest developments in this area are network solutions, something that is closely connected with topics like multi room and wireless. One can think for instance of Yamaha MusicCast devices or HEOS by Denon. Another – and completely contrary – development is the revival of the record player. HIFI-REGLER has players from Clearaudio in store that not only have technical perfection but also look great. Susanne Schick concludes: “Customers will find everything in store needed for a relaxing atmosphere when listening to music or watching a movie.”

Vinyl is back: Clearaudio Concept.

KEF Space One Porsche Design Sound.

Multiroom system HEOS by Denon.

Designed for your space Samsung The Frame.

Uncompromising high-end: T+A HV series.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  15


Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Product of the Month


Planting for a better future

Left: Seeds are valuable, diverse and worth protecting. Plant something and preserve it for posterity. Middle: meinwoody is a sustainable and plastic-free plant cultivation set that includes organic seeds, substrate, an organic pot and a planting manual. Top right: The ‘do it yourself’ planting experience for everyone and every occasion. Right: The Seed Evolution GmbH is a specialist for sustainable planting and cultivation products. Bottom: meinwoody is proud award winner of the German culture and creative industries – a project by order of the German government.

Since its foundation in 2010, meinwoody has made the world a better place with their innovative plant cultivation sets – and the quest for the cultivation of nature’s most valuable treasures continues. Join the meinwoody revolution. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTOS: MEINWOODY

With a focus on natural and biodiverse seeds from our hemispheres, meinwoody founder Ozan Durukan developed a plant cultivation set that comprises a coconut fibre pot, turf-free coconut fibre soil, organic fertiliser, a manual for planting and cultivation, as well as the wished seeds and a sugar cane fibre lid that composts itself. Of course, all components are produced with natural and renewable raw materials and the high-quality, sustainable flower, herb and vegetable seeds all stem from the seed pioneers ‘Bingenheimer’ and ‘Sativa Rheinau’.“After all, sustainability is the foundation of our company. We can’t produce goods at the expense of our planet. Everything is connected on our planet and, due to the increase of the global population, we have to develop a fundamental awareness of how we and the future generation will subsist. With meinwoody, we stand up for our planet,” smiles Durukan. 16  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

He adds: “Our products produce life and meinwoody gives everyone the possibility to discover their green thumb. Every single time, it’s a special moment when a seed sprouts and unfolds its form.” Whether for private use, weddings, births, jubilee events or for companies, meinwoody has established a firm fanbase. “Together, we were and are able to transport sustainable messages into our society,” says Durukan. “It’s about our mission to sustainably and jointly cater for a better future. The more woodys we plant, the more we do for ourselves, our planet and its beautiful creatures – across all borders.” To spread the message ever further, Durukan also founded Seed Evolution in 2011 – a company that seeks to globalise meinwoody and produces further sustainable and innovative products like Terra Preta soil, renewable plant pots, organic

fertilisers and many new seed types. Furthermore, meinwoody constantly expands its B2B segment and has already collaborated with Bio Suisse or FlixBus. Cooperations with cities and municipalities like Coburg and Mannheim are additional aims. Future goals are the foundation of a co-working space to foster more start-ups and, last but not least, meinwoody will expand into the Swiss market in 2018. If you are interested in one of meinwoody’s great seeds, take a look at the following website. As winter is approaching, a Christmas tree cultivation set like the Nordmann fir might be a good present for a loved one – and our planet.

Just plant! One set, including everything! A gi for every occasion!

Photo: © Andrea Raffin /

18  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst

‘It’s important to be humble and work hard’ Kirsten Dunst was in Cannes recently for the premiere of her new film The Beguiled. Directed by Sofia Coppola, the movie is a remake of the 1970’s offbeat civil war drama starring Clint Eastwood. In this interview, Kirsten talks about teaming up again with long-time collaborator Sofia Coppola, her preparation for roles, her upcoming directorial debut, watching herself on screen, and more. TEXT: JASON ADAMS / THE INTERVIEW PEOPLE

Firstly Kirsten, you are looking great. Do you do special things to stay healthy? Kirsten Dunst: That’s so kind of you. I’m actually very bad. I was like, ‘I’m going to get good for Cannes’ and I didn’t eat bread for a few days and then it all went bad on the plane. I was like, ‘Gotta have.’ Do you diet? Kirsten Dunst: I do not diet. No. You were in Cannes for the premiere of The Beguiled – are you comfortable watching yourself on the screen? Kirsten Dunst: I’ll watch a movie once and then I’m done. But we have to sit again, obviously the other night, but my fiancé is here and we’ll have fun. I’m okay when I’m watching with people I love around me and we can laugh about it. For me it’s like watching a personal documentary almost because I think about what happened on set that day.

be like, ‘Here’s the phone book, we’re going to make a movie about this phone book’ and I would do the movie. I’d do anything with Sofia so for me it wasn’t like ‘I need to do this role’, for me it’s the director always first and the script second. There are so many good scripts out there that don’t translate because of casting or the director or whatever went wrong, it’s so hard to have the right combo of things and I think that I trust Sofia so… Did she write it thinking of you? Kirsten Dunst: She told me about it before she wrote it and she was like, ‘Oh I want

you to play this role’ and then it was three years later that we made it. Tell us about your character. Kirsten Dunst: She’s very demure, very quiet. She’s the complete opposite of who I am, I think [laughs]. It’s just like she’s a very pious woman who at her age should be married with children at that time during the Civil War and where she is and she’s trapped and she has this woman, she’s under her thumb. So, I think that she has a lot going on internally so she’s a very repressed sad lady. We live in a very different world now, what was it like to put yourself in that era? And what kind of preparation did you do? Kirsten Dunst: I work with a lady who is kind of like an acting therapist, so every role I do I work with her. And so we do dream work and we do a lot of different Kirsten Dunst in The Two Faces of January. Photo: STUDIOCANAL 2014/Jack English

What appealed to you about The Beguiled and your role in particular? Kirsten Dunst: For me, it was about working with Sofia again. Literally Sofia could Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  19

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Kirsten Dunst

Yeah, it’s special. All I can say is that I love her and I respect her and also I think she’s one of our auteurs. When you flip the TV and you see a Sofia Coppola movie, you know that’s a Sofia Coppola movie. You have a German passport as well as an American one right? Why did you opt for dual nationality?

Premiere of The Two Faces of January in London. Photo: Jon Furniss/STUDIOCANAL 2014

things. Like I’ll watch certain movies or get inspired by little things and try and put together, even on set dynamics start to shift and you feel things and you use those things. When you’ve finished filming, do your characters stay with you for a long time afterwards? Kirsten Dunst: Oh, I was happy to take that corset off! [laughs] I was like, ‘I’m free!’ That corset was not fun. Some roles I think it’s a little harder. It’s also hard in general. You make a movie and you’re with all these people for an intense amount of time, for like a month or two and then it’s just cut off. So that’s hard in general. Some of these people you never see again but on the set you form such intense relationships. You see these people at six in the morning and you’re getting your make-up done and you’re eating a whatever. You get very close very quickly because of the circumstances. So, I think that’s hard. Did you watch the original version of The Beguiled before making this? And if so, did you find it a little sexist? Kirsten Dunst: When I first watched the old one it was about four years ago, I would say, when Sofia was first having the idea to do the film. I thought it was like campy and fun. I viewed it as a campy kind of ‘70s movie – do you know what I mean? There were some great performances but it was very over-the-top, so to me it was a little camp, that’s all I would say. 20  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Is that what appealed to you about making this film, that you’re flipping the script from having a male protagonist to telling women’s stories? Kirsten Dunst: Well, to me, it’s just nice to see actresses working together. You don’t even get to see that often, I don’t think. We’re an all-female cast expect for Colin [Farrell]. He’s a good sport about it but he’s very objectified in this movie [laughs]. He knew when we had the shots of him like sweating and cutting down branches… all his romance novel moments. [Laughs] Your co-star Elle Fanning said you were all thinking of making a Colin Farrell calendar? Kirsten Dunst: Yeah, we definitely have pictures for that. I told Sofia it should have been in the press package, like a Colin Farrell calendar. What do you do when you’re not acting? Kirsten Dunst: I like bad television and pasta, food, friends, television, my cat. I live very simple and I like staying at home. I’m a home person. Why do you like to work with Sofia so much and she with you? Kirsten Dunst: For me, I love Sofia, I’ve known her since I was 16 and that’s a very long relationship friendship-wise and lifewise and I think that it’s nice in this industry when you make that connection and you can continue to work with someone.

Kirsten Dunst: One of the reasons I got my passport is to work as a European. I’ve been hired more as a European than I have as an American because in the system of money they have only a certain amount of Americans that they can hire and most of the films I do seem to have European financing. So, I’ve usually worked as a European. Do you still feel that connection to Germany though? Kirsten Dunst: I mean my father is German so, of course. When did you last go to Germany? Kirsten Dunst: After Melancholia, my dad and I took a road trip through Germany. Is there any director that you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Kirsten Dunst: Yes. [Laughs] I like Michael Haneke, I’ve always wanted to work with him and I wish I could do a movie where I speak in German with him. That would be amazing. Also, I’d like to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and I’d like to work with Quentin Tarantino too. Are you at a special time in your life with directing etc? Do you feel like you’re doing things on your own terms? Kirsten Dunst: Listen I don’t feel… I’m just very patient in the projects that I pick and all of that. So, for me, I feel like everyone has to work very hard. I don’t feel like I have the world at my fingertips whatsoever and making a movie is very hard work and takes all of your life for about two good years and then three to promote it. So, I’m not, ‘Woohoo!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, this is going to be tough.’ So you’re a little intimidated by your own courage? Kirsten Dunst: No, but I think it’s important to be humble and work hard.

Kirsten Dunst in The Beguiled. Photo: UPI Media, Focus Features

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  21

Discover Germany  |  Advertorial  |  Berlin Biotech

Spreebogen Park. Photo: © Berlin Partner, FritschFoto

The Biotech capital, the world is coming to visit Every day, Germany’s capital Berlin is visited by tourists from all over the world. In fact, more than 12 million people visited last year alone. But among those coming to visit the city are also many researchers and scientists, who gather to exchange information and share their findings. Berlin is very popular for large conferences and conventions. The city is a biotech and science hub and attracts large pharmaceutical companies as well as innovative start-ups. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN

About 7.7 million of the over 33 million overnight stays in 2016 could be attributed to the conference and convention sector. At round about 15 per cent, science and research events make up the largest share of conferences and conventions held at the city. Berlin’s modern and, by international standards, quite affordable hotels have a capacity of 140,000 beds in total and therefore can meet all the necessary demands. In short, Berlin has the right infrastructure to host large-scale events 22  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

like the annual World Health Summit, the international strategy forum for healthcare policies. In November 2017, the BIOEurope is also held in Berlin. But what might make the city additionally attractive is that Berlin itself is a science hub, a centre for research in medicine and bioscience. With its 350,000 employees, the health sector today has become one of the most vital industries in the BerlinBrandenburg area – one that is constantly

growing. Currently there are almost 600 life science businesses operating in the capital: 240 of them are in the biotech sector and about 300 work in medical technology. Above that, 30 pharmaceutical companies operate from Berlin, among them international corporations like Bayer, Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda. Medical and pharmaceutical innovations “Berlin is an innovative, open and international city. The last aspect is particularly important to us, as it helps us to recruit the best talents. The business enterprise sector taking root here is simply overwhelming. Young people are happy to come to Berlin because it’s here that they find kindred spirits, because life is good and the city is historically important,” Clemens Kaiser, chief executive officer (CEO) at Sanofi-Aventis

Discover Germany  |  Advertorial  |  Berlin: The Biotech Capital

Deutschland GmbH, recently said in an interview with “We support the scientific community and are involved in many different conferences to make Berlin an attractive city of science.” This also includes innovative research projects with the well-known Berlin Charité hospital, investigating current medical problems like strokes and diabetes.

are the short distances between research facilities and the good public transport network, which means other research facilities are never far away and always easy to reach. In short, Berlin is an excellent location for research in biotech, life sciences and medicine.

The Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe and speaks of the long history the city has in researching and solving medical problems. The hospital has its original roots in the early 18th century when the Prussian king Friedrich I ordered the establishment of hospitals outside the city’s borders to prepare for contagious infections. In the 19th century, while still independent from the university, the hospital had a practical approach in educating new doctors. Today more than 4,500 physicians and scientists carry out research, teach and treat patients here at the cutting edge of international medicine. The university hospital procures more third-party funding than any other medical training facility in Germany.

Next to the well-known Charité hospital, the region is home to 41 renowned scientific institutions: The Robert Koch Institute, the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine, the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin (DHZB) and various Fraunhofer, Helmholtz, Leibniz and Max Planck Institutes. Scientists from the Charité and the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine have been carrying out joint research at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) since 2013. The BIH is a scientific institution for translational research and systems medicine, a unique structure in Germany’s biomedical research landscape.

With its open atmosphere and international feel, Berlin offers ideal conditions for project-related co-operations between basic researchers, technology developers and clinical researchers. What also helps Charité. Photo: © Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

An innovation hub that attracts young start-ups

But next to all these established research institutions and companies, Berlin also attracts various young start-ups launched by talented young researchers. An example for that is Cellbricks (, a company that focuses on 3D bioprinting, an innovative and key technology where cell structures are 3D-printed to simulate

human tissues and organs. One intention is to make animal-based drug testing obsolete by using artificial tissue, but also to revolutionise today’s medical treatments. To again show how important life sciences are for the German capital: One in eight Berlin citizens is employed in the healthcare sector. Colleges and universities in Berlin are offering 208 training programmes in health-related subjects alone. Additionally, the political decision makers and relevant federal government institutions are just around the corner, as are patient organisations and health insurers. Business and technology support for companies, investors and scientific institutions in Berlin – this is the Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH‘s mission. With customised services and an excellent science and research network, their many experts provide an outstanding range of programmes to help companies launch, innovate, expand and secure their economic future in Berlin. In this function, Berlin Partner is also responsible for managing the cluster HealthCapital.

Photo: © Berlin Partner

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  23

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Top German Architect

Hörmann Forum – 2015.


Putting the individual in context As architects, Wannenmacher + Moeller design spaces for people in which human action finds a fitting stage and can thrive in the best possible way.

for a harmonious and holistic architectural expression.


Citing a site’s history

Outlining the core aspect of their work, Andreas Wannenmacher states: “We invest our entire energy in creating buildings that connect with people and make their life easier. Thus, living quality is central to our work.”

Together, they help forming decisions on the position and proportions of a room, as well as the lighting and the choice of material. In the end, this process will generate the specific harmonious interplay that creates a room’s unique living quality.

Different human actions require different spatial qualities and it is essential to a room if it will be used for sleeping or eating, as a working area or for leisure activities. Therefore, the design process at Wannenmacher + Moeller always starts with a reflection on how a room’s quality can meet the future activity it is destined for. Aspects like an introvert or extrovert quality, spatial complexity vs. homogeneity, light vs. shade, or even the haptic quality of a surface are all to be considered.

Planning solutions

24  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

For Wannenmacher + Moeller, good architecture can only spring from bringing together every single person and expert who are part of the planning process, thus achieving a continuous consensus on the functional, economical and ecological as well as the humane and sociological goals of a project. It lies with the personal qualification and skills of the planner to defuse any conflicts arising during the process – and to find solutions that meet the claim

Independent of the function, it is a declared goal for Wannenmacher + Möller to develop architecture that bridges the gap between individual needs and sociological responsibility with a convincing design: “As architects, we always have to keep in mind that the buildings we design are part of a context, no matter if formed by nature or by humankind.” New additions bring changes to the surroundings that prevail, sometimes for a very long time. Therefore, the decision on what a building will represent to the outside is of high importance. When new meets old, the confrontation with a site’s history is of central importance for the architects. Wannenmacher adds: “Every space, if artificially formed or as part of urban history, has a story to tell which characterises it and has probably been imprinted on people’s minds for generations.”

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Top German Architect

Despite the fact that both our lives and society may be subject to constant change, which seems to gather speed continuously, Wannenmacher believes that there is a latent need of consistency and familiarity lying underneath: “A new building may be designed as contemporary as it gets but, in the end, adding to the continuity of a site’s history by relating to the context will always make it more acceptable.”

firmly on the ground. Therefore, it does not necessarily take high-flying aspirations to inspire the architects: “We are happy to work with any client offering an interesting project,” says Wannenmacher.

“If truly good architecture derives from it, validated as such by both us and the others, we have reached our goal.”

Office Building with Super Market in Bielefeld - 2015.

Office origins The architectural office was founded by Andreas Wannenmacher’s father Gregor in Düsseldorf in 1955. After a move to Bielefeld only four years later, it quickly grew into one of the leading offices of the region in the field of industrial construction. Wannenmacher, his brother-in-law Hans-Heinrich Möller and his late brother Christof entered the office during the ‘80s and became partners in 1993. Today, it is co-led by Andreas Wannenmacher and Hans-Heinrich Möller, who have both made a point of adding non-industrial projects to the portfolio from the start – projects that relate to the more emotional and sociological aspects of architecture. “The path turned out to be somewhat long and thorny,” Andreas Wannenmacher recalls. “However, with a little luck and after a number of successful competitions, we have now reached the broad spectrum we had envisioned and are happy to be working on a vast range of interesting, exciting projects.”

Wannenmacher + Möller Headquarters – 2017.

Client base As Wannenmacher + Möller feel a strong responsibility for a life-enhancing, high architectural quality of our built surroundings, the majority of their clients are those who identify with that specific view on architecture. A winning aspect of their work is of course their highly professional way of conducting a project, based on their longtime experience. However, even in the case of commissions that are based on purely functional means, the architects will “always strive to convince a builder of good architecture”. Happiness is a good house During their professional activity, Wannenmacher + Möller have learned about the benefits of keeping their feet Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  25


From top left: Tonhalle Maag, Zurich. © spillmann echsle architekten ag,  Photos: Hannes Henz

Unpretentiously beautiful Spillmann Echsle Architekten create unconventional concepts with a functional, yet highly aesthetic, outline. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

The temporary ‘Tonhalle’ concert hall in Zurich is a brand-new installation built inside an existing structure on the ‘Maag’, a former industrial site now housing various event spaces. The provisional, high-quality acoustic concert hall has just opened its doors and will be home to the ‘Tonhalle’ Orchestra for the next three years during the refurbishment of the original building. Apart from the spectacular aesthetic of the wooden installation itself, the project includes an entrance foyer and ticket office as well as recording rooms, lounges and large storage areas with direct stage access. Office and administration areas are also provided for. 26  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

The rectangular acoustic room is constructed from oiled spruce, with precisely positioned, shifting wall panels that form the space. The provisional concert hall offers 1,224 seats in total with an orchestral stage measuring 19 by 11 metres. The ‘box in a box’ concept depicts its acoustic purpose with an honest functionality. On entering the former industrial hall, the visitor is met with the streamlined, haptic and unpretentious design and automatically led around the installation to find the entrances to the interior. Architect Harald Echsle explains the concept: “While the approaching visitor can take in the construction as a whole, once inside, the perfection of the space becomes apparent.”

Foyer, Tonhalle Maag, Zurich. © spillmann echsle architekten ag, Photo: Hannes Henz Sihlpost, Zurich. Photos: © Roland Tännler

Referring to challenges during construction, architect Annette Spillmann describes the process as having been “intense and full of unconventional ideas to bring the hall to life, with diverse variations aimed at optimising operations and the stage design itself”. Challenging framework conditions such as the restricted ceiling heights were tackled in cooperation with acoustic experts and ‘Tonhalle’ technicians. Apart from the acoustics, a central aspect of the provisional structure is visitor security. As the hall will be used by both the ‘Tonhalle’ Orchestra and guest events, it can easily be cleared and converted to any type of event or exhibition space housing up to 1,500 visitors. The architects have been familiar with the ‘Tonhalle’ orchestra ever since they were young and nowadays attend the family concerts with their own children. Thus,

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Top Swiss Architect

both the acoustics and lighting moods were of a special concern to them.“It is of great importance to us that the orchestra feels at home at the Maag site and that the audience adapts quickly to the new space after this unconventional move,” says Harald Echsle. In fact, unconventional and innovative conceptional solutions have marked the work of Spillmann Echsle Architekten from the very beginning. The Zurich-based office was founded in 2002 by the two architects, who both gained experience in the US after having finished their studies at the ETH Zurich. Meanwhile, with a team of around 20, Spillmann Echsle have won numerous planning and building awards on both a national and international level. The ‘Freitag’ flagship stores in Zurich and Tokyo are outstanding examples of their conceptual approach to architecture. Spillmann and Echsle have designed ten stores in total for the renowned messenger bag company all

over the globe. Other renowned Spillmann Echsle projects include the House of Switzerland at the Sochi Winter Olympics and the ‘Bahnhof Tiefenbrunnen’ commercial building in Zurich. All Spillmann Echsle projects have a strong link to their immediate surroundings. As shown with the ‘Tonhalle’, they are specifically created for a unique situation and ‘react’ to it respectively. From shell to miniscule detail, everything is balanced precisely and all elements are visually connected, forming an aesthetic unity. The office collaborates with a large variety of clients, ranging from private investors to major companies like ABB and Google. For the IT giant, Spillmann Echsle have recently planned three office developments in Zurich, two of which are part of the prestigious Europaallee project. The converted ‘Sihlpost’, with an interior fitout across four floors and a surface area of

5,400 square metres for 300 work stations, has just won them the ‘best architects 18’ award. In keeping with the typology of the former post office, wooden framed partition walls with rippled glass and brass features and meeting rooms that “resemble wooden shipping crates”are part of the award-winning design. The Sihlpost forms the first phase of a total area of around 60,000 square metres in the Europaallee, which will be leased by Google over the course of the next four years. For the year ahead, the conversion of an industrial hall into a cultural centre is in the planning at Spillmann Echsle Architekten, as well as various other projects and competitions. Voted ‘best architects’ four times and with the ‘German Design Award’ under their belt, the office will continue on their path of creating innovative solutions marked by unconventional beauty.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  27

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Film Review Column

Renovated Jugendstil houses in Leipzig. Photo: ©, Sonja Irani


As We Were Dreaming (2015) Do not miss the weird, but beautiful, coming-of-age drama As We Were Dreaming (OT: Als wir träumten) set in Leipzig, East Germany, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

liches Forum, which focuses on German history from 1945 to the present day.


The music is really cool, so is the way the scenes were cut. Both create a mesmerising atmosphere and make you as a viewer feel like you are right there in the action of it all.

The Story: The lost boys It is the early 1990s, a group of teenage boys try to find their place in a world in which, after the recent fall of the Berlin Wall, everything is new. They do so by living the high life (getting drunk, stealing cars or provoking fights with the local Neo-Nazi gang). There are various flashbacks into the time when they were 13 years old and living in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, or East Germany). What I found really striking about these flashbacks is that (with the exception of one scene) the 13-year-old boys were always at school. When they are 16, it is mentioned several times that they still are at school, yet we never see them there. Maybe this reflects the fact that, after the fall of the wall, the boys were free to do 28  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

whatever they wanted, but they were also quite lost. Although it was stricter in the GDR, there was also more structure and at times the boys in the present seem to long for that structure. The location: The lost city The film was largely shot on location in Leipzig, but also in a few other East German cities nearby, such as Dresden, Dessau and Halle/Saale. In the film, many of Leipzig’s beautiful townhouses, built around the turn of the 20th century in the so-called ‘Jugendstil’ style, are abandoned or decayed. Since reunification, however, Leipzig has undergone massive regeneration. So today, many of those historical townhouses are shining in their former glory again. Moreover, the city also boasts a range of insightful and interactive museums, such as Zeitgeschicht-

The final verdict: The lost viewer

Overall, this is not a film for those expecting a clear message or seeing something uplifting. Otherwise, this weirdly beautiful coming-of-age flick is very well done indeed. **** 4 out of 5 stars As We Were Dreaming can be watched on DVD with English subtitles. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Irani is a (tourism) 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. On her blog she shares her best tips for film-inspired travel on a budget.

Berlin – the place to be for BIO-Europe 2017.

Nov 6 – 8, 2017 As a leading hub for life sciences, the German capital region will be pleased to welcome biotech experts from Europe and abroad. Our Supporters:

More Information:








The acoustic world of hearing in Innsbruck.


Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Event of the Month


Making sense of science

Left: Sounds and vibrations. Top right: A cultural journey back in time through the world of colours. Right: Worthwhile knowledge on the Alps.

The sense of hearing takes centre stage at AUDIOVERSUM, a unique science centre which combines the fields of medicine, technology, art and education. In combination with special exhibitions, AUDIOVERSUM makes the world of science playfully accessible to both young people and adults. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: AUDIOVERSUM

A large variety of multimedia installations turn each visit into an interactive adventure. Playful discovery, challenge and a sensual experience of science-related topics are paramount at AUDIOVERSUM. In addition to the hearing-based themes, yearly changing special exhibitions in partnership with renowned institutions like the Carl Bosch Museum Heidelberg or the Ars Electronica Center Linz address everyday science in unique, exploratory ways. The Innsbruck-based technical museum was opened in 2013 in co-operation with the MED-EL company, an international manufacturer for hearing implants, and the city of Innsbruck. Now in its fourth year, AUDIOVERSUM has become a sought-after destination for those interested in a unique way to explore science. Families and school classes attend the centre on a regular basis.

The core part of the centre helps visitors to explore their sense of hearing. It gives an “insight” into the world of sound perception at various stations, where visitors can for example learn how our ears function in detail, but can also train their special hearing in a playful way. The binaural game for example sensitises the participant’s spatial listening: following the bird song played by headphones, the goal is to get as close as possible to the twittering in order to release as many birds as possible within a few minutes. As one of the two current special exhibitions, Faszination Farbe (Color Fascination) deals with the phenomena of colour surrounding us on an everyday basis. Why and how do we depend on colour? What makes a signal colour? The exhibition follows up on questions such as how colours are generated and what conditions influence our perception of them.

During this year’s ‘World Space Week’, beginning in October, satellites will form the latest theme at AUDIOVERSUM, with a workshop relating to the Abenteuer Erde (Adventure Earth) special exhibition. Impressive ESA satellite images are on display, ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to the Ötztal Alps. As a key element, the exhibition provides touchpads for visitors to explore the current state of our planet. What are the zones most likely to experience earthquakes soon? Where has deforestation proceeded to an extent that endangers eco-systems? The Adventure Earth exhibition forms an exciting change of perspective, as visitors find themselves put into a different world altogether – above the globe and with the satellites’ and planets’ orbits right above their heads. Further special themes planned for next year will involve the sense of smell and a ‘super brain’ project, which is to explore the brain-related worlds of experience. Do not miss out on a visit of this unique opportunity to actively engage in the fascinating world of sense and science. Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  31

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland: Top Museums 2017

Photo: The Kunstmuseum Winterthur. Photo: © Switzerland Tourism/Ivo Scholz,

S P E C I A L T H E M E : C U LT U R E H I G H L I G H T S S W I T Z E R L A N D – T O P M U S E U M S 2 0 1 7

Get your culture fix in Switzerland Switzerland is known for its great variety of cultural events, top-notch museums and high-quality galleries. Thus, for this month’s issue, we take a closer look at some of the great cultural institutions Switzerland has to offer to find out about their current exhibitions and much more.

Art district in Geneva. Photo: © Switzerland Tourism/ Lauschsicht,

32  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

The Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. Photo: © Switzerland Tourism/Stephan Schacher,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

Rolling out the red carpet for the guests - the hosts at the Museum für Kommunikation are your warrant for a truly personal experience.

Many versatile interactive displays are one of the trademarks of the Museum für Kommunikation in Bern.

The new Museum für Kommunikation - be prepared for an extraordinary, multi-levelled adventure.

A history of communication After a one-year period of refurbishment, the Bernese Museum für Kommunikation (Museum for Communication) has only recently reopened its gates to its visitors. They can expect a cornucopia of exciting surprises. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  I  © MUSEUM FÜR KOMMUNIKATION, PHOTOS: BEAT SCHWEIZER

Since its grand and exceptionally well received reopening on 19 August 2017, the Museum für Kommunikation has once again become an attractive magnet for those who want to engage in an active discourse with culture and communication alike. With its brand new displays and a revised and innovative programme, the museum is now offering a wide, sophisticated and above all trilingual choice of attractions. “Communication is one of the biggest, most exciting and yet controversial topics of our times. With the refurbishment of our museum we are intent to meet the challenges to introduce this constantly changing topic in an equally lively manner. In its newfound form, the Museum für Kommunikation is a very personal experience that communicates at eye level with its visitors. Our new concept has been a very deliberate decision as

we wanted to give our museum a more approachable touch - one that said ’let’s interact and learn from another’ rather than ’we teach you what we deem right’,” enthuses Nico Gurtner, head of marketing and communication at the Museum für Kommunikation, about the museum’s innovative attitude. The results of the museum’s reorientation and rework of displays and programmes are something to be proud of indeed. “Our visitors will be pleased to hear that they are able to interactively engage with the topic. Film karaoke or multi-tasking games challenge them to actively engage with a variety of facets of communication,” says Gurtner, describing one of the museum’s attractions.

all over our museum. As especially trained experts, they are happy to answer any question, provide interested parties with additional information or proactively enter into a dialogue with our guests – a truly singular approach in the museum landscape of Switzerland,” says Gurtner, proudly elucidating this exciting model. Thanks to its laid-back approach, the Museum für Kommunikation easily manages to impart knowledge in a compliant and entertaining manner, therefore making it a perfect place for families and experts alike. Be sure to visit the museum and delve into the exciting world of communication. The Ratatösk tour - a special tour for children between the ages four and eight.

A novelty are the museum’s hosts, who make a visit to the Museum für Kommunikation a truly personal and unique experience. “Our hosts are placed Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  33

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

Moon geese and the multidisciplinary of electronic art Opened in 2014, Basel-based HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel - House of Electronic Arts Basle) is a centre for digital culture and new art forms in the information age and has quickly evolved into a hotspot for the active discourse of the aesthetic, economical and sociopolitical effects of media technology. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE

As a fresh and innovative addition to the Swiss cultural landscape, the HeK follows a unique approach: “The influence and presence of digital media is a muchdiscussed topic. The HeK becomes part of this discussion by presenting a diverse and multifaceted programme. Highprofiled exhibitions are equally part of our programme as are dance events, performances of contemporary electronic music, guided tours or conferences,” explains Lukas Zitzer, head of press and public relations at the HeK, the museum’s comprehensive outline. “The HeK as a Swiss centre of competence for media art engages itself in art forms 34  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

and art. It consists of, for example, large installations, videos and sketches, and thus gives an unprecedented insight into Meyer-Brandis’ very own investigations of the realities of everyday life and the use of ‘fantastic’ applications of reality.

expressing themselves through new technologies and media while at the same time reflecting modes of functioning and their effects on society. This not only grants the public an unprecedented insight into the variety of media art, but also serves as an opener to a critical dialogue with art, media and technology,” says Zitzer, underlining the HeK’s intention.

One of the many attractions of the HeK is ‘Lunch Beat’, a dance event taking place once a month during lunch break. Those who prefer a more solemn lunch break can pay the HeK and its exhibitions a free visit each Wednesday to Friday from 12am to 1pm. Make sure to not miss out on these exciting opportunities to get to know contemporary electronic art up close.

One of the latest exhibitions, Cloud Cores, Moon Geese and Wandering Trees by German artist Agnes Meyer-Brandis, is a fine example of HeK’s singular approach. Meyer-Brandis’ oeuvre is a striking example for playful poetry positioned at the intersection of science Left: House of Electronic Arts Basel. Photo: © HeK Top right: SPACESUITTESTING: SPACE SUIT TESTING, Astronaut Training Method No. XIII, Videostill, Moon Goose Colony 2011 by Agnes Meyer-Brandis. Photo: © Agnes Meyer-Brandis, VG-Bild Kunst 2016 Right: Exhibition How Much of This Is Fiction, 2017.   Photo: © Franz Wamhof, Copyright: HeK

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

Treasure trove and art laboratory in Switzerland There are many reasons to travel to Zug in Central Switzerland. One of them is the Kunsthaus Zug, home to works of Swiss Surrealism and Fantastic Realism – and above all the most comprehensive collection of Viennese Modernism in Europe outside of Austria. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE

Situated on the picturesque outskirts of the old town of Zug, recently refurbished Kunsthaus Zug is an important address for lovers of contemporary art. Works by Gustav Klimt or Egon Schiele are temporarily on display in thematic exhibitions, while works by contemporary artists Kawamata, Tuttle, Signer, Pepperstein and Kabakov are distributed in the urban space. They are on permanent display and connect the museum’s immediate surroundings to the exhibition space within the museum by means of notable installations of art. “We aim for tailor-made ventures, long-term co-operations with artists and realising projects in the public sphere,” explains Matthias Haldemann,

director of Kunsthaus Zug, about the museum’s concept. Kunsthaus Zug’s latest highlight is Lärm und Linien (Sound and Lines), an exhibition of works by Austrian sculptor Michael Kienzer whose latest oeuvre engages in the specific conditions of Kunsthaus Zug’s spaces and enters into

dialogue with Viennese sculptor Fritz Wotruba. Lovers of unique textile designs will be happy to learn that the last exhibition of the year is dedicated to Swiss design artist Christa de Carouge: as of 18 November 2017 the Kunsthaus Zug’s rooms will house a comprehensive retrospective of ‘La dame en noir’s’ powerful and vibrant textile designs. Left: Roman Signer, Seesicht, steel sculpture, 2015, Kunsthaus Zug. Photo: © oliverbaer, Zurich Right: Michael Kienzer, Haltung, Vol. 5, 2008. Photo: © Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, Bremen, Copyright: Michael Kienzer

The stuff that dreams are made of… Home to the history of Switzerland’s long-standing textile tradition, the Textile Museum St. Gallen showcases internationally significant collections. Presenting a large variety of textiles from the multi-faceted historic beginnings to contemporary developments, this cultural highlight is not to be missed.

All in all, the Textile Museum is a wonderfully unique destination for every history and culture buff and welcomes international visitors all year round.


The textile museum, located in the heart of St. Gallen, features various areas: There is the impressive textile library, the historic hand embroidery machine, an area dedicated to visions where contemporary collections by Swiss manufacturers are showcased, and of course the exhibitions. “One of our highlights is the permanent exhibition Manufacturers & Manipulators,” explains spokesperson Silvia Gross. “It gives insights to the exciting and suspenseful history of Eastern Switzerland’s textile industry. Amongst other exhibits, we show the embroideries known as ‘St. Gallen Laces’, which gained worldwide fame and are still highly appreciated by today’s haute couture designers.”

The current special exhibition Neue Stoffe – New Stuff. Design with Technical Textile, which runs up until April 2018, is entirely dedicated to the innovative use of technical textiles far beyond the application areas of fashion and interior design. “The public often has no idea about technical and smart textiles and their application,” says Gross. “The new fabrics not only replace the common materials but also make it possible to produce new stuff. Completely new products with innovative features which can be applied in almost all sectors of our surrounding, such as medical engineering, construction or energy generation.”

Exhibition Neue Stoffe – New Stuff.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  35

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland: Top Museums 2017

World Cup Gallery.

A portal to the world of international football The FIFA World Football Museum is an absolute dream come true for every football fan. Located right in the middle of Zurich, the museum takes its visitors on an emotional and playful journey to the fascinating realms of the world’s undisputed most popular team sport. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: ADAM NAPARTY

The FIFA World Football Museum is without a doubt the home of international football history. Following the spirit of football itself, the museum inspires and connects fans across the globe and celebrates the united love for the sport. Spread over three exhibition levels, covering a total area of 3,000 square metres, visitors can immerse themselves entirely in this fantastic all-round football experience. The museum’s collection manager Moritz Ansorge remembers the beginning: “Developing the exhibition concept of the museum and collecting the many exhibits 36  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

went hand in hand. We started roughly two years before the museum’s opening. The biggest challenge was to chase the identified desired objects from all over the world in such a short amount of time but without a loss of quality.” Today, the museum, which is located at the Tessinerplatz right by the train station Enge, is a true magnet for international football fans. Multimedia and interactive features are the backbone of this modern exhibition concept, which includes 500 videos on 60 screens, around 1,400 photos and over 1,000 unique exhibits. In its first year alone, the museum already at-

tracted over 110,000 visitors from 160 different countries and the figures increase continuously. “The core part of the exhibition is the history of all FIFA world cup finals, both women’s and men’s, and of the world football association itself,” explains Ansorge. “Each exhibit tells its own story: Whether it is Pelé’s tracksuit, which he was wearing as a 17-year-old during his very first World Cup appearance in Sweden in 1958, or the 2018 FIFA World Cup Winner’s Trophy, which will be given to the new winner in Moscow next year. All exhibits take you to another time.” With the aid of a nifty app, visitors can get additional info and enjoy an audio guide that leads them through the exhibitions. The app also offers augmented reality parts such as the treasure hunt across the museum for kids or the welcome by

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

Xherdan Shaqiri. “From the expert to the young fan, the museum offers something new to explore for any football enthusiast,” Ansorge adds.

with a smile. Another highlight is the giant walk-in pinball machine, where everyone can test his or her own football skills in a fun environment.

The FIFA World Cup gallery is the true heart of the exhibition. A variety of exclusive football gems await the visitors. There is, for example, the base of the very first World Cup Trophy, which was discovered by chance at the FIFA archives. Or the shoe of the 1950 World Cup top scorer Ademir Marques de Menezes, who back in the day already pinched his name into his shoe with a needle.

The museum is not only a must for tourists and football fans, but also for companies that want to offer something special to their partners, employees or clients. The modern building features state-of-the-art conference, meeting and seminar facilities with superb event catering, but the atmosphere is what makes it most special. It is a place where teamwork, fighting spirit, leadership and success is in the air.

“My personal favourite is an installation of street footballs from all over the world. It embodies two core features of football: The simplicity of the game and the people’s passion for the sport,” says Ansorge

The ‘Maracanã’ is the ideal location for events with up to 75 guests. It is a modern seminar room equipped with the newest audio and video technologies. Three interpreter’s booths make simultaneous trans-

Galaxy of Balls.

Original FIFA World Cup Trophy.

lations possible and are therefore perfect for international seminars. There are various other locations of different sizes available including the most recent addition: a modern event hall which can host up to 140 people and is decorated with the vibrant original team jerseys of the 32 participating teams of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Various tours can also be booked as part of an event and can be held in nine different languages. All in all, the FIFA World Football Museum is a vivid celebration of the sport’s rich heritage. It is certainly not just a museum, but a truly inspiring place that brings the continents together and encourages everyone to be part of our global team. For more information, visit the following website:


Event Hall.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  37

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

The museum’s foyer.

The Museum of Music Automatons.

The Britannic’s organ.

An extraordinary showcase of music history Nowadays, we are used to streaming music online, but some nostalgics might still buy vinyls. But how did people in the 18th century, for instance, listen to music? The Museum of Music Automatons in Switzerland takes one on a journey through an important part of music’s history. TEXT: INA FRANK  |  PHOTOS: MUSEUM FÜR MUSIKAUTOMATEN

After the museum’s founder Heinrich Weiss repaired a watch for the first time, he soon also developed an interest in music automatons and, by 1979, he had gathered up a large collection which was then opened to the public. Now the Museum of Music Automatons is a federal museum located in Seewen in the Canton of Solothurn. The museum offers one of the world’s largest collections of Swiss music boxes, disc music boxes, watches, clocks and jewellery, as well as other music automatons. Besides, the Museum of Music Automatons is one of the most popular getaway destinations in North-West Switzerland and in the Schwarzbubenland, as it also offers, next to the exhibitions, a varied annual programme with many cultural highlights. When asked about the relevance of music automatons in music’s history, Christoph Hänggi, the museum’s director, 38  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

explains: “In the early days, music automatons were the only possibility to listen to music if you were not a musician yourself.” The permanent exhibition can only be visited through a guided tour, which takes place from Tuesday to Sunday at 12.20pm, 2pm and 4pm During the one-hour walk, entitled ’Switzerland – the sound pioneers’ country’, music automatons are played and explained in detail. Different rooms can be discovered during the tour. In the foyer, one can marvel at three different organs, which play alternately every half hour. The Werkstattsaal (workshop hall) offers a glimpse behind the scenes of music automatons. In the Salon Bleu (blue lounge), enjoying the musical impressions is paramount as different music boxes are played to the guests. Finally, in the Tanzsaal (dancing hall), one can get to know music boxes that seem to have small, whole orchestras inside them.

Above that, the museum is proud to possess the organ of the Britannic. The Britannic – a sister ship of the Titanic – also sank and its organ was listed missing for a long time. A special guided tour lets one learn more about the history of this extraordinary instrument, which is then played for the visitors. Until the 1 October also runs the special exhibition Stella, Gloria und Edelweiss about sheet music from Switzerland. Find out more on the following website that is also available in English.

The Salon Bleu.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center.

Interior Visitor Center.

Brunnen by Lake Lucerne.

Sharpening the senses At the Swiss Knife Valley, fans can enjoy an inspiring museum visit in combination with regional attractions and beautiful natural surroundings. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: STEFAN E. ZUERRER

As a multifunctional, high-quality tool that fits in the smallest pocket, the Swiss Army Knife has been known worldwide ever since its first production more than 130 years ago. It is a well-trusted item and familiar to anyone who enjoys the outdoors, from boy scout to hiker, from gardener to fisherman. “There is in effect no part of the earth where the Swiss Army Knife is not known and available,” Marcel Murri, managing director of the Swiss Knife Valley AG, states proudly. The regional marketing company was founded in 2003 in the Canton of Schwyz, the home region of the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. The organiser offers a variety of touristic attractions in cooperation with several major local companies. The Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center was opened in 2011 at the holiday resort of Brunnen by Lake Lucerne and combines a museum with a Victorinox Brand Store, drawing 70,000 international guests a year.

Many visitors of the Visitor Center have become Victorinox fans at some point in their lives and are eager to learn about 400 pocket knives on display. One of the most-loved attractions at the Victorinox museum is a guided workshop during which you can put your own knife together. Create your very own (‘Spartan’) knife and take it home! Guiding tours are available in four languages and guests are encouraged to complete their stay with local attractions such as a boat tour on Lake Lucerne, or a visit to the local Dettling distillery, famous for their ‘Kirsch’ cherry liqueur. The surrounding seven ski areas offer 120 kilometres of skiing slopes for winter fun. The museum itself and its displays are continuously updated. This winter season, Marcel Murri explains, will see the birth of yet another regional attraction not to miss out on: The world’s steepest funicular will

open in the nearby Stoos excursion area, built by another Swiss Knife Valley major company, the market leader in ropeway engineering Garaventa. The Swiss Knife Valley has a great deal to offer for any Victorinox fans who will enjoy not only the manufacturer’s history of the Swiss Army Knife, but also the manifold attractions of a region marked by beautiful natural surroundings.

Museum – knife assembly.

Victorinox Brand Store.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  39

The armament hall: 300-piece harness collection.

Conflict, war and peace: mirror-coated cabin displays.

The listed 17th-century museum building in Solothurn's old town.

Armed with history The Museum Altes Zeughaus armoury museum in Solothurn is unique in combining shell and content, as the 17th-century building was built to serve as the city’s arsenal to hold the personal weapons of the Solothurn citizens as well as forming a symbol for the defensive potential of the city state. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: NICOLE HÄNNI, © MUSEUM ALTES ZEUGHAUS SOLOTHURN

The listed building today shows weapons, armour and objects relating to the conflictual past of the Swiss people and the mercenary system. One of the largest displays of its kind in Europe, the second floor houses an impressive exhibit of 300 armours alone.

Solothurn politician Niklaus von Wengi who put himself in front of a cannon in 1533; thus preventing the escalation of a conflict between Catholics and Reformers. This contrasting display is the first one inviting to reflect on the two poles of war and peace.

A recent ‘complete makeover’ over the course of two years displays the Zeughaus history in a newly polished outfit, allowing visitors to enjoy both the vast halls and the collection in a new light. The ground floor houses not only the heavy armoury, but also a gigantic painting depicting the

The first floor will take you into the early times of the Swiss confederation and the challenge of preserving peace. Three mirror-clad cabins provide reflections on the nature of conflict and solution, inviting visitors to draw their own conclusions and voice their opinions. In addition, display

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depots on both the ground and first floors explain different types of weaponry and their technical development. The second floor presents an astonishing collection of 300 armours, an installation that inspires its own reflections on the role of Solothurn citizens as protectors of their home town but also as mercenaries abroad. The third floor offers space for special exhibitions and events. The Altes Zeughaus museum has existed since 1907 when a second, new arsenal was built in Solothurn, making the operation of the old Zeughaus as armoury redundant. However, the building has been showing displays ever since the 18th century. In fact, the old armouries have been part of the Solothurn attractions for centuries. For example, as one of the oldest Swiss figure group displays, the ‘1481 Stans hearing’ dates back

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

to 1845. The Stans hearing generated the Edict of Stans, drafted to resolve conflicts within the Swiss confederation. More or less, this display is unchanged and has been on display for more than 150 years at the Altes Zeughaus museum. All people interested in cultural history, armoury and the big themes of war and peace are fascinated by a place like the Museum Altes Zeughaus. Also, families are among the guests. Curator and co-director Claudia Moritzi states: “In general, anyone interested in historic development and the themes of war and peace in particular will find themselves just in the right place at our museum.” Next year, a special exhibition will deal with the effects of World War One on

Types of weapons: an overview on technical development.

The Züghusjoggeli.

Switzerland. 2018 marks the centenary of both the end of the Great War and of the Swiss Landesstreik labour strikes in November 1918. The strikes where a direct result of the Europe-wide state of uncertainty during and after the war, which in turn led to social and political upheavals in Switzerland as well, threatening both social cohesion and federal stability. The exhibition will explore how the sociopolitical reactions on these upheavals have shaped Swiss politics until today, as well as analysing the role of Solothurn during this challenging period. When visiting picturesque Solothurn, do not miss out on the newly polished historical surroundings of the Altes Zeughaus museum. Be greeted by the literally spitting image of the Züghusjoggeli, explore

Early Modern arms and armours and reflect on war and peace in European history in one of the mirror-clad cabins. Wander through halls of old armoury and muse on the miracle of the handicraft and forging art of past centuries. A current special exhibition puts a critical light on the role of Swiss mercenary troops during colonial times, revealing that Swiss mercenaries did not only support the King of France, but in fact were serving emperors all over the world. With its spacious halls, wooden columns and panelled ceilings, the Museum Altes Zeughaus is the perfect place to reflect on how war and peace have shaped a neutral nation throughout European history.

The 1481 Stans hearing: one of the oldest Swiss museum displays.

Ground floor: heavy artillery vs. historical painting.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  41

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017


Left: Exhibition HEIMAT – ‘first home’ installation. © Stapferhaus Midlle: Exhibition HEIMAT – home land: ‘Who may stay?’. © Stapferhaus Right: Exhibition HEIMAT in Lenzburg – Ferris wheel. © Stapferhaus

A position of one’s own The Stapferhaus Lenzburg foundation puts educational freethinking front and centre. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: ANITA AFFENTRANGER

The self-described “laboratory for the art of living” provides regular exhibitions that deal with the critical questions of our day, thereby encouraging discussions and exchange for individuals and families, as well as school classes and expert groups. By addressing each visitor at eye level, the Stapferhaus motivates forming a position of one’s own as opposed to taking in pre-formulated answers. The Heimat. Drawing the Line exhibition invites visitors to explore the term ‘Heimat’ (the sense of belonging) from an individual perspective: What connects us with our home or home country – and how different is our perspective from the one that others have? A gigantic Ferris wheel, placed in front of the Lenzburg Zeughaus, is part of the exhibition tour to both a different world and inside yourself; a world that puts the question first and does not necessarily provide an 42  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

answer. Sibylle Lichtensteiger, head of the Stapferhaus, explains: “The general question in times of globalisation is what exactly forms an identity, who sets the rules and how cultural history influences our view on what is right and what is wrong – and who may stay.” Certainly a serious topic, at the HEIMAT exhibition the search for an answer is linked with an inspiring parcours on various levels: Stapferhaus takes you on a voyage of discovery from the first home, your mother’s womb, to the far reaches of outer space, gazing back at our home planet Earth. You encounter people with differing narratives of ‘Heimat’, investigate the rules of nations and gain new perspectives on the Ferris wheel. In the spirit of Philipp Albert Stapfer, an early Swiss politician and philosopher, the educational aspect of Stapferhaus exhibitions allow visitors to find the answers in themselves.“We start every project with a blank sheet,” says Sibylle Lichtensteiger.

“For the HEIMAT exhibition, we went on an explorative journey of our own which took us on funfairs through the whole country from St. Gallen to Montreux. At each station, we invited people for a free ride on the Ferris wheel in exchange for answering a few questions on what constitutes the term ‘Heimat’ for them. We based our project on the 1,000 answers we got in turn.” Gain an insight into a foreign home, confront yourself in the mirror garden and feel invited to encounter prejudices as you enter the Ferris wheel, which will help you to explore your very own sense of ‘Heimat’ – and that of others. HEIMAT. Drawing the Line – An interactive journey Venue: Zeughaus Lenzburg, only 20 mins from Zurich Exhibition in German/English/French; guided tours and workshops available Opening hours: Tue through Sun 9am – 5pm, Thu 9am – 8pm (closed on Mondays)

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Focus: Photography in Austria


How to take flawless photos Have you ever wondered how a photographer finds the perfect angle or how they get their inspiration? We have handpicked some of Austria’s greatest photographers on the following pages to find some answers. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  43

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Focus: Photography in Austria

Depicting a room’s true character “The exciting thing about photographing architecture and landscapes is to discover the details. Even before I get the camera out I observe light situations, visual axes, views, meeting points, everyday scenes and stories.” Margit Thieme is a passionate photographer from Austria who has made it her task to beautifully depict spaces, from urban areas or landscapes to architecture and interiors. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTOS: ILONA MARI PHOTOGRAPHY

When seeing Thieme’s fantastic pictures, one would not think that she did not really plan on becoming a photographer. She recalls: “I wanted to become a musician or artist, but my parents didn’t like that idea. Thus, I studied economics. However, that just wasn’t for me, so I started an architecture course. My grandparents gave me an analogue SLR camera with which I worked on my architecture projects. Therefore, for a long time, photography was more of an architectural design aid. Then, I came across artistic photography courses at Vienna’s Institute of Technology where I discovered my love for experimenting.” On several stays abroad, Thieme further discovered her fascination for architecture and landscape photography. “I remember walking through the city centres of Venice and Budapest for hours where I concentrated on different perspectives and building lines. 44  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

The play with the perspectives still fascinates me most about photography.” Today, Thieme primarily photographs residential properties, public and historical buildings, business premises and holiday properties, such as vacation homes, flats, small guest houses and boutique hotels for tour operators and vacation home providers. In every commission, Thieme tries to underline a room’s individual character through the lens. “Where is the building? What is the room for and who uses it? Even though I rarely show humans in my pictures, I still try to reveal something about the people that use the room.” She adds: “Visual axes and views are central motifs of my pictures. Before I press my camera’s shutter, I move about a room for a long time and observe objects or how new vanishing points arise again

and again. Like this, I can grasp spatial conditions and assemble them into a twodimensional picture.” Taking time to find out more about a space’s individual characteristics, primarily capturing the authentic mood of a room with natural light and the different approaches that Thieme brings to the job through her diverse education and training built her a firm client base. Find out how Margit Thieme can bring the best out of your rooms and buildings on the following website. Top right and below: Vacation properties like this historic villa at Lake Balaton (Hungary) count towards Thieme’s speciality.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Focus: Photography in Austria



Capturing the essence of architecture and landscapes Photographer and architect Florian Schaller finds his inspiration in designed and natural landscapes, in buildings and architectural shapes. Clear lines, the contrast of different textures and surfaces, the play of light and carefully chosen perspectives draw the spectator into his pictures. What sticks out is the authenticity of his work: Florian Schaller only uses natural light and photographs places as he finds them.



“To have a common theme, an overall concept is important. Taste is very subjective, this is why sticking to a certain set of rules is the right choice.” Florian Schaller is a selftaught photographer. “I started while I was studying architecture. You learn a lot about the basics of successful presentations, how to captivate people, how to spark emotions. The basis for that is always using expressive pictures,” Florian Schaller explains. “The play of light on surfaces in classic paintings or modern art, visualisations rendered on a computer – they were all inspiring to me.” Of course, as a student he did not have the money to buy expensive equipment or attend courses, but what he could not afford he compensated with passion, resourcefulness and his fascination for how places can be framed through the camera lens: Picking the right spot, focusing on details, catching the light and the uniqueness of

each landscape or building – something he still does today. “I bought cheap and old second-hand equipment that worked with my digital camera, and simply started experimenting. In the end, I think this has helped me a lot, not relying on technology but my own eyes.” Black and white photography from the 1950s to the 1970s was and is a great source of inspiration for Schaller, but also famous photographers like Ansel Adams and his landscape photography. Considering his background, it comes as no surprise that Florian Schaller’s main focus lies on architecture and landscape photography.“Because I am an architect, I know what to look out for and that is something my clients appreciate.” Schaller does commissioned work but also has his artistic side projects that he exhibits.

.old man.

.white walk.

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Discover Germany  |  Star Interview  |  Lara Mandoki

Lara Mandoki

En route to success Born in Munich as the daughter of music legend Leslie Mandoki, Lara Mandoki soon knew she wanted to be an actor. After her acting training, she was seen in numerous successful projects like the award-winning thriller Unterm Radar (Under the Radar) or the international production X Company. She speaks to Discover Germany about why Munich is her city of choice, her current projects and much more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTO: ALAN OVASKA

Actor – is that your dream job or did you have other career aspirations? L. Mandoki: In fact, I have always wanted to become an actor; it always was somehow evident. I already played in theatre productions in kindergarten and haven’t stopped since. To this day, acting is the world’s most beautiful profession to me. Your dad is the famous musician Leslie Mandoki. What did he say when you told him you wanted to become an actor? L. Mandoki: Both of my parents have always supported me. Us three children were supported in everything but discipline and hard work were also expected of us. My father’s path of life is impressive and inspiring – and my mother is a great doctor and wonderful mother. Do you have role models? L. Mandoki: I admire Marlon Brando and Meryl Streep, but also Nadja Uhl and Edgar Selge. But above all, my grandparents are my role models. They came to Germany as refugees in 1956 and built a new life here with their four children. They not only handed down great values, but also lived them. You were seen in Die Holzbaronin (The Wood Baroness), Unterm Radar, Metalfarm (Metal Farm) and international productions like X Company, amongst others. Which film do you like to look back on most? L. Mandoki: Eventually, each film shooting is different – the preparatory work, as well

as the work at the set. Again and again, one is part of a new family for a short and intensive period of time, is driven by an artistic vision before letting go of it again to get involved with something new. It’s great. Essentially, I’m especially interested in political, historical but also socially relevant topics; that’s my passion. I’m very happy that my projects are always somehow focused on these fields – often even in different languages. You were born in Munich and still live there. What makes this city so special to you? Could you ever imagine moving away? L. Mandoki: I lived in America and Berlin for two years each and still spend half of the year in Berlin. But Munich is my home and is the best city for coming home. Munich doesn’t change much and not quickly, my friends and family live there and the location is simply unique. I grew up at the lake and the Alpine foreland is my home. Munich is the most beautiful, big small town metropolis with a lot of heart and the best friends one could wish for. What else is planned for this or next year? What can we look forward to from you? L. Mandoki: Unfortunately I can’t talk about all upcoming projects, but it will become a great and work-filled year and I really look forward to it. And, of course, also to the broadcasting of the projects that I have filmed this year, such as Ich und R (Me and R), a fictional social satire about the murdered,

Munich-based fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer, alongside Hannelore Elsner and Robert Stadlober. Or the series VÄTER UND SÖHNE (Fathers and Sons), a drama in which I get pulled into a dramatic fatherson conflict. Additionally, two Netflix productions will start, but specific information will be disclosed later. Does the absolute dream role exist for you? L. Mandoki: I’m Hungarian on my mother’s side, as well as my father’s side, and thus have a migrant background. My family’s history is significantly coined by the history of the 20th century, the First and Second World War and especially by the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. It interests me to find out what it must have meant to my dad to leave his home and family at the young age of 21, as well as to my grandparents 20 years earlier. I would love to approximate this topic through my work. It would be my dream to tell about these stories and experiences through my characters. I believe that actors have the task to make topics and emotions accessible that are difficult to deal with in everyday life. When I achieve this, I’m happy.

Want to See Lara Mandoki on screen? At the end of July of this year, Lara shot ICH UND R, a fictional social satire about the murdered fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer from Munich. Other actors in this interesting project are Hannelore Elsner and Robert Stadlober. An air date is planned for 2018. Stay tuned! Another current project is VÄTER UND SÖHNE – a series that is shot in Munich. In the drama, Lara embodies the young Lisa who comes in between a father-son conflict.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  47

Discover Germany  |  xxxxx  |  xxxxxxx

Zollverein ice rink. Photo: © Jochen Tack, Stiftung Zollverein


Where the cold season equals holiday magic Winter holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia have a great deal to offer: from one of the best snow regions north of the Alps to world famous Christmas markets, through to the certified hiking trails of the picturesque hinterland. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

The biggest plus and a definitive reason for choosing one of the NRW holiday locations are short distances and spontaneous planning independent of weather conditions. No matter if nature paths, sleighing adventures, skiing and snowboarding or cultural delights are on the wish list, the region offers multiple combinations of activities, making every stay a unique one. Romantic medieval villages such as Monschau and Freudenberg appear even more magical in the winter months, and then there are the natural spectacles. The arrival 48  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

of Siberian wild geese on the Lower Rhine in November is an event that draws tens of thousands yearly – and winter hiking in the Rothaargebirge mountain range has become even more attractive lately since wild European Bison have been reintroduced to the area. Horse and sleigh rides are a must for the winter season and are on offer in both the Sauerland and the Eifel region. Here is a short overview of the most enticing attractions. Christmas markets Enjoy one of the most-renowned German Christmas markets in Aachen, start-

ing on 24 November. Squares and alleys around the Aachen Cathedral and the Gothic Aachen City Hall turn into a magically enchanted Christmas wonderland – a colourful paradise of glittering lights and tunes as well as enticing smells like those emitted by the renowned ‘Aachener Printen’, the traditional gingerbread of the region. The market has won the European Best Destinations prize in 2015 Winter hike on Waldskulpturenweg Photo: © Tourismus Schmallenberger Sauerland, Klaus-Peter Kappest

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Destination of the Month

(and nominated again for 2017) and is known and well liked for its cosy, family atmosphere. Of course, the region offers numerous other picturesque destinations for Christmas market lovers, for example in Hattingen: in the historical centre of the Ruhr Valley, the old town featuring halftimbered houses and cobblestone streets offers an annual Nostalgic Christmas Market. The daily highlight is the appearance of the Grimm brothers’ Frau Holle, shaking out her feather pillow which, according to the tale, will bring snowfall. Enjoy a cup of mulled wine in medieval surroundings and the smell of traditional Flammkuchen tartes baking in the stone ovens.

Winter in Freudenberg. Photo: © Stadt Freudenberg

The ‘Unique Products’ market at the Althoff Grandhotel in Bensberg Castle near Cologne is to be experienced each year on the third advent weekend and features regional products as well as arts and crafts with an individual edge. Each piece is one of a kind and crafted with passion. Delicacies such as Bergische waffles, Christmas Bratwurst and the hip Pulled Pork Brioche Burger round up a perfect day in the stunning castle court: Christmas shopping of a truly different kind. Winter wilderness Monschau Christmas Market. Photo: © Oliver Franke, Tourismus NRW e.V.

For those who enjoy the outdoors and the merits of nature in wintertime, the

Hattingen Christmas Market. Photo: © Sandra Glomb, Hattingen Marketing

Aachen Christmas Market. Photo: © B. Schröder, Aachen tourist service

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  49

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Destination of the Month

Eifel region, including the Eifel National Park, the UNESCO Global Geopark and other nature parks are just the right fit. Ideal for hiking, almost no other region in Germany is dominated by the elements as much as the Eifel Uplands. The region that can be actively discovered by hiking parts of the 313-kilometre ‘Eifelsteig’ trail from Aachen to Trier, certified as a premium trail by the German hiking institute. For shorter tours, walking enthusiasts can enjoy the certified short circular routes, which make for a worthwhile day trip destination. The Bergisch trail, featuring the romantic panorama of the ‘Bergisches Land’ region, also invites for a winter hike while no less than 16 cross-country ski trails are waiting to be explored in the Siegen-Wittgenstein area. Phantasialand ‘Wintertraum‘ special. Photo: © Phantasialand

As of late, you can enjoy the sight of the biggest land mammals of Europe in the hiker-friendly area of the Rothaar Mountains. In 2013, a group of eight Bison was released to the wild near Bad Berleburg, the first to be reintroduced to Western Europe. As the shy giants are rarely spotted by hikers, interested visitors may experience a second Bison group in the 20hectare natural sanctuary of the ‘Wisent Wilderness on the Rothaarsteig’ up close, even on snow shoes. Snow and ice activities The Wintersport Arena Sauerland spans the border between the Sauerland and Siegen-Wittgenstein regions. The area has the most encompassing potential for snow-based sports and activities north of

the Alps. It is the perfect place for spending the holidays on skis, sleigh and snowboard. The local snow conditions are backed up by high-performance snow cannons, making winter sports possible from December through to March. World-famous spots like the Winterberg Bobsleigh Track and the ‘Mühlenkopf’ ski jump in Willingen, an artificial ice skating ring and multiple DSV NordicActive-centres complete the offer. As of December, the water basin in the former pressing machine rail of the colliery ‘Zollverein’, an industrial UNESCO world heritage site in Essen at the heart of the Ruhr area, changes into the 150-metre-long ZOLLVEREIN® ice rink, thus offering ice skating fun for the whole family. Visitors skate alongside impressing coke ovens, rust red pipes and high chimneys. Marked as ‘probably the most fascinating place for ice skating nationwide’ (Marco Polo), the ice rink is illuminated by light installations after dark and a ‘winter village’ provides visitors with hot drinks and snacks. Thrilling shows and fine-tuned magic Pure fascination is on offer when it comes to the Brühl-based Phantasialand near Cologne and its ‘Wintertraum’ (winter dream) special. Fabulous winter landscapes and theme-based specials, as well as an ice rink with spectacular panoramic views wait for visitors of all ages. Atmospheric shows such as the ‘Tiempo de Fuego’ light and fire show and the big ‘Magic Rose – Spirit of Light’ evening event at the Kaiserplatz, complete with a fireworks finale, make the magical experience complete.

Winter sports in Winterberg. Photo: © Ferienwelt Winterberg

50  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

For fine-tuned magic, the Schloss Drachenburg castle in Königswinter invites visitors and families to their annual ‘Unique Christmastime’ (‘Einzigartige Weihnachtszeit’) event. Based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the atmospheric programme leads straight into the 19th century. On the 2 December, the castle opens its doors for embracing the Christmas spirit in a special way with culinary treats of the region and dreamlike ambiance, especially on the four advent weekends. Visitors are led through Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas world while the Kunsthalle offers unique ideas for presents and ambiance. Slow down and enjoy a brilliant escape from the masses.

Discover Germany  |  xxxxx  |  xxxxxxx

World cup impressions. Photo: © Georg Hennecke

Did you know that there is a place in Germany where kids can mail their Christmas wishes? Such a place is the Christkindpostfiliale in the town of Engelskirchen, which roughly translates as the ‘Baby Jesus Post Office of Angel City’. The address reads: An das Christkind (to the Baby Je‘Unique Christmas’ scenario at Drachenburg castle. Photo: © Schloss Drachenburg GmbH, Reinelt

sus), 51777 Engelskirchen – and the post office is known to receive roughly 135,000 wish lists from 50 countries each year, with personalised answers guaranteed. Let the cold weather come – with a trip to North Rhine-Westphalia, you can tune

right into pleasant winter magic, boasted by beautiful medieval locations, stunning natural surroundings and the recreational effects of winter sports. A region designed to fully recharge your batteries.

‘Unikat‘ Christmas Market at Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg. Photo: © Ulrik Eichentopf

Co-funded by

Eifel national park. Photo: © Eifel Tourismus GmbH, Janssen and De Kievith

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  51

Discover Germany  |  xxxxx  |  xxxxxxx

Where time flies

– The German Clock Route If you love enchanting countryside and are fascinated by the history of time, its keepers and the ever-popular cuckoo clock, the German Clock Route awaits. Following the trails of the most famous clock makers, there is no better way to discover the Black Forest. TEXT: WIBKE CARTER

The cuckoo clock has long been one of Germany’s most famous exports, and together with the cherry gâteau and the red Bollenhut (a hat consisting of handmade pompoms), it is one of the icons of the Black Forest. The origin of clockmaking in the region is not exactly certain, but it is normally considered to have started in the midlate 17th century. For centuries, farming families would pass the winter indoors generating extra income by painting the flat faces of shield clocks with elaborate patterns of flowers and fruits, and cutting the wooden cogs for their mechanisms. It was Franz Anton Ketterer, widely acknowledged as the first cuckoo clock52  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

maker in the Black Forest, who around 1730 mounted two different sounding pipes into a clock to imitate the call of the cuckoo. Demand for the elaborate craftsmanship quickly soared and strolling clock-sellers walked as far as Russia carrying their stock on their backs. By 1870, nearly two million clocks were being produced annually in the Black Forest region of Baden. Traditional clock making is thriving along the German Clock Route, a circular self-touring route of about 320 kilometres, which was founded 25 years ago, and takes about three to five days to complete. Factories, workshops and sign painters' studios give visitors an insight

Main image: Traditional farmhouse in Black Forest. Photo: © Erich Spiegelhalter-Schwarzwald Tourismus Left: Cuckoo Clock in German Clock Museum Furtwangen. Photo: © Uhrenmuseum Furtwangen Right: Cuckoo clock carving. Photo: © Hubert Herr Triberg Bottom left: German Clock Museum exhibit. Photo: © Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Bottom right: Black Forest Museum Triberg clock makers workshop. Photo: © Black Forest Museum

into the day-to-day lives of clockmakers and a real sense of just how strongly the Black Forest has been influenced, and continues to be influenced today by its clock-making heritage. Trumpeter clocks, flute clocks, picture clocks, watch clocks, sundials, atomic clocks, exquisite pendulum clocks and kitchen clocks, double bell alarm clocks and even modern quartz and radio-controlled clocks were, and still are, produced in small workshops or larger factories. The small town of Furtwangen, once the centre of the clockmaking industry, is home to the German Clock Museum with the largest collection of clocks in the country. In 1852, Robert Gerwig, director of the local clockmaking school, started to collect old clocks as pieces of traditional handicraft. Since then, the museum has amassed more than 8,000 objects from all over the world, including over 1,000 watches, which are on permanent display. Exhibits consist of early wooden mecha-

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  Where Time Flies – The German Clock Route

nisms with stones for weights, sundials, orreries, automata and a whole wall of historic cuckoo clocks. In nearby Schonach, the world’s largest cuckoo clock, a title held since 1997, stands chiming twice an hour. Josef Dold built the timepiece, around 50 times the normal size, into a small half-timbered house. The mechanism measures 3.6 metres in width, 3.1 metres in height and one metre in depth. The rear wall of the building is dominated by the giant clock face and visitors can walk through the house and see this rarity at work daily from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm.

pressive showroom. Another worthwhile stop in Triberg is the Haus der 1,000 Uhren (House of the 1,000 Clocks) where travellers can cruise shelves densely crowded with clocks on two levels, before visiting Germany’s highest waterfall only a short distance away. The twin cities of Villingen-Schwenningen have a long clockmaking history. In 1822, the Johannes Schlenker clockmaking workshop is founded in Schwenningen, manufacturing wood-spindled watches. In 1856, the C. Werner clock factory opens in Villingen, producing alarm clocks, regulators and clock mechanisms. Two museums, the Heimat- und Uhrenmuseum

and the Franziskanermuseum, focus on the history of clockmaking and display the oldest datable clocks and clock shields from the region. The German Clock Route encompasses many towns and almost all of them feature small exhibitions on clockmaking. Whichever direction the road takes, travellers will journey through gently rolling hills, past traditional farmhouses and under dark canopied forests, which gave the region its name, and they may discover they are having the time of their lives.

Numerous shops selling cuckoo clocks can be found along the German Clock Route, but few are as interesting as Hubert Herr’s in Triberg. Starting in a small workshop in the 19th century, the company, now in its fifth generation, grew to a world-known and leading manufacturer of quality cuckoo clocks. Hubert Herr’s is the only factory producing the movements, cases and carvings. The clocks are made of solid wood, with the finest mechanical movements, weight driven to preserve the traditional way of clock making and hand-carved as visitors can see for themselves in the im-

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  53

THINK SUSTAINABLE (TO MAKE IT LIVEABLE) Growing while leaving an even smaller footprint.


Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts

S P E C I A L T H E M E : T H E D A C H R E G I O N ’ S R E A L E S TAT E E X P E R T S

How to find the perfect home Even though real estate agencies are manifold in the DACH region, it is important to find the right partner to buy or sell a home. Thus, we have handpicked some of the DACH region’s real estate experts in the following special theme. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  55

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts

Loftwerk, Eschborn. Skyline Frankfurt/Main and MainTor area.

DIC Asset AG

Your trusted partner for commercial real estate One of Germany’s leading listed property companies, DIC Asset is specialised in commercial real estate. Their success speaks for itself and their hybrid corporate approach, which ranges from the acquisition, to an active asset and property management, and all the way to the eventual disposal, has proven to be extremely effective. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: DIC ASSET AG

Frankfurt am Main-based property company DIC Asset AG is a business with a clear yield-oriented investment strategy focusing on commercial real estate, with particular emphasis on the office and retail sectors. Via their six branches, which cover all major German markets, they generate long-term added value for their portfolio of around 180 properties, representing total real estate assets of approximately 3.4 billion euros. This benefits the shareholders and employees of DIC Asset AG, which has been listed on the SDAX segment of the 56  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Frankfurt Stock Exchange since June 2006 and is part of the international EPRA index, which tracks the performance of the most important European real estate companies. “The company’s investment strategy aims at the further development of a qualitydriven, profitable and regionally diversified property portfolio,” explains Aydin Karaduman, chief executive officer (CEO) of DIC Asset AG.“Using a hybrid business model, DIC Asset focuses on the corporate areas Commercial Portfolio and Funds.”

In the Commercial Portfolio division, DIC Asset AG operates as owner and asset manager to earn stable long-term rent revenues and therefore to generate a constant cash flow. Karaduman adds: “In addition to managing our assets, we optimise existing properties - usually office or retail real estates - by pursuing an active letting management and by repositioning the assets through our own vertically integrated real estate management platform. This active asset management approach helps us to raise capital appreciation potential in our portfolio assets, and to realise capital gains through well-timed disposals.” The Funds division (managed objects accumulating around 1.3 billion euros) generates its revenues by acting as issuer and manager of special real estate funds for their institutional investors. In this context,

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts

DIC Asset AG focuses on attractive core investments in major business locations. The asset and property management services as well as buying and selling services that DIC Asset AG provides generates a continuously growing income from management fees for the company. Looking back at around 20 successful years of experience in the German property market, DIC Asset counts on the extensive know-how of their top experts in order to sustainably increase revenue. DIC Asset is particularly interesting for private investors, who are looking forward to investing in shares with potential for growth and attractive dividend yield. Professional investors such as insurance companies, pension funds or foundations, which want to secure long-term stable return of equity with commercial properties, should take a look at DIC Asset’s special real estate funds. Karaduman points out: “Our property management team made of over 100 experts, with a track record of over 20 years, not only takes care of the rental side as well as the entire asset management, they also bring the necessary knowledge to generate attractive yields every year until the end of the maturity period. On top of that, we also hold shares

of at least five per cent of our special property funds in order to show our investors that we as fund managers are sharing the same long-term objectives.” How well the integrated real estate management platform works shows a particular object of the DIC Asset portfolio, as Karaduman explains: “In December 2016, we started taking modernising and reconstruction measures at the Kaiserpassage near the Frankfurt train station. Our team of experts developed a convincing modern utilisation concept. When it is finished, the aged shopping arcade will feature a mix of retail and residential living. During the conversion work, we included the existing tenants to keep the multicultural flair of the arcade but also attracted new tenants. Even before construction started, 97 per cent was already rented.” When the works will be completed next year, the arcade will generate increased rental income and estate value. With their holistic approach, DIC Asset shows that they are all-round experts when it comes to property acquisition, maintenance and revenue growth. For more information, visit the following website:

Aydin Karaduman.

Since January 2016, Bremerhaven-born Aydin Karaduman has been the CEO of DIC Asset AG. Before joining DIC Asset, Aydin Karaduman was the executive president of the real estate department at the Bilfinger Group with 420 million euros revenue and around 3,000 employees. Previously Karaduman, who studied industrial engineering, worked for Metro Group and ThyssenKrupp.

Visit DIC Asset AG at their exhibition stand C.1.230 during the Expo Real in Munich from 4-6 October.

Elbspeicher, Hamburg.

Kaufhof, Chemnitz.

Halle 30, Düsseldorf.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  57

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts

Emanuel Sulser.

anfina & sulser immo Villa Stil ‘Tendenza’, Panoramic 180° Lago Maggiore

The Swiss city fox and the golden eagle of real estate What happens if two personalities who could not be more different decide to work together instead of competing? Meet Alain Andreoli, the classic city boy who loves the lavish lifestyle, and Emanuel Sulser, the sporty villager who hikes across the lush mountains instead of mingling at parties. United by their great passion for real estate, the unusual duo merged businesses. Today they complement each other and offer clients the same diversity that makes Switzerland’s landscape so magical. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: SULSER ARCHITEKTURFOTOGRAFIE

Understanding the various individual needs of each client is the goal of every real estate agent. A huge benefit in this regard is the diverse background of the two partners. Before anfina and sulser merged, they could hardly be any more different, but today real estate partners Alain Andreoli and Emanuel Sulser complement each other’s areas of expertise perfectly. Between them they cover stunning locations in the beautiful Swiss countryside as well as fancy apartments in buzzing cities such as Zurich. 58  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Alain Andreoli previously worked as a field manager in the world of finance and suppliers while Emanuel Sulser comes from a structural engineering background. The synergy of this benefits the two educated real estate specialists as well as their clients. “The clients and their emotions are at the core of our service and efforts,” says Andreoli. “You can simply see it in a client’s eyes when we successfully secured the right property.” His partner Sulser adds: “The best part of our work is when

Alain Andreoli. Photo: © Rita Vollenweider, Fotoatelier Zurich

we accompany a client over generations and enjoy the privilege of their on-going trust in us.” Being a young and dynamic team, anfina & sulser immo think outside the box and break old habits. Their innovative approach is reflected in both areas; when it comes to selling and buying. “Our clients who are selling real estates enjoy object and market specific evaluations with an estimation of the market value,” Andreoli explains. “We offer a very individual, personal and innovative market development concept with professional videos and top-quality photo galleries. Fair pricing following the winwin-win strategy results in a precisely predicted selling success.” Thanks to an extremely high degree of discretion and through mutual trust, the real estate agents have built an impressive

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  The DACH Region’s Real Estate Experts

network, not only with private clients but also within the business-to-business sector. This means they have offers for investors as well as commercial property. “With a little bit of pride, or rather a little humility, we can say that our client base includes sellers and buyers from the established top-of-the-end audiences. But we also frequently have clients who are successful entrepreneurs who are often looking for a more rustic country-style property or we are approached by the modern businesswoman, who may be searching for a prestigious location in the South of Switzerland,” explains Andreoli. “We want to do things differently than the others. This is also reflected in the various ways we individualise properties. We are very creative in that sense, but of course also question our own ideas critically. We recently were able to sell a flat incredibly quickly after a complete and very stylish re-design including fully furnishing it, in partnership with”

Chalet of Dreams, Sartons (Valbella).

Chalet of Dreams Sartennis Lenzerheide-Valbella.

Andreoli and Sulser employ a professional video team, which brings not only images but also the history of a building to life in front of the client’s eyes. The digital world enables clients to get a first audio-visual look before deciding if they want to visit the property itself. This saves time and money for everyone. Dedication, passion for their work and a great deal of expertise set Andreoli and Sulser apart from their competition and puts their company firmly on the map of top-end real estate agencies in Switzerland. Belvedère an Riva Lugano.

Have a drink with us @ BESTE AUSSICHTEN! Sulser und anfina immobilien, Schweiz.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  59


The DACH region’s innovators On the following pages, find out what Germany and Austria have to offer on the business front. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

60  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Discover Germany  |  Exclusive Business Profiles  |  CMS Consulting

Claudia M. Strohmaier.

CMS Consulting:

Where ideas turn into plans Vienna-based consulting firm CMS supports businesses at any stage to help them remain flexible in our time of constant change and innovation. With almost two decades of experience, CMS founder Claudia M. Strohmaier is the expert you have been looking for. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE   |  PHOTO: ANJA-LENE MELCHERT

In almost all aspects of our lives, the view of an outsider can give more and often different insights than from our own subjective perspective. This could not be more relevant than in the world of business. Identifying a company’s core competences, developing strategies that are in alignment thereof as well as recognising areas where processes can be improved commonly all result in an increase of profits. CMS founder Claudia M. Strohmaier explains the challenges modern businesses face: “The constant change in the value structure of society, the dynamic changes in the expectation of services and prod-

ucts, abrupt changes in technology and communications, and, last but not least, the change in market structure are the challenges of our time for all businesses.” According to Strohmaier, the entrepreneur is no longer adequate as the sole factor for success. She adds:“Sophisticated information systems are an essential prerequisite to successfully lead companies into the future.” CMS provides an all-round consulting service for business management and all related areas, regardless of a company’s size. From Start-Ups, which can use the subsidised special consultation rates, to larger corporations and busi-

nesses in transition, Strohmaier has the know-how to lift ideas off the ground. Her widespread client base ranges from manufacturing companies as well as service companies, the medical sector and artists. “To accompany smaller businesses through the different stages of corporate management means, I can learn something new every day,” says Strohmaier. “The energy and enthusiasm entrepreneurs have when it comes to mastering challenges is contagious. I simply love to contribute to the process of an idea becoming a success in the future.” Especially for small and medium-sized businesses, consultancy is often the most economical solution and CMS certainly goes the extra mile to help companies master any kind of challenge. Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  61

A successful start into the digital world Companies and businesses face dramatic challenges coming with the usage of digital technologies. However, even though the company management is usually willing to respond, most companies fail in driving digital transformation. kobaltblau Management Consultants, a young, fast growing firm located in eight European cities, helps companies and businesses to turn a digital challenge into a digital success. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  |  PHOTOS: MARTIN & FORSTER FOTOGRAFIE

kobaltblau Management Consultants combines long-lasting experience in IT management consulting with profound technological expertise to help its clients to face their biggest challenges. kobaltblau’s service offering includes consulting topics such as IT and digital strategy, IT organisation and HR, enterprise architecture, business process design and business process digitalisation as well as business and IT service sourcing. “Several companies stick to old ways of operations which negatively affects the company’s speed and ability to evolve. In 62  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

order to stay competitive, companies need to become more agile. For that reason, we focus on driving our clients’ digital transformation and agile transformation,” says Ivan Kovynyov, kobaltblau Management Consultants, Zurich office. Ivan Kovynyov advises senior executives of companies in the finance and insurance, transportation and logistics sectors on leadership, digital strategy, agile methods and digitalisation. According to him, digital transformation is not just about technology, but also about mindsets. Modern employees work in a more collaborative, more open, more creative and much more efficient way than in

the past. But when companies approach digitalisation for the very first time, many managers are afraid of losing power and control. “The top management is aware of benefits coming up, when the company becomes more digital and agile. Nevertheless, they sometimes have issues to initiate changes and start initiatives. This is exactly where we come in,” adds Kovynyov. A young company with an experienced team kobaltblau Management Consultants was established in 2016 by Klaus Eberhardt and Mark Goerke, co-founders of Germany-based IT service provider iteratec, and Hans-Werner Feick. Feick has a long-lasting track record in IT management consulting. Before joining kobaltblau, Hans-Werner Feick had been leading the business technology consulting practice at Kienbaum. His major focus was on the development and implementation of IT strategies, business transformation and

Discover Germany  |  Exclusive Business Profiles  |  kobaltblau Management Consultants

strategic restructuring. “At kobaltblau, we are creating a culture free of hierarchy. Senior consultants come together with young lateral thinkers. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely, share freely and exchange his or her ideas and concepts. This approach makes kobaltblau able to develop innovative solutions of the highest quality and ahead of the state-of-theart for our clients,” explains Hans-Werner Feick. Since the founding in June 2016, kobaltblau has grown rapidly. More than 40 consultants are currently working at kobaltblau in Zurich, Paris, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf. Recent clients range from medium-sized companies to leading international corporations across various industries, for example automotive, finance, insurance services, logistics and the public sector. “We combine management and

Ivan Kovynyov. Photo: kobaltblau Management Consultants

organisational expertise with profound technological knowledge. Based on this combination, we are able to assist our clients through the entire process – from the concept to the implementation of an idea,” states Feick. Bundling expertise for a successful transformation “Our consulting approach is unique,” says founder Hans-Werner Feick. “We specifically search and activate the competences existing at the client’s site and combine them with our methodological knowledge. Our clients’ employees on-site are actively working with our consultants to develop ideas and concepts. This approach ensures maximum acceptance and secures a high success rate.” Why should companies engage external partners to assist in driving the digital transformation? Digital transformation

comes from the usage of new digital technologies. However, the impact of digital transformation on companies and businesses has not yet been perfectly understood.“A change of an entire system within an organisation cannot be easily executed and accepted. Employees stick to past procedures and are often resistant to change. External partners can generate a starting impulse towards change,” says HansWerner Feick. “We bring a new perspective to our clients’ digital transformation, facilitate discussion and decision making, develop and implement new digital solutions. We have the necessary competence to move the organisation forward,”explains Feick. “Furthermore, external partners allow the management to delegate the execution of digitalisation endeavours. The management can use this time and energy to focus on strategic issues and innovation.”

Hans-Werner Feick.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  63

GILDEMEISTER energy solutions

Step into the future An effective reporting and monitoring solution not only improves a company’s processes, but also ensures an efficient energy and media supply. The new Energy Monitor by GILDEMEISTER energy solutions provides exactly that and guarantees sustainable efficiency on all levels. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: GILDEMEISTER ENERGY SOLUTIONS

In 2012, DMG MORI AG started to take a closer look at energy efficiency and energy data monitoring. At this time, no consistent solution regarding the collection and analysis of energy usage data existed across their then seven production plants in Europe and China. Some of the production sites had existing systems by various suppliers. Hence the aim was to implement a comprehensive energy data and monitoring system, which processed all locations’ usage while simultaneously incorporat64  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

ing the data from existing systems. In addition, the data was not just going to be available to the technical departments such as maintenance and production, but also to other parts of the company from management, purchasing and controlling to energy and facility management – presented in an easy way. Back then, energy monitoring products on the market did not meet the requirements for the desired cost. That is why DMG MORI AG founded the division ‘GILDEMEISTER energy solutions’ to

develop a suitable system solution, also available to other customers. Today, eight production plants in Italy, Poland, Germany, Russia and China, as well as over 20 distribution and service locations are connected to the system. Which problems does the Energy Monitor solve? After the first business year of a client’s new office building, it became clear that the usage of the heating and cooling systems were far too high despite using efficient systems with surface activation and heat recovery units in the air ventilation system. The analysis through monitoring the characteristics of the heat and cooling usage showed that the settings of the overall system were configured incorrectly.

Discover Germany  |  Exclusive Business Profiles  |  GILDEMEISTER energy solutions

As a result, the cooling and heating systems worked against each other during the transition period. Heating and cooling energy were fed into the system simultaneously. Because this happened due to a suboptimal interaction of the control systems whilst the facilities were located far apart, the cause of the problem was not obvious. In this case, investing in the Energy Monitor paid off quickly within less than half a year.

storage. Possible problems can be detected in advance.

Another great example is a medium-sized manufacturer of sheet metal parts. It operated various automatic punching presses and folding machines, but did not have any conclusive data on the absolute and relative capacity and productivity of its single production sites.

Usually every company works with various supply systems in one location. Manufacturing businesses in particular operate a number of different systems such as ventilation, heat and cooling energies as well as compressed air generation etc. The Energy Monitor’s centralised collection of all production sites’ data makes it easy to control performances.

Thanks to the Energy Monitor, the production plants were made comparable regarding capacity, productivity and energy usage. Additionally, the specific energy consumption per manufactured product was an important input variable when calculating costs. Through the knowledge gained with the Energy Monitor, the company was able to significantly improve their capacity and productivity and lower the required basic power supply of the hydraulic aggregates considerably. The company’s investment in the Energy Monitor system paid off after just 16 months.

In relation to the cost of a charging pole and the required energy supply plants, the cost of the Energy Monitor is relatively small. It immediately makes economic sense, enabling a system’s correct dimensioning and avoiding breakdowns, for example caused by overloading a grid connection. Preventive maintenance

Deviations from a plant’s optimal operation can be identified and fixed. An

often-occurring problem is the contamination of the filters of ventilation, air compressors and pipes. The higher the degree of contamination, the less efficiently the plants are running, causing greater abrasion. Through monitoring the plant performance indicators (such as efficiency or the specific power consumption) it is possible to predict when maintenance measures will be required before a malfunction or breakdown occurs. The Energy Monitor contributes in a meaningful way to safeguarding a company’s most valuable assets, the production sites. Do not leave your energy efficiency and operating reliability to chance or luck. Incorporate the Energy Monitor by GILDEMEISTER energy solutions in your company.

Operating and optimising energy systems Many companies are currently installing charging poles for their electric vehicles or are thinking about it. To charge electronic vehicles quickly, there is a trend towards fast charging with outputs of 150 kilowatts and above per charging pole (in the future above 350 kilowatts). To equip a site with a quickcharge infrastructure, it is necessary to use a system that incorporates selfgenerated energy (i.e. photovoltaic) as well as relieving the grid connection and power distribution through energy storage. With the Energy Monitor’s analysis, energy systems can be correctly dimensioned in advance and the on-going production can be monitored. It enables a perfect synergy between quick-charge stations, power generation and energy Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  65


How to stay safe at work The Verband für Sicherheit, Gesundheit und Umweltschutz bei der Arbeit e.V. (Association for Safety, Health and Environmental Protection at Work) or VDSI is the largest professional association in Germany for safety, health and environmental protection at work. Its roughly 5,600 members are comprised of specialists from various fields of activity and industries, including (safety) engineers, technicians, managers, (occupational) physicians, psychologists, chemists, and environmental officers who are voluntarily committed to more safety, health and environmental protection at work. TEXT: VDSI | PHOTOS: FOTOLIA

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Professor Dr. Rainer von Kiparski, VDSI’s chairman. Photo: © Ralf Bauer, Köln

The objectives of the association include the dedication to professional training and qualified continuing education in its fields of expertise, the involvement in the development of legislature, ordinances, directives, standards and other general rules regarding safety, security and environmental protection at work, cooperation with national and international institutions and associations in order to represent the interests of its members, advance its fields of expertise and develop its skills, as well as to serve as contact partners for all corporate groups in questions about safety, health and environmental protection at work. VDSI members benefit from a multitude of advantages: Network VDSI has access to a broad network of experts. Members can discuss current issues with experts from other companies and branches, and benefit from their knowhow. Expertise By participating in professional events of VDSI and the Professional Association of Occupational Safety (FASI), members can broaden their own expertise. Additionally, industry-specific publications and practical work aids about current issues and practically oriented solutions are available online.

Certified continuing education By participating in professional events, even outside of the association, members can obtain VDSI points. With the VDSI continuing education certificate, members have the opportunity to demonstrate that they continually keep their expertise up to date – an important advantage for their career and for client acquisition. Career For your own career, VDSI can put you in touch with valuable contacts, for instance potential employers or clients. Additionally, its job board is available for use, where current job offers can be found or where you can place your own applications. Members also have the possibility to advertise their own range of services in the section ‘service provider offers’. Start-up support for students and safety officers in training Students and safety officers in training participate in the VDSI community and benefit from the experience of its members. The ‘Student’ specialist area provides information for internships, topics for final papers and working contacts. ‘Office Work’ specialist area Notably, VDSI possesses its own office work specialist area. This area is comprised of dedicated specialists and experts from

the occupational health and safety measures sector specifically for the office. The object of the task force is to support everyone involved in occupational health and safety measures and human working conditions in the office. Through ergonomically designed work systems, illness should be prevented in the employees and their health and performance should be protected and promoted. Promotion of health at the office benefits workers and companies equally. For the employees, workloads are decreasing and complaints occur less frequently. Productivity and flexibility are increasing among workers in the companies: fewer absences due to illness, long-term decrease in sick leave, and higher motivation and work satisfaction are among the positive results.

VDSI Head Office Schiersteiner Strasse 39 65187 Wiesbaden Tel.: +49 611 15755-0 Fax: +49 611 15755-79 Email:

In the following special theme, we talk to some of Germany’s experts in the field of safety and security at work.

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

The premium security knife SECUPRO 625.

Intelligent design, compact performance With more than 75 years of experience, MARTOR KG is the internationally leading brand for safer cutting solutions. Based in Solingen, the family-owned company manufactures premium cutting tools for industrial and professional purposes. TEXT: NADINE CARSTENS  |  PHOTOS: MARTOR KG

In the industrial sector and handicraft business, workers have to cut hundreds of multiply cardboards, plastic strapping bands, tapes, and other materials day by day. Ideally, the process of cutting has to happen quickly and without damaging any of the packed goods. Most importantly, workers who are holding the knife should avoid cutting themselves. But as statistics compiled by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) show, such accidents happen too often: in Germany, about 44,000 reportable work-related accidents occurred due to knives in 2015. As a result, the person concerned is not able to work for a certain period of time, which also means a financial loss for the employer. MARTOR KG offers better solutions. As the internationally leading manufacturer 68  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

and supplier of high-quality safety knives and safety scissors, the family-owned company offers certified cutting solutions that make an essential contribution to safety at work and considerably reduce the risk of cut-related injuries. Large retail chains, logistic companies, automobile manufacturers and other companies from industry and logistics or the handicraft sector are therefore well advised to work with these efficient cutting tools, which range from trapezoid blades and hook blades, to industrial blades, scraper blades, deburring cutters, as well as graphic blades, and scalpel blades, MARTOR regularly extends its product portfolio along with specific services to offer the most comfortable and efficient cutting solutions. “Safety, quality, and in-

novation have been our core values for decades,”says Andreas Kieper, MARTOR’s head of global sales.“We also put high emphasis on working closely with our customers and offering customised services.” Three safety technologies Focusing on the safety aspect, MARTOR sells safety knives which are equipped with reliable safety technologies. By offering three safety technologies – a concealed blade, a fully automatic blade retraction, and an automatic blade retraction, customers can decide which MARTOR technology fits best to their requirements. “We have continuously improved the process of replacing the knives’ blades and, in addition, we use more and more blades that have rounded tips,” Kieper explains. “This way, our customers profit from increased workplace safety and work efficiency.” At MARTOR, quality presents itself in different facets: robust handles made of aluminium and/or high-quality plastic, as well as sharp blades with a long service

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

life are just some examples. Furthermore, the handy ergonomics of the knife handle and integrated operating devices such as sliders or levers to release the blade assist customers when using the intelligent cutting tools. The products’ design is yet another quality feature: Visually appealing tools, as for example SECUMAX 350 or SECUNORM 380, represent MARTOR’s premium standards and received various renowned design awards. Pioneers in terms of safety knives MARTOR’s innovative ideas have also contributed to the brand’s success story. “Helmut Beermann, our company’s founder, was known for liking fiddly work and never giving up until he had found the best possible solution,” says Kieper. In 1976, the Solingen knife manufacturer reached a milestone by introducing PROFI to the market, the first TÜV-tested safety knife in the world. “Yesterday’s pi-

oneer is today’s classic: PROFI features a timeless shape, a robust form, and has a versatile ability, while its automatic blade retraction has protected generations of users,” Kieper adds. As the only manufacturer in the field of cutting tools, MARTOR provides a coherent concept that not only includes high-quality safety cutting tools, but also various sophisticated and well-coordinated services. According to Kieper, these services for example imply workplace inspections and on-site assistance, user-specific training and instruction sessions, where technical advisors show how to handle cutting tools even more precisely, as well as product-specific media for an in-depth knowledge. “We want to support our customers from the beginning to the end,”says Kieper. Today, the family-owned company is still based in Solingen and is run by the third

generation: Sonja Hendricks, Helmut Beermann’s granddaughter, is a member of the advisory board, while her husband Jan Hendricks is one of two managing directors. The two of them are also the owners of the company. With about 140 employees in the development, manufacture, and administration, the headquarters in Solingen also manage the global distribution of MARTOR products. Those who want to learn more about cutting tools developed by MARTOR should visit the A+A Trade Fair in Düsseldorf, which will open its doors on 17 October. Here, at the largest international trade forum for safety, security, and health at work, visitors have the chance to get an impression of MARTOR’s entire product portfolio, including new products that will be introduced to the market. The security knife SECUMAX 350 is perfect for tough and flexible material.

Safety techniques built into MARTOR safety knives also include a hidden blade.

To avoid injuries: automatic blade retraction.

A fully automatic blade retraction guarantees high safety.

An alternative for everyone who works with cutters: the security knife SECUNORM 380.

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Complying with legal requirements in just a few clicks The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU will come into effect on 25 May 2018. How can companies cope with this new situation? With their Enterprise Resource Authorization Manager (ERAM) programme, Tools4ever has developed a tool to support compliance with the new law. TEXT: INA FRANK  |  PHOTO: TOOLS4EVER

The General Data Protection Regulation will significantly change the way companies deal with data of EU citizens. To comply with the new legal requirements, companies need a data management strategy, first of all for sensible personal data. With the new law, EU citizens have a right to demand an insight into their stored personal data. Therefore, companies must find a way to locate data as quickly as possible. The GDPR only allows data to be stored for a specific purpose – data should have an ‘expiry date’ when it is automatically deleted. Should data be lost or stolen, the information leakage has to be reported within 72 hours.

The main security risk is, however, a company’s own employees because they have extensive access rights to sensible data. Tools4ever offers transparency and control with the Enterprise Resource Authorization Manager (ERAM), a software

that shows who has access to what data in the file system – with only a few clicks. Access rights that are too extensive or not used can easily and quickly be withdrawn. Merely by installing this software, it assists companies in reaching compliance with the GDPR’s access management paragraph. With Tools4ever’s programme at hand, companies definitely do not have to fear 25 May 2018.

Innovative security technology made in Germany As a security provider rooted in the provision of conventional security services for many years, CAO Systems knows exactly which measures to take to make publicly accessible spaces safe. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: CAO SYSTEMS

Founded in 2015, security company CAO Systems has a highly reliable symbiosis between substantial experience in the security industry, state-of-the art technology and engineering and serves a wide range of customers. “CAO Systems sees itself as the partner of security representatives and decisions makers responsible for large building sites, major public events or any other large projects that involve the security of large, publicly accessible sites,” says Marc Thurn, CEO at CAO Systems, describing the enterprise’s scope of activities. In addition to this wide-ranging field of engagement, CAO System stands out by distinguishing services: “CAO Systems only uses the latest technology as well as 70  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

equally high-end smart recognition software. We keep a round-the-clock documentation facility, offer intelligent alarm functionalities as well as the possibility for remote access. Despite this extremely secure und state-of-the-art service, we are still able to offer our customers savings of

up to 70 per cent compared to any conventional security provider,” offers Thurn. Fully digital security systems by CAO Systems are flexible, cost-efficient, comprehensive and always up to date. “As we are constantly evaluating our products, we are currently undergoing a restructuring of our product portfolio LivEye, and will present our customers with an even more modern and comprehensive range of services soon,”Thurn concludes. Left: Mobile monitoring systems by CAO Systems. Right: Nocturnal incident monitored and documented by CAO Systems.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Continuous security By means of a highly advanced scanning system, Crashtest Security GmbH offers long-lasting security for web applications.

Crashtest Security offers a free version of their security scanner on their website.

TEXT: NADINE CARSTENS From top to bottom:

“Software development has become very agile within the last years, but security audits for software still lag behind,” says Felix Brombacher, co-founder of Crashtest Security based in Munich. “To save costs, most firms let external IT security consultants carry out manual security audits only once a year.” As a result, all new software versions that are published afterwards are not being checked, leading to a high risk of becoming a target for hackers. “For this reason, companies have to radically rethink their idea of IT security in order to protect their data,” Brombacher explains. The team behind Crashtest Security therefore developed a solution for long-lasting security: A highly advanced security scan service which helps to detect critical vulnerabilities in real time. Customers can choose from a range of packages that differentiate in the num-

ber of their monthly scans and scannable projects that run parallel. “Our Crashtest Security Suite is perfect for agile developers and companies who want to test their software at any time and with every new software update,” says Brombacher. Developers immediately receive a security report as feedback to their work. By using Crashtest Security’s publicly accessible knowledge base, they can quickly find efficient ways to fix vulnerabilities.

The management team. Photo: © Daniel Adam The Crashtest Security Suite. Photo: © Crashtest Security Janosch Maier, who is responsible for the security scanners, at the start-up event Leading Entrepreneurs 2016. Photo: © LMU EC Crashtest Security gave a presentation within the Xpreneurs incubation programme. Photo: © Xpreneurs

By means of machine learning algorithms, Crashtest Security intends to automate a security test that also includes business logic testing. Therefore, it simulates various processes like buying products online and tries to circumvent important steps such as the payment. “We are going to offer the only automated security scanner on the market that is able to do this,” Brombacher adds. This way, costs for security tests can be significantly reduced. Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  71

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Photo: © Bildagentur 123RF Deutschland

Stepping up security against IT risks Cyberattacks and viruses are a risk every company has to deal with nowadays. Therefore, reliable information security and advanced risk management are an essential aspect. Since small- and medium-sized firms still have to learn how to implement and maintain defence solutions, secopan (Security Competence Partner Network) GmbH has made it its business to provide expert advice to these companies. TEXT: NADINE CARSTENS  |  PHOTOS: SECOPAN GMBH

Damage to IT infrastructure, for example caused by hackers or a fire, can have severe consequences for a company, leading to seizing up entire business processes. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to have a proper information security management system (ISMS) that systematically and continually checks all information security risks. Particularly small- and medium-sized firms still have to learn to understand the problems of computer security. Therefore, secopan, established in 2009 and based in Leonberg, Baden-Württemberg, provides expert advice especially to such firms and offers pragmatic and economic solutions to implement advanced information security management systems according to the international standard ISO/IEC 27001. 72  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

“We try to identify to which risks the IT of a company might be susceptible and, as a result, could hinder usual business processes,” says Dr. Jörg Kümmerlen, founder of secopan. For example, if a damage to the IT infrastructure affects imports, this leads to a lack in the supply of certain products. “Our main task is to implement security practices and management systems that ensure long-term protection of business processes and assets.” Protection in case of a security risk A recent example shows how important it is to have a proper information security management system. This year in May, the malicious ransomware WannaCry was in the headline news for attacking global

computers, including Britain’s NHS and companies in Europe. The consequences were dramatic since, for example, the drug plans of cancer patients had been encrypted, and their therapies could not be continued as planned.“WannaCry exploited vulnerabilities in the system, but this could have been prevented,” Kümmerlen emphasises. “Therefore, it is necessary to prepare networks in a way that those system vulnerabilities are protected against threats.” The Deutsche Bahn was a target as well. At numerous train stations, departure boards displayed a message demanding high payments for the key to decrypt files. Nevertheless, most train services did not stop completely because the coordinated attack did not affect the technical conductor systems due to Deutsche Bahn’s security management.“By implementing an information security management system, a company management also reduces the risk of being liable in cases like these, which is an enormous help,” says Kümmerlen. “If a company does now have a certified management

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

system, a business manager is liable with his/her personal assets.” Nowadays, customers from all over Germany like banks or insurance companies that own sensitive data often demand that a firm owns a certified information security management system in order to work together. “For example, if a major car manufacturer intends to co-operate with an engineering firm for certain services, it first wants to see the engineers’ certificate to make sure that there are no security risks,” the security expert explains.“Many business people think that a firewall and antivirus products are a sufficient protection against targeted attacks, but that is a dangerous misconception.”The secopan team therefore helps its customers to take a step further by showing them how to implement a security management system that is more efficient.

Kingdom. “This is our next aim: Currently, there is a lot going on in the Fintech field with many start-ups that are advising banks, for example,” he says. “So, this is also a field where we can provide improved risk management systems.” Currently, secopan is looking for new team members. “We would like to hire information security consultants who

are able to provide advice in the fields of ISO/IEC 27001, data privacy, as well as Business Continuity Management,” Kümmerlen states. “Our team members profit from flexible working times, profit sharing, as well as options for further training, and the chance to work at their home office.”

Not only cyberattacks are a risk to companies of any size and any field. The hardware of a firm could also be damaged due to, for example, a fire. “Thus, with an efficient information security management system, backups of all the data on the company’s servers are regularly being made, so that all important files can be restored in case of an emergency,” Kümmerlen states. Services for a fixed price He and the other nine experts of secopan have successfully prepared about 55 organisations with an ISO/IEC 27001 (an international information security standard) certificate so far.“We support customers who want to improve their resilience towards information security threats by implementing an appropriate risk management system. Most of them are energy suppliers, hospitals, logistics or insurance companies, cloud providers, but also municipalities, IT service providers, and financial technology (Fintech) companies to name a few examples,” says Kümmerlen. According to him, secopan’s customers profit from another advantage: “We offer our services for a fixed price. Therefore, our customers do not have to expect increasing costs.” In the near future, secopan wants to establish an additional branch in the United Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  73

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Securepoint RC 100 UTM Firewall for small networks.

Security first! The internet has become one of the most important partners in the daily lives of private users and companies alike. An unaccountable number of viruses, bugs and the like are a serious threat that can cause enormous damages to any affected network and connected web-enabled devices. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: SECUREPOINT GMBH

Founded in 2000, Securepoint, an organically grown, highly profitable mediumsized company, over the last 17 years has grown to become Germany’s biggest provider for Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions. “The last 17 years have been an incredible journey. When I established Securepoint, I wanted to provide my clients with the most secure, most sophisticated and most up-to-date solutions available. Securepoint’s continuing success shows me that we succeeded,” says Lutz Hausmann, founder and owner of Lüneburg-based company Securepoint, who is pleased to look back on his company’s success. No back doors Securepoint is a developer and provider of IT security products aimed at the com74  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

plete protection of company networks and connected devices, which includes servers, PCs as well as copy machines, printers and mobile devices. “Our products protect network devices from viruses, Trojans, ransomware as well as hackers. We have also developed specialised and safe archive solutions for e-mail data,”says Hausmann, giving a quick overview of Securepoint’s range of services. Here, Securepoint makes a definite statement: “Most IT security products that have been developed in the United States or in Israel are provided with a so-called ‘back door’ - meaning that their systems can be breached and infiltrated with, for example, spyware. We know of cases where these intruders have stolen company know-how like, for example, patents, intercepted in-

ternal communication or corrupted devices or whole networks. As we are very much aware of this problem, we have developed programs without these back doors. As a member of TeleTrusT, a German IT security association that promotes information security professionalism, we have signed an agreement to not leave these back doors in any of our products,” elucidates Hausmann about the security of Securepoint’s products. Ransomware and recent threats Only recently have attacks by ransom ware become public and names like Locky or WannaCry, which affected hospitals in the UK and Scotland as well as other companies in almost 100 countries, may sound painfully familiar.“Ransomware are viruses or Trojans that infect computers through the internet. Once infected, the user is unable to access the data stored on a computer. In order to regain access, the user is forced to pay Bitcoins, a virtual currency to an equally virtual account or wallet. As these kinds of transactions are difficult to track, the aggressor can be

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

fairly certain to never get caught. A fitting security system is able to protect networks and connected devices from these threats. Here, our products are one of the best and safest choice,” offers Hausmann. Effective firewalls “We have increasingly become dependent on the internet - meaning that an increasing amount of devices rely on it. Printers, PCs, even cameras, smart TVs, stereos, intelligent heating systems, baby phones - virtually each IP-based device can become an unwelcome gateway to your professional as well as private life. It thus does not suffice to merely protect your PC. Private users as well as companies need to protect themselves against these intrusions if privacy is meant to be maintained. Placed between the internet and the internal network or private Wi-Fi, our UTM firewalls scan all content streaming through these connections. These firewalls provide a number of safeguards like filters that recognise viruses, Trojans and the like and who will disable these threats,” explains Hausmann. Yet the best security net cannot work properly if it does not engage in teamwork: “If various security systems like, for example, a PC virus scanner and UTM firewalls are in place, it is advisable that these systems

co-operate, thus maximising their effect,” Hausmann adds.

works particularly for small- and mediumsized companies.

Stay alert

With an increasing level of dependency on the internet, private users and companies alike must remain vigilant for threats - Securepoint is a reliable partner when it comes to fending off those dangerous bugs that threaten to compromise your company’s sensitive data and privacy alike.

While internet security is vital for the effective protection of computers and other devices and networks, a one-off installation does not suffice.“Once the security system is in place, it needs to be maintained, i.e. regular updates are an absolute necessity if security is to be kept on a reliable and up-to-date level,” urges Hausmann. On her recent visit to Securepoint’s new premises, Brigitte Zypries, German minister for economics and energy, agreed with Hausmann’s appeal and further underlined the importance of secure net-

Securepoint RC 300 UTM for large networks.

CEOs Claudia and Lutz Hausmann in conversation with Brigitte Zypries, German minister for economics and energy.

Employees at Securepoint and Brigitte Zypries.

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Sick of worrying about IT security?

The Blue Shield Umbrella might be the perfect solution for you! The Bavarian company DS Deutsche Systemhaus GmbH offers a brand-new and highly effective IT protection system. The innovative Blue Shield Umbrella protects the entire infrastructure in a preventive and transparent manner but, as opposed to the common heuristic systems in the market, acts before any attacks are even carried out. Finally, the end of nasty cyber attacks is in sight. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  |  PHOTOS: DEUTSCHE SYSTEMHAUS GMBH

Data has steadily turned into an extremely valuable treasure and keeping it safe in the world wild web requires an innovative approach. The more sensitive the data, the more focused the attacks. The cyber thieves never sleep, but luckily the IT geniuses of our world keep up with them. The newest data protection solution available in the market is the Blue Shield Umbrella. It protects businesses against online mal76  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

ware of any kind, but the amazing part is that it detects malware before it can even enter a company’s system. Replacing the common heuristic approach to detect anomalies, Blue Shield Umbrella uses a special mathematics program combined with comprehensive enquiries about IT security mechanisms. But instead of inquiring with Root-DNS-Servers, In-

telligence DNS servers are asked for a name resolution. These servers communicate directly with the ‘European Threat Intelligence Defence Centre’ and receive an assessment of the inquired names in real time, which makes dangers predictive and transparent. If a name is banned, the server is notified and the clients receive a report about the blocked name. This cloud-based approach makes it possible to prevent any threats from entering the LAN systems. It is maximum protection for sensitive data. “We act with the solution and offer preventive protection,” CEO of the Deutsche Systemhaus GmbH, Christian Paulus, adds. “This means that we prevent attacks

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

before they are actually carried out. It sets us apart from today’s common IT security solutions, which only react and try to avert attacks as and when they happen.” On top of that, Blue Shield Umbrella is easy to implement into any existing IT infrastructure and does not require software to be installed in the client’s LAN. It does not use any expensive resources such as processing power or RAM, nor does it need updating or any kind of administration. Prevented attacks are visible in the dashboard and show how genuinely effective Blue Shield is.

age systems over highly available cluster solutions to virtualisation, networks and WLAN as well as cloud solutions from our own data processing centre and IT security solutions such as our Blue Shield Umbrella.” Despite receiving numerous awards such as the ‘Huawei Fast Growth Award’, their focus always lies on their clients as Paulus points out: “Our daily business and the customer satisfaction are our number one priority. Although we won quite a few awards during the past years and realised some big successful projects, partly across the globe, our goal remains to take care of

our customers and provide an outstanding service on a daily basis. We do not want to rest on our laurels.” In the future, the team at the DS Deutsche Systemhaus GmbH aims to expand on the distribution of Blue Shields Umbrella as they are convinced it presents one of the most effective and best solutions against malware currently on the market. We are certainly on board. For more information, visit the following website:

With Blue Shield Umbrella, all mobile devices such as tablets, phones and notebooks are protected without big hardware expenses or pricey VPN concentrators. Even when the devices operate outside the corporate network, they remain fully protected. With so many clear advantages, this forward-looking IT security solution has already received the innovation award ‘Best of 2017’ and it is safe to assume that there will be more industry recognition in the near future. This is why the long-established and successful IT service provider DS Deutsche Systemhaus GmbH brought Blue Shield Umbrella to Germany and hopefully soon to Europe. The company itself can look back proudly at over 20 years of experience. The company started out in 1995 as a small IT retailer in Schwandorf, founded by Christian Paulus himself. Today the IT expert caters to the needs of various smaller and bigger clients across the globe. “We welcome every client, whether it has two employees or 2,000,” says Paulus. “We are mainly focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises, but some of our clients are also large international corporations.”

CEO Christian Paulus.

When asked about their services, Paulus explains: “We can certainly be called a full-range provider in our field. You cannot only buy hardware and software from us, such as the Blue Shield Umbrella, but we also offer the necessary services such as maintenance and operating agreements. This ranges from server and storIssue 55  |  October 2017  |  77

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Communication culture is crucial for successful penetration testers.

Right page, from top left:

Closing the gap

IT security specialists at SySS test systems under real conditions with real attack patterns. SySS also offer individual lab tests for hardware devices. SySS founder and managing director Sebastian Schreiber. Opened in June 2017, the new SySS headquarters in Tübingen has space for up to 280 penetration test experts.

SySS GmbH are the market leader for exclusive IT security assessments in Germany as well as in Europe. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: SYSS GMBH

With SySS GmbH, you are always one step ahead of the hackers. The team is able to find security gaps before others can exploit them. Throughout the process, an ethical approach is of top priority. For founder and managing director Sebastian Schreiber, the key to success clearly lies with the high-performance team at SySS: “I value our 95 efficient co-workers highly. They work with an attitude of joy and energy, resulting in enormous success.” Origins The IT entrepreneur founded the enterprise in 1998 while still studying informatics at the University of Tübingen. He had already enjoyed working at Hewlett Packard when IBM approached him to perform a penetration test. In turn, he became a freelancer on the spot – with the 78  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

two largest IT companies as his clients. Meanwhile, Schreiber had become a wellknown talk-show guest and television expert. Since 2000, he has regularly been performing live hacks on national and international trade fairs, showing how IT networks, passwords and data can be easily accessed. A longstanding member of the Association for Economic Security Baden-Württemberg, he is also a committee member for the German information security magazine Zeitschrift für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit – DuD.

connection of the internal network with the internet as well as the specific internal infrastructure. SySS security tests thereby cover the most possible range of attack scenarios. With their exclusive know how, SySS check a company’s IT landscape for both conventional and exotic weak points as well as security gaps, while continuously exchanging information with their client. A conclusive, comprehensive report informs the customer on all potential problems while at the same time suggesting solutions. All SySS consulting is taking place on a product- and producerindependent basis.

Penetration tests

Communication culture and lasting protection

Penetration tests are the key tool applied by the team at SySS GmbH. By performing a ‘state-of-the-art intrusion’, they assess the IT security level of a client’s company from different perspectives – including the

SySS GmbH strongly believe in coworking closely with their customers. They are happy to perform presentations to both management and co-workers of a client company. The concluding report

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

shows the process step by step, how the assessment was performed and what conclusions were reached. This documentation also forms the basis for eliminating prospective vulnerable points within the system and is tested on both technical accuracy and comprehensibility. As an IT network system is a dynamic body with changing security risks and gateways and each penetration test acts as a snapshot of the respective security standards, the reaction of the system should always be monitored through a retest as well. SySS GmbH thus enjoy long-term relationships with their clients, ensuring that each assessment and test bears its fruit. A comprehensive service portfolio SySS services include all aspects of a company’s IT landscape, from analysing the IP range and LAN/WLAN infrastructure through to checking mobile apps, devices and services from various potential hacking perspectives. The team also offers individual lab tests for software and hardware,

devices as well as Internet of Things (IoT) products. The overall goal of all services provided by SySS GmbH is to close gaps before they can be exploited by outsiders and thus to find a mutual key to their client’s exclusive IT security. Serving clients worldwide SySS GmbH are the market leader in penetration testing in Germany as well as in Europe, and have gathered many years of experience in numerous successful projects. Their customers are large and medium-sized companies – many of which SySS have been supporting for several years on all matters relating to IT security. Their client list comprises enterprises of all sectors, from banks to automobile manufacturers, through to chemical companies as well as major players of the telco industry. The SySS team is active all over the globe to make IT systems safer. Apart from pen-

etration tests, SySS GmbH also provide digital forensics, live hacking presentations and IT security training. In addition, members of the company regularly make expert appearances in the media (both print and TV) as well as giving lectures at national and international congresses. Sebastian Schreiber’s vision for the near future entails a 20 per cent growth objective as well as opening further locations (the company has just moved into new headquarters on six floors in June). Happy employees and exciting new clients are also top of the list, and the founder is determined to reach the bench marks of 100 employees and ten million in revenue this year. But the IT entrepreneur also enjoys tackling physical challenges: Next year, he plans to take some time off to climb the Kilimanjaro on the Rongai Route – always provided that his busy schedule will allow for it!

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  79

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Headquarters in Mainburg.

From idyllic Bavaria out into the big wide world Whether a soldier on a mission, a policeman on tour, a paramedic in action or a forest worker who just cut down a tree, they all do a dangerous job day by day. Therefore, it is essential for them to get the best possible protection. One important thing here is good footwear to meet the hard everyday challenges. A company from Bavaria in Germany has made it their business to create high-quality functional shoes for exactly this occupational group. We are talking about HAIX. TEXT & PHOTOS: HAIX

For about 15 years, these high-quality functional shoes from Bavaria have been available all over the world. But the beginnings of the company, located in an idyllic town called Mainburg in Lower Bavaria, date back to much earlier; namely to 1948. Back then, founder Xaver Haimerl, who created the name HAIX by adding the X from his first name to the first three letters of his last name, has been primarily specialised in the production of safety as well as hiking boots. About 50 years later, his son Ewald Haimerl, himself deputy fire chief of his hometown’s fire service and professional shoemaker, had a brilliant idea that laid the foundation for the 80  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

international success of HAIX. He developed an innovative leather firefighting boot - a product that has been constantly refined and improved since. In 2010, it was the FIRE HERO® – as the safest and most innovative firefighter boot that took the international market by storm. Firefighters from all over the world can hardly imagine doing their hard and exhausting work without them. But not only the firefighting sector: the development of the Ranger GSG9-S service boot is based on the experience and special mission requirements indicated by members of the German SWAT unit,

for example. In 2012, HAIX introduced its new, extremely successful product line Black Eagle Adventure, setting new standards for the leisure and sports sector. This sporty product line combines lightweight and high comfort with an athletic look and high functional safety. The HAIX Medical line has been designed for people working in emergency and rescue services and will be released before the end of 2017. Moreover, HAIX has developed special footwear for handThe FIRE HERO® 2.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Production of a HAIX® FIRE FLASH shoe for firefighters.

craft, forestry, hunting, military and police. In short, HAIX shoes are needed where real heroes have to do their work. That is exactly the company’s slogan: HEROES WEAR HAIX. Nevertheless, the high-tech functional shoe specialist from Bavaria is still a family enterprise. Its administration is situated in Mainburg where the sections research and development, design as well as marketing and distribution can be found. In the ultra-modern research and test laboratory, the shoe specialists and consulting engineers develop the latest trends and functions. With its numerous patents and new product developments, the company constantly sets new standards with regards to functionality and innovation. ‘Made in Europe - that’s not our marketing strategy, it’s a promise,’ Ewald Haimerl, CEO HAIX The production exclusively takes place in Europe, partly at the headquarters, partly in Croatia, where HAIX built one of the world’s most modern shoe production manufactories in 2014. With more than 1,100 employees worldwide and other locations in Strasbourg, France and Kentucky, North America, HAIX can be seen as a global player. In 2016, HAIX has invested in the construction of a global logistics centre in Mainburg that has been put into operation in September 2017. Europe, Asia or the USA, HAIX Mainburg, due to its new logistics centre, is now able to supply the whole world with their high-tech functional shoe products. Furthermore, the most popular outdoor shoe will be released in a new trend colour line in October 2017. The Black Eagle® Adventure 2.1 is provided with a special PU sole technology that consistently guarantees higher movement comfort and ex-

HAIX® warehouse in Mainburg.

The plant in Obuca, Croatia.

treme slip resistance. As a multifunctional outdoor shoe, it comprises a sophisticated cushioning system and an optimised footbed. It is waterproof and highly breathable due to GORE – TEX® technology. With its outstanding design, it will be available in six new trendy colours for men and three colours for women. The shoe is ultralight and equipped with a practical quick fastening. Whether mountain biking, trek-

The plant in Obuca, Croatia.

king, backpacking in forests or gardens or on the notoriously muddy fields of music festivals, the HAIX Black Eagle® Adventure 2.1 knows no limits. The advancement of the Bavarian company HAIX sets an example for a great success story, which is certainly not over yet.

Model of the new HAIX® logistic centre.

The new, state-of-the-art HAIX® logistic centre.

The HAIX® Black Eagle® Adventure 2.1.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  81

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Peter W. Schauerte, managing partner at ARIANE.

Aluminium canopies create a welcoming space at the doorstep When thinking about canopies and terrace roofs, many people might not have their emotions running high; but they play an important role in house designs and architecture for creating a welcoming feeling and secure space. ARIANE Aluminium-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG, based in the heart of the German Sauerland, creates canopies that unite quality and design and are suitable for the front door or as a larger version to roof a terrace. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  |  PHOTOS: ARIANE ALUMINIUM-SYSTEME & CO. KG

“The right canopy over the front door can add value and upgrade the entrance area, can give the house an individual character and also protects the door, entrance and of course people from wind and rain,” says Peter W. Schauerte, managing partner at ARIANE. Using lightweight aluminium, ARIANE has developed a flexible modular system with more than 60 different models that are constantly redeveloped and improved. Size, weight and design are important factors to choose the right canopy. ARIANE customers can use an online configurator to determine profiles, certain measurements and colours for an individual product. Either for a front door canopy or to add a roof to 82  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

an existing terrace in the garden. “A terrace canopy – I am not speaking about a completely closed conservatory – offers additional outdoor living space and the possibility to use the garden from quite early in the year and until late autumn,” says Schauerte. ARIANE Aluminium-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG was founded in Lennestadt in 1989 and from the very beginning has specialised on developing high-quality canopies from aluminium; later also stainless steel. Today the company is one of the leading European companies in this field. All products are made in Germany. They combine the aluminium

frame with high-quality glass, either laminated safety glass or acrylic glass. With its Pearltec-Technology and lotus effect sealing, the glass cleans itself through rainwater, transporting dirt and dust from the surface without leaving stains. Most of the canopies have additional rain gutters as well. Individual products and personal service are very important factors when choosing ARIANE: “Customers no longer need to compromise, because we are delivering custom-made solutions in the highest quality. But since all our products are individual constructions, people often need a lot of consultation to make the right choice,” explains Peter W. Schauerte. This is why ARIANE only sells its products via its network of specialist traders in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium and France, who advise customers and install the roofs on-site. Specialist retailers can be found online.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Cognitec Systems:

The face recognition company Futuristic technologies have made our world more efficient and faster. Face recognition certainly falls into this exciting new realm. As a pioneer in this innovative field, Cognitec Systems is continuously developing market-leading products for real-life applications based on its FaceVACS technology. Face recognition is bringing convenient and fast access solutions to our busy lives. Most of us know the efficient border control processes at the airport, thanks to Cognitec. In 2013, they introduced their pioneering product for verification processes in eGates at border control checkpoints.“The technology allows travellers to complete self-service border control procedures in less than 15 seconds,” spokesperson Elke Oberg adds. Facial image database searches have proven to prevent ID document fraud, and also help law enforcement agencies worldwide to quickly find offenders and solve crimes. In addition, video applications are evolving quickly, as Oberg points out: “We offer leading-edge video screening

and analytics technology that allows users to detect and identify persons of interest in video streams or footage while computing demographic and behavioural data, such as age, gender and person count. Recently, Cognitec also developed two hardware products, a specialised video camera and the biometric unit for eGates, to complement its software offerings.”


Cognitec has maintained outstanding scores in the ‘NIST Face Recognition Vendor Tests’ since 2002, most recently winning the age estimation subtest. It should come as no surprise that more than 200 customers in over 50 countries are already using Cognitec’s face recognition engine and products in various applications. Are you ready for the future? Left: Image database search results. Right: Comparing passport image to live image in eGates.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  83

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

identity Trust Management AG.

Sealing the safety deal With identity Trust Management, you are on the safe side when it comes to both online and offline identification. A variety of options makes identification, eWallet and eSignature possible anywhere at any time.

client who doesn't find a satisfying identification method with us.”


With the identity Kurier option, the client chooses time and place of the identification either online or on the phone. The courier will then look after the rest of the proceedings at the agreed time and place, allowing for both contract signing and delivery of the goods on the spot.

Are you looking for a solution regarding online contract conclusion? ‘identity eSign’ allows for legally compliant online signing, by means of a qualified mobile electronic signature following an online identification procedure. Within the frame of a video conference, the identified person can thus provide a digital signature in compliance with the “written form requirements” of the German Civil Code. identity Trust Management is the only German company that offers six identification products from a single source nationwide. In addition, their identity Management offers an individualised service which allows clients to choose and change 84  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

the nature of identification procedures at any given time. The certified service identifies natural persons for Trust Service providers, via conformity confirmation aligned with eIDAS* regulations. Furthermore, individual, transparent reports on relevant questions guarantee a comprehensive and continuous overview of user behaviour. More and more business transactions nowadays are performed online, asking for a legal, uncomplicated way of identification, verification and e-signing. identity Trust Management provides no less than six options. Project manager Claudia Richter declares: “There is no

Offline identification services

You can also identify yourself at one of the 2,000 identity Shops in person, getting the result in real time as identity Trust Management reduces the procedure literally from days to a few minutes. The shops are an ideal e-commerce solution for mobile recipients. Online identification solutions The identity Auto Check allows prompt verification of electronic ID cards within

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

seconds per smartphone app. This method quickly compares and verifies data and can be performed anywhere at any time. For example, driver's licence characteristics can be quickly and flexibly aligned in the case of repeat tests. The Auto Check is offered at various security grades. Documents can also be verified with the help of a short video sequence. identity eID works via the eID feature of the new passport and allows for an online identification within seconds. With the help of a card reader, the respective ID card app and the electronic passport with activated chip, identity Trust Management helps closing the deal in record time, complete with qualification, identification and signature. identity Giro works in cooperation with partner banks. In three simple steps, the identity test is performed just as easily as any online banking task. After the identity test, the cooperation partners receive identity Management – comprehensive Trust Service partner.

the result in real time, without any data being stored. Comfortable, safe and free of media discontinuity: identity Video is an identification method for any place at any time, with any device. By using either mobile app, laptop or PC, legally compliant identification is made easy. Also, the driver's licence can thus be quickly classified and verified, for example in the case of car sharing. Last not least, legal persons and their authorised representative can be verified through the identity Legal service, an automatic, manipulation-proof process of drawing the verifying data from the respective registries within minutes. identity Trust Management clients stem from the banking, finance and FinTech as well as the automotive, health care, telecommunication, e-commerce and shared economy sectors. Working in identity Kurier – close the deal anywhere, at any given time.

close cooperation with both the German Federal Printing Office and the Austrian National Printing Office, identity Trust Management AG started out as an identification service provider in 2011. Back then, their two offline services were built up resulting in a nationwide physical presence, followed step by step by the online options as available today. Next year, digital contract management will be expanded with an identity PoS (Point of Sale) option – a hybrid procedure combining identification with a qualified electronic signature which, although taking place offline, is fully digitised. Apart from working on further banking and trust service-based options, the company will focus on further continuing their international expansion. *electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services regulations identity Shop – ideal for E-commerce and mobile clients.

identity-PoS – hybrid procedure.

identity Giro – identification via online banking partners.

identity Video – identification via any device.

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  85

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

The reliable airbag of data protection

Made in Munich by CTT AG Every company, regardless of size or sector, must ensure that all data is kept safely and can be restored easily if it is lost. Especially with the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mistakes in that area will not only be a costly affair but also can financially challenge a company’s whole existence. Bavarian IT expert CTT AG has developed the perfect solution with their exoCrypTT external storage system.

hard drive and then a third one, which is kept elsewhere. The third option is where CTT comes in. Their exoCrypTT system encrypts data and then stores it geographically separately at their secure CTT data centre in Munich.


Most importantly, the client is without exception the only one who holds the key to the encryption. CTT never gets any keys, which also means that CTT nor anyone else (other than the key owner) is able to view the unencrypted data at any given time. For the hardware-based encryption, the AES-256 standard is applied. This is the encryption method approved in the US for government documents of the highest security level and is currently

There are many threats for businesscritical data, from data theft and malware to hard drive crashes and local problems that cause a loss of data such as heat, dust, magnetism or water damage to name but a few. It is common sense to not just rely on good fortune and leave everything to chance. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to have an external storage system that pro86  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

vides a comprehensive safety net. The new storage system exoCrypTT by CTT ticks all the boxes. The 3-2-1 strategy for data back-ups is widely seen as the best IT solution. There are three copies of your data: One that you are working with, a second that is kept locally within the company on a back-up

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

widely recognised as the most secure encryption process. Of course, the data is only transported when it is fully encrypted and is stored just a short distance from CTT’s Munich headquarters. Depending on the client’s individual needs, CTT makes the right amount of memory space available on their high-performance back-up server and ensures the continuous availability of all necessary systems. CTT strictly controls who can access their data centre, which is equipped with an uninterrupted power supply, redundant internet connection and automatic fire extinguishing units. The connection for backups between the client and the data centre is only established during configured time slots, which increases the level of protection against ransom software. These time slots can be adjusted by the client and allow for a completely customised back-up schedule.

ally, there are advanced options available including snapshots of the saved data. CTT makes sure their clients can customise their back-up concept to fit their company’s special requirements throughout. As a company, CTT has established itself firmly in the international IT scene and can proudly look back at almost 40 years of experience in the market. Founded in 1979, the company has become a leading international distributor of storagerelated IT devices and is one of the most important IT distribution companies in Germany today. CTT continuously re-

ceives outstanding feedback by its clients and suppliers alongside prestigious business awards and widespread industry recognition. Their new clever back-up system exoCrypTT is the airbag you hope to never need but which you are extremely glad to have if anything happens. Would you ever drive without one? For more information, please visit the following website.

In case of a local data loss, clients can access their back-up easily and data recovery is a very straight-forward simple process. It goes without saying that customer service is available to assist. Generally, the exoCrypTT back-up service includes everything needed for storing data externally. The clients receive the CTT Crypto box, which is the hardware that ensures the encryption and the secure communication with the CTT back-up server. Also included are two USB sticks (the original and a copy) with the necessary software for the configuration of the keys in order to encrypt the client’s data. The exoCrypTT box is easy to install and the team at CTT is always available to guide customers through the process step by step. In its basic version, exoCrypTT is the ideal and very affordable option for small- and medium-sized companies that need a straightforward solution that does not require a great deal of restructuring. Clients can also view the status of their data and transfer volumes using the exoCrypTT back-up portal. This means that the costs, which are depending on usage, can always be easily monitored. AdditionIssue 55  |  October 2017  |  87

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Safety & Security

Board members Manuela Matz, attorney and Professor Dr. Dirk Loomans, CEO of Loomans & Matz AG.

Loomans & Matz AG’s employees.

Everyone can guarantee data security

– with the right advice and systems General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is currently an important topic for the consultants at Loomans & Matz AG, based in Mainz. With this regulation, the European Union introduced a homogeneous data and privacy law that will be compulsory for European companies from May 2018 onwards. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  |  PHOTOS: LOOMANS & MATZ AG

Fulfilling the GDPR’s legal requirements is quite a challenge for many companies – even for those operating in countries with already strict laws like Germany. But violating these new regulations would entail drastic penalties, which was until now not the case, warns Professor Dr. Dirk Loomans, CEO of Loomans & Matz AG: “These could be up to 20 million euros or four per cent of consolidated sales – depending on what is higher.” This is a risk no-one probably wants to take, especially since cases have already been reported where authorities tried to review the new requirements even though they are not even in place.

instance, Loomans & Matz helped SAP to introduce such a data security system. In 2014, Loomans & Matz wrote a practical guide for data privacy management systems together with Michael Wiedemann (SAP), describing the process including small and medium-sized companies. Consultants working for Loomans & Matz have many years of experience, but come from very different backgrounds. The two heads of the company are a physicist and a lawyer, others are economists, natural or political scientists, IT experts and even teachers. “This is why we can effectively work together with all areas in a company and do not have to leave tasks to third parties.”

Loomans & Matz is one of the very few consultancies that actually have years of experience with said processes. In 2011 for

According to GDPR, companies must adapt their overall IT structures. They will be obligated to report relevant data breaches

88  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

within 72 hours.“Everyone who ever had to deal with IT processes knows how incredibly short that time period is,”says CEO and lawyer Manuela Matz. This is why companies need to establish data security processes accordingly and as soon as possible. Last but not least, GDPR requires that data security will be handled as a riskorientated process that is constantly improved and not as a technical measure that, once installed, never needs to be touched again, explains Matz:“Companies have to be aware that it is now necessary to establish a management system that will be refined over the years.” Loomans & Matz AG’s employees.



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Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Austrian Security Expert


FireServ: Where safety comes first Linz-based company FireServ e.U. offers a wide range of services in the areas of crisis and emergency management as well as safety management. Their continuous drive to meet the highest safety standards results in innovative approaches and modern concepts, which benefit their extensive client range on a daily basis. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

Safety plays a major part for every company. Knowing how to handle an emergency and taking innovative measures to prevent crisis not only keeps everyone safe, but is also the smart decision economically speaking. If, for example, fire protection is not an integral part of a company’s management with well-trained employees, it will result in far higher costs and extended downtime. FireServ CEO Andreas Kapeller says: “Aside from specific company-related dangers, businesses today are faced with threats from outside. In the future, it will be an absolute must for companies to examine, question and break free from old structures regarding crisis and emergency management. That is why we evaluate ex90  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

isting emergency concepts or develop new well-balanced and innovative concepts and processes together with our clients in order to prepare the institution for their future tasks.” FireServ also offers services regarding worker protection, health management and fire protection. The team of experts combines in-depth know-how and economic competence with their long-term experience in emergency units at fire brigades and rescue services. “Innovation, economic efficiency and legal compliance are naturally part of our work,”Kapeller adds. The client base of FireServ ranges from the manufacturing industry to their

Main image: Organisation and evaluation of emergency exercises. Photo: Kirchstorfer Top right: Monitoring concepts for dangerous tasks. Photo: Kirchstorfer Right: Safety-related supervision at industrial construction sites. Photo: Kapeller

maintenance units, but also from municipal sectors and big trading companies as well as planning and engineering consultancies. Safety management has to be incorporated properly, as Kapeller explains: “Health and safety at the work place is more than just a legal requirement. The proper integration of modern methods such as the safety day and health management systems in companies, institutions but also for projects reduce interface problems whilst increasing legal compliance and reducing downtime and accidents at work.” Keeping employees safe is not only the morally right thing to do, but also economically as well as legally. Given that this can be a dauntingly big task, it is a good idea to have a strong partner by your side; and the experts at FireServ are exactly that. For more information, visit the following website:

Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Solicitor Column

New home buyers:

beware the leasehold trap TEXT & PHOTO: GREGOR KLEINKNECHT

The government recently conducted a consultation on ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’, which looked at a range of measures aimed at preventing unfair practices and abuses of leasehold agreements in the context of new residential home sales. So, what is the issue? The issue arises from the distinction under English law between freehold and leasehold interests in land: put simply, freehold ownership of land is the outright and absolute ownership of land and property for an unlimited period of time. By contrast, a leasehold interest is a long-term but time limited right to occupy and use a property for the term of the lease, but the freehold remains in the ownership of the landlord and the property will eventually revert back to the landlord when the term of the lease has come to an end. Also, there will be a formal lease between the freeholder and the leaseholder and this is where the problem resides: the lease can impose onerous obligations and restrictions on the leaseholder. In particular, in financial terms, the lease can require the tenant to pay ground rents and these ground rents cannot only be high to start off with, but are also often linked to an escalation clause which sees them increase significantly over time. Fees may also be payable for a permission to make alterations to the property, or the freeholder may seek to sell the freehold interest to the leaseholder for a significant additional payment. In practice, this has two principal consequences: first, the lease gives rise to increasingly burdensome long-term financial obligations which the leaseholder may not have properly taken into consideration when he acquired his interest in the property; and, secondly, in extreme cases, it can make it all but impossible to sell or

re-mortgage the property and can catch the leaseholder in a negative equity trap. This is not a theoretical problem and there has rightly been considerable media focus on the issue. The percentage of residential sales that were leasehold has been growing at a steady pace, particularly in the North of England. Land Registry figures show that leasehold made up 43 per cent of all new-built registrations in England and Wales in 2015, compared to just 22 per cent back in 1996. There can be legitimate reasons for selling a property as leasehold, for example, in the case of flats, where it helps with property management, but leasehold arrangements are more difficult to justify where the property is a house. In any event, even where a leasehold may be appropriate in principle, this does not of course justify unreasonable contract terms exploiting home buyers. So, what to do about it? In its consultation, the government sought views as to whether it would be appropriate to ban the sale of new-built leasehold houses altogether. Also, historically, ground rents were often set at a nominal level (a ‘peppercorn’) and the government sought views on whether the starting value and increase in ground rents on all new residential leases for flats with a term over 21 years should be restricted to the traditional ‘peppercorn’. Finally, the government proposed to limit landlords’ ability to seek mandatory possession orders for ground rent arrears – which put the leaseholder at risk of losing his interest in the property altogether. Finding themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, some home builders are belatedly seeking to mend their ways and have launched schemes to help

distressed leasehold buyers. The measures proposed by the government are nevertheless sensible to put an end to such practices. They may have the effect of increasing the initial purchase price of many residential homes but that may well be a price worth paying for the financial certainty which home buyers will gain in return. In the meantime, the best advice for anybody contemplating the purchase of a leasehold property must be to obtain proper advice and to make sure that they understand the implications of the contracts they are asked to sign.

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 55  |  October 2017  |  91

Zurich Film Festival. Photo: © Zurich Film Festival

Culture Calendar October does not only bring the vibrant colours of autumn, but it is also packed with exciting events. The Halloween month promises many cultural highlights such as the film festivals in Vienna and Zurich. Whether you want to run a marathon or see a musical, check out our culture calendar for October. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

Anna Göldi Musical, Neuhausen (7 September – 22 October) The exciting story of ‘Switzerland’s last witch’ has finally been turned into a musical. At the heart of the story is one of the biggest legal scandals in Swiss history and the ensemble gives their everything to pay justice to the legendary Anna Göldi. 92  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

13th Zurich Film Festival, Zurich (28 September – 8 October) For 11 days, Zurich turns into an international film hub and attracts well-known actors, directors and celebrities from around the world. 30 new film premieres and many supporting events make this an annual crowd-puller in Switzerland.

Berlin illuminated, Berlin (29 September – 15 October) Berlin illuminated lifts the October mood with colourful illuminations and transforms many lesser-known yet significant buildings all over the capital with vibrant lights. The light installations and projections can be found across the entire city, but mainly in the areas Mitte, Tiergarten, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Steglitz.

RheinEnergieMarathon, Cologne (1 October) On the first day of this month, the starting shot will sound for the RheinEnergieMarathon. More than 20,000 runners as well as schools

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar

Anuga trade fair. Photo: © Koelnmesse GmbH, Hanne Engwald

and companies will participate. Where are your running shoes?

Day of German Unity Celebrations, Berlin (3 October) The Day of German Unity is Germany’s national holiday. It commemorates the German reunification when the former GDR officially joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990 and is celebrated with a festival around the Brandenburg Gate. Numerous stages host live concerts and there are plenty of street food stalls.

Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cologne (3 - 21 October) From 3 to 21 October, the Musical Dome hosts the well-known ‘bad, bizarre and bloody brilliant’ musical Rocky Horror Picture Show by Richard O’Brien. ‘No matter what or who you are’, this will be an unforgettable trip to the Frankenstein place not to be missed.

Schubertiade, Hohenems (5 – 8 October) Widely considered the world’s number one Schubert festival, the annual Schubertiade brings international audiences to Austria’s Hohenems. An absolute must for Schubert fans in particular and classical music lovers in general.

The Heinrich Schütz musical festival in Dresden’s Frauenkirche. Photo: © Heinrich Schütz Musikfest, Photo: Mathias Marx

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  93

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar

ORF Long Night of Museums in Vienna. Photo: © ORF, Hans Leitner

Heinrich Musikfest, Dresden (6 – 16 October) This year, the Heinrich Schütz musical festival has Martin Luther as its core theme. Guests can indulge in various classical concerts all in keeping with the motto ‘Out of love for the truth – Re-formation’.

ORF Long Night of Museums 2017, across Austria (7 – 8 October) ORF is initiating this cultural event across Austria for the 18th time. From 6pm to 1am, various museums and galleries open their doors to nightly visitors. Special events, workshops and concerts are also part of the event and turn the whole of Austria into the glamorous

background for a truly magical night of culture.

Anuga trade fair, Cologne (7 – 11 October) Taste the future at the leading global trade fair for the food sector. It will be held on the koelnmesse exhibition grounds from 7 to 11 October. At the last trade fair, more than 7,000 exhibitors informed visitors and buyers about the latest trends in food and beverages.

FriScènes Theatre Festival, Fribourg (7 – 14 October) The theatre festival FriScènes brings professionals and amateurs together. It has been

Cologne Marathon. Photo: © Philipp Cielen

Berlin illuminated. © artfully media, Photo: Sven Chr. Schramm

94  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Issue 55  |  October 2017  |  95

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar designed as an open creative space that encourages the artistic dialogue and is a great platform for collaborations and networking.

Venus Berlin, Berlin (12 – 15 October) For four days the Messegelände trade fair grounds in Berlin host the world’s leading trade show for erotic entertainment and lifestyle. The fair is open to both professional visitors and the public. There will be 250 exhibitors from 40 countries attracting around 30,000 visitors each year.

Viennale Film Festival, Vienna (17 October – 2 November) The renowned international film festival of Vienna attracts celebrities, filmmakers and guests from all over the world and celebrates its 55th season this year. With many film premiers and events around filmmaking, the Viennale is always the place to be in October.

Expedition to the Middle Ages, Museum Schnütgen, Cologne (20 October 2017 – 28 January 2018) Museum Schnütgen is inviting visitors to come and explore their new exhibition Expedition to the Middle Ages. The grand special exhibition showcases works and especially grouped objects that are seldom on display or have never been shown to the public before. Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo: © Thommy Mardo

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The RheinEnergieMarathon in Cologne. Photo: © Jan Drexler

Berlin illuminated. © visitBerlin, Photo: Sarah Lindemann

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Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Barbara Geier Column

Anything is possible TEXT & PHOTO: BARBARA GEIER

Should I or should I not write something about the impending election in Germany? It’s a bit of a weird one since, by the time you read this, you’ll already know and, writing this, I don’t yet know who’s won. Only, I actually do know, don’t I? Because who but Angie could be the winner? It’s interesting, Germans really like to stick with something once it has proven to work (more or less). Because after all, one never knows if whatever comes next is better, right, and if there’s one thing Germans crave, it’s security or least a sense of security. When I was a child, teenager and well into my twenties, there was only ever Helmut Kohl, another CDU chancellor who lasted a long time. Now there’s another generation of youngsters who have only ever known one person weathering the world’s storms on behalf of the country. Only this time it’s Angela Merkel – or ‘Mutti’ (mummy), her German nickname. And because of her gender, the whole thing has an added dimension. A while ago, someone told me this lovely true story: A young boy was asked what he wanted to be when he grows up. Upon answering ‘Bundeskanzler’ (German Chancellor), he was corrected by another boy saying that this, of course, wasn’t to be ‘because that is a job for a woman’. Quite something, isn’t it? In the minds of kids of a certain generation, this job is now female. And there are worse things, I’d venture to say! She’s getting quite a bit of flak at home at the moment our Angie, with a lot of Germans criticising her heavily. However, faced with all the Trump and 98  |  Issue 55  |  October 2017

Farage types haunting our world nowadays, what essentially is so bad about someone who’s sensible and factual, even if you might not always agree with her policies, actions or indeed non-actions? Many Germans would now be all outraged at my ignorance and giving me a detailed lecture on why Merkel’s stance on pensions, education, taxes or whatever is all wrong. I always realise in this context that by now, I very much have a foreigner’s point of view on German politics. I see the bigger picture, rather than the nitty-gritty and yes – looking at what is available internationally, ‘Mutti’ still has a lot going for her. So, while, of course, anything is possible, let’s assume for the moment that after 24 September there will still be an Angie and, for another four years, German children will grow up in the knowledge that a woman is the boss. And why would that be the case? Why would Germany again have voted for her, apart from the aforementioned fact that the country likes security and sticking with what is known (which plays a part, I’m quite convinced of that). Well, we can all be very cynical when it comes to politicians – we think they’re only in it for the power and the ego, lying, opportunistic and not actually interested in their voters; actors, essentially, on a political stage. And maybe that’s precisely the reason why good old Angie has a certain advantage: Because people sense something normal in her, a certain humaneness, which also includes the awkwardness she can display in her behaviour and mannerisms. And aren’t we all awkward sometimes?

Yes, she might be one of the most powerful people in the world, but she still breaks into a kind of young girl/shy smile, totally unguarded. In fact, quite frequently her face is not that of a well-trained political pro, but very openly displaying what she’s thinking. And then there are those looks or sideway glances that she casts over to whichever politician might be sitting next to her at a press conference or similar, uttering yet another stupidity. Priceless. People like that kind of thing. And sometimes in politics, things like that might just be enough – to win again… 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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