Mayor of the City of Friedrichshafen
Chairman of the Messe Friedrichshafen Supervisory Board
The Mayor of Friedrichshafen is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Friedrichshafen and sits on the boards of several other companies – how did that happen?
Well, firstly, if you look at public utilities up and down the country, it’s not uncommon for the mayor and city chiefs to chair the Supervisory Boards of public enterprises. That said, it’s a fair question given that Friedrichshafen has various other organisations, besides the usual Supervisory Boards, in which the city is heavily invested. As well as Messe, there is the Zeppelin Foundation, which owns a majority stake in ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH and Zeppelin GmbH. Since the Zeppelin Foundation is
administered by the City of Friedrichshafen, the city as its shareholder is represented on the Supervisory Boards. I admit, it’s a unique arrangement in terms of business and politics tied so closely together – it certainly presents an interesting and challenging business setting.
Speaking of Count Zeppelin – his legacy has spawned several companies here in Friedrichshafen which are now global players in their fields with a reputation for excellence on the international market. Most cities would love to have so many high-tech jobs. On the flip side, does Friedrichshafen have a special responsibility here?
Absolutely. Friedrichshafen is a city where tradition and innovation meet on a daily basis, confronting us with ever-new challenges. To keep these high-tech jobs in our city, we must make sure that businesses have all the infrastructure they need – starting with good transport links right through to high-speed data connections. Workers similarly expect an excellent infrastructure in their city, whether it be mobility, education and care or properties for rent or sale. It’s all about offering a high quality of life.
You moved here from Böblingen when you became Mayor of Friedrichshafen in 2009. Thinking back, what did you find most fascinating about Lake Constance, and Friedrichshafen in particular, in those early days?
From day one, my family and I found Friedrichshafen to be an incredibly dynamic city, full of life and soul, keen to grow and evolve, to move forward and blaze new trails. I also thought the residents to be extremely friendly, cosmopolitan, down-toearth, not to mention industrious and far-sighted.
Friedrichshafen was the only place on Lake Constance to be destroyed by bombs in World War II and so its development took an entirely different path from that of other towns in the region. How would you define your city from today’s vantage point, and what are its prospects for growth and advancement?
This starting over is exactly what defines our city to this day. The past brought many challenges, it’s true, but it also presented fantastic opportunities and prospects to grow and change course. Today, Friedrichshafen is a modern and vibrant city with all the trappings of sophistication to help shape our tomorrow. I’m talking, for instance about the digitalisation of society, economy and industry, or the demographic change. Friedrichshafen boasts a strong economy,
with high, and that to me indicates it’s on the right track.
Which Friedrichshafen trade shows do you personally enjoy the most?
I’m always intrigued by the IBO with it´s diverse portfolio of products and services. It’s a typical consumer exhibition with a long tradition and a good perspective for the future. My son and I also like to go to the Faszination Modellbau – not just to browse, but to buy.
What would you recommend as a must for visitors?
In summer I highly recommend a dip in the lake – in one of our fantastic outdoor pools. The Zeppelin Museum is well worth a visit at any time of the year. You’ll always find new things to discover here. Possibly the best kept secret, if you’re looking for somewhere to relax after a successful day at the
exhibition, is the Stärr Schorsch in Fischbach – which is one of the most scenic beer gardens by the lake.