Boat trips Dirk Kleemann

Please note: The following text is an interview or story from a previous year. Please do not draw any conclusions from it about events currently taking place or statistics etc.


Spreewald Journal Issue: May/June 2016

Interview with Dirk Kleemann: "In winter I expand my language skills theoretically, in summer practically."

"Welcome to Dirk's guided punt trips" is how bargeman Dirk Kleemann from Lübbenau not infrequently greets his guests. For he offers Spreewald explorers from around the world the characteristic experience of a punt trip in English and even in Spanish. There must be a lot to tell!

Mr Kleemann, how would you describe the Spreewald nature experience in three words? Natural, relaxing and entertaining. What makes life and work as a bargeman so extraordinary for you? As a bargeman, you come into contact every day with people from near and far who arrive already in a good mood and are set to have a great day. What made you decide to prepare your tours for English and Spanish-speaking audiences as well? Since the year 2000, I feel there has been an increase in foreign tourists, and in a way they are particularly dependent on explanations from the service providers, and they also show great interest and gratitude towards you. The enthusiasm for the Spreewald is contagious. What do you think fascinates the international visitors in particular? First and foremost, the unique river landscape, which is also unique in terms of geological history. Secondly, the history of settlement since the 8th century. And thirdly, the economic and cultural development since the 11th century, i.e. how man has cultivated the marshland and shaped the Spreewald as we know it today. Are there any encounters with guests that have left a lasting impression on you? Yes, definitely. The day before yesterday, for example, I went on a tour with a British medical student who asked a lot of interested questions and whom I invited to my house for spinach and potatoes after the tour. That happens sometimes. How important do you think it is to make the Spreewald a multilingual experience? Very important if sales figures are to increase. We all want tourism to grow in the region, but it also has to be served from our side. All in all, we are a bit late in the region as far as English-language services in tourism are concerned. Other places are already much further ahead.