Behind the scenes of Norderney
Germany’s East Frisian island of Norderney is looking for a new island blogger. Sounds tempting! But what really motivates young people to move to an island with 6,000 residents, four hours’ drive away from a town with more than 100,000 inhabitants? Discover Germany asked the vacating blogger and some of his possible successors.
TEXT: HANNA KROLLE | PHOTO © DIEKE GÜNTHER
‘One island. 52 weeks. Countless moments of happiness. Blog about Norderney!’ With these words, the ‘Staatsbad’ of Norderney attracted 335 applicants from all over the world to become the future blogger of the island. Equipped with a camera, pocket money and an apartment, the winner moves to the East Frisian island for a year and blogs about his experiences during a parachute jump, a wellness treatment or water sports.
Establish contacts, make friends and do a lot of sport – these were Dieke Günther’s personal resolutions when he started his year as the blogger of Norderney. At the time, he was 18 years old and had just graduated from high school. Having grown up in Südbrokmerland, a municipality on the North Sea coast, Dieke first got acquainted with the place, which would become his future home, on a school trip. Speaking the local accent himself, he applied with a video message and succeeded in asserting himself against 70 competitors. Soon after, the young man found himself living on the island and starting to write his blog. In simple, catchy words and with the help of appealing pictures, he describes his feelings during a mud treatment in the local thermal bath, the breathtaking view over the island during a parachute jump, or the easiest way to cover beach chairs. Each entry starts with the slogan “He! Ik bün’t, Dieke!”, which means “Hey, it’s me, Dieke!” in the typical North German dialect. Dieke is about to end his job this summer and the Staatsbad is in search of a successor.
Mud bath in the ‘bade:haus’.
The 12-member headed team of the editorial department of ‘Checkpoint Berlin’, a satirical newsletter of the ‘Tagesspiegel’, about Berlin politics, economy and society, applied to become Norderney’s future blogger with a song. A cup of coffee in hands, sunglasses on and accompanied by cello and guitar, they sing: ‘Wir kapern jetzt Norderney, Berliner Schnauze dabei, wir drehen jedes Sandkorn um, wir schnüffeln dann im Rathaus herum’ (‘We’re capturing Norderney, Berlin muzzle aboard, we’re turning every grain of sand and snooping around in the town hall’), and so on. After every strophe, they discuss their projects as the potential blogger on the island. “We are a group of 12 people with diverse interests and expertise. One of us would focus on all the plant and animal life on the island, another on outdoor activities and another on cultural events. Our curiosity and open mind for what is new unites us as a group,” says Ann-Kathrin Hipp. The young journalist from the Rhineland, who now calls Berlin her home, isn’t afraid of the dark winter months on the island, either. “When I think about Norderney, sailing and surfing comes to my mind at first. But what happens in winter when it’s grey outside and nobody really looks at the island?” she asks.
Nina Isringhausen has a similar motivation. “I want to know what Norderney is like when tourism doesn’t determine the day. When everything else falls away. I want to know why people stay, why they come here and why they drive out.” Considering that the 23-year-old woman from Dortmund has lived and worked several times on the island, during the summer months, she knows the facets of the island very well. “People may ask: ‘You have been so often on Norderney, why do you want to spend one more year there?’. That’s true. I’ve seen the island in spring when families with handcarts stride from beach to beach and when football clubs, which obviously only consist of passive instead of active members, come to the island later in the year. But this island is more. Questions, curiosity, to look behind the facade – that’s what appeals to me.”
Whoever wins, Norderney fans will be sure to hear a lot about their favourite island – for every time of the year and off the beaten path.
The new blogger will be announced here: www.norderney.de/meinezeit.html
You will also find the application videos of the top-ten candidates.
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