Meet our expert, resident Program Directors
With Grand Circle since 2006
99% of travelers rated their experience with Johannes excellent
"Johannes is an excellent Program Director. He was so knowledgeable and interesting when he talked about the areas through which we were traveling. His wit and kind nature added so much to the trip."
–Mary Jane & Jorge Vilanova, 5-time travelers, Cleveland, Tennessee
Born in: Augsburg, Germany
Resides in: Augsburg, Germany
Languages: English, German, a little Dutch, some Japanese
Hobbies & Interests: Mountain hiking, reading
Get to know Johannes:
Germany is not much different from the U.S. Growing up there was nice, as Germany is one of the wealthiest countries and there was neither war nor civil unrest. One difference is that I grew up when the Iron Curtain divided our country. I grew up in Western Germany and attended high school and university in my hometown of Augsburg in Bavaria, where I received my Master’s degree in modern history. Before I was a Program Director, I worked for my hometown's municipal archive and the Museum of Textile Industry, and I was a local guide there, too.
I wanted to do something different from being in a dusty office, and that's when I decided to join Grand Circle Cruise Line. My love of history, traveling, and cooking helps me connect with my travelers, and I always make sure my groups have opportunities to taste local foods.
I particularly like to share the way Germany openly discusses its past and the crimes committed by Germans, such as the war criminals of the Nuremberg Trials, whereas in many other countries, past crimes are sometimes ignored. Once, one of my travelers told me that her deceased husband, who was Jewish, would have easily come to Germany had he only known how open and honest Germans are when it comes to discussing the horrors of the Holocaust.
Johannes’s Insider Tips:
Iconic Items & Handcrafts:
The Nuremberg Christmas market is well-known locally for Zwetschgenmännchen, which translates roughly to “Prune People.” Made out of dried prunes and wire, these little statues come dressed in tiny clothes and represent all kinds of real-life people, like grandpa, chimney sweepers, physicians, and so on.
Local Culture & Etiquette:
When trying to get the attention of a waiter in a restaurant in Germany, never wave with a crooked finger like many Americans do. This is considered very impolite. In German folklore, it is the way the witch lures Hänsel and Gretel to her gingerbread house. Just raise your hand or show your wallet.