The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) in Marienplatz, in Munich

The D&O Diary’s sojourn in Germany continued last week with travel to Nuremburg and Munich. The same wonderful late spring weather that we  had enjoyed the week before in Frankfurt followed us as we continued our travels in Germany.


My primary purpose for traveling to Munich was to participate in a Munich Re Financial Lines Expert Group event held at the company’s beautiful headquarters building. It was a hybrid event, with some participants live in Munich and many others joining virtually from around the world. I made a presentation to the group on ESG and other topics; I presented a perspective on ESG that arguably qualifies as contrarian.  It was a pleasure to meet with and to exchange ideas with such a distinguished group of international D&O professionals. I would like to thank Aisha Anwar for making it possible for me to participate ; Monica Milberg and Dr. Carola Barzen for inviting me  to participate; and to all of the attendees for making the event so enjoyable and so informative.  A special note of thanks to Sabrina Kirschner for coordinating my participation in the event (and also for her memorable introduction prior to my presentation).


This picture was taken at the conclusion of the educational sessions, in front of Munich Re’s beautiful headquarters building, on Königstraße, just opposite the main entrance to the Englischer Garten, in Munich. From left to right in the picture: Monica Milberg; Mark Beeching; Sabrina Kirschner; me; Dr. Carola Barzen; and Birgit Freund.


At a reception in the courtyard of the Munich Re building. From left to right, James Cooper of Clyde & Co; Aisha Anwar; me; and Dr. Carola Barzen.



Outside the famous Paulaner Brauhäus in Munich, with Ed Brehm; me; Mark Beeching; and Renato Colasuonno.


A great evening in the Bier Garten at the Paulaner Brauhäus. I am very grateful to everyone at Munich Re for inviting me to be a part of their great event.


Our time in Munich also afforded us some opportunities to see the city itself as well. I have been to Munich several times in the past, and so it is a familiar place. It is such a green, agreeable, comfortable place, with an excellent transportation system, and a host of pleasant sites. All of these features of the city were significantly enhanced by the beautiful weather that prevailed during our visit. Indeed, during an evening picnic in the Englisher Garten, my wife allowed that she wouldn’t mind living in Munich; while that is not likely to happen, it was certainly pleasant to contemplate.


The beautiful Englischer Gartens, one of Munich’s most attractive features and one of the largest urban parks in the world. It is an “English” Garden because it is laid out in the informal English garden style (by contrast to the formal French or Italian style). The Garten is walking distance from the hotel where we stayed, and we spent as much time there as we could, in order to enjoy the beautiful weather.


This is the Schwabinger Bach, one of the numerous scenic, swiftly flowing streams that course through the Englischer Gartens. The streams not only add to the charm of the place, but also, in a location at the South end of the park. allows for surfing.


One of the great things about being in Germany in May and during the great weather was that the flowering Chestnut trees were in bloom. Wherever we were on our trip there seemed to be flowering Chestnut trees in bloom. Absolutely beautiful.


Notwithstanding the beautiful weather, we did at least try to take advantage of Munich’s cultural offerings. We did take a morning to visit the Alte Pinakothek art gallery. The museum has a fine collection but I had one main objective during our visit.


This is the famous Albrecht Dürer self-portrait. As discussed further below, I am a huge fan of Dürer, and one of my objectives while in Munich was to see this painting. Because of the reflection of light on the the painting’s glass protective cover, the painting was very difficult to photograph. It was amazing to see the actual painting, and to think about why Dürer painted it. My guess is that he knew we would want to know about him and how he looked.


Although we appreciated the opportunity to enjoy Munich’s cultural offerings, the beautiful weather pretty much demanded that we spend as much time outdoors as possible. We were able to rent bikes using the app for the city’s great local public transportation system, and with the bikes we were able to explore the far-flung corners of the Englischer Garten. It was a great day.


We spent the weekend before traveling to Munich in Nuremberg. We enjoyed our visit to Nuremberg – the weather was great, and we appreciated the chance to explore its historic sites.


The Nuremberg Castle is actually a group of fortified buildings on a tall hill on the north side of the city’s Aldstadt. The structures were an important Imperial Castle during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The structures were badly damaged during WWII, but they have been thoroughly restored.


However, as much as we enjoyed our visit to Nuremberg, we really do want a do-over. As great as the weather conditions were, there was one huge  problem. It turned out that on Sunday afternoon during the weekend of our visit, the local soccer team, 1. FC Nürnberg, was scheduled to play FC Schalke 04 in each team’s respective final match during the regular season of the  2. Bundesliga  (the second level of professional football in Germany). The outcome of the game would determine whether or not Schalke would be the champions of second division, and also confirm whether Schalke would be promoted to the top division for next season. Owing to these high stakes, many Schalke fans travelled to Nuremberg from their home base in Gelsenkirchen. There were literally thousands of Schalke fans in Nuremberg for the weekend.  (Maybe tens of thousands.) They were everywhere. They were loud. And they were not sober. The streets literally rang with the sounds of their singing, as reflected in the video below, filmed outside an Irish pub on the street near our hotel.  Their singing went late into the night on Saturday night and even well into the early hours of Sunday morning. (I heard them still singing near our hotel at 3:30 am). They were back at it again on Sunday. And even after the game was over and Schalke had won, 2-1, the Schalke fans were still  flooding the streets and singing. And they were still not sober. It was amusing in a way, but it was also very hard not to think that the whole experience of being in Nuremberg would have been a lot more fun without the thousands of drunken, singing Schalke fans.



One particular reason I wanted to visit Nuremberg is that the city is Albrecht Dürer’s hometown. As you might have detected from the above comments about Durer’s self-portrait, I am a huge fan of Albrecht Dürer; I even devoted a recent installment in my Sunday Arts series on this site to Dürer. He is in many ways the city’s most famous son. There is a street in the Aldstadt named after him, and the airport is also named after him. (In addition, there are a number of beerhalls and cafes named after him as well).



A statue of Dürer, located on the street that bears his name


Dürer’s house at the top of the street that bears his name. The house was badly damaged in WWII, but the house still manages to do a good job memorializing his life and works, and there is an interesting display on how Dürer made his famous engravings.


One of the impressive towers that is part of the Castle complex on the top of Castle Hill, viewed from the Castle gardens.


Yellow roses in the Castle gardens


This covered wooden pedestrian bridge is one of several bridges across the River Pegnitz in Nuremberg’s scenic Aldstadt.


Here’s a tip for anyone planning a trip to Nuremberg. The city’s Aldstadt is nice, but it can be crowded and, on the day we were visiting, kind of hot. Just outside the city’s walls, on the east side of the Aldstadt, is a massive green oasis of a park, the Wöhrder Wiese. It was such a relief to go and enjoy the quiet shady park (especially because no Schalke fans made it quite that far).



Can’t visit Germany without enjoying some of the great German beer. Here I am sampling some in a quiet riverside beer garden along the Pegnitz River in Nuremberg.


I have to say that (even allowing for the drunken Schalke fans) we had a great trip to Germany. We were extremely fortunate with the weather and we enjoyed visiting some great places. The more times I visit, the more I appreciate traveling in Germany. There are certain features of life in Germany — the great public transportation, the bicycle-friendly cities, the prevalence of comfortable beer gardens — that make it such a great place to visit. Definitely some features that could improve life  in the U.S. as well.