Munich’s culture is shaped by extraordinary women. As we put “all eyes on culture”, we would like to introduce you to a few of them. This time, it is Birgit Stempfle. She is an official tour guide for the city of Munich who, amongst other things, leads the tour “Without Women Nothing Works”, which aims to dispel the prejudice that only men have shaped the history of Munich.
Were you born in Munich or did you move here?
I come from the area around Lake Chiemsee. The job brought me to Munich. Then Munich became home for our family.
In which district are you at home?
In Waldperlach, but I also like the old town a lot and spend a lot of time there.
What does Munich taste like?
It is varied. From veal sausages, obatzda and pretzels from the Vikualienmarket (food market) to classy three-star restaurants and the whole world.
What does Munich sound like?
Like the Glockenspiel in the tower of the New Town Hall. Every day at 11 am and 12 pm and in the summer additionally at 5 pm, colourful figures dance whilst the bells chime. Whilst the top level portrays the celebration of the wedding of Duke William V to Renata of Lorraine, the lower level portrays the Coopers’ Dance. These coopers are supposed to have been the first people after the plague to dare to come onto the street and encourage the population.
What does Munich smell like?
By the Eisbach, Munich always has a completely fresh smell of the water and the spray which splashes up.
Munich is the only city where ...
... you can have such a carefree and varied life. A metropolis and a village at the same time!
Which Munich lady should everyone know?
The scientist Therese of Bavaria. In the late 19th century, it was unusual for a woman, especially a noble woman, to practise science. Access to university was actually forbidden to women. Her important zoological collection was created as a result of her research trips on other continents. In 1897, Therese of Bavaria was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Munich.
Your favourite Bavarian word?
“Gspusi”. It is a term for someone with whom you are having a love affair. The word comes from the Italian “sposa” and means “bride”.
The most attractive building in the city?
I like the Amalienburg best because the silver, floral stucco is unique amongst the Bavarian palaces.
The catchiest Munich song?
“Sommer in der Stadt” by the Spider Murphy Gang. Everyone in Munich knows the band; it best describes the attitude to life in Munich. The song is about the universally popular places in the summer, such as the English Garden, the Isar or the Stachus Fountain.
Isar or Eisbach?
The Isar because its banks are more varied.
Beer garden or bar?
Beer garden because I no longer throw myself into the night life and because it is more sociable there.
Philharmonic orchestra or brass band music?
Everything at its time. I like the philharmonic orchestra a lot, but wind music can also be great at a forest festival.
A weekend in the mountains or by the lake?
In the mountains because I can gather my thoughts there and the mountains make me happy. I have often been to the Zugspitze with guests, and it is a real highlight for me to look across the Alps and across 300 peaks in clear weather. In my free time, I love hiking in the mountains, the lavishly flowering mountain meadows in June, the mountain pastures, the view and yes, also the exertion and the anticipation of the meal at the hut or the packed lunch at the summit.
The best place in Munich to impress visitors?
The Eisbachwelle in the English Garden, where surfers show off their tricks in the summer and winter alike.
The best place in Munich for a beer after work?
The roof terrace of the Bayerischer Hof or the Deutsche Eiche.
The best place in Munich for a romantic date?
In the Café Glockenspiel at the window façade with a view of the illuminated Town Hall.
The best place in Munich to think?
The Cabinet Garden in the Residence because you can be alone there.
The best place in Munich to experience culture?
The Kunstareal (art district) in the Maxvorstadt district, where you can find the Alte and Neue Pinakothek and can visit cosy cafés.
The best place in Munich if you are longing for Italy?
Odeonsplatz (Odeon’s Square). Everything there is actually very Italian.