Natalie Kauther and Adrian Pollmann have been the Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Germany to Slovenia since August 2020. They find Slovenia the most charming of all the countries in which they have resided so far as the representatives of their country. They put family to the forefront, as they have invented a special model of job sharing to harmonise professional and family life. In addition to active involvement for the benefit of their own and host countries, they are also keen explorers of new experiences and places, and they enjoy meeting new people. They also like reading books.
Slovenia traditionally maintains excellent relations with Germany, which was one of the first countries to recognise Slovenia as an independent state. The countries are cooperating in the business field and are tightly linked politically, as they are both EU member states. Furthermore, they also have good cooperation on large cultural projects such as the Frankfurt Book Fair.
This year, Slovenia will be the Guest of Honour at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair.
In love with Slovenia
“Slovenia is a wonderful blend of natural sites and interesting cultural heritage. It’s safe, green, clean. Its people are open and friendly. It’s impossible to describe it in one word. Slovenia’s become our home. Every time, when we return from family holidays or from abroad in general, there’s happiness in our hearts immediately after we pass through the Karavanke Tunnel,” they explain enthusiastically.
Adrian Pollmann, who shares the ambassadorial post with his wife, says, “We’ll be ending our post in Slovenia next year and the entire family is already feeling anxious. We had a lovely time here as a family. Our children are very happy here. We really lack nothing in Slovenia. Except, of course, our closest family members and certain close friends.”
They get excited when talking about Slovenia, “We’ve made many new friends here. Including politicians, diplomats and other people in prominent positions. But a special category includes our friends from the Rožnik Hill (a popular destination for family trips and everyday hikes in Ljubljana), our Rožnik buddies. We like the fact that Slovenia is small enough to make it easy to meet pleasant people frequently and get to know them. Before leaving, we also plan to climb Mt Triglav. Perhaps one of the children will join us. Slovenians are very open, friendly and hospitable. You’re really good at recreational sports, so it’s no wonder that your professional athletes also achieve top results.”
Slovenia will be a hit in Frankfurt
Ambassador Pollmann comes from Frankfurt and is particularly excited that Slovenia will be showcased in his hometown. “In our opinion, the project is being managed successfully by the Slovenian Book Agency and the Ministry of Culture. We’re pleased that the Slovenian political leaders support the project. Slovenia truly has everything; the sea, mountains, beautiful lakes, vineyards, forests, lowlands, interesting cultural heritage, top gastronomy and, of course, great literature. Everything. I also like the idea of Slovenia being showcased in Frankfurt as the land of beekeeping.”
Ambassador Kauther agrees with him, “In addition to the presentation of Slovenian literature, the accompanying events will also leave a lasting impression, such as the performance by the band Laibach, various exhibitions, and a presentation of Slovenian wines and gastronomy. I have no doubt that visitors will remember Slovenia. When we entertain at the Embassy, we’re really proud to be able to treat our guests to good wine or Slovenian specialities and tell them something about the history and peculiarities of Slovenia. From the very start of our posting, we’ve tried very hard to be active. We travel around Slovenia a lot. We lecture at schools, visit companies and educational institutions, etc.”
The couple will be happy to assist with their diplomatic contacts if necessary. They already successfully cooperate with the Slovenian Embassy in Berlin and the Slovenian Cultural Centre – SKICA Berlin.
Books enrich us creatively
Natalie Kauther highlights, “I think that the Frankfurt Book Fair is important as an event which reminds us that the digital world, scrolling and surfing while using phones and social networks should not completely be a substitute for books or that feeling when picking up a book. The ability to read is very important for the healthy mental development of a child, starting in primary school and beyond. It’s wrong to think that a book can be replaced by a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer, InstaStories, TikTok, etc. The reading of books and printed media is much more than just reading, it allows children to concentrate for longer periods of time. Short digital messages are certainly harmful. It’s not right to neglect the value of books and in-depth reading and writing.”
They both encourage their children to read. Before going on a holiday, they always visit a bookshop. They never regret the money spent on books.
Ambassador Pollmann comes from a family who always read a lot, “My mother was a librarian and I grew up with books. Because I was surrounded by books, I also had an aversion to books at one stage in my life. This is also happening with our children, but we’re trying to encourage them to think differently. There are no phones at our family table. Unless it’s for an important business call. Neither of us has a private Facebook profile; however, the Embassy has one.”
They also enjoy Slovenian authors
“After arriving here and even before, I began reading Drago Jančar, Aleš Šteger, Miha Mazzini, Goran Vojnović and other authors. Reading books is very beneficial for a diplomat as it helps you get to know the country to which you’re being posted or where you stay. I’m a huge fan of Alma Karlin. I find her one of the most fascinating persons in the world of literature and in general. I frequently tell my children, ‘You know, when Alma Karlin was your age, she could already speak other languages, she was doing this and this.’ I really am a great fan,” says Ambassador Kauther.
Their children speak more Slovenian than their parents do because they have Slovenian language lessons in school. At times, they use Slovenian as their ‘secret’ language when they do not want their parents to understand them.
Both parents are making an effort for the children to speak German, too. Grandmother is helping with that. They believe that reading is also important for the children to learn how to creatively express themselves. They joke that the boys are very well acquainted with Slovenian football terms because they both enjoy playing it.
“It was a lucky coincidence for us to be able to come here, and because of our proposal with regard to job sharing. It’ll be difficult to leave, but Slovenia will always stay in our hearts. The ‘I Feel Slovenia’ brand truly expresses what one can feel in Slovenia, i.e. green, boutique, etc. It’s not difficult to grow fond of Slovenia.
" There were 47 ambassadors who wanted to come here, so we were very lucky to be chosen. Our advantage was that we were both diplomats and that the German Embassy wanted to see how job sharing would work. Prior to our posting, I was in Slovenia on a business trip with the Federal President. We visited Ljubljana, saw the Soča River Valley by helicopter and ate at one of the best Slovenian restaurants. It was wonderful and I suggested to my husband that we apply for Slovenia.
We’re really happy to be here and we’ve also bonded much more as a family. The period before the arrival in Slovenia was very difficult for the entire family. We were going to work early in the morning and returning home late at night."
"We didn’t want the children to grow up with us being away, we wanted to spend more time with them. And the job sharing option enabled this for us. I know we’re repeating ourselves, but we and the children are very sad about the approaching departure.”
Date: 7. September 2023
Time to read: 2 min