Saying the magic words – ‘yes, I do’ – that’s something lovebirds find easy to say as they celebrate that very special day in front of Lech’s wonderful mountain panorama or on Kampen’s scenic beach, accompanied by the sounds of the sea. Many people from both Lech and Kampen have also said ‘yes’ to the long-standing friendship between the two touristic gems. One of them, Lech’s registrar Stefan Jochum, has been involved in the partnership’s forging since its beginnings 20 years ago, and together with La Loupe he now looks back at the most beautiful moments.
L.L. / Mr. Jochum, as Lech and Zürs’ registrar you get to hold the most beautiful wedding ceremonies. Have you had a couple from Kampen say the magic words in the wonderful mountains before?
S.J. / No, that’s something that has not yet happened, but there’s always hope. I am convinced that it will happen at some point in the future.
L.L. / Where on the Arlberg are the most beautiful spots for getting married?
S.J. / Well, there are many suitable spots. It just depends on what the couple expects from the place where they get married. Some prefer a spot out in the nature, others a mountain hut and a terrace with a view and others like to celebrate in a festively decorated hotel hall.
L.L. / The partnership between Lech and Kampen celebrates its 20th anniversary. You have a close connection with the North Sea island in your private life, too. Where does the passion for Sylt come from?
S.J. / I think in many cases the passion for the island only manifests itself after the second glance, but then it’s a bond for life. In many cases guests imagine Sylt to be an island that is ideal for a beach holiday. Which is very much the case, but you can’t compare it with a ‘normal’ beach holiday. There’s always a fresh breeze, the dunes are unique, the villages with the thatched roofs are something you won’t find anywhere else and the people are warm and always trying to satisfy their guests’ wishes in an unobtrusive yet decisive fashion. All of this together – but especially the many close friendships that have developed over the past 20 years – are what made my relationship with the island so special.
L.L. / As vice president of Skiclub Arlberg and member of the traditional band you have helped represent the beautiful alpine village in Kampen before. What common event turned out to be particularly memorable for you?
S.J. / There have been many special moments for us in Kampen. What was unforgettable was the time the musicians in traditional costume were driven along the beach on a snow groomer. I’d never seen that many baffled faces in my life. And when we drove along the Whisky mile with the snow groomer and a motor boat that had been attached to it the sensation really was complete. That was something that had never happened before and probably won’t happen again any time soon. I remember someone saying something back then that describes the partnership perfectly: ‘Kampen and Lech – that’s as good as it gets.’
L.L. / Have you made plans for your next trip to Sylt yet?
S.J. / Yes, of course, the 20th anniversary will be celebrated in Kampen between August 7 and 13. We will set up the ‘Lech-Alpe’ at the village centre and welcome guests there for an entire week – with traditional fare from Vorarlberg and Austrian beer – perfect for toasting to everything that connects us, which is quite a lot.
L.L. / How would you say the two destinations profit from the 20-year friendship? What have they been able to learn from one another?
S.J. / For one thing that both are on a similar and – in our opinion – the right path: The one that focuses on high quality tourism. That’s not always about the best concept and marketing strategies but about the people who stand behind those decisions. A comfy evening on a mountain in Lech or on a terrace on Kampen’s Grande Plage can result in more ideas than any scientific analysis compiled by experts. We have talked a lot and put many ideas into practise. And we’re not running out of ideas – we’re looking forward to what we’ll come up with in the coming 20 years.
L.L. / The two touristic gems could not be any more different though: Rough North Sea and endless beaches in Kampen, fantastic mountain panorama and winter sports paradise in Lech. Why do the two destinations make such a good match – despite their geographical differences?
S.J. / I would say that deep down the Walser people and the Frisians are very similar. They are proud of their home, they don’t like settling for what’s average but they want to give their guests what’s best. Both are committed to what they do and they make for excellent hosts. Which is one of the main reasons why many winter guests from Lech and Zürs come to Kampen in summer. And when they meet ‘their’ waiter there, the exact same one who served them in winter in Lech, it really becomes clear that this is more than just a partnership of two villages.
L.L. / Mr. Jochum, as we get to the end of our interview, would you share with us what your personal hotspot on the island is? Which place is perfect for getting married?
S.J. / That’s a bit of a difficult question to answer because there are so many beautiful spots on the island. And since I’m already married the question of where to get married doesn’t really apply; but maybe a spot for celebrating our 25th anniversary, which is also coming up in 2017, so that sort of coincides with the other anniversary. However, if I had a wish for that occasion I’d say I’d like to have a nice dinner and a bottle of wine on the beach, at sunset. That does sound very kitschy, I know, but I think special occasions are there for doing things that are a bit out of the ordinary.
In the coming 20 years of Lech & Kampen…I hope to finally see a wedding between a man from Lech and a woman from Kampen.
I personally see the partnership of the two places in…the friendships that have blossomed as a result and that are part of my life now.
Three reasons for getting married in Lech & Zürs: The nature and the perfect conditions, from the bouquet to the midnight snack. The excellent people that give everything to make sure it becomes an unforgettable day; and the registrar, of course.
Classic wedding waltz or rather ‘Can’t help falling in love’? The Blue Danube Waltz, in full length (9 minutes) – and danced.
This is what people from Kampen and Lech have in common: Passion for their roots, determination, hospitality.
And this distinguishes them: The dialect, the sea and the mountains.
Stefan Jochum is Lech’s registrar and the mayor’s right hand. He also is a member of Lech’s traditional band, vice president of the local fraction of Skiclub Arlberg and had a big part in creating the strong partnership between Lech and Kampen.