On the busy harbor, reflected in the windows of one of Europe’s most impressive concert halls, lies our Hamburg office. Senior Director Frederike von Wissel tells us why she enjoys being part of a small but growing team, and what it’s like to live and work in one of Germany’s oldest port towns.
Hi Frederike! Thanks for taking the time to show us around the Hamburg office. Would you mind introducing yourself?
Sure! I’m Frederike, a Senior Director at Simon-Kucher. I’ve been with the company for nearly 12 years now, and, so, have seen quite a few offices, especially in Germany. When I first started at Simon-Kucher I worked at the Bonn office, then I moved to the Cologne office, rotated to Munich, and finally ended up in Hamburg where I’m originally from.
That’s impressive! So, you’re in a good position to tell us what makes the Hamburg office unique.
Absolutely! What makes it most unique, in my opinion, is the culture. At the moment, the company as a whole is on a hiring drive so this will change, but, for now, the Hamburg office is still made up of a small team. From partner, to intern, consultant, to central functions, we all know each other really well. We go out to lunch together, maybe do something after work. There are no barriers between us. It’s great!
What’s a memorable experience you’ve had together?
Pre-COVID we would organize summer activities for the office. In 2019, we went sailing, which you can only do with a small group. Our office is located right next to the River Elbe, on the harbor.
So, on this sailing trip, we sailed on the Elbe – from the North Sea towards Hamburg City and the impressive harbor. Then we had a tremendously good time just sitting on the bow of the boat, talking, relaxing, and enjoying the atmosphere. It was amazing. I get chills just talking about it.
Wow! You must have a beautiful view from the office.
Yes! From my office window I can actually see Hamburg’s most famous tourist site – the Elbphilharmonie, a striking concert hall on the harbor. While there are tourists standing on its terraces, taking photos of me all day long, I also get some entertainment by watching the people who clean the building’s many glass windows. It’s spectacular to see them jumping off the roof to clean them.
Since we’re on the harbor you can also see boats coming by. You can hear the humming of ship horns and seagulls squawking.
Do you have any office traditions?
I look forward to carry on our monthly Kombüsentreff in person again. “Kombüse” is the German word for “the galley”, or ship’s kitchen, and “treff” is the word for “meet”. So, it basically means “a get together in a ship’s kitchen”. We would usually meet on a Friday and have some drinks all together, it was fun.
We also have a few lunchtime traditions. There’s a local restaurant that is an office favorite, where they do different specials every day. People love it so much they check the menu in the morning!
Would you say it’s a must-try dining spot, or would you recommend somewhere else?
Oh, for lunch it’s fantastic, but for dinner my favorite place is Haebel. It’s a small restaurant, which offers local, sustainably-sourced food. It’s one of those places you go to treat yourself – tiny plates, big price tag – but it’s worth it!
It’s run by a guy with a lot of heart. I actually visited the farm where they source their vegetables from, last weekend. They have a new and innovative approach to farming, it’s impressive. It makes me think a lot about what we eat, and what choices we can make to consume more sustainably.
If you could recommend one thing to see while in town, what would it be?
To get a sense of the real Hamburg, I’d say go to two spots. There are two rivers that run through Hamburg – the Alster and the Elbe. There’s a small lake off the Alster called Rondeelteich, which you can only get to by boat (or by living in one of the exclusive houses nearby). You can truly get a sense of what Hamburg is like by seeing typical Hamburg architecture that is there, while being surrounded by nature.
The other is a beach club on the Elbe River, leading to the harbor, called Strandperle. You can sit on the beach and look out onto the Elbe, and watch the ships going by. It’s incredible.
Thank you Frederike for taking us on such a beautiful tour of the Hamburg office! We might just join you on the beach next summer!