Hermann, every Wednesday you show visitors Paznaun’s culture in what’s known as the Tyrolean Evening in the community hall in See. Why do you do it?
Many visitors who come to us are also interested in the place where they’re taking their holiday. And we like showing them what makes our country, our region, and our valley in particular, so special. We dance and show our traditional costumes – I think it’s entertaining as well as interesting.
You were born and brought up here yourself, you’ve been in the dance group for 25 years, which is part of the society for traditional costumes, and you took over the chairmanship in 2014. Where does this intense local connection to your homeland come from?
I’ve always been passionate about our culture here in the valley. And I also love dancing. I like the folk dances, the Tyrolean dances, the “schuhblattln”. If I hadn’t had surgery for a slipped disc, I would still be one hundred percent part of it (laughs). I think that if there are no more traditions, a part of our culture disappears, too – and with it, a part of our homeland. Something dies out – and I don’t want that to happen.
Does a town or village need its own identity?
Let’s put it another way: I think that for a valley to work, for the people who live there to be able to identify with something, it needs culture. And then we’re back to the clubs and societies like the one I belong to.
You and your group don’t just bring Paznaun to the tourists – you also take it out into the world, too.
That’s true. We’ve already been to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. We’re hired to perform at parties and when we dance there, we represent our valley.
And that means the people from Paznaun, too. How would you describe the people here?
(laughs) I have to admit that we’re probably a bit stubborn folk, not so easy to deal with. But if you’re patient and spend more time with us, we will become good friends, friends who stay.