The Deputy Mayor comes from Flanders!
Here to stay
“Welcome, bienvenue, benvenuto, welkom, herzlich willkommen!“ As the former deputy mayor Karin Berger welcomed the holidaymakers in the Salzburger Saalachtal at the tribute to long-standing guests. Once upon at time she was a guest herself; later she actively helped to shape the community.
Karin has been steering the history of the market community of Lofer from 2014 to 2019. Whether dealing with reclassification procedures, tourist concerns or cultural plans, the native Belgian was fully involved, heart and soul. An ugly underpass bothered her so she engaged the young people to decorate it with a colourful mural. She wanted to bring small children closer to the magic of the region and let the school children produce a “Children's Guide“ with sponsorship money. Preserving the beauty of the area is a matter very close to her heart. In the same way, it is very important to her that the next generation still say “Grüß Gott“ when they are out about and that voluntary work and the life of the various clubs and associations in the valley continue to be highly regarded.
At just 18 years old she moved to Pinzgau, 1000 km away from home. A holiday romance with Hans Schlechter, then the junior boss of the Gasthof Bad Hochmoos in St. Martin, turned to love. The former convent schoolgirl with maiden name Mertens learnt German in just a few months and energetically tackled the work in the hospitality industry. When she was 21 her son Johannes was born – he now manages the traditional inn with mud bath and three star hotel with his father. Karin Berger is the receptionist there. She has since married again and has a daughter, Emma, with Hermann Berger, a carpenter. During Emma's primary school years she was always on the go as the chairwoman of the parents' association. “I can't do anything else but get involved“, Karin says. When she noticed an unsafe section of the cycle trail network she made sure that a parapet was installed. She organized the purchase of T-shirts for the “Bläserklasse“ - the beginners' wind band. And because she treasures a beautiful ambience, she decorates the stage for the spring concerts every year. This lady can speak five languages – alongside Flemish and German, she is proficient in Italian, French and English. She grew up sheltered with her parents and sister in Berchem near Antwerp. She enjoyed the cosmopolitan city life and felt the touch of the big wide world in the large trade harbour. At the North Sea, just a one hour drive from home, she looked out into the endless distance. This is what she misses now and again from her homeland: this broad perspective. But she still finds the mountains “unbelievably alluring“, so much so that she occasionally gets up very early to experience the sunrise from a mountain peak.