Rüdiger Niemz. 4 June 2019, Hamburg, Germany.

Rüdiger Niemz, Rotary Club of Mondseeland, Austria, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska

“When I was invited to join Rotary, instead of giving a presentation about my job, as everyone is expected to do, I did a whiskey tasting.

“I became interested in whiskey when I was traveling a lot as a journalist. I was working on travel shows about foreign countries. You would come back very late from the filming and editing, and then you’d meet somebody at the bar. You’d start talking, and start sharing whiskey. You don’t drink whiskey to get drunk. It’s part of an exciting lifestyle.

“I got to know a lot of different places and whiskeys, and after a while I got asked to host curated tastings. I got a master’s degree in food science so I researched a lot about the history and sociology of drinks and food. Every whiskey contains a story. Every cheese contains a story.

“Life is so interesting. You cannot limit yourself. Journalists are always trying to look behind the curtain. We are trying to discover something. We are trying to get new ideas, new perspectives. I also have my master’s in philosophy. Philosophers are quite similar to journalists: We are both curious about life.

“This is the interesting thing about Rotary. You always meet exceptional people. They have different backgrounds, different experiences. It is so exciting.

“I like the worldwide view. In these days where people are developing backwards in a way that we stick to ourselves, our region, to our nationality only — where we are getting more ruthless in terms of how we treat each other in national and especially international politics — Rotary is an alternative.”