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BIRKENSTORIES

Birkenstories are the tales and portraits of people in BIRKENSTOCKS all over the world, whether a taxi driver in New Delhi, an American Nobel laureate, a papaya farmer from the jungle of Borneo, or an eccentric German manufacturer of expedition vehicles. They focus on characters who are unique – some in a big way, some in a little way. And they have all been committed wearers of BIRKENSTOCKS for years.

Birkenstories are the tales and portraits of people in BIRKENSTOCKS all over the world, whether a taxi driver in New Delhi, an American Nobel laureate, a papaya farmer from the jungle of Borneo, or an eccentric German manufacturer of expedition vehicles. They focus on characters who are unique – some in a big way, some in a little way. And they have all been committed wearers of BIRKENSTOCKS for years.

Melinda Gabriel

BIRKENSTORY #31:

Mindy Gabriel

DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF WITH PASSION AND SPORTSMANSHIP


"We really have a front-row seat for all of humanity – we are doing the dark work, we see terrible things"

Mindy Gabriel 


Mindy Gabriel has been a deputy fire chief in Central Ohio since 2019. Before that, she was on the front lines as a firefighter herself for 17 years. Mindy knows precisely what she is talking about when she tells us: "We really have a front-row seat for all of humanity – we are doing the dark work, we see terrible things."

BIRKENSTORY #31:

Mindy Gabriel

DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF WITH PASSION AND SPORTSMANSHIP


"We really have a front-row seat for all of humanity – we are doing the dark work, we see terrible things"

Mindy Gabriel 


Mindy Gabriel has been a deputy fire chief in Central Ohio since 2019. Before that, she was on the front lines as a firefighter herself for 17 years. Mindy knows precisely what she is talking about when she tells us: "We really have a front-row seat for all of humanity – we are doing the dark work, we see terrible things."

Hermann Gerland

BIRKENSTORY #30:
Jens und Uwe Krüger

SWISS BLUEGRASS VIRTUOSUS IN NORTH CAROLINA 


“Sometimes we slept in shelters for the homeless. We tied the instruments to our bodies so nobody could steal them.” 

Jens Krüger 


Jens and Uwe, who perform as a trio with bassist Joel Landsberg, are the “Kruger Brothers” – the bluegrass and new American folk music icons are known all around the world. The brothers from Switzerland, who moved to Wilkesboro, North Carolina, more than 20 years ago, have lived a life that’s far from ordinary.  

BIRKENSTORY #30:
Jens und Uwe Krüger

SWISS BLUEGRASS VIRTUOSUS IN NORTH CAROLINA 


“Sometimes we slept in shelters for the homeless. We tied the instruments to our bodies so nobody could steal them.” 

Jens Krüger 


Jens and Uwe, who perform as a trio with bassist Joel Landsberg, are the “Kruger Brothers” – the bluegrass and new American folk music icons are known all around the world. The brothers from Switzerland, who moved to Wilkesboro, North Carolina, more than 20 years ago, have lived a life that’s far from ordinary.  

Hermann Gerland

BIRKENSTORY #29:
BETTINE VRIESEKOOP

DUTCH TABLE TENNIS LEGEND WITH A GREAT LOVE OF CHINA


“Being at the top is tough. But becoming number one, that’s a lot tougher” 

Bettine Vriesekoop


Bettine Vriesekoop is a two-time European table tennis champion. These days, the Dutch Sports Personality of the Year (1981, 1985) and Dutch Table Tennis Player of the Century (2000) works in Amsterdam as a coach and author. Bettine, who studied Sinology, also spent a number of years living in Beijing.

BIRKENSTORY #29:
BETTINE VRIESEKOOP

DUTCH TABLE TENNIS LEGEND WITH A GREAT LOVE OF CHINA


“Being at the top is tough. But becoming number one, that’s a lot tougher” 

Bettine Vriesekoop


Bettine Vriesekoop is a two-time European table tennis champion. These days, the Dutch Sports Personality of the Year (1981, 1985) and Dutch Table Tennis Player of the Century (2000) works in Amsterdam as a coach and author. Bettine, who studied Sinology, also spent a number of years living in Beijing.

Hermann Gerland

BIRKENSTORY #28:
HERMANN GERLAND

football manager with a unique eye for young talent


“Tiger, I wouldn’t be where I am today without you”
Thomas Müller, 2014 world champion


He was an assistant coach to Jupp Heynckes, Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, and Hansi Flick, and became a legendary trainer at FC Bayern Munich – the dyed-in-the-wool Bochumer Hermann Gerland.

“Tiger,” as everyone still calls him to this day, is a two-times Club World Cup winner and a two-times treble winner, and won Germany’s Bundesliga nine times.

BIRKENSTORY #28:
HERMANN GERLAND

football manager with a unique eye for young talent


“Tiger, I wouldn’t be where I am today without you”
Thomas Müller, 2014 world champion


He was an assistant coach to Jupp Heynckes, Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, and Hansi Flick, and became a legendary trainer at FC Bayern Munich – the dyed-in-the-wool Bochumer Hermann Gerland.

“Tiger,” as everyone still calls him to this day, is a two-times Club World Cup winner and a two-times treble winner, and won Germany’s Bundesliga nine times.

Nicholas Vreeland

BIRKENSTORY #27:
NICHOLAS VREELAND

ABBOT OF THE RATO DRATSANG MONASTERY IN SOUTHWEST INDIA


“He will never be an abbot. His nose is too big.”

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, about Nicholas Vreeland


The story of Nicholas Vreeland, Buddhist monk and only Western head of a Buddhist monastery, starts in the early 1980s, when the diplomat’s son left his expensive tailor-made shoes on the streets of New York and chose to live a simple life in simple sandals. Birkenstock visited the extraordinary man.

BIRKENSTORY #27:
NICHOLAS VREELAND

ABBOT OF THE RATO DRATSANG MONASTERY IN SOUTHWEST INDIA


“He will never be an abbot. His nose is too big.”

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, about Nicholas Vreeland


The story of Nicholas Vreeland, Buddhist monk and only Western head of a Buddhist monastery, starts in the early 1980s, when the diplomat’s son left his expensive tailor-made shoes on the streets of New York and chose to live a simple life in simple sandals. Birkenstock visited the extraordinary man.

BIRKENSTOCK WANTS YOU

Do you know any fascinating BIRKENSTOCK wearers whose story is just waiting to be told? Whoever it is, be it someone you know personally, a random discovery while on vacation, or anyone else anywhere else, we look forward to receiving all your suggestions.

Do you know any fascinating BIRKENSTOCK wearers whose story is just waiting to be told? Whoever it is, be it someone you know personally, a random discovery while on vacation, or anyone else anywhere else, we look forward to receiving all your suggestions.

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BEHIND THE SCENES

The people behind the Birkenstories

Do you want to know about how we came across these stories and where they originate from?

The people behind the Birkenstories

Do you want to know about how we came across these stories and where they originate from?

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