Euromaxx presenter Meike Krüger took an unusual path to the DW television studio - via a dive trip in the Philippines. As the show celebrates its 5,000th edition, she looks back on what she calls "the best job ever."
My Euromaxx adventure started during a vacation on an island in the Philippines with my panicked fear of sharks. I had just encountered a small specimen during a dive in the ocean and, very pleased that I had not been eaten, I ended the evening in front of the TV watching Deutsche Welle - for the first time.
Back then, I was unsatisfied with my job as a presenter with a German commercial broadcaster. Having just dived with sharks and feeling as if the world belonged to me, I was sure that Deutsche Welle was waiting for me.
It took a while, but when DW developed a new show that was to deal with cultural diversity and lifestyle in Europe, I got my chance.
Each show is a surprise
In terms of presenters, the bosses turned to veteran hosts Robin Merrill and Karin Helmstaedt for the English version, and Corinna Wolters for the German edition. This left one spot vacant. A casting was organized and the bosses and editors chose me. I was overjoyed. Right from the outset, every show has been a surprise to me and has remained so to this day.
Who can claim to know everything about Europe, to have traveled to every place? After 5,000 Euromaxx shows, you might think we would be close. Still, even in our hometown of Berlin, it would be impossible to cover everything that comes up.
We have been able to explore houses that are normally off limits to the public, and to view opulent villas or totally crazy designer dreams. Our team has reported on festivals ranging from classic and jazz to rock and pop music.
Interviews to remember
And there is always something new. Together with our audiences, I have met countless artists, concert masters and composers, chefs, writers, actors and creative people from all over Europe. I have also been able to welcome some of them into the Euromaxx studio.
The interview with the German director Uwe Boll, in particular, was a challenge. In Hollywood, he's directed some of the most bloodthirsty films, but in the Euromaxx studio he wasn't scary at all. Instead, he was so funny that I could hardly control my laughter.
Many stars have proven to be incredibly down-to-earth and open in person.
The best job ever
Over the years, the television studios have changed. The first one was as white as a space station. After that, we filmed the show in a studio right in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. And just recently, we moved again. Each time, it takes some getting used to, but we quickly feel at home again.
Our viewers have the pleasure of feeling very familiar with Euromaxx - but are still in for surprises in each show. I am in contact with a few of them. Some have learned German with me on Euromaxx, which makes me proud.
I don't only work in the studio, but have also had to opportunity to travel throughout Europe as a reporter. I've tried out unusual means of transportation, stayed overnight in a ghost castle, walked in the footsteps of the Vikings in Sweden and explored Berlin's trendy craft beer scene.
Sometimes I have to miss friends' birthdays or even weddings for my job, or pick up my children late from school. But in the end, presenting Euromaxx is the best job I could ever wish for.