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Turning 111 on a Beer a Day

DW staff (dc)
August 10, 2004

Hermann Dörnemann, the oldest man in Germany, celebrated his 111th birthday on Thursday. The secret of his longevity? Avoid exercise and drink lots of beer.

Cheers!Image: dpa

Health experts might be inclined to shake their heads in disapproval at Hermann Dörnemann's lifestyle, but his disavowal of all sporting activities and a taste for his home town's local brew seem to have done the trick.

In addition to a daily glass of "Altbier," Dörnemann is also known to drink the water his potatoes are boiled in, as that's where the vitamins are.

Intimate party

The Düsseldorf resident celebrated his 111th birthday with just a few close family members, preferring to forgo the media circus that descended on last year's party.

"We didn't invite anyone this year, but a few neighbors and colleagues will probably drop by," said Dörnemann's daughter, Rita Klein, 64. She says the secret to her father's long life is his even-tempered personality.

Always a gentleman

"I've never heard him complain. He was always very content," she said. She described her father as a gentleman of the old school, who even at the ripe age of 100 still held the door open for "young ladies in their 70's."

Dörnemann was born in Essen in 1893 as the youngest of eight children. He moved to Düsseldorf in 1947, where he worked as an electrical engineer.

Dörnemann may be Germany's oldest man, but Germany's oldest person is Lina Zimmer of Stuttgart -- she's six months his senior.

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the oldest living person is Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan of Puerto Rico, who was born on Aug. 31, 1889.