What’s the story, Mr. Klammer?

Gregor Klammer has a nerve-wracking job overseeing unusual and special projects for DHL. That includes transporting priceless Beethoven artifacts around the world for a new touring exhibition.

I’ve been overseeing special and unusual logistical projects for DHL for nearly 25 years. No day – and no job – is ever the same for me. It might involve transporting Vivienne Westwood shoes for an international touring exhibition, or precious musical instruments for Leipzig’s world-famous Gewandhausorchester.

For the last six years, DHL has been working on a very special project with Beethoven-Haus Bonn to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth in 2020. Now it’s finally come to fruition! Beethoven-Haus is the composer’s birthplace and is home to the world’s most significant collection of priceless Beethoven artifacts. We’re taking a selection of these to more than 10 venues around Europe, the U.S. and Asia, and calling it BTHVN on Tour.

Items on show include Beethoven’s brass ear trumpet, a replica of Beethoven’s violin and an original print from Andy Warhol’s Beethoven series from 1987. To transport the exhibits, we carefully pack them in specially manufactured protective cases that have been built by our master craftsmen, who have many years of experience in shipping delicate and fragile goods. The boxes ensure the objects are protected from temperature fluctuations and vibrations, and have airtight seals to prevent fluid or dust contamination; plus we continuously monitor them using DHL SmartSensor technology. The trickiest part of the process is usually going through customs, so I’m there to make sure the paperwork is correct and supervise if officials want to see inside the cases.

Priceless and irreplaceable

It’s an interesting project to be a part of because I’m a music fan – although isn’t everyone? Mind you, before I started this job I mainly liked pop and rock; but now, thanks to my work, I’ve been behind the scenes with orchestras and had the opportunity to see them play live in concert halls. As a result, I’ve become a big fan of classical music, too. People ask me if I get nervous shipping such priceless and irreplaceable artifacts across the world. To which I say: yes! I’m nervous every morning when I wake up and get even more nervous when we come to critical parts of the tour. But I think that’s good – a bit like being an actor with stage fright. It helps with my performance so I can give 100% every day.  —  as told to Tony Greenway

www.bthvn2020.de


Fact

BTHVN on Tour consists of eight modules about the composer’s life and work and includes multimedia and interactive elements. Some of the original objects on display are being shown internationally for the first time.

7

The amount of equipment transported for BTHVN on Tour in metric tons

10

The number of concert halls across Asia and the U.S. involved in the Beethoven tour


Image: DHL; Published: November 2019