Käse closed: How a German court tried to fix a neighbourly cheese dispute

A woman who lives above a cheese shop in a German Alpine village has kicked up a stink over the smells wafting up to her apartment, forcing a judge to step in.

Käse closed: How a German court tried to fix a neighbourly cheese dispute
Wolfgang Hofmann, boss of Tölzer Kasladen, stands with a photo of the protest signs in front of his shop. Photo: DPA

A Munich court ruled on Tuesday that Manuela Kragler, who lives on top of the Tölzer Kasladen shop in Bad Heilbrunn, can no longer display signs depicting a nose and a warning sign.

But a court spokeswoman, quoted by national news agency DPA, said the unhappy neighbour could still voice her opposition that “there is an odour that is a nuisance and that she finds it stinks” because it was “an expression of opinion”.

The feud has been going on ever since the shop moved into the premises in 2016 and, in a separate legal case, shop owner Wolfgang Hofmann is trying to argue that he should be allowed to mature cheese there.

Neighbours have said the shop, which stocks around 200 types of cheese and supplies high-end restaurants, is maturing up to three tons of cheese on the premises.

Photo: DPA

The Bad Heilbrunn municipality, which has a total population of around 4,000 people, is in Germany's southern Bavaria region which is famous for its dairy produce.

But the shop's arrival got up Kragler's nose and she complains that the smells drift up through open windows, staircases and even electric sockets.

The owner Hofmann “denied there was a smell problem right from the start… The dispute has escalated more and more,” Kragler was quoted by Süddeutsche daily as saying.

Hofmann has said the smell is in fact emanating from nearby farming activity rather than his shop and has accused his neighbours of hiding some old cheese behind a fuse box to pin the blame on him.

“It is logical that it smells like cheese in the cheese shop itself,” he was quoted as saying.

A solution to the problem may be on the horizon, as Hofmann added that he was seeking new premises.

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Why an ‘old’ man is taking on German nightclubs’ door policies in court

Bouncers at German nightclubs are legendary for their reluctance to let too many people through the door. A Munich man is now taking one club to court for turning him away based on his age.

Why an ‘old’ man is taking on German nightclubs' door policies in court
Inside a night club in Berlin. Photo: DPA

In a case that could have an impact on clubs up and down the country, 47-year-old Nils Kratzer is challenging a nightclub’s door policy in the Federal Court in Karlsruhe on Thursday, arguing that a bouncer’s decision to turn him away at the door was discriminatory.

The incident occurred when Kratzer tried to get into an open air club night on the Praterinsel, a small island on the river Isar in Munich in 2017.

“I’ve never had anyone tell me to my face that I’m too old for a festival,” Kratzer said before the hearing. “On the contrary, I’ve often gone to festivals nationwide with my friends in the past and all ages have been represented.”

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The club makes no bones about the fact that it told its bouncers to discriminate at the door, but argues that this was based on “optics” and not on age. It argues that, given that there was only space for 1,500 guests, it needed to discriminate on some grounds.

If Kratzer were to win the case, which he is basing on anti-discrimination laws introduced in 2006, it would force all German night clubs to review their door policies, as a ruling by a federal court sets a legal precedent.

But Kratzer has already failed to convince a Munich city court and a Bavarian state court of his case. At the Munich city court, he called his younger girlfriend to testify in order to establish his youthfulness.

Nils Kratzer. Photo: DPA

He also complained that Munich clubs have a culture of discrimination at their doors, saying one had turned him away for being a man, while he had also witnessed people being turned away based on their skin colour.

“Not all unequal treatment is discrimination,” argues Sandra Warden from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. “Event organisers are free to decide whom they let in. The host’s right to decide is protected in our country.”

Warden said that clubs often discriminate based on age, such as at Ü-30 parties, ones where only people over the age of 30 are allowed to enter.

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