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Jan-Benedict (JB) W.

Berlin, Germany

Hello and welcome to Berlin! I was born and raised here, and will be happy to give you a truly local perspective.

Enthusiastic about delving into history since childhood, I still remember roaming the Charlottenburg Palace and palace gardens as a kid, fascinated by the special allure of the Prussian monarchs and princesses. . . having outgrown my monarchist phase I still like to go back, now holding official guide licenses for this and other palaces.

Guiding also found me as a calling at an early age. . . attending boarding school on a North Sea Island I had the idea and was allowed to conduct "Historical Island walks" on weekends already as a teenager.
I later started my professional guiding career in the summer of 1995 at age 20, and have kept it up ever since. Briefly trained as a videographer, but have been working full time as a freelance professional tour guide continously since 1999.

Active in various segments of the market, I have gathered experience with public tours in the early years, then moved on to private tours exclusively, acting as guide for travel groups, corporate groups, student groups, and increasingly and with great enjoyment, for discerning individual travellers and VIP clients.

In over 20 years of studying all available books (I am a great collector), also attending public lectures, I have acquired a sound knowledge of German history, focusing primarily on 20th century history, but also on old Prussian history. I lived in Potsdam for a brief period in the early 1990ies - the magnificent second residence town with all its exquisite royal palaces.

I feel that the topics of the Nazi Dictatorship and the East German Communist dictatorship are very complex, but after many years of reflecting on them I believe I have found some answers regarding the "how" and "why". Sharing these with my international guests remains interesting and also challenging. I also learn from my guests and appreciate their reflections.

Other than my specialty to provide historical interest tours, I am a great movie fan. . . and enjoy creating dynamic tours and itineraries for the enjoyment and inspiration of my guests. My interest is to inform and to entertain, both at the same time. I am very interested to present well and find the right balance of intense and also efficient sightseeing on the one hand and relaxing in-between on the other hand - just the right mixture, and, of course, individually customized to your interest and taste. Do tell me what you like and I will adapt and improvise at a moment's notice. . . !

I find some aspects of Anglo-American culture and tradition greatly endearing and love interacting in English. I am absolutely fluent in that language. I also have a basic knowledge of French which was my first foreign language in primary school. Currently my great desire is to learn Spanish as well and soon. In my free time I am an avid student of Argentine Tango. Berlin is fortunate in having a rather large Tango scene including some brilliant teachers.

I personally conduct about 250 tours per year in Berlin and Potsdam, ranging from short to full day tours or even touring on several days. Tours with vehicles and/or walking tours. Including introductions to many important memorials and museums, as well as inside tours in some of them.
This allows me to adapt my tours with ease and to perfectly navigate the city traffic good or bad, and also to organise sightseeing with utmost efficiency no matter how short the time available for a tour may be.
I mostly use professional drivers, but also occasionally act as driver guide with equal enjoyment. I hold the extra license legally required for that (for up to a maximum of 8 passengers).

A Recent Review of this guide

JB was the best! Our family, with our four sons, spent the entire day with JB in Berlin and Potsdam. JB was punctual, prepared with historical photos, smart-smart-smart, and full of relevant facts. We have visited 30 countries and don't travel without guides. JB is all business and without a doubt in the top 1%. Tim & Pam San Diego
Pamela Winslow

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More than 20 years of working as a professional tour guide - official guide licenses issued by the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg:
Cecilienhof Palace (venue of the Potsdam Conference in 1945)
Charlottenburg Palace (Old Palace and New Wing)
Charlottenburg Palace Gardens
Neuer Garten
Sanssouci Palace Gardens (not for the palace interior - 40 min audio guide visit possible)
additional palaces

Special old guide license for Berlin Guide Association members for the main halls of the Pergamon Museum (introductory tours only)

Extra license "Personenbeförderungsschein" to legally act as driver guide

Private tour guide Jan-Benedict (JB)

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