Sustainable Voices: Dr. Clemens Ritter von Kempski

Behind each of our “green pearls”, there are personalities with unique stories and sustainable motivations. In our new series “Sustainable Voices”, we get to hear from one special voice of our green community. 

Owner of Nature Resort Schindelbruch, Dr. Clemens Ritter von Kempski, shares his unique view on the Nature Resort in the Harz and also his personal relationship to travel and sustainability.


Dr. Clemens Ritter von Kempski, what makes your hotel unique? What was your mainspring to make your hotel sustainable?

From the beginning, we wanted to create a unique house with an own face with a special atmosphere. An individual interior as well as an exquisite cuisine and a modern spa go along with that. But everything is built on our central concept of sustainability and mindfulness.

We are a nature resort – our aspirations are directly in our name. In our large, sensible administered nature resort, we prove that ecological sense is possible on a four-star-plus level without restrictions for our guest. This is how we were distinguished as “1st. climate-neutral hotel in central Germany” in 2009, won the country tourism prize “Pioneer” and are a frequent mentioned example for sustainable tourism. We have achieved quite a bit, but it is only milestones on a long way.

Our natural location is definitely also unique: on the clearance of Auerberg, embedded in forest, meadows and nativeness and close to the first historical European city Stolberg. Nevertheless, we are not secluded, but in the South Harz, in the middle of Germany and one can reach us very well from all the four winds. The location is also accountable that we have the luxury to offer lots of area, space and room as well as generosity to our guests. This was the starting point, incentive and motivation at the same time, to create an extraordinary hotel with a lived sustainability aspirations.

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What does sustainability mean for you? What does it include, in your point of view?

Sustainability and awareness are the central brackets that have the contact with natural resources, the people and themselves as content. We are carried by the idea (that comes from forestry) where one has to treat the dimensions of growth and renewal in a totally different way: what can we harvest today, what the earlier generations seeded and tended? Sustainability does not mean pure sacrifice, but rather the intelligent approach with the resource – this is how the maxim of our actions can be described best in our opinion.

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What does your hotel do concerning sustainability?

The tasks here in the wellness hotel are extraordinarily complex. Our ecological concept entails intelligent service solutions from the water catchment all the way to an own eco purification plant, the energy mix of eco power, pellets heating and geothermics, the heat recovery, high-quality insulation, as well as a consequent eco-friendly organization of the complete hotel routine.

To make it perfect, conference guests can simply compensate their journey with the help of a CO2 calculator of the environmental commission CO2OL. The nature resort Schindelbruch also offers the matching offer for a climate neutral arrival by train.
Furthermore, the important life elixir water comes from the in-house tapping of spring and from the in-house forest fountain, where it is led back to the ecosystem after a biological purification.

In addition to the energy efficiency measures, the nature resort Schindelbruch impresses with its extensive green space and the self farmed 2,500 ha large sheltered common beeches and mixed forests in the middle of the Harz.
With the EMAS-III certificate, the “communities eco-management and audit scheme” from companies and organizations, the European Union certified our outstanding environmental management. The extensive audits take place every two years.

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Which kind of guests come to your hotel? What is their feedback, especially concerning the orientation of the hotel?

Guests who come to us at first think of a nice vacation, a relaxing stay or that they found a special location for their conference.
However, ecological awareness and sustainability or a no longer a trend, but already live reality in many companies and organizations. Surely, our concept is also a reason for choosing our hotel, but that we cannot yet measure exactly.

With increasing frequency, our guests are interested in our concept and our ecological reason that stands behind it. Arguments are convincing and we almost always receive exclusively positive feedback. We offer several general information and this way contribute to the increase of guests’ awareness.

Being authentic and to meet the expectations of a nature resort are the center of our efforts. The guests should feel this and enjoy it consciously.

Is green tourism important for your region?

Of course, all live from and with nature, as we in the Harz, too. Without a protected environment, which is then sensitively used for tourism purposes, it is not possible. That is the base of our collected existence.

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According to you, what needs to be done? What would have to change?

Ecological awareness is not done in a day, the change of behaviors in regional, but also in global spheres is a large task for generations. However, we also have to pay attention that we act consequently and reach goals continuously, as well as further strengthen the appeal for corporate transaction in this area. In hotel management, we already practice interdisciplinary cooperation, but this has to be expanded further as well.

Why do you personally think sustainable travel is important?

Because I am sure that it is the only correct way and because I also think of the next generations, beginning with my children. Besides, travel belongs to our everyday life and sustainability as well as ecological awareness should have a solid, unshakeable part, too. The alternatives are not only there, but they are attractive!

What excites you in green travel the most?

That it is a conscious decision. Thereby you decide for the best possible kind of vacation, business trip or visit. We are all guests on this planet and being guest is a beautiful bridge building to the hotel business.

What is you favorite travel destination?

I love Austria with its nature, the cultural offers and the fantastic cuisine.

If you could take off for a year, then…

…I would accompany an expedition as a ship’s doctor.

Thank you to Dr. Clemens Ritter von Kempski from the Nature Resort Schindelbruch for the interview!