From our start building trails and establishing outdoor infrastructure in the German Alps to growing into a global community of millions of outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, we’re hitting a new, important milestone in 2024: We’re turning 30! To celebrate, we’re retracing our footsteps to honour the pioneering work we’re proud to have delivered — all to improve the way all of us use, interact and enjoy the great outdoors. Here’s our history in a nutshell. Enjoy the adventure!

Outdooractive turns 30

Outdooractive celebrates 30 years of pioneering innovations in the outdoor tourism industry.

Outdooractive builds and integrates AI tools for easier content creation
To make it easier for tourism partners to populate their own travel guides with content, Outdooractive implemented custom-built AI tools into its MyBusiness CMS platform. The AI-generated texts highlight tourism-relevant information on activities, nature, culture and much more, making it easier than ever before to digitize destinations.

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Public transportation networks are added to Outdooractive
In order to lower the C02 emissions associated to routes planned and tracked on Outdooractive, public transportation routes, availability and options are seamlessly added to all frontends of the Outdooractive platform. The switch made it easier to see the means of transport available to the start point of route, so that tourists in particular can make greener choices.

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Snow Depth Layer is added to the map
As part of a further investment in helping winter sportspeople plan safer routes, the Snow Depth Layer was added to the map. Created in conjunction with Exolabs and supported by the European Space Agency, this layer showed snow depth ground measurements on the map in dozens of countries worldwide — all so users could more easily see where substantial snow lay and how deep it was.

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Outdooractive partners with the NNL

In a move to help preserve Germany’s national and nature parks, the NNL (Nationale Naturlandchaften) became a part of the Alliance of the Officials on Outdooractive. As a part of this, all access rights and visitor information was digitized and made available to everyone on Outdooractive for free, thereby helping to preserve these beautiful places through improved visitor guidance and open access to information.

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The ATHM Layer is added to the map
Developed in conjunction with Skitourenguru, the all-new ATHM Layer was added to Outdooractive. This feature displayed avalanche risk on the map in an easy to understand, color-coded format, and it helped users to stay safe in the mountains in winter conditions. Based on specific characteristics of the terrain, such as the slope shape, slope size, slope gradients, and vegetation in the vicinity of the point in question, the layer became the new standard in safe winter route planning across the Alps.

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The Tourism Technology Alliance is founded
With the goal to support tourism innovation, the Tourism Tech Alliance (TTA) was founded as the voice of the tourism technology industry. The TTA represents the leading innovators in tourism technology, including platforms, web agencies, booking systems and data hubs.

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Outdooractive starts developing its own AI

Following the growth of AI models (artificial intelligence), Outdooracttive started leveraging this in its own platform by setting up a special team to seamlessly develop and integrate the latest technology in its products. The relevance of artificial intelligence (AI) is also steadily increasing for Outdooractive. A special team was set up to seamlessly integrate AI into its own products. In addition to numerous other funding projects, Outdooractive has launched a pioneering use case for AI in visitor guidance in tourism with the AIR project.

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Outdooractive acquires Sentres

Outdooractive successfully acquired the South Tyrolean outdoor platform Sentres, strengthening the existing Italian subsidiary. At the same time, 6,000 premium tours from the renowned publishers Athesia, Tappeiner and Curcu Genovese were integrated. In addition, a cooperation with First Avenue was launched to intensify sales activities at hotels and points of interest (POIs) in Italy.

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3D Previews are added to the map
So users could see exactly what their routes look like in advance, 3D Previews were made availiable on Outdooractive. These previews gave users an instant overviews of the landscapes they were heading into, in order to make sure they started every adventure as informed as possible.

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Outdooractive is recognized as one of Germany’s most innovative companies

Outdooractive is once again recognized as one of the most innovative companies in Germany by “brand eins” in cooperation with Statista.

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Outdooractive partners with theCrag
Driven by Outdooractive Founder Hartmut Wimmer’s first passion, rock climbing, Outdooractive partnered with theCrag in 2021 to house content directly from the platform in our suite of apps — and to support climbers in creating their own digital climbing log books.
As the world’s leading climbing and bouldering platform, theCrag provides information on more than 880,000 routes, 38,300 topos, and thousands of climbing areas.

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Heatmaps are introduced
In a bid to deliver smart visitor guidance and keep destinations informed about their guest’s movements, we launched the world’s first heatmap that included all recorded track on all devices simultaneously. These heatmaps show user movement through a region, helping trail managers to understand how visitors and locals interact with their trail infrastructure at a glance.

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Digitize the Planet is founded

In order to promote nature conservation through the digitization of all accessibility information, safety rules and visitor regulations, the association “Digitize the Planet e.V.” was founded.

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Outdooractive acquires mountNpass

The takeover of the French market leader in cycle tourism, mountNpass, gave rise to the French subsidiary, which serves the entire tourism market in France.

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Outdooractive acquires outtt

Outdooractive welcomed Norwegian outdoor platform outtt into its network of inter-connected apps and brands. The takeover drove growth in the Scandinavian outdoor tourism market and injected further reliable and official content into its apps — made accessible directly to the Outdooractive community.

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Outdooractive acquires Viewranger

Outdooractive moved into the UK market by joining forces with the industry leading platform for British outdoor tourism, Viewranger. Founded in Cambridge in 2006, ViewRanger and its team was a true pioneer in digital cartography and adventure planning, revolutionizing how people used smartphones and electronic devices to plan routes through the UK and beyond.

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The Pro Alliance is formed

Together with all professional partners in the outdoor sector, Outdooractive formed the world’s largest alliance for joint marketing: the Pro Alliance. This alliance is comprised from all of the biggest names in the outdoor tourism industry, including numerous official and award-winning organisations, such as the German Alpine Clubs, Harvey, Mammut, Columbia and more.

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Outdooractive launches a new subscription model

Outdooractive’s subscription model was changed from the previous free and premium options to the new Basic, Pro and Pro+ membership levels. The introduction of this subscription model marked a significant milestone, as it was the best and most established business model on the internet. This change gave users the opportunity to decide for themselves whether and to what extent they wanted to pay for features, whilst also enabling continuous further development of the service.

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Outdooractive acquires GEO-Tracks

Outdooractive acquired Swiss outdoor platform Geo-Tracks GmbH. A company with a history stretching back to 2005, Geo-Tracks was home to a growing European community and stable of business partners, and the move presented the company with additional development opportunities for growth outside of Switzerland.


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Outdooractive shifts to vector maps

To make Outdooractive faster and easier to use, the style of the maps completely switched to vector maps . This represents the biggest update to the map style since development began, and resulted in a more precise, responsive and easy to understand user experience, as well as establishing Outdooractive as the only technology in the world that could offer a fully-fledged topographic map with all the details as a vector map.

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The new version of the Outdooractive app is launched

After numerous updates, iterations and improvements, the new version of the Outdooractive app was brought to the market, featuring industry-leading features and a brand-new design — and a new benchmark for other outdoor apps was set. This new version was a powerful and high-performing app that met both the needs of Outdooractive users and our B2B partners. It allowed for advanced personalization in order to create a customized travel guide, included a new-and-improved search system and the inclusion of one of 2017’s other milestones: Vector maps.

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Outdooractive Premium is launched on Android Wear

To support users’ adventures even more intuitively, Outdooractive Premium was successfully rolled out on Android Wear. This marked a milestone in the area of wearable development, which is now being followed by other smartwatches and wearables as well as the integration of apps such as Adidas Running and Strava.

Outdooractive opens a subsidiary in Italy

Following early successes in the Italian market, Outdooractive expanded south, opening up an Italian subsidiary. Destination Trentino and South Tyrol joined as tourism partners, further contributing to Outdooractive’s pool of reliable route recommendations and content and helped to establish the brand as an attractive partner in the region.

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Outdooractive Premium is launched on Apple Watch

To further support the adventures of all of our users more intuitively than ever before, Outdooractive Premium was rolled out as an app on Apple Watch.

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Avalanche situation report as a uniform layer on the map
In cooperation with alpenvereinaktiv, the company was the first to integrate a uniform layer with information from the regional avalanche situation reports into the platform, initially for the Eastern Alps. Since then, it has been possible to display the avalanche information in a standardized overview on the map and to transfer it to each route. Prior to this, there were no interfaces for the avalanche warning services and no willingness to provide the data. Until then, users had to visit each warning service page separately and were confronted with different structures and displays. This paved the way for the standardized structures and consistent cross-regional assessments that form the basis for the Skitourenguru today.

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Outdooractive helps to develop

Another step towards delivering on Outdooractive’s goal of being the the most reliable source of Outdooractive information and inspiration, Hartmut and his team co-operated with the various Alpine clubs across Germany, Austria and Italy to develop The most reliable source for planning and navigating routes throughout the Alps. The product still exists today, being used by hundreds of thousands of the most experienced mountaineers across the German-speaking Alpine region.

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The first Outdooractive Conference

The first Outdooractive conference was held in Immenstadt, bringing all of the biggest players in the European tourism sector together and further establishing Outdooractive’s reputation as an authority in the industry.

Outdooractive wins the German Tourism Award

Outdooractive received the German Tourism Award 2012 for the trail management tool “Mängeldetektiv”. The MILESTONE. Tourism Award Switzerland also goes to Outdooractive this year.

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Outdooractive Premium is launched

For the first time, Outdooractive Premium was introduced (today, we refer to this at Outdooractive Pro and Pro+). This version of the original Outdooractive app was available for a one-time fee and came with additional specialist features, such as offline maps and weather forecasts.

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The first intermodal routing for bicycle planner

Outdooractive developed the first intermodal routing for the Baden-Württenmberg bicycle route planner. This made it possible to plan cycle routes and hiking tours with partial use of public transport. However, the tool was ahead of its time and did not catch on at the time.

It becomes possible to save maps offline

In a move to further support users with the tools that they need to reliably plan and navigate experiences in the great outdoors, Outdooractive introduced the ability to store maps offline — thereby making them available when using the app away from a phone signal or WiFi.

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The first content marketing platform goes live
Enabling partners to market directly to Outdooractive’s growing and engaged community, the first content marketing platform went live. A pioneering product in its day, the CMS allowed partners to edit datasets, target audiences, and publish inspiring content before sharing it with Europe’s biggest tourism platform.

Integration of protected areas with their rules
For the first time in 2010, protected areas will be integrated into the platform with their polygons, categories and rules. This information will then be transferred to the tours located in the area. The original opinion that there must be uniform rules for the different categories of protected areas is finally overtaken by the fact that the rules are different in each protected area. After many attempts to obtain official responsibilities and official data, Digitize the Planet (DtP) was founded in 2020 to digitize these rules in a standardized format.

The Outdooractive travel guide is launched
With a goal to inspire adventurous tourists all over the world, our first travel guide is launched, showing the best routes, places to stay and must-see highlights region by region. Since, our travel guide has grown to encompass the whole world and has become an important marketing partner for thousands of destinations worldwide.

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The first Outdooractive app hits the market

The first apps for customers and the first version of the Outdooractive app are successfully launched in the stores. After just two years, app users were able to access over 30,000 ready-made and well-researched tours and also had the option of recording their own GPX tracks. The evolution began with prototypes and led to the first hybrid tourism apps. These made it possible to synchronize the data with the platform after installation. The initial phase included applications from Outdooractive itself, ADAC apps for hiking books and finally the first tourism regions.

Travel guides as the basis of tourist information

Outdooractive is the first company in the world to introduce the digital structure of the travel guide in order to transfer the tried and tested information structure of analog travel guides, which Baedecker invented more than 150 years ago, into the digital age. In addition to the general description of the region (with country, people, culture, history, language, climate, best time to travel, currency), the principle of the travel guide is navigation with ‘What’ (Outdooractive has up to 600 categories) and ‘Where’ (all regions of the world in 6 levels plus additional regions (mountain regions, protected areas, water regions).

Read more is published for the first time

The website was launched, offering a channel for tourism partners to roll out content directly to Outdooractive’s new and growing community. This marks the first time the Outdooractive brand was properly launched.

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The Outdooractive Map is published

Based on data from thousands of tourism providers all over the country, the Outdooractive Map was first published in Germany. This map raises the standard of what digital mapping solutions should be able to provide, delivering reliably accurate representations of trails, POIs and infrastructure across the country. Released only 2 years after the initial launch of Open Street Maps (OSM), the Outdooractive map offered an alternative experience based on approved data rather than community generated submissions — further laying the foundation for what Outdooractive would become.

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Outdooractive releases the first smartphone solution

Outdooractive releases the first outdoor smartphone solution for Symbian OS-based phones — 1 year before the App Store was released. A pioneering move in the world of digital mapping, this enabled users to load data, view maps, perform GPS positioning and create content such as tracks, images and texts and synchronize them with their user profile.

Development of hiking books for Germany’s ADAC

Working alongside the ADAC (Germany’s motoring club), Europe’s largest motoring association with a whopping 21 million members, Hartmut and his team began creating specially designed ADAC hiking maps. These were available in both print and CD format and could be bought at retailers across Germany.

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Outdooractive partners with Garmin
Outdooractive partners with Garmin to deliver topographic maps. Due to Outdooractive’s reputation as the leading specialist in vector cartography in Germany, Outdooractive partnered with Garmin to deliver mapping on its range of GPS and navigation devices.

Construction of the Alpsee Coaster

Planning began for the the Alpsee coaster in Immenstadt in the Allgäu, Europe’s longest mountain roller coaster at the time with a 2.8-kilometer long track.

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Outdooractive goes international — first stop: Austria

Outdooractive made its first steps outside of its home base in Germany, founding a subsidiary in Salzburg, Austria and onboarding the stunning Wilder Kaiser region as its first international partner. This move meant that tourism organizations and outdoor enthusiasts on the ground could now tap into Outdooractive’s innovative technology.

The launch of Outdooractive’s cartography work

The first pure cartography projects were undertaken by the team: small hanging maps created for tourism authorities in the Allgäu. These were designed and approved by the soon-to-be Outdooractive team, and resulted in a huge step towards the Outdooractive as we know it today.

Invention of data hubs for tourism
This solution makes it possible to operate a decentralized data repository in which all customers are clients who retain the rights to their content, but store it in a central database. The data from the database can then be played into multiple output channels with different operators, brands and technologies.

Hartmut founds GeoActive — the world’s first interactive outdoor mapping solution

Together with his team, Hartmut decided to merge all previous projects and data and launched the GeoActive brand (now Outdooractive) as the world’s first interactive outdoor mapping solution — one year before the launch of Google Maps.

Outdooractive is the first platform to introduce the separation of data from the layout
In 2004, a content management system is started to be built that fills a structured database. At that time, CMS were used to fill websites with text and images.

Introduction of a standardized presentation of routes
The company is considered a pioneer for the invention of a structure for a standardized presentation of routes of different categories. Consistent values for duration, distance and altitude are introduced as well as uniform experience values, difficulty levels, dangers and much more. Gradually, other route portals and apps also adopted this standard, enabling data to be exchanged between them.

Knowledge Graph 8 years before it existed at Google and 18 years before the GNTB
Right from the start, the tourism elements in the data storage have been separated from each other and linked together. With the connection, there are now semantic links e.g. image <> POI <> tour paired with different types of relation e.g. season, open/closed, etc.

Invention of open data distribution
The rights system of the Outdooractive platform has been so open since day one that every data creator retains their rights, but grants the Outdooractive platform the right to distribute the data without restriction.

Developing hiking trail networks in Allgäu

A network of hiking trails including signposting was developed and implemented for the Allgäu region. Hartmut expands his team to include cartographers, researchers, accountants and developers — some of which are still proud members of the Outdooractive team today.

Software as a Service (SaaS) before the term existed
The software of the Outdooractive platform has been a SaaS product since 2004. At that time, the business model was not yet established and the term did not even exist. At that time, Microsoft and Adobe were still selling software on CDs and lifetime licenses.

Hartmut founds ALPSTEIN GmbH

With the vision of developing an outdoor platform that connects all those involved in outdoor tourism, wimmerplan became ALPSTEIN GmbH — a new entity that opened the door for further exciting developments for Hartmut and his team.

Building a Nordic walking park in Oberstaufen

A project working on all of the network infrastructure of a brand-new Nordic walking park in Oberstaufen starts. This mammoth undertaking included all overview boards, exercise instructions, route descriptions, signage and more. Due to the success of this project, 100 additional destinations work with wimmerplan on similar work over the next 5 years, which further raised the office’s profile in the tourism sector.

Digital trail management
Outdooractive is the first company in the world to make the planning of hiking trails digital. The company develops its own planning software based on geodata. Later, the planning and management of the trails is integrated into the platform. The trail time calculation is finally developed from the Swiss formula into a proprietary algorithm for all activities. The digital planning of signposts with a standardized data structure and automatically filled, regionally different sign layouts is introduced. Structured data is also used as the basis for the quality seals.

The first mountain bike map of Bad Hindelang

As wimmerplan further developed in the tourism industry, the office began developing a mountain bike map and series of guide books for Bike Park Bad Hindelang, the park Hartmut and his team had developed two years earlier. This was the first pure tourism project for the office with a focus on cartography and welcomed in a new chapter in the Outdooractive story.

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Planning and implementation of the Hornbahn in Bad Hindelang

In a move that truly established wimmerplan as a partner for projects in the tourism infrastructure space, the office took on a project to plan and implement the ‘Hornbahn’, a mountain lift to the top of Mt. Horn in Bad Hindelang, Bavaria. Additionally, wimmerplan began work on developing the infrastructure of a bike park near to the engineering office.

Hartmut Wimmer founds wimmerplan

Hartmut Wimmer, Outdooractive CEO, founded wimmerplan, his own engineering office, laying the foundations for today’s Outdooractive. The office quickly developed into a general planner for complex construction projects with a focus on tourism infrastructure.

By mountain bike from Oberstdorf to Lake Garda
After exploring all the mountain bike trails in the Allgäu, Hartmut Wimmer sets himself a new challenge: he wants to cross the Alps from Oberstdorf to Lake Garda on two wheels. This gave him the motivation to develop the first smartphone navigation application.

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Establishing climbing routes in the Allgäu
In 1990, Hartmut drilled and climbed several routes – on the Jochschrofen, in the Starzlach and on the wet wall.

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The first topographic climbing guide book of the Allgäu
Hartmut Wimmer writes and publishes the first climbing topo guide to the Allgäu and develops the region into one of the most important climbing areas in Germany. The guide recorded more than 150 first ascents and can still be found on the Outdooractive platform today.

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Sport climbing in the USA: Part 2
Two years after their first trip, Hartmut and Klement set off on another road trip through the USA to go sport climbing – this time with a paraglider.

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The first ascent of the Wiedemer
Between the 29 and 30 or August in 1987, Hartmut completed the first ever recorded ascent of Mt Wiedemer in the Bavrian Alps. He followed this with two other climbs in September 1987 and September 1988.

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How Allgäu learned to fly
On December 1, 1986, Hartmut took off on his first paragliding flight on the Hirschberg. In the months that followed, the paraglider was a faithful companion on hiking, skiing and climbing trips.

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Sport climbing in the USA
Hartmut Wimmer embarked on his first American climbing trip with his cousin Klement in 1986. The two of them traveled across the country from New York to Los Angeles for three months, stopping at some of the country’s most famous climbing areas.

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Hartmut joins the German Red Cross Mountain Guard rescue service
In order to make the best possible use of his mountain experience, Hartmut joins the DRK mountain rescue service and works in the standby team. From Bad Hindelang, his desire to help people in the mountains drives him to undertake several rescue missions a week in the Allgäu Alps. He remained a passionate member of the mountain rescue service until the company relocated in 2005. Even today, Outdooractive is still provided free of charge to rescue services.

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The first guidebook
Hartmut Wimmer begins to record his experiences in the great outdoors in a personal diary – a first collection of activity guides, hiking logs and travel reports.

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Becoming a member of the German Alpine Club
In 1976, at the age of 16, he not only started an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but at the same time became a member of the German Alpine Club; living out his passion for climbing, ski touring and mountaineering.

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Born and raised in the Allgäu Alps
Hartmut Wimmer spent his youth following his father along the classic Alpine trails and listening to the stories of hut keepers and mountain guides. In the summer months, he works as an Alpine shepherd on the Käseralpe, milking cows, making butter and selling products to tourists.

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From a logistics company to tour operator
The Wimmer family founds a coach company that ferries guests along the picturesque mountain valley road between Hinterstein and the Giebelhaus. Later, the young Hartmut Wimmer joins the company and gives tourists insights into the region and tips on places to visit.

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From a family of entrepreneurs
Martin Wimmer (1863-1927) Hartmut Wimmer great-grandfather, founded a transportation business in Bad Hindelang, Southern Bavaria.

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