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Johann Wanner (Unternehmer)

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Shop window of Johann Wanner

Johann Richard Wanner (born 11 January 1939 in Basel; domiciled in Basel and Oberhof) is a Swiss entrepreneur and the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer of handmade Christmas decorations. The sole proprietorship Johann Wanner Weihnachtshaus is based in Basel.[1]

Life

Christmas tree decorations by Johann Wanner

Johann Wanner was born in Basel, the first of six children of a bookbinder and a housewife. After completing his commercial training, he travelled in the Orient for several years. In the mid-1960s he then opened an antiques shop in Basel, first in the suburb of St. Johann, then in the old town on Spalenberg.

Inspired by customers, he began to collect traditional mouth-blown and hand-painted glass jewellery[2] as well as the corresponding plaster moulds, partly directly from the traditional glassblowing workshops in Thuringia, northern Poland, Bohemia and the Czech Republic. Soon he had Christmas tree decorations made again in the original moulds and thus made a significant contribution to the preservation of the craft of making tree decorations, which was threatened with extinction.

The offer was well received by customers and so Wanner became the worldwide market leader in the field of hand-blown and hand-painted Christmas decorations. In addition to glass ornaments, he also sells wooden angels, porcelain, wrapping paper, bells, Advent calendars, tinsel, fairy lights and other items. To date, however, Wanner has not included nativity figures in his range, because the “God-believing Christian”, as he puts it, does not want to degrade the Christ Child to the status of a decorative article.

Company

Wanner’s approximately 500 m² shop (“Christmas House”) is not only stocked with festive decorations before Christmas, but is operated with this theme all year round. Beyond the trade, Wanner today also develops new fashion trends for Christmas decorations every year. In the decoration industry, he is regarded as the world’s most important trendsetter in the market segment of hand-blown Christmas decorations. He also decorates rooms for companies and private individuals for the festive season and offers consulting services to companies. In addition, he runs the “Weihnachtskaffee” and the “Weihnachtsstuben” in Basel.

His clients have included the Princely House of Grimaldi in Monaco, the Spencer House in London (Lady Diana Spencer was a regular customer), the family of Hohenzollern and other European noble houses, the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely and the American musician Michael Jackson. In 1998, Wanner decorated the Vatican Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square in Rome with 753 large silver and gold balls.[3] He has also supplied ornaments for the White House’s National Christmas Tree in Washington on behalf of Hillary Clinton.[4]

Media response

The “Johann Wanner Christmas House” has received worldwide media resonance for many years in the run-up to Christmas.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

See also

  • Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas shop

Literature

  • Evelyn Scherfenberg, Johann Wanner: Johann Wanner’s Christmas World. Tradition – decorative art – Christmas tree magic. Munich: BLV, 1996, ISBN 978-3405150235.
  • Johann Wanner: Johann Wanner’s wonderful Christmas world. Tradition and Decoration of the Christmas Tree. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-30365-4.
  • Johann Wanner: The most beautiful tree of all. The best tips for decorating the Christmas tree. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-30362-3.
  • Johann Wanner: Johann Wanner’s Best Christmas Recipes. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-30371-5.
  • Johann Wanner (ed.): Von Weihnachtsbäumen und Winterträumen. The most beautiful stories and poems. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-31624-1.

Web links

References and notes

  1. Johann Wanner Christmas House@1@2Template:Dead link/bs.powernet.ch(page no longer available, search web archives ) Info: Thelink was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in the Commercial Register of the Canton of Basel-Stadt
  2. The first evidence of so-called winter or Christmas trees dates from the beginning of the 16th century, mostly from the Alemannic region, in connection with logging rights; the decoration of the Christmas tree for the “general joy” at festivals of the urban crafts and guilds is documented in Basel as early as 1597 by journeymen of the tailor’s trade. Source: “Christmas tree” in Meyers Lexikon.
  3. Source: Markus Kocher: “Father Christmas” in many languages. Johann Wanner has even received an order from First Lady Hillary (Interview with Johann Wanner). Basler Zeitung, 21 December 2006, page 18.
  4. Comment by Johann Wanner: “opulent, American-Georgian. A single silver dream”. Source: Markus Kocher: “Father Christmas” in many languages. Johann Wanner has even received an order from First Lady Hillary (Interview with Johann Wanner). Basler Zeitung, 21 December 2006, page 18.
  5. Petra Kistler: Wanners Wunderwelt(Memento of the Originals of February 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/www.christmasmagazine.com, Badische Zeitung, 3 December 2002.
  6. Anita Lehmeier: Of bears, trees and Biedermann(Memento of the Originals of 17 May 2008 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/www.christmasmagazine.com, Basler Zeitung, 10 December 1988.
  7. Father Christmas comes from Basel – Lady Diana was a regular customer(Memento of the Originals of January 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and has not been checked yet. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this notice.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/www.prinzessin-diana.de, FaithNews, 6 December 2008.
  8. Creating Haute Couture Christmas trees, swissinfo, 21 December 2005.
  9. Martin Arnold:Mystical shimmer through the branches: Johann Wanner from Basel decorates the Christmas trees of celebrities.In: BerlinerZeitung. 21 December 2004, retrieved 15 June 2015.
  10. Wanner Christmas Workshop Switzerland@1@2Template:Dead Link/www.podcast.de(page no longer available, search web archives ) Info: Thelink was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., Deutsche Welle, December 9, 2007 (podcast in English).
  11. Johann Wanner@1@2Template:Dead link/www.konsum.tv(page no longer available, search web archives ) Info: Thelink was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., konsum.tv, 27 December 2007.
  12. Haute couture on the Christmas tree@1@2Template:Dead Link/www.regio3.ch(page no longer available, search web archives ) Info: Thelink was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., regio3, 8 December 2008.
  13. Elke Polomski: What’s the Christmas tree wearing this year?(Memento of the Originals of 29 October 2008 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/www.brigitte.de, Interview with Johann Wanner, brigitte.de, 23 November 2007.
  14. Hans-Jürgen Amtage: The Christmas tree decorations expert@1@2Template:Dead link/pressebuero-amtage.de(page no longer available, search web archives ) Info: Thelink was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., Mindener Tagblatt.
  15. Annegret Ruoff “Kitsch is my life”. Not only at Christmas time: at Johann Wanner, the baubles shine all year round. kirchenbote aargau, No. 21, December 15, 2006, p. 3., PDF