Salzburger Land

Resident: Johannes Sampl

Photographer Bernhard Müller in conversation with Johannes Sampl, employed retail salesman at Nah&Frisch in Zederhaus. Born in 2000 in Zederhaus, lives in Unternberg.

“For me, it has always been that I want to leave.”


What was your career like, how did you come to Zederhaus?

My mum comes from Zederhaus and my dad comes from Unterberg and I spent the first three years of my life here. Then we moved to Unternberg, secondary school and the new secondary school in Tamsweg. Then I went to agricultural school for a few years, because I didn’t know whether I wanted to do wood or metal, because I wanted to do something crafty, so I went in the direction of wood. I trained as a carpenter for two years, but I wasn’t mature enough for that and I asked myself what I was going to do now, because I failed the vocational school a second time and I saw for myself that I was too immature for that. Then I went into trade, at Billa in St. Michael I started learning all over again and finished my training as a retail salesman and also passed with distinction. After the army I thought I’d give it a try. I’m an employee here in Zederhaus at my great-uncle’s Nah&Frisch, but it doesn’t fit with my plans for the future that I take over. At the beginning I would have been interested, but I want to have a family and there isn’t much time. I want to have a child and I don’t want to work all day and all day on Saturdays, because I need time for my wife and child and I don’t want to live only for my work. I now live in Unternberg and commute 20 kilometres in and out of Zederhaus every day.
The fuel prices are steep at the moment, but since my girlfriend lives 20 kilometres from the Slovenian border, I can fill up cheaply. And as it goes best, I drive to my girlfriend at the weekend or she comes up to me. And now I’m here.

© Bernhard Müller


What do you appreciate about the Lungau?

The cohesion in a village and the nature, and that you have a lot to offer if you like nature. You can go up a different mountain every day, you can go hiking. I’m not the type to spend three hours on the mountain, but in winter skiing is really nice. You notice that people don’t just look at themselves, but also a little bit at the others. Here in Lungau, fuel is always much more expensive than in the city. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, nothing is open until 12 o’clock at night here and you don’t have the leisure activities for young people. As a young person, you have to go to Carinthia or Spital or towards Salzburg. That’s also funny, because you don’t have far to go to the next town, because Spital is also something bigger, there’s a cinema or the Mäckie and you can also go shopping. It’s a 30 to 40 minute drive. As I said, it’s difficult for young people to go out here. When I was young and went out more, I also only had 2 bars or pubs, but the connection in Lungau is honestly shit, because you need a car if you want to do something in the evening. Sure you can go by bike and enjoy that too, but I hope that something will happen in regional transport. If you know someone, you can of course carpool or check Facebook pages to see if someone is going to Salzburg who can give you a lift.

© Bernhard Müller


How do you feel about the cultural offerings in the Lungau?

It’s actually quite high. For example, all the alpine huts, the churches, we have a few museums, there are quite a few. For the older people, I would say, there are festivals where something is going on. For us young people there’s not so much. My music is more hardstyle and I don’t want to have the feeling of a beer tent when I go out, so there’s not so much on offer for the young people so that they stay here.

© Bernhard Müller


Do many young people leave the Lungau?

Especially from Zederhaus, yes, I notice that. Many of them work outside the region, commute at the beginning, but then settle there. And for me it has always been that I want to get away. It’s nice in Lungau as a child, but when you grow up, you want to do more with your friends and go away. You just have to weigh up the pros and cons, for others the qualities of the Lungau are 100% appealing and for others not so much. I want to live in a rural area, not directly in the city, but I want to be able to go out sometimes and then come home by taxi. Now, when I come out of the bar at 1 a.m. and want to go home by public transport, then I’m home at 6 a.m.. And nobody is interested in that. And it’s also rare that you can go home with your friends, because the people’s drug already has the upper hand. In Lungau in general.


Are there still many small grocery shops like here in Zederhaus in Lungau?

Without us there are still three, in Rammingstein, in Muhr they have opened one again, with the other one in Eineck I don’t even know if it still exists. Most people think it’s cheaper at the Billa, but if you add the 10 kilometres in and out, they have the same price. The older people are very happy that we exist. It will be a question of the people whether this will be maintained or not. It would be a shame if it didn’t exist any more, because if you’re old and can’t drive any more and the bus only runs three times a day, that’s not the real thing either.

© Bernhard Müller


How do you deal with art and what do you understand by it? Do you go to exhibitions?

Art? What is art? I understand it as being creative, for example making statues, painting, pottery. I’m not that talented. I’ve tried it twice, but I don’t have the hand for it. If I had the time, I would be interested in exhibitions, but I work six days a week, so I have to make sure I have time for myself and for my girlfriend. There used to be a few exhibitions in Unternberg, I’ve seen them. Some private person had a small room there and there were exhibitions two or three times a year. I don’t know if they still have them today.