Matthias Laubenstein, Head of Plan Approval Germany

Matthias and the tunnel home

As an engineer I have participated in building tunnels in several places worldwide, for instance in China, Berlin, Lübeck and Vienna. I am German, and I have always been fascinated by working in Denmark. I have spent all my holidays in Scandinavia – especially in Jutland. Therefore, I am happy to be part of the team which connects Denmark and Germany by an 18 km tunnel down at the sea bottom.

I have been working for the project for nine years. Based in Copenhagen, I have been responsible for the German plan approval work, and it has been extremely exciting, funny and challenging. With plane hierarchies, a lot of freedom and back up from colleagues and managers. In the future, I will also be responsible for the tunnel portals and ramps – ie where cars and trains will go down into and come up from the tunnel. It is a new and challenging task, which I am very much looking forward to. 

Perhaps, you think that the Danish and German approach to the work is rather similar, but the way engineers take action is very different. While a German engineer often keeps close to the guidelines, a Danish engineer first looks out into the world, finds out what is the State of the Art, and how he can use it in his work. The Dane is more innovative in his mind and in his work. I can be a little envious of that. I would like to have all the liberty, but of course, my mind is German – and now and then, I step on the brake when my Danish colleagues dash forward with ideas. In this way, we supplement each other very well. We try to understand each other and by mutual respect to find the best solution. 

To me it is not the physical mark, the tunnel, which makes me proud. It is all that which the Femern tunnel will mean to so many people. How a completely new region will be created – and how it will create a new common understanding, which precisely is a combination of the Danish and the German culture in the project. 

Personally, I am also looking forward to the tunnel. To be able to come home quicker and easier to my family. Once a week I drive to and from Copenhagen and East Holstein. It takes more than three hours by train and is rather tiresome. By the tunnel, I will be home in two hours. This gives me more time for my family, friends and my hobbies.

I am happy to be part of the team which connects Denmark and Germany by an 18 km tunnel

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