Actually, Michael and Johanna Kantrowitsch did not want to leave Munich. They enjoyed their life there to the fullest and had everything they wanted: Interesting jobs, culture, sports in the nearby Alps and "Bavarian joie de vivre", as Michael calls it. But when their first child was on the way, their priorities changed at a stroke. And it quickly became clear to the parents-to-be: they wanted to get out of the big city and return to Münsterland, where they themselves spent their childhood.
Johanna Kantrowitsch's studies and her job after graduation had led the couple to Munich a few years ago. "I did a Master's degree in cultural and music management there," she says. "After that, I got a job at the Bavarian State Ballet and stayed there for six years. I was responsible for personnel management and organised artist contracts and music rights for new pieces."
Her husband Michael moved in after her. "I was already working independently at that time and was travelling a lot," he looks back. "For me, it didn't matter where we lived, I could do my job from anywhere." The lighting designer developed lighting for international car shows and events for Porsche and other major brands. After graduating, he was very well connected and continued to work seamlessly in Munich.
After work, Johanna and Michael often attended cultural events or met up with friends. They were also out and about a lot at the weekends. In addition, Michael travelled for work: "I was often away for a week, then at home for a week, then on the road again for a few days," he describes the daily routine. "It was a very exciting way to live, but just not very family-compatible."
When Johanna was pregnant with her daughter Luise in 2018, there were suddenly completely new considerations. "Returning to Münsterland was never an issue before," the couple says. For life with a child, however, the two then weighed things up all over again, and the decision was made quickly. Barely six months after Luise was born, the little family moved back to Warendorf, into a nice house with a garden. In the meantime, the Kantrowitsch family has four children: son Jasper was born at the beginning of 2021. The children are now growing up near their grandparents and in a quieter environment, both of which are very important to Johanna and Michael.
Professionally, the move has brought new challenges for the parents, also because of the corona crisis. "Until the pandemic hit, I hadn't necessarily planned to work in a completely different way. I actually just wanted to travel a little less than before," Michael explains. But then Corona came, and the schedule became thinner and thinner: jobs were postponed or cancelled altogether, events with many guests were not possible for a long time.
The lighting designer had to reorient himself. "I had never known an empty schedule before, so for the first time in many years I had to try to find new projects," he says. With success: Michael Kantrowitsch has meanwhile made a name for himself in the region as a lighting designer, creating lighting for homes, gardens and commercial spaces. And he has opened up a new line of business, because he now also sells the luminaires for the projects. In his WarendorfLeuchten showroom, decorative and functional luminaires can be experienced. Individual consultations also take place there.
In the first Corona winter, he helped shape his new, old home not only in a small way, but at a big event: the Warendorf Christmas Lights. "The city asked me to come up with something to compensate for the cancelled Christmas market," Michael explains. And so, during Advent, buildings and prominent places in the old town were illuminated in bright colours.
At the beginning of December 2022, the Kantrowitsch couple opened the WarendorfLeuchten showroom. They are grateful for the popularity and the many compliments they receive for the mixture of exclusive specialist lighting shop and lighting design office. "Individual lighting solutions are our speciality. For this reason, we have deliberately designed our showroom as a lighting experience room. Each luminaire can be controlled individually so that we can show customers the luminaire geometry and lighting effect individually," says Michael Kantrowitsch.
Learn more about WarendorfLeuchten at warendorfleuchten.de.
Johanna Kantrowitsch is also happy about the opportunities to actively shape her old home again. "There was a cultural vacuum because of Corona," she says. Her son has settled in well with the childminder, which gives Johanna the freedom she needs to return to work. Luise also goes to daycare, but the family had to wait a long time for a place. Her advice for other parents: "It's best to look into childcare and also playgroups or courses long before you move," says Johanna.
Speaking of tips: The Kantrowitsch family also has plenty of recommendations for leisure activities, which they are happy to pass on to other New Münsterlanders. Michael, who likes to jog a lot, has found many beautiful routes via the hiking app of the Westfälischer Heimatbund: "I run along the Ems, through meadows and fields or in the forest. On the way, I almost always see deer, buzzards or even a kingfisher."
Johanna enjoyed kayaking on the Ems and Lake Ems as a child, and she has now taken up the hobby again. And the family enjoys cycling tours: "Between the fields to farms nearby."
For the future, Johanna and Michael are looking forward to a balanced family life between city and country, with enough time for the two children as well as professional realisation.