BGA Past Events
Germany and the Transformation of Europe in the 1990s: An Ambassadorial debate
The Traveller’s Club, 106 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EP
On April 2, the BGA was honoured to host a discussion between two former British Ambassadors to Germany.
Sir Christopher Mallaby GCMG, GCVO was British Ambassador to Germany between 1988 and 1992. He was therefore Ambassador at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the thirtieth anniversary of which we celebrate this year. His memoirs, “Living the Cold War,” are due out shortly in paperback.
Sir Paul Lever KCMG was British Ambassador to Germany between 1997 and 2003, and is the longest-serving Ambassador to united Germany. He was Ambassador at the time that the capital of Germany moved from Bonn to Berlin. His book, “Berlin Rules,” is required reading for anyone seeking to understand modern Germany.
Preceded by a glass of wine, the lively discussion took place in front of a full house in the Coffee Room at the Traveller’s Club.
After the debate twenty of our members had the opportunity to join the Ambassadors for a three course dinner in the private dining room.
A private tour at Ruffer’s offices to view its eclectic and fascinating collection of defaulted bonds and banknotes.
14th March 2019 – 1900 hours
Ruffer, the investment management firm known for its risk-averse approach to investing, invited BGA members for a private viewing of its unique collection of defaulted bonds and banknotes, including a number of Weimar era bonds. This collection is on permanent display at Ruffer’s headquarters in London. Ruffer kindly made it possible for a small number of BGA members to view this collection. Alexander Chartres, an Investment Manager at Ruffer gave us a fascinating tour and explained the history and significance of key items in the collection
To finish the evening Ruffer generously provided us all with wine and canapés at a very sociable reception for those attending.
The BGA New Year Reception
German House, 34 Belgrave Square, London
22nd January 2019
The British-German Association rang in the New Year in style. Well over 100 members and friends joined us for wine and canapes at our annual New Year Reception. We were very happy to be able to welcome so many new members this year. All present were particularly pleased that Ambassador Wittig was able to make time in his very busy schedule to attend the reception and make a speech emphasising his own personal connections to the UK and the importance of the long standing friendship between our two countries going into the post-Brexit era.
The BGA Annual Christmas Carol Service
Christuskirche, Montpelier Place, Knightsbridge
12th December 2018, 7 pm
The annual Christmas Carol service was held once again in this hidden jewel of a church in Knightsbridge. The congregation were in full voice singing favourite English and German carols and the Cantus Ensemble added beautifully to the atmosphere with their a capella Christmas music. The readings were also read in both languages. The service, led by Pastor Amann, was a wonderful start to the festive period.
After the service the guests enjoyed ample Gluehwein and Stollen in the Bonhoeffer Saal.
HRH The Duke of Kent meets BGA’s President and Chairman
St James’s Palace
20th November 2018
BGA President Stephen Watson and Chairman Peter Barnes enjoyed a private meeting with our Patron HRH The Duke of Kent in St James’s Palace. An in depth discussion was had during which time the Duke was also brought up to date with the future plans of The BGA and the ongoing vital importance of the British-German relationship.
Cheque presentation from Trustees of the Brian Deakin Legacy
14th November 2018, City of London
Paul Stocker, Head of BGA Youthbridge receives generous cheque from Claudia Bassner and Iain Potter, Trustees of the Brian Deakin Legacy
BGA Youthbridge was delighted to be the recipient of the Brain Deakin Legacy to further the Anglo-German relationship through teaching.
Brian Deakin was born in 1923. After his war service in Burma he moved abroad as a teacher of English to foreigners, firstly in France, then in
Italy and Germany.
From 1971 to 2011, he spent many happy years as a lecturer in Augsburg.
One of Brian’s goals was to foster his students’ passion for the English language and English literature. About this he wrote: ‘English is a wonderful language, one of the richest, and as it is rich, so it enriches life. There are few aspects of human nature it cannot express. Its literature, its poetry, its drama, bring understanding and enjoyment. It can castigate sin and foster virtue. It can articulate the roar that lies on the other side of silence.’
Due to the generosity of Brian’s legacy to BGA Youthbridge we shall be able to further broaden our outreach to schools throughout the country to counter the decline in the learning of the German language and its culture.
To read more about Brian Deakin’s extraordinary life, please go to briandeakin.org
Remembrance Day Service of Reconciliation
Sunday 11th November 2018
at 12.00 noon
The annual Anglo-German Remembrance Day Service of Reconciliation was held at the German War Cemetery, Cannock Chase. The service was followed by a reception at the Haling Dene Centre organised by the Penkridge Ango-German Remembrance Day Association. The Federal Republic of Germany was represented by the German Embassy’s Charge d’Affairs Julia Gross, the BGA by President Stephen Watson, and Dresden Trust by Chairman Eveline Eaton. It was a particularly moving service due to the historic anniversary of the centenary of the end of The First World War.
The photo shows the grave of Oberleutnant Schelcher whose remains were brought by the Guards of Honour to be laid to rest at Cannock Chase. Nick Hall, one of the Guards and former member of the British German Officers Association, placed the two crosses by the grave, the German cross with the forget-me-not flower and the British cross with the poppy.
The BGA Oktoberfest – What a great event!
Octoberfest Pub – Fulham Road
Why go to Munich when you can join The BGA at its annual Oktoberfest in London – bigger and better every year – and this year a sellout!
With Schnitzel and Schweinshaxe, Bratwurst and Pretzel – and not to forget the traditional Steins, Lederhosen and Dirndl – we were super authentic too.
The live music from a genuine Bavarian oompah band soon had us all on the dance floor and partying long into the night.
So – O’zapft is – und ein Prosit! Und bis Oktober 2019!
Young Members Introduction to Parliament
Tuesday, 16th October
BGA members and friends were treated to a most insightful visit to the Palace of Westminster. There they were able to listen to a presentation by Paul Farrelly MP on his work in Parliament, followed by an Q&A. The long queuing time to be able to pass through Parliamentary security was rewarded with a tour through the Parliament including a glimpse into House of Commons and the House of Lords. We are extremely grateful to Paul Farrelly for giving us time and hope to be able to offer this event to our members again in future.
“Experiencing the Thirty Years’ War” – Lecture by Professor Peter Wilson”
Monday 15th October
2018 marks the 400th anniversary of the Defenestration of Prague. By throwing the Regents of the Catholic Emperor out of a castle window, the Protestant Estates triggered the Thirty Years War, the largest military devastation of Germany until the Second World War.
Professor Peter Wilson is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on the Thirty Years’ War. The BGA was very grateful to the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) for hosting a lecture by Professor Wilson, which was followed by a drinks reception. Another sell out event!
Private Tour of the Mansion House
Thursday 20th September
The BGA is delighted that it was able to offer its members an exclusive tour of the Mansion House, official residence of the Lord Mayor of London.
The tour lead by the ‘Scotsman’ John started in the Plate Room Vault, which contains one of the largest and finest gold and silver plate collections in the world. The tour continued through the Salon, Long Parlour, and the Egyptian Hall in which we admired the spectacular art works, chandeliers and stained glass. It ended in the Drawing Room where members had a chance to enjoy a glass of wine and some nibbles.
We hope to be able to offer members another visit in the upcoming years.
Young BGA Knotentanz Workshop
Elisabeth Yorck von Wartenburg
Sunday 2nd September, St Gabriel’s Halls, London
The BGA’s Young Members Committee invited all our members and friends to our first ever Knotentanz Workshop. Knotentanz (literally “knot dancing”) is a German form of rock and roll.
The workshop was led by Elisabeth Yorck von Wartenburg. Lizzy is the best-known Knotentanz teacher in Germany. She runs regular workshops in Berlin and in other major German cities, and she has published a series of eight DVDs on different aspects of the dance. The Young BGA event was her first workshop in the UK – and after the hugely positive feedback from all those attending the event we will most certainly be asking Lizzy to run another soon.
Photos to follow
British-German Annual General Meeting
New BGA Chairman Peter Barnes is congratulated by predecessor Stephen Watson
AGM Report and photos to follow shortly.
What was the Holy Roman Empire?
Discussion with Joachim Whaley, Professor of German History and Thought at the University of Cambridge
Date: Tuesday 3 July, 7 – 9 pm
Venue: University of Notre Dame in England, 1 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG
The Holy Roman Empire lasted over a thousand years. It was created by Charlemagne and destroyed by Napoleon. It was the precursor of modern Germany. It has an enduring influence on today’s Europe. Yet many people today know nothing about the empire and its history, apart perhaps from Voltaire’s jibe that it was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire or Pufendorf’s view that it was a ‘monster’. What was the Holy Roman Empire in fact? Where was it? How did it get its puzzling name? Why was it and is it so important?
Joachim Whaley is Professor of German History and Thought at the University of Cambridge. His two-volume Germany and the Holy Roman Empire 1493-1806 was widely acclaimed as the definitive academic study of the last three hundred years of the Holy Roman Empire. He has now written a short history of the entire history of the empire from 800 to 1806 for a general readership.
In conversation with Peter Barnes, Vice-Chairman of the British-German Association, Professor Whaley answered key questions about the Holy Roman Empire. After the talk there was a lively Q&A from the floor followed by a book signing and drinks reception.
An evening of Music and Poetry
Wednesday 20 June at the historic Wilton’s Music Hall
1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London E1 8JB
At the kind invitation of Haus Publishing, BGA members and friends have been invited to a very special evening of music and poetry, which took place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20 June at the historic Wilton’s Music Hall in London. This event saw the announcement of the English-language poets contributing to Gingko’s A New Divan poetry anthology, which will be published next year. https://gingo.org.uk/
A New Divan will mark the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan (1819). Bringing together twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the ‘East’ and twelve from the ‘West’ – it is a lyrical conversation inspired by the culture of the Other. These poets seek to continue the dialogue which Johann Wolfgang von Goethe started with Hafiz, the fifteenth-century Persian poet he thought of as his ‘twin’, the results of which he published in the West-Eastern Divan.
The concert featured the world premiere of a new musical composition by the London-based Tafahum ensemble inspired by the Syrian poet Adonis’s especially commissioned contribution to A New Divan, entitled ‘Letter to Goethe’. During the concert Gingko trustee and Dean of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Professor Mena Mark Hanna, introduced the New Divan project and Bill Swainson, the project’s editor, announced the names of the twenty-two English-language poets taking part.
A FULL HOUSE FOR THE BGA PARLIAMENTARY DAY LUNCHEON IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS
with guest speaker
The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the
We are indebted to The Rt Hon David Lidington MP for making time available for The BGA in his particularly punishing schedule of commitments to speak to us at our highlight event in the House of Lords.We have had a considerable amount of positive feedback on the event and his speech. Both our members and the many businesses present appreciated his insight and candid assessment of the challenges we collectively face. His emphatic reinforcement of the shared UK-German interest and the strength of the enduring relationship between our two countries was also well received.
Stephen Watson (Chairman) took the opportunity to thank the outgoing Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen for her invaluable support of The British-German Association during her time at the Embassy. We all wished her well in next posting in Berlin.
Stephen Watson also thanked Ute Bockstegers, outgoing CFO Bayer UK, for her personal support of The BGA as a Board Member.
German Treasures of the Bodleian – a BGA exclusive
Friday 8 June
Bodleian Library, Oxford
The Bodleian Library contains arguably the best collection of German manuscripts and rare books in the UK. On the afternoon of Friday 8 June, between 3pm and 5pm, three specialist curators from the Bodleian agreed to talk about some of the German treasures of their collection to a small group of BGA members and friends. There was also the opportunity to hear from the conservators about some of the projects they are working on.
The exhibits ranged from medieval manuscripts, through early incunabula and rare books, to autograph scores and typescripts by modern authors. Amongst the exhibits displayed was a Maximilian Prayer Book and a copy of Dürer’s Apocalypse.
This was followed by
“Goethe à l’anglaise – singing the poet’s song in a strange land”
Veteran translator and music historian Dr Derek McCulloch returned to the Bodleian Library to celebrate his 80th birthday and to discuss the nature of ‘song’, its relationship between words and music, and when a ‘song’ is not a song. Above all, how should a foreign 18th-century song, for example to a text by Goethe, be performed in a new linguistic and cultural environment? With the aid of Café Mozart he gave the unequivocal answer provided by 18th-century practice – one that may come as a surprise to many.
A selection of related items from the Bodleian’s collections was on display in the Blackwell Hall, Weston Library on the day of the lecture, 8 June 2018.
Private Tour Deutsche Bank Art Collection
Monday 4th June at 6.00 pm for 6.30 pm
Deutsche Bank AG Reception
Winchester House, London Wall
LONDON EC2N 2DB
Following the great success of the previous tour held in 2014 we were delighted to be able to invite BGA members and friends in 2018 to join us for a private guided tour and a talk about the history of the Deutsche Bank art collection, led by Victoria Mendrzyk.
For over 40 years Deutsche Bank has encouraged and supported new talent and original ideas, concentrating on works of art on paper and photography by international contemporary artists. The works of famous artists such as
Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg and Keith Tyson are some of the pieces which will be on view
Deutsche Bank London reception featuring artworks by Keith Tyson and Tony Cragg
For more information on Deutsche Bank’s art collection please go the website http://art.db.com/index_en.htm
The New Germany: Exploring German Wine
Wednesday, 23rd May at 7pm until 8:30pm
Jubilee Room, Palace of Westminster
The British-German Association invited Members and Non-Members to a German Wine tasting
hosted by Paul Farrelly MP, BGA Board Member & Chairman Anglo-German APPG. The tasting was held in the historic Palace of Westminster, led by German wine expert Sebastian Thomas, Director of wine specialists Howard Ripley. Eleven German wines, nine white (mainly Riesling) and two reds have been tasted.
BGA Medal of Honour
presented by HRH The Duke of Kent, Patron British-German Association
to Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen and Sir Paul Lever KCMG at St James’s Palace on 8th May 2018
Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen is the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Court of St James.
Tania is a career diplomat and has been in London and deputy head of mission for the past four years. During this time she has travelled the UK extensively and been a champion of the UK-German relationship. Both professionally and personally, she has cultivated friendships and nurtured connections. She has engaged in the cultural, political and business life of the United Kingdom. She has proved to be a great friend of the British-German Association; encouraging us, supportive of our activities and willing us to do more.
This award is made in recognition of her considerable and sustained commitment to the deepening and enduring relationship between our two countries and for her support of the work of this Association.
Sir Paul Lever KCMG is a former British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany
Sir Paul was British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany between 1997 and 2003, the longest-serving British Ambassador to united Germany, and one of the three longest-serving Ambassadors to the Federal Republic. As Ambassador, he successfully promoted British-German relationships at a time of transition from right-of-centre to left-of-centre Governments in both Britain and Germany. In retirement, Sir Paul has contributed significantly to public education about Germany, notably with the publication of his book, “Berlin Rules: Germany and the European Way.” Sir Paul has also been an advocate for the importance of German-language teaching and for the need for more diplomats to attain German-language fluency.
This award is made in recognition of Sir Paul’s sustained commitment to British-German relationships and to his contribution to British public education about Germany.
8th May 2018
Who knew Germans had a sense of humour?
Young members of the BGA met up at The Betsey Trotwood for what Henning promised would be an evening of “teutonic jolliness at its earliest and most ill-thought-out”. Some might call it work-in-progress but Henning prefers to describe it as a “masterpiece-under-construction.” His dry delivery is legendary and a great evening was had by all – followed by drinks nearby.
BGA/Chatham House Event
The new political landscape in Germany and Austria
25th April 2018 – Panel Discussion 1800 – 1900 hours
The Parliamentary Elections in Germany and in Austria last autumn have resulted in two coalition governments, formed after protracted and difficult negotiations, led by Christian Democratic parties (CDU/CSU and ÖVP). The right wing parties (AfD and FPÖ) made big gains, changing the political landscape at national level.
This event, jointly organised by the BGA and Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs), took place on Wednesday 25th April 2018 from 18.00 to 19.00 at Chatham House, 10 St. James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LE. The Event was on the record and an audio recording of the Event is on the Chatham House website following the discussion. The audience included Chatham House members including politicians and journalists.
The panel of speakers included:
CHAIR: QUENTIN PEEL (Chatham House Europe Programme), former FT Chief Correspondent in Berlin and Foreign Editor
GERMANY: NICOLA BEER (FDP Secretary General) and Bundestag Member from Land Hessen, former Minister of Education, Land Hessen
AUSTRIA: MICHAEL IKRATH (ÖVP), European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, Member of Michael Barnier’s Team, former Nationalrat Member from Vienna 2003-2013
The meeting, was held at 18.00 – 19.00 hours at Chatham House, 10 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LE
“Goodbye Germany” – Private Reception
National Army Museum
Wednesday 18th April 2018 – 1830 hours – 2100 hours
The British-German Association held a highly successful reception in the magnificiently renovated National Army Museum for the launch of the museum’s Goodbye Germany project, opening Easter 2019. The guest speakers, The National Army Museum’s Director General, Justin Maciejewski, and Major General John-Moore Bick, former General Officer Commanding in Germany and BGA member gave us an insight into the British Forces longstanding and deep relationships formed in Germany, both military and in the community. Click here to read synposis of General Moore-Bick’s speech.
The museum also had some specially chosen artefacts on view for our guests, along with a curated tour of the “Soldier Gallery”.
In early 2020 the British Army will complete its process of structural, strategic and cultural transformation, known as “Army 2020”. One of the most significant aspects of “Army 2020” will see the last British garrisons in Germany close, and the units transferred to the UK. Though some training areas in Germany will remain in British hands, it truly is the end of an era.
The Goodbye Germany exhibition, which will run from Easter 2019 – November 2019, will examine the end of more than 70 years of the British Army’s presence in Germany, an experience that has left its mark on the cultural, social, physical and economic landscape not just of Germany, but also the UK. More than a million British soldiers have served in Germany since 1945. It has been crucial to the army’s strategic and tactical understanding and philosophy, and a major base, training area, and incentive for recruitment.
We look forward to returning to the Museum in 2019 for the actual launch.
Exclusive BGA trip to Colchester Zoo
7th April 2018
1100 hours – 1700 hours
Colchester Zoo is the UK’s third most visited and top privately owned zoo. It is now ranked highly amongst Europe’s leading zoos CEO/Owner Anthony Tropeano personally welcomed the BGA members to the zoo. Then, after a morning tour of the zoo, European zoo expert and BGA Board Member and author of “Zooming in on Europe’s Zoos” Anthony Sheridan gave us a short talk over lunch. The guided tours went far beyond everyone’s wildest expecatations. Under expert guidance our members had the opportunity to get up close and personal with, amongst others, lemurs, giraffe, rhinocerous and penguins. Thank you to all involved in making this such a memorable tour.
BGA at the Goethe-Institut in London
7th March 2018
BGA Members joined with our friends at the Goethe-Institut London for a stimulating evening celebrating the UK launch of the international bestselling novel The End of Loneliness by award-winning German author Benedict Wells. A full house enjoyed the reading and lively discussion led by the author.
BGA Young Members’ Stammtisch
Monday, 12th February 2018
Herman ze German, 43 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RS
Our first Young Members’ Stammtisch of the year was a great success!
To get a nice first taste of the BGA, the Stammtisch was held at the traditional German restaurant Herman ze German for some fine beer, currywurst and sauerkraut.
BGA Vice-Chairman Peter Barnes, Young Members’ representative Miriam Thiede and our intern Sarina presented the work of the BGA and gave the others an idea of the special events BGA has planned this year for the young members.
We are delighted to have won some new young members and hope to gain even more in the future!
BGA New Year Reception
Wednesday, 17th January 2018
34 Belgrave Square, London
This year, our famous New Year Reception took place at 34 Belgrave Square by kind permission of HE The German Ambassador Peter Ammon.
With over 120 attendees, it was a very successful evening featuring great speeches from BGA chairman Stephen Watson and the German Ambassador, delicious wine and inspiring conversations between old and new faces of the BGA.
To make the evening even more special, the Ambassador conferred the Bundesverdienstkreuz – the German Order of Merit – to John Hobley.
John Hobley, former BGA Vice-Chairman and active board member for more than 20 years, was most touched to have his contributions to the British-German relationship so appreciated.
BGA Annual Carol Service
Held on Thursday 14th December 2017,
Christuskirche, Knightsbridge, 19 Montpelier Place, London SW7 1HL
What a superb carol service it was! The BGA’s Annual Carol Service celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation was held jointly with the Christuskirche Knightsbridge
With top London Choir “Canticum” – Conductor Jan Trott and Organist Jane Parker-Smith
The service was led by Pastor Georg Amann and Pastor Verena Schlarb
120 of The British-German Association’s members, friends and families joined us in
this special celebration of Christmas on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with wonderful choral and organ music supporting the congregation.
Lessons, carols and anthems were sung in English and German with translations provided.
German readings and translations were taken from the new Lutherbibel 2017.
Following the service, there was a reception in the Bonhoeffer-Saal, with traditional Stollen, Weihnachtsgebäck (ginger biscuits) and Glühwein. The atmosphere was super gemütlich with many friends catching up over a steaming glass or two!
Given Luther’s influence on the German language, the event will support Youthbridge, part of the BGA charity which promotes the teaching of German in British schools. The BGA will also make a donation to the Christuskirche, which is supporting Glass Door, a charity for homeless people in West London.
Photos to follow.
Remembrance Day Service at German War Graves, Cannock Chase
Sunday 12th November 2017
The annual Anglo-German Remembrance Day Service of Reconciliation was held at the German War Cemetery, Cannock Chase on Sunday 12th November 2017 at 12.00 noon followed by a reception at the Haling Dene Centre, Penkridge at 1.30pm. The BGA was represented by our Chairman Stephen Watson and Vice-President John Hobley together with other members of the BGA at this very moving service of remembrance and reconciliation.
For further information about the Penkridge Anglo-German Remembrance Association please contact Keith Hender: 07813 659657 / 01543 578370 Email: email@example.com
Concert in celebration of the German choral tradition by the choir “Canticum”
Thursday 16th November 2017, St. Sepulchre-Without-Newgate, EC1A 2DH
The semi-professional chamber choir “Canticum” is organising a concert on 16th November at 19:30. To celebrate the German choral tradition, the conductor Mark Forkgen has put together an evening of various works by German composers. The choir will also be performing at our annual Carol Service at the Christuskirche.
Tickets for this special event are available at reformation.brownpapertickets.com.
Ceremony at the German war graves in Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton.
Every November a small group assembles at Hollybrook Cemetery to place crosses on the war graves there – including the graves of German servicemen – and to conduct a brief and informal service of remembrance. This was started on the initiative of the Lordshill/Lordiswood Historical Society, and is led by Mike and Elfy Humme. The crosses for the German war graves are supplied by the German War Graves Commission.
This year BGA Vice-President John Hobley (3rd from right) attended the ceremony.
The BGA’s Annual Oktoberfest!
Wednesday 27th September 2017 – Bavarian Beerhouse
The BGA and 50 of our members enjoyed a fun evening at the Bavarian Beerhouse near the Tower of London. Listening to live music from a genuine Bavarian oompah band, we tackled a delicious meal consisting of either a Schnitzel or a Schweinshaxe and, of course, capacious amounts of beer and wine.
For this special occasion, our BGA Vice-Chairman, Peter Barnes, and our new intern, Feyona Wentholt, dressed in traditional Bavarian costume.
BGA AGM and Summer Drinks Reception
Wednesday 12th July 2017 – Nord/LB
Report to follow shortly.
Parliamentary Day Luncheon 2017
Tuesday 13th June – House of Lords
with guest speaker
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
The BGA held its annual Parliamentary Day Luncheon at the House of Lords Cholmondeley Room and Terrace on 13th June, just one week after the highly charged snap election. We were delighted that The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP accepted our invitation to be our guest speaker for this event. His insight to the Brexit negotiations and the election results were, as expected from such a passionate parliamentarian, fascinating for all. There was also time for our guests to ask questions and Mr Benn answered every one in full. Hilary is the newly elected Labour MP for Leeds Central, the seat he has held since 1999. Previously, he served as International Development Secretary, as a Minister in the Home Office, as Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Shadow Foreign Secretary. Up until the dissolution of this parliament he was Chair of Exiting the European Union All Party Select Committee overseeing our “divorce” from Europe. It was a real honour to have such a wildly appreciated Politician speak in front of our guests at a time when there are so many political changes ahead, both domestic and European. Our 115 guests very much enjoyed the three course meal served on another warm and sunny day in London on the famous terrace in the House of Lords. We should like to extend our thanks to Lord Dykes who hosted the event.
Conference – “Challenge and Opportunity in Furthering British-German Understanding”
Friday 12th May 2017
Delegates from all over Britain headed to Bristol City Hall on Friday 12th May for our Twinning Conference. Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol and BGA Chairman Stephen Watson gave a warm welcome to all participants. The topic of this year’s conference was the challenges twinning associations face regarding the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union. It soon became clear that there was great consensus on the fact that British-German understanding and cooperation are now more important than ever and that twinning organisations play a vital and crucial role in achieving that. More than 100 participants were able to learn and share ideas in seven different workshops, three held in a morning session and four in the afternoon. Workshop chairs included lecturers from high profile British universities – Professor Katrin Kohl, Jesus College Oxford, and Dr Debby Pinfold, University of Bristol – as well as the Head of the Cultural Section of the German Embassy London, Charlotte Schwarzer. In a plenary session, the Bürgermeister of Hannover, Thomas Herrmann, the Chairman of the Bristol Hannover Council, Ann Kennard, BGA Vice-Chariman John Hobley, Charlotte Schwarzer and the Chairman of the Hannover-Bristol Gesellschaft, Robert Nicholls, participated in a discussion on the topic and answered the delegates’ questions. Later that day, all participants were invited to a reception in the beautiful Sansovino Room of the Bristol Harbour Hotel. Partnership associations and local associations engaged in British-German activities were invited to join us at this special conference supported by Airbus, Boehringer Ingelheim, The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, The City of Bristol and Burges Salmon. We should like to thank our corporate supporters for helping us stage such a great event. We would also like to extend our thanks to Ann Kennard and the Bristol Hannover Council for letting us hold the conference as part of the council’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Reports will be send out shortly to all our delegates and will also be put online.
Business Leaders’ Dinner
25th April 2017 – House of Commons
We were delighted that Lionel Barber, Editor of The Financial Times was the guest speaker at this event which is for our corporate members only and by invitation only. The dinner was held in the House of Commons. Report to follow shortly.
An evening with Gavin Hewitt – BBC Senior Correspondent
29th March – 18.30 for 1900 hours
34 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB
Gavin Hewitt is well known to all of us who watch BBC news and current affairs. We were delighted he that accepted our invitation to speak to our members to give his views on the UK-EU relationship – with particular reference to UK and Germany – and the impact on Europe of developments outside the region – including the Trump administration (last year he covered the Trump campaign). Gavin’s personal insight to the current political situation was absolutely fascinating, and, following his talk he was in conversation with Lord Watson, President of the BGA which broadened out to a very lively Q&A at the conclusion. He stayed at the conclusion to join our guests for a reception. We should especially like to thank the Deputy Head of the German Embassy Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen for hosting this event on behalf of the Embassy and for their generous hospitality. Gavin joined the BBC’s Panorama as a presenter in 1984 and was in East Berlin when the Berlin Wall came down.He also made the film “Escape From Tiananmen”, which broke the story of Operation Yellow Bird – the underground network used to smuggle student leaders and others out of China. From 2009 until 2015 he was based in Brussels and covered the eurozone crisis and the election campaigns of Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. In 2013 he wrote a book about the crisis in Europe called ‘The Lost Continent.’ He has been the BBC’s Washington Correspondent on several occasions and made three documentaries about President Bill Clinton. In 2008 he covered the Obama campaign. In 2003 he was embedded with US forces in Iraq. He later gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry about David Kelly and the so-called ‘dodgy dossier.’ He has written three books and has has won an RTS, a BAFTA and a Broadcast award.
The Lord Watson of Richmond CBE, President of TheBritish-German Association – A talk about his latestbook “Churchill’s Legacy – Two Speeches to save theWorld”
Wednesday 1st March 2017
34 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB
Lord Watson who has a lifelong involvement in communications as an award-winning BBC broadcaster for over 20 years presenting ‘Panorama’ on BBC1 and ‘The Money Programme’ on BBC2, gave us a highly informative talk on Churchill’s famous and highly enlightened post-war speeches made in Fulton Missouri and Zurich which foresaw the creation of the EU as it is today. This talk introduced by Dr Charlotte Schwarzer, Head of Culture at the German Embassy, was based on his latest book “Churchill’s Legacy – Two Speeches to save the World” was not only academic in its content but also hugely entertaining evening as Lord Watson expanded the facts with wonderful anecdotes and asides. The post-talk questions to Lord Watson flowed, and we all enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine at the conclusion while Lord Watson signed books for the guests.
The BGA’s Annual New Year Recepetion
Wednesday 11th January 2017
On Wednesday 11th January 2017 our members and friends joined us for wine and canapes for what has become a “must” on the BGA calendar. We should like to extend our thanks to HE The German Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon for allowing us to use the reception room at No. 34 Belgrave Square for this event. We were delighted that he was able to join us and welcome our guests to the event.
BGA’s Annual Carol Service
Friday 16 December 7 pm
Christuskirche, 9 Montpelier Place Knightsbridge
The Annual BGA Christmas Carol Service held jointly with the Christuskirche Knightsbridge with top London Choir “Canticum” Conductor: Mark Forkgen Organist: Jane Parker-Smith
The British-German Association’s members, friends and families enjoyed a joyful celebration of Christmas with the superb London Choir “Canticum” followed by a reception in the Bonhoeffer-Saal with traditional Stollen, Weihnachtsgebäck (gingerbread biscuits) and a warming glass of Glühwein! The Church was full to capacity and wonderful time was had by all.
The service was led by Pastor Georg Amann Lessons, carols and anthems were in English and German.
An Evening with Lord Green
Thursday 24th November 2016
We were delighted that, at the invitation of The German Embassy who hosted the event together with the BGA, Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint talked about Germany and its place in the EU and the wider world. Stephen Green had a long and distinguished career in the City, becoming Group Chairman of HSBC plc. He later became Minister for Trade and Investment. He sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords and is the author of The European Identity (2015). Lord Green is also an ordained priest in the Church of England, having studied theology at Manchester University’s Northern Ordination course while based in Hong Kong. The Euro crisis has served as a stark reminder of the fundamental importance of Germany to the larger European project. But the image of Germany as the dominant power in Europe is at odds with much of its recent history. Reluctant Meister, Lord Green’s latest book on which his talk was based is a wide-ranging study of Germany from the Holy Roman Empire through the Second and Third Reichs, asking not only how such a mature and developed culture could have descended into the barbarism of the Nazi years but how it afterwards rebuilt itself within a generation to become an economic powerhouse. Perhaps most important, Stephen Green examines to what extent Germany will come to dominate its relationship with its neighbours in the European Union, and what that will mean for the continent as a whole. His insight proved to be of great interest to our members and friends – leading to a very long and lively Q&A at the end of his talk. Deputy Head of Mission Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen thanked Lord Green on behalf of all present for his excellent talk. Following the talk there was a drinks reception hosted by The Embassy where Lord Green did a very successful book signing.
Remembrance Day Service at German War Graves, Cannock Chase
13th November 2016
“It is both a service of remembrance, paying tribute to those who fought in defence of their country, and also of reconciliation. It is always a very moving occasion”.
This year, on a glorious crisp autumn’s morning, Deputy Head of Mission Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen represented the German Embassy, together with representatives of The Queen, the British Armed Forces and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. John Hobley, Vice-Chairman of the BGA was supported by other Board Members and members of the BGA.The reception afterwards, organised so kindly and brilliantly by BGA’s affiliate the Penkridge Anglo-German Remembrance Day Association, was as ever well attended. It was a warm and particularly enjoyable event. Frau von Uslar-Gleichen gave a very well received speech, the transcript can be read by clicking here – Text in English and Text in German
The German War Cemetery is located in a beautiful and tranquil valley on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. It was inaugurated in 1967. It is looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on behalf of its German equivalent, the VDK. It holds the graves of almost 5,000 German and Austrian servicemen and women who died in the two world wars and whose remains were found in this country.For more information about the cemetery (including excellent pictures) and how to get there, go towww.ww1cemeteries.com/british_cemeteries_memorials_ext/cannock_german_cem.htm .
“The British in Occupied Germany – Four British Soldiers and Administrators in Germany after the Second World War” – The latest in our series of historical talks
THE BRITISH-GERMAN ASSOCIATION AND CHRISTUSKIRCHE KNIGHTSBRIDGE
Thursday 27th October 2016
Bonhoeffer Room at the Deutsche Evangelische Christuskirche 19 Montpelier Place, London SW 7 1HL This very well attended lecture was given by Christopher Knowles, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary British History (ICBH) at Kings College London. Dr Christopher Knowles has spent many years researching British people in occupied Germany. His lecture looked at how four important and influential British individuals set about the task of reconstruction, political renewal, and personal reconciliation with their former enemies: Field-marshal Montgomery, the first military governor of the British Zone, Harold Ingrams, a former colonial official given the task of restoring democracy in Germany, Vaughan Berry, the British Regional Commissioner for Hamburg, and John Chaloner, the 21 year-old English army officer who first created the German news magazine, Der Spiegel. Despite having fought two very bitter wars in the previous 30 years, despite the chaos in Germany after the collapse of the Nazi state, despite criticism of the occupation in both Britain and Germany, despite hunger marches and protests in Germany, the end of the war and the end of the occupation has been followed by 70 years of peace and prosperity in Western Europe. What did people do that was right then, when more recent examples of military occupation, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been so much less successful? We had some very interesting input from the guests at the event – some of whom had personal experience of that post war period in Germany or had members of their familes with the British and American forces based in Germany at that time. Christopher Knowles in fact gained new information himself from one of our BGA guests who had an inside knowledge of Field-Marshal Mongomery and his own personal thought processes at the time. After the talk there was a very lively reception.
The BGA’s Annual Oktoberfest 2016
28th September 2016, Bavarian Beerhouse Tower Hill
O’zapft is! To coincide with the real Oktoberfest in Munich, the BGA Oktoberfest was held on the 28th September at the cellar of the famous Bavarian Beerhouse in London’s Tower Hill.
The Beerhouse was wonderfully decorated in Bavarian colours, with images from the country and the Oktoberfest. Sitting at traditional beer tables and benches, our around 50 guests enjoyed delicious German beer in pints and steins as well as Schnitzel and Schweinshaxn. Throughout the evening, we were entertained by live musicians from Bavaria who brought the original Oktoberfest atmosphere to London with typical songs and toasts which they taught to the mostly non-Bavarian guests. It was certainly great fun for everyone and a memorable evening that calls for a repetition in 2017!
BGA’s Annual General Meeting 2016 and Summer Reception
July 13th 2016
The AGM and Summer Drinks Reception were held in the splendid offices of NORD/LB in the City of London, with magnificent view of St Paul’s. The BGA is indebted to NORD/LB , a corporate sponsor of the BGA, for so generously hosting the event this year. Mr Christoph Trestler, General Manager of NORD/LB welcomed the Board and the membership before the start of the meeting. The AGM was started promptly at 1800 hours with the Chairman Stephen Watson giving a synopsis of the work carried out by the BGA in the year 2015 and how it intends to actively go forward post-Brexit. It was agreed that now more than ever the BGA must fulfil its Mission Statement “Creating Understanding and Forging Links” between our two countries. The Hon. Treasurer gave his Financial Report which was accepted by unanimous show of hands. Please contact the BGA Office if you should require to see the Minutes, Financial Statements etc, lists of attendees, apologies etc. At the conclusion of the AGM there was a most enjoyable drinks reception, hosted by NORD/LB.
BGA’s Annual Parliamentary Day
June 16th – House of Lords Cholmondeley Room and Terrace
PRE-REFERENDUM PARLIAMENTARY DAY LUNCH Thursday 16th June 2016, House of Lords With the referendum uppermost in many peoples’ minds, the annual BGA luncheon took place just 7 days before the vote. The BGA convened a high-profile, cross-party referendum debate. The panel included Lord Watson (Liberal and President BGA), Paul Farrelly MP (Labour and Chair APP British-German Group), John Stevens MP (Conservative and former Conservative MEP) and James Sproule (Chief Economist and Director of Policy Institute of Directors) . The event also included a lively Q&A after the debate, giving members the opportunity to join in the discussion and share their views!
Business Leader’s Dinner in the House of Commons with Guest Speaker Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General Confederation of British Industry
May 31st – this was for corporate members only
For our Corporate Members only, this black tie dinner was held in the House of Commons. The evening started with a champagne reception on the terrace and was followed by a formal dinner. Our Guest Speaker was Carolyn Fairbairn Director-General of the CBI. In her speech about the EU Referendum, she underlined the necessity to separate ‘claim’ from ‘fact’ when faced with the decision to remain or leave. She presented an overview of the risks Britain would face by leaving the European Union, drawing upon the potentially major economic and business repercussions and severe job losses. She suggested that Brexit would only give Britain an illusion of sovereignty as in reality it would exclude us from EU discussions about our future. She concluded that the uncertainty of future growth, prosperity and investment for Britain is not worth the risk of leaving the EU. Dr. Moscho, MD of Bayer UK & I, gave the reply speech in which he explained the positive benefits the Bayer business in the UK gains from EU membership. He discussed the advantages of research funding, research collaboration and trade for pharmaceutical companies and stressed that 1000 people are employed by Bayer in the UK and Ireland generating 1 bn euros in sales annually. He then went on to give a broader outline of the economic benefits German businesses receive from being part of the EU. After the speeches there followed a very lively Q&A which was both informative and stimulating. The BGA is indebted to Bayer for supporting the event.
Royal United Services Institute invited BGA members to attend Whitehall Dialogue: Russia and Refugees – Challenges for German Foreign Policy
27 April 2016
Testimonials: Verity Ruecker – BGA Member “Invited by the BGA, my husband and I were delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Royal United Services Institute event with Dr Thomas Bagger: “Russia and Refugees – Challenges for German Foreign Policy”. As Head of Policy Planning at the German Federal Foreign Office, we were given by Dr Bagger an insight into Germany’s position not only on the specific topics – its relationship with Russia and its humanitarian approach to the European refugee crisis – but also, via a lively and lengthy Q&A session, into more far-ranging topics, such as Brexit. We came away with the impression that, although Germany’s geographical position, large population and successful economy have made it Europe’s powerhouse, the role as Europe’s leader is one it takes on reluctantly.” Caren Saville-Sneath – BGA Member “Just to say how much I enjoyed this event. Having lived in the UK for so long I am to some extent out of touch with German attitudes and it was incredibly interesting and informative to get their perspective, especially from somebody so high up in the decision making process. Thank you!”
BGA “Spotlight on Business” – Trip to Bosch UK’s facility in Worcester with business discussion
April 18th 2016
The BGA was delighted to have the opportunity to arrange a private tour of the Bosch Thermotechnology production site in Worcester. Bosch is a long term supporter and Corporate Member of the BGA and we are very grateful that they have made this tour possible for our members. Worcester is the main headquarters for Bosch Thermotechnology Ltd in the UK. There are approximately 1,050 employees located on the site in Worcester, spread across many different disciplines from Finance & Administration through to Logistics & Supply Chain management. Worcester’s focus on important environmental issues led to the launch of a long term vision for the company “Environment 2020” resulting in new, greener products coming onto the market. Bosch Thermotechnology Ltd was awarded the Royal Warrant in 2009. Following refreshments, Carl Arntzen, CEO Bosch Thermotechnology Ltd. gave us a welcome presentation, outlining the history of the company and its working practices with an opportunity for the delegates to ask questions before setting off on the private tour of the manufacturing facility, customer training centre and after sales call centre and technical hotline. We all agreed that there is something quite fascinating about learning about the production processes and behind-the-scenes machinations and systems supporting an object we can all rather take for granted.
“Dear Deutschland” a Reading by Michael Hall
held jointly by the British-German Association and Christuskirche Knightsbridge in the Bonhoeffer Room at the Deutsche Evangelische Christuskirche
Thursday 25th February 2016
Michael Hall – former Consul General in Germany gave us a thoroughly enjoyable and witty evening reading from his latest book “Dear Deutschland” which he wrote while he was British Consul in Frankfurt from 1991 to 1996. His wry sense of humour had the full house of guests in fits of laughter as we recognised certain character traits displayed by both nationalities! The pieces are made up of portraits of engaging characters, comic incidents of consular and daily life, snapshots of Frankfurt at that time, just after Germany’s reunification and during the strong rise of the city as a financial centre, glimpses backstage at the British Consulate-General, and peeps into the personal life of Herr Konsul. Both before and after the readings we enjoyed glasses of wine and had the opportunity to buy the book. The event was held in cooperation with the Gemeinde of the Christuskirche Knightsbridge, in their very welcoming Bonhoeffer-Saal downstairs from the church.
The BGA New Year Reception
held at 34 Belgrave Square in the presence of HE The German Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon
Thursday 28th January 2016 – 6pm – 8 pm
This annual event has become very popular with members and friends of The BGA – held in the splendid reception room at 34 Belgrave Square by kind permission of the Ambassador who was also present that evening. He welcomed the guests and talked briefly about the exciting year ahead for British-German relations with special reference to the EU Referendum. It was a very successful evening of wine and canapés with excellent conversation and networking. We look forward to many of the friends who attended the recepetion now becoming new members of The BGA.
The BGA-Christuskirche Advent Carol Service Thursday 3rd December – 7 pm
held jointly with Christuskirche Knightsbridge, 19 Montpelier Place, London SW7 1HL
Click here to see Advent Flyer with “Fever Pitch” Conductor: Elinor Corp Organist: Jane Parker-Smith The British-German Association’s members, friends and families were invited to join us for our annual joyful celebration of the Advent of Christmas with the London Choir “Fever Pitch” followed by a reception in the Bonhoeffer-Saal with traditional Stollen, Weihnachtsgebäck (gingerbread biscuits) and a warming glass of Glühwein! The service was led by Pastor Georg Amann and Pastorin Laura Artes. Lessons, carols and anthems were in English and German and were enjoyed by a congregation that filled the church!
BGA private tour of the Airbus state-of-the-art Manufacturing plant in Broughton
26th November 2015 – Broughton, Chester CH4 0DR
Without doubt it was a huge success for the 20 BGA members lucky enough to get a place on the tour. Totally fascinating. Our guide who had worked at the plant for many years imparted his in-depth knowledge of the company, the planes and their production, brilliantly answering the myriad of questions thrown at him! The huge scale of the plant is literally awe inspiring. Our tour concentrated on the manufacturing plant of the enormous A380 wings which we followed from their initial first “layer”, the building-up of the various layers, edges, rivets, wiring until the final product (minus its engines and flaps which are finally attached by British engineers from Broughton in France). Seeing the vast pvc-wrapped wings awaiting their shipment to France on their huge individual cradles is an impressive sight and logistical triumph in itself! To see their journey by road and then by river craft to Mostyn harbour, where they are loaded onto a custom-built roll-on, roll-off ferry for the trip to France is worth a BGA trip in itself! It is wonderful to think that such a great European company is so well represented in the UK with a facility of such cutting edge technology and skills and our thanks go to the Airbus team who made this tour possible for us. Airbus, is long term supporter and sustaining member of The BGA.
The Penkridge Anglo-German Remembrance Association
8th November 2015
The Remembrance Day Service, organised by PAGRA was very attended this year, including 23 representatives from the BGA. The German Embassy was represented by Deputy Head of Mission Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen who spoke movingly at the service and at the luncheon afterwards. General Sir William Rollo from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who had been stationed many times in Germany, was also in attendance as were many British soldiers now based in Stafford. John Hobley, Vice-Chairman of The British-German Association awarded the BGA Medal of Honour to Keith Hender, the current Chair of PAGRA. The award was made in recognition of the initiative taken by PAGRA following the inauguration of the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof on Cannock Chase to ensure that Services of Remembrance and Reconciliation take place every year, that they be properly and well-attended, and that following the service care be taken for the warmth and comfort of those attending. It recognised the selfless dedication of successive Chairmen and committee members of PAGRA over all the ensuing years in ensuring efficiently and without fuss or self-congratulation that the annual service take place. The BGA congratulated Keith Hender and his Committee on PAGRA’s past and still continuing achievement. In doing it was also recalled the contribution made over the years by Keith’s predecessor, the late John Hopkinson, and by John’s wife Helga.
The BGA’s First Oktoberfest!
Held at Herman ze German, 43 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RS – 28th October 2015
With the Oktoberfest in full swing in München we thought it would be fun to join them in our own way in London!
With Herman ze German proving to be a very popular new destination venue in Fitzrovia (traditional Bavaria meets hip-London) here was the chance to join us for a fun evening of Schnitzel and Wurst and Bier – and of course good company!
We had a great (if rather chaotic!) evening with many Steins and Dunkelbiers. We will most certainly repeat the event in 2016 – but perhaps at another venue which will be able to cater for larger parties more efficiently! Watch this space!
The Stadtschloss Berlin: Why Rebuild Germany’s Palaces Today?
Tuesday 29th September 2015 at the German Historial Institute London
The British-German Association invited our members and friends to a sell out lecture and discussion by Wolf Burchard MA PhD
Ever since 1945, Germany has developed somewhat of a tradition in restoring or rebuilding its onetime princely and royal palaces that had either been damaged or entirely destroyed during the Second World War. Berlin’s Stadtschloss – Germany’s equivalent to Buckingham Palace – is the latest, and possibly last, reconstruction project (image on left). The new Schloss will bear the name ‘Humboldt Forum’, and its purpose will be to provide a platform for large art exhibitions and intercultural exchanges. To many, it appears somewhat surprising that almost a century after Germany ceased to be a monarchy, attempts are still underway to re-create some of its lost royal architecture.
Wolf Burchard’s lecture explored the complex and often controversial history of the rebuilding of Germany’s palaces. It looked at their new functions as museums, universities and shopping malls, and attempted to answer the question ‘Why rebuild Germany’s palaces?’ Yet again Wolf gave us all a fascinating talk with our guests so enthused that the Q&A had to finally be brought to a close by the Chair so Wolf could get home!
Dr Burchard is an art and architectural historian, and specialist on 17th and 18th century royal patronage. He was Curatorial Assistant at the Royal Collection Trust from 2009 to 2014 where he assisted the Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures in curating The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy, 1714-1760 at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, commemorating the tercentenary of George I’s accession to the British Throne. He studied history of art and architecture at the universities of Tübingen, Vienna and the Courtauld Institute of Art, from which he holds an MA and PhD. He publishes and regularly lectures on the art and architectural patronage at the British, French and German courts.
Again we should like to thank Dr Andreas Gestrich, Director of the German Historical Institute London, for allowing The BGA to hold this event at their wonderful premises.
AGM and Summer Drinks Reception
15 July 2015, 34 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB
Notice of Annual General Meeting
The Association’s Annual General Meeting this year, took place on Wednesday 15 July. At the AGM, we were reporting on the activities of the Association and sharing details of our plans for the year ahead. It was also an opportunity for our members to put questions to the Board. We also elected the Officers and Board members. The formal business was followed by our summer drinks reception. Many guests joined us for a very convivial drinks party. hcuu
BGA’s ANNUAL PARLIAMENTARY DAY
Thursday 18th June 2015, Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords
Our guest speaker was Danny Finkelstein, the much sought after political journalist and commentator. Known for his wit and insight he shared his views on the outcome of the General Election at this year’s BGA Parliamentary Day Lunch. He also expounded as to why the political polls got it so horribly wrong! Danny explored the ramifications of the election, reflected on the shape of the new government and examined its likely impact on the UK’s relationship with Europe.
Lord Finkelstein is a former Executive Editor of The Times and is a respected political columnist. He is often seen on the BBC where his political insight is sought and enjoyed. He was a founder member of the SDP and became a close adviser to David Owen. He moved to the Conservatives after the Liberal/SDP merger and joined the Conservative Research Department, advising John Major as Prime Minister. Finkelstein became an early advocate of the ‘modernisation’ of the Conservative Party and was political adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, William Hague. In 2013, he became a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
This was a sell out event as was to be expected with such a well known speaker. Our guests enjoyed drinks in the sunshine on the terrace of the House of Lords, followed by a 3-course luncheon in the Cholmondelely Room.
BGA Members invited to attend Waterloo Banquet at St. James’s Palace, 9th June
June this year marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, better known in Germany as La Belle Alliance. After the battle the Duke of Wellington met Marshal Blücher. They shook hands and embraced, and Blücher said, “Mein lieber Kamerad! Quelle affaire!” They rode together to La Belle Alliance, where Prussian cavalry greeted them with a fanfare of trumpets. Wellington handed over responsibility for the pursuit of the retreating French army to Blücher and the two heroes parted. It had been a close run thing but Wellington would never have fought Napoleon that day if it had not been for assurance given to him by Blücher that he would come to Wellington’s support.
With the gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen, Waterloo 200 and The New Waterloo Dispatch arranged an elegant Waterloo Banquet at St James’s Palace on Tuesday, 9th June 2015, nine days before the anniversary of the battle and exactly two hundred years to the day that the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna was signed by the Great Powers in 1815. We were delighted that BGA members were also invited to attend.
“There is more to German whites than Riesling“
Thursday 30th April NORD/LB – Norddeutsche Landesbank, One Wood Street London EC2V 7WT For our Fine Wine Cognoscenti! At the kind invitation of Nord/LB, the BGA held an excellent wine tasting evening enjoyed by some 50 members and friends.
With David Petche of Petersfield Wines to guide us, we explored 8 excellent white wines of Germany which could be purchased from David at the end of the evening. Everyone agreed it was not only informative, it was also fun! By the end of the evening it was also quite noisy with conversation and wine flowing. We are all looking forward to our next wine tasting event to be arranged in the not too distant future.
BGA Business Leaders’ Dinner
Tuesday 21st April – House of Lords This prestigious black tie event is held annually for our Corporate partners only. Hosted by our President Lord Watson of Richmond, it was held in the House of Lords in the presence of His Excellency The German Ambassador, Dr Peter Ammon. This year our guest speaker was Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems and former CBI President. Sir Roger spoke powerfully about where the UK now finds itself and some of the issues that will shape the direction of any EU referendum on the UK’s membership. He also took questions enabling the guests to hear the views of others in the room who were representatives of some of the largest international companies in the UK.
Dresden Today – Its Art and Architecture
Wednesday 25th February 2015 The German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ 6.30 pm Drinks – 7.00 pm Lecture Eveline Eaton – Chairman of the Dresden Trust, a close partner of the BGA – having just returned from the Commemoration of the 70 years of the destruction of the City of Dresden held in the presence of HRH The Duke of Kent, passed on her most recent impressions of this magnificent city which has risen like a “phoenix from the ashes”. Eveline Eaton grew up in Berlin and worked in advertising in Germany and USA. After moving to England, she studied art history in London at the Study Centre for Fine and Decorative Arts (linked to the V&A) and then at the Courtauld Institute where she gained her degree. After teaching at Surrey University, she became a lecturer for NADFAS and The Art Fund enabling her to pass on her enthusiasm to art lovers in Britain, Continental Europe, USA, South Africa and Australia, both as a lecturer and as a tour guide. In 2013 Eveline was elected Chairman of The Dresden Trust. We should like to thank Dr Andreas Gestrich, Director of the German Historical Institute London, for allowing The BGA to hold this event at their premises.
The BGA’s Annual New Year Reception
Neujahrsempfang – The BGA’s New Year Reception
Ring out the Old – Ring in the New! 34 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB If you were in London on Wednesday 14th January 2015, the Executive Board of the British-German Association invited its members and friends to join them for their Annual BGA New Year Reception which has become a must on the BGA calendar. We were delighted that this year HE Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon was able to join us, together with his Deputy Head of Mission, Tania Freiin von Uslar-Gleichen. It was fun evening, with good wines, canapes and great conversation with many new members joining the BGA that evening. We are looking forward to our next drinks reception, to be held at 34 Belgrave Square after the BGA AGM on June 18th. (photos to follow)
Christmas Carol Service
held jointly with the Christuskirche Knightsbridge
Thursday 18th December – 1900 hours Christuskirche Knightsbridge , 19 Montpelier Place, London SW7 1HL
with The Purcell Singers – Conductor: Mark Ford – Organist: Jane Parker-Smith
The British-German Association’s members, friends and families held a joyful celebration of Christmas with the famed Purcell Singers followed by a reception in the Bonhoeffer-Saal with traditional Stollen, Weihnachtsgebäck (gingerbread biscuits) and a warming glass of Glühwein! The service was be led by Pastorin Laura Artes. Lessons, carols and anthems were read in English and German.
Spotlight on the Hanoverians: – The Tory Party and a New Royal Dynasty: The Tercentenary of a Momentous Policital Crisis
Thursday 20th November To celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Accession of the House of Hanover in 1714, The BGA invited its members and friends to the last of its series of very successful lectures “Spotlight on the Hanoverians”. Lord Lexden gave a fascinating and very well researched lecture “The Tory Party and a New Royal Dynasty: The Tercentenary of a Momentous Political Crisis” which was a captivating period of UK history. His insight and observations were greatly appreciated and brought the the subject to life with colour and knowledge. Lord Lexden, a Conservative peer, is a political historian who is the Official Historian to the Conservative Party and the Carlton Club. He writes regularly for various newspapers and contributes in many Lords debates www.alistairlexden.org.uk argued that the popular impression of George I as a rather stupid man cut off from his new subjects by his inability to speak English is hopelessly wide of the mark. The new king was respected throughout continental Europe for his prowess as a soldier during the long wars against Louis XIV and as a highly effective ruler of Hanover which was one of the leading states of Germany. The king conversed freely in the common language of the rulers of Europe, French. He knew some English in 1714; by the end of his reign he was attending performances of Shakespeare’s plays. A leading Dutch diplomat, writing in 1702, said: “he has a special aptitude for affairs of state ,a well-ordered economy, very sound brain and judgement”. Our thanks go to Prof Dr. Andreas Gestrich of The German Historical Institute for allowing us to use their magnificent premises for this event.
Tour of the Mini Factory in Oxford
Monday 3rd November In the series BGA’s “Spotlight on Business” BGA members had the opportunity to make a tour around BMW’s state of the art Mini factory – to see this iconic car in production. For those of us not experts in the automotive production line – it was an eye opener to see the different models in production simultaneously. One can only wonder at the brilliance of the of the mechanisation – let alone the programmers! It should be compulsory for all schools to make such a tour! Such a visit can only inspire the young to knuckle down and get into engineering and IT. And the key word we all walked away with? Quality!
Testemonials: “The sounds eminating from the vast factory floor could not have been mistaken for Tschaikowski’s masterpiece. But the fluidity and elegance in the car-making robots’ perfectly choreographed movements was reminiscent indeed of a good Schwanensee performance. What a most interesting and mind broadening factory visit this was – thank you very much BGA for putting this together!” Chris von Cossel “I must thank you for the excellent tour of the BMW factory – all my life I have had 2 ambitions 1) to visit a secure prison – I had a full tour of Brixton prison in February and 2) to visit a Motor Plant – thanks to you I have at the age of 75 achieved both – With many thanks” Nigel Clark
Penkridge Anglo-German Remembrance Day Service
Sunday 9th November 2014 The annual Anglo-German Remembrance Day Service of Reconciliation was held at the German War Cemetery, Cannock Chase on Sunday 9th November 2014 at 12.00 noon followed by a reception at the Haling Dene Centre, Penkridge.
BGA Medal of Honour awarded to Bristol-Hannover Council
At the annual Bristol Anglo-German Society dinner at the Mansion in Bristol, The British-German Association’s Chairman Stephen Watson awarded the BGA’s Medal of Honour to the Bristol-Hannover Council, represented by Ann Kennard. This medal is given to individuals or bodies that have made an outstanding, sustained and consequential contribution to the British-German relationship. The BGA Medal of Honour, the highest accolade the Association can bestow, has over the years been awarded to a small number of individuals who have excelled in this endeavour. They include a past Prime Minister, Edward Heath, Roy Jenkins and also former Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. More recently, senior business leaders including Andreas Goss of Siemens, have also been recipients. Last year the medal was presented by HRH The Duke of Kent, the BGA’s Royal Patron, to outgoing German Ambassador, Georg Boomgaarden.
Special Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields with HRH The Duke of Kent KG
Monday 20th October 2014 It was a full house at the BGA’s special service to mark the 300th Anniversary of the Hanoverian Accession and the Coronation of George I. The service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields at Trafalgar Square, London, and included music and readings from the actual coronation 300 years ago. Our Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany were both in attendance, along with a number of VIPs from the Anglo-German community.
BGA’s AGM & Summer Drinks Reception
Wednesday 16th July 2014
The BGA’s Annual General Meeting and Summer Drinks Party was held on Wednesday 16th July 2014 at 1800 hours at the offices of BGA Corporate Member Nord?LB at One Wood Street, London EC2V 7WT. Following an excellent meeting the BGA members and friends were invited for drinks and canapes by Nord/LB – a superb end to the day.
The British & German Parliamentary Choirs in unison in Westminster Hall
Wednesday 9th July 2014
On 9th July in the splendid Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, the British and German Parliamentary Choirs came together to give a soaring performance of Handel’s Zadok the Priest & Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang. Together with the Southbank Sinfonia under the baton of Simon Over, the choir and soloists demonstrated the joys of intercultural exchange at its very best – and that political harmony really can be achieved!
A Day in the Country with Bayer
Thursday 26th June 2014 This event in the BGA series “A Spotlight on Business” looked at the importance of modern agricultural technologies in food production from inception, development, testing and production. The event took place at Bayer Crop Science’s Orchard Farm in Great Chishill in Cambridgeshire. The BGA thanks the Bayer CropScience Team for all the arrangements that made the day so insightful and memorable. From: Christine Bunnenberg, Avocets Consulting “I enjoyed the ‘Day in the Country with Bayer’ so much that I decided to become a member of the BGA straight away. The event gave an insight into the long and often stoney road from discovery of a substance or the invention of a new avenue in plant protection to the finished product. Thanks to Peter Brain’s and Steve’s excellent presentations we all gained a fresh perspective on what crop science can mean for all of us on the planet. I look forward to the BGA’s exciting future events!” From Andrea Badelt, Partner Eriswell Capital Management LLP & BGA Member “With world population expected to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food production will need to increase by up to seventy percent. A rapidly expanding middle class in Asia is shifting its dietary habits from grain to proteins. A higher calorie diet has a large agricultural multiplier effect, as around 6.5kg of crop feed is required to produce 1kg of beef.This presents enormous challenges for the agricultural industry. Most of the increase in crop production is expected to come from higher yielding crop and greater cropping intensity on existing arable land. The FAO estimates global arable land to expand by less than five percent by 2050. Bayer CropScience is one of the small groups of companies dedicated to providing solutions to the problem of global food sustainability. With €900 million of annual R&D investments, Bayer focuses on improving crop protection and developing higher-yielding seed varieties such as; cotton, oilseed rape, rice and soybeans. The day was hosted by Dr Peter Brain and Dr Stephen Humphreys of Bayer’s Knowledge Academy. Together they briefed BGA members on the important role Bayer plays in not only supporting farmers but also in lending its technology and offering partnerships along the whole food chain. After lunch BGA members were invited to a guided tour of Great Chishill Orchard Farm; a rare opportunity to see innovation strike a successful balance between productive agriculture and the maintenance of biodiversity on farmland. An excellent and enlightening day. Thank you.”
BGA’s Annual Parliamentary Day
Wednesday 18th June 2014 A highlight event for our members with Lord Paddy Ashdown as guest speaker. As ever this proved to be hugely successful event with many of our members enjoying private tours around Westminster prior to the luncheon. It was a beautiful day so our guests, including a large party from Germany, could enjoy pre-lunch drinks on the terrace before sitting down to an excellent three course lunch. Lord Ashdown’s opinions on Europe and world affairs are much sought after by press and media alike. The BGA therefore had the opportunity to hear personally what he had to say on topics ranging from the UK and coalition politics to Europe and the Crimea. From Penny Leube – Freiburg, Germany – affiliated to the Guildford-Freiburg Association “Our group had a most enjoyable week in London, the highlight being our House of Lords visit. Our group acknowledged and appreciated the very privileged nature of the occasion and the very good talk by Paddy Ashdown”
BGA’s Tour in Thuringia
25th May – 1st June 2014 Report to follow – but in the meantime enjoy the photos! The tour was led by Robert Woodthorpe Browne (BGA Board Member) together with his wife Barbara. Big thanks to them both for organising such a successful trip.
Thursday 29th May Post European Elections Discussion Four days after the conclusion of the European Parliament elections, Chatham House, in association with The British-German Association and The Franco-British Council, brought together experts from France, Germany and the UK to offer their thoughts on the results and public perceptions of the outcome. With Eurosceptic and populist parties having conspicuously good results they discussed in robust terms and also from their own country’s perspectives what this will mean for the future of the EU and national politics. This was a particularly good evening – with a stimulating Q&A session which could have gone on until the small hours! The panel included: Christine Ockrent: Journalist Prof. Dr. Klaus H. Goetz: Chair in Political Systems and European Integration, Department of Political Science, Geschwister-Scholl-Institute, University of Munich Tony Barber: Europe Editor and Associate Editor, Financial Times Chair – Professor Maurice Fraser: Professor of Practice in European Politics – London School of Economics & Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House.
Deutsche Bank Art Tour
Monday 12th May 2014 A few lucky members of The British-German Association were invited to join a guided tour and a talk about the history of the Deutsche Bank art collection, led by Mary Findlay, Art Curator of Deutsche Bank etc. It is without doubt a terrific collection of modern art and we hope that we shall be able to repeat the tour before too long.
300 Year Anniversary of Accession of the House of Hanover
The Hannoversch-Britische Gesellschaft (HBG)’s re-enactment of George the First’s journey to London to take up the crown – Friday 16th May On 10th May 2014 an authentic 18th century Postkutschel departed from Hanover to replicate the continental stages of George’s journey, i.e. from Hanover to The Hague. In it travelled a costumed re-enactor of George the First. George’s original journey finished at the royal residence, St. James’s Palace. So for the re-enactment, this year’s “George the First” was also driven to the Palace in a superb gilded royal coach, made in England in the 18th century. On Friday 16th May the coach was driven down Birdcage Walk, round past Horseguards’ Parade, up The Mall to the courtyard entrance to St. James’s Palace. The coach was then, escorted by two mounted police, driven up Constitution Hill and through Hyde Park to Kensington Palace. “George the First” was met with a Champagne reception by members of the HBG and the BGA. Friday 16th May was chosen to coincide with the launch in Hanover of their own tricentenary celebrations of the Hanoverian Accession. German television (NDR) and DPA will give press coverage. Click here to view the NDR’s television coverage