Information Tour: Honorary Consuls in Germany

Jun 8, 2013

Honorary Consuls are an essential branch in the network of the German Diplomatic Service.  These men and women work on an honorary basis to take our services and information closer to your home.

Information Tour 2013

35 Honorary Consuls of Germany from the USA (incl. Puerto Rico), Canada and Bermuda - several supported by their spouses - undertook an information tour of Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Berlin. Follow their activities in this journal!

Before the Arrival

Enlarge image 05/31:  A few have arrived in Germany to spend some personal time, others are on the plane, and some will leave soon: 35 Honorary Consuls from the USA, Canada and Bermuda are on the move to their Foreign Office sponsored information tour of Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Berlin. 

All preparations have been completed, the organizing partners in the State Chancelleries in Magdeburg and Erfurt, the Foreign Office in Berlin, and the German Information Center in Washington DC are ready for the start on Sun 06/02 at 2 pm at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin.

Start in Berlin

06/02 2pm:  Meeting in Berlin and departure for Magdeburg in the modern double-decker bus that will take the group to all sites.

Meeting the Mayor of Magdeburg and Donation to Cathedral

Donation for Domförderverein Enlarge image Donation for Association of Friends of the Cathedral in Magdeburg (© GIC)

06/02 7pm:  First meeting in Magdeburg with Mayor Dr. Lutz Trümper for an exchange on the history and current economic and cultural development of Magdeburg, an old center of mechanical engineering on a fast track to reconquer lost ground.  On behalf of the whole group, Honorary Consuls Rolf Snyder (Kansas), Anthony Chapman (Nova Scotia), Doug Berry (Tennessee), and Kurt Waldthausen (North Carolina) present the mayor with a donation of $5,275 for the Domförderverein Magdeburg (Association of Friends of the Cathedral), as a symbol of German American cooperation and to honor the city of Magdeburg as the birthplace of General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, George Washington's Chief of Staff.  Another $275 were raised on the spot, making the total donation $5,550! Puppet Theater Artistic Director Bernhardt, Magdeburg's First Mayor Dr. Trümper, Mayor Dr. Koch and Theater Director Kempchen Enlarge image Puppet Theater Artistic Director Bernhardt, Magdeburg's First Mayor Dr. Trümper, Mayor Dr. Koch and Theater Director Kempchen (© GIC)

Museum of Puppetry

Puppet Theater and Museum of Puppetry Enlarge image Puppet Theater and Museum of Puppetry (© GIC) 02/06 8pm: The internationally renowned Museum of Puppetry and Puppet Theater treated the group to a sample of its dramatic art.

Magdeburg Cathedral

Magdeburg Cathedral Enlarge image Magdeburg Cathedral (© GIC) 06/02 9:30pm: Stephen Stehli, Chairman of the Friends of the Cathedral, gave the group an insider tour of the 13th c gothic masterwork of the Cathedral of the Saints Catherine and Maurice, including the sarcophagus of Emperor Otto the Great (d. 973).

World's Largest Wind Turbine at Enercon

Majestic rotor of E-66 towering the consuls Enlarge image Majestic rotor of E-66 towering the consuls (© GIC) 06/03 09:30am: A very special occasion: One of the world's top wind turbine producers, Enercon, rarely opens its production facility to visitors. However, Director of Sales Frank Ihme personally led our group through the plant, outlining its specific technologies and production capacities.  People were dwarfed by the world's largest wind turbine, model E-66 with a total height of 700 ft - twice the height of Magdeburg Cathedral's spires - producing 7.6 MW - enough to supply 6,000 households. 

Particularly the colleagues from Canada were glad to hear about Enercon's North American activities that concentrate on this country.

www.enercon.de

Virtual Reality in Magdeburg

Honorary Consuls at Fraunhofer VDTC Enlarge image Honorary Consuls at Fraunhofer VDTC (© Viktoria Kühne/IFF) 03/06 10:30am: Prof. Dr. mult. Michael Schenk, the director of the Fraunhofer Virtual Development and Training Center, received the consuls upon their arrival and gave them an introduction to the center's manifold research and development facilities.  One group was invited to experience the Elbe Dome, featuring a huge one-of-its-kind 360° virtual reality panorama. While standing on a platform, we seemingly slide through Wittenberg as effortless as on a space glider, and then take off to stop on the church's towers and overlook the city. Excitement in Elbe Dome virtual reality Enlarge image Excitement in Elbe Dome virtual reality (© Viktoria Kühne/IFF) Virtual reality feels very real and causes an uneasy feeling in the stomach, since the brain fully believes the visual information it receives, but is lacking the sensation of physical movement. 

The second group visited the Galileo Test Bed, simulating a modern storage facility in action with fully computerized tracking of its stock.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft conducts basic and applied research, also on behalf of companies. The Virtual Development and Training Centers allows to develop and test products and their production facilities fully in the virtual world.

Protecting Your Head

Production of fiberglass helmets Enlarge image Production of fiberglass helmets (© GIC) 06/03 11:30am: The visit to Schuberth Holding GmbH, a mid-sized company specializing in head protection systems, introduced us to the complete manufacturing process of helmets worn by motorcyclists and race car drivers, but also police, firebrigades or the military. The aspects of training, workforce development and quality inspection received special attention. A particular highlight: Everybody could touch and wear the signature platinum helmet of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher. HC Paul Anderson (Louisiana) thanked Director Marcel Lejeune for the company's hospitality.

Paul Anderson (Louisiana) thanking Director Marcel Lejeune Enlarge image Paul Anderson (Louisiana) thanking Director Marcel Lejeune (© GIC)

Magdeburg City Tour

Memorial "Wir sind das Volk" ("We are the people") Enlarge image Memorial "Wir sind das Volk" ("We are the people") (© GIC)

06/03 2pm: Having heard so much about Magdeburg, one of the oldest cities in the new Länder, but also one of those hardest hit in WWII, the group walked through the city center in order to appreciate the combination of old buildings bearing testimony of the past with post-war socialist construction and latest architectural additions.

Next to the already familiar 13c gothic cathedral, we visit the memorial for the "Monday Demonstrations" that started the peaceful revolution in the GDR in autumn 1989 and led to the fall of the wall. The narrations of the guide and contemporary witnesses revive the memory of the crowds of thousands chanting "We are the people" to reign in the East German regime.

The Hundertwasser House, designed by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000), is also called the Green Citadel of Magdeburg due to its grass covered roof and renders the idea to create individual living space for people to live in harmony with nature.

Henning Hubert von Steuben, Group of Honorary Consuls and spouses, in front of statue of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben Enlarge image Henning Hubert von Steuben (first row center standing), Group of Honorary Consuls and spouses, in front of statue of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (© GIC) A very special highlight for the group is the encounter with Baron Steuben, actually two of them: At the statue for Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, native son of Magdeburg, who became George Washington's Chief of Staff and Inspector General of the Continental Army, we meet Baron Henning Hubertus von Steuben, current head of the Von Steuben Family Association and great-great-...-grandnephew of the American hero.

Transfer to Lutherstadt Wittenberg

06/03 4pm: Driving from Magdeburg to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, which bears its honorific attribute as a tribute to the great reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546), we hear that the high-water situation of the Elbe River is worsening. As seen in Magdeburg and now and then when the road approaches the dam, the river seems filled to the brim of its bed. Will we be able to reach Freyburg/Unstrut and continue to Thuringia, given the rising flood gauge?

Meeting Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora

06/03 6pm: Upon arrival in Wittenberg, we learn that Minister-President Dr. Reiner Haseloff of Saxony-Anhalt has had to leave in order to assess the flood situation on-site and will later continue to come together with his colleagues, the Minister-Presidents of Thuringia and Saxony, in a crisis meeting of the three states dealing with the rising Elbe water levels. We wish them success in getting their states prepared for the event!

Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora greet the delegation Enlarge image Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora greet the delegation (© GIC) What a surprise, however, to be greeted by Martin Luther himself! The great reformer and his wife, Katharina von Bora, (well, these guides at least are dressed up as them) as well as members of the medieval city guard of Wittenberg have come to welcome the Honorary Consuls and accompanying spouses.

Wittenberg City Tour Guided by Martin Luther

Martin Luther at the Castle Church Enlarge image Martin Luther at the Castle Church (© GIC) 06/03 7pm: Martin Luther ("himself") and his wife Katharina von Bora ("herself") guide us in two groups through Lutherstadt Wittenberg. The Castle Church, on whose door Luther affixed the 95 theses on October 31st, 1517, City Hall, and the City Church of St. Mary, where Luther as well as Philipp Melanchthon, his spiritual supporter and co-reformer, preached, were the cornerstones of the tour.

Dinner at the Refectory of the House of Luther

Visit to House of Martin Luther Enlarge image Visit to House of Martin Luther (© STK SA/Roland Küster) 06/03 8:15pm: We have dinner at the invitation of the Minister-President, represented by the Director-General for International Cooperation of the State Chancellery of Saxony-Anhalt, Burkhard Fieber, in the Refectory of "Lutherhaus" (the House of Martin Luther), the very place, where Luther and his friends and family used to eat five hundred years ago.  An amazing site is the world famous and virtually priceless painting of the Ten Commandments by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

10-Gebote-Tafel (Ten Commandments) by Lucas Cranach the Elder Enlarge image 10-Gebote-Tafel (Ten Commandments) by Lucas Cranach the Elder (© Public Domain)

Tour of the House of Martin Luther

1534 first edition of Luther's Bible translation into German, printed by Hans Lufft in Wittenberg Enlarge image 1534 first edition of Luther's Bible translation into German, printed by Hans Lufft in Wittenberg (© GIC) 06/04 9am: The group tours the house where Martin Luther lived and worked, and hears about historical facts and events. Luther's parlor has been a museum since the 17th century. Letterpress printing largely contributed to the historical success of Luther's works, including his translation of the Bible. Diana Thimmig (Ohio) thanks Dr. Stefan Rhein, Director of "Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten" Enlarge image Diana Thimmig (Ohio) thanks Dr. Stefan Rhein, Director of "Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten" (© GIC)

Autobahn to Dessau-Roßlau

06/04 10:30am: The waters of the Elbe river have nearly reached the autobahn. We can still pass while the fire brigade is putting up large sandbags to protect the highway.

Sandbags protecting highway Enlarge image Sandbags protecting highway (© GIC)

Welcome by Mayor Koschig

HC Charles Wiggin (Oklahoma) and Mayor Klemens Koschig of Dessau-Roßlau Enlarge image HC Charles Wiggin (Oklahoma) and Mayor Klemens Koschig of Dessau-Roßlau (© GIC) 06/04 11:15am. Mayor Klemens Koschig took time to welcome the group in the double city of Dessau-Roßlau (est. 2007), home of four UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm. We wished him all the best when coordinating the local emergency task force. Mayor Koschig showed careful optimism, putting his trust in the recently updated levies for the Elbe and Mulde rivers.

Bauhaus Tour

Bauhaus School of Design in Dessau Enlarge image Bauhaus School of Design in Dessau (© GIC) 06/04 11:30am and 2pm: The Bauhaus, Germany's most famous and most avant-garde art and design school in the early 20th century, was built in 1925/26 in Dessau. It is an incredible feeling - a colleague likenend it to a pilgrimage - to be at the very place where so many elements of modern architecture and living were put together. After an information tour of the main buildings and lunch, we walked to the Masters' Houses and had a look at modern living of Gropius, Schlemmer, Moholy-Nagy, Kandinsky and other art teachers as conceived in the 1920s.

Tour of Kandinsky's house in Dessau Enlarge image Tour of Kandinsky's house in Dessau (© GIC)

Investment and Marketing Corporation (IMC) of Saxony-Anhalt

HC Christa Tiefenbacher-Hudson (Minnesota) thanking Dr. Carlhans Uhle, CEO of IMC Enlarge image HC Christa Tiefenbacher-Hudson (Minnesota) thanking Dr. Carlhans Uhle, CEO of IMC (© GIC)

06/04 12:30pm: As a complement to the company visits, Dr. Carlhans Uhle, CEO of Saxony-Anhalt's economic development agency, briefs the consuls about the state's structural advantages and economic incentive packages and receives a thank-you for IMC's support of the study tour.

Inundations, Staying on Course

Widespread inundations in Dessau-Roßlau Enlarge image Widespread inundations in Dessau-Roßlau (© GIC) 06/04 3:15pm: While widespread inundations - showing an unearthly beauty - nearly reach the level of the autobahn, we admire the discipline and calmness of the affected population and their helpers. Inter-urban traffic is limited to a few roads and consequently suffers from traffic jams, but everybody seems to take the deluge's consequences with equanimity. The picture shows trees next to our highway standing in about 10ft of water. 

While we continue to our next appointment, only slightly delayed, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visits flood-affected areas.

Merkel visits flood regions, pledges €100 million in aid

IDT Biologika and ECOPORC SHIGA

HC Fred Hoffman (Michigan) among the interlocutors of Dr. Ralf Pfirmann, CEO of IDT Biologika Enlarge image HC Fred Hoffman (Michigan) among the interlocutors of Dr. Ralf Pfirmann, CEO of IDT Biologika (© GIC) 06/04 3:45pm: CEO Dr. Ralf Pfirmann and two of his directors postponed other meetings to wait for our arrival: normality amidst exceptional circumstances. IDT Biologika is a 90 year old company that has achieved what few former East German companies were able to do: Despite a sharp slump in sales after unification, the management turned the company around and now oversees a midsized enterprise with €151m turnover in 2012 on the way to international expansion.

With the recombinant vaccine ECOPORC SHIGA, IDT Biologika has developed an unprecedented product for animal health in pig breeding that enters the international markets. The company recently received several innovation awards. Several consuls offered support in easing the way into the North American markets.

Tour and Tasting at "Little Red Riding Hood's"

Protective gear is required to tour the bottling plant Enlarge image Protective gear is required to tour the bottling plant (© GIC)

06/04 7:15pm: The bus made it into the beautiful rolling hills of the Unstrut valley, up to Freyburg, where in 1852 Kloss & Förster was founded, the forerunner of Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien GmbH, Germany's largest producer of sparkling wine, wine and spirits. The company turned the loss of a lawsuit about intellectual property rights in 1894 into an advantage by coining its own iconic name: Since their bottles bear a little red cover on top, the owners used the title character from the Brother Grimm's tale "Rotkäppchen" (Little Red Riding Hood) as a namesake for their product.

Director Ulrich Wiegel of Rotkäppchen-Mumm receives commemorative coin by HC Denis Salle (Hawaii) Enlarge image Director Ulrich Wiegel of Rotkäppchen-Mumm receives commemorative coin by HC Denis Salle (Hawaii) (© GIC) This is another East German company success story: After a slump of sales when trading companies from the West expanded in unified Germany, it came back fast and was able to take over in 2002 its largest competitor Mumm from the Rhine valley. We are being led on our tour by one of the company's directors, Ulrich Wiegel, who takes the group into the new bottling plant that was installed by Krones from Neutraubling a year ago with a capacity of 27,000 bottles an hour.  

Night in Erfurt

06/04 10:30pm: It was an emotional good-bye to the protocol from the State-Chancellery in Saxony-Anhalt, thanking them for their exceptional cooperation in the organization, up to the police escort for our bus.

We depart for Erfurt, capital of Thuringia, where we spend the night.

Transfer to Camp Point Alpha

06/05 9:15am: The group is met by the protocol of the State Chancellery of the Free State of Thuringia together with Bärbel Grönegres, Mg Dir of Thüringen Tourismus, and Dr. Thomas Seidel, State Commissioner for the Luther Decade, Departure from Erfurt to cover the 80 miles west to Camp Point Alpha at the border between Hesse and Thuringia.

Camp Point Alpha and the Fulda Gap

06/05 10:45am: The Point Alpha Memorial is a preserved historic US observation post that commemorates the time when here, in the so-called "Fulda Gap", the onset of the next world war was anticipated by military strategists: the hottest point of the Cold War. The group gets tours by the Director of the Point Alpha Foundation, Volker Bausch, and his co-workers. 2005 Helmut Kohl, George Bush and Michail Gorbachev received the Point Alpha Prize Enlarge image 2005 Helmut Kohl, George Bush and Michail Gorbachev received the Point Alpha Prize (© GIC) We learn about the military and the human dimensions of the strip of death that separated the Western and Eastern halves of Germany for four decades.

The Foundation bestowes the annual Point Alpha Award for special merits in German and European unification in peace and freedom. We learn that the next recipient will be Lech Walesa, the Polish trade union leader and politician.


HC Andreas Adrian (Nevada) and William Hart (Texas) thanking Minister Christoph Matschie and Director Volker Bausch Enlarge image HC Andreas Adrian (Nevada) and William Hart (Texas) thanking Minister Christoph Matschie and Director Volker Bausch (© GIC) Christoph Matschie, Thuringian Minister of Education, Science and Culture has come to meet our group together with the consular corps that covers the Free State of Thuringia in Germany. The meeting led to a fruitful exchange of experiences between their work in Germany and that of the German Honorary Consuls in North America. Mark J. Powell, US Consul General in Leipzig, was a member of the group.

Wartburg - a Contest of Historical Events

Consular group in front of the Wartburg with Minister Marion Walsmann and Dr. Thomas Seidel Enlarge image Consular group in front of the Wartburg with Minister Marion Walsmann and Dr. Thomas Seidel (© GIC) 06/05/13 2:15pm: Dr. Thomas Seidel, State Commissioner for the "Luther Decade", briefs the honorary consuls from the USA and Canada en route to the Wartburg about the preparation and organization for "Luther and Germany 2017", the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 

06/05/13 3:30pm: In the lofty heights of the Wartburg, we are welcomed by Marion Walsmann, Thuringian Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Head of the State Chancellery, and Castel Warden Günther Schuchardt, followed by a tour of the site.

Louis the Springer, ancestor of the Margraves of Thuringia. Enlarge image Louis the Springer, ancestor of the Margraves of Thuringia. The lion of his crest still adorns Thuringia's coat of arms. (© GIC) The Wartburg is a castle with far-reaching historical importance. Founded in 1067 by Louis the Springer, this seat of the Thuringian landgraves overlooks Eisenach. Here, the famous "Sängerkrieg" (minstrels' contest), role model for Wagner's opera Tannhäuser took place around 1207. Martin Luther stayed at the castle under the alias "Junker Jörg" (Squire George) and translated the New Testament, laying the foundations for written German. The fraternity festivals in 1817 and 1848 are considered seminal moments for 19th century German democratic and national movements. HC Sven Schumacher (Indiana), Castle Warden Günther Schuchardt, Commissioner Dr. Thomas Seidel, and other consuls Enlarge image HC Sven Schumacher (Indiana), Castle Warden Günther Schuchardt, Commissioner Dr. Thomas Seidel, and other consuls (© GIC)

Dinner at the State Chancellery

Grande Salle Dinner Enlarge image Grande Salle Dinner (© GIC) 06/05 7:30pm: Minister Marion Walsmann receives the group for a festive dinner with Thuringian specialties, particularly "Kutzlebener Spargel" (white asparagus from Kutzleben), in the 18th century Grande Salle of the State Chancellery of the Free State of Thuringia (originally the "Kurmainzische Statthalterei") in Erfurt. Honorary Consul Rolf Snyder (Kansas) presents the host with a keepsake from Shawney/Kansas, sister city of Erfurt. 

HC Rolf Snyder (Kansas) and Minister Marion Walsmann Enlarge image HC Rolf Snyder (Kansas) and Minister Marion Walsmann (© GIC)

Erfurt City Tour

St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Severi's Church in Erfurt Enlarge image St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Severi's Church in Erfurt (© GIC) 06/06 9am: We cannot leave Erfurt before seeing the unique ensemble of St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Severi's Church in the charming medieval city center that already last night greeted us in splendid illumination.

Transfer to Arnstadt

06/06 10am: Drive to the industrial area "Erfurter Kreuz".

Largest Passenger Plane Engines

Group with fanblades Enlarge image Group with fanblades (© N3 Engine Overhaul Services) 06/06 10:30am: The company visit to N3 Engine Overhaul Services starts with an intense Q&A session with General Manager Andrew Dickinson. The company overhauls Trent engines, including the huge Trent 900 for the Airbus A380. Workforce development in this relatively young joint-venture of Rolls-Royce and Lufthansa is of particular interest. 80 percent of the employees come from the region.

Rolls-Royce Trent engine in test bed Enlarge image Rolls-Royce Trent engine in test bed (© N3 Engine Overhaul Services)

We are led in three groups through the facility that impresses by its cleanliness, high tech and visual management.

Jentower

HC Mark Schlenker (Iowa), representing the partnership of Waverly/IA with Eisenach, thanks Minister-President Christine Lieberknecht Enlarge image HC Mark Schlenker (Iowa), representing the partnership of Waverly/IA with sister city Eisenach, thanks Minister-President Christine Lieberknecht (© GIC) 06/06 1pm: On the 29th floor of the Jentower in Jena, the highest building in Thuringia (523ft), Minister-President Christine Lieberknecht receives the consuls and their partners, speaking of her very personal experiences in earlier visits to the United States. She also reports back on the recent delegation she led to China last week, and the interest she encountered there for her state, which has been the source of many cultural and technological advancements.

In Jena, the physicist Ernst Abbe had laid the foundations for the scientific microscope. Together with Carl Zeiss and Otto Schott, he established a cluster of industries that made the city famous as the "town of light".

Dr. Arnulf Wulff Enlarge image Dr. Arnulf Wulff (© GIC) Dr. Arnulf Wulff, Senior VP of Thuringia's State Development Corporation, presented the full range of opportunities for investment in the heart of Germany, which has a customer base of 280 million people within a 500 mile range. While German law does not allow for tax holidays, non-refundable contributions of 30 to 50 percent to the investment can incentivize a decision to do business in Thuringia. Additional factors may contribute to a favorable relocation decision.

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics

HC Jefferson McClane (Florida) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann speak about the partnership between Fraunhofer IOF and Orlando Enlarge image HC Jefferson McClane (Florida) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann speak about the partnership between Fraunhofer IOF and Orlando (© GIC) 06/06 3:30pm: Prof. Dr. Tünnermann, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) and professor at the University of Jena, presents fundamental and fun facts about his institute. The sustainable energy-efficient use of light - "Green Photonics" - is the particular focus of Fraunhofer IOF. From miniature projectors over 3D real-time shape measurement to humanly-adapted, spirit-lifting lighting in the prototypical institute building, we see all kind of amazing achievements derived from fundamental and applied research in photonics.

Jena - Potsdam - Berlin

06/06 4:45pm: We take our leave from Fraunhofer IOF in Jena and head towards Berlin on A9 through heavy traffic. Fortunately, the sandbags put up on Tuesday (see below) have prevented flooding of the autobahn. We cannot pass Potsdam without at least having a glance at the newly reconstructed Stadtschloss (city castle), St. Nicholas Church (designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel), Frederick the Great's Sanssouci, and Cecilienhof. After a picturesque sunset dinner at the Alte Meierei, we have a quick tour of the grounds at Cecilienhof Castle, site of the famous Potsdam Conference in summer 1945, when the Allied Powers decided on the fate of post-WWII Germany.

Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

HC Ben Buecker (Texas) and Director-General Hans-Ulrich Seidt Enlarge image HC Ben Buecker (Texas) and Director-General Hans-Ulrich Seidt (© GIC) 06/07 10am: Hans-Ulrich Seidt, Director-General for Culture and Communication at the Auswärtiges Amt (Federal Foreign Office), discusses current political and economic issues in German foreign policy with the group. A panel of experts on bilateral relations, climate protection, energy policy and legal matters gives presentations and responds to questions from the audience. Several thematic tables are set up to meet specific information demands.

In parallel, accompanying partners used the opportunity to tour the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM), comparing it to Meißen porcelain seen earlier in the South.

ZEIT Foundation and Bucerius Law School

HC David Murdoch (Pennsylvania) presents Prof. Dr. Michael Göring with the study tour's commemorative medal Enlarge image HC David Murdoch (Pennsylvania) presents Prof. Dr. Michael Göring with the study tour's commemorative medal (© GIC) 06/07 12:30pm: Senatsrat Wolfgang Schmidt welcomed the group at the Representation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in Berlin, where the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius hosted a luncheon. After introductory remarks by Prof. Dres. h.c. Manfred Lahnstein, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and former Federal Finance Minister, Board President Prof. Dr. Michael Göring gave an outline of the broad international activities of the Foundation and the Bucerius Law School, Germany's first private law school. Dr. Nina Smidt of the American Friends of Bucerius, New York NY, announced an intensified outreach in the United States and Canada in order to increase the School's international components and sollicited the support of the group.

MP Harald Leibrecht and the Bundestag

MP Harald Leibrecht gives a personal tour of the Bundestag Enlarge image MP Harald Leibrecht gives a personal tour of the Bundestag (© GIC) 06/07 3pm: Harald Leibrecht, Member of the German Bundestag and since 2011 the Foreign Office's Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Cultural and Information Policy, invited the group to the Bundestag. At a briefing in a typical committee meeting room, he explained his philosophy in his work as transatlantic coordinator. For Leibrecht, who is both a German and an American citizen, since he was born in the USA, it is extremely important to foster exchange and travel to cities across North America to spread the word about transatlantic relations not only in the capitals, but in all states and provinces. The Honorary Consuls will take him up on his offer to visit their constituencies in the future.

Group picture at the Bundestag cupola Enlarge image Group picture at the Bundestag cupola (© GIC) HC Barbara Hoggart-Lulay (Saskatchewan) thanked MP Leibrecht for the fruitful discussion with the group. After the meeting, Leibrecht himself gave a tour of the new Bundestag buildings as well as the main parliamentary building, the Reichstag. He led the group to the roof and Lord Norman Foster's famous cupola above the Bundestag Plenary Hall.

Berliner Philharmonie

Berliner Philharmonie Enlarge image Berliner Philharmonie (© GIC) 06/07: Christoph Eschenbach currently is the artistic director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, but today he conducts the Deutsches Sinfornieorchester Berlin in the iconic concert hall Berliner Philharmonie with its highly acclaimed acoustics. When in Berlin, it is a 'must' to savor a concert by the resident Berlin Philharmonic or another of the numerous visiting great orchestras. 

The first half of our evening features American pianist Tzimon Barto in his highly refined performance of Johannes Brahms' second piano concerto, with a delicate Rondo by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart as an encore. In the second half, Eschenbach interprets Robert Schumann's Symphony no. 2 in C major to the full depth of German Romanticism, highlighting at the same time the profound influence by Johannes Sebastian Bach.

Farewell Reception, New Beginnings

06/07 10:30pm: Time to say good-bye - Over the course of a week, the group of Honorary Consuls from Canada, the U.S.A. (including Puerto Rico), and Bermuda and the accompanying spouses have become a close group of friends sharing experiences and adventures, from the caves of Rotkäppchen winery to the lofty heights of Wartburg's Great Hall. It will take a while to fully absorb all personal impressions, which this blog can only try to hint at. From culture to nature, from history to present times, from cutting edge research to production, from technical products to the rule of law, Gorgeous thank-you bouquet, presented by HC Petra Heussner-Walker (Washington) on behalf of the group Enlarge image Gorgeous thank-you bouquet, presented by HC Petra Heussner-Walker (Washington) on behalf of the group (© GIC) -- and also from BBQ bratwurst to a formal dinner in Martin Luther's Refectory <s> --, we have covered a lot of ground across four German states and even mastered a flood of historic dimensions without getting wet feet. The farewell reception at the home of GIC Director Holger Ziegeler and his wife Claudia made one message clear: We will stay stay in touch! 

At the same time, our hearts and thoughts are with our new friends in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia - and others in flood-stricken areas - and wish them strength in these difficult days.

The study tour has fully proven the old proverb: "Reisen bildet!" ("Travel broadens the mind"), and we will put the experiences to the benefit of our constituencies.

At the same time, Berlin gears up to receive another visitor:

Chancellor Merkel to welcome President Obama on June 18-19

Homebound

06/08 6am: Berlin Airport, departure of the first colleagues returning to the States. Other stay a few more days for business or pleasure. The German Information Center has received a first pledge by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg to host the next study tour in two years ...

© Germany.info

Information Tour

Information Tour of Honorary Consuls in the USA and Canada to Germany 2013

Honorary Consuls

On the following pages we would like to introduce to you a number of impressive personalities who are serving as Honorary Consuls of the Federal Republic of Germany in the United States. Together with...