I would like to extend a warm welcome to the British Business Club Düsseldorf (BBCD) website to all our members, friends and visitors. On the evening of 24 May, the club committee hosted a reception for our club sponsors and partner organisations at the Wirtschaftsclub Düsseldorf. Amongst our guests was HM Consul-General, Susan Speller, our club president, who will be stepping down from her role as Consul-General on 20 June. She will initially be returning to the UK and has our very best wishes for the future and her next appointment. We made a presentation, which you can see here. This includes a summary of the club's history, which we are developing further for the website. If you have any memories or photos that you would like to contribute, please let me know. Our sponsors play an important role for the club, in particular in support of our Golf Day and charitable activities such as the Burns' Night raffle. We are always looking for further sponsors as there are always new opportunities and any ideas from you would always be most welcome.
Svitlana Bayer from the new Expat Service Desk of Stadt Düsseldorf and Stadt Mettmann came to our reception. This new service has support from the European Union for the next three years and could prove very useful to our members who might need help with dealing with the formalities of moving to Germany, setting up a business here and other associated issues. They are offering special consultation sessions on 12 and 13 June at their Düsseldorf offices from 15.00 - 18.00. If you want more details, please email email@example.com or call their hotline on 0211- 5441 5740.
The next event in the club calendar will be a conducted tour in English of Schloss Benrath at 16.15 on Saturday 17 June, followed by tea in the Schlosscafe. We will be following in royal footsteps, as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Schloss Benrath on 25 May 1965. Benrath station was painted especially for their arrival there by train and there was a 21-gun salute! Schloss Benrath was adorned with laurel trees, flowers and a thousand red roses. I am sure that we will receive a very warm welcome there too! Places are limited so please book soon.
There will be a BBCD business lunch at the Hotel Nikko at 13.00 on Friday 30 June. Another date to pencil into your diaries is a dinner on Friday 28 July, when we will have a speaker from a start-up company in the energy and electricity storage and supply sector. We plan to have a visit to the Lush Cosmetics production plant in Düsseldorf in June or July. We also hope to have a speaker from the world of radio and broadcast media in September.
For the cricketers amongst you, the club is now holding regular practices every Wednesday on the Engländerwiese in Nordpark from about 19.00 until sunset. We also have lady players in the club and more are most welcome. For more details, please contact Ian Mackenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have not yet arranged an organised walk for the club, but you are most welcome to join the Sauerländischer Gebirgsverein (SGV), Düsseldorf branch, on one of their numerous and varied walks, as detailed on their website. Guests are always welcome on SGV walks, for a fee of EUR 3.00. Group tickets mean that travel costs are kept to a minimum.
We are still finalising the details of our event with the Düsseldorf Lyric Opera, provisionally arranged for 5 September. However, if you wish to go to one of their events in the meantime, there is one taking place on Wednesday 28 June, part of a series which I can highly recommend.
The club committee has agreed to match the support of Stadt Düsseldorf for Wolfgang Hofmann's 2017 run in the Reading Half Marathon, in support of the BIBS charity, namely £200. As previously reported, he was the BBCD's and Oberbürgermeister Geisel's official representative in the event. As Wolfgang's current charitable giving web page has already expired, this donation will go towards Wolfgang's 2018 run in the Reading Half Marathon for the same charity.
This year is the 70th anniversary of the special partnership between Düsseldorf and Reading, as Oberbürgermeister Geisel explained to us in detail at the dinner we had on 12 October 2014. There will be a 70th anniversary concert held at the Concert Hall in Reading on Saturday 1 July at 19:30, with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, the Orchester der Landesregierung Dusseldorf, the Dusseldorf Opera House Children's Choir and choirs from the Forest School, The Holt School and The Abbey School. One of the soloists singing on the evening will be an Australian from the Düsseldorf Lyric Opera corps.
There will also be a Reading-Weekend from 6-8 October, in Düsseldorf, organised by Stadt Düsseldorf, with many celebratory events and a photo campaign. The club is hoping to organise a cricket match with a team from Reading. I have to admit a special interest as I lived and worked for over 20 years in Reading before moving to Düsseldorf six years ago and have a strong affection for both places.
Brian R. Hicks
Honorary Chairman BBCD