History, science and sustainability combine in the GCB’s recent Educational Trip

Eleven meetings planners from across the globe were shown the highlights of Potsdam and the neighbouring capital Berlin last month. The planners from corporates, associations and agencies enjoyed venue and hotel visits, an overview of the key industry and scientific sectors, tourist highlights and fun teambuilding sessions.

“Both cities impressed me so much and I can really recommend both destinations” (Lieve Notré, KU Leuven) – this is just some of the great feedback following the recent  Educational Trip hosted by the GCB, in cooperation with Kongresshotel Potsdam am Templiner See, visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office and Camonsite.

Eleven meetings planners from across the globe were shown the highlights of Potsdam and the neighbouring capital Berlin last month. The planners from corporates, associations and agencies enjoyed venue and hotel visits, an overview of the key industry and scientific sectors, tourist highlights and fun teambuilding sessions.

First stop was the historical, royal city of Potsdam where guests visited the impressive New Palace followed by an archery team building activity. The group stayed at the Kongresshotel, the largest conference hotel in the state of Brandenburg, located on the shores of Lake Templiner, surrounded by a forest and lake.

The venue has a long history of congresses and events in the field of science and Dr. Matthias Arlt from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology provided guests with an exclusive insight into industry related events and details of the scientific institutions and expertise in the region.

The planners kicked off their arrival in Berlin with an eTukTuk and solar boat tour taking in the city’s highlights such as City West, Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten, Victory Column, Museum Island, and the Berlin Wall. Staying in the centrally located, award-winning Hotel Palace Berlin, the group visited some architecturally striking venues including AXICA, created by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry.

Next stop was the Charité, the oldest and most prominent hospital and medical school in Berlin which ranks as one of the largest university hospitals in Europe today. The Museum of Medical History and an old lecture hall can be used as a meeting place for formal events, social get-togethers and scientific exchanges.

The visit to the capital was rounded off with an exciting art tour around the theme: East meets West. A particularly topical activity given the 25 year commemorations in November, the guests explored art on one of the few remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, ending up in a west-Berlin art house.

Lia Rosenbrand, from the Atlantic & Pacific Exchange Program in the Netherlands, explains: “Berlin is such a lovely, vibrant city! Potsdam is beautiful and so close to Berlin, it can easily be combined. The interesting fact about this trip was that it was a combination of traditional site inspections and information about the local key industry sectors and both are very important for me.”

Another guest, Natasha De Caiado Castro from Wish International Events Management in France, adds: “Thank you so much for bringing me to this amazing destination and showing me how to offer our events there! It was a very creative learning experience ... useful and fun!”

As part of their commitment to supporting local communities, the GCB in cooperation with the Grand Hyatt Berlin, gave a donation to the city’s food bank “Berliner Tafel”, providing 55kg of fresh food to needy people.    


‘Unconferencing’, new event formats, latest news from Germany: GCB’s magazine remains a must read

GCB Newspaper "Meetings made in Germany" 2 2014
GCB Newspaper "Meetings made in Germany" 2 2014
Meetings and events planners can learn about the latest meeting formats, get to grips with ‘unconferencing’ and find out the latest news from Germany – all in one place thanks to the latest edition of the GCB’s newspaper. With news on the country’s major events, locations, venues and trends, it’s a must read for MICE professionals.

An overview of innovative meeting formats, an insight into ‘unconferencing’ and a review of MEXCON 2014 are just some of the highlights of the latest edition of the GCB’s newspaper.

Conferences have moved on from lecture style presentations to embrace the concept of ‘unconferencing’. This innovative format helps to promote personal exchanges of ideas and experiences between participants and was the idea of Tim O’Reilly, Irish publisher and software developer. He discovered that the coffee breaks generated the greatest added value for participants at classic conferences and without further ado he made the breaks the main focus. The article goes on to explore the idea of conferences as a means to not only exchange information but also offer opportunities for community building and collaboration.

Event planners will benefit from an overview of new formats, inspired by businesses in Silicon Valley. These new formats, detailed in an article in GCB’s newspaper, take inspiration from how people interact with the internet to create a spirit of networking, openness, participation and agility.
One such format is Open Space. Open Space events are far removed from conventional meetings or conferences. The greatest difference is that, although there is an overall theme, there is neither a planned agenda nor predetermined participants. However, the lack of a predetermined agenda does not mean that there is no structure whatsoever. That structure emerges during the first one and a half hours of the event. To that end, all of the participants initially sit down in a circle or in concentric circles if more than 50 people are attending.  Then everyone has the opportunity to enter the centre of the circle and present his or her issue relating to the theme.

The “FedExDay” is another event format which is on the rise. True to its title, it aims to deliver results in 24 hours! Developers and experts take 24 hours to devote themselves to themes that are related to the service or the product of their company. Complete autonomy within the groups is also the rule in this case; people work with whomever they wish, focusing on the themes that they consider to be important.
A special aspect of this format is time: A FedExDay usually starts at noon and is interrupted at night for a short rest period. The results of the groups are presented to the other participants at the end of the event.


The new Maritim app is available now

Neue Maritim App
Neue Maritim App
Since 4th August, a revised Maritim app for Android and iOS has been available for download free of charge from the app store. “The main advantage for our guests is that once the app is installed, the content is continuously refreshed from the server. So there is no need to download updates and new versions. In addition, the integrated booking system, and along with it the customer profiles entered by guests, are now identical and can be used across the board – whether the reservation is made using the app, the mobile website or the desktop website,” Marketing Manager Katrin Lindemann is pleased to announce. This means that guests who are on the go can contact any Maritim Hotel around the world and make a reservation with just a few clicks. The software also enables travellers to obtain detailed information about the hotel they are interested in: from room categories to available guest services, restaurants and bars as well as conference and seminar rooms. Maritim PartnerCard holders can easily look up their points tally on the app. In addition, an extensive photo gallery provides a comprehensive view of each of the 50 hotels around the world. And, in line with the international character of Maritim and its guests, users can choose between English and German. Individual hotels can easily be found on the world map by entering the city or address. It is also very simple to locate the nearest Maritim hotel and find directions to it on GPS. From any of the hotel Web pages, the visitor can also use the app to view or enter hotel ratings on TripAdvisor.
The Maritim Hotelgesellschaft is Germany's largest owner-managed hotel group and the company’s nationwide hotel network is complemented by hotels in seven countries overseas: Mauritius, Egypt, Turkey, Malta, Spain, China and Latvia. The group’s ongoing expansion continues to strengthen its position within the European first-class hotel industry. For more information, please visit


Darmstadt – Hessen’s Top ICT Location & Germany´s IT Security hub

 ©Hessen Trade & Invest
©Hessen Trade & Invest
Hessen has a remarkable track record when it comes to leading the way in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector. Darmstadt was ranked 7th in a study European ICT Poles of Excellence (April 2014) by the European Commission. 34 European ICT locations were considered out of 1,300 European regions across 12 countries. Germany, not surprisingly, is in the forefront with 12 locations out of the 34 considered (UK trails with 7).

Key ingredients to success included access to top universities and research centers and funding opportunities such as venture capital. In regards to research and patenting activity, Germany is ranked at the top. Darmstadt’s strong performance is an excellent illustration that you don’t have to be big to be successful. The city only has 150,000 people, but comes out as a winner by building on its research & innovative output and on its active business community.

”It’s a thrilling and challenging time to be working in technology, especially in Darmstadt. The ideas of our insightful experts and scientists, proven experience, and dedication to excellence are assets for our companies and our foreign investors. Hessen’s philosophy and approach to business serves to strengthen the state of Hessen’s culture of enthusiastic global teamwork, thought leadership, and pride.” said Dr. Rainer Waldschmidt, CEO, Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH (HTAI), the state economic development agency.

Darmstadt is one of the largest and fastest growing IT Security locations in Europe with over 200 scientists in the area of IT security. The city provides a unique concentration of IT security expertise, at the Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt CASED. CASED acts as the headquarters of the Darmstadt IT Security Cluster, which was established by the Darmstadt University of Technology, the Fraunhofer SIT (Secure Information Technology) and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, and offers a wealth of expertise in the area of IT security. There is also the EC SPRIDE (European Center for Security & Privacy by Design), which cooperates closely with CASED.

Even though Darmstadt has become a powerhouse for the ICT sector, the state of Hessen continues to promote the expertise that the area has in science and industry with the “House of IT” (HIT), located on the Technische Universität Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt) campus, only 25 miles away from Frankfurt International Airport making it an ideal business location. The House of IT is a place to meet, exchange ideas, and collaborate; further integrating existing ICT initiatives and facilitating new projects. Companies such as Software AG, SAP, Accenture, AGT Germany, Ernst & Young and IBM support the HIT together with the TU Darmstadt, as the scientific component. Additional partners are the University of Darmstadt, the Hessen Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development and the city of Darmstadt.

For further information on opportunities in Darmstadt, please contact Kristina.Garcia@htai.de (U.S.) or Oliver.Beil@HTAI.de (Germany).


"Meetings made in Germany" The GCB at IMEX Frankfurt 2014

Event and meetings planners can enjoy a whistle stop tour of the GCB’s activity at IMEX in Frankfurt 2014 as some of the organisation’s highlights are brought to the small screen.

The GCB has launched a new film, “Meetings made in Germany”, which provides an exciting snapshot of the organisation’s role, activities, successes, expertise and partners.

The new film, lasting just under four minutes, brings to life some of the GCB’s work via testimonials from its partners and event planners across the world.
Key achievements are discussed by industry leaders including Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX, who outlines the show’s predicted expansion, explaining that one of the main drivers is the German economy’.

Matthias Schultze, managing director of the GCB, paints a picture of the importance of the meetings and events sector to the country, commenting: “Germany hosted 3 million meetings last year and welcomed 371 million delegates – that’s four and a half times the population of Germany’.

The figures are compelling and the film is well worth a view. Watch the film here 


Robots to Take Over Leipzig for the 20th RoboCup Championships

In the summer of 2016 Leipzig will be overrun by robots -- not as part of a futuristic movie, but as host city to the 20th RoboCup Championships.

For the first time in ten years, the world championships of robots – the RoboCup - will once again take place in Germany, this time in Leipzig, part of the state of Saxony’s microelectronics hub.

The highly acclaimed and leading global robotics event draws up to 3,000 participants from over 40 countries. They enter their robots to compete in entertaining and complex challenges ranging from playing soccer and navigating obstacle courses … to searching for “disaster survivors” and performing household chores.  

Adding even further prestige to the event, the Federal Minister for Education and Science, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, and Saxony’s Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Labor and Transport, Sven Morlok, will serve as patrons. They highlight the synergies between the RoboCup Championships and the area’s technology expertise:    “Saxony is a technology state and an extremely important location for microelectronics. This makes the state and the city of Leipzig the perfect host for the RoboCup World Championships 2016,” explains Morlok. 

The Championships and accompanying conference will take place June 30th - July 4th, 2016 at the Leipziger Messe. More details are available at www.robocup.org.

 ©Leipziger Messe
©Leipziger Messe

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