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Benelux-Rhineland Reunion in Luxembourg of Oxford and Cambridge Alumni, 6-8 May 2022

The Oxford University and Cambridge University Societies in Luxembourg organised a highly successful reunion weekend in Luxembourg for alumni of the Universities in the Benelux and Rhineland. Altogether 119 alumni and their partners/spouses took part in the weekend’s activities.

Events kicked off on the evening of Friday 6 May with a lively Brazilian party at Maria Bonita in the Rives de Clausen.

The following morning a somewhat more sober conference, kindly sponsored by Clifford Chance, on the Luxembourg EUbased institutions was held at the Cercle Cité in the centre of Luxembourg. Speakers included Ian Forrester, former Judge of the General Court, Geoffrey Simpson, Director of Audit Quality and Audit Methodology at the European Court of Auditors and Francis Carpenter, former Secretary-General of the European Investment Bank and CEO of the European Investment Fund. Our speakers were both informative and entertaining and provided exceptional insight into their respective institutions. Several participants said afterwards that they had never thought that public sector audit could be so stimulating!

Tours were arranged to the historic centre of Luxembourg and its fortifications as well as to the Museum of Modern Art (Mudam) and Dräi Eechelen museum of the fortress of Luxembourg. Professor Alan Wirth gave a superb concert of baroque and renaissance organ music at the Church of St Michel, Luxembourg’s oldest church dating back to 987. The ancient cities of Oxford and Cambridge would have been hard-pressed to match the beauty and serenity of the surroundings and the music.

The day was rounded off with a black-tie Gala Dinner for 88 people at the Cercle Münster opened by a Latin grace spoken by Oxford graduate David Weis. Special guest Martine Reicherts, president of Luxembourg’s Fonds National de Recherche, gave an address on Innovation in Luxembourg. We were also honoured by the presence of the Deputy Ambassador of the United States, Casey Mace and his wife Anne. Mr Mace proposed a toast to the Transatlantic Alliance and spoke briefly of how the Ukrainian crisis has reinforced the need for transatlantic friendship. Toasts were proposed to His Royal Highness the Grand Duke and to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and to the two Universities. All guests enjoyed an exceptionally convivial evening with excellent food and fine wines laid on by the Cercle Münster’s superb staff.

The weekend was rounded off with a winetasting at one of Luxembourg’s premier vineyards, Château Pauqué, understandably limited to 30 participants. Abi Duhr, probably the most interesting winemaker in Luxembourg presented a selection of his white wines. Cambridge Society Secretary and amateur oenophile John Speed rated the event one of the very best he has attended.

In conclusion, the Oxford and Cambridge Luxembourg Societies have achieved their objectives of promoting friendship amongst the alumni of the two universities and displaying the best that Luxembourg can provide.

Winetasting, Chateau Pauqué
Abi Duhr, Château Pauqué

Oxford and Cambridge Benelux-Rhineland Reunion, 6-8 May 2022

The Oxford University Society and the Cambridge Society of Luxembourg, are inviting members of the Oxford and Cambridge University alumni associations in Belgium, the Netherlands and the Rhineland, as well as our own members here in Luxembourg, to come together over the weekend from the evening of Friday, 6th May to Sunday 8th May, 2022 in Luxembourg for an interesting programme of cultural and social events and activities.

The purpose of the weekend is to enable members of our associations to meet together in a congenial atmosphere to experience the many and varied attractions that Luxembourg has to offer, as well as to enjoy a number of high-quality social functions

The Programme

Friday 6th May

The weekend’s activities start at 19:30 with a Brazilian Dinner and Dancing at Maria Bonita restaurant in the Rives de Clausen, which was formerly occupied by the Mousel Brewery but has been recently redeveloped as one Luxembourg’s most lively social areas with many bars and restaurants. We anticipate that there will be opportunities for those who want to receive instruction in salsa and samba.

Restaurant Maria Bonita

Saturday 7th May

On the Saturday morning “shepherds” will assemble the participants staying in the hotels on the Kirchberg (the Novotel, the Melia and Mama Shelter) at 09:00 and guide them on foot and via the tram to the Cercle Cité at the Place d’Armes. Between 09:30 and 12:00 we will have talks from three highly respected and experienced former or current officials about the institutions of the European Union which have their seat in Luxembourg, i.e. the European Court of Justice (Ian Forrester, QC, former Judge in the General Court), the European Court of Auditors (Geoffrey Simpson, Director of Audit Quality and Audit Methodology), and the European Investment Bank/European Investment Fund (Francis Carpenter, former Secretary General of the EIB and CEO of the EIF). The meeting will be chaired by Catherine Léglu, Vice-rector for academic affairs of the University of Luxembourg who is a member of both of our Societies.

We are very grateful to Clifford Chance for sponsoring this event.

Porte de l'Europe

In the afternoon there are optional activities: One option is Visits to the Grand-Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM), designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pe, and the Dräi Eechelen Museum of the history of the fortress of Luxembourg, and the fortifications of Luxembourg, between 13:30 and 15:30. Participants who choose this will return after the talks at the Cercle Cité on foot and via the tram to the Place de l’Europe, Kirchberg where they will have a light lunch at the Table de Belvedere Restaurant between 12:30  and 13:30.

MUDAM

Musée Dräi Eechelen et Circuit Vauban | InCA
Dräi Eechelen Museum

The second option for the afternoon is to take a Tour of the city centre and fortifications of the City Luxembourg between 14:00 and 16:00, followed by a Visit to the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies and Talk by Dan Schmit, a member of the OUSL and on the staff of the Chamber, from 16:00 to 16:45.

Those who wish to do this could also go to the Table de Belvedere Restaurant for the light lunch – we will propose to start the tour of the City centre from there– but may prefer to stay in the centre for a lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafés there and meet the walk in the centre. This walk will suit those who cannot join the City tour on Sunday.

In the early evening there is a further activity from 18:00 to 19:00: Organ Recital of Baroque Music by Alan Wirth, organist, at the Église St. Michel. The church is the oldest extant religious site in Luxembourg, its origins date from 987 and it has a very fine organ. This will be sponsored by the Cambridge and the Oxford Societies in Luxembourg.

Participants will need to plan their afternoon carefully to make sure that they have time to return to their hotel to change for the black-tie Gala Dinner at the Cercle Münster in the Grund! For example, if they want to attend the organ recital, they will need to change for dinner beforehand.

The Cercle Münster is an exclusive private club serving the business community in Luxembourg situated in buildings from the 18th century, in a style that it describes as “resolutely British”. It is renowned for its gastronomy and wines, and is a superb setting for our Gala Dinner, which will start at 19:30. The Guest Speaker will be Martine Reicherts, President of the Fonds National de la Recherche, Chair of St Paul and former European Commissioner and Director General of the Commission. She will speak on “Innovation in Luxembourg”.

Photo taken at Cercle Münster by Vincent E. on 3/2/2015

Sunday 8th May

In the morning we will assemble after breakfast at 11:00 on the Place Guillaume for a Guided City Promenade of Luxembourg. The Luxembourg Tourist Office writes: “The City Promenade is the perfect way to get the most out of your stay in Luxembourg City. Accompanied by one of our official guides, you will discover the former fortress city’s top attractions and hidden gems!This 2-hour walking tour will make you discover, among many others, the prestigious grand ducal Palace, the Corniche also known as the “most beautiful balcony in Europe” as well as the Bock promontory, the cradle of Luxembourg City.

Bock Promontory | More about Bock Promontory on Beautiful ...
Bock Promontory

If participants wish to join the tour of the Mosel vineyards they will need to peel off at the Cathedral in order the catch the bus at 12:20

After the City Promenade, or instead of it, there is the possibility to take a bus from Luxembourg at 12:20 down to the Mosel vineyards to perhaps the finest Luxembourg vineyard “Château Pauqué” in Grevenmacher where owner Abi Duhr will lead us in a tasting of his remarkable wines from 13:00. “Abi Duhr rightly has his reputation as the enfant terrible of Luxembourg wines – and for good reason. Not for him the conventional, conservative and traditional winemaking of his neighbours, he is always prepared to push to the limit to gain that extra bit of quality out of all his wines » (from a blog by Dragan Unic, a Chef/sommelier in Sweden).  A simple buffet will be served at the Château. Please note that numbers are restricted to 30 for this visit.

Château Pauqué, Aby Duhr, Luxembourg - La Passion du Vin
Château Pauqué
Discover Château Pauqué

We will return to Luxembourg after the tasting at 15:45 to ensure that all participants are back at their hotels by 16:30.

For those looking for something to do on Sunday evening have a look at https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/whats-on. Members of the two Host societies may be happy to help, informally, to arrange things to do.

Monday 9th May

We have not arranged any activities for Monday, 9th May which is Europe Day in Luxembourg and a Bank Holiday. Should you wish to stay to the Monday, we can, however, provide links to “Esch2022” which is the programme organized by the Luxembourg authorities for Esch-sur-Alzette, the second city of Luxembourg and European Capital of Culture 2022. Esch has also the main campus of the University of Luxembourg at Belval, the former site of a major steelworks where the industrial culture of the site is preserved by the spectacular restored blast furnace which can be visited.

This has been sent out to all Cambridge alumni on our mailing list. If you are an alumnus or alumna but are not registered with us, but would like to attend some of the activities of the weekend, please contact secretary@cambridgesociety.lu and we will be pleased to show you how to take part.