The founding of Welcome in Berlin

How it all began.

After the division of Germany, Bonn was the provisional location of the federal government bodies. It became increasingly important with the return of the diplomatic representations as well as external and internal sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany. In many capitals such as Washington and Paris, the accredited diplomats benefit from an institution fostered by the Foreign Ministry whose purpose is to assist their spouses settling down in the host country and unite them in the bond of friendship. The same concept was then pursued in Bonn.

“Welcome to Bonn” was established in 1984 following the institutional framework of the club in France. Thanks to the wives of State Secretaries von Staden and Meyer-Landrut, also to Sylvie Haas and Doris Eberle, who returning from Paris, enthusiastically extended guidance and advice based on their experiences in “Bienvenue en France”. The Federal Foreign Office stood behind the furtherance of the club, and the wife of one of the State Secretaries assumed the patronage. Through their voluntary commitment, the spouses of the Federal Foreign Office's employees and the ladies of the Bonn’s society contributed to the club’s success throughout the years. It began with “Welcome Morning” every two or three months. It then expanded and became a program in group activities, jours fixes, outings and trips within the federal states.

In Berlin, a similar need arose for the approximately 200 spouses of diplomats who worked in the consulate generals and embassy branches. Monika Diepgen, wife of the then governing mayor of Berlin, and Jutta Fischer, wife of the Chief of Protocol of the Foreign Federal Office in Berlin, set up “Welcome to Berlin” for the spouses of the diplomatic corps’ members in 1994. Like in Welcome to Bonn, a wide range of activities and events were also organized in Welcome to Berlin.

When the federal government moved to Berlin in 1999, the two clubs merged with the blessing from the Federal Foreign Office. "Welcome to Berlin, the diplomatic club of the Federal Foreign Office" was born. The club commenced its function with an office at the Federal Foreign Office on 19 May 1999. One of the State Secretaries acts as the patron of the club.

The united “federal eagle-Berlin bear” is the logo of the club that symbolizes the history, the strong bond and the good cooperation. Half of the active club members are spouses of the the Federal Foreign Office's officers. They gain enriching experiences through the cultural diversity in the club that is useful for the new beginning of their life abroad. On the other hand, the members from Berlin and surrounding area who are knowledgeable about the region, exert their contacts with the public figures and the ties in various institutions for the benefit of the club. With the increasing number of male members, the club not only offers the foreign guests opportunity to learn about Germany and understand the culture, but also a forum for friendship, tolerance and intercultural understanding.