The German President & I: ZEF at the Villa Hammerschmidt Open Day 2018

The German President & I: ZEF at the Villa Hammerschmidt Open Day 2018

Little did I know when I decided to work with Black Soldier Flies that they will take me on this breathtaking journey.
Seldom do you get invited to take part at an event in an official presidential palace and even more seldom do you get  invited to take part at an event in an official presidential palace where you get to meet the president and talk to him about your research project. But seldom does not mean never and if you want to know more please keep on reading further.

ZEF presented its research in: the tent “World of insects” together with Museum König, next to a “walk-in tent” with living edible insects from the company Katz Biotech and in the “Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research” (Bonner Allianz für Nachhaltigkeitsforschung) tent together with the Bonn Alliance partners  Hochschule Rhein Sieg, BICC, DIE and UNU-EHS.

What made this event exceptionally special is that it took place at the Villa Hammerschmidt ,one of  the most famous buildings in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany and the  official residence of the Federal President in Bonn, and the former Federal Chancellery that today houses the primary seat of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Villa is situated in the heart of the former government quarter of Bonn, bordering the river Rhine to the north and opposite the zoological Museum Koenig to the south. It is also adjacent to the secondary official seat and secondary official residence of the Chancellor, the Palais Schaumburg, to the west. The upper floor of the building houses a private apartment for the German President, while the ground floor consists of state rooms which are used for ceremonial purposes.It was built by August Dieckhoff in 1860 in Neo-classical style, as a stately home for a wealthy industrialist. It was redecorated in 1868 by the architect Otto Penner.

I did wake up very early that day not wanting to be late on an event we planned for very well and a head of time, there were long queues at Villa Hammerschmidt as 14,000 took advantage of an event that happens once every two years. I was lucky to have a quick side access dedicated to the participants of the event.

We did have a huge crowd at our tents and people were interested to try some edible insects and to listen to some information about our on going research related to bio-economy. You can see from the pictures below that the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier together with the German First Lady Elke Büdenbender took a guided tour in the Katz insects walk-in tent. Our director Prof offered him some insects to try, but the president humorously replied : I am totally vegan for the day 🙂 

And I did get the chance to talk to the German President about our research and I did tell him about some of the wonderful things that ZEF researchers are doing to help improve the environmental conditions and the livelihoods of people in the developing world and it was all caught on camera 😉 and I was the next morning on the front page of Bonn’s local newspaper.

With its 150 years of age, Villa Hammerschimdt is a place of history and today it became part of my history 🙂 Thank you for opening your doors to me.Dear Prof and ZEF PR thank you for giving me this exceptional opportunity to take part in such an interesting event. I got to keep the black soldier fly roll-up and I got some nice treats to take home with me including a guided free tour ticket to Museum Koenig.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *