History of Königswinter
The history of Königswinter reflects the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Many participants have attested over the years to its historical importance. The Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft (German-English Society) was founded in 1949 by Lilo Milchsack and seven fellow Düsseldorf citizens in order to re-establish the relations to the former war opponent and to re-enter democratic discourse. They also wanted to convey a realistic image of Germany, without the clichés and stereotypes that were common in the United Kingdom at that time.
Sir Robert Birley, Educational Advisor to the local British Military Government, supported their venture. Thus, they were able to organise the first "German-English Talks in Königswinter" in 1950. The Military Government helped them to identify suitable contacts, and the first conference assembled British and German MPs, government officials, academics, business people, journalists and persons engaged in the cultural sector.
The German-English Talks became an institution; since 1975, they have taken place alternately in Germany and Britain.
Several generations of decision-makers from both countries have met and debated heatedly. Thus, "Königswinter" has become an outstanding forum which provide opportunities for elites of both countries to shape and exchange their opinions.