The tragedy Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is one of the masterpieces of German literature. While first published in 1808 it still fascinates the modern reader with both it’s intriguing story and it’s stimulating intellectuality. The exhibition „YOU ARE FAUST“ at Kunsthalle München reflects on both the piece itself as well as on its influence on other artists since its publication. We very much enjoyed our tour through the exhibition as well as the discussions that followed during dinner at a traditional Bavarian restaurant.
For the 5th year in a row, and now officially as a tradition, the Munich Oxford Society has welcomed its members for the start of the new year with a “zünftig” Bavarian style Weißwurstfrühstück. This year, the gathering involved not only our friends from LSE, but for the first time also members of the Harvard Club.
Meeting in the Almchalet room at Donisl with view right onto Marienplatz, we were greeted with Pretzels, wheat beer and “white sausages” – which of course had to be consumed before noon. The rule dates back to the days when the lack of cooling facilities meant that the sausages would become spoilt quickly and the rule is still obeyed as of today.
After 3 hours of brunching and mingling, the kick-off event ended with the last guests being softly ushered outside and continuing their conversation on the busy Marienplatz – oblivious to the time whilst enjoying the company of their fellow alumni.
On Monday December 4th, 80 Oxonians and their guests gathered in the beautiful rooms of the Kaufmann’s Casino (the Munich Merchants Club) to celebrate the annual Christmas Dinner of the Munich Oxford Society.
For the first time the dresscode was „black tie“ and as such it took a little while to recognize familiar faces in such festive wardrobe and Christmas cracker crowns. Add gowns and it would have been impossible to distinguish the event from an Oxford dining hall.
We were treated to a delicious meal consisting of duck with dumplings and Blaukraut followed by a Christmassy cinnamon pudding. Bonny Palm once again accompanied our attempts at Carol singing and we were blessed to have Ian Howard deliver the annual speech. Ian delighted us with insights into British culture, politics and of course news from the royal family all spiced up by some subtle British humor. Thank you Ian!
Our chairman Marco also addressed the society and reminded us of the essence of the Oxford Society: who needs „networks“, if there is a wonderful group of friends, who like to have fun, laugh and spend some quality time together. After dinner the bar was highly frequented and minced pies were at hand.
At last, a big thank you to Nils and Valentina for once again organizing the Christmas Dinner! Congratulations on the excellent evening! See you for the Weißwurst Frühstück in January!
On a Sunday at the end of October 10 courageous, well-equipped hikers gathered at the foot of mount Wallberg (close to lake Tegernsee) braving rain and cold temperatures. And once again the theme “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear” payed fully off.
The crowd scaled the summit of mount Setzberg with lots of chatter in the air and was rewarded with some beautiful, mystic views onto the lake, crispy fresh air and even some first snowflakes at the peak.
After mastering the quite muddy last ascent to the top of mount Setzberg (with a few acrobatic slip-ups of several Oxonians) the group could warm-up in the freshly renovated mountain hut “Altes Wallberghaus”, enjoying some delicious hot goulash soup. Freshly energized the descent almost felt like a relaxed stroll.
When reaching the parking lot again after this wonderful hike, the proud mountaineers did not have to say good-bye immediately, but could conclude the day in a relaxed atmosphere with some cake and tea at the parents’ house of one of our fellow Oxonian close to lake Tegernsee.
Sun, rain or snow – we will do it again next year!
In annual tradition, the Oxford Alumni Society in Munich gathered again for its Oktoberfest celebrations. The Oktoberfest is predominantly known for its beer. And indeed, beer plays an important role: It is technically impossible not to have a mug of beer in your hands – not even for a few minutes. Why? Because people want to say cheers every few minutes, whenever the brass-band plays the toast “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”. When this song is finished, all party guests count to three and then take a big sip. Of course, this ever-repeating procedure was also carried out this year. Some Oxonians started the evening with having a heated discussion about the upcoming general election in Germany. But intellectual discourse rarely lasts for long at the Oktoberfest. The later the evening, the more hilarious the evening: People standing on the beer benches, chanting their favourite songs about red balloons or cowboys and Indians.
But the Oxford Octoberfest is much more than that: It is the place where old friends celebrate reunion, and new friendships are made. It is the place where long forgotten Oxford stories are rediscovered. And it is the place where unexpected moments (almost necessarily) occur. I think it is not an accident that disproportionally many Oxford couples have met at the Oktoberfest. And this year? We don’t know yet, but we will be told next year at latest.
The alumni society’s first speaker event proved to be a great success. Kaufmanns Casino was packed with enthused Oxonians welcoming HRH Prince Luitpold of Bavaria as our expert speaker. The plethora of Bavaria’s finest brews he brought with him didn’t stifle the atmosphere either.
In his enlightening presentation, Prince Luitpold gave us an overview of the development of the craft of brewing in Bavaria and its close links to his family.
He immersed us in history, touching on milestones such as the Purity Law of 1516, the initiation of the world famous Oktoberfest as a wedding feast of King Ludwig I, and the wheat beer monopoly of Duke Maximilian I. Regarding the latter, he remarked (not without a twinkle in his eye) that it was the people’s thirst for wheat beer which secured national stability and Christianity in Bavaria.
As CEO of “König Ludwig International”, Prince Luitpold offered us first-hand insight into successful international brand management, which in his case is in over 10 markets.
Finally, his beer sommelier Artem Vynogradov guided us skilfully through a tasting of no less than six select beer specialities by “König Ludwig International”.
All in all, it was an indeed memorable evening!
One of the sporting highlights of the Oxford calendar has always been the annual Boat Race. Not only because it is one of the oldest and most traditional rowing races in the world, but also because many of us Oxford boaties spent countless hours on the Isis trying our luck to win blades in college rowing. Many of us looked up to the few selected men and women, who actually made the Blues rowing team (OUBC) and sacrificed so much of the otherwise hallowed student social life for the potential of earning eternal glory by beating the Tabs on the Tideway.
So now several years after leaving behind the Isis waters, we still gather in Munich at the Isar River (notably similar to Isis actually) to watch the race of our university day heroes and heroines – who we feel so closely connected to, because these part-time athletes are training and studying in the same place where we used to be a few years back.
This year, the Oxford Munich Society organised the viewing event, which was last held in 2015, right next to the Ludwig Maximilian University at CADU. Surrounded by libraries and lecture halls, and young lads carrying piles of books the CADU actually provided a very student-y vibe for the event. With more than 40 alumni, the event had a huge turn-out and it was a pleasure to co-host the event together with the Munich Cambridge Society, who braved the century-old animosities and showed up in amicable fashion. A definite highlight was seeing so many alumni turning up in their old rowing blazers and stash. The mix of dark blue and turquoise – excuse us – light blue fashion items from both Oxford and Cambridge showed that the divide from our student days have indeed been bridged – and that together we celebrated this piece of British sporting tradition, that you could’t find in Germany.
Therefore, we hope that the Boat Race viewing event will continue to be a reference day for both Oxonians and Cantabrigans in Munich, to meet in merriment and sporty admiration for each others rowing wizardy (e.g. catching a crab at the first stroke at the start). Oh yes, and did we talk about the results yet?
To kick off the year in style, the Munich Oxford Society once again – for the fourth year running – teamed up with the local LSE Alumni chapter for the traditional joint Weißwurstfrühstück, a brunch consisting of Bavarian ‘white sausages’, pretzels and wheat beer. For the second time, we gathered at Donisl, a recently-refurbished beer hall on Marienplatz, the city’s main square, with a history stretching back to 1315, which provided a very adequate setting. Old friendships were renewed and new ones formed, and after an extensive brunch, a part of the group embarked on a stroll through the Englische Garten, Munich’s largest park, to walk off some of the calories consumed earlier.