Christmas Dinner 2014

This was undoubtedly one our most British Christmas Dinners to date. Over 90 Oxonians gathered at the Kaufmanns-Casino on 8th December for the annual Christmas Dinner of the Oxford Alumni Society in Munich. After the drinks reception, happy reunions and the first lively discussions, the doors were opened onto the beautifully decorated dinner room, which indeed resembled more a festive College Hall at Christmas time than a Bavarian restaurant or club.  

This year, we were lucky to have the British concert pianist Bonny Palm with us, who played some wonderful English Christmas songs and eventually invited everybody to sing along.  The blend of Christmas carols, Christmas crackers and silly crowns was reminiscent for some of their time at Oxford, when the last essays were just about to be handed in, the last bars to be “drunk dry” and the bags to be packed for the Christmas break ahead. Everybody at the dinner for sure started getting into the mood for Christmas and we joyfully rounded off the evening at the bar with the mandatory port and mince pies.

As one of our members from England said: “I actually felt a little bit homesick in this pre-Christmas time. But this evening, I really felt like I was at home.”

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O’zapft it was

Last Wednesday, 24 September, the Oxford Alumni of Bavaria and their guests once more gathered for a joint Oktoberfest Outing. The record number of four big Oktoberfest tables was fully booked by members in no time and the crew was happy that quite a few new members and guests from Oxford made it also.

The Armbrustschützenzelt (lit. crossbowmen’s tent) is one of the most traditional tents, in which a part the German crossbow championships is held every year. As one might have expected, the alumni opted for somewhat more peaceful and less dangerous (in particular after a few Mass) pastimes, and made liberal use of the nigh on endless supply of Märzen beer, balancing their intake with hearty portions of Bavarian fare.

A lot of fun was had by all involved, and after a few hours, remaining seated was simply not an option, as the brass band played classics of questionable musical, but certainly considerable entertainment value. When our tent closed at 10:30pm, we were greeted with torrential rain showers more reminiscent of England than of Bavaria, but that did little to reduce the experience.

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PIMM’S SUMMER PARTY!

The 18th anniversary of the Oxford Society of Munich took place at Kaufmanns-Casino by Odeonsplatz.

Over 100 Oxonians joined the “Coming of Age Party” to celebrate with Pimms and nibbles at the club’s terrace overlooking the beautiful Hofgarten. What a perfect fusion of Oxford and Munich atmospheres!

The evening was rounded off by Bonny Palm’s piano play and the amusing speech of Marco Janezic, the President of the Oxford Society of Munich.

A special thank you also goes to Achim Bahnen who has shared his wonderful photos of the evening on a gallery for you to enjoy: View here.

We thank our friends from Cambridge, LSE and Harvard for also joining us on this great summer event and look forward to our traditional visit of the Munich Oktoberfest on September 23rd. Save the date!

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Munich Premiere of Piano Particles

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On the eve of June 5th Anno 2014, over a hundred alumni from the Oxford Society of Munich and our partner clubs at Harvard and LSE gathered for the premiere concert of Piano Particles new album “Blue”.

Piano Particles combine elements of classical, pop and electronic music with visual installations. Indeed, we were enchanted by a universe of sounds and colours. At the heart was the piano played by Steffen Wick, but many “particles” were added including a string quartet and the accordion. The event was held in the beautiful Allerheiligen-Hofkirche of the Residenz, and Wick and his fellow artist Simon Detel made the most of this amazing location.

The artists have received multiple awards as individuals and for their joint work including the “Kreativpiloten Deutschland” awarded by the German government. We look forward to see their career prosper, and if you did not have the chance to see them live with us, have a look at their trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMIWMSK_o5A

After the event we gathered for a private reception with the artists in the Kabinettsgarden of the Residenz (thanks to great weather). Over drinks & nibbles and much laughter the evening was rounded off in a relaxed atmosphere.

We thank our friends from LSE and Harvard for joining us on this great occasion. Further, we thank all helpers for what turned out to be a truly amazing evening and look forward to our “Coming Of Age” party (18thClub anniversary) in July!

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Christmas Dinner 2013

The intimate „Große Openerstube“ of the newly renovated Spatenhaus was again venue for the annual Christmas dinner of the Munich branch of the Oxford Society. Similar to last year, about 80 Oxonians joined the dinner to celebrate the end of an eventful year 2013 and to enjoy the inspiring discussions with other fellow members, the excellent Bavarian food and drinks and the fantastic view of the Munich Opera House.

This year’s guest of honor was Rosamund Hübener (Matriculation 1942, Sommerville, Modern Languages (French and Spanish) who – after her studies in Oxford – joined the Foreign Service as one of the first group of women admitted to it. In the following years she had postings in Paris, Bonn and Prague, ending in 1961 as Her Majesty’s Consul in Czechoslovakia. In her dinner speech, Rosamund very lively described her life at the university as a female student during World War II. It was extremely interesting to hear what impact the war had on student life. Other experiences which she recalled – like secretely climbing over walls to get back into college at night – sounded somehow familiar even to the younger parts of her audience.

In the following, Marco Janezic, president of the Munich branch of the Oxford Society, gave a brief summary of the society’s activities in 2013 – including the visit to the newly opened Lenbachhaus, the guided tour to Schwabing’s galleries or the visit to the Munich Oktoberfest. And – as we learned – there are already many plans for 2014!

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Oxford Alpine Excursion

A few days after the last Oktoberfest songs had been sung and the last tankards of beer had been emptied, the Oxford Society Munich gathered for a slightly more sober and sporty activity, to burn those calories from the previous weeks. On 13th October around about 20 Oxonians braved a7amstart on a Saturday to hike up to the Fockenstein, one ofMunich’s Hausberge (“home mountains”) at the nearby Tegernsee (“LakeTegern”). Despite a cold and rainy morning we were motivated by our secretary’s rally cry “that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear”. Our courage was rewarded by a sudden change of weather that provided us on a blue-sky afternoon and a beautiful view over the Bavarian landscape from the 1564m high peak. After our uphill travails all the way from the lake (800m altitude) to the peak, we were greeted by the first 30cm of snow of the season, and an entertaining downhill descended that involved most of the group sledging down the mountain on their snow-soaked bottoms. Who said sledging was only for kids? In addition, Oxonians would not be Oxonians if the physical part of the day wasn’t topped off by some sort of banterous drinking activity. So on our way down we ran into an unexpected party by Radio Charivari, had free beer at the mountain hut “Aueralm” and were greeted by the generous hospitality of our committee member Leonie, who invited us for coffee and home-made cake to her parents house by the lake. Leonie, we really appreciated and enjoyed your family’s generosity. Overall, the Alpine Excursion was a fantastic day with many highlights and many of the qualities that madeOxfordspecial: motivation to make things happen, courage to overcome an initial challenge, and the esprit de corps of the dark blues. We are looking forward to our next event in the outdoors.

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Oxford Goes Oktoberfest 2013

Fifth Season in Munich: the Oktoberfest is not just one of the largest festivals in the world but also one of the biggest events in the Bavarian social calendar. Of course, the Oxford University Alumni Society – Munich Branch did not miss out!

30 Alumni held up the Oxonian flag in one of the most traditional beer tents at Oktoberfest. While some just enjoyed the great variety of typical Bavarian dishes, others already climbed up the benches to revive their Oxford dancing skills blended with the obligatory “Schunkeln” to the sound of German brass music. Others still even managed to fit in some rides on the most thrilling Wiesn roller coasters before returning back to their beers.

The event was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends but also to meet plenty of new fellow Alumni, some of which travelled long distances from London and Oxford to attend this unique and fun-filled event.

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Gallery Tour through Schwabing

A secretive courtyard in the heart of Schwabing was the rendezvous of 30 OUS Munich members, who met up on May 2nd, 2013 for an exclusive guided tour through some of the most delightful galleries ofMunich’s thriving art district.

Dr. Florentine Rosemeyer, a well-known German art expert, guided us through hand-picked galleries and fascinated the group with her insights and explanations.

We started off at Barbara Gross Galerie – one of the most relevant platforms for female artists in Europe– and moved from one highlight to the next when visiting the galleries De Martino, Wittenbrink and Barbara Ruetz – all exhibiting upcoming and established artist from all around the world.

A highlight for everyone were the paintings of the contemporary Finnish artist Petri Niemelä with their aesthetically meaningful depiction of the human being in the modern world. Niemelä strips his protagonists of all social attributes to represent them in their pure humanity, just by themselves or “itsekseen” as he calls it.

Who would have thought that, hidden in backyards of downtownMunich, the world of art is happening!

Yet not only the artworks held the attention of our group. Also Florentine’s invaluable insider’s insights into the world of contemporary art, current artistic trends and what happens behind the scenes in the art business raised great interest. There was much to be learned about art trading, art prices and the journey upcoming artists have to make on their way to fame.

The tour ended with drinks and dinner in one of Munich`s stylish restaurants, La Baracca, where the fellow Oxonians had time to meet and catch up.

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Christmas Dinner 2012

To celebrate the end of an eventful Oxonian year, the Munich branch of the Oxford Society again hosted its annual Christmas dinner. Due to the high level of interest in the year before, the committee opted for a much larger venue with fabulous views of the Munich State Opera House. The attendance of over 90 Oxonians exceeded all expectations. Nonetheless our members enjoyed the very cozy atmosphere of the wood-paneled rooms of the Spatenhaus on this snowy winter day.

Apart from a delicious 3-course formal-hall style Christmas menu with plenty of wine, there were a number of other highlights for those who traversed the snow blizzard to attend this fine occasion. The main highlight of the evening was the presence of the new British Consul-General Paul Heardman, who gave a humorous review of the year 2012 from a British-German perspective. He emphasized the Olympic Games, the Diamond Jubilee and Kate’s Royal Baby as the events that will be remembered on both sides of the channel. Furthermore the president of the OUS in Munich, Marco Janezic (SEH, 1989) provided a brief account of the early days of the Society, which had been dormant for a few years, and introduced his diligent new committee, now consisting of 11 members. His inspirational speech showed that Oxford’s influence and friendships are a life-time asset and extend far beyond life at the university.

If nothing else, the Christmas dinner at the Spatenhaus was a great occasion to meet old and new friends and exchange stories of the shared time in Oxford. One thing that we did notice though was the inexplicable absence of black-tie and port – two Oxford traditions that shall hopefully be reintroduced at the next dinner to complete the immersion into old times.

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Splendours of the BSB (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München)

Thirteen members of OUS Munich had the chance to explore this season’s cultural highlight at the Hypo Cultural Foundation, “Magnificent Manuscripts – Treasures of Book Illumination from 780 through 1180”. The exhibition, held under the patronage of Federal President Joachim Gauck, shows 75 of the most precious examples of German book illumination from the Carolingian, Ottonian and Romanesque eras.

Not only were the visitors amazed by the beauty of the works of art. The guided tour by OUS Munich member Dr. Bettina Wagner (Library Director at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München) was also truly enlightening, giving deep insights into these thousand-year-old testimonies to our cultural heritage.

Dinner and drinks then allowed the group to wake up to the present again and to spend some more time discussing both past and present facets of the written word and the arts.

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