A celebration of new beginnings

A celebration of new beginnings

71st edition of the VBKI Ball | Six live bands | 1,800 managers celebrate spring

The wait was long, but the atmosphere was all the more exuberant: After a forced break of more than three years due to the coronavirus, the 71st Ball der Wirtschaft of the Association of Berlin Merchants and Industrialists (VBKI) was a celebration of new beginnings: around 1,800 guests partied until late into the night - including many well-known faces from Berlin's business, political and social circles.

In his opening address, VBKI President Markus Voigt called on the assembled leaders from business, state politics and urban society to create a new culture of togetherness: "All of us, pedestrians, cyclists, car or public transport users, tenants or landlords, whether living in Mitte or at home in Köpenick, whether born here or moved here - we are Berliners first and foremost and identify with this city. If we succeed in emphasizing what we have in common and what unites us, then we have every chance of a great future in this city." With this in mind, Voigt continued, both governing and opposition parties should work equally hard for Berlin, "constructively, pragmatically and in the interests of the city as a whole".

Around 1,800 managers accepted the VBKI's invitation, including many prominent figures from Berlin's business, political and social circles. The new Berlin state government was particularly well represented, led by the Governing Mayor of Berlin. In his welcoming address, Kai Wegner spoke about the economic situation in Berlin: "As a strong voice of the economy, the VBKI is an important partner in finding and implementing solutions to all the issues of our time. We want to develop Berlin into one of the most important business, technology and innovation locations in Europe. I look forward to working with Berlin's business community and the VBKI to achieve this."

Also present were Senate members Stefan Evers (Finance), Manja Schreiner (Environment, Transport and Climate Protection) and Katharina Günther-Wünsch (Education, Youth and Family). The leaders of the SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary groups, namely Raed Saleh and Bettina Jarasch, as well as Sebastian Czaja, the leader of the Berlin FDP, also attended from Berlin. Among those flying the Brandenburg flag were Guido Beermann, State Minister for Infrastructure and State Planning, and Jan Redmann, leader of the CDU parliamentary group in the Potsdam state parliament and head of the CDU Brandenburg, as well as Berlin's former governing mayor Michael Müller.

It almost goes without saying that the business world was represented by many well-known personalities, including VBKI Vice President Dr. Sigrid Nikutta (Board Member for Freight Transport at Deutsche Bahn, CEO of DB Cargo) and the Berlin entrepreneur and former Senator for Economics Stephan Schwarz. The scientific community was represented by Prof. Michael Hüther, Director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Prof. Geraldine Rauch, President of TU Berlin, and Prof. Oliver Günther, President of the University of Potsdam, among others. Also among the celebrants: Actress Anne Kasprik and director Oren Schmuckler.

A total of six live bands provided the atmosphere on the ball floor: Jazz Deluxe and Trio Noor welcomed the guests with swinging rhythms before the large orchestra of Max and Friends played in the ballroom. Later, Craig Lees, one of Berlin's most sought-after musicians, invited the ball audience on a journey through all genres and eras of music. In the pavilion, the performances by DJ Mini & Friends were among the top acts of the ball, alternating with the first-class Berlin combo Hit Mama to rock the party zone.


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