Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group consist of a group of influential people who meet once a year during an unofficial, invitation-only conference. During this meeting they discuss the global policy and it's rumored they plan what's going to happen next in the world.

History of the Bilderberg Group

Hotel de Bilderberg

Hotel de Bilderberg, name-giving location of the first meeting in 1954

The Bilderberg Group's first meeting was held in Hotel de Bilderberg, near Arnhem in Holland, from 29 May to 31 May 1954.


The idea came from the Polish politician Józef Retinger and several other people, they were concerned about the growing anti-Americanism in Western Europe, therefore they proposed an international meeting at which influential people from European nations and the U.S. would be brought together with the aim of stimulating 'Atlanticism' – better understanding between the cultures of the U.S. and Western Europe to bolster partnership on economic, political and defense matters.


Prince Bernhard

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, 1942

Retinger approached Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands who agreed to support the idea, together with the head of Unilever, Dutchman Paul Rijkens and former Belgian Prime Minister Paul Van Zeeland. Bernhard contacted Walter Bedell Smith, head of the CIA, who asked Eisenhower adviser Charles Douglas Jackson to handle the proposal.


The members of the first conference consisted out of atleast two attendees from each participating country, one of each to represent liberal and conservative thoughts. 50 attendees from 11 nations in Western Europe attended the first meeting, along with 11 attendees from the U.S.


Bilderberg Conference

Bilderberg Conference in 1954


The success of the conference led the organizers to arrange a yearly meeting. A permanent Steering Committee was created, with Retinger chosen as permanent secretary. As well as organizing the meeting, the steering committee also registered a list of member names and contact information, with the aim of making an informal network of people who could contact each other in a private capacity.


In the following three years Bilderberg meetings were held in Germany, Denmark and France. In 1957, the first United States meeting was organised in St. Simons, Georgia, with $30,000 from the Ford Foundation. The foundation also supplied funding for the 1959 and 1963 meetings.


In 1972, after the Bilderberg Group refused to include Japan, David Rockefeller established the Trilateral Commission.


Organizational Structure

Conferences are arranged by a steering committee with two attendees from approx 20 countries. Official positions, in addition to a chairman, include an Honorary Secretary General. There is no such category in the group's rules as a "member of the group". The only category that exists is "member of the Steering Committee". In addition to the committee, there is also a separate advisory group, though membership overlaps.


In 1960, after Retinger's death, Dutch economist Ernst van der Beugel became permanent secretary. Prince Bernhard remained the chairman of the conference until 1976, the year of his involvement in the Lockheed affair.


The function of Honorary American Secretary General has been held successively by Joseph E. Johnson of the Carnegie Endowment, William Bundy of Princeton, Theodore L. Eliot, Jr., former United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, and Casimir A. Yost of Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.


Bilderberg Group Members

The conferences are visited by approx 140 attendees from the U.S. and Western Europe, mostly by powerful people such as politicians, corporate leaders and bankers. Around 1/3 are from governments, and 2/3 from the banking sector, labor, industry, communications and education. Conferences are private to the public and often include future political leaders such as Bill Clinton in 1991, and Tony Blair in 1993.


Members of Royal families, such as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Juan Carlos I of Spain, have also attended conferences. In recent years, corporate leaders from many large businesses have visited meetings, such as Xerox, Royal Dutch Shell, IBM and Nokia.


Castle of the Valley of the Duchess

Castle of the Valley of the Duchess, Brussel

On 12 November, 2009, the Bilderberg Group organized a dinner meeting at Castle of the Valley of the Duchess in Brussels to support the candidacy of Herman Van Rompuy for President of the European Council.


The 2011 conference in Switzerland was attended by: Robert B. Zoellick President of the World Bank Group; Henry Kissinger Chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc.; President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy; Co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes; World Bank president Robert Zoellick; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Queen Sofia of Spain.



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