And indeed how should we describe this superb setting where, in times gone by, the crowned, and some uncrowned, heads of Europe of the day would walk?
This time it was modern-day Europe with its old traditions that took over the building, to give a positive and dynamic image of the hotel and tourism schools come to Semmering to celebrate an early Christmas.
The beautiful row of stands offered the visitors a broad display of local skills as well as typical regional specialities; as an added bonus here and there one could hear music played on the accordion or the violin, or the hiss of the little train installed in the centre of this ‘sweet box’ to remind everyone of the works of art of the railway line built between 1846 and 1854 and now classed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The official opening of this exhibition took place on December 1st in the presence of Mrs Christiane Keller, the founder of Christmas in Europe, Mr Christoph Madl representing the government of Lower Austria, Mr Schneeberger, a Member of Paliament for Lower Austria, Mr Horst Schröttner mayor of Semmering, Mr Jürgen Kürner director of the Semmering hotel and tourism school, flanked by his deputies; and Louis Robert president of the AEHT, Klaus Enengl, one of the vice-presidents, and Eduard Aberham director of the Panhans hotel.
After the traditional ribbon-cutting to open the entrance to the exhibition, Jürgen Kürner said how pleased he was to be able to welcome not only 15 schools from 13 countries, but also all the personalities who had come to the ceremony. He gave especial thanks to his organising team as well as to the indispensable sponsors, including Mr Aberham; then he warmly welcomed everybody: ‘It is a great pleasure and a great honour to be able to host this European event’, he concluded.
Louis Robert, AEHT president, echoed these words, while thanking Christiane Keller ‘the driving force of the event’ and congratulating the Semmering team. ‘I’m so pleased to see all these young people from all over Europe who have come here for this great celebration of friendship; thanks to the organisers and to all those who have supported them.’
Before declaring the exhibition open, Mr Schneeberger expressed his great pleasure at welcoming to Lower Austria the young people, the directors and the teachers who had come here from all over Europe. He reminded his audience that Semmering is a meeting place for the whole of Europe, because it was one of the first tourist destinations. ‘This Christmas in Europe is a lot more than just a regional event, many thanks to all of you for your hard work and your dedication. A round of applause for the director please ….’
There followed the official visit to the exhibition stands, where the VIPs were treated to a festival of highly varied tastings!
The stands set up around the ‘sweet box’ with Semmering’s stand in the centre together with the artistic chocolate creation by Günther Prentrup, pastry teacher at the Semmering school.
Italy - Senigallia
Russia - Nijni Novgorod
Italy -Regio Emilia
Poland - Poznan
Croatia - Split
Luxembourg - Diekirch
Belgium - Rance
Sweden - Orebrö
Slovenia - Bled
Slovenia - Maribor