WHU Foundation New Year’s Dinner

“The Humboldt Forum as Reflector” Art historian Professor Dr. Bredekamp at the WHU Foundation New Year’s Dinner 2018

It is a long-standing tradition for the WHU Foundation to start off the New Year with a dinner in a small group of friends, benefactors, faculty members and alumni. On January 22, 2018, this year’s New Year’s Dinner was held at Klostergut Besselich in Urbar. More than 60 guests from academia, politics and the business community were on hand for the event, which was held in the festively decorated hall of the former Franciscan convent founded in 1496.

Following welcoming remarks by Professor Dr. Jürgen Weigand and Dr. Peter Kreutter, the Dean of WHU, Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, offered an overview of the development of WHU in the past twelve months and presented the goals for 2018 and beyond.

The guest of honor and the evening’s keynote speaker was the well-known art historian and founding director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Professor Dr. Horst Bredekamp. In his laudatio of the guest of honor, Professor Dr. Klaus Brockhoff, Deputy Chairman of the WHU Foundation, emphasized the broad interests and diverse awards of the honored guest. As one of the main individuals in charge of the Humboldt Forum, Professor Bredekamp was particularly well-suited to discuss the cultural project in Berlin, Professor Brockhoff noted as he passed the floor to the guest of honor.

In his dinner speech, entitled “The Humboldt Forum as Reflector,” Professor Bredekamp initially confronted the prejudice that reconstruction of the historic façades of the former Berlin Palace would revive Prussian Baroque. In fact, he was able to show that the elements of the façades were inspired by Italian archetypes. This, he pointed out, made it logical to select an Italian architect for the non-reconstructible parts, since his design would interpret the original ideas in a new form. Subsequently, Professor Bredekamp addressed the 80,000 pieces of the collection of social and cultural anthropology. In this context, he rejected accusations of blindness to colonialism, explaining that a large part of the collection had already been created before the colonial epoch. Where the other portion of the collection was concerned, Investigations of provenance were conducted as a matter of course. The speaker’s descriptive examples whetted listeners’ appetite to visit the restored spaces in the future.

In Professor Bredekamp, the guests once again experienced a WHU New Year’s Dinner speaker who captivated them with a lecture that was knowledgeable and multifaceted, dedicated and topical. The subsequent lively conversations over dinner underscored the inspiration he had created with his presentation.