At this year’s Bilderberg conference, for the first time, there will be a Press Office – hosted by the Bilderberg Welcoming Committee – located on the hotel grounds. The aim of the Press Office will be to facilitate the mainstream and alternative media in their coverage of the meeting.
The Press Office will be located in a larger Reception Zone, within the grounds of The Grove Hotel (near the hotel gates). It will provide journalists, photographers, bloggers and researchers with information on this year’s conference, and details about the delegates: including an ID service for delegate photographs.
Besides the Press Office, the Reception Zone will feature a place for speakers, lavatories, and a view of the hotel drive for photographers. Electricity will be available at the Press Office for recharging cameras and phones.
There will be liaison officers from the Hertfordshire Constabulary present in the Reception Zone for the duration of the conference.
The Bilderberg Welcoming Committee is a loose association of pro-transparency campaigners, journalists and organizations, who will be hosting the Press Office.
This is the first officially sanctioned Press Office for the Bilderberg conference, and is a considerable step forward in the relations between the conference and the press.
The Bilderberg Group is famously shy of press attention. An article in the Daily Express, February 12, 1957 (a few years after the first official conference) shows how a veil of “secrecy and security” was drawn over the event:
But this attitude is finally changing, as the Chancellor George Osborne (Bilderberg attendee 2005-9, 2011) said, shortly after taking office: “We have already begun to implement the most radical transparency agenda the country has ever seen” (speech, June 8, 2010).
This sentiment was echoed, a year later, by David Cameron himself, in Prime Minister’s Questions (July 13, 2011):
“the relationship between politicians and the media must change and we must be more transparent, too, about meetings, particularly with executives, editors, proprietors and the rest of it.”
The Press Office and Reception Zone at the 2013 Bilderberg conference is a welcome part of this shift towards transparency.
Neelie Kroes is Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. She has attended eight Bilderberg conferences to date, every year since 2005.
She joined the EU Commission in 2004. According to the BBC: “At the time, the former Dutch transport minister was on the board of 12 companies, including Volvo and the French defence group Thales. She had also worked as a lobbyist for Lockheed-Martin.”
Her official EU Biographical Sketch gives a long list of her previous business interests – which includes being on the Supervisory Board of McDonald’s, the Advisory Board of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and the Supervisory Board of New Skies Satellites.
The keyword in the speeches and writings of Commissioner Kroes is “open” – whether it’s “open data”, “open science”, “open education” or an “open internet”. In June 2010 she said:
“I think that openness is a core European value, and one of our strengths, and I do see it as contributing to our ability to innovate.”
She stresses both the economic and the social value of openness. She believes governments should be open with their data, and that an open government is one the people can trust. In a speech entitled ‘From Crisis of Trust to Open Governing’, delivered in March 2012, she says:
“Today’s economic crisis is a testing time for our democracies. Just look at the amount of protests in our streets across Europe. We need to bring back the trust in markets, in governments. Especially for young people who are massively left aside at the moment. One way to create trust is by increasing transparency in government. Citizens will be more confident if they can verify that the people they have elected inform them about what they do and how they do it.”
A transparent government is a trusted government. And, as an EU Commissioner, Neelie Kroes can say with some pride:
“the EU is fully committed to open government and data”.
In October 2012, Kroes explained how information can “empower citizens” and help people “hold their governments to account”. The more open the government, the more accountable it is. And the more accountable, the more trusted:
“We can change the relationship between governments and citizens. Putting public data online is a great example. It means more transparency in government.”
This is her ideal: more openness, more data, more transparency, more accountability. An ideal which she sees alive and well in Europe – as she said in March of this year:
“Europe is a home of democracy, transparency and fundamental rights”.
Kroes and Bilderberg
European Commissioner Neelie Kroes has been to eight Bilderberg conferences, and hasn’t made a single public statement about these meetings. At the last gathering, in Chantilly, she spent three days – meeting in private – with two other European Commissioners (Joaquín Almunia and Karel de Gucht) along with the following elected public servants (showing their office at the time):
Alison Redford (Canada: Premier of Alberta)
Jürgen Trittin (Germany: Parliamentary Leader, Alliance 90/The Greens)
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (Spain: Vice President and Minister for the Presidency)
Jutta Urpilainen (Finland: Minister of Finance
Christophe Béchu (France: Senator, and Chairman, General Council of Maine-et-Loire)
Nick Boles (Britain: Member of Parliament)
Kenneth Clarke (Britain: Member of Parliament, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of Justice)
Michael Noonan (Ireland: Minister for Finance)
Enrico Letta (Italy: Deputy Leader, Democratic Party)
Alexander Pechtold (Holland: Parliamentary Leader, Democrats ’66)
Mark Rutte (Holland: Prime Minister)
Jacek Rostowski (Poland: Minister of Finance)
Jorge Moreira da Silva (Portugal: First Vice-President, Partido Social Democrata)
Ali Babacan (Turkey: Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs)
Mitchell Daniels, Jr. (US: Governor of Indiana)
John Kerry (US: Senator for Massachusetts)
This private policy summit – heaving with corporate executives and packed with politicians – is the very opposite of “transparency in government”. Openness may be a “core European value” but when it comes to Bilderberg, it’s not a value that’s exhibited by Neelie Kroes.
The Bilderberg conference runs from June 6-9. The media (both mainstream and alternative) will be covering the event – but also present will be activists and concerned citizens. Some activists are planning a ‘Fringe Festival’ to coincide with the conference proper.
The Bilderberg Fringe Festival is a platform for conscious citizens from all over the world to join together at the Grove Hotel, Watford and positively influence global powerbrokers to make the right decisions for our future….. and have a fantastic party.
If you are a musician, poet, artist, speaker, performer, workshop host or have a soundsystem, tent or anything else you would like to bring to the party, get in touch at bilderbergfringe [at] yahoo.co.uk. We would love marvellous art to be created around the perimeters of the Grove hotel to drench the area in joy and creativity!
We will be providing the infrastructure for any individual or group wanting to get involved, plus a media tent and press centre to facilitate much-needed coverage of the Bilderberg conference itself.
Together let us make this a historic occasion for freedom and democracy
What to expect?
‘Hug a Bilderberger’
Poetry and spoken word
Delicious local and ethically sourced food and drink, plus grilled Bilderburgers.
All ages welcome.
Near the Grove hotel, Watford.
Nearest tube and station:
Watford and Watford Junction.
Time of arrival
Those travelling to document the event should be at the Grove hotel from Thursday midday, when the delegates should start arriving in their limousines. Cars will still trickle in on the Friday. Most cars will leave on Sunday morning, with certain members of the steering committee holding a debriefing session and leaving mid Sunday afternoon.
There is growing evidence that this year’s Bilderberg conference will take place in the UK, at the luxury Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire, just north of Watford. This is still just speculation, but the signs are good…
Why do we think Bilderberg is taking place at the Grove?
The Grove Hotel, Herts
The whole hotel – including three restaurants, a luxury spa and walled garden – is completely booked out by a private group from the 5th to the 9th of June. This was first spotted by an Italian documentary maker who is an expert on Bilderberg.
The Grove – “a private family-owned luxury hotel” – is no stranger to international conferences: it has previously hosted the exclusive Google Zeitgeist conference (in 2009, 2010 and 2012). And Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt is no stranger to Bilderberg.
Hotel staff have said that the booking has been made by a ‘major’ and ‘high profile’ group. The whole hotel is ‘out of bounds’ and ‘in lockdown’ for the duration. One member of staff said: ‘We don’t know what it is, senior staff know what it is but they won’t tell us.’ They first heard about this unusual event in January.
Hotel spa members, who have paid a yearly membership of £2400, are banned from accessing the luxury spa facilities from 2pm on Weds 5th June to 12pm on Sunday 9th June. They will get 5 days added at the end of their membership.
We were told by the nearby Fullerians Rugby Club, that it has taken an unusual booking from Herts Constabulary, who have booked the entire grounds and facilities for ten days – spanning the weekend of the conference. The rugby club has no idea what the booking is actually for. Could this be the base of operations for security during the event?
The diary of regular conference participant Neelie Kroes indicates that she will be in the UK over this weekend, plus the diary of the future King of the Netherlands and his mother, Queen Beatrix, is free between the 6th and the 9th. (The outgoing Queen Beatrix has long been one of the most prominent attendees).
This information corroborates a recent leak from a good source that the conference will take place in a ‘London suburb’ from the 6th-9th June.
The group is due a visit to England (they were last in England 36 years ago in Torquay, and met in Scotland in 1998).
To be clear: we have no final confirmation that Bilderberg is going to be located at the Grove Hotel, but from what we know of Bilderberg’s MO this set-up fits the bill. There are few other groups with the power and resources to shut down a major hotel for five days like this in conditions of such secrecy. Please check back on this website for updates.
At this stage, it’s up to you to weigh up the evidence, and decide if you think this year’s Bilderberg conference is indeed coming to Watford.
Watford is served by two tubes and an overland station. There are plenty of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the town and camping may be available nearby (please check updates on this website for details). There would also be a functioning press room for bloggers, journalists and filmmakers.
If Bilderberg does take place in Watford, we would urge citizen journalists, concerned citizens and interested parties to come along and witness a major international summit taking place. Enjoy the spectacle, meet new friends, and secure your souvenir picture of a Bilderberg participant gliding into the Grove’s grounds in a tinted limo.
Conference participants generally arrive from Thursday afternoon through to Friday morning and leave on Sunday morning (or late on Saturday).
Security is always extremely tight – it’s a huge operation – the hotel and its grounds is cordoned off. No press statement is made.
The privacy means that Bilderberg delegates will be able to stroll in peace in the ornamental gardens of the hotel, enjoying the wonderful, life-affirming art on display…
Graceful sculpture in the gardens of the Grove Hotel
The hotel is near an idyllic canal, and glorious woods – and no other event or protest compares to Bilderberg for quality of roadside conversation. This year would also see the launch of the Bilderberg Fringe Festival.
Please check back on this website for scheduled events. If you have any queries (or can give us any confirmatory details) email us at
If Watford does play host to Bilderberg, any help with organising the festival or acts who wish to perform, would be wonderful. People with technical expertise, bloggers, artists, filmmakers, photographers and entertainers would all be needed at this event. Economists, lawyers, academics – even politicians – and any concerned citizens who believe in governmental transparency – should come too.
This is a powerful international summit, and it deserves the attention of the world’s media.