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By B. John Zavrel

Summit of great Europeans - Highest European Award: Karlspreis of Aachen


Clarence. During a summit of great European leaders in the city of Aachen (Germany) the director of the Museum of European Art in Clarence, B. John Zavrel met Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Zavrel was invited to this event because of his long transatlantic engagement for art and culture.

Queen Beatrix (58) received the "Karlspreis" award (Charlemagne Award) for her work toward European unity and the European Union. To the previous recipients of the award also belonged Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany after 1945 and a great friend and supporter of Israel and the United States. The ceremony took place in the historical Coronation Hall of the city hall of Aachen, where the Emperor Charlemagne had used to hold his court.

German President Roman Herzog pointed out the determined and untiring support of the monarch for European unification. All citizens of the European Union are encouraged to enlarge this "island of stability" and to make it stronger. Zavrel talked to the Queen about the good European-American relations and the need to enlarge the European Union to include the young democracies of Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary. He also discussed with the Czech President Vaclav Havel his plans to arrange an art exhibition of European artists in the United States. Zavrel is Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Buffalo and Western New York.

The ceremony in the city hall was also attended by the President of the German Parliament Rita Süssmuth and the previous recipients of the award, among them the Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and the Czech President Vaclav Havel. Herzog said: "The prosperity and the social stability in which our societies live would not have been possible without this unique period of peace in the European history". What is now most important is the peaceful coexistence of the people.

"For us is has become a matter of course that the epoch of victors and losers must be finally over. Not only on the battlefield, but also at the negotiating table," explained the President. The European unification process requires quite different qualities, above all reconciliation and foresight. The award to the 58-year old Queen belongs also to the people of the Netherlands. "The quality which has elevated the people of the Netherlands in their eventful history to great heigths is their love of freedom", praised Herzog. "The Netherlands have been and are a land of freedom".

The Karlspreis has been awarded annually since 1950 for merits toward European unification. It consists of a bronze medal and a monetary award. To the 38 award recipients belong German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the French President Francois Mitterrand and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.


May, 1996


Copyright 1999 Museum of European Art


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