“100 years of Craemer – we have every reason to be joyfull”, said Dr. Achim Brandenburg, chairman of the group, in his opening speech. The celebration fittingly began with the Craemer choir singing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", under the direction of Norbert Henzel. A short film gave a historical and current overview of the Craemer Group that achieved a total operating performance of 172 million Euros in 2011, with around 630 employees at four European sites in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Slovakia.
"We feel proud of this century of success for our company and are, above all, grateful for all the internal and external support", said Mr. Brandenburg, who has been heading the company since 1987 in the fourth generation. He addressed a personal word of thanks to "all those who have contributed to this rare company anniversary". As representatives for all the customers present, he thanked the delegates of Miele (Guetersloh), Toennies (Rheda-Wiedenbrueck), Remondis (Luenen) and those of renowned companies in the automotive industry as well as the foreign sales partners who were in attendance from Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Cyprus. He addressed material and machine suppliers, craftsmen and building contractors as well as bank, insurance and consulting partnership representatives, competitors and delegates from politics, the church and the field of social life in the municipality of Herzebrock-Clarholz and the East-Westphalia region, including fellow local entrepreneurs. He also welcomed Hereditary Prince Maximilian of Bentheim-Tecklenburg as representative of the neighbours.
Mr. Brandenburg’s closing words were addressed to the Craemer team and his family. In this respect, he commemorated the two men who had headed the company for decades: his great-grandfather, company founder Paul Craemer, and his father Hans-Joachim Brandenburg. "Both of them have laid the foundations for our corporate culture and have thus built our future." At the same time, he emphasised: "Craemer is well-prepared in its 100th year of business. The fifth generation of the family is ready to take on responsibility and to shape the future, together with experienced managers and executives as well as a great team."
In the course of the event, words of greeting were conveyed by the Mayor of Herzebrock-Clarholz, Mr. Jürgen Lohman; the president of the Bielefeld Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Ortwin Goldbeck; the Deputy Chairman of the Guetersloh trade association board, Mr. Fritz Husemann, and on behalf of the customers by the Chief Executive of the Tönnies Group, Mr. Clemens Tönnies. The authoress Dr. Anne Kitsch (Bielefeld) read an extract from the anniversary book entitled "Den Grund für etwas Zukünftiges legen – 100 Jahre Craemer" ("Laying the foundation for the future - Craemer's 100th anniversary"). The literary scholar accompanied the company over a period of four years and recorded her impressions and insights in writing.
The official ceremony was topped off with music by a surprise guest, who has already performed on stage with the Craemer choir thrice in Herzebrock since 2000: the tenor Volker Bengl. The internationally celebrated singer from Southern Germany delighted the audience with his solo performance and songs such as "Heut ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben" ("Today is the best day of my life", Hans May) and "Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert" ("My friends, life is worth living", Franz Léhar). He was accompanied by Martin Neumann on the grand piano. The show was concluded with a dazzling joint performance of the Chianti song (Gerhard Winkler), together with Craemer's singers. After the official part of the celebration, the event was wrapped up with a buffet and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
Whilst the official reception has come to an end, the anniversary celebrations, however, are set to continue. All members of the German staff and company retirees as well as delegates from the foreign subsidiaries are invited to a grand company do in September. As a token of Craemer's gratitude, they will also receive not only a personal copy of the anniversary book, but a loyalty bonus graded according to the individual length of employment – overall, a total sum of almost 433,000 Euros will be paid out.