Stars Symposium – inspired by the spirit of Schaffhausen

Welcome speech vom 14.09.2019 im Vienna House in Schaffhausen

Dear Toni Schönenberger
Dear participants of this year’s stars Switzerland symposium 2019

On behalf of the City of Schaffhausen and the Municipal Government, I would like to welcome you to this year’s stars Switzerland symposium 2019.
In recent years, stars has taken place exclusively in Stein am Rhein, so we are delighted that the City of Schaffhausen can now play its part as co-host of this exciting event.
Year in, year out, stars is a meeting place for leading experts in their fields and leaders of the future. „Expect the unexpected“ is the theme of this year’s gathering – and there is a lot of the unexpected to be discovered in the city of Schaffhausen.
For instance, would you ever have thought that the ground on which Vienna House of Switzerland stands was nothing more than a large parking lot and a stop for regional buses only a few years ago?
That was until the potential of a large site right next to the railway station was recognised and it was transformed into a new, modern quarter of the city. Here you will find not just Schaffhausen’s largest hotel, but also a variety of international businesses.
And perhaps that is also unexpected – the fact that a small city such as Schaffhausen ranks as one of the most important locations in Europe for international companies.

Just across the road, for example, you’ll find the head office of Garmin, the navigation systems specialist and a global brand.
In the building next door, you will find the European head office functions of US construction machinery manufacturer Terex, as well as US company Xylem, which specialises in water treatment plant and equipment.
And a few metres further along, you will come to Unilever’s Supply Chain Headquarters – to name only a few of the many international businesses located here.

Perhaps a little less unexpected is that the global luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen is based here in the city and some of you may have walked past its main building during your tour of the city.

A well-known musician from Schaffhausen once sang a song about Schaffhausen being just a little town whose name never appears on a globe.
That may well be the case if you take it literally, but in spite of our modest size, we have made our name as one of the preferred locations for international businesses and a place with a vibrant, modern industrial base.

I hope you will have the opportunity to get to know our city better during the next few days. Some of you had the possibility to do a guided city-tour this afternoon with our former town clerk und with my wife.
These one knows that Schaffhausen is one of the best-preserved medieval cities you can visit in Europe and you will also know, that there are 171 oriel windows – these bay windows which adorn the facades of houses – as well as the many houses with frescos and a number of enchanting lanes and alleys. Next year we will celebrate the 975 anniversary of our city.

The locals in Schaffhausen know they are not the centre of the world. But they do value the exceptional quality of life here, the unspoilt nature which surrounds us, and of course the River Rhine, which is perfect for swimming and relaxing during the summer. We have a lot of high level culturel events as well as sport events. You have to know that Kadetten Schaffhausen is Nr. 1 in Handball in Switzerland and plays actually in the European Champions League.

Of course, I am not just saying that as advertising on behalf of our local tourist office, but also because Schaffhausen has become a „preferred location for international companies“, and not without reason.
The city of Schaffhausen and our Canton are a gateway to the German and European markets – and we develop ideas for these and for global markets here.

For example, the international software developer Acronis is currently building a university-level college in Schaffhausen – the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology –in order to be able to develop the best minds in Artificial Intelligence, in crypto-architectures, new materials, quantum technologies, software engineering and digital health in Schaffhausen in the foreseeable future and to research future innovations with them.

So, Schaffhausen is not just worth a visit so that you can go to the Rhine Falls, or to the old town, or take in the beauty of Stein am Rhein – it’s also a place where the future is being shaped.

I would like to wish you an exciting and stimulating time in the Schaffhausen area as a part of this year’s stars Switzerland symposium 2019 and I hope you will be inspired by the spirit of Schaffhausen.