The first meeting of German CCS members was held on Saturday 24 March 2007 at a hotel in Düsseldorf.
After visiting "Cook Country" in the UK two years ago for the first time I thought it was a pity that I would always have to travel so far to meet and speak with people interested in Cook. "Speak" being quite an exaggeration as, at that time, I was not able to understand the Yorkshire dialect.
My desire grew to exchange with "Cookians" that lived within reach of me and spoke my language. With Alwyn Peel's help I collected the names and e-mail addresses of German members of the CCS and found out that "within reach" would have to be a pipe dream as I lived 300 km from the closest member and 450 - 700 km from many others. A train ride from Esslingen to Düsseldorf can indeed be more expensive than a flight from Germany to the UK!
All the members I contacted gladly accepted my idea of creating a forum among the German members of the CCS for talking on Cook related matters. Many of us know what it feels like to be smiled at for our strange hobby / passion.
For over a year we corresponded by e-mail.1 Finally, after some of us met at the CCS meeting in Marton last year, we decided that the time had come for a meeting of our own. Unfortunately and understandably it was impossible to find a date suitable for everyone wishing to participate.
Moderate breezes and clouds, some rain. The centre of Düsseldorf. Latitude 51° 13' 38" N. Longitude 6° 46' 20" East.
Five CCS members and one husband met at 11am at the "Schwan" café. A Union Jack Flag covered our table so no one would miss us. Another member was expected but illness meant he had to cancel, which also meant one of the planned lectures had to be cancelled.
After everyone had arrived we took some time to get better acquainted. I had drawn up an agenda for our meeting.2 In a short and unanimous vote little me was chosen as spokeswoman of our group putting me into the position of having the honour to write this article.
When the informal part of the meeting was over we walked to the breakfast and meeting room of a nearby hotel (51° 13' 16"N, 6° 47' 8" E), where we set up a laptop and projector for the presentations. Irmtraut Koop talked about scurvy and Heiko Schnickmann on the reception of Cook in the 18th century. These really well prepared PowerPoint presentations were followed by a discussion about heroism in Germany, with the conclusion that our country had no naval heroes like Cook, for pretty obvious reasons. Nevertheless people like Humboldt may as well be called "heroes" and their achievements deserve our respect and admiration. Those who are able to read German may like to read a full account of our meeting by Heiko.3
With 14 members, Germany has more CCS members than any other country on mainland Europe. We all agreed that we would like to invite our CCS friends from neighbouring countries and be pleased if they would like to join us at our next meeting.4 Of course we would switch from talking in German to English. If you are interested please feel free to join our Yahoo group and add insights and news about Cook and Cook-related subjects.
Our little branch was formed with Cliff Thornton's approval and we do not want to separate in any way from the Captain Cook Society to make up something new. Most our members live in the Düsseldorf area so it seems sensible to offer members who have no way of travelling to the established meetings in the UK and Australia something extra, though all members are welcome. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 24, volume 30, number 3 (2007).
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