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German speaking heads of state meet in Linz

The German-speaking heads of state have held their annual meeting, this time in Linz, Austria. His Excellency Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of The Republic of Austria, was the host. 

These heads of state include Belgium’s King Philippe, Liechtenstein’s Hereditary Prince Alois, and Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri. The royals met with the presidents of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland on Monday – Alexander Van der Bellen, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Ueli Maurer, respectively. 

© Grand Ducal Court / Sophie Margue

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein joined their husbands, but Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg was unable to attend.

© Grand Ducal Court / Sophie Margue

The group met for the 16th edition of the informal meeting at the Ars Electronica Center. There, they were able to watch presentations of various art, science, and economic projects. Their day also included a tour of the “Kompass – navigating the Future” exhibit with the Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg described as showcasing “the changes in our everyday life brought by artificial intelligence.”

In the evening, the President of Austria hosted his fellow German-speaking heads of state for dinner.

Tuesday saw the royals and presidents travel by tram to the Lentos Art Museum to discuss ‘democracy and the digital society.’ Mr Gerfried Stocker, Director General of the Ars Electronica Center and Dr Sarah Spiekermann-Hoff, Head of Institute of Information Systems and Society of the University of Economics and Vienna trade opened the conference. The participation of new citizens in society was a focal point, as were threats to democratic cohesion. 

© Grand Ducal Court / Sophie Margue

Of course, with recent elections across Europe, the results of the elections for each country were a topic of conversation.

These annual meetings have taken place since 2004 with Switzerland hosting the previous year. Next year’s conference will take place in Germany. Luxembourg hosted in 2017, and Belgium hosted in 2016.

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