On Friday evening, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Luxembourg held its traditional Thanksgiving Gala Dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange.
Around 200 members and guests attended this long-awaited event, which the organisers put together in the space of just three weeks as opposed to the usual nine months. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul Schonenberg, Chairman and CEO of AMCHAM, explained in his welcome address how he had been reluctant to hold Thanksgiving this year due to rising COVID-19 cases and fears that the event would be a “superspreader”. After strong encouragement from some long-standing members, who promised to sponsor the event and assured it would attract a large turnout, AMCHAM’s team set to work putting together this festive CovidCheck event, which sold out within a week of being announced.
Mr Schonenberg proceeded with the acknowledgements, thanking the event sponsors and corporate tables, as well as special guests such as Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, Acting US Ambassador Casey Mace and his wife, the British and Czech Ambassadors, Fleur Thomas and Vladimír Bärtl, the First Counsellor at Belgium's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Emmanuelle de Foy, and the Director General of the CSSF (Luxembourg's financial regulator), Claude Marx, for their attendance.
Paul Schonenberg also used this occasion to launch "Why Luxembourg", a new magazine developed by AMCHAM and Luxembourg Times.
Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna next took the stage. He quipped: "AMCHAM is lucky in many ways - it combines two of the most magnificent countries [...]: the largest country with the richest country in the world". On a more serious note, the minister emphasised that the best way to relaunch the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is to get vaccinated. He noted that Luxembourg has so far weathered the crisis well, with its GDP having decreased by just 1.8% last year and having returned to pre-crisis levels at the start of this year. Minister Gramegna emphasised the "key role" played by investment from US companies in supporting Luxembourg's economy. He went on to stress the importance of sustainable finance and of working together with the US in this field, among others.
Next on the agenda was the presentation of the Thanksgiving turkey, followed by a speech by Acting US Ambassador Casey Mace, who listed some of the many things for which the US Embassy in Luxembourg is grateful. These included AMCHAM itself, for its role in maintaining and strengthening the US-Luxembourg relationship, bilateral economic relations, collaboration between the two countries in the space sector, and the recent re-opening of the US' borders to travellers from Luxembourg and vice versa. Like Minister Gramegna, the Acting US Ambassador stressed the importance of getting vaccinated in order to best maintain economic activity.
After dinner (a three-course meal consisting of pumpkin soup, turkey and cranberries, and apple pie with ice cream), it was time for the presentation of the Tombola prizes. This year's prizes had a Luxembourg focus and included whiskey glasses and gin bottles, porcelain sets, dinner at House 17's private club, massages, hotel stays and return flights with Luxair (Luxembourg to Oslo / Bologna).
This festive black-tie event continued into the early hours with music, dancing and networking.