Let’s celebrate! – 1,400 people take part in anniversary festivities at the Berndorf works

Berndorf AG’s event to mark its 175th anniversary and 30 years as a private company brought together Berndorf staff from around the globe for celebrations in a big top tent.

Berndorf had never seen a party like this before. 14 and 15 September 2018 – almost exactly 175 years to the day since Alexander Schoeller and Alfred Krupp laid the foundation stone for their new works in Berndorf – will not be forgotten in a hurry by the people who live and work in Berndorf. Everyone who was able to make it to the two-day staff party played their part in creating a piece of Berndorf history, for which preparations began almost ten months in advance.

The highlights from the anniversary celebrations that scaled new heights for Berndorf AG:

  •  A carnival atmosphere at the hotly contested Berndorf anniversary football tournament on Friday, with teams representing Group companies from all over the world.
  • Visitors were impressed on a special tour of Berndorf, taking in architectural, social and educational highlights that have resulted from the historic partnership between the town and its manufacturing works over the decades.
  • High spirits at the anniversary gala on Saturday – a fitting end to the programme on account of its breathtaking technical aspects and aesthetic design.

Generations of Berndorf employees from all over the world gathered as one under the roof of the 30-metre-high tent, which had caused excitement in the town of Berndorf during the weeks leading up to the event.

Everyone joined in

All of the 1,400 guests made their own contribution to the celebrations – although the weather did not altogether play along on the Friday. Shortly after the opening of the Copa Berndorf AG football tournament by Management Board members Peter Pichler, Franz Viehböck and Dietmar Müller at the town football ground, the heavens opened. The rustle of raincoats could be heard for a short time on the guided tours of Berndorf. But no one let the rain spoil their enjoyment of the Margarethenkirche church, the theatre, the Kruppstadtmuseum and Berndorf’s fascinating schools with their classrooms featuring fixtures and fittings dating from a range of periods. With the help of the dedicated experts from the museum, the Berndorf organising committee made sure that all the tours could take place despite the weather conditions.

At the football, the persistent rain appeared to raise the excitement levels thanks to the “British conditions”. After all, a soft surface is perfect for players who are running, tackling, and slipping and sliding in their attempts to get the ball in the back of the net. 12 six-a-side teams lined up for the tournament, which was played on a half pitch. The top teams to emerge from the two groups progressed to a knock-out match. In a purely German affair, HASCO beat Hueck 3-2 on penalties in the third-place playoff.

Mexican wave breaks out in the crowd

In the grand final between Austria’s Berndorf Band and Joh. Pengg, the guests from Thörl in Styria came through 1-0 winners against the home side. The crowd went wild. Equipped with Berndorf hand clappers, the high-spirited fans started a Mexican wave which rippled through the stands. Many of them had lost their voices by the time the medals were handed out at a ceremony in the evening. The triumphant Styrians were still in their lederhosen, which they also proudly wore to the gala in the anniversary tent the next day.

Speaking of the anniversary tent: the construction of poles, nails, ropes, tarpaulins and heavy duty floor panels was the talk of the town for three whole weeks in Berndorf. It certainly caught the eye of drivers on the main road that passes by the Berndorf industrial park. The technical specifications of the marquee – the largest circus tent in Europe – were truly impressive:

  • 30-metre-high king poles flying four Berndorf 175-year anniversary flags.
  • 60x60 metres of floor space in the main tent, as well as an additional 6,000 square metres in the five smaller tents and connecting walkways.
  • Two-week construction time, and a four-day break-down time.

Tremendous display of Berndorf spirit

The project to build this “small-scale wonder of the world” was overseen by Martin Zehetner from nearby Hainfeld, who directed a crew of 70 people, made up of Berndorf staff and international experts in the world of marquee construction. “This job was definitely something very different – unique in the best sense of the word,” was how Zehetner summed up the task on behalf of his team. Even a record downpour during the first week of construction could not hinder the team, despite a huge pool of rainwater collecting in the tent interior and an articulated truck getting stuck in the mud. Thanks to the Berndorf works fire service, who are trained to deal with flood situations, the water was all pumped away in good time.

The magical tent, illuminated in lilac and magenta, provided a stylish backdrop for the main anniversary celebrations on 15 September. A superbly organised catering team made sure that the 1,400 guests enjoyed excellent food and drink. The gala audience took part in a journey through numerous interpretations of the Berndorf spirit, which is today part of day-to-day life at over 60 Group companies employing more than 3,000 people all over the world. Presentations incorporating video, music and action from teams representing different Berndorf companies afforded insights into what Berndorf’s contemporary corporate culture means to them. The choir from Plasmo, one of the latest additions to the Berndorf Group, got the whole tent dancing with their rousing rendition of “Auf uns” by Andreas Bourani, which they had been practising for months – a literal expression of the anniversary motto, “Let’s celebrate!”

Long-lasting memories
Everyone who took part in the packed programme of celebrations went home with memories they will never forget. The anniversary will soon take its rightful place alongside other milestones in the rich 175-year history of the Berndorf works, which are to be chronicled in a new Menschen am Werk book for all Berndorf employees. Take a look at the photos from the two days of anniversary celebrations here. – or go on a journey through the history of the Berndorf works at There is also still time to catch the temporary exhibition on 175 years of industrial history in Berndorf at the Kruppstadtmuseum, which runs until 26 October:

Picture gallery

Offical press release