2009 Joint Meeting in Davos


By Sonja Negovetic and Niels Kuster

It seems redundant to introduce Davos, the remote Swiss mountain resort whose name itself has become a synonym of the WEF – the World Economic Forum, where 2500 business elite and global leaders gather together each year to address the challenges of this world. The more literate among us may even associate it with “The Magic Mountain,” Thomas Mann’s world-renowned narrative about a young, tubercular German seeking a cure in the rarefied mountain air high up in the Swiss Alps. Yet general knowledge mostly stops there, and with the BEMS/EBEA joint meeting 2009 traveling to Davos, we want to cast a short, but closer look:

Davos is 5100 feet or 1560 m above sea level and located in the heart of the Alps in an idyllic, alpine valley in the southeastern, German speaking part of Switzerland, the canton of Grisons. Zurich is the closest airport and a 2½ hour train trip away. While being Europe’s highest town, Davos is surrounded by an unspoiled landscape that abounds with natural splendor. With its microclimate and fresh air, it was indeed a popular destination for the rich and ailing lung disease patients, and has since turned into a Mecca for winter sports. Many international championships in speed skating were held in Davos, whose fame peaked as a high-profile ski resort in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Davos has established itself as a leading tourist resort, a sports center and paradise for skiers and snowboarders, but also as the location of the largest and most modern congress center in the Alps with an infrastructure that covers everything.

The quieter summer months invite its guests to 700 km of slopes for hiking, climbing and mountaineering, to golfing, riding, paragliding and mountain biking, as well as surfing and sailing on Davos lake. Those less inclined to recreational activity will find relaxation in the still pure and fresh air, the breathtaking mountain scenery, a botanic garden, a few museums and galleries, ample shopping opportunities, a wellness spa, and a cinema.

Although Davos has a reputation for being very expensive and exclusive (and it is in winter), that is not the case in summer, so that guests will find a convenient range of good and reasonably priced restaurants and lodging opportunities. To the interested scientist, Davos also harbors some internationally renowned institutions, such as the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research or the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research.

The congress center with its up-to-date infrastructure that was built for the WEF will be available for BEMS/EBEA joint meeting in June 2009, and the hotel rooms that are usually occupied by the Clinton’s, Mandela’s, Stone’s, and Gate’s, etc., will be offered at very favorable prices to our members. The 2009 meeting will follow the tradition of outstanding scientific meetings held at other locations around the world. Local organizers, and BEMS president Niels Kuster, are eager to welcome you to Davos.