Airmen, Soldiers given info on Germany at Haus Rissen seminar

Staff Sgt. Brian Hill
Kaiserslautern American

Twenty-seven Airmen, Soldiers and German Bundeswehr from all over Germany recently attended a seminar in Hamburg centering on Germany’s economical, political and social issues.

According to Dr. Eckard Bolsinger, Haus Rissen Hamburg deputy director, the non-profit International Institute at Haus Rissen sponsors 60 to 70 week-long sessions each year. They are organized to give military NCOs and officers in Germany a better understanding of the strategic role Germany and Europe play in the world’s balance of power.

The seminar brings together a variety of military experience and background. Sergeant Andy Woods, HQ U.S. Army Europe network administrator in Heidelberg, has lived in Germany two years. He attended the most recent session, and has only good things to say about the institute.

“The seminar was an absolutely great opportunity for U.S. Soldiers to learn an extensive amount of German political and economical concerns,” he said.

Given the short time period and broad spectrum, much of the information presented is general knowledge. However, the points made by lecturers and attendees make for lively, thought provoking dialogue, Sergeant Woods added.

Discussion topics include the historical background to contemporary Germany, aspects of the German political system, the fading miracle of the social market economy, German foreign and security policy, the European Union, German-American relations today, and the German educational system.

The attendees are housed at the institute, located about 20 minutes from downtown Hamburg, and scheduled into the seminar is a harbor and city sightseeing tour.

“The institute program, staff and accommodations to include the food service were excellent,” said Master Sgt. Dennis Parise, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. “Furthermore, our tour of Hamburg was amazing.  Everyone I encountered associated with Haus Rissen was very professional. 

Additionally, this was a great opportunity for all of us professionally and as American citizens.  Any chance we get to be immersed in another culture and especially a close ally and world economic power like Germany is money very well spent and sparks interest that can spread like wild fire.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Haus Rissen can check out the Web site, or e-mail to