The Grandhouse International Club was founded by Dr. Albert Royaards in 2011 with the aim of establishing a place where members, irrespective of race, nationality, political affiliation, religion and sex, could regularly meet and discuss any subject.
Monthly lunches are the main events where members and their guests meet. A guest-speaker gives a presentation when dessert and coffee arrive. These guest speakers and their topics reflect the great diversity of the members; subjects can be political, business, diplomatic, historic, futuristic, cultural, etc. In addition, many other events take place during the year including an annual gala, cocktail/dinner invitations by ambassadors exclusively for the members and their guests, special cultural events and others. Also, sports play an important role; every two years (except in this corona year) tournaments are organized for tennis, table tennis, squash, billiard and chess.
What makes the Club rather unique in Hungary? The fact that members with such different background and interests are getting together and argue calmly and peacefully is rather amazing in this highly polarized country. Politicans, diplomats, businessmen, academicians, historians discuss with reason and sometimes passionately, but always willing and able to listen to the arguments from others. There are never any quarrels or unpleasant disagreements at the club meetings and the question often raised is: why, how come? The answer probably is twofold:
- The language spoken at club meetings is English. That already may have a softening impact on persons with a passionate disposition, because for most members and guests this language is not their mother tongue.
- The approximately 100 members come from more then ten countries, with Hungarians comprising about 50% of the membership. With so many nationalities, and therefore so many different backgrounds, education and views, a relaxed ambiance always prevails.
The Grandhouse International Club is an example for what we wish Hungary to be: expressing views without fear and discussing important matters for the greater good.
By Dr Albert Royaards
Founder of Smiling Hospital Foundation
and Grandhouse International Club