On Thursday 27 July, we escape Berlin for the day by jumping on Germany's legendary high-speed Inter-City-Express (ICE) train for Wolfsburg, the home of Volkswagen AG, just an hour away. Once off the train at Wolfsburg, we'll walk a few meters across the Midland Canal on the connecting bridge from the station to the Autostadt (literally "Car City"), where we'll first get the lay of the land on an introductory tour of this unique "experience park", which is located adjacent to the original iconic Volkswagen factory.
After our 10am tour of the Autostadt, you'll be free to explore the park at your own pace, and enjoy Cirque Nouveau, the Autostadt Summer Festival. Experience roving street circus performances throughout the day, as well as two different shows by Colombia's National Circus School (Circolombia) on the Harbour Stage. If that's not enough, you can also take in performances by the Australian acrobatics ensemble Gravity & Other Myths on the Garden Stage. And take a moment to have a bounce on the giant Airtramp, balance on a slackline, or impersonate Spiderman on a climbing net as you stroll through the park!
Bring your bathing suit, and pull up a deck-chair on the specially created Cool Summer Island while enjoying a cocktail. Take a solar, pedal or lounge boat out for a whirl around the harbour if you are feeling energetic.
Car enthusiasts will love the Autostadt's Zeithaus museum, with its fantastic collection of (not just VW) cars old and new. In addition, visit the many Autostadt pavilions, each of which showcases a brand in the Volkswagen Group and is a modern architectural delight in itself.
We have pre-booked places so that those not afraid of heights can go up in one of the two fully-automated 48m high Car Towers, in which new VW cars are temporarily stored before being delivered at the adjacent Customer Center to their happy new owners who have travelled especially to Wolfsburg.
A maritime panorama tour is also included in our programme. This is a one-hour boat trip through the canal area which will give you a different perspective on the VW factory, the Autostadt and the surrounding Wolfsburg area.
A highlight of our day in Wolfsburg will be our pre-booked tour of the VW factory complex next door to the Autostadt, which we'll travel to by boat. There you'll see Golfs, Tiguans and Tourans being created from scratch, destined for shipment to the four corners of the globe. In 2016, some 809,000 vehicles rolled off this production line. Founded in 1938, this is the largest manufacturing plant in the world in terms of square footage and it employs over 60,000 people. Part of the site has been classified as Industrial Heritage and is thereby protected.
Participants will be able to enjoy lunch of their choice at one of the many restaurants and eateries in the Autostadt park (not included).
Your open-return train ticket included in your conference registration means that you can return to Berlin when it suits you at the end of the day. There are frequent train connections.