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Even 50 years after it was signed, the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship is still keeping the two countries in motion. To celebrate the Élysée-Treaty 50 German and French cyclists will pedal their way from Paris to Berlin. Also taking part will be Hager Group, whose history is intertwined with that of the two countries in a special way.
A historic staging point
The starting point on 29th June for the Paris-Berlin Tour will be Paris. The German embassy marks the first 147-kilometres for the 50 participating cyclists. After cycling through Verdun, Mersch and Metz, they will head for Saarbrücken, where they will be received by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on 3rd July. The Saarland state premier, is one of the patrons of the binational tour in her function as plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany for cultural affairs within the scope of the Franco-German friendship treaty, together with Valérie Fourneyron, the French minister of sport, youth welfare, cultural affairs, informal education, clubs and societies.
From 1st July onwards, the tour will be accompanied by the traditional Fair Play Tour involving more than 300 participants over five day-long stages. The Fair Play Tour, which has been held for 14 years, is an event in which young people of various nationalities and age groups cycle together through the greater region of Saarland-Lorraine-Luxemburg. Then the tour will continue to Berlin via Traben-Trarbach, Wiesbaden, Fulda, Erfurt, Leipzig, Wittenberg and Brandenburg an der Havel, with the cyclists finally arriving in the capital on 12th July.
1,400 friendly kilometres from Paris to Berlin
1,400 kilometres lie between the two capital cities, so there will be plenty of opportunities to make and intensify friendships, to find out more about the neighbouring country and tell people about one’s own country, to develop team spirit and to master even difficult tour stages with confidence and stamina.
These are precisely the values which also move Hager Group and have led it to support the tour in a variety of ways. In François Peten and Sven Martin, moreover, Hager Group has two employees with a direct involvement in the Franco-German cycling team. While François Peten works as an engineer at the French site in Crolles, Sven Martin is currently participating in the Hager Group’s new trainee programme in Germany. What these two and the other cyclists experience on the tour can be followed on a constantly updated basis on the Internet (see below for link).
The company’s history would have developed along very different lines without the special bond between the French and the Germans. It probably wouldn’t have been such a success. So what could be a more fitting way of celebrating this friendship than to have Hager Group help fill it with life?
A story of Franco-German friendship
When Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle sealed the Franco-German cooperation pact in the Élysée Palace in 1963, two young entrepreneurs were already living out this friendship some 500 kilometres further to the east. The small electrical engineering company that Oswald and Hermann Hager founded with their father in 1955 had roots in both countries from the outset. Now this family-run company, which in the meantime has grown so big that it has a workforce of 11,400, is one of the most important European companies to have become large and successful along with the Franco-German friendship. So it almost goes without saying that Hager Group will accompany the historic cycling tour from Paris to Berlin as a partner.
“The fact that we, as Saarlanders, weren’t totally German and not really French either helped us a great deal from the start,” says Hermann Hager. When the three Hager family members founded their company in Ensheim in Saarland, this region still belonged to France from an economic point of view. Four years later, however, the state was annexed to the Federal Republic of Germany, also in economic terms, following a referendum. In other words, the Hager family transcended boundaries from the start and thereby helped to strengthen the existing bonds between French and German citizens.
France, Germany and beyond
The Hager family had established a branch in France shortly before the borders with Germany were closed. Starting from Obernai in Alsace, the newcomers searched for niches in the established suppliers’ product ranges. “That made us a kind of halfway house between Germany and France and that role suited us just fine, as we were familiar with both sides and were able to conduct ourselves accordingly,” explains Oswald Hager.
As cosmopolitan, inquisitive dialogue partners, the young entrepreneurs were welcome everywhere in the two neighbouring countries. At an early stage they began to invite customers to their Franco-German home region, where they familiarised specialist tradesmen and craftsmen with both the Hager quality standards and the French way of life. As they were running a medium-sized family-owned business, the Hager family naturally shared the thought processes and working methods of their customers. They knew many of the everyday problems faced by small and medium-sized trades businesses from their own experience – and were able to help solve them.
Today Saarland, tomorrow the world
Today, Hager Group is still an independent, owner-run, family-owned company. Its legal form, that of a European Public Company (Societas Europaea, SE) underlines the group’s cultural diversity as well as its Franco-German roots. Hager Group’s traditional innovative power and open-mindedness help it to develop technologies of the future that the company, now as before, works in conjunction with partners – in France, Germany and many other countries across the globe.
See the latest photos, reports and impressions every day from 27th June at:
and on social media:
Find information about the Fair Play Tour at
About Hager Group
Hager Group is a leading supplier of solutions and services for electrical installations in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Our range of solutions and services extends from energy distribution to cable management and from security systems to building automation.
As an independent family-owned and run company based in Blieskastel, Germany, Hager Group is one of the industry's innovation leaders. 11,400 employees generate a turnover of 1.6 billion euros (2012). Our components and applications are produced in 22 locations around the globe and customers in more than 80 countries all over the world trust in them.