The Bilderberg Meeting — named after the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, in the Netherlands, where its first meeting was held in May 1954 — was initiated during the Cold War by former Polish diplomat Joseph Retinger and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The aim was strengthening ties between Western Europe and North America.
The Bilderbger Group meets on an annual basis, extending invitations to around 130 influential figures from international politics, business, media and academia. Discussions are informal and held under Chatham House Rule, leaving participates free to use information they receive as long as they do not reveal the identity or affiliation of the speaker(s) or any other participant. According to the Bilderberg Group's website "There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued."
Since its inception the Bilderberg Group has attracted fierce criticism and intense scrutiny, frequently in the form of accusations of forming a ‘shadow world government’. For conspiracy theorists, this annual meeting is nothing less than a place where the "globalist" elite would approve future presidents and heads of government, or decide on the next war, the next economic crisis or migration. Some do not hesitate to speak of Bilderberg as the instrument of a "great oligarchic conspiracy",while others see it as a body co-piloted by the CIA and the British secret services, or even as the instrument of a vast Zionist plot.
One of the most frequently cited conspiracy writers on the subject is Daniel Estullin. Figures like Fidel Castro have propagated, either entirely or in part, these conspiratorial fantasies emerging from the American far-right.
A press release listing the participants and the topics discussed is published each year by the group.
The most recent Bilderberg meeting was held in 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.
(Last updated on 12/06/2023)