It was in 1996 in Kuala Lumpur when the German Ambassador Harald Nestroy inspired me to visit this fascinating country on the Himalayas. As Chairman of the Board of HÜLS AG, I was in Malaysia with a delegation to explore production possibilities for silicon wafers. We were invited to the embassy and at dinner I told him about my love of Buddhism and that I have been practising ZEN meditation for years. Harald Nestroy spontaneously said: "You really must fly to Bhutan. That is Buddhism "pure". And the wonderful people there desperately need our help."
With enthusiasm, compassion for the people there and great warmth, he reported on his founding of ProBhutan e.V.1993 and on his plans.
"Pro Bhutan e.V." is a German philanthropic association with only 9 Bhutan-enthusiastic members, recognized by the tax office Lörrach under No. 11007/14978, SG 02/02. Since 1993 they have been helping the lovely people of Bhutan. One of the main focuses: they plan and construct turnkey buildings for the health system there, which they finance with the help of their donors and partners.
The spark of enthusiasm jumped over and we agreed that we would fly to Bhutan together one day. He told me about the first project, the construction of a hospital in Punakha, a hospital in which half the patients would be treated according to Western and half according to Tibetan medicine. Spontaneously, I agreed to give my support. From that time on, I accompanied the health projects with advice and action.
The first visit to Bhutan:
In 1999, the time had finally come, my first visit to Bhutan as guest at marriage of Ambassador Harald N. Nestroy and Angelika Nestroy at Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup residence. We visited the projects and had many discussions, during which Harald Nestroy introduced me as a major donor to important partners.
The second visit to Bhutan:
a) On the second visit in 2013, the highlight of the trip was then the audience granted by The Honourable Lyonchen Tobgay Tshering, together with Harald Nestroy. He introduced me to the Hon. PM as candidate for the appointment of a second Bhutanese Honorary Consul in Germany, for the Northern part of Germany, as envisaged by the Hon. Bhutanese Embassy in Brussels.
b) I presented with pleasure a lecture at the Center for Bhutan Studies: Title: “Golden Wind Management meets Gross National Happiness in Bhutan”
c) Another highlight was the participation at the inauguration of the third ProBhutan project for the deaf/hearing-impaired children in Wangsel Institute, graced by Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck, the construction of the 3. School building and the 2. Hostel for 48 boys.
The years after:
In the years that followed, I visited the Bhutanese Embassy in Brussels several times to exchange ideas and we talked about projects we could help with.
German Sustainability Award for Bhutan:
In 2016, Hon. Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, was awarded to receive the Honorary Award of the German Sustainability Award for his exemplary sustainability policy and on behalf of the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is setting an example in its orientation towards ecological, social and political sustainability.
I supported this award within the scope of my possibilities. At the award ceremony in Düsseldorf, I met PM Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and his delegation and congratulated him wholeheartedly with great pleasure.
In his acceptance speech, he spoke about the concept of sustainability in Bhutan:
Support until today:
Now I look back on 25 years of support to ProBhutan e.V., and I am happy about the numerous projects realized. I will continue to support the new projects such as the construction of 5th school building (the 9th building in total) at Wangsel Institute.
The impressive list of all projects can be found under the content “Humanitarian projects”
As a speaker and author, the Kingdom of Bhutan always occupies an important place in my lectures and books. The "gross national happiness" that is anchored in the Bhutanese constitution is unique as a government order worldwide and therefore enjoys a much-cited, high priority in my projects.