You like to suit up and dance? Then you should not miss the Gala Ball of AEGEE-Heidelberg, which will take place on the 20th of February in a 13th century castle. It’s not only a really classy event – it’s also one of AEGEE’s events with the longest tradition. “It’s the 19th edition”, says main organizer Gloria Llopart. Together with her team – Martin Klassen (Social Responsible), Paul Menczel (Vice President), Amelie Morweiser (PR-Responsible) and Florian Hauger (Secretary General) – she explained the Golden Times readers why you cannot miss this amazing weekend event. By the way, even if you are not so sure about the right steps: there will be dancing lessons, too!

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The spectacular Heidelberg Castle

GT: A ball in a castle – is it as spectacular as it sounds?
Gloria Llopart: Of course! In the wooded hills of Heidelberg there is one of Germany’s most famous sights: Heidelberg Castle. It’s in a striking location overlooking the Neckar valley and the old town. The castle has majestic gardens, an incredible inner courtyard and a giant wine barrel. Our gala ball takes place in the King’s Hall, a spectacular hall where you’ll have an unforgettable experience!

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Move your feet – a photo of the Heidelberg ball in 1999

GT: What kind of location is Heidelberg Castle?
Florian Hauger: Both used as main residence and stronghold of the Prince-Electors and Count Palatines of House Wittelsbach, our castle looks back on a rich and unique history. Some might even say Frederick V, the so-called Winter King – no, not that guy from Game of Thrones – is still haunting his former residence, desperately looking for the crown he lost in the Thirty Years’ War. After the demise of the Palatinate, romantic Heidelberg Castle became a source of inspiration for many poets and writers, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Mark Twain. Today, the massive structure dominates the view of beautiful Heidelberg, which was only recently elected “Germany’s most Magical City”. You’re going to discover a town full of secrets, fairy tales and ghost stories!

Also on the inside the Heidelberg castle looks great.

GT: The event was first organized in 1994 and has a long tradition in AEGEE, but hasn’t take place for some years. Why?
Gloria Llopart & Martin Klassen: Firstly, it’s really challenging to organise such an event. It takes almost a year to prepare it and you have to work constantly to have everything ready. Secondly, in the 2000s there was a lot of restoration work up at the castle. After the gala balls of 2010 and 2011 we focused on the Rhein-Neckar-Agora. So now, with lots of new and motivated members and enthusiastic AEGEEans asking about our ball on European events, we decided to plan the 19th edition!

GT: How do we have to imagine the ball night? Will there just be waltz and other classical dance music, which require the necessary skills?
Amelie Morweiser: We’re part of a students’ network supporting diversity – and our programme is going to be just as diverse as our guests: We’ll start the evening with live music by the Twinsband and will continue to party to the music-mix of DJ Craaze. As a general rule: Dance however you want, but dance!

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It’s fun to be elegant

GT: What’s the dress code of the Gala Ball?
Gloria Llopart: As the Gala Ball is taking place in the 13th century King’s Hall, it will be an elegant event. Put on your best evening dress or your best smoking or suit and join us! And don’t forget to bring a warm coat for the way up!

GT: What else will happen during the event weekend?
Paul Menczel: We will be doing everything we can so that our participants will have an awesome weekend with us! The beautiful, baroque style old town of Heidelberg is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Germany. On Friday, once you have arrived, we will show you around the city and then all meet up in the hostel for a European night. Saturday is all about preparing you for the ball: You’ll get dancing lessons, but also free time to prepare yourselves and do last-minute shopping in the old town. In the evening there’s the ball, of course, and the next morning we will cure your hangover with a nice brunch! But the party never stops! If you stay with us even longer for our EPM pre-event, get prepared for some Karaoke in the cozy pubs of Heidelberg…

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At the Gala Ball event a rich programme is waiting for you.

GT: In what way will you combine the ball event with the EPM?
Gloria Llopart: We have organized two consecutive events that are a little different from each other. It is one week full of both entertainment and learning about German culture, history and traditions. The fun starts on 19th February with the Gala Ball weekend. It’s a leisure weekend where the participants experience new adventures while meeting people: they visit Heidelberg, attend a workshop, participate in activities and, of course, enjoy the Gala Ball at the castle! On the day right after the Gala Ball, on 21st February, our EPM Pre-Event starts! It offers four and a half days full of activities. We’ll set out from Heidelberg and visit four cities: Cologne, Bonn, Aachen and Delft. Moreover, with the help of the local antennae, we’ll get to know the most interesting places of these cities as well as food and bars of course!

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With or without mask: Come to Heidelberg!

GT: Anything else you would like to add?
Martin Klassen: We have received many requests if it’s still possible to join the Gala Ball night. Of course it is! Just send an email to and let us know if you need a place to sleep and if you are bringing your dancing partner, some friends or whoever you’d like to share the evening with. We are looking forward to welcoming you in our lovely Heidelberg, the city of ice and fire.

News from the past: The Gala Ball in the Key to Europe

The Key to Europe, AEGEE’s annual review, reported twice about the Heidelberg ball. Enjoy these articles from the past.

“Swinging Europe” in Royal Halls

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The Heidelberg Ball in 1998 was spectacular.

Heidelberg, 31/1-1/2 1998. “Swinging Europe” in Royal Halls: For the fifth time in a row AEGEE-Heidelberg organised it’s most prestigious event. The festive location was once again the “King’s Hall” of Heidelberg Castle, the city’s best known tourist attraction. “More than 400 AEGEE members wore evening wardrobe and traditional eye masks, having an enjoyable night”, tells Fabian Klimmeck, main organiser of the event. A band performed live ballroom music with occasional interruptions by dancing presentations – like a tango argentino and a Greek dance. More than 300 young people from outside Heidelberg took part, the majority of them coming from abroad.

As in the years before the participants, amongst them former and present board members and presidents of AEGEE-Europe, could meet old friends and made new ones. Amongst various activities of the additional programme, the AEGEE members had the opportunity to visit Heidelberg’s famous old city hosting one of the oldest universities in Europe. They also took part in a daytrip to Mannheim. A festive brunch on the day after the ball itself concluded the event.


The Millennium Masked Ball – 400 Europeans dancing at Heidelberg Castle

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Back in the 90ies: AEGEE-Passau delegation at the Gala Ball.

Heidelberg, 29/30th January 2000. This year’s carnival period was considered by many to be a very special occasion due to the turn of the two millennia. AEGEE-Heidelberg celebrated the arrival of the new millennium with its Masked Ball, an annual tradition since 1994. Once again, over 400 students coming from all over Europe gathered at the city’s famous romantic Heidelberg castle. The King’s Hall filled with hundreds of colourful masks, ranging from classic Venetian to fancier models of all kinds. A professional band entertained the crowd with music to suit to the occasion. The highlights of the evening included professional Latino dancing and a grand tombola draw at midnight. The participants had the chance to win a number of prizes, ranging from roller blades to watches.

An additional programme was prepared especially for the 350 AEGEE members coming from outside Heidelberg. There was a guided tour of Heidelberg’s famous old town and castle. “This event will be remembered for its warm and hearty atmosphere”, states Fabian Klimmeck, main organiser of the Ball and president of AEGEE-Heidelberg.