Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Expat clubs can help you integrate into Europe’s business community

If you’re looking to truly integrate into the local business community as a corporate nomad, you can’t go wrong looking into joining your local expat clubs.

Such clubs can provide lots of benefits including in some cases access to exclusive country clubs, tennis courts, pools and so on, though we’re sticking to clubs dedicated to community building and business for our first post.

Included in that is the biggest benefit of all: networking opportunities.

You can try to get the ear of the Big Wigs through LinkedIn invites and more public networking gatherings all you want. But by joining an expat-focused corporate networking group or chamber of commerce, you’ll already be several steps ahead of the game, with actual face time.

Below is a list of a few such clubs around Europe. Here, you’ll learn a little bit about a given club, how much it costs to join, and what it takes to be allowed to join in the first place.

• Women’s Business Initiative International

Let’s begin with the Women’s Business Initiative International, where our own Cheryl Boyd visited. WBII is based in The Hague, Netherlands, and positions itself “as a one-stop-shop for women wanting to start or running a business that provides information, training, support, motivation and the network needed to succeed.” Over 500 women entrepreneurs have benefited from WBII since its founding in 2006.

Fees: €150 annual fee, non-refundable after seven-day cooling period
Benefits: Business advice; members-only Facebook and LinkedIn groups; online-learning programs; monthly networking opportunities; business promotion; discounts with WBII and other businesses
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: info@womensbusinessinitiative.net
Website: www.womensbusinessinitiative.net

• American Club of Paris

Founded in 1903, the American Club of Paris “is one of the oldest non-diplomatic American institutions in France,” if not the entire world. ACP’s mission is to “preserve the special ties that the United States has had with France for more than two centuries,” bringing together American and European business barons and baronesses for many a social and networking activity.

Fees: €200 annual fee; one-time €150 initiation fee; full schedule of fees here
Benefits: Monthly luncheons at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée; monthly happy hour cocktail parties; wine tastings; special tickets to operas, concerts, sporting events, et al
Requirements: Two current members must sponsor each new member
Contact: contact@americanclubparis.org
Website: www.americanclubparis.org

• American German Business Club Berlin

American German Business Club Berlin opened its doors to German and American members in 1995 in order to strengthen ties between the two business communities. AGBC-Berlin accomplishes this “by providing a cross-cultural networking framework for business people of all nationalities,” enabling its members “to meet like-minded individuals and to target their energy and resources at the on-going development of the business communities in America and Germany.”

Fees: €85 for a regular membership; full schedule of fees here
Benefits: Networking with potential contacts and partnerships; access to key decision makers and influencers; discounts on member products and complementary admission to special events
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: Via form
Website: www.agbc-berlin.de

• American Women’s Club of Amsterdam

The American Women’s Club of Amsterdam first came to life in 1927 when two American women, Helena Goldschmidt and Carolyn Korthals Altes, formed the club with seven of their Dutch friends. Since then, AWCA has done a lot to foster the professional and personal relationships between Dutch and American women, currently 200 strong.

Fees: N/A; contact for information
Benefits: Monthly events, coffees, luncheons, Mom & Tots events, excursions, wine tastings, running clubs and other activities.
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: Via form
Website: www.awca.nl

• American Women’s Club of Berlin

Before the darkness of Hitler and Nazification, the American Women’s Club of Berlin came together in 1931 to provide women of all nationalities a forum “to share information and experiences, to meet new friends and engage in inspiring and fun activities, all while helping and empowering others along the way.” The club wears the Stars & Stripes on its sleeve and over its heart, while also embracing its German home and the special relationship between Berlin and the United States.

Fees: €50 annual fee; full schedule of fees and application form here
Benefits: Language classes, tennis, dining club, and writers and artists groups.
Requirements: Open to all women who have an interest in AWC Berlin: “American passport is not required but American spirit is a must!”
Contact: Via form
Website: www.awcberlin.org

American Women’s Club of Luxembourg

Of all the countries in Europe, Luxembourg has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents. And of course, there are a number of groups and clubs for expats. The American Women’s Club of Luxembourg is open to all English-speaking women living in Luxembourg or the region. Formed in 1959 as a casual group, AWCL now has about 400 dues-paying members.

Fees: €60 annual regular membership fee. You can apply here.
Benefits: AWCL organizes many special events including charity drives, coffees, outings, walks and daytrips to nearby destinations including Germany’s wine festivals. The AWCL has its own Clubhouse: a place where members meet, socialize and offer language classes.
Requirements: none
Contact: Telephone: +352 44 84 77
General email: clubhouseawcl@gmail.com
Website: http://www.awcluxembourg.com/

• American Women’s Club of The Hague

Born in 1930, the American Women’s Club of The Hague — like all of the other American Women’s Clubs mentioned — has always sought to bring American women from around the Randstad in the Netherlands to support each other in each woman’s professional and personal lives. AWC The Hague organizes several activities, tours, charity events, and classes throughout the year.

Fees: €110 annual regular membership fee; €15 one-time new member registration fee; full schedule of fees and application form here
Benefits: The group organizes weekly walks to various destinations in the area, whether in the city, at the beach, or the woods. There are a wide range of events from coffees to book clubs to nights out.
Requirements: Be 18 years of age and either: hold a U.S. passport; be married to an American; or have an affinity with America
Contact: info@awcthehague.org
Website: www.awcthehague.org

• Amsterdam American Business Club

One of the biggest clubs on our list, the Amsterdam American Business Club’s main mission “is to help improve business contacts between Dutch and American companies in and around Amsterdam.” Formed in 1983, AABC’s 1,000-plus members are from around the world — though most are either Dutch or American — with various professional backgrounds.

Fees: €99 annual fee
Benefits: Invitations to monthly networking events and members-only events; detailed profile in the AABC Member Directory; exclusive offers from the club’s sponsors and other members
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: info@aabc.nl.
Website: https://aabc.nl/

• British Chamber of Commerce in Germany

The first on our list to fly the Union Jack – or what could be left of it after Brexit is complete – the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany “is a privately-funded, non-profit-making membership network organisation.” Founded in Cologne in 1919, closed in 1930, and reopened in 1960, BCCG and its massive British-German network of 900 members “are first port of call for companies and professionals seeking advice in British-German business and trade,” serving as “a neutral platform for topics of interest to the BCCG members, co-operating partners and guests at events, in its publications and website.”

Fees: €400 for individuals; full schedule of fees here
Benefits: Access to about 100 networking events throughout the year; access to BCCG publications; exclusive services
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: info@bccg.de
Website: www.bccg.de

• British and Commonwealth Women’s Club

Born in 1962, the British and Commonwealth Women’s Club’s mission has been to welcome all women who are British or Commonwealth nationals, as well as those who are married to British or Commonwealth nationals. All sorts of activities are put together by the members every month, from walking tours and yoga, to book exchanges and needlecraft.

Fees: €45 annual fee
Benefits: BCWC organizes a number events from walks to bridge to golf. You can see all the activities here.
Requirements: Open to all women who are British or Commonwealth nationals living in Paris, or are married to British or Commonwealth nationals living in Paris
Contact: bcwapresident@gmail.com
Website: bcwa.paris.online.fr

• Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

More than 700 companies and organizations form the membership network of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce, which serves as “the principal voice of Franco-British business community in France.” FBCCI holds more than 100 events annually, all meant to help its members “increase their visibility and reputation within the Franco-British business community.”

Fees: €750 annual fee; full schedule of fees and benefits here
Benefits: Access to events at member’s rate; access to special offers
Requirements: N/A; contact for information
Contact: information@francobritishchamber.com
Website: www.francobritishchamber.com

American International Women’s Club of Geneva

The AIWC is a non-profit club offering support and friendship to all women residing in the Geneva, Switzerland area. Founded in 1958, the AIWC currently has about 500 members of 45 different nationalities. The club aims to be a “home away from home,” which helps women of all nationalities integrate smoothly into Geneva society.

Fees: Membership fees include the use of the club rooms, participation in most regular activities and member rates for special events, luncheons and excursions. The annual fee is 250 Swiss francs;  50 Swiss francs registration fee, which is deducted if you attend a Welcome Coffee and join within one week. There is also Courier Postage for members for 20 Swiss francs. (free if picked up at the Club).

You can also join if you’re not a resident of Geneva. See all the membership information here.
Benefits: 40 regular activities and special occasions and excursions.
Requirements: Membership in the AIWC is open to all English-speaking women regardless of nationality.
Contact: aiwcingeneva@gmail.com
Website: aiwcgeneva.org

• American Women’s Club of Zurich

Founded in 1931, the American Women’s Club of Zurich welcomes U.S. and North American citizens and women of all nationalities who “appreciate the American way of life.” AWCZ has about 300 members. This is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to providing opportunities for friendship and personal development. AWCZ also is active in philanthropic and community service projects in the greater Zurich region, throughout Switzerland and in the larger global community.

Fees:

  • New Member Annual Membership  (May 1 – April 30)                205 Swiss francs
    (includes a one-time registration fee of 30 Swiss francs)
  • Annual Renewal of Membership     (May 1 – April 30)                 175 Swiss francs

Benefits: Activites include an Art Guild, a book club, bridge, language classes, movie outings and luncheons.
Requirements:  AWCZ is open to U.S. and International citizens who are English speaking and who have strong ties to the U.S.
Contact: aiwcingeneva@gmail.com
Website: http://www.awczurich.org/

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