Columbus is een feitelijke vereniging die als doel heeft, boven alle politiek en religie, mensen in contact te brengen, met gelijkaardige interesses.  Columbus wil zich ontwikkelen tot een nieuwe participatieve actiegemeenschap, waar leden zich thuis voelen en graag hun ervaring en kennis delen. Columbus wil dit doen door:  

  • Het scheppen van bruggen tussen landen, streken, culturen en mensen
  • Het promoten van contacten tussen die landen, streken, culturen en mensen
  • Het organiseren van ontdekkingsreizen, bezoeken, lezingen, debatten, ...

De zetel van Columbus is gevestigd in de Druivenstreek in Hoeilaart, Georges Huynenstraat 1. 

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Columbus est une association de fait, apolitique et non confessionnelle, qui a pour but  de réunir des personnes ayant des intérêts communs. Columbus veut se développer comme une nouvelle communauté d'action participative, où les membres se sentent chez eux et sont désireux de partager leur expérience et leurs connaissances. Columbus a comme objectifs:  

  • De créer des ponts entre les pays, les régions, les cultures et les personnes.
  • De promouvoir des contacts entre ces pays, régions, cultures et personnes.
  • D’organiser des voyages découvertes, des visites, des conférences, des débats, …

  Le siège de Columbus se situe en région flamande, dans le “Druivenstreek” et plus précisément à 1560 Hoeilaart, Georges Huynenstraat, 1. 

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Columbus is a non-political, non-denominational, de facto association whose aim is to bring together people with common interests. Columbus will develop as a new participatory action community, where members feel at home and are eager to share their experience and knowledge. Columbus' objectives are  

  • To build bridges between countries, regions, cultures and people.
  • To promote contacts between these countries, regions, cultures and people.
  • To organise discovery trips, visits, conferences, debates, ...

The headquarters of Columbus are located in the Flemish region, in the "Druivenstreek" and more precisely in 1560 Hoeilaart, Georges Huynenstraat, 1.

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Dear Friends,

It was with great surprise that I Iearned of Frederic De Pryck's resignation. As you all know, Frederic and I have been friends for many years. All my activities in CIDIC were therefore undertaken in close collaboration with him. To continue in CIDIC without him would have no meaning for me. It is, therefore, with sincere regret that I have also decided that I can no longer remain part of CIDIC. Please rest assured, dear friends, that I will always treasure a very pleasant souvenir of our meetings, conferences and missions. While we will continue to share the same ideals, sadly we will no longer be working together to realise them.


Beste vrienden, 

Het is met spijt in het hart dat ik mijn ontslag heb ingediend als vrijwillige administrator van CIDIC. Na het ontslag van vriend Frédéric de Pryck, had het voor mezelf nog maar weinig zin om verder te doen.

Het was echt fijn om jullie te hebben leren kennen. Sommigen onder u zijn echte vrienden geworden en deze vriendschap zal blijven bestaan, echter niet meer via CIDIC.

Ik behoud desalniettemin de beste herinneren aan onze talrijke vergaderingen en “conférences” op het kasteel, de galadiners bij de Cercle Gaulois en misschien vooral de missies in het buitenland, maar aan alles komt er vroeg of laat een einde. In dit bijzonder geval te vroeg want er waren nog zoveel uitdagingen. Ik wens dan ook het allerbeste aan CIDIC.


Chers amis,      

C’est avec stupéfaction que j’ai appris la démission de Frédéric De Pryck. Comme vous le savez, Frédéric est un ami de longue date. Toutes mes activités au sein du CIDIC se faisaient en étroite collaboration avec lui. Continuer sans lui, n’a dès lors plus de sens. C’est donc avec beaucoup de regrets que j’ai décidé, à mon tour, de ne plus faire partie du CIDIC. Soyez assurés, chers amis, que je garderai toujours un très agréable souvenir de nos réunions, conférences et autres missions. Notre idéal commun reste certes idéal, mais ne sera malheureusement plus commun.



CIDIC was founded in 2010 at the suggestion of many diplomats who shared their concern about the need for greater efficiency in establishing economic and academic contacts that are nowadays increasingly important in the exercise of their functions. This trend is now called « Economic and Academic Diplomacy ».

Economic Diplomacy is a tool for diplomatic representatives to support the economic measures undertaken by their governments. These representatives act as an interface between national private operators and those of the countries to which they are accredited, to find new markets for industrial products and services, and attract foreign investors.

CIDIC's board WAS composed of:

  • Baron Ernest de Laminne de Bex: President
  • Christian Mouvet: Secretary General and Treasurer (died 2020)
  • Frederic de Pryck: Chairman Steering Committee (resigned)
  • Jean Dewaerheid: Communications Officer (resigned)
  • Jan Cornelis: Attaché académique (resigned)
  • Jean De Brabander, Economic Attaché (left)
  • Lydia Desloover: Attaché culturel (left)

CIDIC organises (Diplomatic, Economic, Academic and Cultural) DEAC Days. In collaboration with the countries presiding the Council of the European Union on a 6-month rotating basis, we bring participants together from diplomatic, academic, cultural and business world.

15-17 October 2018, DEAC Days in Vienna, Austria

In Cooperation with our strategic partners:

UNICA, Brussels Diplomatic Academy (VUB) and Diplomatic World Magazine

The delegation was first welcome at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and later invited to a diplomatic get-together at the Belgian Embassy where H.E Mr. Ghislain d’HOOP, the Belgian Ambassador in Vienna and his wife offered a memorable walking dinner.

The next day, before the public great attendence, a private guided tour to the Pieter Bruegel the Elder exhibition was organised. Therefore we headed to the Federal Ministry for Digital & Economic Affairs where the CIDIC Euopean Award ceremony took place. For their achievements in international trade, their implication in the European market and their outstanding innovative technologies as well as their business models, the Awards were handed over to LIBERTY.HOME & B-LIFE, as well as two of its members with a Recognition of Merit Statement trophy for their long-lasting participation and collaboration to its success: Mr. Oliver BLANK & Dr & Mrs Joseph LACOCQUE. The ceremony was followed by a walking lunch well appreciated in an euphoric atmosphere.

In the afternoon, under the auspices of UNICA a mini-symposium took place at the University of Vienna. The lectures and subsequent discussion showed how academia can play a role in the public debate rooted in its research.

At nightfall, to seal the camaraderie among the participants, CIDIC organised an evening dinner at the well-known restaurant Zum Martin Sepp located in Wien-Grinzing. What a marvellous memories.

Finally, our third and agreeable sunny day begun at the University of Applied Sciences.To end this interesting assembly, Prof. Jan Cornelis, CIDIC’s Academic Attaché, led a panel discussion with a number of start-up representatives with hands-on experience. After a warm lunch organised on the spot, the delegation had the immense pleasure to discover the private Rubens collection at the Vienna Liechtenstein Palace.

As each time, CIDIC succeeded in the bet to organize three exceptional DEAC days, which were unanimously appreciated by all the participants and organisers.

23-26 April 2018, DEAC Days in Sofia, Bulgaria

In Cooperation with our strategic partners:

UNICA, Brussels Diplomatic Academy (VUB) and Diplomatic World Magazine

The guests were welcomed in Sofia Municipality by Mr. Doncho Barbalov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia and Mr. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency.

Within the framework of the Bulgarian-European Forum, organised by BCC and CIDIC, Awards were bestowed on several companies and an international university network for their achievements in international trade and collaboration, their implication in the European market and their outstanding innovative technologies and business models, namely:

  • EUROSENSE: geoinformation services
  • AMMEX: bath mats design and manufacturing
  • MICAR 21: drug discovery for the pharmaceutical industry
  • PRINTIVO:  biotechnology start-up - 3D bio-printing technology
  • SPADEL-DEVIN: international group producing bottled mineral water

Among the awarded organisations were also SOFIA UNIVERSITY “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Brussels Academy for China and European Studies (BACES). During the event, the two organisations signed a Cooperation Agreement.

The diplomatic session took place in the splendid setting of the Belgian Ambassador’s residence, organized by H.E. Mr. François Bontemps.

Under the auspices of UNICA (Network of Universities of the Capitals of Europe), the economic and diplomatic meetings were followed by the academic session at Sofia University. The crème de la crème of the Bulgarian academic speakers together with those from Europe and China had the opportunity to expose their vision and priorities for the development of knowledge and technology transfer best practices/ social entrepreneurship as well as broader international research collaboration. The topic of EU-China-Central and Eastern European Countries relations was discussed both from a political and an economic aspect.

To seal the camaraderie among the participants, CIDIC with the assistance of UBB, invited to an evening dinner all the Bulgarian parties which were involved to thank them for their efforts and excellent organization.

Last but not least, our three agreeable and sunny days were punctuated with visits of attractive sites such as the Sofia History Museum, the Saint Sofia Church, the National History Museum and the Boyana church.

Mission accomplished …. CIDIC once more succeeded in organizing three outstanding DEAC days, with unique experiences shared by all participants.


Estonian DEAC days from 9th October 2017 to 12th October 2017

In Cooperation with our strategic partners:

UNICA, Brussels Diplomatic Academy (VUB) and Diplomatic World Magazine


Organized in concertation with the Estonian Ministries of Foreign and Economic Affairs, and HE Mr Lembit Uibo, Ambassador of Estonia in Belgium, the DEAC Days, in cooperation with CIDIC’s strategic partners, UNICA, BRUSSELS DIPLOMATIC ACADEMY and DIPLOMATIC WORLD, were acclaimed as highly successful by all participants.

After a number of meetings at the Tallinn University of Technology and the Tallinn University, the delegation of about 25 people ended the Mission with the European CIDIC Awards Ceremony.

HE Mr Carl Peters, Ambassador of Belgium to Finland and Estonia, gave a European CIDIC Award to Katoen Natie Tallinn, Professor Abdellah Touhafi of The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Skeleton Technologies Estonia and Lainergy Estonia. The Ceremony was followed by a Reception offered by the Belgian Embassy to all Belgian and Estonian participants.

At the KUMU Museum the participants were introduced to the Estonian culture and history.

These excellent results have further enhanced our determination to continue the development of our DEAC Days concept by organizing DEAC Days and other activities with the country holding the six-monthly rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

We are, more than ever, convinced that these six-monthly DEAC activities contribute to re-dynamising the European inland economy, and the sense of a shared European citizenship.


DEAC days in MALTA

(19th April 2017 to 21st April 2017)

Diplomatic visits & events: meeeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, reception and meeting with the Prime Minister, reception and meeting with the Minister for Gozo, meeting with the President of the Republic of Malta H.E. Ms Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and official reception, CIDIC Awards ceremony at the presidential palace.

Economic meetings & events: meeting with Malta Enterprise, meeting with Malta Chamber of Commerce, B2B meetings, meeting with Minister for the economy, investment and small business, meeting with the Gozo Chamber of Commerce, B2B meetings.

Academic Meetings & Events: breakfast meeting with the Rector of the Malta University, meeting with MEDAC incubators, Start-ups and R&D, meeting with the Minister for Education & Employment & with the Minister for Health, meeting with the Malta Information Technology Agency MITA.

Cultural Meetings & Events: Visit of the Barrakka Gardens, of the restored St John’s Cathedral, visit of Fort St. Angelo, Tour of Mdina.


DEA DAYS in BRATISLAVA  12 & 13 oktober 2016

De traditioneel geworden DEAC Days vonden plaats in Bratislava op 12 en 13 oktober jl.

Dankzij de steun van de Slovaakse overheid, de ministeries van Buitenlandse en Economische Zaken, de steun van Z.E. de heer Stanislav VALLO, Ambassadeur van Slovakije in België én de medewerking van onze envoyé spécial in Bratislava, mevrouw Janka BECKOVA, kan het CIDIC opnieuw uitstekende resultaten voorleggen.

Dit spoort ons aan verder te werken aan het DEA concept ter gelegenheid van het roterend zesmaandelijks voorzitterschap van de Raad van de Europese Unie.

De ervaring leert ons dat onze semestriële missies de Europese interne markt dynamiseren en de Europese  identiteit verstevigen. Onze diplomatische, economische en academische contacten versterken dan ook onze vastberadenheid om op de ingegane weg verder te gaan. 

De CIDIC delegatie werd uitgenodigd voor een bezoek aan de “AEROMOBIL”, de vliegende auto om onder de kundige leiding van Stefan VADOCZ kennis te maken met een voorbeeld van Slovaakse spitstechnologie.

Traditiegetrouw werden een aantal bedrijven beloond met een “European CIDIC Award”. In het prachtig kader van het kasteel van Bratislava werden volgende bedrijven in de bloemetjes gezet:



•ROKOSAN s.r.o. (Ltd).



DEA (Diplomatic, Economic & Academic) DAYS in the Netherlands (May 2016)

In the context of the “Junker” Plan to revitalize the EU internal market, a three-day Diplomatic, Economic and Academic (DEA) mission was organized from 10-12 May 2016 to The Netherlands by CIDIC, in collaboration with UNICA ( and the VUB (  Under the aegis of CIDIC’s Honorary President, H.E. Mrs. Maryem van den Heuvel, the Ambassador of The Netherlands to Belgium, this mission enjoyed considerable success and enthusiasm shared among all the participants from the diplomatic, economic and academic worlds.

At the diplomatic level, the very valuable assistance given by H.E. Mr. Chris Hoornaert, Belgian Ambassador to The Hague, as well as the Embassy staff, was deeply appreciated.

At the economic level, the participating companies, both SMEs and multinationals, were able to develop their “networks” and have useful meetings at the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, which have already resulted in economic benefits.

At the academic level, the results emanating from the new contacts between the Universities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Delft with their counterparts from VUB and UNICA surpassed all expectations, resulting in the signing of several important agreements to collaborate between different academic players, particularly in the field of incubators. Even the city of Amsterdam came to meet us to present its digitalizing projects, with the objective of finding new partners for this ambitious project.

Following its tradition, CIDIC presented, through the hands of its Honorary President, H.R.H. Princess Léa of Belgium, at the headquarters of the European Space Agency (ESA), the CIDIC Diplomatic, Economic and Academic Awards to three European companies and three Dutch companies chosen for their state-of-the-art activities in this area.

The huge enthusiasm of the participants in this Netherlands mission was such that almost all of them have already signed up to participate in our next mission to Slovakia on the occasion of the Slovak Presidency of the European Council.