When Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay developed a process in 1863 for manufacturing sodium carbonate (soda ash) using salt brine, ammonia, and carbon dioxide acid, few would have expected his family-based company to still be around today. However, his legacy lives on.
Throughout 2013, thousands of employees and guests around the world celebrated our 150th anniversary with events held both at group level and locally. Here are just some of the events we had showing how we partied at 150!
In September, the Dombasle-sur-Meurthe plant in the Lorraine region of France had double the fun by celebrating both Solvay’s 150th birthday and its 140th anniversary. Everyone enjoyed a barbecue, a musical, and an exhibition. Group historian Nicolas Coupain also outlined the Solvay story.
On November 24 in Tavaux, France, Nicolas Coupain shared Solvay’s history with 80 VIPs at the Saline Royale d'Arc-et-Senans.
In Thailand in November, senior business and government figures attended a King’s Day reception hosted jointly by Solvay at the residence of Belgian ambassador Marc Michielsen (fifth from left). The event also celebrated the 145th anniversary of a treaty between Thailand and Belgium, and 130 years of diplomatic relations.
André Borschberg, pilot and chief executive of the Solar Impulse project, was an important guest at celebrations in Brazil, which involved about 4,000 people. Celebrations in Brazil focused on teamwork, innovation, passion, and of course Brazil’s national passion – soccer!
The USA saw many varied events, including a splendid dinner at Philadelphia's The Franklin Institute, barbecues and lunches, a day at a leisure park, and plant tours for visitors. Nicolas Coupain, co-author of a book on a history of Solvay, also gave presentations at various sites.
In Russia, the opening of the Ernest Solvay Road on Sertow’s Serpukhov site was the culmination of events between September 29 and October 2. Other activities included a team building seminar for Sertow and Moscow headquarters staff, and honors given to employees by the city of Serpukhov.
A record number of more than 1,600 visitors poured through the gates of Solvay’s Spinetta Marengo site in Italy on September 15 for an open day that included tours and performances to celebrate the 150th anniversary. A look at a new perfluoro rubber production system was one of the highlights.
In Hannover, Germany, the Belgian consul – who is also Solvay’s country manager Dr. Andreas Meier (second from left) – and Belgium’s ambassador Renier Nijskens (right) hosted a 150th anniversary celebration in December 2013. At a second event, local Solvay staff celebrated at a dinner and party, which went with a bang thanks to a fireworks display featuring Solvay’s new logo.
Other events in Germany included an open-air party for nearly 200 people at Bad Wimpfen on July 5 and a gathering of 400 people organized by the Bernburg site in September. A week of fun in Freiburg had executives outlining their own history and their view of the integration of Rhodia and Solvay. At the small Epe/Ahaus site, the 50 employees had a garden party in site manager Dr. Manfred Inkmann’s home.
Rheinberg, Germany, gathered 800 employees plus their partners, politicians (including members of the German parliament), and others for festivities, which included a presentation of Solvay’s history.