It’s that time of year again when the great and good from around the world flock to Davos in Switzerland for what has been described as the annual festival of the filthy rich.
For more than 40 years the World Economic Forum has been held in the Swiss mountain village, where more than 2,500, participants, including 1,000 chief executives or company chairs and more than 40 are world leaders, try and put the world to rights.
This year, the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Will.i.am and Formula 1’s Sebastian Vettel will be rubbing shoulders with Bill Gates, Bono, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
The refugee crisis, climate change and rising interest rates are likely to be among the big themes, the Irish Mirror reported.
Here the Mirror reveals 22 little-known facts about the famous Swiss ski resort:
- The forum was founded in 1971 by German Professor Klaus Schwab and this year the delegates will discuss the “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” and how to make more billions for themselves.
- While it’s all sweetness and light these days, Davos has a dark past. It was once the HQ of the Swiss Nazi Party and a centre for Hitler’s fascists.
- While it’s Champagne and cognac all the way for the billionaires, Davos is home to the highest brewery in Europe. Biervision Monstein bills itself as “the last beerstop before heaven”.
- A room in Davos is not cheap and a single room can cost several thousand euro a night.
- No gathering of the rich and powerful would be complete without Bono, also there is Leonardo DiCaprio and Will.i.am .
- While Davos is considered the world capital of capitalism in 1983 British trade union leader Arthur Scargill came to town predicting the imminent collapse of capitalism. We’re still waiting…
- Around 11,000 people live in Davos year-round but during the Forum there are roughly 28,000 guest beds that can be commercially rented out.
- Not far from Davos is Klosters, the ski-resort that for decades been the winter holiday destination of the British Royal Family.
- With sub-zero temperatures for most of the winter you’d imagine the residents would have enough of the could but Davos has the largest natural ice skating rink in Europe – the size of three football fields.
- The picturesque city is also one of Switzerland’s largest ski resorts, boasting six different ski areas and a total of 320km of slopes.
- Switzerland has deployed a total of 4,500 military and police, about 5% of them full-time soldiers. Security includes two surface-to-air missile systems.
- Around 100 of the 2,500 participants will get special security coverage and attendees will be hemmed in by 46km of fences, 10% more than at the last Forum.
- Despite the snow Davos is one stop on the Bernina Express, a panoramic railway that connects Switzerland with Italy and is known for its scenic landscapes.
- German writer and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann was a great fan of Davos and his novel The Magic Mountain is set in the city.
- Davos once stopped a war according to former Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal who claimed the Forum prevented a conflict with Greece in 1987.
- While many of those attending will have diverging political and economic views seasoned observers say the most heated rows involve people trying to get into the best cocktail parties.
- This year there are more than 2,500 taking part – with more than 40 world leaders, 1,000 chief executives or company chairs, as well as a sprinkling of Nobel Laureates.
- The average age for participants this year is 55 for men and 49 for women.
- Africa and North America are the front-runners in terms of gender parity with almost a quarter of the participants from both continents women (24%).
- A possible sign of things to come, HUBO, a freestanding and walking humanoid robot will be at the conference.
- Not surprisingly when billionaires gather in one place the strongest industry representation at Davos is from the world of banking, insurance and asset management.
- The real power brokers will not be there as neither Barack Obama nor Vladimir Putin will not be attending.