The pioneers of Skål International in 1930’s

The enthusiasm shown by the ‘pioneers’ as they increased, in the short space of four months, from five to eighty members, was wonderful.

The first ‘amical’ dinner was held at the Mollard Restaurant on 24 April. The Iéna Circle hosted an initial conference organized by Skål on 27 April. The topics and speakers were: ‘Tourism in France’ by Mr. Junot and ‘From Friedrichshafen to Río de Janeiro by zeppelin’, by Mr. C. Dolfuss. 

The first General Assembly of the Skål Paris club took place at the Mollard Restaurant on 9 May 1933, with 80 members. On that date, the Antwerp club was accepted, the following report from its foundation is mentioned: "During an excellent dinner at the Chapelle de Bourgogne, during which the most congenial harmony and camaraderie reigned, the President welcomed the two delegates from the Skål Club Paris who were in attendance, who were appointed sponsors of the new club in Antwerp”.

Skål Club Paris Newsletter

On 06 June, the Inaugural Assembly of the Skål Club Antwerp was held, and on the 10th of the same month, the Skål Club Wallon de Liège was founded. Its Founding President was J. Minsart of W. L. C, Vice President Xhigness of Agence Brooke, Secretary A. Mons of W. L. C., Treasurer G. Velu of Agence Brooke, Commissioners: Collische of Meuse et Semois, Saive from the Liege Tourist Office, Thilman from the Hoteliers Association, Larnelle from Standard Cars, Pirson, Melchior and Beekeen from Autos Locations and Minique of Pullman Cars.

On 12 June, under the auspices of the House of Denmark, ‘Historic Denmark’ was presented by the Danish deputy Mr. Ulrichsen and followed by a drink at the ‘Viking’ in Montparnasse. As there was no rest at Skål, according to the chronicles of the time, a second dinner took place on 23 June at the Iéna Circle, under the Honorary Presidency of Mr. Alwyn Manton, Director for France at the Cook Agency.

Issue 2 of the Newsletter came out on 10 July. The success of the idea and the courage of those pioneers was evident. Both issues were well-publicized.

On 10 August, the Skål Club Côte d'Azur was founded in Nice. Its Founding President was C. Mathez of Les Beaux Voyages, with Vice Presidents Youdale from Cook in Nice, Bidoli of Italy in Cannes, and Capt. Shiers of Anglo-American in Monte Carlo, Secretary Van De Ree of Rotterdam Lloyd in Nice, Deputy Secretary Barthelemy of Reboul & Cie., Treasurer Staeger of Kuoni in Nice, Deputy Treasurer R. Bonard of Autocares P.L.M., Parties and Receptions Hohberg from W.L. in Nice, Brandt Regional Delegates from Brandt & Cía. in Cannes, Serfass from Nordisk Voyages in Menton, Persson partnerships from Nordisk Voyages in Nice.

In issue 3 of the Newsletter, it is noted that Florimond Volckaert once mentioned three months, in which there seems to have been an interruption in activities. Still, he corrects this and adds, "many visitors from foreign companies visited the headquarters of the Skål Club Paris, and they became honorary skålleagues, bringing the seed and warmth of our Skål to their respective countries”. There was a great interest in this new movement that had just been established.

Issue 4 of the Newsletter, in the autumn, with contributions from A. Colson, A. Bonnet, Maurice Monteux, P. Soulie, Ake Setterlund, Gustave Lacomme, Masson, R. Genestie, Rudolf Rudén, F. Volckaert, Dacoglou, and P. Forunel, tells us about the "First study trip by train”. German Railways were the hosts and there attended, among others, Guillaume, Thaon, Rousseau, Charlot, Lemonnier, Azambre, Pontevin, Volckaert and Mathez, the President of the Skål Club Paris, R. Genestie, who later wrote a chronicle of the trip, was also invited. The Bridge and Jacquet Tournaments were called in the same issue.

Parlatore commented in the ‘Boite aux Idées’ section: "Why are the position and the company written on the business cards and not the Skål insignia?" This would be more in tune with the obligation to always wear it visible on the lapel. He also advocated offering Skål a distinction to travel agents who have been in the profession for over 25 years.

In mid-October, we had a third conference called Skål at the Saving Societies Hall, with the theme ‘Tourist Corsica’.

On 04 November, a Gala Dinner, ’The Night of Skål’ was held at the Lido on the Champs-Élysées, under the Honorary Presidency of Mr. H.W. Theobald, from Nord-Deutscher Lloyd, promoted to Knight of the Legion of Honour by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an honorary member of Skål.

This was the Programme:

  • 21.00 Banquet

  • 23.30 Artistic Concert, with the contest of the remarkable Parisian vedettes.

  • 01.30 Great Nautical Event, presented by Mr. Hubert Daix

  • 03.00 Night Party with Cotillion.

Tickets at 60 francs, Pierre Soulié and Bar Cintra, the Skål headquarters, oversaw the sale.

This dinner was the consolidation of one Skål year, the triumph of the Skål Club that came to demonstrate its need and its importance within the great family of Tourism. The French press recognized its success with these words: "Skål has achieved what no other association has ever achieved. The confidence that characterizes this group of young people, with new ideas and boundless activity, has filled us with admiration". At that dinner, one of the other collaborators was Briend, Commercial Director of Air Oriente, Knight of the Legion of Honour, at the Proposal of the Ministry of the Air. Among the attendees, 400 people, we found Tarleton Winchester, Hugh Robinson, PATRY and Klein from United States Lines, Commander Levaique from Cunard Line, Major Bustard and E.J. Smythe of White Star Line, Charles Lacomme from Cie. Générale Transatlantique, S.A. Garcey, A. Manton and de Sayves from Wagons Lits Cook, A. Dobson from American Express, G. Savary from the Hamburg Amerika Line, Reurs from the Holland Amerika Line, Rosasco and Raekkebo from Bennett Travel, Winter and F.W. Stribel of German Railways, H. Villenueve from Air France.

The Skål Club Brussels was founded on 21 November, the Skål Club Lucerne on the 23rd, and Stockholm on the 29th of the same month.

We will continue with them in the following publication of the ‘History of Skål’.


Antonio García del Valle

Honorary President, Skål International