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LEGO 75th anniversary

August 10, 2007

(Pictures of my creations can also be found in my BrickShelf folder)


1. Introduction (June 2007)

On August 10, 2007 TLC would celebrate its 75th anniversary. They wanted it to be a really special event. All Western European LUG's (Lego User Groups) were contacted with the following message:

"...on Friday the 10th of August this year all LEGO employees throughout the world as well as in Billund will celebrate the 75th anniversary. The anniversary will be celebrated from 11 am till 8 pm by a market place of activities ending with a concert. As part of the market place, we would very much like to give the LEGO employees the possibility of meeting a group of LEGO enthusiasts to discuss your creations, what LEGO products has meant and means to you and how you use LEGO elements in your creations. A tent of 100m2 will be at your disposal.
We hereby invite you as LEGO enthusiast to apply as participant in the anniversary celebration and showcase your best LEGO model as well as assist the LEGO employees in building a LEGO mosaic.
We are looking for 20 LEGO enthusiasts and to give all of you a fair chance, we would like you to send us an application with your name, address, a picture and story of the model you would like to bring for the birthday party, before the 15th of June.
A LEGO jury will select the 20 LEGO enthusiasts..."

I might as well give it a try. And guess what... a few weeks later I received an e-mail from TLC: I was invited to Billund from August 9 until August 11 with my Level 42 mosaic. I decided to take all my sliding puzzles with me too, just to have a little more interaction with the public.

2. August 9

I left home on Wednesday evening (11.00 pm, August 8) for a 940 km trip to Billund, to arrive at my destination by 10.00 am (I took the time to take a nap in the middle of the night). I even had the time to quickly visit the park before noon, before I started searching for the location of the event. It was on one of the huge parking lots of LegoLand Billund (I thought it would have been on the parking lot of the factory, since the parks are no longer owned by TLC).
In the afternoon I got to meet other European AFOL's when everybody was setting up their creations for the upcoming event. We all got a guided tour inside the company, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in there... In the evening we all had dinner together in one of the restaurants inside the park, giving us the chance to get to know each other a little better. Rooms were reserved for us at the LegoLand Village (just 500 metres outside of the park) for two nights.

3. August 10 (the big day)

Here's a list of the European LEGO enthusiasts with one or more of their creations.

Arhus town hall

Caspar Bennedsen (Denmark) made a very nice scale model of the town hall from Arhus.
And he had fun trying to build my sliding puzzles, too...

Caspar playing
One-armed bandit
Michael with Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen

Michael Brandl (Austria) made a one-armed bandit (left) and a candy machine (right). Both machines were NXT or RIS steered. And even Kjeld Kirk Kristiaensen gave it a try...

Michael was a bit unlucky: when he unpacked his creations he discovered that his lugage wasn't handled with care at the airport... It took him a few hours to rebuild everything (lucky for him he also brought his laptop with lots of pictures of his creations).

Candy machine
BMW 635

Andreas Engel (Germany) made a detailed scale model of his own car: a BMW 635.

Andreas Engel
Liebherr A314

Beat Felber (Switzerland) shows his scale model of a Liebherr A314 wheel excavator. Lots of pneumatics in there, and everything is steered with a pneumatic and electric controller unit.
A worthy competitor for Jennifer Clark!

Beat playing

Anders Gaasedal (Denmark) showed scale models of heavy trucks.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to meet him: he wasn't there, which explains the glass-covers of his models (making it difficult to take good pictures).

United States Capitol
Dominic Gerlach

The biggest creation came from Dominic Gerlach (Germany): a minifig-scale replica of the United States Capitol in Washington, which took him four years to build!

The dome
Railway station
Railway station

A beautiful scene by Daniel Kampa (Germany). "Stadörfla": a railway station in medieval style. Lovely details: just look at the angle of the second building.

Daniel Kampa
Sweet / book shop
LegoLand Miniland train

Melody and Christian Krützfeldt (Germany): Mel made beautiful houses (completely decorated on the inside!), a sandcastle and some world-vignettes. Her husband built a train locomotive at the same scale of the trains you find in LegoLand Miniland (now he wants those tracks too, for his backyard...).

Melody Krützfeldt
Christian Krützfeldt

Bruno and Tanja Kurth (Germany) made a lovely diorama of a bakery.

Where's Bruno?

The "Frauenkirche" from Dresden was build by Holger Matthes (Germany).

Holger Matthes

Megan Rothrock (U.S.A.?) is realy into fantasy: Tragons (train dragons), Podagons (pod-dragons) and all kinds of creatures from the Dark Forest.

Megan Rothrock
Car collection
Fairy-tale diorama

Stefan and Anja Sander (Germany) showed lots of stuff: a nice collection of cars, a fairy-tale diorama, some Star Trek stuff (I'm not a trekkie), and Miss Piggy.

Stefan Sander
Anja Sander
Star Wars

Apparently Burkhard Schlömer (Germany) is into Star Wars, with an entire collection of Star Wars battleships.

(He was the most unlucky person of us all: on Friday evening his car broke down, and he wasn't yet affiliated to an international road patrol organization. I hope he made it back home...)

Burkhard Schlömer
Viking boat

Knud R H Thomsen (Denmark) showed something realy original: A huge viking boat. And... what's so original about it? On the inside of the boat there was a railway station with a functioning train!

Knud R H Thomsen
My sliding puzzles and a die

O!... I almost forgot: I (Belgium) was there too!

Nice T-shirt, don't you think?

During the event my mobile phone kept on ringing. Unfortunately I couldn't answer the calls anymore because after the first call the previous evening I completely ran out of credits. When I got back home I called everybody back: apparently those who tried to contact me were journalists or radio presenters who wanted an interview with me (for a newsarticle or a live radio broadcast). The 75th anniversary of LEGO made it to most of the Belgian newspapers (at least the Flemish ones), some articles even with a picture of my Level 42 mosaic (article 1, 2, 3, 4 for Dutch readers).

4. Gifts

The gift

A few weeks before the event, Stefan suggested we could all make a small gift, that could be presented to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen during the event. Final result: we made 8x8 vignettes with the central theme "75".
There were also three window-mosaics handed to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Jette Orduna, and Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. These mosaics - representing the old Lego system logo - were created by Bruno (with a little help from the new mosaic conversion program PicToBrick).

My contribution
All together

5. August 11

On August 9 and 10 we had really good weather of approx. 30°C (I was glad I drove up there during the night), but on August 11 the weather suddenly changed to hardly 20°C. We had planned to visit the park the entire day, but by noon I decided to leave earlier: I already skipped one night and because of the bad weather I might as well drive back during the day (to prevent me from skipping another night). And yes, I made it back home safely, but there were a few traffic-jams along the way (a tilted truck and a pile-up).

6. Epilogue

Because of chronic health problems I don't attend to many events, but for the 75th anniversary of the company I really wanted to make an exception. It was a unique opportunity to meet other European AFOL's. It even was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
All I can say is: "thank you Lego for inviting me to this unique event!"