Our History

 It all began with a small group of dynamic young women

who wanted to make contact with newcomers to the area

and help them to settle in ... 

Our Origins



The foundation

The foundation of our Club is due largely to the late Renie Adams, now  Lady Adams, the wife of John Adams, a former Director General of CERN. 

For a very long time she campaigned to obtain any space whatsoever  where the women who came here with their husbands could get  together. It wasn't easy to find a place where they could all meet.



First meetings

At that time, CERN was swarming with keen young physicists and there was no space for their wives.

Initially, Renie created a group of volunteers to help the newcomers. For  example, Pat Pattison would invite all the English-speaking newcomers to her home for coffee, thus helping them to meet other people. She also  helped them with phone calls to doctors, dentists, etc., and provided  information about buses, shops, schools, and local customs.

Early Days



Finally, our own rooms

Things changed after the construction of the new restaurant in the early  70s, "Chez Tortella," named after its flamboyant manager.

We were  finally  able to use two rooms on the mezzanine. So that is how it all  began. At first, it was hard work on every front.



1974 • Our Statutes

Jenny van Hove was the one best acquainted with Swiss  regulations, so it  was she who very kindly agreed to draw up our "Constitution."

In 1974, our Club was created under the name "Club des Cernoises - CERN  Women's Club."


Our Activities



Coffee Mornings

For these newcomers, it was almost impossible to obtain a work permit, and many did not speak french. Thus every Tuesday we held French and English Conversation Groups, first  French and then English. Tuesday thus became the day when most of  us  were free to meet. That is why, when we introduced our Coffee Mornings,  Tuesday was the obvious choice.

At first, we would bring a thermos of hot water and one of coffee, then, little by little, we improved our equipment. We tried to organise the Coffee Mornings around a theme, usually a country. The enthusiasm this aroused encouraged us to continue.



More activities

Soon, excursions and evening events were started.

The Walking Group was started by Vera Geibel, a truly remarkable  woman. She knew every mountain and every way to getting there.

The French Conversation Group, with Jenny, Alice and other leaders,  organized several interesting cultural trips.

Thea Vermeulen initiated the "Intercity Group,"  which ventured on many  interesting trips.

The Cookery Group : Victoria, as a young newcomer, became enthusiastically involved in the project. Renie Adams persuaded Tortella to give a  course in his restaurant kitchen, which turned out to be really interesting  and amusing, and led us to start our own Cookery Group.  In the beginning each person took it in turns to plan a meal with 3 courses for the entire Group. We cooked, we exchanged recipes and we shared the expenses.




CWC, our Club evolves

Since that time, our Club has evolved, with many new activities. In 2017,  the Club changed its name from the CERN Women's Club, to the  CERN Welcome Club, or Club de Bienvenue au CERN.

Now let's forge our Club's future, together !