It’s not easy to remain secret in an age of near-constant surveillance and endless information sources.

But some powerful groups, somehow, have managed it — at least to some degree.

Such is the case with the Bilderberg Meetings, a tight-lipped, off-the-record gathering that summons its participants once a year to discuss global issues and encourage “dialogue between Europe and North America,” according to the group’s website.

The group is hosting its 70th annual meeting this weekend in Madrid, where attendees will discuss a range of contemporary issues.

Here’s what we know.


The annual events are hosted by a group called Foundation Bilderberg Meetings, led by a steering committee of elite members from government, business, tech, and the press.

The first meeting in May 1954 was held at a hotel in The Netherlands, from which the meeting gets its name.

“Representatives from economic, social, political and cultural fields were invited to informal discussions to help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult postwar period,” according to the Bilderberg website.

Known group members have included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, who was once chairman of the Chase corporation.

Recent Meetings

Past meetings have been hosted in Portugal, the United States, Switzerland, and Italy.

“Throughout the years, the annual Meetings have become a forum for discussion on a wide range of topics — from trade to jobs to technology, from monetary policy to investment, and from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security,” the group’s website says.

Despite its secrecy, the group does put out a brief agenda. In 2018, it apparently discussed populism, inequality, and artificial intelligence, among other top issues.

Current members of the Steering Committee include business magnates like conservative megadonor Peter Thiel, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

2024 Bilderberg Meeting

Agendas are publicly released “shortly in advance” of meetings, a spokesperson for Bilderberg Meetings said in a statement to Business Insider.

Members attending this weekend’s meeting in Madrid will discuss artificial intelligence, geopolitical conflicts, the economy, the climate, and the “changing faces of biology,” according to a press release.

“Thanks to the private nature of the Meeting, the participants take part as individuals rather than in any official capacity and hence are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued,” according to the press release.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is listed as a member of the Steering Committee for Foundation Bilderberg Meetings.