In November 1997, Henning J. Claassen launched the initiative "Schützt die Opfer e.V." (Help the victims) to draw attention to the imbalance between state care for victims and perpetrators. It especially helps women and children who become victims of violent crimes or find themselves in need through no fault of their own.
In addition to direct help for individuals or groups of persons, support also applies to recognised organisations that are involved in victim protection and victim support. Since the initiative was founded, people in need, groups of people and recognised organisations have received over 500,000 € in support measures.
After training as an industrial clerk, he booked a freighter passage to California at the age of 20. There he studied psychology and economics for 3 years and earned his living repairing office machines.
In 1967 he returned to Lüneburg, went into business for himself in 1971 and founded his own mechanical engineering company, Meltex GmbH, in 1973. In 1989, he sold the company with 240 employees in Lüneburg, 50 employees in Atlanta/USA, worldwide sales agencies and a turnover of 30 million € to the American Nordson Corporation. At the same time, after two years of construction, he opened the "Hotel Bergström" in Lüneburg, which he expanded in the following years into a hotel ensemble with 131 rooms. Since 2006 it has been the setting for the TV soap opera "Red Roses". In February 2010, after extensive restoration of an old warehouse, he opened the hotel "Altes Kaufhaus" with 83 rooms, also in the historic water district of the city and in the same year, the gallery with its private collection of contemporary art.
In 1983 he founded the Impreglon Group, which emerged from his first company Meltex and, after 1989, gradually transformed into an international service company for surface technology with 37 locations in 15 countries. In 2006 it went public and in 2014 was sold to Aalberts Industries B.V. with a turnover of 150 million €. After an extensive complete renovation, he opened the Relais & Chateau Parkhotel de Wiemsel in Ootmarsum/NL in 2015. In 2017, also after a complete renovation, the historical restaurant Forsthaus Rote Schleuse in Lüneburg was reopened.
Henning J. Claassen is socially committed as a promoter of young company founders and young talents in the cultural sector, as founder and sponsor of the initiative "Protect the victims" and as long-standing chairman of the board of the St. Nicolai community foundation in his hometown. He is an active supporter of Leuphana University Lüneburg and is involved in support projects for students.
In recognition of his numerous diverse achievements the Council of the City of Lüneburg awarded HJC the Honorable Citizenship on April 1, 2017.
Bank Account: Schützt die Opfer e.V.
Bank: Commerzbank Lüneburg
IBAN: DE93 2404 0000 0150 6633 00