Overview: The Bilderberg Group meets every year in a well secured (by the CIA), no press allowed, hotel, somewhere in Western Europe or North America. It is named after the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeck, near Arnhem, Holland, where the first meeting took place in 1954.
Around 120 guests are selected for "their experience, their knowledge, their standing and their contribution to the selected agenda" - according to their website bilderbergmeetings.org. They meet to discuss current world topics away from the media spotlight. All discussions are 'off the record'.
But it is this secrecy that makes conspiracy theorists imagine the pure evil they could very well be getting up to, such as organising the assassination of JF Kennedy, or the resignation of Margaret Thatcher.
Those that gather, by invitation only, include presidents (future, present and past presidents - Bill Clinton attended when he was still Governor of Arkansas), former and existing prime ministers (Tony Blair attended in 1993, he became Prime Minister in 1997).
The first meeting was arranged by Joseph Retinger a Polish/American with contacts in top ranks of government. The first meeting was hosted by former SS officer Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.
In an attempt to combat this secrecy the group have now set up a website which list those invited to the gathering: Bilderberg Meeting Participants 2011 and publish the conference agendas from the first meetings in 1954 here.
Main conspiracy theories about Bilderberg:
Ultra right: Zionist plot to rule the world - New World Order
Far left: Distrust capitalist credentials
Private banks (senior members of which are always prominent guests) are scheming to control the world - New World Order
Nazi's, it is suggested, were behind the Bilderberg Group before the first meeting in 1954 - as the allies advanced they needed somewhere to put their money, maybe into international corporations including banks, so they could launch the Fourth Reich
They are managing the world economy for their own ends (eg executive pay has increased massively as a multiple of workers pay at the bottom of the pay scale)
Guest lists for meetings in the past have included:
George W Bush, Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Lord Healey, Henry Kissinger, David Rockerfeller