Rotterdam and The Hague Offer Plenty of Meetings Choices
If you are considering taking your event to The Netherlands – most people likely would focus on Amsterdam, but there are two other affordable and easy-to-access cities to look at as well: Rotterdam and The Hague.
“We think that Rotterdam is the new and exciting choice for event organizers, with the same level of service and quality that can be expected from all cities in the Netherlands as a destination country,” said Catherine Kalamidas, account manager for Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau.
She added, “The good thing is that the Netherlands is such a small country that you can actually choose Rotterdam and still include at least two other interesting cities within a 40-minute drive in your incentive program!”
Rotterdam has three main convention facilities and a host of “alternative” venues to hold events, according to Kalamidas.
De Doelen International Conference Center: a purpose-built conference center built as an extension to the concert halls in 2000. Most hotels in the city within walking distance.
Postillion WTC Conference Center: also most hotels within walking distance and a new headquarter hotel inside the WTC is planned. It will be a four-star hotel with 150 guestrooms and an expected opening in September 2019.
Rotterdam Ahoy Conference Center: a purpose-built conference center to be opened in 2020, with a plenary room of 2,750 participants, making it the largest in the Netherlands. This combined with the existing arena and exhibition halls will create a new economic engine for the city of Rotterdam in the field of conventions and exhibitions.
Some alternative places under construction for events include everything ranging from a Dry Dock to a Floating Farm to a Public Art Depot.
“The Floating Farm actually floats on the river,” Kalamidas said. “There is a drive toward making maximum use of available space, so they said, ‘let’s just build on the water.”
Rotterdam is an up and coming convention destination which features many of the Netherlands top economic clusters. Life Science & Health, Maritime, Energy, Agri-food & Smart City / IT among them.
The city is widely seen as a “living lab” by many within the academic and industrial sectors, evidenced by the congresses choosing Rotterdam for their future editions.
Recent wins include IEEE Sensors 2020 congress in a cooperative effort with three of the country’s top Technical Universities, in Delft, Twente and Eindhoven, as well as the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, in cooperation with Wageningen University.
Nicole Brecht, who represents The Hague Convention Bureau, said The Hague, too, has several venues available for local and international meetings and events, including the WTC and World Forum.
“The World Forum is the oldest (meetings) building,” Becht said, adding that it has a large auditorium and 35 breakout rooms, as well as new carpeting, furniture and additional exhibition space.
The WTC is a smaller venue with a plenary room that seats 500 and a hotel that sits on top of the actual venue.
The Hague is home to the Dutch Royal Family, the Parliament, Nobel-prize winning organizations, numerous international companies and is the second largest U.N. city.
Besides drawing in events with leaders from all over the world, The Hague also attracts medical meetings, such as the European Conference on General Thoracic Surgery in 2020, and meetings about meetings, such as the Annual European MPI Congress, set for Feb. 8-12 next year.
“It is an honor to host the next Annual European Forum in The Hague - this is a great outcome for both MPI’s local chapter and our city,” said Nienke van der Malen - van der Horst, the director of The Hague Convention Bureau. “We also see it as a testament to the great collaboration between MPI Netherlands, World Forum The Hague and other partners.”
The MPI conference will be the first to be fully planned and hosted by the local chapter, MPI Netherlands. MPI is the largest international association for meeting professionals with a global community in 19 countries.
“We are the unknown,” Kalamidas said of Rotterdam and The Hague. “There is a knee-jerk reaction to think of Amsterdam but the country is so small people need to look at the second cities. They are much more reasonable and up-and-coming destinations.”