5 new ‘hidden secrets’ of Holland: venues and meeting spaces you will not easily find by yourself

Not all venues make the guides. You need to be told about these exclusive gems by insiders who know their way around Holland. Read about my latest discoveries.

Harbour View Penthouse – The Hague

Literally a prime location with stunning views. Once you exit the elevator you enter an incredible space, overlooking the harbour, the city, dunes and sea. The glass outer walls create an overwhelming world of space and light! Harbour View Penthouse will make you and your guests feel pampered at the best spot in the fishing port of The Hague.

Suitable for all types of meetings and smaller events, the venue has all the facilities and amenities you require. In addition to the ‘living room’, board room for 20, and two break-out rooms, there is the rooftop terrace with sea views. A place so spectacular that your guests will regret that the meeting has ended.


Science Centre Delft

A meeting in the Faculty Room of the Science Centre Delft, part of the Delft University of Technology, is definitely an exclusive one. The room is located in the characteristic building of the faculty of Mining Engineering that dates back to 1911.

The Science Centre Delft offers an inspiring technical and scientific environment for meetings and
brainstorming sessions. The Faculty Room, the old lab, is one of the most surprisingly designed rooms at Delft University of Technology, and the Executive Board uses it for its meetings. The boardroom table in the form of a beautiful airplane, which seats a maximum of 24, has a particularly inspiring effect on the delegates, just as the wall of LED-lighted algorithms. And if you turn around for a look outside, you are drawn by the beautiful views of the Botanical Gardens of the Delft University of Technology. The venue has three additional workshop/break-out rooms for fifteen to 40 people. As an added bonus a visit the to the Science Centre Delft is included when using this meeting space.


Het Glazen Huis – Apeldoorn Area

Het Glazen Huis (The Glass House) is much more than just a pleasant meeting place in a beautiful location. With its focus as a centre for leadership and organization, the venue supports trainings, events, and meetings in whatever way they can to help the meetings reach their full potential. Het Glazen Huis wants everyone to feel at home as soon as they enter. Have you ever met in a living room that leads into a greenhouse? Part of this exclusive venue was built in a former greenhouse.

In addition to the characteristic rooms and enthusiastic support, the location has a special extra. During the ‘Span of Control’ programme, meeting participants learn to handle horses, in return for which these noble animals help increase participants’ self-knowledge and skills. The programme is not only very educational, it is also a relaxing way to enhance mutual contacts and realise a meaningful meeting for participants.


De Koperen Hoogte – Meeting in a former water tower in Zwolle

The ‘De Lichtmis’ (The Purification) former water tower has been a striking landmark in the Zwolle area since 1932. The building was saved from imminent demolition in 1993 and transformed into a unique hotel and meeting location.

De Koperen Hoogte (The Copper Height) literally offers top-level meetings in the luxury meeting rooms at the top of the water tower. Closer to the ground, the beautiful conservatory accommodates gatherings of up to 200 people, and the Herenzaal (Gentlemen’s Room) accommodates 170 for a meeting.

The many facilities include a 4-star hotel with sixteen rooms, two suites, and a private golf course. The combination of spectacular views and gastronomy provides a special touch when dining in the unique revolving La Tour restaurant. It is located at 50-plus meters high, and in just over three hours you will experience a 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape.


La Caverne de Geulhem – The most stunning no-view-at-all

When looking for great views, this venue is the complete opposite of what you expect your search to unveil. Yet, your guests will never forget a meeting, dinner or event held at the Caverne de Geulhem (the Geulhem Caves,) in one of the southernmost parts of Holland.

The authentic quarry, 30 feet underground, boasts all the modern facilities for a memorable meeting. The three caves can each accommodate up to 50 people U-shape, or more than 100 people theatre-style. Combined, they offer a spectacular backdrop for sit-down dinners. And you do not have to worry about cold feet as the entire venue is equipped with under-floor heating.


At which of these ‘hidden secrets’ would you like to organize a meeting? And why do you prefer this one? Let me know in the comments!

My favourite session at the Elite Meetings Alliance event (#EliteMtgsAlliance ): Increasing your Professional Power

People have been asking me: “Mr. Holland, why do you post your favourite sessions of an industry event every week?“. Well, let me explain. It serves 2 purposes. First of all, I always want to learn more about what is at the ‘front side’ of our industry. And of course I would like to exchange ideas about that with you, my reader. So please feel free to comment on my selections.

The second purpose is more long term. By reviewing the educational programmes of our industry events, I will have quite a good grasp of what the trends in our industry are by the end of this year. And of course I will post those findings back to you!

Today is the start of the 3-day Elite Meetings Alliance event in Atlantic City. The Elite Meetings Alliance provides prequalified corporate and association planners and leaders in the luxury hotel industry an opportunity to participate in prescheduled one-on-one meetings. The event agenda also includes continuing education classes for Certified Meeting Professional credits, fun networking events, and a variety of activities.

I am looking forward to following their stream via the hash-tag #EliteMtgsAlliance. And of course, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ session if I could have been there?

This is my top pick. Please let me know what your favourite educational session is, was or would have been!

Increasing your Professional Power while Managing your Stress

Why favourite?
People from Holland are known to for their professionalism as organisers. Thanks to their ample experience in organising conventions, you may rely fully on our professionals for the organization of your international convention or meeting. The Dutch organisers are friendly, pragmatic and decisive. Yet, I am curious to learn from Dr. Teplitz how to increase this ‘professional power’ even further.

Session description:
This presentation addresses the specific situation of the stresses we experience as result of both expected and unexpected change in our lives. And the one certainty for the 2000’s is that the rate of change will continue. Participants will learn techniques that will enable them to cope with the stress of change more productively and effectively.

Research shows that we use less than 10 percent of our brain power. Imagine the difference in your life as a leader if you and the people around you could access more of this hidden potential. The session gives you actual tools for achieving unlimited leadership growth by unleashing the power of your mind.

Speaker: Dr. Jerry Teplitz, Jerry Teplitz Enterprises, Inc.

What is your favourite pick?
Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my selection. And of course I would love to hear any tips you use to manage your stress and increase your professionalism.

Holland’s Top 10 finest design hotels: a fine and out-of-the-ordinary selection

When you travel, where you stay is as important as where you go and what the purpose of the meeting is. A comfortable environment, the quality of the facilities and amenities that are important to you, and friendly and service-oriented staff, and an inspiring and relaxing atmosphere. I understand that each meeting delegate’s preferences are different. Therefore I have a wealth of interesting picks for your next stay in many categories.

In this post I share my fine and out-of-the-ordinary selection of design hotels in Holland.

10. Hotel Arena

Hotel Arena in Amsterdam is anything but standard. This is where hip, business, creative talent, young and old meet. From early morning until late at night, from breakfast to club. In an informal, intimate setting in which Dutch Design and history merge.


9. Mozaic

Located in two monumental buildings dating back to 1880, Mozaic combines first-class service with modern design. Hotel Mozaic in The Hague provides stylish accommodation with all modern conveniences, including 25 luxury rooms, two meeting rooms and a pleasant lounge.


8. The Exchange

At Hotel The Exchange fashion meets architecture in the most unexpected and inspiring way. All 61 rooms,  ranging from one to five stars, allowing for every budget, are ‘dressed’ like models, allowing visitors to sleep in fashion and wake up in style.


7. Hotel Badhu

Badhu is a small eight-room hotel and restaurant, located in a former bathhouse. Inspired by Moroccan hammams, this beautiful building is situated in one of the nicest spots of Utrecht. Each room has its own look and feel through different colours and decoration, all in Arabic design.


6. Hotel Stroom

Stroom Rotterdam is situated in the former electricity plant in the new Lloyd Quarter. The hotel offers 21 studios that are equipped with all the comfort and mod cons you might need. In most studios, you can lay back and admire the starlit sky while having a bath – and even while lying in bed, in some of the rooms.


5. Villa Ruimzicht

Villa Ruimzicht Hotel & Restaurant is located in a monumental building dating back from 1853 in a city park near the city centre of Doetinchem. The beautifully restored building offers two restaurants, meeting rooms, provocative Dutch art and a cooking studio. Sleeping at Hotel Villa Ruimzicht is an experience for all your senses. You have a choice of four Dutch design styles, themed Romantic, B2B, Lifestyle and Water Fun.


4. Zenden Design Hotel

If white is your colour and sports is your thing, be sure to put Design Hotel Zenden in Maastricht on top of your list! Situated in one of the oldest and most romantic parts of the city, three monumental buildings together form this small hotel and nearby studios. Zenden also offers a sports centre and ‘Swim Club’, located in a Romanesque arched pool.


3. Kruisherenhotel Maastricht

The former Kruisheren (Crutched Friar) cloister dates from the fifteenth century. Situated in the heart of Maastricht, the cloister and monumental gothic church have been transformed into a very special design hotel. It is a unique property, in which antiques and modern design are interwoven, while, at the same time, architectural contrasts between the past and the present are very clear.


2. Manna

In the city of Nijmegen and beyond, Manna is known for its personalized accommodation, top service and intimate and luxurious experience. The hotel has been honoured with many hospitality and ‘best hotel’ awards over the years. Hotel Manna is situated in a beautiful historical building in the centre of Nijmegen. Guests will be pampered, as the hotel offers only six spacious and luxurious suites, each with its own design and atmosphere.


1. Dutch Design Hotel Artemis

Dutch Design Hotel Artemis is a deluxe 4-star modern design hotel, situated between Amsterdam city centre and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The hotel offers 256 comfortable design rooms, and eleven multi-functional meeting rooms. Distinguishing architecture, surprising and inspiring Dutch design and art collections are coupled with a warm welcome and personal service.


My 3 favourite sessions at IncentiveWorks ( #iwshow ): what are yours?

This week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, IncentiveWorks takes place in Toronto. IncentiveWorks is Canada’s largest and longest running education and trade show event for the meetings, incentive travel and special events industry. I am looking forward to following their stream via the hash-tag #iwshow. And as you might have expected by now, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ eductional sessions if I could have been there?

These are my top 3 picks. Please let me know what your favourite sessions are, were or would have been!

1. Taking Incentive Travel to the Next Level

Why favourite?
Incentive travel is under a magenifying glass and the return on investment is being questioned. I am always curious to hear how industry experts propose to deal with these challenges. Here in Holland I see a lot of planners combining the strength of an emotional experience with a learning experience; a so-called ‘meetcentive‘. Would these experts see this as a way to move forward too?

Session description:
The incentive travel industry is constantly changing and keeping on top of what’s out there and what’s right for you can be challenging. Whether you’re an in-house planner who’s buying incentive travel, a third-party or indie planner who’s planning an incentive travel trip for a client or a supplier who’s selling an incentive property, this is the session for you.
Read more

Terry Manion, Meridican Incentive Consultants
Nicola Kastner, CMP, CMM, Pareto
Kim Bradford, Orient-Express.
Moderator: Alanna McQuaid, M+IT
When: Tuesday August 21, 2012 8:30 – 10:15 AM EDT (GMT -5 hrs)

2. Breaking Through the Noise: Social Media Engagement

Why favourite?
The effective use of Social Media always draws my attention. Esspecially in relation to meetingplanners. Did you know the Netherlands is among the 3 most active countries on Linkedin? By the way,if you have not connected with me, check my different Social profiles in this post or at the bottom of this page.

Session description:
There’s a wealth of information out there on social media. So now that we know what it is, and all the interesting ways it has worked for brands and businesses in the past, what the heck do PLANNERS do with it? In this interactive and very participatory session, you’ll discover how to get your attendees – internal and external – to truly engage with you via social media.
Read more

Presented by: Sidneyeve Matrix, Queen’s University and MatrixMediaFX
When: Wednesday August 22, 2012 8:30 – 10:15 AM EDT (GMT -5 hrs)

The Problem with the Future is… It’s Now!

Why favourite?
Times are changing! So every bit of information we can get on the direction in which our industry is moving, we should get our hands on. That is why I am very curious about the findings of this study by MPI.

Session description:
Discover the latest findings from the MPI Future of Meetings Thought Leadership Initiative study. Gain perspective on the future of technology, social media, meeting design and venues from over 1,500 meeting industry professionals as well as experts from outside our space. This session will raise questions about the future and offer practical ways you can address the trends because the future is for you to invent.
Read more

Presented by: Greg van Dyke, PSAV
When: Wednesday August 22, 2012 9:30 – 10:15 AM EDT (GMT -5 hrs)

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!

5 most beautiful meeting rooms in Holland

A while ago I asked my Twitter followers to tell me which Dutch meeting rooms are the most beautiful, according to them. I have had lots of responses and selected the five most special or origional. Here they are!

1. De Verzameling, Westervoort

De Verzameling De Verzameling in Westervoort, is actually an old church. It has 2 separate meeting rooms. One for 10-12 persons and the other for 36-40 persons.
Check for more info: http://www.deverzameling.nl

De Verzameling

2.  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam

Beurs van BerlageWith its 21 rooms and 5.500 m2 the Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre Amsterdam offers you unique opportunities to organise your meeting, conference or business event. Modern facilities go hand-in-hand with a special, inspiring atmosphere.
Check for more info: http://www.beursvanberlage.nl

Beurs van Berlage

3. Koos & Co’s, Ottersum

Something unique you will find nowhere else in the Netherlands. In a small village, in the middle of the countryside. It offers several different meetingrooms and workshopspaces for small groups.
Check for more info: www.koosbv.nl.

Koos & Co's 4. The Playing Circle “Studio”, Amsterdam

The Playing CircleThe studio can accomodate groups between 2 and 40 people. There is a lot of daylight coming in through the large windows. This makes the place very suitable for creative workshops and brainstorm sessions.
Check for more info: http://www.theplayingcircle.nl

The Playing Circle

5. Het Koninklijke Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT), Amsterdam

KIT AmsterdamKIT was founded in 1910 as the ‘Colonial Institute’ to study the tropics and to promote trade and industry in the (at that time) colonial territories of the Netherlands.Since 1926, KIT has been housed in a historic building at the edge of the Oosterpark. The building is richly adorned with decorative features and symbols referring to different cultures of the world and the colonial history of the Netherlands. KIT offers A large and small conference room and auditorium, eight meeting rooms of varying sizes, an impressive reception area.

Kit Amsterdam

My 3 favourite events at the Olympics in #London2012 : what are yours?

At this moment we are entering the 2nd week of the Olympic Games in London. I am having a great time watching it on TV and following the hash-tag #London12. While following the stream, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ events if I could have been there?

These are my top 3 picks. Please let me know what your favourite sports and events are, were or would have been!

1. All sporting events with Dutch athletes

Just like our royal family, I would spend a lot of time cheering for our Dutch atheletes at the olympics. But I would also look at the games from a professional perspective. Because our country has a dream…

It hopes to once again host the Olympic Games and Paralympics.

Way back in 1928, we hosted the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. It was an unforgettable event for the thousands of participating athletes and masses of supporters. The organisation of the event gave a huge boost to Dutch sport, sport infrastructure, architecture and society.

The power of the Olympics provides strong inspiration for the Dutch nation, which is pursuing this dream of organising the 2028 Olympic Games in the Netherlands. But more importantly, the Dutch sport world is working hard together with a whole range of partners to achieve an even bigger objective, namely to use sport as a tool to raise Dutch society to a higher level.

2. Our ‘home-away-from-home’: the Holland Heineken House at Alexandra palace

Holland Heineken House is the traditional meeting place for the various echelons of the Dutch sports world during the Olympic Games. It is the official, national house of the Netherlands where NOC*NSF (Netherlands Olympic Committee) is the host and where Heineken facilitates and organises the venue. Holland Heineken House started during Barcelona 1992 and London 2012 will be the 11th edition in a row, which means we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary!

The Holland Heineken House is based in Alexandra Palace in North London during the Olympic Summer Games of 2012. In addition to a large hall where the medal ceremonies for Dutch athletes and performances will take place, there will also be various shops, cafes and restaurants, reception rooms for sponsors, athlete facilities, media facilities, an information desk and facilities for NOC*NSF. There will also be a wide variety of things to see and do for visitors during the day. The opening and closing ceremony will be shown on screen at the Holland Heineken House, as well as all the relevant sports events.

3. Sail Royal Greenwich as part of the Peninsula Festival activities

The Peninsula Festival is a unique celebration of music, culture and international business at London’s most spectacular locations, Greenwich Peninsula. Organized by a team of Dutchmen, Peninsula Festival will host a series of concerts, entertainment, events and provide business related hospitality and activities.

Sail Royal Greenwich programmes offer 15 spectacular and specially selected Tall Ships that will grace the Thames. Starting with a Parade into London on the 25th of July 2012 and then twice daily trips of the 15 Tall Ships at lunch and dinner for networking, corporate hospitality, brand launches and conferences until the 12th of August 2012. This is a creative, carefully designed and unique event for London. There are many more opportunities for full and varied multi-day corporate programmes.

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!