A day in… Utrecht

The city of Utrecht is located in the very heart of Holland. It is host of 3 important universities and therefore full with young people and students. Like Amsterdam Utrecht has a lot of canals. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in Utrecht gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

Utrecht

Facts
Utrecht is part of The Randstad and located in the heart of Holland
City rights since 1122
Population: 328,577

Getting there
Utrecht, thanks to it’s central location in Holland, is easy to reach via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. From there you can take a train or car to Utrecht.

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. Built around the Dom Tower and atmospheric canals it will be easy to find a venue with great views of the city’s activities.

New
There’s always something new in Utrecht. For example; last week was the official opening of TivoliVredenburg. Not only a great new place for concerts and theatre, but also host of 5 large meeting spaces.

Classics
Staying in Utrecht? You might want to consider NH Utrecht. The hotel is located at a walking distance of the most important sites and of the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, the biggest venue of the city. Looking for something smaller? Why not try CitySense, Domus Medica or Grand Hotel Karel V.

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a cigar factory or monumental public school? There are many more inspirational and special venues in Utrecht. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

After your meeting
Utrecht is a great place to spend a day. They have a broad range of museums, shopping areas, restaurants and sights.

Museums
DOM under – Guided tours through the underground cultural and historical center full of archaeological treasures of the famous Dom Tower in Utrecht.
Centraal museum – Classic and modern pieces can be found here.
Dick Bruna House – House of Miffy and it’s maker.
Railway Museum – Trains, trains, trains!

Shopping areas

City centre – The city centre makes for some lovely shopping. The Lijnmarkt is a bustling, busy street with many fashion and shoe shops. Here you can catch glimpses of the beautiful Oude Gracht, which also boasts plenty of special fashion and jewellery shops.
Hoog Cataharijne – Hoog Catharijne is believed to be the biggest shopping centre in Holland. Linked to Utrecht Central Station, it is easily accessible and you will find a shop for everything you need.
Schoutenstraat and Korte Minrebroederstraat: Historical streets just outside the bustling shopping district, with small, exclusive shops. It’s an easy walk from the Neude, definitely worth the trouble!
Vredenburg Market – The largest market of Utrecht is held at Vredenburg. This is where you can buy fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, belts, jackets, accessories and electronics. You are also in the right place for a bread roll with herring, a fresh treacle waffle or a bag of Dutch liquorice. Held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Vredenburg market counts between 75 and 125 stalls!

Restaurants

Casual or Michelin star restaurant? City vibe or intimate setting? A view at the canals or from the canals? Utrecht has it all. Throughout Utrecht you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

Le Connaisseur – monumental / terrace
RAAK! – flexible / central location
Deeg – classic / organic
De Goedheyd  – French / said to be the best restaurant in town

dom tower utrecht

Sights
When you are in Utrecht it is almost impossible not to spot the famous canals and terraces. Don’t forget to visit the Dom Tower that is visible from the entire city. Have a look at the Winkel van Sinkel, one of Holland’s first department stores and the architectural highlight: Rietveld-Schröderhuis.

A day in Utrecht.. 
With all these tips I am almost sure you need a few extra days of stay in Utrecht. Have fun and let me know your favourite part of the city!

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Top 10: let’s go outside!

The summer has officially begun! About time I share a top 10 with you including venues that offer great outdoor facilities for your meeting or after meeting activities.

summer
1) Remember the blog from a couple of days ago? Hotels van Oranje’s Beachclub O. offers several facilities for you business meeting only a few metres from the beach!

beachclub o.

2) Het Rijk van de Keizer (The Empire of the Emperor) is an inspiring meeting location in the grasslands of Amsterdam, situated in a UNESCO World Heritage area. You can have your meeting inside, in one of the historical buildings, or outside in green surroundings. The food served is fresh, organic, seasonal and imaginative.

rijk van de keizer

3) Meet in the open air or in a Finnish Kota, have a barbecue and roll in your tipi tent for a good night sleep. It’s possible at the tipi terrain nearby Nijmegen. There are places to cook your own dinner, but it is also possible to be catered.

tipi

4) At ‘De Heide‘ you can combine meeting and sleeping in a wooden cabin with several cool activities like a falconers workshop, climbing wall or traditional wooden shoe dance.

wooden cabin

5) What’s more fun than to meet in a tree house? The tree house meeting room of Kaban is a unique place under the lee of the Kapellerput estate. A place to get together for a top level meeting out in the splendour of nature. The venue is located in the top of the trees, with breathtaking views across the trees and marshes.

Kaban

6) Meeting in an authentic farm with wet peatland at your feet. This is what meeting location Tent Polle offers in the area of Friesland. Between meetings a ranger takes you along the waters by foot or by barge.

wetland

7) Also very special: meeting on a traditional boat! An inspiring location on the water. Tjalk Titan offers an exciting combination of a traditional white exterior with a modern, luxurious and trendy interior on the inside.

titaan tjalk

8) Meetings with a view on the lake of Laagravense in the Utrecht region? Down Under offers a location with diverse possibilities. They have three meeting rooms, conference packages and a wide choice of (water) activities for corporate events or corporate parties.

down under

9) Meeting in a castle is something different. At Castle Duurstede you can combine inside and outside areas to your liking. This enchanting location is surrounded by a moat and only accessible by a drawbridge. The particular venue, away from any traffic noise, with his unique castle towers and spacious courtyard makes it a special and very unique location.

castle duurstede

10) Have you ever had a meeting in a zoo? Well, at Amersfoort Zoo you can! You can pause intense conference sessions to explore the park with a guide. You can also get to know your colleagues through a unique species game. Do you team mates have more in common with elephants or baboons? Who is actually the hyena of the group?

amersfoort zoo

 

Don’t you get all excited to plan a new meeting with these great outdoor venues? I know I do!

Financial security for your international conference in Holland

Are you planning an international conference in Holland? Then I’m sure you are interested in the following information. Did you know that the Pre-financing & Guarantee Fund can help you pre-finance and/or insure your event, with no additional costs?

finance your international conference

Financial security
When you organise a conference, you have to consider various matters beforehand. After all, even before you receive the registration fees, you have to incur costs. You have to set up a foundation, you have to pay a deposit for the accommodation, and for making brochures or creating a website. In addition, it is uncertain whether the numbers of attendees will meet with your expectations. The Pre-financing & Guarantee Fund (VGF) is intended to give organisers of international, multiple-day conferences in Holland increased financial security. The fund offers two separate schemes which you can use separately or combined; a pre-financing scheme and a guarantee scheme. These schemes encourage organisers to realise conferences. And that benefits several markets in our country. For instance hotels, taxi’s and restaurants.

The pre-financing scheme
As the registration fees will not be received until later, the organisers may not always be able to fund initial expenses like accommodation, marketing tools and a website. The pre-financing scheme of the VGF can help to pay these costs.

Conference organisers may apply to the VGF for an interest-free loan, free of charge; a kind of subsidy scheme for conferences. The loan is capped at € 90,000, with the actual amount depending on the size of the conference and the liquidity forecast.

The guarantee scheme
Most of the income, apart from possible sponsoring, comes from the registration fees of the attendees. This is exactly where the main risk lies for organisers. If the attendance level falls short of expectations, this yields less income, which will impact the overall conference budget.

In order to minimise this risk, the VGF offers the possibility of a guarantee. This guarantee allows the conference organisation to guarantee that the event will take place, in spite of possible disappointing numbers of attendees. The guarantee is capped at € 90,000, and the actual amount depends on various aspects, such as the size of the conference, the history of the conference, possible sponsoring, and the overall budget. Moreover, the budget must have been drawn up competently.

About the Pre-financing & Guarantee Fund (VGF)
The VGF was set up over 25 years ago, and was an initiative of the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and some twenty organisations in the Dutch conference industry. The aim of the fund is to encourage organisers to hold their conference in Holland. 

Would you like more information? Fill in the contact form or find the telephone number and email on the website.

Holland’s first King’s day: a tourist’s review

Do you remember the Facebook competition a while ago? You were able to win a trip for two to Holland during King’s day weekend. Daise Graca from Grass Roots was the lucky winner. Curious as I am, I asked her all about first Orange madness experience.

Daise Graca

How did you experience King’s day as a tourist?
I had a great time in Amsterdam on King’s Day! The whole city was dressed in Orange, and everyone was in a party mood.

Could you explain in your own words what King’s day is all about? What can other people expect?
King’s day is the people’s celebration of the King’s Birthday. It’s a major celebration that takes place everywhere in Holland, and in particularly in Amsterdam, by the form of a massive street party.

Where did you go and how did you spend your weekend?
I went to the centre of Amsterdam, to the flea market and went to a party at the RAI Amsterdam.

What was the funniest/greatest part of your weekend?
The funniest part was to see babies and adults dressed up in the orange colour.

Did you try any Dutch foods? Did you go on a canal boat? Did you wear the orange outfit? What was the weirdest outfit you saw on the streets?
I’ve tried a lot of the Dutch dishes and I was particularly found of the chocolate chips you spread on the bread (Mr. Holland: hagelslag!). The weirdest outfit was someone dressed as an Orange! We joined the party and also wore Orange t-shirts. See the picture at the beginning of this blog post!

Will you come back in the future to celebrate King’s day with the Dutch again?
I will definitely go back to celebrate King’s Day.

How did you like your stay at Novotel? What, would you say, are their USP’s?
The Novotel offers very modern facilities, with internet hubs in the lobby and an amazing variety for breakfast.

Would you recommend Novotel?
I will definitely recommend and use the Novotel for my client’s conferences.

Hotels van Oranje: a presidential stay at the beach of Amsterdam

Why hold meetings in a busy, noisy, and distracting city, when you can enjoy a creative and inspirational site? It is proven that people are feeling happier after a day at the coast. The unique location of the Hotels van Oranje allows you to combine your business meeting or event with various great outdoor activities on the beach, at sea, and through the dunes.

Mr. Holland_Hotels van Oranje

Facts

  • The hotel is very well accessible via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or Rotterdam The Hague airport.
  • The hotel is located at walking distance from the beach, dunes and forest.
  • The Noordwijk area is popular for it’s atmospheric ambiance throughout the year.

Kings, Presidents & CEO’s
The presidential hospitality of Hotels van Oranje is certainly not unknown in the world. Many Kings, Presidents and CEO’s have stayed at Hotels van Oranje in the past and in the present.

Before the Nuclear Security Summit took off in March 2014, Hotels van Oranje hosted the Sino-Dutch Economic Forum. Special guests: King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, but also Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. The Chinese delegation stayed at the Hotels van Oranje during the entire NSS. While Mr. Xi Jinping attended the summit, his wife visited the beautiful Keukenhof. They really appreciated that the hotel showed flexibility and were able to create 24 suites for their delegation. And that is one of the specialties of Hotels van Oranje, they have the capacity of a conference hotel, but they keep holding on to the charm of a boutique hotel.Hotels van Oranje

Endless possibilities
There is an infinite number of possibilities, which can be custom made for the purpose of your meeting or event. The team of Hotels van Oranje has a lot of experience with small to large conventions. Their event managers can help you create a very successful event that nobody will forget any time soon. Hotels van Oranje is located in a city that is the second-ranked international convention venue of the Netherlands. And due to recent renovations through the entire hotel, there is a unique mix of warm charm and modern interior in all the meeting and hotel rooms.

hotels van oranje hotelkamer

Renovations
During the last few years the Hotels van Oranje have invested tremendously in the modernization of all hotel facilities. Most recently all the hotel rooms in Hotel Oranje have been completely renewed. At the beginning of 2014 the Superior Deluxe rooms were delivered including completely renovated bathrooms.  The Hotels van Oranje have also created 4 new, contemporary Executive Suites! These suites have a staggering dimension of 60 m2 and are an oasis of pure luxury. Next to the hotel rooms also the stylish Imperial Bar, Aqua Sauna Oranje, Beauty Oranje, meeting rooms and the hotel lobby are renewed.

Activities
Plan some breaks during or after your meeting and combine it with great activities such as power kiting, coast rafting, beach golf or perhaps even tug of war with or against your management team! But how about designing and making your own sand sculpture, discover the flower bulb area with a balanced Segway tour or an unforgettable Vespa lifestyle experience! And at night you will be dancing it off in the Hotels van Oranje very own Beachclub O. How cool is that?

I bet I made you curious. Check out the Pinterest album I made with several shots from Hotels van Oranje.

10 tips to make your flight as comfortable as possible

Flying is the fastest and safest way to get you at your destination. But it’s not always the most comfortable one. From my own experience over the last few years I’ve collected these tips for you. Hope your next flight will be a lot more comfortable!

flying in economy class

Online check-in
Most airlines offer online check-ins 24 hours before your flight departure. This not only saves you time at the airport, but allows you to pick a good seat. (not near the toilet for example)

Travel light
When you only bring hand luggage you don’t have to check in your suitcase and wait for it to collect it at your destination. It saves you a lot of time and could also save you money for certain non-continental flights.

Ask for a spacious seat
There are a few seats that are more spacious than others, by the emergency exit for example. Ask for this seat when you’re arriving early at the airport, maybe you’ll get a free upgrade.

Hydrate
Drinking water is always a good idea, especially when you’re up in the air. Hydrating will make you feel less tired and will help you overcome jetlags faster.

Adjust to your new time zone
Going somewhere with a different time zone? Set your watch as soon as you are seated. You will sooner feel comfortable with your new day rhythm.

Bring your own flight essentials
Ear plugs, eye mask, body cream, neck pillow. All items you should standard bring on a flight. They may seem stupid, but they will make all the difference!

Wear flight-proof clothes
You don’t want to be the person that walks out an airport looking like you just had a bad 12 hour flight, even if you had. Think about what you wear. Don’t wear white, because chances are you’ll spill airplane food during turbulence. Don’t wear fabrics that creases easily, like cotton or linnen. And bringing a fresh shirt is always a good idea!

Bring your own entertainment
Entertainment comes in all forms. A book, a crossword puzzle or even work. Bring something that keeps you busy for a while, the time will fly by.

Order a different meal
When you book your ticket you can sometimes order a different meal. Vegetarian, lactose free etcetera. Those meals are served first during the flights. That means you’ll be done sooner and have extra time to take a power nap!

Bring music
Do you like the sound of babies crying, people talking and flushing lavatories? Nope, me neither. Bring your own music device and headphones and listen to some classical music or an e-book. Way more relaxing than the other noises around you.

Any tips I forgot? Let me know in the comments!