Let’s meet in Groningen: a site inspection in the capital of the North

Groningen is frequently called the ‘Capital of the North’ and has a central function in the Northern region of Holland. I have visited the city for you to check out the meeting facilities.

Holland’s city of sustainability and health

Groningen has hosted many international meetings thanks to the great reputation of the Groningen University and the University Medical Centre. EU research has shown that the inhabitants of Groningen appreciate their city more than anywhere else in Europe. Groningen is cherished for its safety, the pure air, a beautiful city centre and pleasant surroundings.

Blog Holland Groningen City

Groningen is Holland’s leading city in green energy. From 19-20 November Groningen hosts the annual Energy Convention, an international platform for senior energy experts to exchange knowledge about energy and sustainability research. Many power companies in Groningen are working together as the Energy Valley Top Club to promote green energy matters. Power companies and other corporates, that are involved into sustainability topics can get inspired by the green spirit that lives in Groningen.

Another prominent topic in Groningen is healthy aging. Since Dutch people are living longer, the universities and medical centre of Groningen have initiated numerous research projects to find out how lifestyle factors influence the aging process. The LifeLines project for example monitors lifestyle and health of three generations of Dutch residents. Corporates in health and geriatric care can clearly benefit from this knowledge.

Blog Holland Groningen Mills

Easy access with Airport Eelde

Groningen Aiport Eelde provides excellent accessibility for international guests. The favourable departure times and the quick check-ins make Airport Eelde an attractive airport for holiday and business travellers. There are frequent flights to many destinations in Southern Europe and the UK and flights to more destinations like Munich, Stockholm and Rome are planned. Compared to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Airport Eelde is less busy and crowded. You can also travel to Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht by train.

Blog Holland Groningen Airport


Groningen offers a wide range of historic and modern venues for big and small meetings. Biggest advantage for low-budgets: Groningen lies 30 percent below the price level in Amsterdam. Here are some recommendations by the Groningen Convention Bureau.

MartiniPlaza Convention Centre
Prinsenhof Hotel
The Wall House
The Aa-Church
Het Kasteel (The Castle)
The Oosterpoort & The Stadsschouwburg
Hanze Plaza
The Martini Church
The Remonstrantse Church

My personal hotel tips: Hampshire Hotel Plaza and NH Groningen

Hidden Secrets

Hayema Herd, a traditional farmhouse with facilities for meetings and conferences. Taste the rural life and sleep in the hayloft in a bed of straw.

Boven Jan, a brand-new restaurant in the heart of Groningen.

Hofjeswandeling, a walk through the city of Groningen along the various guesthouses. In the past these beautiful atria served as a temporary accommodation for the poor. Ask GCB for more information.

130914 Facebook Holland Puzzla Martini Tower

After your meeting

Recently, Groningen has been chosen as the city with the best city centre in Holland. That’s why Groningen is a real paradise for shopping queens. From large chain shops to small, charming stores you can find anything you want. If you prefer enjoying some art you should visit the Groningen Museum. The extraordinary building hosts fascinating exhibitions of paintings and photography. After the long hours of sitting in the meeting room you might also need some physical activity. From the Martini Church Tower you can enjoy an amazing view of Groningen and the surroundings, but first you must climb up 96.8 meters to the top of the 500-year old building. Thanks to the many students in Groningen, the city offers a vibrant nightlife. There is no fixed closing time for pubs and bars, so you are invited to party with the locals until the wee small hours.

More information

What is your impression of Groningen after this report? For more questions about meeting activities in and around Groningen you can contact my friends from the Groningen Convention Bureau.

My vacation report: National Park De Hoge Veluwe

I really had a great time at the UK Meetings Show in London and, earlier this year, at IMEX in Frankfurt. However, after so many exciting days I need a little break. Besides, during the trade shows I met many interesting people who told me about their home countries. This inspired me to take a small trip through Europe. Certainly, I will keep you you up to date with a travel report, including my best holiday pictures.


Vacation warm up

My suitcase is packed and the tickets are booked. Right now I’m chilling at the Drontermeer Beach at National Park De Hoge Veluwe. The Veluwe belongs to Holland’s biggest nature reserves. The park is an ancient man-made landscape that consists of natural and cultivated woodland and parkland.

So much to see and do

The Veluwe is famous for its varied wildlife, including deer and wild boar, and plant species that are native to a heath and drift sand landscape. I took a long walk through the forests today. Tomorrow I would like to rent a bicycle or a canoe to explore the many rivers and lakes. However, it would cost me weeks to see everything.

Blog Holland Holiday Hoge Veluwe

Ancient cities and culture

I’m also planning to visit some of the ancient cities and castles in The Veluwe. Some of them are more than 500 years old! Of course I will also pay a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum with its sculpture garden and the largest privately owned Van Gogh collection.

Hidden Secret

By the way, I have also discovered a new Hidden Secret I would like to share with you. The Engelenburg Castle in Brummen is a great meeting venue with romantic flair. I could really feel the history in this building and it brought me some fresh ideas.

Blog Holland Holiday Hoge Veluwe

Plan my visit to your country

During my Europe trip I will visit the following countries: Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the UK. Can you recommend any great places in these countries I should definitely visit? Please share your secret tip with me!

My report on our last official Queen’s Day, Holland’s largest national event

Yesterday was a big day in Dutch national history: our Queen Beatrix passed her throne to the Prince of Orange. During the day I travelled around our country to report on the activities in different cities.

A summary in pictures (click for enlargement and explanation):

New in Holland: First-class meeting in a soccer stadium

Today’s soccer stadiums are no longer restricted to football. A good example of this is the new Euroborg Stadium in Groningen. On non-soccer days it is the perfect place for meetings, conferences and events.

In addition to large rooms that can accommodate up to 1500 guests combined, it is a surprising experience to gather with a small group for a meeting in the vast stadium. The skyboxes are exclusive rooms for your meeting with a beautiful view of the turf! If you are looking for a meeting break, consider a tour of the FC Groningen stadium, a memorable behind the scenes experience.

Check for more info: www.euroborghoreca.nl

New in Holland: Paviljoen Puur – Fort Diemerdam

A coastal battery in the Defence Line of Amsterdam, Diemerdam once kept the ‘enemy’ outside of the city. The ultramodern Paviljoen Puur blends in with its surroundings, and offers a unique venue for extraordinary encounters between people, history, culture and nature.

The exceptional architecture, modern amenities and historic location make this an inspiring venue for any meeting or event. Close to the city of Amsterdam, yet in the heart of nature. Inside, yet outside, this is the inspirational power of Paviljoen Puur.

Check for more info: www.paviljoenpuur.nl

4 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.

Brabant top venue no longer a ‘secret’: Groenendael

Earlier this month, Groenendael Hotel & Conference Center in Hilvarenbeek, one of the finest training and conference venues in Holland, reopened its doors. The original castle and estate date from the 14th century. In the 1950s Philips became the exclusive tenant, and added a state-of-the-art training centre with 120 rooms, two high-tech auditoriums and over 30 meeting rooms, all located on a beautiful ten-acre-large estate. On 1 October 2012, operations were taken over by meeting venue specialist Regardz and exclusive caterer Hutten, finally making this location available for all meeting planners.

The location is dedicated to developing skills and sharing knowledge, and provides all the facilities required for an uninterrupted and successful training or meeting. All technology required is available, and the food and beverage is tailored to the meeting. There are many breakout and seating areas for secluded discussions or just to relax, plenty of sports facilities and comfortable rooms. And no matter what window you look out from, the impeccable lawns and beautiful nature are all around you.


A whole island for yourself: Fort Island IJmuiden

Fort Island IJmuiden is only accessible by boat. The short crossing is the surprising start of a unique meeting experience! The crossing, the vast fortress, historic rooms and complete equipment for business meetings, make for an inspiring and surprising combination.

This ten-acre-large versatile island lies at the mouth of the North Sea, and is a part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Imagine yourself in an ambience of history, adventure, relaxation and excitement, just 25 minutes from Amsterdam. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers five unique rooms for 10 to 400 guests, and can be rented exclusively.

In keeping with the unique character of the location, special meeting breaks are offered, such as exploring the fort with short, original and invigorating team activities and individual activities.


In the largest painting in Holland: Panorama Mesdag

Panorama Mesdag is a unique location for an unforgettable evening with your guests. Upon entering, you step right into the largest painting in Holland, and imagine yourself 120 years ago in the atmosphere of the old fishing village and developing seaside resort of Scheveningen. Panorama Mesdag is a cylindrical painting, more than fourteen meters high and 120 meters in circumference. The vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen village was painted by one of the most famous painters of the Hague School, Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is the oldest 19th-century panorama in the world in its original site, and of great cultural heritage.

The red and green museum rooms are available for receptions and dinners. Part of this experience is a tour of the museum, which allows your guests a glimpse behind the scenes, where the secret of the Panorama is unveiled. Vincent Van Gogh once reflected that “Panorama Mesdag is the most beautiful sensation of my life. It has just one tiny flaw and that is its flawlessness.


The farmers’ way at Hayema Heerd

An experience that your attendees will long remember and guaranteed to make for an inspiring meeting. This is what the authentic and beautifully located conference and recreational farm Hayema Heerd offers. The impressive farmhouse with its huge trusses, beams and thatched roof is the perfect backdrop for meeting, learning, reflection and innovation.

Your guests may even sleep in the hayloft in a bed of straw, while local agricultural entrepreneurs offer a unique and inspiring break. During a tour they tell you how they manage their businesses and what choices they have made. They give you an interesting peek into their rural lives.


And there are more…

Check my previous blogposts on Holland’s ‘hidden secrets’ via this link: https://meetmrholland.wordpress.com/tag/hidden-secrets