A day in… ‘s-Hertogenbosch

If you would like to go off-the-beaten-path for your next meeting or event, I highly suggest the hidden Dutch secret that is called ‘s-Hertogenbosch. I know, it’s a handful to pronounce, but you may also call it Den Bosch, as the city is colloquially known. ‘s-Hertogenbosch has all the ingredients for a well-rounded, memorable event. It’s is a place where old meets new, hospitality meets Burgundian culture and art meets nature – a perfect backdrop for your event.

St. John's Cathedral Den Bosch

Facts

‘s-Hertogenbosch is the capital of the province North Brabant in the south of the Netherlands
‘s-Hertogenbosch, which means ‘The Duke’s Forest’, is colloquially known as Den Bosch
‘s-Hertogenbosch is known for its hospitality and unique Burgundian culture
Population: 150,000

Getting there

With 6 international airports at close by ‘s-Hertogenbosch is superbly accessible. The closest airport is Eindhoven Airport, which is only 35km/22mi from ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport offers frequent daily train connections, which will take you to ‘s-Hertogenbosch in less than an hour. Other airport options in Holland are Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Maastricht Airport. In addition, Düsseldorf Airport in Germany and Zaventem Brussels Airport in Belgium are a respective 110km/68mi and 125km/78mi away.

By the way, ‘s-Hertogenbosch is also known as Holland’s connectivity city, due to its very central location in the country. Conveniently this makes it very easy to reach ‘s-Hertogenbosch by train from all major Dutch cities.

Meeting and business venues

‘s-Hertogenbosch is still one of the off-the-path Dutch meeting destinations, but it truly offers everything to host a great event – no matter the size. From historic venues to modern hidden secrets, ‘s-Hertogenbosch will surprise you with a great variety of event venues. Let me give you a glimpse of what you can expect:

Modern
The brand new KASerne is a hotel, restaurant and unique meeting venue (for up to 200 people) all in one. It’s a place where you experience the hospitality that the region is renowned for. And best of all: one of the meeting spaces is a modernised, former greenhouse.
073 Meeting Company is a modern, no-nonsense event location. Efficient meetings in a pleasant environment, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, a variety of after-dinner options and centrally located. What more can you ask for?!

Classic
Today’s standards combined with yesterday’s values. That’s what Hotel Central in the heart of ‘s-Hertogenbosch stands for. The multifunctional meeting rooms offer space for up to 300 attendees.
De Orangerie is without a doubt one of the most enchanting meeting venues you will find in Holland. The former church dates back to 1859 and will surely leave a lasting impression.
In 1931 ‘s-Hertogenbosch opened its first indoor cattle market. Since then the building has become a historic landmark and is now a convention venue. 1931 Congress Centre Brabanthallen‘s multifunctional space can host up to 2,000 guests.

Hidden secrets
When I say meeting, you won’t necessarily say wellness next. But, it is possible at Meetwell. Experience the perfect mix of business and wellness by adding creative and unconventional elements to your event.

Do you want to add some drama to your event? At Theater aan de Parade you can take your meeting to the theatre stage. The rest is up to you until the curtain call!

After your meeting

In ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which was founded as fortified city, heritage and modern architecture go hand in hand. Did I mention that ‘s-Hertogenbosch is most renowned for its Burgundian culture? Enjoying the good life is definitely part of the city’s DNA. This mix makes ‘s-Hertogenbosch an attraction in itself and offers you plenty of opportunities to relax and recharge before, after or during your meeting or event.

Museums
From historical to contemporary art, from young designers to renowned artists like Jheronimus Bosch or Vincent van Gogh – you can enjoy it all in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Take a guided tour through one of the museums or discover the inspiring works by yourself.

Stedelijk Museum: museum for contemporary art and design and one of the two museums located in ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s museum quarter.
Het Noord Brabants Museum: the second museum located in the museum quarter displays regional art, history and culture including original works by Jheronimus Bosch and Vincent van Gogh.
Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre: It’s all in the name! The international knowledge and experience centre is a unique tribute to Jheronimus Bosch and a ‘must-see’ while in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Sights
The river Binnendieze is arguably one of the most popular attractions in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Sail the canals and gain unique insights into the history, architecture and culture of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Even better: take the Jeroen Bosch ‘Heaven and Hell’ boat trip on the river, which takes you along sculptures from Jheronimus Bosch paintings, a unique screening of a short movie and ends at the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center.

If you prefer heights over smooth sailing, you might want to opt for the ‘Een wonderlijke klim‘ (‘An Enchanting Climb’) tour up the Sint-Jan Cathedral. In this dizzying experience you can walk along the cathedral’s roof gutter and discover the 96 sculptures otherwise almost impossible to spot. And while you’re up there, you should not forget to take in the breathtaking view of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the beautiful region.

Bosch by Night is a spectacular open-air light show on the market square in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Jheronimus Bosch once had his studio.

Shopping
Don’t let ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s smaller size fool you. It’s still a shopping heaven with more  than 150 shops waiting to be discovered. Just stroll around the city and thou shall find! My favourite areas are around Snellestraat and Verwersstraat, where you can find inspriational boutique shops. Caught a rainy day? Visit Conceptstore Robbies for indoor fashion, lifestyle, food and coffee.

Restaurants
As I may have mentioned once or twice before, ‘s-Hertogenbosch breathes Burgundian culture and hospitality. So no surprise that you will have a hard time choosing your culinary experiences while in town. There are three main restaurant area’s in the city centre: Uilenburg, Korte Putstraat and Parade, where your taste buds will surely be satisfied. But just in case you’re simply not able to choose, here are a few recommendations:

Korte Putstraat Den Bosch

Noble: dine in the informal restaurant, enjoy an intimate dinner or simply have a drink at the bar and enjoy the distinguished Chalet Royal building. Tip: Noble also offers a meeting room for up to 12 people.
At Fabuleux not only the French seasonal cuisine will appeal to your senses, but also the cozy, historic building in the heart of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Looking for a more unusual dining experience? The menu at Sense consists of a variety of small courses, which can be ordered in random order. I should also mention that Sense proudly holds a Michelin star.

If you want to experience the burgundian atmosphere like the locals do, I highly recommend paying a visit to the local beer brewery Cafe Bar Le Duc. They even have meeting space for up to 12 people. Make sure to try the Jheronimus Bosch Beer and maybe even go on a tour of their brewery.
Beer really isn’t your thing? Fear not! Wijnbar Bij Dirk is ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s first true wine bar offering wines from around the world. Just sip and enjoy surrounded by a chique and trendy interior.

And last but most certainly not least (well, not in my book anyways): you simply cannot leave ‘s-Hertogenbosch without tasting one typical and very famous local pastry: the ‘Bossche Bol’ at bakery Jan de Groot. This delicious pastry is filled with whipped cream and coated almost entirely with dark chocolate. Hmm..

A Bossche Bol - Jan de Groot

A day in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

‘s-Hertogenbosch is one of those cities that you can talk about quite a lot, but that simply has to be experienced. Nonetheless, I hope you have gotten a good taste of our hidden gem in the southern part of Holland and the possibilities it offers as meeting and event destination. Please feel free to reach out to my colleagues from Convention Bureau Brabant for more information.

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A day in… Eindhoven

If you are looking for a creative environment for your next meeting or event, Eindhoven is without a doubt your place to be in the Netherlands! Known as the design capital of the Netherlands, Eindhoven is a creative hub in the fields of design, technology and knowledge. Philips’ influence on the (development of) the city can be experienced everywhere. Choosing Eindhoven as the destination for your next meeting, convention or event will leave you buzzing with inspiration – guaranteed!

Septemberplein Eindhoven

Facts

Eindhoven is the 5th largest municipality in the Netherlands
Eindhoven is the capital of Dutch Industrial Design
Eindhoven is a creative hub in the fields of design, technology and knowledge
Population: 225,000

Getting there

Due to its convenient location in the south of the Netherlands, Eindhoven is easily accessible from 5 of international airports in The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium: Eindhoven Airport (just outside the city), Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (1.5 hrs), Maastricht Aachen Airport (1 hr), Rotterdam The Hague Airport (2 hrs), Zaventem Brussels Airport (Belgium, 1.5 hrs) and Dusseldorf Airport (Germany, 1.5 hrs).

In addition, Eindhoven is easily accessible by train and car from all major cities in Holland.

Meeting and business venues

Eindhoven offers a wide range of classic, modern and unique meeting and convention venues. The price-quality ratio of the region’s hotels and venues are favourable compared to the more renowned Dutch cities, which makes Eindhoven an excellent alternative meeting destination.

Industrial
The Klokgebouw is the epitome of a creative hub. The former Philips factory was fully transformed and now offers space for creative entrepreneurs and companies. In addition, event space for up to 10,000 visitors is available. The Klokgebouw, which is located on Eindhoven’s creative ‘mile’ Strijp-S, is also home to the Blue Collar Hotel.
Another former Philips venue is Radio Royaal, which now first and foremost serves as a restaurant. However, the venue is also available for meetings and events of all sorts. The characteristics and machines of the former energy hall have been preserved, giving the space its impressive industrial feel.

Classic
If you are looking for a more classic meeting or event location, Eindhoven has you covered as well. Evoluon is an iconic, eye-catching, multifunctional venue that your attendees will never forget. Hotel Pullman Cocagne Eindhoven has a beautiful winter garden with space for up to 400 delegates – amongst many other meeting spaces. 040 Congress & Events is a state-of-the-art congress centre with meeting capacities for up to 2,500 people. And if you want to connect with a network of world-class innovators you should definitely consider Eindhoven’s Hightech Campus Conference Center for your event.

Hidden Secret
Light up your event at Lac Studios. The former Philips Lighting showroom has been transformed into three unique meeting spaces that will leave your attendees enlightened.
If you are looking for a bit more serenity, ‘t Boshuys might be the hidden secret you’re looking for – quite literally! Located just outside of the city, ‘t Boshuys is a peaceful and serene event location in the middle of a forest.

After your meeting

As design capital of the Netherlands it comes as no surprise that Eindhoven is buzzing with creative energy. Something that you are bound to experience after your meeting.

Museums
Eindhoven offers a variety of museums covering art, design, technology, sports and more. Here are a few not-to-miss suggestions:

Van Abben Museum: one of the first public museums for contemporary art established in Europe
Philips Museum: Experience 125 years of Philips history and discover a world of innovation and entrepreneurship
DAF Museum: See more than 120 historic vehicles and learn about innovation and technology in the car industry
PSV Museum: Discover 100 years of PSV history. A must for every football fan!

Sights
Eindhoven offers some pretty unique sights and things to do. But then again, that is to expected from such a creative city! How about a Space Walk in the city? Download the app ‘Ruimtewandelen in het Stadswandelpark’ (space walk in the park) from the App store or Google play. Then take a walk in the Stadswandelpark (city park) and you just might encounter an astronaut and other space creatures. Afterwards you can visit the Observatory, which is also located in the park. If you are up for a bike ride, you should definitely take a bike tour to the Van Gogh -Roosegaarde bike path, which is part of the van Gogh cycle route.

Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path - Eindhoven

Strijp-S is an industrial park turned creative, innovative and cultural hot spot where the people and entrepreneurs of Eindhoven get together to be inspired and inspire, have a drink, shop, live, work and meet. Just taking a break here and sipping a coffee will get you buzzing with creative energy.

On the 18 September Plein in Eindhoven’s old city centre you will find The Blob, an architectural masterpiece by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. The unique glass and steel structure also forms the entrance to The Admirant shopping mall.

Shopping
Eindhoven’s city centre offers lots of shops, warehouses, design and concept stores – and all within walking distance. Stores are open 7 days a week (except for a few holidays) making Eindhoven a fabulous shopping city.

Urban Shopper – located on Strijp-S – is an exclusive, urban shopping oasis. Here you’ll find everything from industrial furniture, the latest fashion, antiques, unique and creative handmade products and so much more. I dare you to take a stroll and not buy anything!

De Bergen is a charming, artistic area located in former historic city centre of Eindhoven and perfect for a leisurely stroll. The streets are lined with cozy cafes and an array of art-, book- and antique stores.

Every third Sunday of the month, the Feel Good Market takes place at Strijp-S. It’s a lively market filled with design, art, fashion, vintage, kids stuff, (organic) food and regional products. If you happen to be in town, this is a happening you won’t want to miss!

Restaurants
Eindhovenoffers culinairy options for any taste and budget. Here are a few of my favourites:

Ketelhuis: housed in Philips’ former transformer building, Ketelhuis is becoming the living room of the Strijp-S area. It’s a restaurant, bar, food lab, coffee place, bakery and even has a rooftop garden. Don’t blame me if you won’t want to leave again!

Puur Pien: Artist-turned-chef Pien cooks all meals herself using only pure ingredients. Puur Pien is a small, cozy place where you feel right at home. Tip: if the weather is great just get everything to-go and enjoy your meal outdoors.

Vestdijk 47: Enjoy a new French cuisine where classic cooking styles meet modern presentation. Part of Vestdijk 47 is Bar 47, which offers a great assortment of luxurious digestives.

Wynwood: stylish, sexy, delicious and accessible. That’s Wynwood. Located on the infamous Strijp-S Wynwood is a great spot for business appointments, lunch, dinner or drinks & nibbles.

Piet Hein Eek: internationally renowned designer Piet Hein Eek’s restaurant is much more than that: it’s an art gallery, meeting space and dinner house. And of course the interior is styled with his own designs. Get ready to get inspired!

And, if you really can’t choose you can also take a culinairy city walk, a great way to get a taste of Eindhoven.

A day in Eindhoven

I have to be quite honest with you here. A day in Eindhoven simply isn’t enough to discover this Dutch gem of a city. I’ve spent many days in Eindhoven and still get surprised every time I visit. But like they say, you always need a reason to come back. And Eindhoven will give you plenty of reasons.

Dutch habits: we’re happy!

As most of you probably already know by now, I am a huge music fan. Maybe you have even seen me perform during one of the many gezellige Happy Hours at the Holland stand at meeting conventions all over the world? And in case you missed it, I even wrote a song about adding some orange to your world. What can I say? Music just makes me happy.

But truth be told, it’s not only music that makes me happy. There must be something in the Dutch water, because Holland consistently makes it to the top ten of happiest countries in the world.* Well, maybe it’s not so much the water, but more about the way we live our lives in Holland. Let me introduce you to some of the Dutch habits that might shed a light on why the Dutch are so happy.

Part-time work

The Dutch are different

The Dutch are different

Yes, I can confirm that the rumors are true. The Dutch not only mastered the art of painting, but also the art of part-time work. More than 50% of the Dutch population works part-time, which in our book means less than 36 hours a week. The reasons for working part-time for both men and women are very diverse, often personal and even go back in history. But in the end it all comes down to this: it’s all a matter of balance. The Dutch have a rather laid-back approach to work and know that there is more to life than work alone. But, don’t get me wrong now! This doesn’t mean that the Dutch are lazy. Quite the contrary! The Dutch are renown for their strong business skills, directness, no-nonsense approach and getting-things-done attitude. We just like to work efficiently so that we have more time for the important things in life.

Let’s borrel!

Like borrelen, for example. We sure do love a good borrel, no matter where in the world we are. There actually isn’t a word in the English language that would sufficiently translate the meaning of the word borrel. Essentially, a borrel is a more or less informal social gathering while having a drink (or two), some Dutch finger food like cheese or bitterballen and enjoying good company. There are Friday afternoon borrels, after work borrels (which can take place any day of the week really), during work borrels, Sunday morning borrels, after sports borrels, …. You name it, we can always find a reason for a good borrel. In fact, a borrel often takes place after an important (business) meeting and is a great and informal way to further discuss plans, strategies or even close business deals. Some people say the best business deals are sealed by the water cooler, in Holland it’s during a borrel!

Borrelen during Happy Hour at the Holland stand

Borrelen during Happy Hour at the Holland stand

Do you want a taste of a great Dutch borrel? Then make sure to come visit me during Happy Hour at the Holland stand at one of the many international events I’m visiting. Next up: IMEX Frankfurt. See you there?!

We are truly gezellig!

A borrel is also a great means to experience some true, Dutch gezelligheid. Just like borrel, there is really no proper way to translate this extremely commonly used word into the English language. It’s also very hard to describe what gezelligheid is exactly. Gezelligheid, often used as a verb pointing out that something is gezellig, is essentially a feeling that can describe a range of (positive) emotions. For example, a borrel – especially after a hard day’s work or a successful business meeting – is generally perceived as gezellig. Meeting your best friend for coffee is always gezellig. Even having a business dinner can end up being very gezellig (on top of hopefully being successful). Going on vacation is definitely gezellig. But also attending a post tour after a convention surely is gezellig. Even US president’s Barack Obama’s trip to Holland to attend the NSS top in The Hague in 2014 has been ‘truly gezellig’.

I dare say that the word gezellig is likely the most commonly used word in the Dutch language. Here’s a fun challenge: learn to pronounce it as best as you can and then tell the next Dutch person you talk to that it was truly gezellig meeting them. Let me know how it went, will you?

It’s all about the balance

While there is no scientific research showing that these habits do in fact increase the general state op happiness of the Dutch people, these habits surely play an important role in our everyday lifestyle. And like I mentioned before, the Dutch are pretty good at making sure their work life balance doesn’t get out of hand.

I’m curious, have you experienced any of these Dutch habits while visiting Holland or doing business with the Dutch? Or are there any other habits that you’ve come across that struck you as typically Dutch? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

*World Happiness Report 2016 Update

 

Sustainable meetings: some of Holland’s greenest hotels

In my previous blogposts we explored many options to make you meeting more sustainable. After discussing eco-friendly travel, green catering and waste reduction, it is time to have a look at the accomodations for your meeting delegates. Hotels are not particularly famous for being sustainable. Most of them consume huge amounts of resources and produce tons of waste in return.

Luckily, more and more hotels are joining the green movement and started to reduce their environmental impact. In Holland many hotels have achieved Green Key status which means that they have taken effective measures to save energy and water and to reduce waste production. Hopefully these 3 great example inspire you to do the same!.

3. Mercure Hotels

After receiving the Green Key Award for all its hotels, the Mercure chain was also the first one in Holland that offered CO2-neutral meetings. This means that Mercure compensates the CO2 emission of its hosted meetings by investing into sustainability projects of the Climate Neutral Group. Since 2011 the money is donated to the biggest windmill park in Taiwan.

Blog Holland sustainable meetings hotels windmills

2. Inntel Hotels

All hotels of the chain Inntel have received the Green Key Award in 2011 with a score of 37 points. This makes Inntel one of the most sustainable hotel chain in Holland. The  accomodations in  Amsterdam, Zaandam, Rotterdam and Zutphen applied a very eco-friendly buying policy. They only use eco-labelled, recyclable or fair-trade products and purchase them in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging material. Waste is carefully sorted and in a large part recycled or composted.

Blog Holland sustainable meetings  hotels inntel rotterdam

1. Green Meet*s Resort

One of my personal role models for sustainable hotels is the Green Meet*s Resort in Erica (Drenthe). Green Meet*s aims to have the most eco-friendly alternative for all daily practices. The resort has installed underground heat pumps that supply the accomodation with earth heat in the winter. During the summer, they have a cooling effect. Waste water is cleaned by a helophyte filter and is reused to sprinkle the gardens and golf courses. The roof of the building is covered with solar cells. The hotel has plans to become fully self-sustaining in energy.

Blog Holland sustainable meetings green resort drenthe

The impact of hotels

The environmental impact of hotels lies in three key factors: energy, water and waste. Most hotels possess energy- and water-intensive facilities for lightening, heating and amenities which emit more CO2 than an average household. Additionally, the average hotel guest is not likely to treat his hotel room with the same economical concerns as his own houshold – it would not change his bill after all.

It is estimated that hotels produce one kilogram of waste per guest per day. Managing this waste is an environmental and financial problem. Therefore green hotels are looking for waste preventing solutions and alternatives to the landfills.

Choose green

When you plan a green meeting, your should also take a careful look at the hotel you select. You can find a list of sustainable hotels in Holland on the official website. Which hotel would you recommend for green meetings?

New in Holland: Utrecht converts office building into hotel

The Papendorp business district in Utrecht is one of the most sought-after and most expensive office locations in Holland, as it the most centrally located spot in the country. Companies such as CapGemini, Mercedes-Benz, Siemens and KPN have offices here.

The former Maximus office building was converted into the recently opened 118-room-large Holiday Inn Express Hotel Utrecht, with a lounge, bar, breakfast room and meeting rooms. The hotel is located within walking distance of top meeting location Domus Medica.

Check for more info: www.hiexpress.com

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