A day in… The Hague

The city of The Hague is located in the Randstad, a metropolitan region at the western part of Holland. It is the third biggest region of the country, capital of the South-Holland province and host of the government, parliament and residence of the royal family. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in The Hague gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

The Hague

Facts
The Hague is the third largest region of Holland
The Hague is the international city of peace and justice
The Hague hosts most of the foreign embassies and ministries
Population: 510,909

Getting there
The Hague is easy to reach by car, plane or public transportation. The Hague has an airport (Rotterdam The Hague Aiport) just a few tube stops away from the city centre. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the train (60 minutes) or go by car (45 minutes).

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. With its characteristic architecture and picturesque harbour it will be easy to find a venue with inspiring views within the lively city centre.

Case study
In 2014, 58 world leaders were in The Hague to attend the nuclear security summit (NSS) that took place in the World Forum convention centre. The Hague is a well-organised, hospitable and safe convention destination, and showed that it was well able to host 58 world leaders, 3,000 journalists, and 5,000 delegation members.

Classics
Staying in The Hague? You might want to consider the recently opened Marriott Hotel The Hague. But there are many, many, many more options. How about NH Hotel The Hague or Novotel The Hague City Centre?

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a glue and gelatine factory or a former girl orphanage? There are many more inspirational and special venues in The Hague. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

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

Museums
Mauritshuis – Home of the ‘girl with a pearl earring’ painting by master Johannes Vermeer.
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag – A stunning collection of modern art in a beautiful art deco building. Be inspired!
Panorama Mesdag – Watch the sea, beach, dunes and fishing village Scheveningen. The largest circular canvas in Europe, Panorama Mesdag, makes it possible.
Escher in het Paleis – Escher in Het Paleis is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the world-famous artist M.C. Escher, whose art startled millions of people all over the world.

Shopping areas
City centre – The inner city of The Hague is a wonderful place for a shopping spree. You will find many fashion and shoe shops with something to offer for every budget, from exclusive ‘haute couture’ to popular big brands and trendy design shops.
Haagsche Passage – This is the oldest shopping centre in Holland, with beautiful architecture and some really nice shops. There are fashion and jewellery and book shops, as well as a great shop for kitchenware, in the Passage between the Spuistraat, Hofweg and Buitenhof.
Noordeinde: Unique district embracing the Royal Palace. Here you will find renowned art galleries, exclusive antiques shops, and jewellery shops. Go here for contemporary design as well as classical masters.
The Hague Market – It’s the biggest outdoor market in Europe. The Hague Market is locally pronounced as the ‘Haagse Mart’ and is located on Herman Coster street. You can buy just about everything here on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Approximately 25,000 people visit the Hague Market each market day.

Restaurants
Casual or Michelin star restaurant? City vibe or intimate setting? A view at the lively, characteristic streets or from a panoramic high building? The Hague has it all. Throughout The Hague you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

HanTing – Michelin star / Fusion / Asian
Mazie – Biological / Classic
De Dagvisser – Fish / Harbour
Private dining Frederik  – Burgundian / private / business

The Passage The Hague

Sights
When you are in The Hague it is almost impossible not to notice that the sea and beach is close. Visit the fishing harbours or spend the day at the beach in Scheveningen. Also fun to do: exploring miniature park Madurodam and visit all the different palaces in The Hague; such as Noordeinde palace and Huis ten Bosch.

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

Would you like to find out more about The Hague? Then head on over to our The Hague pages on the official Holland Meetings website. There you will also find information about the The Hague Convention Bureau.

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A day in… Rotterdam

The city of Rotterdam has gained a lot of popularity the last year. With a new Central Station and several new venue and building openings Rotterdam made the top 10 in the list of 52 places to go in 2014 according to the New York Times. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in Rotterdam gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

Rotterdam skyline

Facts
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands
Rotterdam has the largest port of Europe
Motto: Stronger by struggle
Population: 618,467

Getting there
Rotterdam is easy to reach by car, plane or public transportation. Rotterdam has an airport just a few tube stops away from the city centre. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the fast train Intercity Direct (26 minutes) or go by car (45 minutes). Coming from France? Take the Thalys train (2,5 hours) from Paris. You can even visit Rotterdam by boat. The Stena Line Ferry takes you from Hull or Harwich in the UK to the Rotterdam area.

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. With it’s modern architecture and beautiful skyline it will be easy to find a venue with great views and an urban feel.

New
In the last year hotels nhow Rotterdam and citizenM Rotterdam opened their doors, in August ibis Rotterdam City Centre will follow.

Classics
Staying in Rotterdam? You might want to consider the Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam. They are located in front of the new central station and are well-known for their great kitchen. If you are looking for a venue for a large group of people (up to 15,000 pax) you could have your meeting at De Doelen, Beurs WTC or Ahoy Rotterdam.

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a mill or old coffee factory? There are many more inspirational and special venues in the port city. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

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

Museums
City’s main museum – Boijmans van Beuningen
Modern art – Kunsthal
Photography – Nederlands Fotomuseum
Architecture – NAI
Maritime – Maritiem Museum Rotterdam

Shopping areas
Beurstraverse (koopgoot) – In this street below Coolsingel street you can find an entrance to the high-end department store Bijenkorf, but also chains of various fashion stores.
De Lijnbaan & Coolsingel – On these main shopping streets you can find most of the stores
Meent – The Meent is a long street with high-end brands, galleries and lovely places to have lunch like Dudok (famous for the architecture and apple pie) and Guliano (Italian).
Nieuwe Binnenweg – A broad range of design, life style, fashion and trendy food can be found on this long, long street
Witte de Withstraat – Hipster street with galleries, fashion, sneaker stores, bars and terraces
Rotterdam north (rondom het Zwaanshals) – If you are into vintage shopping, chocolat, design and handicraft you should stop by and visit this area.

Restaurants
Casual or Michelin star restaurant? Urban vibe or intimate setting? A view at the skyline or from the skyline? Rotterdam has it all. In the Witte de Withstraat and Westelijk Handelsterrein you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

FG restaurant (before Ivy) – Michelin star / creative / molecular / urban
Wereldmuseum restaurant – Michelin star / set in museum / mediterranean
HMB Restaurant – Inside the new ‘de Rotterdam’ building / view on river / classic dishes
De watertoren – inside a water tower / views / casual / French /
Hotel New York cafe restaurant – casual / hotel / inside the former Holland-America line office / view on river / terrace

cube houses

Cube houses

Sights
When you are in Rotterdam it is almost impossible not to spot the famous bridges (Erasmusbrug, Willemsbrug, Hefbrug) and high buildings (De Rotterdam, Maastoren). Go up in the Euromast and enjoy a 360 view of the city. You can even go abseiling here! Don’t forget to check out the bizarre cube houses by architect Piet Blom. And if you really want to know what Rotterdam is all about you could go to the port area.

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

Meet the Dutch masters: win a trip to Holland

Are you ready for IMEX America? It’s only a few days before I will take my plane to Las Vegas and I feel how the excitement starts grabbing me. I hope to see all my friends again and meet many new and interesting people. This time, the Holland crew and I have prepared some nice orange specials for you. Next to the Holland Happy Hour, we will invite you to participate in our photo contest. First prize: a trip to Holland for you and a friend. Check out what you can expect.

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Meet the Dutch masters

Many Dutch artists have changed the international art with their impressive works. Rembrandt is considered one of the greatest painters in Europe and his portraits are famous in the whole world. His contemporary Johannes Vermeer inspired later artists with his domestic interior scenes, which makes him one of the greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Vincent van Gogh, who became one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in history, followed Rembrandt and Vermeer. I cannot mention a person who is not fascinated by his sunflower paintings.

Dutch art in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is home to many of the world’s most famous art museums. The Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt House and the Stedelijk Museum attract thousands of visitors. The largest museum in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum, which has been reopened in brand-new style after 10 years of restoration. Next to works by Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals it contains Rembrandts masterpiece ‘The Night Watch’, which has pride of place in a beautifully lit hall. A trip to Amsterdam is definitely not complete without a visit to the Rijksmuseum.

Win a trip to Holland

Will you be at IMEX America as a hosted buyer? Then you have the unique opportunity to win a trip to Holland and discover the Dutch masterpieces yourself. Visit my booth (No. 2216), take a picture with me and participate in our Facebook contest. On Sunday I will tell you more about the contest and the prize, so keep your eyes open. I’m looking forward to meeting you in Las Vegas and the many great pictures we will take. Will you come?

Amsterdam for big meetings: site inspection in the capital part 2

Here we are again, back in Amsterdam. During my last site inspection to the Dutch capital I focused on facilities for small meetings. But Amsterdam has also much to offer for  mid-sized meetings (up to 500 particiants) and big meetings (up to 2500 participants).

Blog Holland Amsterdam Inspection

International Meeting Point

Big, international corporates will feel very comfortable with the cosmopolitan flair of Amsterdam. The city has attracted workforce from 180 different countries , creating a fountain of inspiration by mixing their various cultures, visions and ideas. As a consequence, the city has set a European benchmark to inclusion and integration. More than 80 percent of the locals speak English and over 40 percent have a university degree or higher professional education. The capital remains an attractive destination for multinational corporates. In the last report of the European Cities Monitor, Amsterdam scored rank 4 in the list of top business cities and is narrowing the gap to London, Paris and Frankfurt.

Blog Holland Amsterdam Science Park

Technological Hotspots

Companies in IT and technology will feel right at home in the Dutch capital. The Amsterdam region is home to the worlds largest, most stable digital exchange platform, which attracts ICT companies from across the globe. Science Park Amsterdam hosts more than 80 ICT and biotechnology companies, while the BioMed sector includes over 60 Life Science companies. The intensive research and development in the ICT and Life Science cluster is strongly linked to business and industry.

Transport options for everyone

International visitors can travel to Amsterdam by plane or train. Check my previous blogpost to learn more about accessibility. But how do your get your numerous participants safely from the airport to your venue? Four weeks ago, exhibition centre Amsterdam RAI hosted the congress of the European Society of Cardiology, which was visited by 30,000 participants. Next to shuttle busses running from and to Schiphol Airport, the organization hired all rental bicycles in Amsterdam to offer a green and healthy transport alternative.

rai

Venues for big meetings

Amsterdam as many great venues for mid-sized and big meetings. Here are my personal recommendations:

Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam Marriott Hotel
Beurs van Berlage
Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
Park Plaza Amsterdam Airport
NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Amsterdam RAI
Novotel Amsterdam City

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After your meeting

For those participants who are not too tired, Amsterdam has more than enough entertainment opportunities. Fans of science and technology can take a voyage of discovery in Science Center NEMO, a scientific playground for young and old. From NEMO, it is just a short walk to the National Maritime Museum which offers a glimpse on 500 years of maritime history. Night owls can check the varied live music programme of the Melkweg or the special club nights of Paradiso.

Lazy folks can take a seat at one of the various cafes at the Nieuwmarkt or, during summer time, relax at the Vondelpark.

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Hidden Secrets

If you want to avoid the crowded touristic spaces, I have some special tips for you. You can find more hidden gems of Amsterdam on my page of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.

Venue
Fort Island IJmuiden, an ancient fortress, which is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam and only accessible by boat

Restaurant
Samhoud Places, a special restaurant with  extraordinary dishes you have never tasted before

Activity
visit the Nine Streets,  a shopper’s paradise full of jewellers, art galleries, boutiques and vintage stores

More information?

For more questions about meeting activities in and around Amsterdam you can contact my friends from Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board.

Or do you want help with the organization of your meeting? I know many DMCs  that are situated in Amsterdam like Partners & Sam!, Delta AmsterdamITBholland, KUONI Destination Management Benelux, Ovation Holland and Holland Destination Marketing.

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

Venues

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

Venue
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.

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

Activity
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.

Spain: dive into the southern culture

After exploring France I’m in the mood for even more sunshine so I grabbed a train to Spain. But before I ended up lazy on the beach with a bucket of juicy Sangria, I wanted to discover some Spanish culture. Here are my favourite sights.

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Say ‘Hi’ to Gaudi in Barcelona

I couldn’t wait to get to Madrid. But my friend Lucila  asked me to make a stop in Barcelona before heading to the capital. She told me about the great architecture of Antoni Gaudi and wanted to show it to me. We spent some hours walking and around and admiring his various works. Honestly, most of them were kind of strange. But his style is so daring and unique that you should have a look at it, when you are close to Barcelona.

Blog Holland Spain Madrid Museo del Prado

Art flash in Madrid

Of  course, Van Gogh and Rembrandt are my favourites, But I’m also a big fan of Salvador Dali en Pablo Picasso. That’s why I wanted to go to the Reina Sofia since they have the greatest public collection of both artists. While admiring Dali’s The Persistence of Memory I met another art lover who gave me the tip o visit Museo del Prado where I could view the paintings of other Spanish artists. His recommendation turned out to be great! The museum offered great art from the 14th to the 19th century. By the way, both museums have free entry during most days of the week.

In the evening I need a cool down. I found a cosy tavern at the edge of the city where I ordered a cold beer. While I rested my tired feet I noticed two gypsy guys starting to play some sweet flamenco music on their guitars. That’s how I imagine a perfect day on holiday.

Blog Holland Holiday Spain Granada Alhambra

Cool down in Granada

In the hills of Granada is the Alhambra Moorish fortress, which protected the inhabitants of the city from invasion by Christian crusaders for hundreds of years. Even though Alhambra is more than a thousand years old, the fortress is stunningly beautiful. I could have spent hours walking around the walls and through the colourful gardens, but suddenly, my stomach screams for food.

Back in the city centre I decide to fight my hunger with a Spanish tradition. Nearly every bar serves tapas and in some places you get them even for free with each drink you order. So guess what? I tried the many different wines until my belly was filled to the top. It was delicious.

Plan my visit to your country

I had a nice time in Spain. Next station is Italy. Furthermore I will travel to 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!