Meetings in Rotterdam: inspecting the Gateway to Europe

Rotterdam is internationally renowned as one of the biggest ports in the world and therefore also called the Gateway to Europe. I made a site inspection in Rotterdam to check out the meeting facilities for you.

Rotterdam has been Holland’s centre of trade during the colonial era and still remains an important economic engine for our country. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and belongs to the top 5 of the world. The port area is heavily industrialized with petrochemical refineries, storage tanks and container terminals. Companies in logistics, shipping and international retail will be inspired by the rich trading history of Rotterdam.


Even though the city is already 650 years old, it has a young cosmopolitan allure. When large parts of Rotterdam’s city centre where destroyed after World War II, it was decided to rebuild it with a new, modern face rather than restoring the original buildings. The result were wide roads and high, futuristic buildings that resemble the innovative spirit in Rotterdam. Architects are fascinated by constructions like the Cubus Houses, Erasmus Bridge or the New Orleans Tower, which is the highest building in Holland.

Accessible by air and water

Rotterdam and The Hague share the second airport of Holland. It is less busy than Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with quicker check-in’s and comfortable departure times to 34 destinations. Between Rotterdam and London City Airport alone there are eight daily flights. From the airport it is a 15-minute ride by cab or train to the city centre. Guests from Belgium and France have a great connection with Hispeed and Thalys trains.

Another option is to travel on the water.  There are easy ferry connections to the UK. P&O North Sea ferries, for instance, can take you from Hull to Europoort Rotterdam, where you have direct bus transfers to you end destination.

Blog Holland Rotterdam Port


Rotterdam bursts from stylish and elegant venues. Here are some recommendations by Rotterdam Convention Bureau.

SS Rotterdam
Hulstkamp Building
De Doelen
Beurs World Trade Center
Ahoy Rotterdam
Villapark Citta Romana
NH Atlanta Rotterdam
Het Heerenhuys
Luxor Theater Rotterdam
De Verdieping

Hidden Secrets

Venue: located in the heart of the port area, the Euromast Tower offers a spectacular view of the ocean and the harbour.

Restaurant: Izkaya, an Asian restaurant with interactive tables. Order from the digital menu and check the virtual agenda while you wait for your food.

Activity: Kinderdijk Windmills, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site

Blog Holland Rotterdam Cubus

After your meeting

I already mentioned the rich architecture of Rotterdam. But not only architects will be enchanted by Rotterdam’s impressive buildings made by many old and new designers. You can combine your meeting with a visit to the Netherlands Architecture Institute. More adventurous meeting delegates will find a great challenge in Rotterdam’s landmark, the Euromast. After enjoying the spectacular view, try abseiling down.

After a long day, it is time to take a break with a glass of fine wine. Club Rosso is a cosy wine and champagne bar with a warm ambience and fireplaces. Ready to hit the dance floor? Relive the 70s, 80s and 90s at Get Back Club, a popular location for people in their mid-twenties and above.

More information?

For all questions about meetings and activities in Rotterdam you can contact my friends from Rotterdam Convention Bureau.

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):

Holland’s 10 finest boardrooms (part 1): When confidentiality or exclusive settings are top priority

When organizing meetings, the venue you choose has great impact on how your delegates perceive the entire meeting. Traditionally the exclusive domain of the board for their meetings, now more and more people discover the advantages of meeting in the comfort and luxury of a well-designed and equipped boardroom. Every meeting planner must have a shortlist with the best, most unique and authentic facilities throughout Holland. State-of-the art technology, excellent food and beverages and top-class service are a given.

I hereby share my fine and out-of-the ordinary selection of boardrooms in Holland. This week you’ll read about the first 5, next week I will post about the others.

10. The Manhattan Hotel – Rotterdam

Offering no less than six sumptuous boardrooms on the upper floors of The Manhattan Hotel, your meeting will be a success, especially with the backdrop of Rotterdam’s skyline. Stunning views and state-of the-art facilities make these boardrooms ideal settings for your meeting or intimate event.

9. Board Room – Hotel Okura

Everything you may need in a boardroom, combined with impeccable service and delicious culinary offerings. This is what the stylish boardroom of the Okura Hotel Amsterdam offers the international meeting guest. Combine your meeting with a private dining experience overlooking the city of Amsterdam from the hotel’s panoramic rooms on the 23rd floor.

8. Penthouse Boardroom Bel Air Hotel – The Hague

Another top-level boardroom, with stunning views of The Hague’s skyline, is located on the uppermost floor of the Bel Air Hotel The Hague. The privacy on this floor appeals to many a meeting planner and creates an ideal setting for confidential meetings. There is ample space and two separate seating areas. All technical facilities are available, including video-conferencing. The venue is next to the World Forum Convention Centre and the International Criminal Court.

7. De Brouwerskamer (Brewer’s Room) – Heineken Experience

De Brouwerskamer is a room like no other, and a very intimate one at that. It features unrivalled, breathtaking grandeur, while retaining a pleasant, personal feel. It exudes the atmosphere of the good old days. The presence of the master brewers is still discernable in this beautifully decorated room. The books in the library reveal their secret recipes.

6. Zaamen – Haarlem

Named the best ‘smart co-work centre’ of Holland, Zaamen is a new and trendy hotspot for entrepreneurial professionals. Offering flex work spaces, stylish offices for freelancers and young entrepreneurs, and excellent settings for meetings and brainstorm sessions, Haarlem has  created a vibrant and inspiring place to be. The Castor boardroom is stylishly decorated and offers a great view of the Nieuwe Gracht.

And many more…

It goes without saying that there are many more excellent boardrooms available throughout the country that could have easily made this list as well. I had the luxury to pick from a wide array of beautiful venues and extraordinary facilities, yet the difficult task to narrow it down to only ten.

Which exclusive venue is missing from this list according to you? Share your tips!

See you at #IMEX12? Make an appointment at booth 212!

The excitement of going to Las Vegas is really all over me right now. Only one week to go!

If you really want to make the most of IMEX America, you shouldn’t miss Booth 212. Time and money well spent. That’s what my country has to offer you. Holland, in North-West Europe, is small. That’s great!

Holland has its famous capital Amsterdam. But there is more. Cities such as Rotterdam or Maastricht are totally different. So all around Amsterdam, Holland looks like a kaleidoscope. Compact equals impact!

In Booth 212 you can meet eye to eye with representatives of the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC). Let’s talk about impact, efficiency, and planning truly original events!

Plus you can talk to representatives of the following Dutch organisations. Click on the links to access their exhibitor profiles and book an appointment:

Accor Hotels The Netherlands
Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 92 countries with more than 4,400 hotels and 530,000 rooms.

Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre
With more than 110 years of experience, Amsterdam RAI is the main convention center in The Netherlands.

Apollo Hotels Amsterdam
Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre Guestrooms: 446 Number of Meeting Rooms: 8 (2,395 square feet) Largest Meeting room: 200 people.

Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Hotel Okura Amsterdam is the most complete five-star luxury hotel that you will find in The Netherlands and exclusive member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the world’.

HOTELS VAN ORANJE, The Beach of Amsterdam
The Hotels van Oranje a combination of a 4 and 5 star hotel located at the Beach of Amsterdam 20 minutes from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
The Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre is located in the Eastern Docklands in between the Muziekgebouw and the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.

And of course I will be there to be your host! I would love to take a picture with you or have a drink and one of the many nice meetups that are organized. So see you at #IMEX12!

Looking for special meeting venues? Check Holland’s 10 finest industrial venues

Over the past hundred years or so, Holland has developed from a manufacturing society into a service society. Literally hundreds of beautiful buildings are left as a reminder of a once thriving industrial economy. This rich heritage has now been given a second life, as many of these architectural marvels are converted into meeting and event spaces. Immediately upon entering, you will feel privileged to be a part of this rich history, even if it is only for a little while.

Of course I recognize that each meetings’ preferences are different, and therefore I share my fine and out-of-the-ordinary selection of industrial venues in Holland.

10. De overkant – Amsterdam

Opposite Amsterdam Central Station, across the IJ river, a new event venue is one of the city’s new creative hotspots. De Overkant (‘The Other Side’) is a former Stork machine factory. In a central location of  this complex lies the Kromhout Hall, a raw, light, grand, impressive, authentic, industrial, versatile event venue on the bank of the IJ in Amsterdam North. With a 20-meter-high glass ceiling, steel structures, cranes and total length of 150 meters, the hall gives a unique look and feel to each event, small or large, modern or authentic.

9. Veerensmederij – Amersfoort

The Veerensmederij dates back to 1904, when the Dutch Iron Railway company opened its central workshop in Amersfoort. The springs of the bogeys for the train wagons were forged here. During an extensive renovation process, many characteristic parts were restored, creating a spectacular setting for meeting and events.

8. Nieuwe energie – Leiden

New Energy is located in the monumental spinning mill of the former textile factory Clos & Leembruggen. The characteristic building boasts a large production hall with long facades and large windows, surrounded by several side rooms and a monumental entrance. After being used by an energy provider for the past years, the building was recently transformed into an inspiring conference venue. The three state-of-the-art meeting rooms have retained their authentic character and can accommodate up to 150 people.

7. Ruim Utrecht

Located in Utrecht’s former inner harbor, servicing the fruit and vegetable auction, these three former sand and gravel hoppers were completely refurbished. An inspirational and creative setting for small meetings.

6. Tollensfabriek – Rotterdam

The Tollensfabriek is an old Dutch paint factory, built in 1933. The architectural style is known as ‘New Dutch Realism’. The great open space with its high ceilings and raw industrial look was a great canvas to transform 250m² of this building. It can now be rented for inspiring meetings for up to 60 people. The open space is an example of the flexible new realistic way of working. Within one large industrially designed space, there are five areas for traditional or informal meetings and workshops.

5. DeFabrique – Maarssen

Shortly after WWI, the Ulbe Twijnstra oil mill was built in centrally located Maarssen, to supply linseed oil for the manufacturing of paint, soap and margarine. In 1996 the plant was closed and a local couple rejuvenated it as an event location under the name of DeFabrique. They took great pride in maintaining the historical and industrial character of the building as much as possible. DeFabrique is now a successful, well-equipped venue for meetings and events from 50 to 3,500 people.

4. Museum Shipyard ‘t Kromhout – Amsterdam

The historic ‘t Kromhout shipyard is robust and industrial, surrounded by old ships. The venue exudes the maritime history of Amsterdam, and was fortunately saved from demolition in 1975. It currently is a unique meeting and event venue, taking you back to the old days of traditional craftsmanship.

3. Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek – Rotterdam

The former Van Nelle coffee, tea and tobacco factory is considered the most prominent building in the architectural ‘New Dutch Realism’ movement.
The building is European Cultural Heritage, and now houses companies engaged in communication, design, architecture and media. Twelve small and large rooms are available for corporate events, fairs, meetings and conferences. The spectacular views from the tearoom will impress visitor.

2. The Industrials (Fokker terminal, Norfolk, Remise, Ketelhuis, RAC Hallen), The Hague

Five beautiful and unique venues in The Hague joined forces, making it easy for bookers to get information and make reservations. The Fokker Terminal, the former Anthony Fokker school, is most suitable for meetings as it offers fifteen break outs (former classrooms), situated around the former aircraft terminal. In De Remise, a former tram depot, now home to the Hague Public Transport Museum, your groups can meet in de historical trams and buses or the hall itself. The Caballero Factory is a former cigarette factory, and a business center for innovative, creative and cultural enterprises, with its  meeting areas, business rooms, and a living room and lounge are.

1.Radio Kootwijk- Apeldoorn

Only recently a true gem has become available to the meeting market. Radio Kootwijk is the former radio telegraph transmitter, which connected Holland by phone to the Dutch East Indies since 1923, and other parts of the world later on. The silence and space around the station was necessary for undisturbed connections, but also resulted in free development of nature.
After the transmitter finally went off the air in 1998, the dromedary-shaped building stood empty for many years. In recent years, it was restored to its former glory and now it is an exceptionally beautiful and inspiring venue for exclusive meetings and conferences in a stunning environment.

3 major public events going on in Holland this week: Floriade 2012, Heritage Day & World Port Days Rotterdam

Have you ever thought of pairing up your meeting or conference with a large local event in your destination? Let me show you 3 major public events going on in Holland this week: the World Horticultural Expo “Floriade” in Venlo, the World Port Days in Rotterdam and the   European Heritage Day.

Don’t worry if you have to miss them: the Floriade lasts untill October 7th and the other 2 events take place every year around this time.

1. World Horticultural Expo “Floriade”

The Floriade is a world horticultural expo organized in the Netherlands every 10 years. Floriade will acquaint you with more than 100 gardens and pavilions with unique flowers and plants from all around the world. Facts & figures Floriade 2012.

The Floriade park is 66 hectares in size and consists of 5 unique themed worlds, Relax & Heal, Green Engine, Education & Innovation, Environment, and World Show Stage, separated from one another by woods. Each world has its own decor, programme and activities.

An amazing show will be staged every day, such as the Floriade Harvest Show. This spectacle of acrobatics and world music performed by artists from distant lands is the trump card of the Floriade. All events and culture.

2. World Port Days Rotterdam

For 35 years Rotterdam shows the ins and outs of Europe’s largest port during the World Port Days. A large variety of port companies give youa glimpse behind the scenes of their daily operations. In the city centre along the river Maas and quaysides you will find a wide range of companies, vessels, activities and industrial material.

Apart from this the World Port Days offer you the opportunity to visit different companies by boat, bus or train. These excursions are truly one of a kind; usually you’ll never be given the chance to visit the Port’s industrial areas!

This year’s theme is all about Music: The Port of Rotterdam sounds like music! Not only will there be fascinating musical shows on the water during the weekend, special music venues on the quays will bring an abundance of musical performances every day, all day long. On Saturday afternoon the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival will have about 20 unique concerts on the Wilhelminapier, all for free, click here for details. The city center will also harbor various performances along the maritime route from central station to the event area.

3. European Heritage Days in the Netherlands

The Open Monumentendag (Heritage Day) is designed to bring people into contact with the historic environment and to encourage interest in and understanding of historical monuments and the need for their preservation.

During Open Monumentendag – every second weekend of September – thousands of historical buildings and sites (about 4.000) are open to the public free of charge. Besides opening their doors, many locations also organize on-site activities like exhibitions, musical performances and guided tours. Each year around 80 to 85 percent of Dutch municipalities participate in the Open Monumentendag, organized by local committees. In recent years around 900,000 visitors have participated annually, making the Open Monumentendag one of the Netherlands’ premier cultural events.