Dutch meeting and hotel venues that will open in 2015

Holland is a popular destination for leisure and business reasons. With the increasing demand new venues start to open their doors. I’ve made a list of venues, hotels, conference destinations that are planned for this year.


Motel ONE
W Amsterdam
Element hotel
Steigenberger hotel
Hyatt Regency Amsterdam
Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
INK Hotel
Atlas ArenA Amsterdam
Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station
Corendon Vitality Hotel Amsterdam

Hotel WINGS Rotterdam Airport

Apollo hotel & resort

Intercity Hotel Eindhoven

Van der Valk Hotel Sassenheim Leiden

Site visit: time to explore the North of Holland!

Holland may be a small country in size, but we are big in what we can offer meeting planners. The northern part of Holland is for many visitors new territory. The area covers the beautiful Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen. About time I share all my knowledge, facts and tips about this great part of my country with you!


Some facts:

  • Two big conference cities: Groningen and Leeuwarden
  • Venue spaces up to 2,500 people
  • Extensive experience in organising big and small international conventions
  • Great diversity of venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and events
  • Great diversity of landscapes – in the city, in the woods, in the heath fields, by the lake or on an island.
  • Schiphol Airport Amsterdam at 90 minutes from Leeuwarden and 120 minutes from Groningen
  • Compared with the big conference cities in the West, the North is 30-35% cheaper
  • Both the Wadden Sea and the Woudagemaal are Unesco World Heritage sites

Groningen is the largest city in the northern part of the Netherlands. It fulfills a central function in the region and is easily accessible via Groningen Airport Eelde (10 minutes from Groningen and 40 minutes from Leeuwarden). The city of Groningen has had a rich history. Many architectural highlights from the past can still be seen in the centre, such as the old city walls and the ancient harbours surrounded by historic warehouses and authentic freight ships. These ancient facades stand in the city centre side by side with contemporary architecture and buildings. Because Groningen has never been shy about taking on daring projects. The Groninger Museum, designed by a group of different architects and designers, is a work of art in its own right. As the second-oldest university city in the Netherlands, Groningen is home to about 40,000 students, approximately 4,000 of which come from abroad.

You can find over 3,600 beds in and near Groningen. And there are many special venues. Whether you are looking for something modern and grand or small and full of history, Groningen has it. Check my hidden secret page for special venues in and around Groningen.

Leeuwarden was elected to be European Capital of Culture 2018. All the more reason to visit! Leeuwarden is the dynamic capital of the beautiful province of Friesland, and functions as the start and finish line for the world famous ‘Eleven cities’ ice-skating tour. The city is surrounded by countryside and water, with lakes and other leisure areas and amenities close at hand. The Frisian capital has a compact and clear city centre. Yet what it offers is as comprehensive as it is diverse. In the centre you can find numerous national monuments, a range of delightful and surprising shops and inviting café terraces. The city is one of modern paradoxes; a city that respects its past, whilst looking to the future by investing in research, development and ICT.


Almost all its conference accommodation, certainly its ‘happening’ nightlife and many of its hotels (around 1,500 beds in and near Leeuwarden) are located within an easy walking two kilometre radius of the city centre. This city will certainly host your conference or event with pride!

Doesn’t that sound great?
Yes, I thought so! MICE Holland North, the joint venture of the MICE organisations from the province of Groningen and Friesland, invite you to join them for a two-day tour in the north of Holland on 30 & 31 January 2015. An excellent idea for meeting planners to get to know the north and learn all about the area, venues, accommodations and activities. You can sign up for the site visit on the website of Holland North.

The programme of the two day site visit:

Thursday 29 January in Groningen
17.00                          Arrival in Groningen
17.30                          Welcome in the Schimmelpenninckhuys
19.00 – 22.00             Dinner in Groningen

Friday 30 January in Groningen & Friesland
09.00 -16.15                A city walk passing by new and inspiring meeting locations in
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Groningen for instance: the Watertoren, the Infoversum, het
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Kasteel, Groninger Museum, the Oosterpoort and MartinaPlaza
16.15                           Departure by bus to Friesland
17.15                           Arrival in Leeuwarden, check-in
17.40 – 18.30               Presentation of the European Capital of Culture 2018 in the
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Cultural Quarter of Leeuwarden
18.30 – 19.30               Time to refresh
19.30 – 22.00               Dinner at Eleve (Michelin star restaurant)
22.15                           Drink at the hotelbar or in one of the pubs

Saturday 31 January
09.00 – 12.00               Site program “Meet Friesland”
12.00 – 13.30               Walking lunch at Landgoed Lauswolt
13.30 – 14.00               Sightseeing through the Frisian landscape to Sneek
14.00 – 15.00                Site program “Taste Friesland”
15.00 – 16.30               Bustour to Lemmer
15.30 – 16.30               Visit to the Woudagemaal, Unesco World Heritage
16.30                           Say goodbye

Subscribe for this site visit on the website of Holland North or call +31(0)50-3168876 or send a mail to info@micehollandnorth.nl.

What you need to know about your venue of choice, before making a decision..

You are planning a business meeting, conference or brainstorm session, as a meeting planner, head of HR or maybe just because you volunteered for the job. In the search of the perfect venue you’ve seen countless options that just didn’t spoke to you. But this particular venue.. Wow! But hold up.. Before you make the decision to book it, have you thought about the following things? Have you asked the venue owner about it?


What is the maximum capacity?
You don’t want to deal with the local fire department. So it is important to know the exact maximum capacity of the space. When you are in doubt if the space is big enough talk about options, perhaps an extra room or outside tents.

Is there Wifi?
In 2014 most of the venues have Wifi. But is it included in the price? Do you have to pay extra? And do you pay by person, data or per hour? Quite important right?

Are permits required?
Depending on what your plans are in and around the venue, certain permits could be required. Building a structure inside, serving alcohol or giving out flyers on the street. Check these plans with the venue owners, they know the local law.

What are the exact time slots?
It takes some time to set up your meeting, conference or session. Maybe you want to bring in goodie bags, have to build up stands or create a certain atmosphere with branding. Therefore it is good to know what the time slots of your contract are. Do you have time to break down and set up during office hours or do you have to buy extra time slots?

How about vendors?
Many venues have preferred vendors and some even have exclusive vendors. It has a lot of impact on the rest of your planning activities if the venue has exclusive vendors. Knowing this early on in the process of planning your meeting can save you a lot of time.

What technical equipment can be used? 
Is there technical equipment, such as beamers and microphones, available? And can you use this within the contract or is this extra?

What other questions do you ask yourself before committing to a venue? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious!

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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!

#PlannersAre… Emergency Experts

By now we have explored many different skills and responsibilities of the meeting planner. Impressed? Well, we are not done yet. Have you ever been on an event where nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong? I don’t think so. For all small or big emergencies, you need to act quickly! Here are some examples.

130626 Blog Holland Meeting Planners Fire

The quick EMCEE

Conferences have such a busy schedule. For some participants this can be really confusing.

“I remember an emcee on a user conference, who jumped the gun on the agenda and hit the podium 45 minutes too early to make his housekeeping announcements. He nearly released 850 attendees to break (when there was no food set out yet) and upstaged the keynote speaker who was next up.
Luckily, I had a ‘notes’ function in the downstage monitor that allowed me to send a message only he could see: ‘Surprise! It’s your BOSSES turn to talk and THEN we’ll take a break. Groovy?’. I flashed it until he acknowledged with a small nod and he handled it like a pro by introducing the next speaker.”                                                 (Roberta Boucher, @ProEventGal)

Bug reception

Sometimes planners have to deal with unexpected, bad surprises, like defect technology, delayed speakers or… bugs.

“The reception was going to be held in an old barn, which has not been used for a week. When we arrived and opened the barn doors, my assistant and I screamed when we saw that the tables and the floor were COMPLETELY covered in bugs, spiders and mice. It was so terrible. We found an exterminator who was able to come out within an hour to spray the bugs and get the mice out. We kept guests at cocktail hour for an extra 45 minutes until the caterer could set the room. None of the vendors could eat their dinner knowing what had happened.”                                                                                               (anomynous)

Food accidents

Planners can also find themselves in really dangerous situations, as this story shows.

“I remember being on hand when one of our temporary registration staff members ate a meal that caused her a serious allergy. I called the hotel emergency to dispatch an ambulance, ran ddown to the gift shop to get a package of Benedryl, came back up to calm her down and watch her while we waited for emergency personnel to arrive. Her face was swollen and she was scared because her throat was closing slowly. At that moment, I was not the Meeting Planner she reported to during her temp assign, I was the person caring for her during an unexpected emergency that could have ended up badly.”                                                                (Kendra McMurray, @Meeting_Pro)

Please tell me what you think!

Can you tell us a story from your work as a planner that underline your skills? And what other skills do you have? Leave a comment or send a tweet with the hashtag #PlannersAre. Let’s show the industry how broad the capacities of a meeting planner are.
Finally I want to thank Roberta Boucher and Kendra McMurray for their valuable input. More planner stories? Join my discussion group on LinkedIn.


#PlannersAre… Masters of Organization

Planning a meeting involves more than arranging a conference room and some cake and coffee for the break. As a planner you need to coordinate every detail of the meeting, from venue, catering and speakers to printed materials and audio-visual equipment. In fact, meeting planners are masters in organization and logistics. They oversee multiple operations at one time, face numerous deadlines, and orchestrate the activities of several different groups of people. Let’s have a look at the task list.

Blog Holland Meeting Planners Venue

Logistic Experts

As soon as the date for the meeting is chosen, the planner starts searching for prospective meeting sites. This can be more difficult than it sounds because there are various aspects to keep in mind. When looking for a good site she needs to consider who the attendees are, where they come from and how they will travel. For big, international meetings you would need a venue which is close to an airport or major train station. The venue should also offer all technical requirements for the meeting. The planner also orders all necessary supplies such as food and beverages, name badges, lodging reservations, transportation, audio-visual equipment and seating.

Financial Managers

Planners must also oversee the finances of meetings and conventions. They are given overall budgets by their organizations and must create a detailed budget, forecasting what each aspect of the event will cost. Additionally, some planners oversee meetings that contribute significantly to their organization’s operating budget and must ensure that the event meets income goals. The planner needs a good strategy to and a neat adminsitration to keep track of the finances.

Blog Holland Meeting Planners Plan B

Plan B Thinkers

What if a speaker gets ill, the audio fails or the food is disgusting? A good planner does not only plan every possible detail but also an alternative for every possible problem. When anything goes wrong (and there are few flawless meetings) the planners has to react quickly to rescue the meeting and the image of the meeting owner. This requires flexibility, creativity and a fast brain.

Please tell me your story

Can you tell us from your work as a planner that underline your organizational skills? And what other skills do you have? Leave a comment or send a tweet with the hashtag #PlannersAre. Let’s show the industry how broad the capacities of a meeting planner are.