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Th e m e e t i n g s a n d i n ce c e n t i ve t ra rave ve l m a g a z i n e ffoo r ccoo r p o ra te p l a n n e rs rs … e n r i c h e d w i t h p r i n t e d b raa i nfo n fo o d ffoo r d e c i s i o n m a ke rs

For meetings we suggest

the extraordinary MIM106 august 2009


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Corporate interview


Our hotels are designed for your success. Free high speed internet access* available to day meeting delegates. 100% guest satisfaction guarantee. Over 70 meeting rooms throughout Belgium and the Netherlands and in 170+ hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa. All you need for a successful meetings. Find out what we can do for your next event!


*For a full list of participating hotels, please visit

Amsterdam x2 • Antwerp x2 • Brussels x2 • Hasselt • Spa x2



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19-08-2009 12:45:44 12:42:18 20-08-2009


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© D i s n ey, E u ro Di s n ey A s s o ci és S . C. A . – S i r e n 3 9 7 4 7 1 8 2 2 R CS M ea u x – Ca pi t al S o c ia l 6 1 1 0 9 9 1 5 6 . 7 0 € - L i c e n c e s E S n ° 1 -1 0 2 1 0 7 0 , 1 - 1 0 2 1 0 8 2 ; 2 -1 0 2 1 0 8 4 e t 3 - 1 0 2 1 0 8 3 . * 5 , 8 0 0 o f wh i ch a re i n t h e 7 Di s n ey ® H o t e ls .

MARCEL A.M. VISSERS Owner - Editor in chief

19-08-2009 10:59:19 7/7/09 9:19:29 AM

Meet all key suppliers in: r Career & Training r Meeting & Travel r Communication & Technology r Office supplies r Business Services And learn new stuff during our learnShopsTM Join our free seminars on: r The perfect meeting location r Time management r Green Marketing r Networking r And lots more! Check the full programme on

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19-08-2009 12:45:47 10:59:40 20-08-2009 14/08/2009 10:21:13

© Andreas Von Einsiedel

E D I T O R I A L One million delegates = one new Meeting Forest MARCEL A.M. VISSERS Owner - Editor in chief

It all started with a round table discussion that we organized with MIM magazine for a group of incentive houses. One of the themes was Caritas Terrae, which is a new and trendy word for ecological thinking or surprising the earth with gifts.

© D is ne y, E u r o D i s ne y As s o ci é s S. C . A. S i re n 3 9 7 4 7 1 8 2 2 R CS M ea u x C a p i t al S o c i a l 6 1 1 0 9 9 1 5 6 . 7 0 € 1 - 1 0 2 1 0 8 2 ; 2 - 1 0 2 1 0 8 4 e t 3 - 1 0 2 1 0 8 3 . * 5 , 8 0 0 o f w hi ch a r e i n t he 7 Di s n ey ® H o t el s .

L ic e nce s E S n 1 1 0 2 1 0 7 0 ,

Someone said: 'Looking after the environment? OK! I barely notice anything about this concern in the conference and incentive world. Most participants are not consciously involved in this matter!'

19:29 AM

That's how a lot of people feel, but is that true? For instance, in a short period of time I bumped by accident into a very practical initiative. The famous London photographer Allan Pollok-Morris was in Antwerp for a photo shoot in the 'House of Tulips'. I seized the opportunity to let him do the cover shoot for MIM magazine No.92. He literally surrounded the cover lady with tulips. And what does a new customer of Allan receive? A tree! Allan had a Rowan Tree planted for me in Glen Affric in the North West Highlands of Scotland, an initiative of Trees for life. I was extremely pleased with this present and I made a decision: ‘From now on, I will be looking actively for a spot where we can plant a Meeting Forest. We will keep you informed’.

I'm delighted that today I can announce to all the readers that MIM magazine has bought a company Grove in the Caledonian Forest, a world-famous green restoring project. It already has two trees: one under my name and one under the name of Marion Flipse, this year's Miss MIM during EMIF. Next month another ten trees will be planted: eight for every MIM staff member and two for the AIPC members that won a prize during the AIPC Congress in A Coruna. And it will go on like that, until we've planted a million trees together with the entire meetings industry. Then my dream will be accomplished: a real Meeting Forest! One day I hope to meet there in a tree house with all the Caritas Terrae sceptics.

MIM magazine will keep on donating trees in the Meeting Forest until we've planted a million trees together with the entire meetings industry


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COLOPHON MIM magazine IS THE TREND-SETTING TRADE JOURNAL FOR THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY IN BELUX. MIM MAGAZINE IS NOW IN ENGLISH AND COMES OUT 6 TIMES A YEAR AND HAS A CIRCULATION OF 5000 COPIES, PUBLISHED BY MEETING MEDIA COMPANY BVBA/SARL. SUBSCRIPTIONS: An Annual subscription in Belgium costs 75 EURO (excl. 6% tax) and comprises 6 magazines. In order to subscribe, go to or send an e-mail to Editor in chief: Marcel A.M. Vissers T: +32 (0)3 226 88 81 Managing Director: Cécile Caiati-Koch T: +32 (0)2 761 70 52 MIM Director: Sophie Molle T: +32 (0)2 761 70 53

Editorial Manager: Steven Kins T: +32 (0)2 761 70 54 Editor: Rémi Dévé Igor Hendrickx Address: 57, rue René Declercq B - 1150 Brussels (Belgium) T: +32 (0)2 761 70 50 F: +32 (0)2 761 70 51 Publisher: Meeting Media Company Marcel A.M. Vissers Mechelseplein 23, bus 1 B - 2000 Antwerpen (Belgium) Cover Photographer: Jacky Verstraeten - Print Event

Design: UPSILON advertising, Gent T: +32 (0)9 267 39 40

GENERAL Editorial


INTERVIEWS Cover Interview - Siemens


MEETING SPECIAL Intro Budget Survey Videoconferencing The Hotel Business: Round-table discussion Meeting Stats: UIA and ICCA

13 14 16 19 24



Antwerp Special Interview Philip Heylen Interview Inge Marstboom Interview Rudy Van Eysendeyk The Other Antwerp 6 Diamond Water Fashion Art Architecture Gastronomy

40 41 42 45 45 46 48 50 54 56

ABROAD South Africa Meet the 4 Elements Sri Lanka

28 33 34

Printing: Cartim - Destelbergen

MIM magazine sets great store by sustainable development and therefore chose environment-friendly FSC certified paper which comes from a controlled source. More info: and ® FSC, A.C. FSC-SECR-0045

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20-08-2009 10:13:33

Corporate interview

Vera Janssens The Attention to Detail at Siemens

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MIM > Corporate Interview > Siemens

On a beautiful Friday afternoon, Vera Janssens, Siemens Corporate and Marketing, Communications Director, welcomed us in her brand-new office in the heart of Brussels. And let’s put it bluntly: not only is the building impressive – with its spacious, open, flexible workspaces ('hot desking' is the rule here, so people don't have their own private desk) and its nice view of the greenery outside wherever you stand inside – but so is she, in a gentle, quiet but also firm kind of way. She explains here how Siemens has developed regarding meetings in recent years… and what competence really means to her.. INTERVIEW RÉMI DÉVÉ AND SOPHIE MOLLE

MIM: Could you introduce yourself to the readers of MIM magazine? Vera Janssens: 'I’ve been working for Siemens since 1984, starting in the Human Resources department of our telecom division during 10 years. After that period, I was asked to combine my role of HR Manager with the role of Communication Manager within the same division. Four years later, in 1998, I was asked to take over the lead of the Communications and Marketing department at Group level. That means for all the divisions of Siemens in Belgium-Luxembourg, including our export activities to Africa and the MiddleEast. Recently I got the responsibility for Siemens South West Europe and I’m also President of the Belgian Corporate Communication Community (3C). 'When I accepted the job of corporate and marketing communications director, my first mission was to coordinate all communication activities lead at that time by the different companies and divisions composing the Siemens Group without consistent communication strategy. One of the difficult parts of our job was restructuring

the corporate relational marketing events, the customer seminars and incentives. We experienced resistance because we were touching their most sensitive point: their clients. Each division was used to do its own thing and didn’t really appreciate our new way of working in the beginning. Despite of that, slowly but surely, an overall strategy, a framework, a kind of governance that had to be followed was taking shape. 'In parallel with this story, the market situation was changing. All the B to C gradually disappeared from Siemens’ offer (e.g. mobile phones) or were taken over in joint ventures. Today the core business of Siemens worldwide lies in three sectors: Healthcare, Energy and Industry in the really broad sense of the term. These activities are supported by our IT Solutions and Services division.'

MIM: How is Siemens structured on an international level? Vera Janssens: 'Before, Siemens was organized per country - it’s been so for the greatest part of its 160 years of

existence. Recently Siemens decided to bundle the 190 countries into 17 clusters, headed by cross-boundary management teams. That’s how, one year ago, I became Head of Communications for the cluster South-Western Europe, the third biggest one after America and Germany, based on volume and number of employees. That means that I’m no longer only responsible for Belgium and Luxembourg, but also for six other European countries: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland and France. So if there are European communication guidelines or a European communication strategy to implement, I’m helping to define them. Today everything is about crossing country borders, helping each other by sharing best practices and specific competences, the best way to save time and of course money, with the ultimate goal of being faster, less complex and more competitive.

MIM: What kind of events do you organize? Vera Janssens: 'At the time when we had our B to C products, we had more incentives, but unfortunately we don’t do that anymore. If we go abroad, there is a 99%


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MIM > Corporate Interview > Siemens

chance it's for an academic seminar or a trade fair. As a B to B company, we are really content-driven and our main concern is to explain our core messages. That’s true for events, but also for sponsorship: we will only sponsor if we can bring content and show our competences and technological expertise somehow. 'Our most prestigious Belgian event is our annual New Year’s reception where we gather about 1,000 top customers and business relations from all sectors. it’s a place to network, to interact and an opportunity for us to bring in our messages. We usually organize it in Belgium and combine the academic part with entertainment in a very stylish way. 'Of course, we also organize events at division or sector level all over Europe so that specific messages are clearly sent out there. Together with my communication colleagues in these countries, we established a list of events on our calendar that have a big added value content-wise – we call them ‘hot spots’. The objective is to focus our event teams and means on these few but high-quality events instead of spreading our efforts and money over dozens of less efficient organizations. If it's a smaller event, the local division of the respective country is in charge of it. However, whenever it's a more important event, I'm supervising it, and when it's even bigger, then the head office in Germany takes control of it. Depending on the communications goals and the target group, the size of these meetings is ranging from a few to dozens of participants. The most important for us is not the quantity, but the quality of the audience. 'This cross-border collaboration is not always easy of course. Each country has its own competences and expertise. Each of them tend to be very protective and multilingualism is not as widespread as it is in Belgium. But I guess that’s the downside of being European!

We consider an event with an overall satisfaction level lower than 85% a failure 'In terms of crowds, our biggest organizations are internal events. When we prepare a Belgian family day for the whole company, we have to hire two halls at the Heysel or privatize, like last year, a part of the Park of Laeken.'

MIM: Could you specify a little about international events? Vera Janssens: 'Sometimes we invite key customers and prospects to first-class locations abroad. For instance, specialists from all over Europe are invited for the launch of new healthcare products and solutions during a site visit to a hospital where the new equipment is already installed. Of course, a dinner, some entertainment and an overnight stay is included then, because people often have to travel from far to get there. We also organize seminars on a European level where we invite expert speakers and present our technological innovations. The same is true for important international trade fairs. 'We used to go abroad with our customers much more often in the past. This has changed unfortunately, for cost and also compliance reasons. In order to justify the trust placed in Siemens by customers, partners, shareholders and employees, the integrity and transparency of business processes is the top priority. Now each customer event and the list of invitees has to be approved on several levels and our global internal rules make it rightly difficult to travel abroad with customers. Also for tax reasons: if you want to invite high-level managers to expensive trips to exotic destinations, the tax authorities might see it as a ‘benefit in kind’ if you don’t ask your guests to pay for a part of the trip! Our technology, competences and competitiveness are the main drivers in all events we organize.'

MIM: How do you organize meetings? Vera Janssens: 'Given the number of people working in my department has been reduced dramatically in the past years – in South West Europe from more than 70 to 47 – we tend to outsource a bit more than we used to in the past. In every country we have at least one event manager for the project management. Depending on the goal of the event itself and the workload of the moment, our event managers organize it themselves. If it’s a big project, we usually send a RFP and select an agency accordingly, based on their creativity, price and our feelings. Then what is of the utmost importance is that our project team internally works hand in hand with the external project manager – a well-balanced harmony may be hard to find: sometimes even if you wish to give total control over an event to an external provider, our internal team still has a lot to do! In any case you can never outsource your strategy. 'I like to think that, besides the content and the added value for the customers of course, it’s the attention to details that turns an event into a success or not. Internally I constantly emphasize the importance of it. To give you a very simple example, I remember we organized a seminar two years ago in Senegal and we had the idea to leave two postcards in the hotel room with stamps already on them: all the participant had to do was write and put it in a postbox. This initiative – very small, very simple and cheap – was the thing that made the difference. Customers were surprised that we even thought about those kinds of small details'

MIM: Do you have some kind of system that measures the effect of an event? Vera Janssens: 'It is very difficult to


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MIM > Corporate Interview > Siemens

measure with precision what an event brings to your B to B organization in terms of money. How could you detect that the new contract signed today found its roots 12 months ago when your sales director met this customer for the first time at one of your New Year’s receptions? Traceability of buying decisions requests powerful monitoring tools and is time-consuming. We prefer to concentrate our investigations on the satisfaction level of our guests. We regularly ask customers who attend an event - as well as the sales people who invited those customers - to fill in a satisfaction questionnaire screening all the event’s aspects. So we can detect if the customers found what they expected, but also if the internal objectives were met. We consider an event with an overall satisfaction level lower than 85% a failure. Also in event organization we aim for business excellence.'

MIM: According to you, what are the main qualities of a Corporate Director like yourself? Vera Janssens: 'First of all, communication is not an end in itself. You have to understand the business and the objectives and bring added value to realize them.. Furthermore you have to be a good networker. One of my goals is to open doors at top levels in several areas, from political to academic. You have to be able to interact with all kinds of people so your impact is optimal, you prove you’re competent, and you can bring an added value. The ultimate goal is to be able to make a difference – not a ‘wow’ effect, that’s too much – but that little something extra. In the past, it was easier because we had large budgets. Now, hard times are forcing us to be even more creative, more innovative. Sometimes shortage of money is a good thing!

The most important for us is not the quantity, but the quality of the audience

'I would also add you should never take anything for granted when you’re a Corporate Director: always pay attention to the details, never satisfy yourself with anything that's not perfect or it will just lead you to rest on your laurels, which is never a good thing and kills creativity. And as a Communication Director, I always emphasize the fact that internal communication is even more important than external communication. After all, your employees are you best ambassadors: if they give a bad image of your company to the outside world, the best communication campaign will never succeed in correcting it.'


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Where The World Meets

The Global Meetings & Incentives Exhibition Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain

1 - 3 December 2009

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20-08-2009 10:14:00

MIM > Meeting Special > intro

MIM magazine

Meeting Special A few years ago, MIM magazine already had a Meeting Special issue, but until this year, we only talked about the newest tendencies in the field of incentive events in our annual Incentive Special edition. In these changing times it's interesting to see what's the current state of affairs in our industry. What's maybe more important is the positive effect of it all: because it was necessary of course, the meetings industry has become more intelligently organized and more cost-effective, even though this is coupled with more intense negotiations and shorter lead times. The articles you'll be reading on the next few pages will go in-depth on subjects that are currently of interest to everybody who's working in the meetings industry. We've read all about videoconferences, but how does it really work and how profitable is it? We've heard people say that hotels are not in an easy position, but how difficult is it really for them? And everybody says that companies are cutting costs, but we want to know: to what extent? So that's why you'll find the results of our own budget survey, an interview with an expert in videoconferencing, and the report of the round table discussion with representatives of some leading hotels, next to the well-known statistics of UIA and ICCA. TEXT STEVEN KINS

MIM 13

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MIM > Meeting special > Budget Survey

Meetings Industry in Crisis? MIM magazine's Survey Gives Answers To measure the temperature of the meetings industry, MIM magazine conducted a survey among its readers. In June 2009 an e-mail was sent out to organizers of corporate meetings, incentives, seminars and events that are in the extensive database of, inviting them to take part in this online survey and top corporate people and meeting professionals from Belgium, United States, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, France and the UK responded. And what's even more important, the same questions had been asked in a similar questionnaire in 2008 before the financial crisis broke out, which gave us the opportunity to compare both results. Both surveys contained five key questions that will give us a perspective on how our sector has evolved in the last couple of months. Has the meetings industry been affected severely? We're about to find out.. TEXT STEVEN KINS


Size of groups


The main question is of course whether or not the event budget has been affected and we can be brief: this is certainly the case, so no surprises here. While only 16% gave an average budget of less than 500 EURO per person before the crisis, this has now changed into 46%. Most companies used to spend between 500 and 1200 EURO in 2008 (54%), but now that's only the case for 36% of them. The same trend can be noticed for the higher budgets of 1200 to 2500 EURO (was 21, now 15%), 2500 to 3700 EURO (was 8, now 3%) and more than 3700 EURO (was 1%, now zero). Of course, this does not necessarily mean that the quality of events is brought down as well, but probably budgets are used in a more creative way. Sure, some companies have canceled almost all their meetings, but it remains to be seen if this is the best way to go... Other studies have shown that companies choose destinations that are closer to home or that are less expensive, and those are factors that influence the budget in a positive way without affecting the experience.

When you're trying to reduce the cost of an event, you either need to shorten the length of the stay, reduce the size of the group, or stay closer to home, so it came to no surprise that groups would have become smaller, which led us to wonder: how much smaller? Groups of 100 or more people were the most frequent ones in 2008, followed by 30-50, then 50-100, less than 20, and 20-30. Nowadays, 26% are groups of 100 or more, 23% of 30-50 people, 21% of 20-30 participants, 15% of 50-100 and an equal percentage for groups of less than 20 people. It seems that big groups of 50 to 100 people have had to make room for the smaller ones. A stronger selection of the invitees for events and perhaps also leaving out the husbands and wives of the guests may have led to this. It remains unclear in these results if the really big groups of much more than 100 people are still as big as before, but the expected answer to this would be 'no'.

Apparently the average length of events has been affected slightly. Weeklong events already made up for a mere 12 percent before and now this has lowered further to 10 percent. Events lasting more than one week are completely over now (1% before compared to none now). Most events (87% before, 90% now) still last two to five days and even there we may assume that the average will lean over more towards two days instead of five.

Accommodation Most organizers (59%) still choose fourstar hotels and this is the same as in 2008, making it by far the most important type of accommodation for corporate meetings and events. Design and boutique hotels, on the other hand, have lost a bit of their market share (from 17% to 11%) in favour of three-star hotels (was 12%, now 17%). Other options like five-star hotels, castles and museums, but also own meeting rooms are still considered (was 12, now 13%). This small augmentation however does not mean that more people are using

MIM 14

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MIM > Meeting special > Budget Survey

2009 2008 % 60


Choice of destination

What is the average budget per person? % 30

25 20

50 – 100


30 – 50


20 – 30


What is the average size of the group for your events?

% 100

more than 1 week



1 week


2-5 days


Especially the average budget per person has been lowered

100 or more


< 20

The originality of a destination used to be the most important reason for selecting a destination, but this has now moved to second place, in favour of - not surprisingly - the cost of the stay. The third reason is still transport time, followed by the activities offer, the image of the destination and other things like price-to-quality ratio, capacity and the availability of direct flights. Already we were able to see that destinations that are reputed for being rather expensive, are trying to focus on the fact that they are offering better value for money because of the effects of the crisis. However, this does not mean that a destination shouldn't pay attention to the quality of its offer and originality, because in difficult times it's definitely important to stand out of the crowd.

3700 euros or more


2500 to 3700 euros


1200 to 2500 euros


500 to 1200 euros


more expensive hotels, but maybe they're also more original in the choice of accommodation in order to cut costs but at the same time keep the same standard of quality.

less than 500 euros



How many days is your average event?



4* hotels


3* hotels


Other Option


In each and every subject it's clear that budget cuts have been introduced in many companies. Especially the average budget per person has been lowered dramatically. Future research will have to make clear if this is a continuing trend or not, if budgets will go up again after the effects of the financial crisis have faded away, and whether or not the lower budget has affected the whole event experience. But for now, everyone involved in the meetings industry will have to deal with the situation and the matching budget cuts as creatively as possible, be it in organizing an event or in promoting a destination or product. MIM magazine will continue this comparative study next year with an in-depth study which will be conducted in cooperation with one of the leading Belgian colleges specialized in tourism.

Design & Boutique hotels

% 60

Downward trend


What kind of accommodation do you use?


Other Option


the image of the destination


cost of the stay


activities offer


transport time


originality of the destination

% 35


What is the reason for the final selection of a destination?

MIM 15

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MIM > Meeting special > Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing - the perfect solution ? AV Brähler - Youssef Bougria

CSR is also a reason to use videoconferences The advance of videoconferences gained momentum because of the current global situation - although we have to keep in mind that this can never fully replace an actual face-to-face meeting - but still many of you are not completely familiar with the subject. That means it was high time we had a chat with Youssef Bougria, the backstage man on this type of events, who works for a leading energy company that owns several dozens of dedicated videoconference systems in its headquarters. He's rumoured to be the reference in Brussels in this very specific field. What sets him apart from other companies is the number of conferences he prepares: an average of fifteen a day on an international level, connecting people from Argentina to Asia and Europe. This gives him the necessary experience to solve any problem.. INTERVIEW SOPHIE MOLLE AND STEVEN KINS

MIM: Could you tell us something more about yourself and your job description? Youssef Bougria: 'It's a very specific job and my services also include the equipment for simultaneous interpretation. Six years ago I started at the bottom of the ladder. There's no real school to teach you what I do either. One and a half years ago I started working freelance for a leading energy company, installing their videoconferences and providing A/V equipment. Sound and translation is my speciality and they needed a flexible person so now I'm

available 7 days a week, 12 months a year for them. From time to time I organize webinars and videoconferences for others. An average group for a videoconference is often around twenty people, but I've also had groups of 170 people.'

ISDN and internet connection is often not powerful enough. The sound quality and the reliability got better thanks to better sound and video compression methods which means we now get DVD quality instead of VHS quality.

MIM: Have the new technologies improved compared to some years ago?

'A bridge that also solves incompatibility problems can be installed to connect 10 to 15 points instead of only two. When everything works out fine in such a setup, I'm a happy man.'

Youssef: 'Since one year, we've entered the HD (High Definition) phase but not every infrastructure allows us to use this technology to its full potential. The

MIM 16

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MIM > Meeting special > Videoconferencing

MIM: Has it become more user-friendly? Youssef: 'It's really simple to use. Some meeting rooms already have the necessary equipment installed, others are equipped by me, and I even rent out standalone systems which are very easy and basic. If you can use your TV and DVD at home, then this will work as well. 'There's only a small percentage of people that are at ease with the installation though. Most of the time they don't know anything about it, so I select the simplest and most suitable solution for them, mostly only two machines and a connection.'

where can follow it in real-time, and ask questions through a chat system, which even makes it more accessible to ask questions. A webinar can also be part of an incentive trip, in order to give a serious message during a fun trip. 'Of course you have the starting cost, the investment, and you need a decent internet connection or enough ISDN lines, because I use a minimum of six lines to get the required quality, although eight is even better. Still, it's cheaper than buying a plane ticket and arranging hotel rooms and lunches.

Telepresence is like videoconferencing but much more lifelike MIM: Are more evolutions coming up? Youssef: 'Telepresence is getting a lot of attention now. To make this possible, a decorator creates identical meeting rooms with the same colours, lighting and so on in different sites and then you can do real-size videoconferences where people are actually sitting in front of you. It's the same principle as a normal videoconference but it uses HD technology and it's much more lifelike. For now however, a videoconference is still the most flexible solution, since telepresence requires fixed installations and more infrastructure.'

MIM: We can imagine that videoconferences are an obvious success in these rather difficult times. Do you notice this? Youssef: 'Of course there's the crisis which makes companies want to cut costs, but CSR is also a reason to use videoconferences, since it actually helps people diminish their ecological footprint. At the same time it allows for a quicker decisionmaking process. Because of the swine flu, companies want to avoid a pandemic and let their employees travel only when it's really necessary. Normally a videoconference is meant to replace regular conferences, but now it's also used for seminars and congresses. 'Webinars are online seminars that you can watch in streaming video. One or two cameras are installed where the actual seminar is taking place and people else-

'On top of that, older systems still work, so it's a long-term solution as well. OK, there's an investment to be made but then you're settled for years to come. 'I don't really feel the crisis but I can't exaggerate the costs for the client of course. You need to stay logical; people use this system because they want to cut costs. Naturally we need to deliver a minimum of material (a microphone, a camera,...) and if there's a lot of interaction during the conference, two cameras are required, but I don't sell anything that's not necessary.'

MIM: What feedback do you get from the users? Youssef: 'For some it's too complicated and they don't really take the effort to learn it, but most people are very satisfied. There's also no reason that it shouldn't work. Sure, a disconnection from the network might occur but that never takes long and that's not our fault, but the fault of the network provider of course. The system might become unstable but that's extremely rare and the problem is quickly resolved as well. 'At one instance, eight different systems were connected and one of them became unstable, which is something that can happen. We were unable to reconnect, so we had to start from scratch again, but even this only took ten minutes. The people that were connected abroad of course had no idea about what was going on, but they were able to continue the conference and

afterwards they understood what had been the problem.'

MIM: What are the drawbacks? In which instances is it less natural to use videoconferencing? Youssef: 'There are no real limits; you can use videoconferences for two to 300 people. When different internet connection types are incompatible, a bridge has to be used. Some companies have their own private network, and then there's no connection possible to other systems, but that only means they have to install separate ISDN lines or a public internet connection with enough bandwidth.'

MIM: Which sectors are using it the most? Youssef: 'I don't see particular sectors that use it more often than others, there's not really a specific public because it's open to everyone. Bigger, international companies obviously benefit the most from using it.'

MIM: How do you see the future for yourself? Youssef: 'Working for this leading energy company was great training for me. Meanwhile, I'm organizing more and more videoconferences for others. 'When you're doing this job, you need to be on top of the latest technologies because there are different systems out there and I want to be able to help everyone, and even help them by setting the right parameters on their videoconference system with my own computer from anywhere in the world. I stay up-to-date by following product presentations and staying in touch with the suppliers. 'I want to provide support for my clients and be there to help, as an 'AV consultant'. Patience is also part of the job. If a laptop locks up, I won't say: 'hire one of mine.' No, I'll try to solve the problem. As you see, you have to be passionate about the job. I'm not in it for the money. 'Once, I even drove off to Genève with a broken foot. Something fell on it in the morning but I can't say to the client that I'm not coming. I need to calculate time perfectly because people are waiting for me and counting on me as well.'

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Dorint Spa-Balmoral Looking out over the green valley Dutchman Nick Kleingeld is the Manager of this wellestablished name here in Spa and he's been doing this job with heart and soul for many years now. Obviously they're still doing great, since they've extended the building by 30% this Summer. The new wing offers clear meeting rooms with a lot of glass and a big entrance which is perfect for product launches. That's an excellent addition to this property because now they can finally accept larger groups. If you've ever been there you'll definitely remember the hotel staff. Not only do they speak different languages, but they're really friendly and dedicated, as this personal experience proves: me and my colleague

were sitting on the terrace and immediately a lady came and asked if we wanted a coffee. We said we were waiting for someone, but promptly she replied: 'that doesn't mean you can't have a cup of coffee while you're waiting.' Wellness and nature play an important role in the Dorint Spa-Balmoral. The sauna even has a window with a splendid view of the green valley - a view that actually defines the entire hotel, because the rooms look out over the same abundance of nature. Even when you take a bath or a shower you can admire the greenery of the Ardennes.

Contact: Dorint Spa-Balmoral Route de Balmoral 33 4900 Spa-Balmoral T: +32 (0) 87-793250 F: +32 (0)87 793 241


BOOST AWARDS 2009! Did or do you have an exciting, daring and original event, incentive or congress in Ostend in 2009? Then you have a better chance of winning the boost award! Best of Oostende Incentive, Corporate & Public Event and Convention 2009. Please check for detailed information. Boost Award Secretariat (Toerisme Oostende vzw): Monacoplein 2, 8400 Oostende / T. +32(0)59 25 53 17 /

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MIM > Meeting special > The Hotel Business: round-table discussion

Inside the Hotel Business A Round Table Discussion

Hotels take a prominent place in the organisation of meetings and events, because they can offer a certain quality, comfort and convenience, so MIM magazine was interested in what hotels can offer in their dedicated meeting packages and, more importantly, how the current global situation has affected this. Cutting costs when organizing a meeting or event also means looking for the lowest hotel rates of course. In MIM magazine No.104 Ilja Strumane of AB InBev even said that they have blocked certain hotel chains because they didn't match with their image. Therefore we did some research among corporate organizers about what they find important, which gave us the adequate background information, and after that we had a chat with representatives of six leading hotel chains to get a better insight in their situation. After all, there's always two ways of looking at something. As we'll see, the hotel people do have frustrations of their own.. INTERVIEW AND TEXTS MARCEL A.M. VISSERS EN STEVEN KINS

MIM: We already heard that the decisionmaking process became very short, so hotels have to become flexible. How do you experience that? Eloise Ceurvorst - Dolce: 'It's all about action and reaction, so indeed, you need to be quick.' Eline van der Velden - Marriott: 'It's extremely hard to forecast if a group will confirm or not. We experience we have to be more flexible about our cancellation policy.'

Dominique Van Passel - Starwood: 'It's a fact that it's extremely hard to get signed contracts, and if they sign, it's only a few days before the actual event.' Eloise: 'They take less and less risks, and try to see what they can do about the general conditions in the contract. We get no visibility on the actual size of the event, so we have to keep adapting everything.'

wanted to book for a meeting which was taking place four days later and he needed an answer within the hour. I called and he got all the info, I prepared the contract, and on the moment he needed to sign, he let me know that the meeting was canceled. You get a lot of negative energy from incidents like this when you fight and fight but in the end it's negative, and all you get to hear is 'it's postponed'... In one word: frustrating.'

Dominique Van Passel Starwood: It's extremely hard to get signed contracts, and if they sign, it's only a few days before the actual event

Tanja Barella - Renaissance: 'It's rather a request for information instead of actual requests. We put everything together, but then they respond 'it's too expensive', and they don't even go to other hotels, so it's not really a question of losing clients to the competition. How do you think this makes us feel?'

Dominique: 'I had a client abroad who

MIM 19

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20-08-2009 10:14:37

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MIM > Meeting special > The Hotel Business: round-table discussion

MIM: Have you become more creative with new efforts or promotions? Dominika Dhondt - Accor: 'Creativity is not really the issue, because we're completely dependent on the companies' budgets now, and for the moment they do a lot of conference calls instead. We really notice that videoconferencing and webinars are going up, especially in huge companies, so technology is our competition now.' Eline: 'Even we as a hotel company organize a half-day online training instead of a 2-day training on location.' Eline: 'We became 4-star on our own initiative – to avoid losing any clients and to open up for Pharmaceutical companies, who are not allowed to book 5 star hotels.' Eloise: 'But even then, people are expecting 5-star services in hotels of lower standings.' Dominique: 'We proposed our 5-star property to a client, but he booked a 4-star that was more expensive... It's all a matter of perception.' Eloise: 'That's also because certain industries, like pharmaceutical companies, often have policies that don't allow them to go to 5-star hotels.' Dominika: 'The automotive sector had a very big budget, but now they've lowered it to zero. We try to promote our products in the best possible way because, of course, everyone tries to keep the same part of the cake, but clients are called and sent e-mails all the time, so much that they're even getting upset, so that's a difficulty we have to take into account.' Editorial note: Afterwards the ladies also added that Pharmaceutical, Chemical, IT and consulting are the industries that are still doing fine.

MIM: How's the competition between the different hotels? In unison: 'It's a price war!' Dominika: 'Clients are no longer loyal,

Tanja Barella - Renaissance: Some clients even start negotiating after a cancellation and threaten not to come back if we don't accept their wishes

they're shopping for better prices even after a long-standing relationship.' Eloise: 'And they're even transparent about the fact they're window-shopping. That's how the price war starts.' Everyone in agreement: 'But it's an attractive period for clients.' Cécile Potut - Conrad & Hilton: 'In spite of the crisis we don’t go below a certain point because we keep on offering the same high level quality and customized service. If they want to go to the competition, I let them go. Otherwise we would encourage the price war!' Eloise: 'Indeed, you can only go that far.'

Eline van der Velden Marriott: We became 4-star on our own initiative – to avoid losing any clients and to open up for Pharmaceutical companies

MIM: How important is accessibility for corporate clients? Eline: 'People want to go downtown, even if it's less accessible, because the prices of downtown hotels have lowered so much.' Dominique: 'Corporate meetings have become very intensive one-day events. They're also better prepared and more focussed.' Dominika: 'Indeed, accessibility is very important for those one-day meetings, so that's when an airport location becomes interesting, also parking is important. For residential meetings accessibility is less of an issue. If you have an international

meeting, people always want to see the city centre.'

MIM: ...and comfort? Sandra Otero Fernandez - Radisson Blu Royal Hotel: 'People pay less but still expect the same service.' Dominika: 'And they want technology included in the package, free of charge of course.'

Dominika Dhondt - Accor: We really notice that videoconferencing and webinars are going up, especially in huge companies

MIM: Have Meeting Packages stayed the same? Dominika: 'There's more flexibility in the innovation of new ideas. For catering, we try to be more creative, e.g. with a tapas buffet, and people are fond of it. They only have to try it! I really believe that these days people are looking for new ideas.' Eline: 'Clients say they do not need fancy coffee breaks with chocolate fountains, just a coffee is fine. If you're a 4- or 5-star hotel, this is difficult because you want to keep a good standard.' Tanja: 'A meeting package still includes coffee breaks, equipment, meeting room, lunch, and we've also made the cancellation policy more flexible.' Dominika: 'Nowadays, hotels are becoming more flexible towards cancellations! Very often meetings are postponed due to a lack of participants. We even waive the cancellation costs when a new booking is scheduled. We sympathize with the companies, we understand their situation. We all suffer together, so let's have a group hug.' Tanja: 'Some clients even start negotiating after a cancellation and threaten not to

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MIM > Meeting special > The Hotel Business: round-table discussion

Eloise Ceurvorst - Dolce: Now people are expecting 5-star services in hotels of lower standings.

come back if we don't accept their wishes, but where do you draw the line then?' Eline: ''Hey, you need us!' is their reaction.'

MIM: Was there something wrong before, prices perhaps? Tanja: 'We had finally become healthy in Brussels, but now we're back to the situation of five years ago and it will take us ten years to come back.' Eloise: 'I'm afraid that after the crisis we'll get to hear: This is what's been offered before, so we want the same now.'

Dominika: 'All the extras like an aftermeeting drink is too much, they say: let's stick to the budget, we don't need the rest, but to go that extra mile, we organize coffee breaks in the garden, for instance. This requires extra flexibility from the staff, but guests like it. If you have these facilities that can make a difference, use them, especially now. It's a way of convincing them.'

Everyone in agreement: '2010 will be more difficult than 2009.'

Eline: 'Last year we would offer a cocktail if they confirmed, now we just have to lower the rates instead. Added value is not that important anymore. It is about the base cost.'

Tanja: 'In Belgium we only started feeling the crisis in January, not in 2008 like many other countries, so we don't know if things will come back to normal later than the rest of the world as well.'

Cécile: 'Just listen to the needs of customers and customize to client's needs. Before, they just bought the whole package, now you have to adapt, customize and look for the little thing that makes the difference.'

Eloise: 'It's more like forecasting and adapting accordingly.'

Dominika: 'Response time is very important too. The first one who responds can get the contract.' Sandra: 'You give a very good first impression like that. And remember, getting a contract back signed is crazy for the moment.' Eline: 'There are also more intermediaries and often they only forward the first four offers to the client, which makes it even more critical to be quick.'

Eline: 'Our revenues have diminished but keep in mind that our costs stay the same.' Dominika: 'Negotiations for 2010 will be more difficult than in 2009! Price raises will be hard to sell to the customers, on the contrary...'

Sandra Otero Fernandez - Radisson Blu Royal Hotel: Many companies do not want to guarantee their rooms anymore and prefer their delegates to book by themselves to avoid paying cancellation fees

MIM: What's the average size of the groups for the moment? Sandra: 'Many companies do not want to guarantee their rooms anymore and prefer their delegates to book by themselves to avoid paying cancellation fees. When rooms are guaranteed by companies themselves, there are big washes on groups despite definite confirmation, so groups have became smaller than before.' Dominique: 'Maximum 50 rooms get occupied per group.

Eloise: 'We still have meetings from 5 to 500, and we also have sessions of more than one week, depending on the profile of the meeting. It's true that companies are cutting down on numbers of participants or on patterns, in other words shortening the length of stay. However, as a hub city, Brussels still generates many meetings. Moreover, companies try to cut costs on transfers, so they stay in Belgium.'

MIM: We can feel some tension in the room... Dominique: 'We're all in the same boat somehow. We also have to survive, and need to pay people, so we have to cut costs, just like companies do...' Dominika: 'My message to the corporate people is: let's hold your meetings in Belgium, preferably in Brussels, and don't go abroad!'

Cécile Potut - Conrad & Hilton: In spite of the crisis we don’t go below a certain point because we keep on offering the same quality and service

Hotels and meeting packages: what's important In the online survey, accessibility turned out to be the most relevant factor (29%) when choosing a hotel, closely followed by meeting room comfort (28%), new technologies and support (22%), and staff assistance (21%). In a hotel meeting package, the rates (50%) are obviously the most important component, while the catering type (25%) and the certified meeting professional staff (20%) are clearly less important. Other factors (5%) are flexibility and comfort. Hotel chains are improving their meeting packages, but it's difficult to classify how important respondents find the factors 'More online event planning tools', 'Connecting the meeting to a 'green' action', and 'A rewarding program for the members of the group' because all three of those received almost the same score (respectively 34, 33 and 32%).

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MIM > Meeting special > Meeting Stats: ICCA

ICCA The Association Meeting Market 2008 This year the ICCA Data researchers have identified 7,475 events which took place in 2008, a rise of approximately 800 over 2007. Partly this reflects the strength of the market, partly it is thanks to a record number of ICCA members sending their calendar information to help identify new events.

This led Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA, to point out: ‘ICCA's researchers have never before identified so many international meetings taking place in a single year. 800 more regularly-occurring and rotating events than in the previous year. Record numbers of delegates. Record estimated expenditure. ICCA has shouted loud and long about the importance of this segment of the international meetings industry, but the results for 2008 have been truly remarkable, and not just because of the second half of the year that was already showing signs of the global turbulence that is still rocking us.’

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA:

ICCA's researchers have never before identified so many international association meetings taking place in a single year. 800 more regularly-occurring and rotating events than in the previous year Number of meetings per country Ranking 1 2 3 4

As has been the case since 2004, U.S.A. and Germany are the number one and two countries respectively measured by the number of international meetings organised in 2008. The numbers 4 and 5 are Spain and France: they had a considerable increase by amount of meetings compared to 2007: 40 and 79 respectively. For the first time in three years, Vienna shares the top with Paris as the most popular city. Barcelona on third place had an increase of 30 meetings over 2007. Remarkable newcomers in the top 20 are Athens, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. Stockholm and Seoul both climb in the rankings to 8th and 9th position respectively.


Country U.S.A. Germany Spain France United Kingdom

Number of meetings per city # Meetings



# Meetings






















89 87


























83 82










Sao Paulo





















Republic of Korea


Buenos Aires
























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MIM > Meeting special > Meeting Stats: UIA

UIA International Meeting Statistics for the Year 2008 For the past 60 years, UIA has undertaken, for the benefit of its members, statistical studies on the preceding year’s international meetings. The statistics are based on information systematically collected by the UIA Congress Department and selected according to strict criteria maintained over the years, thus enabling meaningful comparison from year to year. Meetings taken into consideration include those organized and/or sponsored by the international organizations which appear in UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations and in the International Congress Calendar, i.e.: the sittings of their principal organs, congresses, conventions, symposia, regional sessions grouping several countries, as well as some national meetings with international participation organized by national branches of international associations.

Top international meeting cities in 2008


Number of meetings

Top international meeting countries in 2008

Percentage of all meetings


Number of meetings

Percentage of all meetings 9.73

1. Singapore



1. USA


2. Paris



2. France



3. Brussels



3. Singapore



4. Vienna



4. Japan



5. Barcelona



5. Spain



6. Tokyo



6. Germany



7. Seoul



7. Netherlands



8. Budapest



8. Italy




9. Copenhagen



9. Belgium



UIA criteria for collection and inclusion have not changed. UIA just divided meetings in 3 categories: meetings of international organizations, 3-day other international meetings and 2-day other international meetings.

10. London



10. UK



11. Geneva



11. Austria



12. Amsterdam



12. Korea Rep



13. Lisbon



13. Australia



14. Sydney



14. Canada



15. Rome



15. Switzerland



Meetings of international organizations are organized or sponsored by ‘international organizations’ included in the UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations, with at least 50 participants. 3-day other international meetings are not organized or sponsored by ‘international organizations’ but nonetheless of significant international character, with at least 40% of participants who are from countries other than the host country, with at least 5 different nationalities, lasting at least 3 days, with either a concurrent exhibition or at least 300 participants. 2-day other international meetings are not organized or sponsored by ‘international organizations’ but nonetheless of significant international character, with at least 40% of participants who are from countries other than the host country, with at least 5 different nationalities, lasting at least 2

16. Maastricht



16. China



17. Madrid



17. Finland



18. Berlin



18. Greece



19. Athens



19. Portugal



20. Istanbul



20. Hungary/ Norway



days, with either a concurrent exhibition or at least 250 participants.

The worldwide breakdown (market share) for meetings in 2008 by continent is:

General picture At the time of producing this edition (May 2009) there were 328,949 meetings in the UIA meetings database of which 316,128 (96%) meet the criteria for inclusion in this report. Of these 316,128 meetings, 297,306 took place in 2007 or earlier, 11,423 took place in 2008, and 7,399 are scheduled for 2009 or later. The section of the report with figures for 2008 covers 1,664 cities and 193 countries.

+ + + + +

Europe 52.73% America (North & South) 17.83% Asia 21.67% Africa 4.70% Australasia / Pacific 3.07%

Check the full statistics in the news section of our website MIM 25

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KINEPOLIS Kinepolis combines business and entertainment ! The 10 Belgian Kinepolis movie theatres, situated throughout the country, are one by one top venues for all your business events. Kinepolis offers you everything you expect from a business center. Combine your event with a movie and/or catering and it will be a guaranteed success !

Kinepolis, where business meets pleasure

Info: Katelijne Lindner â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 09 241 01 61

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20-08-2009 10:15:34 16/07/2009 9:47:36

MIM > Belgium > Ghent

Ghent is flourishing Ghent is reputed as one of the most creative cities in Belgium, yet it hasn't lost its typical character. Tradition goes hand in hand with innovation, just look at the 34th edition of the prestigious Ghent Floralies, the wooden Town Hall on the renovated Braunplein, or the diversity of music in Ghent.. TEXT STEVEN KINS

Floralies of Ghent From 17 through to 25 April 2010, the Royal Agriculture and Horticulture Society will organise the 34th edition of its Ghent Floralies, which is the continuation of a 200-year-old tradition of prestigious flower and plant exhibitions, that are only organized every five years and continue to attract large numbers of visitors. In 2010 the Ghent Floralies will be once again one big green celebration, with a new focus on presentations and the garden experience as a whole. The innovative garden and greenery approach will not prevent Ghent Floralies from keeping up its reputation of offering people a never-ending search for admiration and amazement. The finest flowers, plants and botanical treasures from all over the world, rare for their size, form, colour or smell, will all be presented to the public in the halls at Flanders Expo. Special arrangements can be made, going from individual tickets to private tours for groups, with reception or seated dinner afterwards.

Officially a Creative City for Music The City of Ghent will be affiliated to Unesco's Creative Cities Network in the category of ‘Music’, which also includes the cities of Bologna, Sevilla and Glasgow. According to the report, 'the music scenery has many identities, is designed by numerous actors and is above all a mosaic of different styles; where a culture of co-operation and deliberation between the actors and the policy benefit the complementarity.' Ghent is a versatile city of music: think about the different stages such as the Music Centre De Bijloke, Flemish Opera, ‘Handelsbeurs’, ‘Vooruit’, and others. It is also the festival city par excellence, with - among many others - the International Festival of Flanders, the Film Festival of Ghent, and the Ghent Festivities. On top of that, it's also a creative city with many producers. Moreover, Ghent is a city of music education, and it also offers rehearsal facilities for young groups.

Ghent loves water During the Gentse Feesten or Ghent Festivities (and of course afterwards too) people can sample a new boat trip around Ghent. Rederij De Gentenaer & Gent Watertoerist organise new tours in cooperation with Waterwegen & Zeekanaal that take ninety minutes with a passage of two locks, to unknown places of Ghent such as Porthus Ganda, Keizerspark, old harbour…

A new venue The wooden Town Hall on the Braunplein is the most radical innovation of the reconstruction of the city centre. It is expected to be finished in 2012, is 40 by 15 metres and is built on four concrete pedestals with on top a wooden construction with little holes that let the light flow in. The hall, that will also function as a gateway, will house a Grand Café and is available for events.

Contact: Gent Congres Van Rysselberghedreef 2 box 3 Citadelpark 9000 Gent T: +32 (0)9 224 44 95 F: +32 (0)9 224 44 98

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MIM > Abroad > South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA A 'Braggable' Experience

I'm sure that many people would start dreaming when they hear or read about South Africa. It certainly was the case for me. Weeks in advance I was fantasizing about this country where everyone wants to have the trip of a lifetime. The South African Tourism Board invited us to join the Meetings Africa, the annual one-stop shop for the Meetings Industry. From all over the world interested people came flocking in for this fair that's as usual held in the Sandton Convention centre, close to Johannesburg. TEXT CÉCILE CAIATI-KOCH

Art on Constitution Hill

'Africa's business tourism lekgotla', which is African for a meeting or gathering, is the nice subtitle of the event and it brings you in the South African mood straightaway. After all, the spirit of this country is connected to its vibrant multinational and multilingual culture with its music and humour straight from the heart. For me, 'lekgotla' evokes all those elements as soon as I pronounce this beautiful word. The fact that business tourism is showing an upward trend is also shown in the constant growth of the number of participants and visitors at the fair. Moeketsi Mosola, CEO of South African Tourism, confirmed that he'll do everyting in his power to keep developing this in the next

few years in line with the Business Tourism Growth Strategy.

Braggable & meaningful - Business unusual! A top speaker from the London Avant Garde Institute dared to use the term 'braggable experiences' because South Africa is so unique and overwhelming thanks to its natural beauty, the rich heritage of traditions that can be directly related and integrated in the business methods (think of 'lekgotla'!), and meeting spaces. But South Africa can offer more than just 'braggable' experiences, it also offers meaningful experiences. The new economic situation asks for business with core values, connecting people, learning and

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MIM > Abroad > South Africa

South Africa can offer more than just 'braggable' experiences, it also offers meaningful experiences the Zwartkops Mountains with luxurious lodges and enough meeting capacity for 120 people. Serenity is the word that fits here perfectly. Sitting at the edge of the water and just watching game pass by at a slow rhythm, what more do you want? A great, braggable experience!

rolls out the red carpet

not just watching. This completely fits in with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is or will be adopted by more and more companies, so South African Tourism's 'Business unusual' slogan couldn't have been better thought out. By the way, the World Cup Football in 2010 makes sure that the infrastructure improves by leaps and bounds and may also be a good reason to plan an event then?

The thing that stuck in my memory about this city is the ICC Durban, one of the most beautiful conference centres with lots of natural light, an airy architecture and above all an extremely friendly and open staff. They had literally rolled out the red carpet for us. Mr Miller Matola, the CEO, welcomed us in person, even though it was an early Sunday morning.

Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay

Business and Game in Jo'burg

To me this was an unknown part of South Africa. The name put me in the completely wrong direction - instead of the western part it's in the eastern part of the south of the country. And it was a real eye-opener. In this nice coastal area Port Elizabeth is a city that's still waking up and has kept its charm because of this. The sea is always only a few minutes away from each venue. Feather Market Convention Centre may be old but at the same time that's what defines its character. The Boardwalk Conference Centre with its spacious rooms is located in a modern entertainment and shopping area. But one hour drive from Port Elizabeth came the real revelation: n

Johannesburg is the bustling business city of South Africa, thanks to the discovery of gold in the 19th century. But the visit to the Constitution Hill, the former Old Fort Prison Complex where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy, turns you silent and sets you thinking. Not far from Jo'burg is the Cradle of Humankind, full of game reserves, lodges and also perfect country estates for nice evening events right in the heart of nature. One of those lodges is Kloofzicht, which has a splendid view of a gorge between two rocks and is situated at the foothills of

Pumba Msenge Lodge

Contact Peggy-Sue Figueira Business Tourism manager, South African Tourism Netherlands T: +31 20 471 3181

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20-08-2009 10:16:23 15/04/09 16:53:36

MIM > Abroad > Meet the 4 Elements

Meet the 4 Elements workshop A photographic record Geting back to the basic instinct of Meetings and Incentives by drawing inspiration from the energy of the 4 elements: earth, air, ďŹ re and water. That was the idea behind the 2009 edition of the Meet the 4 Elements workshop which was held on 17 June for the agencies and the day after for the corporate clients from 3 p.m. and followed by a walking dinner at Nine City in Brussels, on the occasion of the cartoon year. This is a unique new 3000m2 event location devoted to the world of cartoons, located in the Brussels Media City. Both multifuncitional rooms and the VIP room were used for the workshop.



With the help of 40 professionals from the different countries and specialists from Rail 1 and Brussels Airlines, people got to (re)discover the possibilities, original ideas, and unknown areas in 4 nearby European countries: Great Britain, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

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MIM > Abroad > Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka A small miracle again

Jaffna Trincomalee


Sri Lanka

At the southern tip of the Indian Peninsula – straddling the major sea routes between West Asia and South East Asia – lies an island with multi-coloured, warm watered beaches and an inland overflowing with inexhaustible flora and fauna. Many names have been used to describe it. Tenerism or 'Isle of delight' in Arabic, Pa-Outchow or 'Isle of Gems' in Chinese, Salabha or 'Rich Island' in Indian, Ceylon in English and Sri Lanka or 'Resplendent Land' in Sanskrit. BY MARCEL A.M. VISSERS, EDITOR IN CHIEF

Reborn The long conflict between the official government and the LTTE, fraught the North and East of the island with bitter violence and scared away many tourists. Fortunately, the insurgency was brought a definitive end in May 2009. The island can once again live up to its name and even before the conflict ended the new brand of Sri Lanka was launched: Sri Lanka Small Miracle. The director of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, mister Vipula Wanigasekera invited me to Sri Lanka to write an exposé on the possibilities of incentives in Sri Lanka. When I visited the country early this year, the conflict was still raging in the North. However, when travelling in the South, I never felt unsafe. I asked mister Paul Van den Hende, an expert on Sri Lanka and director of SriTours in Ghent, whether in-

centive travel to Sri Lanka was safe. He told me that the country has always been safe for guests, especially now that the conflict is over. It’s as safe as walking around in Brussels. He also made some suggestions for the ultimate incentive trip to the country.

The island is the incentive A trip to Sri Lanka should start in Colombo, the capital city. The first few days of your stay you can organise and attend meetings and seminars in one of the many beautiful beach resorts. • Galle Face Hotel • The Galle Face Hotel is one of the finest and oldest purpose-built hotels in South East Asia. Located in the heart of Colombo and bordering the Indian Ocean, almost every room offers a panoramic

view. Built and restored in Victorian style, the hotel boasts 3 grand ballrooms, 6 function rooms and a business centre. • Mount Lavinia Hotel • Another grand old colonial landmark, is the Mount Lavinia Hotel sitting on a rock promontory and surrounded by the ocean on three sides. This former gubernatorial palace has five venues available for meetings, conferences and seminars and is in the process of setting up a new business centre. Organising an incentive in Sri Lanka means organising a tour of the island. The flora, fauna, people and Buddhism need no brushing up and the relatively small size of the island, makes it easy to visit many

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MIM > Abroad > Sri Lanka

spots in a short time. Sri Lanka has a total of six Cultural World Heritage Sites and one Natural, all within close distance of each other. An incentive tour of the island almost always includes these. On the road from Matale to Kandy one should take the time to stop and visit a spice garden, especially the one of Ranweli. Since the earliest of times, Sri Lanka has long been an important exporter of Cloves, Cardamom, Pepper, Nutmeg, Mace, Ginger and Cinnamon. The first stop on the road will be the Sacred City of Kandy. This sacred Buddhist site was the last capital of the Sinhala kings before the British occupation in 1815. It’s also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is a famous pilgrimage site. One should certainly attend an evening at the local Culture Centre to watch a typical dance. • Mahaweli Reach Hotel • The hotel has a five-star rating and is perfectly located to visit Kandy and its surroundings. 112 tastefully decorated rooms await you, complete with breathtaking views of the grand Mahaweli River or the tropical garden of the hotel. You can stay a bit longer in the region around Dambulla. The Golden Temple of Dambulla has been a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. This cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings are of particular importance,

• •

• •

as are the 157 statues. The hotels in the area will make your stay very enjoyable Amaya Lake Resort Set on 12 hectares bordering Kandalama Lake, where a boat trip by sunset should certainly be arranged. A terrace fronts each villa, with a traditional long seat moulded into the patio. Enjoy the view as you sit next to a tree-trunk column supporting the red-tiled roof. Heritance Hotel Kandalama This hotel emerges from the lush foliage of a mountainside and overlooks the lake and Sigiriya. Enter the fantasy ambience of five-star luxury suspended in a natural dreamscape.

From Dumballa, one can easily visit the Ancient City of Sigiriya. This city was built on the slopes and the summit of the Lion’s Rock – a granite peak, which dominates the jungle from all sides. A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site. Sri Lanka is an important exporter of tea, so a visit to a tea plantation should form an integral part of the trip. We recommend the Tea Factory hotel located in the dreamscape of Nuwara Eliya. Animal lovers will love the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage. The orphanage is a sanctuary for rescued, injured or abused elephants. As home to around 70 animals, it is one of the largest centres of its kind in

the world. One can truly experience nature as it was meant to be in Yala National Park. It’s the largest national park in Sri Lanka and contains 32 species of mammals, 125 species of birds and many other animals in a very diverse landscape. The tour of the island ends in the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions. Contact info: Sri Lanka Convention Bureau T: + 94 11 4865050/1 2440002 F: + 94 11 2472985 SRILANKAN AIRLINES Direct flights to Colombo Airport are possible from the following European cities: Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rome. Bandaranaike International Airport has been completely renovated in 2007 and now offers: + Serendib – the Business Class lounge of SriLankan Airlines – has room for 150 passengers. It’s possible to eat, drink, rest, refresh, use the internet and watch TV. + For a small fee one can wait comfortably in the Executive Lounge for their flight. The Sathkara Meet & Greet Service of SriLankan Airlines offers an extensive range of services for arriving, departing and transfer passengers with connecting flights through the Bandaranaike International Airport.

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MIM > Abroad > Sri Lanka

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka Ayurveda, an individual reward for meeting and incentive organizers. It happened to me in Sri Lanka. I discovered a new way of vacationing: feeding the soul and slimming down the body. The acquired energy stayed with me for two months and now I’m once again in need of a trip to Sri Lanka. TEXT: MARCEL A.M. VISSERS, EDITOR IN CHIEF

centre and young and friendly staffers. And the treatment had not even started yet. I had already had some experience with Ayurveda in the Kerala Backwaters, but I did not expect this.

What’s the reward?

! Manik Rodrigo: 'Ayurveda has become very popular with Europeans'

The oldest medicine in the world If you’re looking for an individual incentive, I’d recommend two weeks of refreshing yourself in a Buddhist setting. The Sri Lanka specialist, Paul Van den Hende of SriTours (Ghent), will immediately say: 'You should never organise an incentive in an Ayurvedic spa, because no alcohol is allowed and the meals are vegetarian.' He’s right and that’s also what kept me from trying it out sooner. But when I entered the 15 acres Ayurveda resort of Barberyn Beach, I saw a five-star hotel with a charming welcome lounge, a rolling garden with a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean, a private pool with lifeguard, a fruit juice bar, a restaurant on the roof, a secluded Ayurveda wellness

Ayurveda is derived from the ancient Hindu Sanskrit: 'ayuh' means 'life' and 'vida' means 'science' or 'knowledge'. Three things should be kept in mind. One, Ayurveda is not an alternative medicine. It is one of the oldest forms of medical science known to man – originating 5000 years ago. Two, Ayurveda is more than a system of herbal medicine. It is a way to a long and healthy life and can complement modern medicine. Three, Ayurveda aims to do two things: treat the symptoms of the disease and help individuals strengthen their immune system. Ayurveda treats body and spirit as one entity: what affects one affects the other and vice versa. If they work together they can overcome almost any disease.

swimming in the pool or ocean. Daily, each guest gets three hours of Ayurvedic wellness: massage, herbal treatment and baths. Apart from that, it’s just your regular turn of the mill stay at a five-star hotel. But … you start to enjoy each and every breath and bite you take. The food is so tasteful and plentiful, that you don’t even notice that you’re losing weight. One day, you’ll wake up and notice you’ve attained a zen-like state of mind and you’ll know that your incentive investment was worth it. You return home and live life more freely and much more healthy.

Family-run resorts Doctors specialised in Ayurveda will advise you to follow a treatment for at least two weeks, because the effects will be more visible then. The treatment starts with an in-take conversation: 'Who are you? What do you do? How do you live? What’s your diet like? How do you exercise? ... What do you want to change about your life?' Afterwards you receive a tailor-made program. An Ayurvedic oil is created with herbs from the garden, you get a dietary programme and you get to choose your own exercise: yoga, shiatsu,

We heartily recommend the family-run Barberyn Reef and Barberyn Beach Ayurveda Resorts. The father of the current executive manager, Manik Rodrigo, opened the resort in 1982. It was the first Ayurvedic hotel in Sri Lanka and got an award for pioneering the art of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka. Nowadays it's run by the renowned Rodrigo family, specialised in ensuring the best and most personal service for European guests.

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diamond fashion gastronomy


the Other Antwerp 6

architecture water art

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MIM > Antwerp special

Together with Amsterdam, Vienna, Zürich and Valencia, we also form the “Cool Capitals”.

Philip Heylen High ambitions for Antwerp In 2008 MIM magazine interviewed Philip Heylen, the vice-mayor for Culture and Tourism in Antwerp. He told us about his inspired and great ambitions for Antwerp as a congress city. Now, one and a half year later, we visited him for a follow up.

MIM: Our readers haven’t forgotten your promise to improve the international image of Antwerp. Has this been realised? Philip Heylen: Each day the offices of Tourism, Congress and Culture all work hard together to improve Antwerp’s international fame. This all depends on two things: Antwerp as a product and a good marketing and promotion campaign. In the last few months a lot has happened to make Antwerp stand out and more is to come. The iconic MAS (Museum At the Stream) will open soon and already enjoys international attention. Another iconic building will be the new congress centre, for which the Flemish government has promised 57,2 million euro. Last month we launched the Dutch Capitool Travel Guide and the English version will soon follow. This is the touristic guide and really puts Antwerp next to the other metropolises on the bookshelf. We’re also trying to attract more international hotels – with whom we

already work closely together – through city renovation projects. Lastly, we have signed several agreements with Antwerp Airport, Brussels Airport and Brussels Airlines to make travel to Antwerp much easier. As you can see, we’re constantly making progress and that’s how I want it.

MIM: Branding has become very important for cities. What does Antwerp as a brand represent? PH: Meeting in Antwerp is meeting in an easily accessible historic city. Antwerp is a pocket-sized metropolis: the historic city centre, the international port, diamonds, fashion, culture and gastronomy are all combined with accessibility and small scale. These are the most important trumps of Antwerp.

MIM: With which other European city would you twin Antwerp? Why? PH: We’re already working together with Ghent, Bruges, Mechlin and Louvain to profile ourselves as the “Flemish Art Cit-

ies”. We share a stand and act as a group at the larger international meeting fairs (IMEX, EITBM, and EMIF). Together with Amsterdam, Vienna, Zürich and Valencia, we also form – on a more touristic level – the “Cool Capitals”.

MIM: Antwerp is known in the Meetings Industry as a second city. ICCA statistics place Valencia as the first of the second cities. Will Antwerp compete for this position? PH: Fly with the eagle or scratch with the chickens. We’re ambitious and naturally we want to be the best second city. Once we have the new congress centre, we will be able to fully challenge cities like Zürich, Valencia and even Barcelona.

Antwerp special is a production of Interviews and texts: Marcel A.M. Vissers, Editor in Chief Igor Hendrickx, Assistant Editorial Officer

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MIM > Antwerp special

Unlike a lot of bureaus, we don’t work with members but with the whole group of organizers and suppliers

Inge Marstboom A grateful sector and a great city In March 2008 a new congress bureau was established, focussing exclusively on managing congresses and business events in the city of Antwerp. Leading the effort is Inge Marstboom, Manager Congress & Business Events. MIM visited her in her bureau on the Great Market Square.

MIM: Networking is an important part of the meetings industry. In such a setting, isn’t it difficult for you to be the new face of a new Congress Bureau? How do you cope? Inge Marstboom: It’s true that you have to prove yourself, but I like a challenge: variety is the spice of life. You should also not forget that I’ve been working for the Tourism Bureau since 1997, where I have helped organize such events as the “Fashion Year” and the “Van Dyck Year”. A lot of contacts from the tourism industry return in the meetings industry. Professionally, I don’t feel unprepared or new. Personally, it makes everything easier to work in such a grateful sector with such a great city to promote.

MIM: You probably already know how to play Antwerp as a trump card. What’s your strategy? IM: Communication is the most important part of the job. I believe it’s important to regularly communicate with everyone in the local meetings industry (hotels, venues, …). Unlike a lot of bureaus, we don’t work with members but with the whole group

of organizers and suppliers. Associations don’t like limitations and really appreciate this open and neutral approach. I also work closely with Tourism Flanders, because they have many permanent bureaus in Europe, Asia and America. This helps a lot to raise our international profile, as do the many fairs and events that we try to attend: IMEX, EITBM, EMIF and Event. We’re also member of MPI and will become a member of DMAI. Finally, we collaborate regularly with our local industry to organise sitevisits and publish advertisements in foreign magazines.

MIM: The new congress centre will significantly simplify your job in the future. How will you translate this to the public at large? IM: True, the new congress centre is already very popular in Belgium. Their name, “Zalen van de Zoo” (Halls of the Zoo) really attracts a lot of attention. With its iconic historic façade, central location and easy accessibility, it hardly needs promotion. Abroad, however, we first need to work on

our destination promotion before we can promote the centre. Antwerp doesn’t enjoy the same name recognition as Paris or London, even though we have just as much to offer, but within closer vicinity of each other. That’s Antwerp’s strongest asset: everything is on walking distance. It truly is a city on human scale.

MIM: Finally, what have you planned for 2010? IM: We’ll be launching a new and much more professional website with a databank, contact lists, etcetera. The new MAS will need launching as well, since it opens its doors in Spring 2011. The promotion of the new congress centre will also start in 2010. And all the while I’ll be working on further expanding my network. Busy, busy, busy...

Antwerp Tourisme & Congress Grote Markt 15 – 2000 Antwerp Phone: +32 3 338 81 81 Fax: +32 3 338 81 32


MIM > Antwerp special

Flanders Congress Centre A New Competitor on the European Conference Market Only recently has Antwerp started to work on renovating and expanding its many advantages. What Antwerp lacked the most, was a large modern congress centre. Luckily this is the past tense. It looks like there will be an Antwerp congress centre after all in 2012. MIM interviewed Rudy Van Eysendeyk, the director of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp and responsible for the current Flanders Concert & Congress Centre. We were welcomed into his beautiful Art-Nouveau office suit, located in the Zoo entrance building, overlooking Astrid Square and right next to the congress centre. INTERVIEW AND TEXT MARCEL A.M. VISSERS AND IGOR HENDRICKX

Rudy Van Eysendeyk

MIM: Antwerp has been waiting for al long time for its very own congress centre. Didn’t this take too long and how did it happen? Rudy Van Eysendeyk: My answer to the first part of the question will be short: yes, it took too long. As to why it took so long, that’s a longer story. Perhaps it is best to explain the current situation first. The Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (KMDA) is made up out of several institutions: the Antwerp Zoo, the Wild Animal Park Planckendael, the nature reserve De Zegge, the Serpentarium in Blankenberge and the Flanders Concert & Congress Centre (FCCC). When I became director in 2001, the KMDA was in dire financial straits. The animal and nature parks no longer turned a sufficient profit to renovate and repair. My experience as crisis-manager in the private sector and my political connections from my years as director-general of the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, served me well to

solve this problem. Nowadays the Zoo has once again become a pearl of this city – especially with the recent birth of baby elephant Kai-Mook (Thai for ‘pearl’). Remained the problem of the FCCC. The FCCC – better known as the Elisabeth-hall – functioned primarily as a classic concert hall. The congress part was never fully integrated. Luckily, everyone concerned was aware of the problem and all agreed Antwerp needed a real congress centre. Sadly, no one could agree on how exactly this would be accomplished. Should the new centre be located in the very centre of the city or should it be moved to a more remote location? For a long time it looked like the new centre would be built on the Island, the modern neighbourhood at the old docks. The construction of the MAS in the same area, made a new congress centre there nearly impossible. So that idea was finally discarded for the renovation of the old congress centre in its current location at the Astrid Square. The monetary

discussions between the different levels of government (city, province and region) were finally resolved in the beginning of 2009: 57,2 million euro would be set aside for the complete renovation and rebuilding of the FCCC.

MIM: What exactly will happen now? When can we expect the new congress centre to open and what special changes will we see? RVE: The concert hall will probably be finished in 2013, maybe even 2012. The construction of the congress parts will go more smoothly and is planned for 2012. Let me explain this distinction. The Elisabeth-hall will be converted into a an acoustic concert hall with 2100 seats. That way, the Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra will finally have the space it always needed and previously lacked. The idea is that congresses will take place during the day, while concerts and repetitions will be scheduled for the evening.

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MIM > Antwerp special

With the appearance of the new congress centre Antwerp will be reborn as the new leading Second City of the European congress market. • • • • • • •

A large conference hall with +/- 2071 seats A large entrance/exhibition hall (+/- 2000m2) A marble ballroom in Colonial style ( +/- 465m2) Exclusive boardroom in Art Deco style. 12 break-out rooms. A new hotel is planned. 1200 hotel beds on walking distance.

In 2012 Antwerp will have a modern, state of the art, dedicated congress centre in a classic Art Nouveau setting. More than 1500 people will be able to meet and convene in the heart of the Diamond City. MIM: Yet again a combination of a concert hall and a congress centre. Is that wise? RVE: The demand for a completely dedicated congress centre in Antwerp isn’t high enough to be cost-effective. This is a practical and more profitable solution. We’ve arranged with the orchestra that the planning of congresses will be given priority over their concerts. Anyway, the planning of a large congress always starts earlier than the planning of a new orchestra season, so we foresee no problems in this regard. Architecturally, it will become a classic concert hall with reverberation, but this will be neutralised electronically for congresses. The entrance hall will be expanded to 2000m2 – more than twice its original size – and can serve as exhibition room, dinner room, etc. While the preliminary session will take place in the main hall, the subsequent smaller meetings can take place in breakout rooms on the upper floors. Additional meeting rooms will be available in the grand Central Station. One of these even has a glass wall overlooking the HST trains. This way we’ll be able to easily accommodate 2000 attendees. Because most hotels are within walking distance, we won’t be integrating the three chair principle. There’s also no need for modernising the building’s exterior: it’s

already an iconic and historic building, we don’t need to change that.

MIM: That brings us to our next question. The FCCC is a member of the Historic Conference Centres of Europe. Will the new centre remain a member of this organisation? Will you strengthen this or do you see other possibilities? RVE: Most likely the new centre shall remain part of HCCE, but we do question its added value. Perhaps the whole concept behind the HCCE should be rethought, because at the moment the members still compete with each other. In my opinion the HCCE limits itself thus to merely a nice placard on the façade. There should be less competition and more cooperation and if this happens, we might even discuss increasing contributions.

MIM: The new congress centre has a very strategic location. Marcel Vissers once called it Astrid Meeting Square: a neighbourhood with hotels and congress centres within walking distance of each other. Moreover, the Central Station is located right next door. How will you make use of this? RVE: Transportation is, marketingwise, our highest trump. There is a distinct difference between a fair and a congress.

Fairs need a lot of parking space, because most attendees live in the same region and arrive by car. Congresses, on the other hand, cater more towards an international public. Most of these people will first arrive by plane in Brussels and will then take the direct train connection (planned for 2011) to Antwerp. When they arrive in the Central Station, they can immediately go to the congress centre. Practically all public transports pass by the Astrid Square, so people arriving from outside the city centre will still have no problem. It’s already possible for guests to walk between the congress centre, their hotel and the station without having to face the weather: an underground floor connects all three. Everything truly is within walking distance and when not attending meetings, one can always visit the city centre and its many delights.

MIM: Lastly, will the name change? RVE: Probably. Flanders Concert & Congress Centre is a mouthful and doesn’t mouth easily. Hardly anybody knows it by that name and usually calls it the Elisabeth-hall. Already we’ve been using a different appellation: “Zalen van de Zoo” (Rooms of the Zoo). It’s a work in progress.

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MIM > Antwerp special

The Other Antwerp 6 The international name and fame of Antwerp has noticeably increased since last year’s interview with Philip Heylen. Elegant proof of this was provided by Vanity Fair when they published an article in their April 2009-issue, saying: “The art is amazing, and it's everywhere you look; the fashion scene is vibrant, and the design is gorgeous; there's a cool café culture, and the streets are practically paved with diamonds. When you think about it, there's not much about Antwerp that is less than totally adorable.” In the following pages, we will verify that, apart from being adorable, Antwerp has also become an excellent place to organise meetings and incentives. In imitation of the Antwerp Six, the group of influential fashion designers that first put the new Antwerp on the map, we will showcase the Other Antwerp Six that make Antwerp the meeting place it is today. Water, as the source of Antwerp’s prosperity, deserves an important place. The wealth of Antwerp is most prominently displayed in the Art and Architecture on the streets and in the museums. For example, the daring building on our cover is the future Port Authority Building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. One simply cannot forget that Antwerp is the Diamond capital of the world and an important Fashion city. In any case, each event will be augmented by the gastronomic experience that has become so typical for Antwerp. Therefore – last but not least – we will focus on the Gastronomy in Antwerp. You can view extended texts and other meeting and incentive possibilities on our website:

/ The highest international mark of approval for polished diamond is the “Cut in Antwerp” label.

Diamond In 1476 the modern diamond cutting technique was developed in Antwerp by Lodewijk van Bercquem. Ever since Antwerp has been the diamond centre of the world. Antwerp World Diamond Centre plays an important role in regulating professional ethics, training, setting standards and promoting the interests of Antwerp as a centre of the diamond industry. Diamond Museum Unfortunately, the increased security in and around the hundreds of diamond stores has made it highly impossible for outsiders to organize events in a diamond-related setting. The only location still remaining, is the Diamond Museum on the Astrid Square. Located right next door to the new conference centre on the Astrid Square, the Diamond Museum introduces visitors to Antwerp’s 500-year diamond history. The museum is certainly worth a visit for those interested in the technological aspects of the diamond industry, but also for the more jewellery-

minded. Aside from an impressive collection of historical and contemporary diamond creations, one can also see a diamond cutter at work. The museum regularly mounts fascinating temporary exhibitions. The museum regularly organizes nocturnes on demand. There’s even a special “Sparkling Diamond”cocktail for up to 100 guests. Cocktails are served with a small stone in the ice cubes. This stone can be checked on the spot to see if it’s a real diamond or merely a zircon. One can also arrange for diamond pralines as gifts. The museum staff has built up a lot of dazzling experience and they’re always willing to

provide you with inspiration. The Antwerp Tourism & Congress Bureau also offers two guided tours through Antwerp. “Antwerpen Schitterende Diamantstad” takes you on a historic tour through the diamond industry. “Diamantwijk” is shorter and limits itself to the current industry and the diamond district. Both tours are coupled to a visit of the Diamond Museum.

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MIM > Antwerp special


Water The Waterfront and the Island are the two Antwerp neighbourhoods most connected to the water. Thanks to municipal renovation projects both neighbourhoods have become very trendy. In addition to the many cafés, bars and restaurants, all water-related locations for events can be found here. The fresh air, the sound of the waves and the wide vistas, ensure the perfect atmosphere for meetings and incentives.

Antwerp used to have a wide network of channels, waterways and streams: the ruien, vlieten and vesten. These medieval channels were later used as sewers and were overarched. An adventurous tour of these underground waterways can be arranged through the Antwerp Tourism & Congress Bureau.


You name it, they do it … as long as it’s on a sailboat: after-work sail, initiation sailing, training, races. Through their network of contacts they can arrange an incentive for up to 100 people. For example, they took part in the Antwerp Race – the largest sailing race in the Benelux – and in the Schelderegatta. In September 2009 they organized the Juris’ Cup in Antwerp. You can sail or charter their ship(s) from Antwerp, Zeebrugge or Breskens. From these ports you can sail off into the sunset from and to most anywhere.

Zaal Stuurboord

Sometimes after a conference, fresh air and the wind in your hair are just what the doctor ordered. What better way to clear your mind and relax in the company of your friends, colleagues and associates than to spend a few hours on a sailboat. developed this concept in Antwerp and in only a few months time gained a lot attention and experience.

Zaal Stuurboord is located right at the bend of the Scheldt and is easily accessible by car, boat or public transport. This multifunctional venue room can be divided into five units, each named after an international port: New-Orleans, Rio, Kaapstad, Singapore and Antwerp. The flexible acoustic walls allow you to divide the venue in different rooms or to adjust to the number of people. This flexibility can also be found in the amount of different events that can be organized for up to 1200 people. What makes Zaal Stuurboord really special is probably the best view over the river and the mood-adjustable bar and large terrace from where one can observe the harbour and the old city.

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’t Eilandje / The Island


It is a point well worthy of attention that major rivers are generally at the foot of major cities. – Henry-Bonaventure Monnier

Flandria literally is the flagship of Antwerp’s waterrelated activities and events. With six diverse ships and a polyvalent hall, Flandria offers businesses, tourists and individuals a boatful of possibilities. Even if you have no idea what you want, Flandria will inspire you and help you with developing a completely original concept. A new activity is an incentive-trip with the “Gerlache”, a training ship. Reconnect with your true nature while you learn the ropes and sleep on the water in primitive circumstances. Furthermore, all ships can be rented to serve as a dynamic, private and quiet location. This All-Inn formula is not so much a formula, but the promise of flexible prices, arrangements and people-oriented service. Each year a few of the largest cruise ships in the world put in at the Cruise Terminal. This 480m2 terminal can be transformed into a polyvalent hall with a phenomenal view of the Scheldt. Perfect for meetings, fairs, dinners etcetera. With Flandria, you’re free to immediately embark on an eventful and totally personal voyage.

In the Willemdock of Antwerp, lies a ship with the inspiring name Don Quichote II. The ship’s captain is a lady with a rich professional history, specialised in the media. She can invite twelve passengers to meet, lunch or dine on her ship. As extra flavour, a trip on the Scheldt can be added. Suitable for smaller and private board meetings.



Waagnatie is a former port hangar and was originally built as supply depot for the Holland-America Line. Recently it got a new purpose as a multifunctional space for events, fairs, congresses, product launches, receptions, concerts, ... With nearly 6000m2 – expandable to 7000m2 – Waagnatie is the ultimate location for organising large events. Even though it’s only 700 meters away from the old city centre, it has nearly unlimited parking space, is easily reachable by public transport and is close to the major roads into Antwerp. While you can just rent the hall, the staff has the required experience and contacts to

At the southern end of the esplanade along the river, lies what looks like a moored ship. Appropriate, because the cruise terminal is nearby. The building was designed by Flemish architect Bob van Reeth and brought renewed attention in the Nineties to the waterfront. The large windows and mirrors create a wide and infinite spatial feeling. It is possible to meet with 80 people in a room on the fourth floor and have a coffee break, lunch or other full prepared and served meal on the roof terrace with full view of the passing ships and the famous cathedral.

transform it into whatever you please. For example, the Galadinner of the Antwerp Diamond Conference 2007, with princess Mathilde of Belgium and president Bill Clinton and Al Gore in attendance. To further serve you, Hangar 29 – the company behind Waagnatie – also owns three other locations in Antwerp: tKwartier, Loods Belgica and the Atriumroom.

Don Quichote II

Antwerp is an international port and it won’t surprise anyone that it’s possible to rent a ship for a large event and to sail to other Belgian cities, the Netherlands and Germany. Two companies in Antwerp are specialised exclusively in organising events on their ships. OceanDiva has two ships available for meetings, dinners, seminars, etc. OceanDiva Original has room for 350 people in theatre style and for a walking dinner with 1200 people. It’s possible to create several seminar rooms. OceanDiva Futura has room for 150 people in theatre style and for a walking dinner with 600 people. Seminar rooms are also possible. Pure-Liner also has two ships. Both have room for a buffet with 600 guests, a sit down dinner for 300 and a theatre style meeting for 250. Almost everything can be customised: all kinds of business events are possible and have thorough technical support.


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Through a cultural discovery, with a focus on contemporary design, architecture and history, you learn to know Antwerp as a fashion city. This guided tour stops at shops, buildings and other places that are important for the development of Antwerp as a fashion city.



As a prominent fashion city, Antwerp had to have its own fashion museum. The MoMu is housed in the Modenatie – a building that serves as hubnub of all things fashionable. Behind the Neo-Classic exterior of the Modenatie, one would not suspect such a modern interior with warm colours, a wooden stairwell and wide open spaces. It’s possible to arrange a whole day of meetings in the MoMu: there’s an auditorium, several meeting rooms and a large entrance hall – perfectly suited for receptions or other events. In addition one can ask for a guided tour of the running exhibition in the museum after opening hours or one can participate in several workshops (on request) or fashion walks.

In 1988, with the advent of the Antwerp Six, Antwerp became a notable location for fashion and design. The initial inspirational success was followed by a new generation of designers in the Nineties. Naturally, Hospital A truly special location for events can be found on fashion has also conquered the Southside. There you can visit Hospital, a luxurithe streetscape: fashion stores ous fashion store whose ambition it is to become and design centres are everythe most striking store in Europe. With an in-house where. Since 2002, Antwerp wine bar and adjacent lunch-apero bar, they also has its own fashion centre: are already well on their way. The store was by architect Will Erens, who the ModeNatie. In this unique designed also designed the new Martini Bars building in the historic cenand several Grey Goose Bars. The old stables of the Hippodrome have tre of Antwerp, the Flanders turned into an immense Fashion Institute, the MoMu, been space with high ceilings and the Antwerp Fashion Acadharmonious, recycled building emy, an artistic book store and materials. Despite the size, Hosa brasserie have all found a new pital feels cozy and is the perfect if you’re looking for an home. The yearly fashion show place exclusive selection of high of the Antwerp Academy has fashion and designer become a major event, drawing brands. The store is very welcoming of more than 6000 visitors from events: it is possible all over the world. to arrange a wine


tasting, a reception for up to 150 guests and you can even pass the night in one of three suites. Hospital is no Lifestyle store, but a Love life store.

Hoedensalon CRZ A very particular fashion experience can be found in the shadow of the Cathedral. There lies a small hat shop, owned and run by Caroline de Roy van Zuydewijn. For more than twenty years, she has designed her own hats and her clientele includes royalty, nobility and celebrity personages. Apart from selling hats, she also offers a Tea experience. Up to forty people can be welcomed

Caroline de Roy van Zuydewijn

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Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. – Coco Chanel in her shop. They can listen to a lecture on the history and fashion of hats, after which they can fit hats and enjoy a Light Tea, High Tea or Royal Tea. This is certainly interesting for partners of convention attendees. It’s the perfect sedate close of an intensive day of shopping and culture.



Covering approximately 2000m2, Verso is a large concept multibrand store in the heart of Antwerp. Since

its opening in 2003, it was decided to add a lunch restaurant to the store. Verso Café has become the place to be for the Antwerp fashion crowd. Several rooms can be rented for events: the Buffalo-lounge, Club Safe 1 and 2 – two rooms that can be closed with a thick safe door – and a Martini Bar. Verso is the perfect place if you want to organize a fashion-themed event in a more classic location. Indeed the store is housed in an old 16th century building that used to be a Renaissance hotel.

configurable rooms, with all facilities

The Meeting Centre at Antwerp expo is the place to be for your seminar, conference or meeting. Depending on your needs and requirements, we can offer you the perfect space. You can welcome 10 to 500 people in our 6 configurable rooms, which are all equipped to the finest detail. Extra benefits for your guests: a central and easily accessible location, 3.000 parking places and stylish hotels in the immediate vicinity, with separate entrances to the Meeting Centre.

Jan Van Rijswijcklaan 191 BE-2020 Antwerpen

1 website for all info:

T. +32 (0)3 260 81 20 F. +32 (0)3 237 87 71

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De Winkelhaak Located in an award-winning design building – not far from Central Station and the new congress centre – De Winkelhaak is ideally suited for organising small events. Thanks to the glass walls and their creative design, its polyvalent room can be easily transformed from an exposition during the day to a cocktailparty and fashionshow at night. De Winkelhaak also organizes workshops and launch-events, provides catering in association with Brasserie Enfanterrible and has contacts throughout the Antwerp Art industry.




Antwerp was the artistic nexus of the Flemish Baroque painting – prominent artists include P.P. Rubens, A Van Dyck and J. Jordaens – and became one of the first European cities to have a Royal Academy for Fine Arts. Antwerp became the European Capital of Culture in 1993, which served as a catalyst for the further cultural development and transformation of the city. Be it modern or classic, Antwerp simply breathes art.

When the renovated Museum of Photography opened its doors again in 2004, it was made clear that it would no longer limit itself to purely museological activities. Apart from a historical and contemporary collection of photography and frequently changing exhibitions, the FotoMuseum now also offers a permanent range of activities. The museum is the only one in Antwerp which offers so many rooms to organise an event: the ground floor gallery and entrance hall, two exhibition rooms, a meeting room, an auditorium and a mezzanine. In addition, several group-programmes – including evening visits – can be arranged. This progressive policy fits the modern building and the relatively new artistic subject. Note: the same building also houses the Media department of the Museum for Contemporary Art.

KMSKA The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, founded in 1810, houses the largest collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures from the 14th to the 20th century in Flanders. The Neoclassical building has become an icon of the Antwerp Southside – the rising entertainment district. Following a guided tour to the museum after opening hours, it’s possible to arrange a reception for up to 450 people (more is possible) in the large and impressive entrance hall with marble

De Winkelhaak

staircases. You’ll be in the best of company, because Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals and many other Antwerp painters look down on you from the painted walls. The museum is a must visit, even if you’re not interested in organising an event there. Note: The museum will be closed for restoration and renovation from 2011 onwards. All pictures of the KMSKA were made by Ms. Kristien Daem.

AMUZ Located in the trendy hart of the Antwerp fashion scene, AMUZ is a modern complex built in and around an old baroque church. The old church now functions as the main event hall, while the sacristy and sidechapel now function as, respectively, a meeting room and a foyer. These are decorated with marble floors and pillars, gold murals and stained glass windows. In addition to the historic rooms, there’s also a VIP-room, several dressing rooms and another foyer. These are built in a light contemporary style. Both the historic and contemporary rooms enjoy modern technical facilities and can be used for many kinds of events.

Metropolis Antwerpen There is more to do in Metropolis – the largest megaplex movie theatre of Belgium – than just going to the movies. Metropolis Business & Communica-

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Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. – Robert Motherwell tion Centre clearly shows that business can be combined with pleasure. Apart from 24 comfortable theatres with a capacity ranging from 198 to 745 seats, all theatres are perfectly suited and equipped for conferences. However, it doesn’t stop there: two Seminar Rooms, and the large Hollywood Lounge, a multi-functional room with a maximum capacity of 2.500 people and a seated capacity of 1.200 people. All facilities are there to provide your guests with an event in the highest possible quality. Accessibility is no problem: Metropolis is close to major trafficarteries with free parking space for up to 2500 cars and can easily be reached from the city centre by public transport. Conferences, launches, receptions, exhibitions and buffets (organized by one of the top Belgian caterers) can be lightened up with several other additional events: live opera and theatre in the cinema, avant-premieres, a guided tour behind the scenes, 3D-Cinema etc … With flexible propositions and programs, everything is possible. Metropolis has made it their business to entertain!

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MAS A new city landmark rises above the marina and old docks. MAS [Museum aan de Stroom] is a place of discovery for inhabitants of Antwerp and visitors from abroad alike. It tells stories about Antwerp’s rich history, its cultural heritage and the interaction between the city and the world. Five exhibition floors, a museum shop, a restaurant, a café, a panorama room, a terrace, four pavilions, a boulevard and the square by contemporary artist Luc Tuymans, prove that MAS is more than a just a museum. It is a hot spot buzzing with activity. It will be possible to organise meetings and other events in and around the museum. With MAS, Antwerp adds a new tower to its skyline. This tower has already received an honourable mention in the book “Museums in the 21st Century” and is designed as a contemporary warehouse – a reference to the maritime activity of ’t Eilandje (the Island). The museum will open in Spring 2011. Note: All pictures of the MAS were made by Ms. Karin Borghouts.

Modern Art in a chateau In the middle of a beautifully designed park with century old trees in Antwerp’s district Ekeren, stands the 19th century Chateau Beukenhof. The host and his wife are distinguished collectors and connoisseurs of (very) contemporary art, with a knack for discovering young artists. They open their chateau for private parties (companies and organisations) with a taste for art and beauty. While the host guides you through his art collection, the hostess prepares an artistic lunch or dinner according to the finest Burgundian tradition.

It would be a great folly to assume that these are the only museums in Antwerp. There are a lot of smaller, historical museums in Antwerp worth a visit. Guided tours are available for most, if not all museums. They all offer a wide variety of group activities in historic setting. If you’re interested in organising a nocturne, a seminar, a lecture, a dinner,… Simply contact Ingrid Lampaert (ingrid. to discuss the many options for a success business event.

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Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen

Music Hall Group: content, locations and services The Music Hall Group has been one of the mainstays of the performing arts in Antwerp. Geert Allaert started the group in 1989 and focused primarily on organising large music productions. The group has been growing steadily – starting with the acquisition and renovation of the Antwerp Stadsschouwburg and Forest National in the early Nineties – and became an important organiser, producer and promoter of large B2C events and associated B2B services (VIP Corporate service). 2009 has been a turning point for the group with the acquisition of the Zuiderkroon – a large purpose built corporate venue in Antwerp. Their large quantity of facilities and services will now also be available to corporate business. MIM magazine interviewed Geert Allaert, general manager, and Tom Bertels, marketing manager. INTERVIEW AND TEXT MARCEL A.M. VISSERS AND IGOR HENDRICKX

MIM: Apart from B2C events, you’re now also busy in the B2B sector. What prompted this and how do you proceed? Tom Bertels: Before 2009 we already had some experience organising B2B events and the possibility has always existed to rent our halls for events. We wanted to professionally develop our B2B event

possibilities and that’s why we acquired the Zuiderkroon, including its complete and experienced catering and event team. We now have everything needed for organising large B2B events: an experienced support service and professional infrastructure. You can rent our event locations in Bel-

Geert Allaert

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We now have everything needed for organising large B2B events gium’s Golden Triangle: Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. Forest National in Brussels can accommodate up to 8000 people in an arena setting. Capitole Gent is an elegant Art Deco location in Ghent with several break out rooms (1600 seated). The Stadsschouwburg Antwerp (2000 seated) is the perfect place for an event with panache. More about that later. The Zuiderkroon (1200 seated) has a large foyer and auditorium and can be set up in any way possible. In addition to our VIP Corporate service and our Event Locations, we now have our Event services: Gusto (our in-house catering service) and 2toTango (our event bureau). These are our three main pillars of activity. We’re unique in Belgium in combining large capacity event locations and know how: the one stop shop for any event. Naturally, we will be communicating our new B2B possibilities to the press, our clients and through our corporate event brochures.

MIM: So what’s so special about the Stadsschouwburg and the Zuiderkroon? Geert Allaert: First of all, we have a 1000m2 stage with incredible technical possibilities: six huge elevators, a revolving stage with a diameter of 24m, 89 theatrical fly bars, technical bridges, etc. It’s perfect for spectacular events. For example, last year we had a conference where – after the presentation – a ready walking dinner buffet was raised from below. Secondly, we have the largest covered square in the world right in front of our building. The square with its large awning was designed by the Italian architects Secchi & Viganò. Encouraged by the city, we’ve already organised some large events outside. The new square also influences the neighbourhood: more and more trendy bars and restaurants start to appear. We’re right at the centre of the Antwerp West End and our building – formerly called the Bunker – now feels more

like a new Centre Pompidou. The Zuiderkroon is our dedicated multipurpose event hall. The hall can be used for all B2B events: seminars, meetings, product launches, … We have a large foyer and a large multifunctional auditorium, which can be totally transformed from theatre style to dinner style to a catwalk etc. Lots of free parking space in the vicinity, make this an easily accessible location on the Antwerp Southside.

MIM: What makes the Music Hall Group so special? What’s the added value that you offer your clients? GA: Our B2C events remain our primary activity, but they’re also the added value to our B2B events. In the daytime, we can easily organise large seminars, conferences and meetings in our locations and in the evening the guests can attend our shows. Of course, people have to take a break and that’s when they can take a backstage tour or have a meet and greet with the artists. Through our artistic connections, we’re the only ones in Belgium who can offer such incentives in between and after the meetings. For no added cost! The Music Hall Group distinguishes itself by offering a unique product in so many large and flexible locations and with allinclusive service.

MyCulture is a terrific tool for employers to reward their employees. For no added cost you can get a discount (-15%, -30%, -50%) for your employees on all shows of the Music Hall Group (500 each year) in Forest National, Stadsschouwburg Antwerp, Capitole Gent and Zuiderkroon Antwerp. Call 070 22 44 22 or mail

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Architecture is a social act and the material theatre of human activity. – Spiro Kostof Cathedral of Our Lady The pride and glory of Antwerp is its cathedral. It’s the largest, highest and most beautiful Gothic cathedral of the Benelux. This is not an opinion, this is a fact. The cathedral serves as the most prominent display of Antwerp’s glory and prosperity. Not only is the Cathedral a magnificent piece of architecture, it also houses an impressive collection of major art pieces. Several programs exist: a visit behind the scenes (max. 260), nocturnes (max. 260) and a demonstration of the pipe organ (max. 500).

Central Station


Antwerp’s Central Station is a towering example of the Eclectic style of the late 19th and early 20th century. After a thorough restoration and modernisation, the Railway Cathedral once again overlooks Astrid Square in all of its glittering glory. In 2009, Newsweek Magazine placed the station fourth in the Top Best Stations in the World.

In recent years Antwerp earned the title “Construction site of the century”. Renovation The station has several meeting rooms that will serve as an addition to the future congress centre. and restoration projects are It’s possible to rent these rooms and to organise an constantly in progress. Many event in the central hall, but requests are always treated ad hoc. Simply contact Mr. Paul Vanaelst: decayed buildings have been restored to their former glory and some neighbourhoods have If you want to organise a small reception in this acquired a completely new magnificent setting, you can contact Le Royal Café, look. Many architectural styles housed in the former waiting room. In this magnifibar with high ceilings, an enormous clock and create a harmonious, uniquely cent gold decorations, you can arrange a reception for 28, Antwerp style. 32 or 60 people or you can rent the whole bar. Just Guided tours of architectural contact the manager for reservations and details. buildings and neighbourhoods City Hall can be arranged through AntIt’s possible to rent up to five state rooms in the City Hall. A drink, a dinner or a meeting in this impreswerp Tourism and Congress.


sive historical setting won’t soon be forgotten. The city council will have to approve your application, so reservations should be made at least two months in advance.

Felix Pakhuis Housed in a renovated warehouse near the marina, the Felix Pakhuis tries to be more than just another trendy bar-restaurant and succeeds. While the upper floors are home to the city’s archives, the ground floor is divided into several rooms with a total size of 4000m2. One of these, the “Salon”, is perfect for concerts, seminars, meetings and presentations. Another is a long, wide covered street and can be used for fashion shows and walking dinners. Events can also be organised on the patio with a beautiful view of Antwerp’s Island. Most refreshing, however, is the cultural touch and the social dimension. Part of the turnover goes to charity, young artists can freely display their designs and jazz and classical concerts are regularly organized.

Grand Café Horta Victor Horta was perhaps the most important influential Art Nouveau architect. The Grand Café Horta in Antwerp – a café-restaurant in the middle of Antwerp’s shopping district – is a homage to him. Meals for up to 50 people can be arranged in the café-restaurant itself, but for larger events one just has to take a look at the Art Nouveau Room on the second floor with its authentic beams. Events for up to 1000 people can be organised in the most elegant setting imaginable. Also worth mentioning is the modern cuisine and catering, which specialises in beer-recipes. Beer and Art Nouveau … you can’t go wrong with that.

The Salon - Felix Pakhuis

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Internationaal Perscentrum Vlaanderen House Roodenborch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the headquarters of the International Press centre Flanders at the Great Market Square â&#x20AC;&#x201C; offers the possibility to organise meetings, receptions and exhibitions in an exclusive 17th century setting. In the 14th century cellar thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a bar with modern kitchen and room for 80 people, ideally suited for receptions. The modern multi-purpose and multi-media room on the ďŹ rst ďŹ&#x201A;oor can easily hold 120 people. Finally, it is possible to hold smaller meetings from 20 to 50 people in two rooms in the historical attic with its wide wooden beams.

La Riva

Port Authority Building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

In 1864 a soup kitchen for the Antwerp dockers was housed in a picturesque building with a large hall and mosaic ďŹ&#x201A;oors. It lost its purpose with the expansion to the North of the port facilities and was forgotten until recently. Though the original chandeliers, mosaics and decorations were restored, the interior was redesigned in Art

Deco style and the exterior took on a Neo Gothic look. La Riva is a charming setting for product launches, seminars, walking and seated dinners for up to 500 people. Every event beneďŹ ts from this elegant setting and the excellent catering.

Shopping Stadsfeestzaal Glamorous! Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the word that immediately springs to mind when visiting the Antwerp Shopping Stadsfeestzaal, to be found on the Meir â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Antwerpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main shopping street. With marble staircases, parquet ďŹ&#x201A;oors, gold mosaics and murals, a champagne bar and more than forty national and international shops, Shopping Stadsfeestzaal does not descend into kitsch, but is a stunning and enchanting location for your festive events. Large events for up to 1200 people can be organised after hours, while smaller gatherings of about 150 people can be held in the Multi Temporary Art Space on the second ďŹ&#x201A;oor.










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The gentle art of gastronomy is a friendly one. It hurdles the language barrier, makes friends among civilized people, and warms the heart. – Samuel Chamberlain you’re so inclined – can be arranged in a private room.

Gastronomy Amongst its various tours, Antwerp Tourism & Congress also offers a cultural pub crawl and culinary visit. Enjoying the many different tastes of Antwerp is mandatory.

De Groote Witte Arend


One of the finest examples of a fifteenth century patrician palace is “The Great White Eagle”. Built before 1554, it has an inner court surrounded by graceful Tuscan pillars in blue stone, a Gothic chapel with frescoes, Rococo-styled windows and gate and a winter garden. It also has two meeting rooms equipped in 21st century style and a famous café-restaurant specialised in Belgian beers on the ground floor. You can choose from several programs (beer-tastings, meetings, dinners …) and the staff is as flexible as the service and the food is flawless.

While other Belgian cities Mike’s Havana House There are only a few cigar stores in the world that get might have a typical regional exclusive certificate “Casa del Habano”. Mike’s dish, Antwerp – by way of its the Havana House is one of these and can be found in international port – strives to Antwerp. It got elected in 2005 as “Most Beautiful Havana Store in Europe”. Nowadays, smoking cigars be proficient in not just one, but all things gastronomic. The is no longer as exclusive as it used to be. If you want to be introduced to the Cuban pleasures, you can array of possibilities to organ- organize a cigar and rum tasting for up to 20 people ise a culinary event is simply in the sumptuous lounge on the first floor. Most parastounding. And even though a ticipants who have never smoked a cigar before, will be suitably impressed and perhaps even converted. typical Antwerp dish is ing, typical local products can still be found: a Bolleke (beer De Vagant In every guide book and during every guided tour, from the De Koninck brew“De Vagant” gets mentioned. After all, there are few ery), Elixir d’Anvers (a locally bars who can claim they have a permanent stock of two hundred different kinds of jenever – the junipermade liqueur) and Antwerp flavored and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor hands (hand shaped cookies of the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France. or chocolates) are just a few of Connoisseurs and amateurs alike will be surprised by many. the variety of taste and colour. Tastings for groups of


Cooking has become very popular as form of relaxation and social activity. After acquiring international experience in developing gastronomic products and concepts, Robby Dubois and his young team have started a small company specialised in cooking-workshops. Located in the Kasteelpleinstraat – a street which has slowly but surely become synonymous with the cooking-art in Antwerp, Kook-Klasse offers groups from 8 to 30 people the opportunity to cook fresh, tasty and healthy.


Located on walking distance from Astrid Square, FoodForFoodies offers a unique experience. For inspiration, they start with a culinary excursion through the multi-ethnic quarter of Antwerp. Various cuisines from Portugal to China and Morocco pass the review. Afterwards you gather in a designer kitchen and cook a light multi-culinary meal. FoodForFoodies is geared towards teambuilding by companies and organisations and offers personalised programs and seminars on request.

up to 25 people – that’s eight jenevers per person if

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Crowne Plaza Antwerp The Place to Meet -

Meetings and incentives often serve to inspire new ideas and concepts. That’s why organisers are always on the lookout for an inspiring location to hold their event. Crowne Plaza Antwerp is such a location. Crowne Plaza Antwerp is located in the relaxing green belt of Antwerp, just off the ring road and on the crossroads of the major highways. Its easy accessibility makes it a primary spot for short and long meetings.

Crowne Plaza is not only the highest, but also the largest hotel in Antwerp: it’s easy to organise a large conference with 264 spacious rooms and suites, designed in a light, refreshing contemporary style.

The hotel offers 13 meeting rooms for up to 600 attendees. Five are located on the ground floor, where the green forest surroundings, garden view and water fountains give you the illusion that you’re meeting in Mother Nature’s womb. Crowne Plaza Antwerp is the highest hotel in Antwerp and offers breathtaking views from its top floor, where the other meeting rooms are located. Let this unique view of Antwerp inspire you. The lounge area of the hotel often serves as the setting for interviews and get-togethers. Multiple business units and free wireless internet connection allow you to check your email and stay in touch.

Each year, the artists of Jazz Middelheim – the annual summer jazz festival held in the neighbouring Middelheim Park – stay at Crowne Plaza Antwerp. The bar restaurant is named TOOTS, after Belgian’s world famous jazz artist Toots Thielemans. In 2010 one of the largest and most innovative spa lounges will be opened here. You will be able to soak up the natural and inspiring atmosphere at the pool and spa facilities: herbal sauna, hammam, steam cabins, Jacuzzi, multigym, …. But until then the hotel-fitness and the multiple possible activities in the neighbouring parks – like Nordic

Central location. Easy to reach from anywhere. Private parking for 170 cars. 700 parking spaces in the direct vicinity. 13 meeting rooms for up to 600 attendees. Free Wifi connection. 264 spacious rooms and suites. Meeting lounge.

walking, Tai Chi and jogging – will more than sufficiently keep you fit and healthy. Obviously, Crowne Plaza Antwerp is by itself an excellent location for your meetings and incentives. However, its close proximity to the city centre is another major asset. The experienced and friendly staff will inspire you and bring you into contact with the realm of possibilities that is Antwerp. They have developed pre- and post meeting ideas to discover the city: fashion walking tours, a shawl knotting seminar, a tour of the best fries stands, a boat tour of the river Scheldt, … Truly, Crowne Plaza Antwerp is one of the better ways to connect with the Other Antwerp Six.

Crowne Plaza Antwerp Gerard Le Grellelaan 10 B-2020 Antwerp meetings & conventions: E: T: +32 (0)3 259 75 18

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MIM > Antwerp special

Where can we meet in Antwerp? Some people say that – with the advent of the new congress centre – a few additional hotels in Antwerp won’t hurt. All four and (one) five star hotels in Antwerp already have excellent meeting possibilities. While there are many special venues in Antwerp (castles, industrial settings, …), we had to review them briefly. This was not a quality judgement, but rather a practical solution to our limited space. Antwerp Expo Built in the same year as the World’s Fair in Brussels (1958), Antwerp Expo has ever since been Antwerp’s major exhibition centre. The numbers are overwhelming: 60 trade and public fairs and 1.2 million visitors per year, 22,120 m2 with four fully equipped exhibition halls, 6 modular rooms, 3 restaurants, 2 separate entrances and 3000 nearby parking spaces. It’s situated in the green belt of Antwerp, close to the Antwerp ring and linked to the city centre with regular public transport. Since April 2007, Artexis Belgium also owns Flanders Expo in addition to Namur Expo and Namur Palais des Congrès. This makes it possible for Antwerp Expo to concentrate on organising (relatively) small and medium trade fairs and congresses. This fits the vision of Etienne Verhaert, director of Antwerp Expo, that specialisation, flexibility and good service are the main reasons for success. No plans for expansion here, but rather renovation to better serve the customer in the new millennium. This makes Artexis the provider of ultimate meeting en market places.

Hilton Antwerp

If you’re looking for opulent and luxurious surroundings with discrete full-service to organise a conference, meetings, a launch-party, etcetera in Antwerp, look no further. Hilton Antwerp has dedicated one

complete floor towards meeting rooms and facilities. Added to this is one of the largest ballrooms in Belgium: the Belle-Epoque Ballroom with its beautiful domed ceiling and enormous crystal chandelier. Hilton Antwerp can easily accommodate a conference for 1000 people: starting with a plenary session in the ballroom, subsequent meetings and seminars in thirteen separate rooms and finishing up with a dinner dance or banquet. An executive floor with a private executive lounge and terrace allows for even more comfort. But what truly sets Hilton Antwerp apart, is its location in the very heart of the historical city centre.

Recreational and Congress Hotel Ter Elst

In the whole of Antwerp, there’s only one place that combines the three pillars of the meetings industry on a large scale. Even though they have a four star hotel and two wonderful restaurants, Ter Elst is still primarily a congress centre. The sheer amount of meeting rooms and halls and their possible arrangements is simply overwhelming. Located in green and quiet Edegem – on a short distance between Antwerp and Brussels – Ter Elst offers visitors a wide variety of recreational options in between and after meetings. There is of course a limit to what the staff will help your organise and it’s called “the sky”. Special mention should go to the possibility of arranging more than 200 VPN-network connections at once – unique in the Benelux.

Rezidor The Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel is geared towards meetings and incentives and sets itself apart by owning Aquatopia. Aquatopia offers the opportunity to hold receptions and meetings in an amazing underwater world. Added to this are eighteen modern and flexible meeting rooms, a separate conferencing floor and a 24h business centre in the hotel itself. Especially interesting are the 19 deluxe apartments, available for short or long periods. Park Inn hotel has recently joined its bigger sister at the Astrid Square. While smaller, Park Inn radiates the same quality-price aura and makes one feel instantly at home: a warm, casual, easy to use hotel experience. This in the belief that quality and familiar faces guarantee returning customers. Like Aristoteles said “Quality is not an act, it’s a habit.”


You can view extended texts and other meeting and incentive possibilities on our website:

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Anchors away with Flandria

From time to time companies and organisations need to show off: the celebration of meritorious employees, the anniversary of the firm, a meeting with important guests or potential clients. Flandria provides you with an original setting, flexible and full service and a choice of many inspiring locations. Flandria 16 (La PĂŠrouse)

Flandria 18

Flandria 24

Flandria 1

2 salons Lower deck: 120 people Upper deck: 40p. Reception: 250p. Dinner: 160p. Buffet: 130p. Length: 61m Width: 8,65m

2 salons Lower deck: 152p. Upper deck: 32p. Reception: 200p. Dinner: 184p. Buffet: 152p. Length: 35,5m Width: 7m * no kitchen

2 salons Lower deck: 140p. Upper deck: 88p. Reception: 350p. Dinner: 228p. Buffet: 175p. Length: 44 m Width: 7,60 m

1 salon Dinner at one table: 26p. Dinner at small tables: 46p. Length: 30,05 m Width: 6,20 m

Brabo 20


1 salon max. 18 passengers Length: 19m Speed: 14 knots

Theatre: 250 people Classroom: 150p. Dinner: 300p. Reception: 400p.

Steenplein 2000 Antwerpen (03) 231 31 00

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Radisson Blu at Astrid Meeting Square The four star Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel Antwerp probably stands to gain the most from the new Antwerp Congress Centre. Not surprising really, because Radisson Blu is located on the Astrid Square and is easily the first thing to notice when exiting Central Train Station – the place to arrive with Thalys, TGV, Eurostar or the for 2013 scheduled, direct rail-link to Brussels Airport. In fact, the hotel was designed to have the same profile as the station and now acts as its contemporary twin building. Thierry Vermeiren, Assistant General Manager, understands the opportunities the new congress centre will bring and foresees an increase of business for the hotel and the area. He has already noticed a new wind blowing through the neighbourhood. New buildings and businesses continue to pop up and the whole neighbourhood around the station seems to revitalize itself. The hotels' 18 modern meeting rooms, the Scala ball room, the separate conferencing floor and 24h business centre, will serve as an important addition to the congress centre. Due to the hotel’s proximity, conference guests will most likely choose for Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel and Park Inn

Park Inn

Thierry Vermeiren Radisson Blu

as their residence. It’s a choice they won’t regret. Where some have reacted to the economic crisis with cut-backs on quality and personnel, Radisson Blu Astrid and Park Inn Antwerp have resolutely chosen to ensure their continued high level of service in the belief that quality and familiar faces guarantee returning customers. Aquatopia, the oceanarium right next door, also offers interesting opportunities for meetings and incentives in the quiet but beautiful company of thousands of fish. The hotel's meeting staff has extensive experience creating fun and adventurous workshops such as treasure hunts in the hotel's public areas and entertaining cooking sessions with the restaurant's Head Chef. When we took our leave, Thierry Vermeiren also assured us that the new Antwerp Tourism & Congress Bureau shows promise. They’ve certainly shown to be interested in the opinion of hoteliers and that goes a long way towards Antwerp becoming a better known meeting place.

- 59 modern and contemporary designed guest rooms - Guests can enjoy an international buffet breakfast at the hotel's restaurant area. - Special arrangements apply for restaurant “The Square” of the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel (100m) - Fitness room - The swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna and 5* fitness club of the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel can be used free of charge (100m)

Aquatopia Be enthralled with a visit to the amazing Aquatopia, located within a 100 meters from Park Inn and situated next to the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel. Housing an astounding 10,000 exotic fish and reptiles, the oceanarium is a delight for the senses. Bring the kids along for an aquatic adventure or hold your next conference, party, product launch, cocktail or event and conduct business unusually. Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00

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City of Antwerp



C e

Unique venues in a historical setting Tailor made advice for meetings - incentives - conventions - events Antwerp Tourism & Congress | Grote Markt 15, BE-2000 Antwerpen Phone: +32 3 338 81 81 | Fax: +32 3 338 81 32 | |


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MIM magazine No.106  
MIM magazine No.106  

MIM magazine No.106: Meeting Special and Discover the Other Antwerp 6