The Dutch give new meaning to city-wide convention


The Dutch give new meaning to city-wide convention

On 28 May 2011 the eyes of the world were focused on the tiny village of Achlum, where Bill Clinton and many politicians, scientists and authors spoke on the future of Holland. The local population converted the entire village into a convention venue, using every space available for meeting rooms, from a barn to the school and living rooms.

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On 28 May 2011 a unique event took place. Holland’s largest insurance company Achmea, developed  from a group of local farmers and dignitaries who wanted to insure themselves against the risks of fire, invited over 2,000 guests to the village.

When organiser BKB first saw the village, they were hooked right away. The date was set for what would become a spectacle that attracted press from all over the world. 

The aim of the event was to create a discussion on ‘The state and future of Holland'.

The Achlum Convention, with some 2,000 delegates, was an inspirational  day, with surprising encounters and sharp debates. Speakers and delegates discussed six topical social themes that are important to Achmea, i.e. mobility, employment, health, retirement, security and solidarity. It was an opportunity to ask questions and find solutions. The Convention was streamed live all day.

In the months before the convention, the organisation entered into an online dialogue with the villagers, which resulted in great exposure, and provided valuable input for the topics for the discussions and debates on the day itself.

Quite understandably, a village with 660 inhabitants lacks the infrastructure and facilities to host such a congress. Everything had to be created, and virtually every available square meter was used. Tents were erected and stages built, barns, the school, the community centre and church hall were transformed into meeting rooms, and the living rooms of some twenty houses were converted into break-out rooms.

Because of the attendance of former President of the United States Bill Clinton, keynote speaker at the congress, extremely high safety measures had to be taken. The village was virtually sealed off and an emergency order was proclaimed.

The day itself turned out to be a very special and unique experience for both the delegates and the villagers. The stormy weather did not spoil the fun, even though it had  a huge impact on the programme.

Since that 28th of May  2011, Achlum is known all over the world, and on this day the village claimed its place in history through the Achlum Convention. The entire village was part of a large sustainability debate at which many politicians, scientists, authors and other renowned people spoke about the future of Holland.

Please visit for various movies of the convention.

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