The commercial spirit of the Dutch has benefited us greatly over the centuries. Whether the trade was nearby, between cities, regional, with e.g. our neighbouring countries, or much further away to the East and the West, Dutchmen traded everywhere. Today, our relatively small country still conducts a lot of international trade and business. Mr. Holland shares his favourite venues with a clear link to our trading heritage.
In order to facilitate all these commercial activates, splendid buildings and venues were erected in Holland. From these premises the trading was planned, coordinated and executed.
This has resulted in an extraordinary collection of historic buildings. Many of these have a unique ambience and aspects, due to their purpose-built constructions. Several of these buildings now enjoy second or even third or fourth lives as venues for conferences, events, dinners and social events. Some may also be exclusively rented for functions. In addition, Holland has some contemporary business gems on offer. There are simply too many to enumerate, but we compiled a list of some of his favourites to help you choose the right venue for your next meeting or event.
9) World Trade Centres
Much of today's trade is conducted from centres that were specifically adapted to the trading of goods and services. Holland boasts no fewer than twelve World Trade Centres, the main ones are located at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Leeuwarden. They all offer excellent conference and meeting facilities. The WTC Expo in Leeuwarden, for instance, offers extensive conference capacity, 45,000 m² of exhibition space and a 4-star hotel. The Beurs-WTC Congress & Event Center in Rotterdam was awarded five gavels, the highest quality indicator for venues in Holland. It offers 37 rooms for meetings, events and conferences. You will be meeting on the spot were Holland’s first trade exchange was opened, back in 1597.
8) Museum meetings
Holland has many museums that tell a part of our proud trading history. You may be sure that your participants will have a memorable experience when they meet or enjoy cocktails among the paintings by Dutch Masters and other works of art. Most cities have museums that will be happy to open their doors exclusively for your conference guests. Go to Mr. Holland's list of favourites for a great selection.
7) Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club
In 1788, Doctrina et Amicitia, a reading group, was founded by members of the Amsterdam merchant class, the judiciary, the notary, and the civil service. Only members were allowed to meet here, and even today the beautiful rooms of the 'Industrieele Groote Club' business club are dedicated to this purpose. The main difference is that non-members may use the historic rooms for lunch, dinner or meetings, in the cultural and business heart of Amsterdam.
6) VOC & WIC
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the West India Company (WIC) traders not only owned thousands of ships that sailed the world's oceans, they owned beautiful offices from which to organize their business. Some of these wonderful pieces of history have been preserved, restored or rebuilt and may be used for meetings and events. Wonderful examples are the West India Houses, one in Dordrecht and one in Amsterdam, and the replicas of the VOC ships 'Amsterdam' and 'Batavia'.
When the ships of the VOC, the WIC and the Hanseatic League arrived back home, packed with goods, dozens of warehouses were needed to store the cargo. Many warehouses in which once the coffee, cocoa, tea, grain and textiles were stored have since been converted into spectacular loft apartments. Fortunately, some were transformed into very attractive meeting rooms. Their unique ambience makes for an inspiring backdrop. In virtually all of Holland’s ports you will find these special meeting venues, including the Cristofori Warehouse and Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, and Depot Noord and the warehouses in the Westelijk Handelsterrein in Rotterdam.
4) Makelaars Comptoir
Hundreds of years ago, Amsterdam coffee, tobacco, cocoa and corn traders discussed their confidential matters in the Makelaars Comptoir. The well-preserved Guild Hall, built in 1633, still has a dignified yesteryear atmosphere. This hall, with its magnificent fireplace, wooden beams and stained-glass windows is located on the first floor. It is the perfect setting for small meetings and fine dining.
Because waterways were the preferred method of transportation for much of the trade, a lot of ships were needed. Holland had many large and small shipyards in those days. Today, many ships and luxury yachts are still built in Holland, even though scores of former shipyards now have other purposes. Various former shipyards are wonderful meeting venues. Some inspiring examples are the RDM shipyard in Rotterdam, where the huge Holland America Line ships were built, and the trendy, bohemian locations on the former NDSM shipyard in Amsterdam. Meetings with smaller numbers of participants may be held, for instance, at the picturesque Kleine Werf, a former shipyard in the heart of Amsterdam, 't Skuthus near Leeuwarden, the historic Rotterdams Welvaren wharf, and the Batavia Shipyard in Lelystad.
2) Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT)
The Royal Tropical Institute was established in 1910 as the 'Colonial Institute' for the study of the tropics, and the promotion of trade and industry in the former colonies. Its establishment was initiated by various companies and supported by the government. It is an early example of public-private partnership. KIT is an independent, non-profit knowledge centre for health, sustainable economy and social development, culture and education & information. The characteristic 1926 building offers highly attractive and impressive conference facilities, all located around the stunning reception area, the 'Marble Hall'.
1) Beurs van Berlage
One of the finest gems from Holland's trading history is definitely Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, named after its architect Berlage. This is one of the world 's most striking buildings, and has been a bustling centre for people and business for over 110 years. The building stands on the spot where the world's first securities and goods were traded. The present building dates from 1903 and is a unique venue for memorable conferences and events.