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7th Year Nr. 73 - Sunday, March 29th 2020.




By Karin de Graauw


NBTC (Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions), a partner of long standing, joined forces with BBT Online on the weekend of July 4th for a great weekend in Amsterdam together with 15 corporate & association readers with partners.
The weather gods were with us with brilliant sunshine galore!

Amsterdam houses


MSCA smooth Thalys ride took us in less than 2 ½ hrs! As of December this year the ride will even be reduced to only 1,5 hours from Brussels and 1 hour from Antwerp to Amsterdam Central station. Upon arrival our luggage was picked up leaving us free to take a leisurely 10 minute walk to the close by Passenger Terminal for a discovery of the MSC Lirica ship moored there. The blue skies and sunshine made us think we were floating on the Med instead of being docked in Amsterdam Harbor!

Next on the program was the highly anticipated visit of the Museum Hermitage. Opened barely 2 weeks ago, it is in one word: impressive! A delicious light lunch (yes, one can eat very well in The Netherlands) was served in the museum café restaurant Neva, followed by a very interestingly guided tour of the wonderful collection. A lot of superlatives I hear you say, but the Hermitage is worth every one of them!


hermitage hermitage
hermitage hermitage


The Museum Hermitage will have no permanent exhibits, instead it has chosen for a different formula : every 6 months new artifacts, selected from the more than 3 million pieces housed at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, will be presented. To get off on a spectacular start, the exhibition “At the Russian Court”, is a fabulous display of over 1800 paintings, many great costumes, artifacts and even the Tsar’s throne. They give an fascinating glimpse of the pomp & circumstance as well as the heavy protocol the Russian Imperial Court life must have been in the 19th century.…
The Hermitage Amsterdam also has a number of attractive meeting rooms - with daylight - which can be used for events. It was an enjoyable experience to walk around in a brand new museum which until a couple of years ago was an old people’s home.




After the museum visit, we embarked – right outside the Museum’s front door - on a sun filled boat trip on the Amsterdam canals: undoubtedly still the best way to see & get around Amsterdam!  End station was the Rembrandtsplein, near the Rijksmuseum, currently being renovated like so many other Amsterdam Museums, where we made a stop at the House of Bols: a small, trendy museum where touching, smelling and tasting is not only allowed, but even encouraged! …our group did not need much encouragement on that level! Groups can create their own cocktail in the Bols Bartending Academy. (another plus, the House of Bols is right in front of the Van Gogh Museum).


House of bols House of bols
House of bols House of bols


At the end of the afternoon, our friendly bus driver dropped us off at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on the Dam for a quick shower and change before setting off for dinner in one of Amsterdam’s trendy restaurants : Restaurant Sophia.
An excellent meal and some tasteful wine helped us all to find welcome rest in the comfortable NH beds.

The next morning, the breakfast buffet in the wonderful winter garden of the hotel was first class. BBT & NBTC, after a brief NH presentation, then said their farewells to the group.

All present set out on their 2nd day in Amsterdam: some for more culture, some for shopping – yes! On Sunday, most shops open at noon in Amsterdam. And this certainly  keeps the city much livelier than many other capital cities in the rest of the world. Also some people watching is always fun at one of the many cozy terraces & cafés of Amsterdam.




Our group used the great concept which NH hotels offers to all its guests; the possibility of a late check-out on Sundays. You can keep your room till 5 pm(!) without any supplement to pay. More info, click here. Rail 1 (NMBS/SNCB) offered open return tickets on the IC train allowing everyone to choose their own departure time from 1 of the 14 trains per day between Amsterdam and Brussels.

A similar ‘Discovery Program’ to Amsterdam was repeated on the weekend of 11/12 July for Incentive houses and agencies. This time the hotel partner was the Park Hotel -located in the heart of the museum area. A young & trendy hotel with a great bar and restaurant.


park hotelpark hotelpark hotel


We also selected a different restaurant for dinner:  Restaurant & Kwekerij De Kas. ‘De Kas’ offers a unique concept: The restaurant is located in its own greenhouse and garden and offers only self grown freshly picked bio-food. A very nice & refreshing idea for group dinners! Our way of transport to the restaurant?! A 15 minutes ride from the hotel in a real Tuk Tuk. A great incentive idea.

de Kasde Kasde Kas


The train tickets on the second weekend were sponsored by Rail Europe.

BBT Online & NBTC would like to thank their main partners for the perfect logistic support and flawless organization: Canal Company, MSC Cruises, Hermitage Museum Amsterdam, NH Hotels, Park Hotel Amsterdam, Rail 1, Rail Europe & a special thanks to DMC Success Events!

Another BBT Online Production that ended with smiling faces!!


Besides our partner hotels during the ‘Discovery Weekends’ we found the following interesting hotels in Amsterdam:

(Click on the name of the hotel, restaurant, venue etc to access their website.)

LLOYD HOTEL - An original concept offering 1, 2, 3, 4 as well 5-star guest rooms.
HOTEL ARENA  - Besides the rooms, very beautiful and original meeting rooms.


NH Hotels NH Hotels Lloyd Hotel


NL HOTEL – Centrally located, Dutch design & excellent quality/rate.
QBIC HOTEL – Budget conscious design, all in one cubi concept.

ArenaArenaqBIC HOTEL



THE DYLAN – only 41 guest rooms. Great attention to the interior design.
OKURA – boasting 2 restaurants with a Michelin star.
SOFITEL THE GRAND AMSTERDAM – historic elegance & luxury.
GRAND HOTEL AMRATH – a wonderful art deco hotel.
THE PULITZER HOTEL - housed in 25 17th and 18th century canal houses.
AMSTEL HOTEL – grandeur in a traditional style.

Sofitel Sofitel
Pulitzer hotel Pulitzer hotel



HOTEL PATOU – trendily located in the fashion & art district.
VONDEL HOTELS -3 very surprising small & cosy hotels in the center of Amsterdam.


HOTEL MERCURE AMSTERDAM ARTHUR FROMMER – Renovated very recently in a typical Dutch style. Delft’s blue in the bathrooms, Dutch art paintings in the room.


Vondel – Hotel RoemerMercureMercure

On this website you can find all the information on all 281 hotels in Amsterdam. With small description, rate, and very useful, plenty of pictures of each hotel. Click here.


Food may have been a soft point in the past in the Netherlands, especially to the spoilt Belgian and French visitor, but recent visitors will agree that this is definitely an issue of the past. Did you know that The Netherlands offer more Michelin star rated restaurants than Belgium?

BAZAR AMSTERDAM - the majority of the dishes are North African and Middle Eastern. Very nice priced. Great setting, 1001 nights.
CAFÉ RESTAURANT AMSTERDAM – quite industrial & a bit out of the center, close by the upcoming Westergas area – won’t find any tourists here though…




HOTEL DE GOUDFAZANT.NL – this is not a hotel as you might expect it…  a place with a high industrial look & feel – you would almost think you are in the NYC Meatpacking District. Great view over the other Amsterdam islands.
FIFTEEN - based on the successful concept of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant fifteen in London.





DE VIJFF VLIEGHEN - typical Dutch Food in a typical Dutch setting, with a very high standard. Nine interconnected dining rooms, each with its own distinctive style. All of them recreate the rich atmosphere of the Golden Age.
BORDEWIJK – fashionable and yet totally unfashionable.


Even though it may not look very Dutch, the Indonesian cuisine is really an integrated part of the Dutch food tradition.
SELECTA – treat yourself to the ‘rijsttafels’ – the Asian counterpart of tapas... you order a large number of small dishes and sample!


VYNE – very nice wine bar.




WYNAND FOCKING – traditional distillery annex bar (300 years old).
SUPPERCLUB – this renown club experience can now also be enjoyed on the water on a fantastic ship called Supperclub Cruise.
XTRA COLD – really refreshing lounge bar.
JIMMY WOO – Club and Lounge bar. The décor of Jimmy Woo exists of autenthic Asian and modern Western elements.


Jimmy WooXtra coldXtra cold


PARADISO – For concerts, to see the agenda,

For more restaurants ideas, surf to . Another website with many references



Find plenty of incentive ideas in Amsterdam and surrounding. Click here.

We can strongly advice the local DMC Success Events who took care of many of the arrangements during the 2 weekends.



This website shows, 26 in total, special venues in Amsterdam: click here. The website gives a good overview, with small description and clear pictures of each venue.

Other suggestions:

ARENDSHOEVE – Bothanical gardens in greenhouses… offers a very interesting, unique impression – for dinners & parties.
FELIX MERITIS – Located on Keizergracht, six caracteristic halls/rooms: Concerthall, Columnhall, Shaffyhall, Teekenhall, Domehall, Kremlin, the Foyer or the Patio…
WESTER GASFABRIEK – The ‘Gashouder’ is the largest (2500 m²) and most remarkable building of the ‘Westergas’ Industrial Complex. Its round shape, its rustic caracter and the rough interior give any organized activity an extra dimension. The ‘Gashouder’ is ideal for fairs, exhibitions, presentations and company/business events (at the same location ­ some other very attractive event buildings : Transformatorhuis, Machinegebouw & Westergasterras).


Arendshoeve Beurs van Berlage
Nemo Machinegebouw


STUDIO 13 – Less is more! A totally white location of 400 m² right in the heart of Amsterdam.
BETHANIENKLOOSTER – Inspiring old location, just next to the redlight district – accessible by boat.
AMSTERDAM WHARF – A multifunctional venue for bigger events.
BEURS VAN BERLAGE – A majestic large & multifunctional event location with different halls and rooms – also center Amsterdam.



Van Gogh- A boat trip on the canals: large boats, open boats, small private boats, cocktails on the water, pick nicks on the water, practically everything is possible.
- The Van Gogh Museum.
- The Jordaan: this very popular area is located near the canals… you will find a multitude of restaurants, art galleries etc. Don’t miss the ‘9 streets’.
- Rent a bike, and do as the locals.
- Take a walk through Amsterdam’s equivalent of NY’s Central Park, The Vondelpark –
- PC Hooftstraat: THE upper-class shopping street where the rich and famous shop. Ideal place for people watching as well.
- Red light district: As a port, Amsterdam was famous for its Red Light District… nowadays this is becoming a trendy Anne Franckarea with lots of rising design talent.
- The Anne Frank House: where the Jewish teenage girl Anne Frank was in hiding with her family till 1944. She died just before the end of the 2nd World War in a concentration camp.
- Visit the Bijenkorf. The most famous department store in Amsterdam. Also open on Sunday -

- Attend a festival. Like for instance the Canal Festival. An annual music festival based on classic music performances at unusual venues in Amsterdam.
- The beach is only 25 minutes away from Amsterdam. BBT Online’s favorite, the many beach clubs at the Dutch coast. Find them all on, some favorites close to Amsterdam, , , For B2B events, click here,


blm9 blm9
Vroeger RepubliekBloemendaal


Visit the website with plenty of tips!


For more information contact
Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
An van de Steen
Marketing M & C
Tel +32(0)2 543 08 15

Pauline van Kooten
Sales Manager

The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions has a dedicated MICE department (An van de Steen and Pauline van Kooten) in Brussels that is there to help you. What can NBTC do for you?

  • NBTC provide advice free of charge on all aspect of organising an international conference in every phase of the organisational process.
  • They share with you their in-dept knowledge on the destinations, venues & partners to make the perfect match between your demands and their suppliers.
  • They put you in touch with the right partners in the Netherlands: convention facilities, PCO¹s and service providers like audivisual companies. They will be pleased to arrange a curtain-rising visit for you if the Netherlands is a serious option as a venue for your event.
  • They give you tips about the Dutch way of doing business and about matters like the national culture, infrastructure and economy.
  • They will be pleased to answer your question on any subject ­ about small or large meetings and conventions, etc.

For meeting and convention organisers:


For congress organisers:

Watch also Holland's funny video promotion on YouTube,

Some of the spontaneous reactions we got afterwards from the participants:

C'était un  super week-end, très bien organisé qui nous a donné envie de revenir à Amsterdam. Tous les partenaires étaient super et la journée de samedi bien balancée et très variée et bonne idée aussi le temps libre dimanche pour visiter à son rythme..

Encore un tout grand merci d'avoir créé ce chouette we et de nous avoir invité Alain et moi. Grand merci aussi à tous les autres partenaires.  

Anne Cormond
Managing Director
Preference Travel team

Thank you so much for being our hosts to the educational trip last weekend. You definitely succeeded in your mission to promote Amsterdam as a city for meetings/incentives. Impeccable organisation - balanced programme and even sponsorship by the weather gods! The idea that in half a year's time it will take as long from Antwerp to A'dam as it takes for me to get to work, opens up even more possibilities....

Anne-Marie De Vos
Norbert Dentressangle Logistics Belgium
Executive Assistant & PR Co-ordinator

A warm thank to all the organising Team and to the sponsors. As organiser I perfectly know the tremendous job which is behind.

I enjoyed a lot the participants company; fruitful opportunity mixing leisure and business, giving me the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ... business cards!

In the frame of one of my organisation activities, I will certainly deal with NH Hoteles - Rai recently opened.

Conchi de Benito
External Relations (DG/ER)
Office of the Director General




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