Why Amsterdam is a Hot International Meeting Destination
Are you looking for the next hot international meeting destination? Do you want your attendees to network outside of the meeting room and experience a city rich with culture? If so, look no further than the Netherlands and host your next meeting in Amsterdam!
“Location, Location, Location” is one of my event planning mantras and a very important factor to consider when you are hosting a meeting. A city that is easy to access by plane, train, or car puts less stress on the attendees and can allow for more productive meetings.
Now you ask, why Amsterdam? Accessible from anywhere in the world, Amsterdam is home to one of Europe’s four major airport hubs, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). This airport has operations to more than 300 direct destinations and, in turn, makes for a great location for a global meeting. Along with the airport, they have a fantastic train system for those who may be traveling in from close European countries so your attendees can take a picturesque journey into the city.
When is the best time to visit Amsterdam?
Due to its location, Amsterdam, has mild weather during the summer and fall, can be reasonably cold and humid during the winter and early spring months. So, the best time to visit is late spring and summer when the rain subsides, and the tulips begin to bloom. The sunniest time of year is during the summer months, where temperatures average from between 51˚F and 72 ˚F. The rainy season begins in September, so it is best to travel before then.
Meeting Hotels in Amsterdam
With Amsterdam being among the top 10 conference and meeting locations worldwide, they have a wide array of hotels to select from. Whether it be at the airport or city center, rest assured there is a property that will meet your needs.
Hilton Amsterdam, located off one of many city canals, has 271 guest rooms. They offer 16,000 square feet of beautiful meeting space, with the largest ballroom being able to accommodate up to 300 attendees.
This Hilton property is also known for its history. It is famous for being one of two locations for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “bed-ins for peace” protest during the Vietnam War in 1969 and is located just one mile from Museum Quarter. With bike rentals available on the property, this hotel makes it easy for you to go out and explore like a local!
Amsterdam Marriott Hotel
Amsterdam Marriott Hotel is a luxurious escape in the heart of the city center, offering 450 guest rooms. The meeting space totals 8,750 square feet and can accommodate up to 450 attendees and a maximum of 11 breakout rooms.
This Marriott property offers two food outlets, the Midtown Grill (one of Amsterdam’s top steakhouse restaurants), and Sorel’s Bar and Lounge, where you can unwind with hand-crafted cocktails and light appetizers. Just a few minutes from Museum Quarter, the Ann Frank House, and more – you cannot beat this location!
Amsterdam Activities for International Meeting Attendees
An International meeting is not complete without immersing yourself in the destination. The city offers several unique group events and activities that will have your attendees leaving with a true Amsterdam experience. Check out some of these great ideas below:
Amsterdam Bike Tours
The Dutch are very proud of their biking culture, and it is usually the main mode of transportation throughout the city – no matter the weather or temperature. If your group is looking for something outside and active, a bike tour is a great option. You can choose from a guided city tour or a countryside tour to see the renowned windmills and the cheese & clog factories. When I was in Amsterdam, I took the countryside bike tour, and I can truly say it was one of my most memorable experiences. It was a great way to see the outskirts of Amsterdam and learn more about the history of wooden clogs in the country. It is also a great way to try the local cheese (which you can buy after to take home, of course!)
It’s not a true visit to Amsterdam unless you explore the city via a canal cruise; after all, it is the most watery city in the world. Home to 165 canals, this is the biggest tourist attraction in the country – carrying more than 3 million passengers a year by boat. There are several tours that offer all types of entertainment while cruising day or night. Whether you need a small or large private boat – this is the perfect time to gather your attendees for an activity they will not forget.
The Heineken Experience
The popular brewing company, Heineken, started in 1868 in Amsterdam. When the company grew, they moved their production to the south of Holland and now utilize the iconic, original building to provide the perfect interactive tour. This experience allows you to learn how Heineken became what it is today, interact in virtual encounters, and even gives you the opportunity to create your own bottle design. This venue can help brew an excellent evening event or group tour for your attendees.
Exploring on your Own
If the agenda allows for ample downtime for attendees, Amsterdam presents great museums and delicious food for all interests. The city alone is home to over 75 museums! The most popular sell out fast, so it is essential to book early.
For the art and history buffs in the group, check out these must-sees:
For all my foodies out there, be sure to try a Stroopwafel before you leave. A Stroopwafel is an Amsterdam favorite: two thin baked wafer cookies with a caramel filling in between. If you are feeling crazy, go for the one dipped in chocolate! You will not be disappointed.
For more fresh ideas on international meeting destinations, tips, and best practices check out our meetings page. Brightspot has resources for every meeting planner, including a list of the top new meeting hotels for 2020 and an event pricing calculator that helps estimate your program budget for any program you can dream up!