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My name is…. I represent the destination of Flanders in…..(name of city/country) Welcome to Flanders… a place to meet. I truly hope it will be your next conference destination.
The Northern region of Belgium is called Flanders. Our capital is Brussels, and it is probably best known as the capital of Europe – with a rather dull and uninspiring reputation as a political and administrative centre. But you will be surprised because… Things are not only decided here, they are also designed here; not just debated, also created. Anyway, those willing to take the time to truly discover Brussels, will find it a peculiar and eccentric city, full of surprises. That’s one of the reasons why so many meetings are taken place in this vibrant city!
Most of you probably know Brussels as a convenient stopover when visiting other European destinations. My ambition today is to persuade you to stay just a little longer next time you visit – or when you arrange a trip or conference for your customers. I hope to inspire you to venture beyond Brussels, to explore other charming historical Flemish cities, like Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges or Leuven – which are all just a stone’s throw away from the capital. While our cities and the surrounding countryside are all very easily accessible, and distances are really short (and when I say short I mean short (travel distances between Brussels and the historic art cities are usually under one hour), it is also good to note that our destination has excellent long-haul connectivity.
Did you know that Flanders….
Today, we will discover Flanders with you and see what we have to offer to be you next meeting destination.
Antwerp, the pocket-sized metropolis has some strong economic assets. Port, diamonds, and creativity. Antwerp has always been a hot spot for creativity! In the 16th & 17th centuries, it was home to famous painters, think about Rubens and Van Dyck. Today, it’s renowned Fashion Academy is a place where young designers can be creative, put their skills to the test and truly blossom. Antwerp is also home to Europe’s second largest PORT, with the largest petrochemical cluster in Europe. The MAS Museum (the red bric building ), overlooking the river reveals a largely untold story about the city and its relations with the port. The new porthouse in Antwerp, of the famous unfortunately fondly remembred British architect Zaha Hadid is a state of the art construction and bringing together the port’s staff in one headquarter. But beyond that the new Port House will stand as a symbolic gateway to the port area.
And moreover, Antwerp is the world capital of diamond trade, with 80% of the world’s rough diamonds passing through the city. From May 7th you’ll be able to enter the dazzling world of DIVA. This will be a brilliant diamond museum with a heart beating for silversmithing. Diva will be a cocoon of luxury. This new star in Antwerp will take you on a journey through Antwerp’s diamond story. So, let’s follow together the next couple of months, the awakening of Antwerp’s most brilliant through outstanding craftsmanship, fascinating anecdotes, intense emotions and impressive sets.
So you are probably wondering… but where can we meet ? Well… the Flemish government invested heavily in the renovation and creation of a new convention center in Antwerp. Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Anwerp is our new crown jewel. Flanders’ most spectacular meeting venue combines a historic setting with daring modern architecture and state-of-the-art technology of course. It’s an exciting building complex in the heart of Antwerp with endless meeting possibilities. But who can better explain the purpose than the architect himself and the clients who experienced this breathtaking convention center.
Bruges, small but oh-so-perfect! The compactness of the city is the greatest asset. The entire city centre is listed UNESCO world heritage site hence it beautiful monasteries, beguinage and picturesque cobblestone streets. Climb the 366 stairs of the belfry and you will enjoy a spectacular view of the city. It would be good to reward your group of delegates with an unique experience after this challenge. A carilloneur can play some tunes, just for you.
You can see here that meetings in a historic setting are more common than exceptional with all this heritage buildings in the city. If you ask me… Bruges deserves a spot on every conference organiser’s bucket list. Throughout Bruges’ history, religion and medical sciences were closely connected to the city, which still is very much tangible today: - The convention centre Old Saint John is an ancient hospital - The many historical witnesses in the Municipal museums, but foremost the Hospitalmuseum. With its rich medical heritage, the city is the perfect destination for health care and pharmaceutical conferences.
Ghent is an undiscovered Gem, small enough to be cosy, but large enough to stay vibrant. This historic city has a reputation of going its own way. Looking to organise your next event in Belgium off the beaten track… don’t look further. The internationally-renowned research university makes Ghent also one of the largest bioscience clusters in Europe. With over 70.000 students, Ghent University is the largest university in Belgium. It all contributes to the dynamic character of the city. It’s a true melting pot, where talent and creativity fuse with industry and technology, so there is enough breeding ground and expert potential for your next conference.
And what about Food. We have a history and a future with food and drinks. Gastronomy is in our DNA and in our culture. You see this for instance in our craftmanship. We are the country of brewers, chocolatiers and chefs. We are working hard with VISITFLANDERS to become a culinary top destination, with our many star restaurants. In Ghent we always go a step further with rock’n roll cuisine. The Flemish foodies, tree culinary geniuses chose to open their restaurant in Ghent. The result of this cutting edge craftsmanship is a playful, dynamic and delicious cuisine. A source of inspiration for many other chefs. I will not even further mention our amazing culinary reputation, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
In the middle of the centre arises the Castle of the Counts. Cold halls and ever colder dungeons. Endless staircases leading up the towers. Overlooking the city from high up on the keep, you feel like the Counts of Flanders, with Ghent at your feet. The ideal location for hosting an original dinner, an experience not to be missed. Never let your delegates go to bed early. With it’s dynamic nightlife and its award winning lighting plan the city of Ghent becomes a shimmering magical place after dark. Ghent has also a lively music scene and is a member of Unesco Creative cities Network in Music. Why not treat your delegates to a private concert. Several beautiful historic concert halls and music centres can be privatised for events. Spend the night in Ghent. The experience will be worth your while. Or another tip come and have your conference in July… when the Ghent festivities are taking place. No brainbreakers about a social programme.. it’s all in place. The tradition of the festival started already in the 19th century and is nowadays one of the biggest and best city festivals in Europe.
You know already that VISITFLANDERS and its partners are investing considerably in the development of our conference infrastructure, hence the new convention center in the city of Antwerp. But also the international convention center of Ghent can count on a total make-over within the following years. We are aiming at a-state-of-the-arte renovation that can host 2000 congress delegates.
In 2020 the famous Ghent Altarpiece, also known as the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” – after the scenery depicted in the central panel of this polyptych by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck – will be completely restored. In the Spring of 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent will organize a fabulous exhibition on Jan Van Eyck and the artistic splendour at the Burgundian court he worked for. This will mark the start of a Van Eyck year in Ghent. All part of our Flemish Master programme. Still now and until 2020, visitors can see the restorers of the Ghent Altarpiece at work in the Museum. Quiet impressive…
And even closer, only 15 minutes from the Airport you find another irresistible city: Leuven. Leuven may be an ancient city, but it’s very much young at heart.
It’s home to one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities (KU Leuven), (there is always a competition between the city of Ghent about the number of students), the city is beloved by generations of students. Historic college buildings dominate its cosy squares and streets. Thanks to the university Leuven has grown into a bastion of knowledge from where high-tech companies conquer the world. Besides that it’s also a premier hub for healthcare, and creativity.
More than just a university city, Leuven is also the capital of beer. This fantastic town is the birthplace of the world-famous Stella Artois beer and houses the headquarters of AB Inbev, the largest brewery concern on the planet. The old market square is known as the world’s longest bar, dotted with more than 40 bars and pubs. No-one will ever go thirsty, but foremost the perfect place to sample our Belgian beer. Or you can learn your delegates of the conference how to pour the perfect pint at the brewery.
So looking for a historic setting for your meeting.. you have a wide choice of monasteries and breweries all been transformed into spectacular venues. Or what do you think of the Faculty Club, an old beguinage , listed as UNESCO World Heritage and converted into a great meeting venue. Maybe you’ve made already your choice for your next conference to Flanders… but therefor I will take you to one more place.
Are you looking for an invigorating environment? Welcome to Limburg. Hospitality, joie de vivre and…surprisingly innovative. Limburg is an area in Flanders bordering the Netherlands and Germany. It’s worth the one hour ride from the airport. This green region has a wide range of venues and is the place to be for outdoor activities. Picture an unforgettable springtime event, surrounded by blossoms from the many fruit trees.
In Limburg you find former coalmines, that after the closing and to avoid a brain-drain were transformed into inspiring locations. With a combination of state-of-the-art infrastructure and industrial heritage it’s a must for organisers who want to stage their events in a creative setting.
Limburg is also a perfect region for organising events in natural surroundings too, look at this beautiful castle, former grand commandery and now a conference castle and so much more. It’s also the region where you find.. out of the box meeting venues, architectural wonders like a sustainable treehouse.
As result of Flanders infrastructure boost, we are very proud to announce the newest kid in the region. The venue ‘Thor Central’ part of a huge industrial site opened its doors in September and can host events up to 2000 pax. You will find top notch industries and researcher centres about Energy at this heritage spot, what makes this place even more interesting for your event.
You’ve seen the many assets of the cities… But why chosing Flanders as your next conference destination? The biggest Flemish strong suit is the location of its conference centres: right in the middle of the historic city centres. It’s precisely this quintessential cultural heritage that creates Flanders’ appeal as a meeting and conference destination. It allows us to offer delegates a special meeting experience and with the short distances you can easily combine different historic cities. For example, we have the most beautiful décor or setting. In Flanders after a long day of meetings you can just leave your conference venue and immediately immerse yourself in the cosy, bustling atmosphere of the historic city centre. Heritage and culture are omnipresent.
What about social programmes? Well, dont’ worry. Spouses or delegates attending a congress will never get bored in Flanders. We can offer a wide range of unique experiences and social activities, including gala dinners, teambuilding events (going from city golf to multi culinary experiences) and private tours, that are again linked to our historical heritage and rich past, a blessing to meeting planners who have to organise the pre and post tours.
Don’t worry about hotels, we have a lot of luxury brands in the top segment, many of them embedded in beautiful old buildings with modern facilities. Thanks to these unique assets in the coming years we hope to grow into a respected and especially beloved international meeting and Convention destination.
VISITFLANDERS Convention Bureau helps association executives to bring their conference to Flanders & Brussels. We have a specialised team with in-depth product knowledge. We have headquarters in Brussels and international representation in 13 countries and regions across the globe. Where ever you are based, there is always a team member nearby to help you and answer all your questions.
VisitFlanders Convention Bureau is always at your service. Know that me, myself and I, and above all my colleagues have in-depth product knowledge and offer you advice free of charge. We provide tailor made proposals and bring you in contact with our professional stakeholders. I would like to show you a small movie about Flanders and why to come to Flanders to round up this presentation.
Visitflanders - MICE Presentation 2018
A PLACE TO MEET
Brussels Airport is
a convenient logistic hub
Accessibility: with frequent connections Flanders
is easy to reach from anywhere
A well connected train system brings you to all
cities in Flanders
Learn more about Flanders Assets
1. Flanders is known for its talented craftspeople
1. Flanders is home to top gastronomy
97 Michelin star restaurants in Flanders and Brussels
1. Flanders is all about cultural heritage
6 art cities which welcome the delegates in congress venues based in
uniquely renovated heritage sites
1. Flanders is known for its many artists in various disciplines
Tomorrowland is one of the top techno festivals
1. Flanders has cycling in its DNA
Eddy Merckx is known worldwide
The destination for your
Flanders for your next congress
1. Heart of Europe: great access via air, train and by car
2. Flanders & Brussels: home to over 2000 international
3. Flanders in Belgium is ranked third in the top 15 of
International Conference Countries
4. Our congress venues are based in uniquely renovated
heritage sites in historical towns which creates a special
meeting experience for all
5. 5 top universities and several R&D centres
6. 20 strong economic clusters
7. Strong partnerships with economic and academic world
8. Cultural assets: gastronomy, arts, culture, heritage
• 2nd largest port in
• Fashion Capital
• 4400 hotel rooms
“Europe’s best kept
2500 hotel rooms
LEUVEN UNIVERSITY CITY
1050 hotel rooms
Belgium’s oldest & most
WORLD CAPITAL OF
•HQ AB Inbev
•Visit 5 breweries in &
•Beer bar The Capital: >
2000 different types of
•12 specialised beer
•2 international beer
•Leuven Institute for
• 16 meeting rooms
• Capacity of largest room:
250 pax in theater style
• Open-air meetings in the
• Fine dinning restaurant
• Old beguinage =
• Hospitality and joie de vivre
• 500 hotel rooms
BE-MINE: museum - CONVERTED MINING
• C-MINE: cultural centre & event venue
• THOR PARK: science & techonology centre &
• TERHILLS: outdoor teambuidling
•Conference & event venue
•Part of Thor Park
•Open since September 2017
•10.000 m2 event space
•19 meeting rooms: 10 - 2000 pax
Auditorium: 300 pax
•Free parking for 700 cars
BRUSSELS CAPITAL OF
20 000 hotel rooms
•20 European and 42
•More than 60 million
Europeans live within
300km of Brussels, less
than two hours by high-
•Easy to get around
CVB FOR FLANDERS & BRUSSELS
- ONE STOP SHOP FOR MEETING & CONFERENCE
- IMPARTIAL ADVICE AND GUIDANCE, FREE OF
- IN DEPTH PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
- TAILOR-MADE PROPOSALS
- VALUABLE PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL
- PERSONALISED SITE INSPECTIONS, EDUCTOURS &
- GLOBAL MICE TEAM
Representative Office for Meet in Flanders
LMG Management GmbH
Bavariaring 38, 80336 München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 6890 638-40
MICE Repräsentanz D/A/CH
We look forward to
welcoming you to Flanders!