Beurs van Berlage

Unforgettable encounters in the post corona era: Beurs van Berlage is ready

Amsterdam Conference Centre

Beurs van Berlage

Would you like to organise an unforgettable conference or event? The Beurs van Berlage is the perfect place! Because of our long-time experience with events and conferences, both live and (partially) virtual, we know how to achieve the highest quality. Time after time and in the middle of the characteristic historical centre of Amsterdam. Would you like to see what the rooms look like, or rather have some to-the-point information about the capacity of the rooms and the possibilities of organising a hybrid event? Click below to discover the Beurs van Berlage.

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It was a strange experience eighteen months ago. What no one ever thought possible actually happened: overnight, the world of events and conferences came to a complete standstill. Suddenly the Beurs van Berlage, just as many other event venues, was confronted with an empty agenda. “All the same, at the start we were still quite busy”, Evelien van Kessel. “Primarily with rescheduling events. This involved many complex activities: you have to reassure organisers, create space in the already full agenda, examine whether the current form of the event will still be suitable a year from now, and discussing with hotels about the already booked rooms for multi-day conferences.”

Blog Unforgettable encounters in the post corona era: Beurs van Berlage is ready

It was a strange experience eighteen months ago. What no one ever thought possible actually happened: overnight, the world of events and conferences came to a complete standstill. Suddenly the Beurs van Berlage, just as many other event venues, was confronted with an empty agenda. “All the same, at the start we were still quite busy”, Evelien van Kessel. “Primarily with rescheduling events. This involved many complex activities: you have to reassure organisers, create space in the already full agenda, examine whether the current form of the event will still be suitable a year from now, and discussing with hotels about the already booked rooms for multi-day conferences.”

Checking what is still possible: restart with small events

It quickly became evident for the Beurs that the solution was not to sit around and wait for the pandemic to pass by. The requirements from the market had to be seriously listened to and new products and services had to be developed. Special attention was given to what was possible, despite all the restrictions and uncertainties. This resulted in a restart with small-scale events, such as concerts and diploma presentations. Rooms were also made available for shareholder’s meetings and examinations, and the Beurs was even fitted out as a polling station for the national election. “This was an excellent way to help other sectors that had a lack of space. It was also a relief for our own personnel, because doing nothing is not part of our DNA.”

The next step: entering the Beurs virtually

However, the Beurs did even more, for example by responding to the increasing demand for hybrid and virtual events. Together with partners Faber Audiovisuals, Univate and Plugged Live Shows, a platform was quickly developed that provided organisers with the opportunity to expand their physical event with a virtual experience, or even make it completely digital.

You can enter and participate in the digital Beurs with the ‘Beurs van Berlage Virtual Live Events Platform’. The doorman personally welcomes you, after which you can enter the Beurs foyer. You can hear the buzz from the other participants in the background, just as at a live conference. Evelien is very enthusiastic about this, because in this way it is still possible to experience the ambiance of this monumental building and the personal hospitality. “With an online conference you are often provided with a link. If you click on this link, you normally enter a Zoom environment. But the Beurs is more than this, it is a location that you choose because of its rich history and character. With the platform the experience, even if digitally, is that you are actually in the Beurs van Berlage. The carousel in the platform enables visitors to communicate with other conference visitors, and even ask questions live to the speakers.”

In order to raise hybrid and virtual events to a mature level, the Beurs designed a completely new state-of-the-art event studio: Studio Berlage. Studio Berlage is not just a green screen where a speaker is projected against a different background, but a real stage in one of the historic rooms of the Beurs. Use is made of a LED base surrounded by a virtual world. This enables a lively remote interaction between the audience, the presenters and/or several keynote speakers.

In addition, the Administration Room was converted into a smaller studio, Studio 1903, that is fully equipped to support organisers of smaller online webinars, seminars and other small-scale virtual events.

Online will remain due to its significant added value

The Beurs van Berlage believes that hybrid events will continue, because the online component adds tremendous value. An important benefit is that organisers can now increase their reach. “Normally speaking there is room in the Beurs van Berlage for a maximum of 1300 conference participants. By adding an online component, you can increase the number of participants almost indefinitely. But you can also attract an entirely different target group, because online also works as an on-demand model. People who are only interested in a specific part of the conference only watch that item. Furthermore, watching remotely is very interesting for people who do not want, are not able or are not permitted to travel. You can choose to watch sessions at a later time. You can achieve better results from your event with online additions. Because of the possibility to split a video recording into smaller sections, you can choose to offer them again at a later time. This can be done via a digital channel, for example by means of a subscription, but also during another event.”

Live events will return in full force

But regardless of the value of all the online options, Evelien still believes in the power of live events. “A spontaneous conversation on the floor is very different than communicating via a screen. It is obviously a completely different feeling to visit an event in an international hotspot with charm; a magnificent building, the place to be in the warm heart of Amsterdam, where special things happen.”  

She is convinced that live events will return in their full glory. In her opinion, this will certainly be accompanied by new challenges when it also involves an online component. People watching via a screen are often easily distracted, so that it is more difficult to hold their attention. Conversely: as easy as it is to attend an event from your living room, it requires extra effort to attract people to an on-site visit.

“If you want to be successful with a hybrid event, than you have to actually offer two separate programmes. Those programmes will need to provide a greater differentiating factor than previously. Live conferences are all about an inclusive programme for the entire day, including a good lunch, clean toilets, clear signposting and hospitable personnel. The online component is far more about matters such as the ability of the speakers, the session topics and the content.”

Working together to make a success of your event

The Beurs van Berlage wants to assist organisers of conferences and other events, on how they can best grip their live and online participants. “We have every facility available to completely organise and host an unforgettable conference from A to Z, live, hybrid or completely virtual. Our employees are very experienced and, together with our partners, can relieve an organiser of many tasks. Consider, for instance, the preparatory stage, the registration, the organisation of hotels during the event, the event itself with everything it entails, but also the aftercare. We have everything available to make every event a great success.”

The entire situation during the past eighteen months has certainly led to a great deal of creativity at the Beurs van Berlage. It is clear that the organisation is resilient and can quickly adapt to change. “We never gave up. The crisis has taught us that you always have to have a plan B. An event can then always take place, even if something unexpected occurs. We can always support our customers in some way. Together, we will make a success of your event and ensure that we achieve your ultimate objective: that visitors have an unforgettable experience,” Evelien van Kessel concludes.

Would you like to organise a (hybrid) conference or event in the Beurs van Berlage? Read more here or please contact us.

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Hotspot since 1903

Since the year 1903 the Beurs van Berlage has been a charming international hotspot. A building with grandeur and the place to be in the soul of Amsterdam where special things happen every day. Events, fairs, exhibitions and prestigious conferences.

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