Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2019 - Page 60

City focus Rotterdam - A Dutch Exhibitionist Ramy Salameh sees exhibitions Ahoy in Holland’s innovative art and design Valhalla inety galleries, 15 film projections and 30,000 visitors were involved in Art Rotterdam Week recently, which in terms of visitor numbers is the largest exhibition held at Van Nelle Design Factory, according to the venue’s Teamleader Sales, Rogier Swerissen. The former coffee, tea and tobacco factory received its UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. Rotterdam’s international profile as a major tradeshow destination has been boosted by a series of developments in the pipeline, designed to put the city on the radar of major trade events and congresses, that were previously unobtainable. Art Rotterdam Week, considered the ‘Valhalla for art, design and architecture lovers’, spreads its exhibition tentacles across the city, through an eclectic mix of venues, such as the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Kunsthal, within the Museum Park. Van Nelle has plans to expand into the former factory’s ‘Distribution Hall’ providing a new area for larger events. “We secured a three-year term to host the De Betondag – National Concrete Day and De Nationale Staalbouwdag – National Steel building day conferences from autumn of 2019,” says Swerissen. Rotterdam hopes to provide an alternative to Amsterdam, but securing the mega-events requires venues with enough capacity to run tradeshows and conventions simultaneously, which has been a sticking point. Rotterdam Ahoy is one established 60 Issue 2 2019 venue, with big plans for a new Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre (RACC) to open in late 2020. Gert-Jan van den Nieuwenhoff, Manager B2B events at Rotterdam Ahoy, says: “We are convinced that this new venue will boost the number of exhibitions”. RACC will feature the Netherlands’ largest auditorium, which can be combined with the existing halls and arena. Two of Ahoy’s own exhibitions were in the Top 25 of Best Exhibitions of the Netherlands: Europort and Infratech. Ahoy’s largest exhibition Europort, a maritime tradeshow, uses approximately 40,000sqm, with more than 1,000 exhibitors and 35,000 visitors. Nieuwenhoff says: “Ahoy’s largest shows cover the complete venue inclusive of our arena (cap 16,000) and there are shows that need extra capacity”. The new RACC cannot come quickly Above: Van Nelle Fabriek team in front of the Design Factory building enough and Catherine Kalamidas of Rotterdam Partners CVB is confident the Ahoy’s new developments will help her team pursue some of the largest tradeshows and congresses. Maintenance NEXT, an expo for the industrial maintenance world, will take place at Ahoy in April 2019 and Pieter Das Bas, Exhibition Manager, comments: “Our ambition is to integrate EuroMaintenance & Maintenance NEXT and create the largest and most impactful maintenance event in Europe”. Development of the RACC was the catalyst to persuade the organisers of EuroMaintenance, which takes place every two years to delay it until 2021: “Normally the next edition should take place in 2020, but we wanted to combine the events once we knew the RACC would be up and running,” he adds. Rotterdam also boasts a floating pavilion event venue, consisting of three interlinked spheres/ halls spread over 560sqm, which has paved the way for more water based innovations, such as the recycled floating park, made out of plastics collected from the Port of Rotterdam. Rotterdam was also chosen to be the European seat of Boston’s Cambridge Innovation Centre and the home of the UN Global Centre of Excellence for Climate Adaptation, thus a knowledge base in the area of global warming. The city’s world- leading knowledge clusters include logistics and mobility, clean tech, agri- food and ‘SmartIndustry’, all grist to Kalamidas’ claim that, “Our heritage is to be innovative”. The exhibition industry can work provided there are tools Ahoy. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk