On the walking tour:
Rembrandt van Rijn’s
In the 13th century,
fishermen living on the banks of the Amstel River, where it meets
the IJ River, built a bridge -- and Amsterdam began to take shape.
The city now is the capital of the Netherlands, although the
country’s seat of government is in the Hague.
Water still defines Amsterdam, with a
network of canals outlining its neighborhoods. Groups of all sizes
are accommodated in the city, which offers about 21,000 hotel
rooms. And once again, buildings are rising by the river, as
Amsterdam reclaims former warehouse districts, such as the IJ’s
Oostelijke Handelskade, or Eastern docklands.
On the banks
Opening Sept. 1 is the 410-room
Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center. The
property offers about 10,000 square feet of meeting space. Groups
using the hotel also can gather at the nearby Passenger
Terminal Amsterdam, which holds 2,000 theater-style on its
main deck; the Bimhuis, a 375-seat concert hall;
and the Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ (Music Hall on the
IJ), which opened last summer with two halls of 725 and 100 seats,
In other news
The main building of Amsterdam’s crown
jewel, the Rijksmuseum, will remain closed for
major renovations and not reopen until 2008. A selection of
Rembrandt’s masterpieces in the museum’s permanent collection are
displayed in the Philips Wing, whose makeover already has been
completed. The exhibit is part of ongoing events celebrating the
400th anniversary of the artist’s birth. Other activities include a
walking tour of Rembrandt’s Amsterdam and Rembrandt, the
Musical, at the Royal Carre Theatre.
A new website has been created to help
meeting planners bring groups to the city. The Amsterdam Convention
Circle (www.amsterdamconvention.com) offers information about
Amsterdam RAI, the city’s convention center, as
well as details on area hotels and other meeting and event
Near RAI, the Hotel Okura
Amsterdam is finishing up a two-year renovation with the
opening of a 5,390-square-foot, two-story suite that takes up the
17th and 18th floors. More than $17 million was spent on the
In Rembrandt Square, also called the
Rembrandtplein, the 166-room Eden Rembrandt Square
Hotel opened in March. Nearby is the new FLO
Amsterdam, a 122-seat French restaurant.
Out of town
In the Hague, the 205-room NH Den Haag,
with meeting space for up to 400, opened in October near the
railway station and the city center.
The Golden Tulip Hospitality Group
plans to build a 140-room Tulip Inn south of the
capital in Delft using the latest in IKEA furniture, as Delft is a
central learning center for IKEA retailers. The property, expected
to open in 2007, will offer several conference rooms.
The Netherlands levies a 19 percent value-added tax (VAT)
on most expenses related to travel and meetings, but organizations
have a full five years after each event to apply for rebates.
Corporations can reclaim taxes on registration fees,
accommodations, taxis, car rentals, gas, communications costs,
exhibition-related costs and other fees. Only taxes on meals are