Watch the conversation with King Willem-Alexander at Rotterdam Ahoy below. The text continues below the video:
The King inaugurated the new conference center and RTM platform, which were already delivered in November 2020. In addition to Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, former director Jos van der Vegt is also attending a party with the King. “I’ve worked with Ahoy for 25 years, even though I haven’t been a manager for ten years,” Van der Vegt says. “It feels a bit like my own baby. When I was a boy I was already scratching here.”
Since its opening in 1971, Ahoy has grown into one of the largest event halls in the Netherlands, attracting 1.5 million visitors each year. Van der Wigt believes that Ahoy has an important promotion function in southern Rotterdam. “In the sixties, this was really a drive to get more jobs, momentum, and activities. And we’re doing the same fifty years later.”
From the Sports Palace to the multifunctional hall
Jolanda Jansen, Director of Ahoy, is pleased with the royal visit. Prince Claus opened the hall. Now his son comes to visit. “This completes the circuit well,” she says.
Watch the video below at the official opening of the two halls in Rotterdam Ahoy. The text continues below the video:
Ahoy originally started as a sports palace. “What was also unique was that the exhibition halls were also built. That was and still is special in Europe, where there is a mixture of an arena for sports, music and entertainment and those exhibition halls.”
The stateroom also donates artwork to the city of Rotterdam. “We made this interactive artwork in the front yard, as a thank you for developing the area and expanding the new convention center and RTM platform,” Jansen explains.
“Hopefully we can do more next week than now.”
Corona throws a wrench into the business of the event industry, including Ahoy. Janssen certainly does not give up: “With the new conference center we will be organizing big conferences in the coming years with the city, municipality and partners of Rotterdam.”
Jansen is listening with great interest to the outgoing cabinet press conference next Tuesday. “We’ve published very clearly and backed by all kinds of studies that we can do fully again and opened. We will discuss this with the Cabinet and hopefully that will be heard and in any case we will be able to do more next week than we are doing right now.”
Jansen has another hit in the arm. “We have known in the last 18 months that it is not certain. We have to wait for that decision. Everyone is ready.” According to Ahoy’s director, visitors can return to the auditorium in a theatrical setting, by standing and sitting.
Meanwhile, Ahoy has brought back a number of employees who were forced to leave earlier, Janssen says. But there were still dark clouds hanging over Rotterdam Hall. “The government announced that it will stop supporting Ahoy in October. There are already some doubts,” says Jansen, who hopes for good news next week.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”