Meet in Flanders (It’s in Belgium!)
Flanders lies tucked away in the Northern part of Belgium between France, Germany and the Netherlands. The region offers an assortment of cosmopolitan easy to reach cities offering visitors far more than just the traditional main squares and medieval architecture.
Flanders surprises with:
- state of the art convention centers
- international chain and boutique hotels
- dazzling historic special venues, medieval settings and historic attractions
- world renowned cuisine
- Belgian chocolates (be honest: they`re the best!)
- more than 600 kinds of quality beer!
Flanders’ popularity amongst meeting groups stems from its variety of venues and locations, the short distances between cities, a worldwide reputation for high standards and customer care, multicultural experiences and above all: the way of life. In short: it`s a destination that works!
Flanders’ central location and connectivity tor transportation make it the perfect, accessible destination for business and pleasure. Brussels, the capital of the region, is less than 2 hours by high-speed train from London, Paris and Amsterdam. There are daily direct flights from New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Toronto and Montreal to Brussels Airport, the main international airport. Public transportation throughout Flanders is fast and efficient, Bruges Ghent and Antwerp are all less than one hour from Brussels. English is widely spoken throughout the region and each city has its own allure and feel, offering something for every type of meeting.
The Capital: Brussels
Brussels is the political heart of Flanders and Belgium, capital to 500 million Europeans and home to NATO. The Flemish capital hosts more association headquarters than any city in the world, making it a leading conference center of Europe and the second busiest globally after Singapore, according to the Union of International Associations. Brussels offers diverse international hotels with over 20,000 rooms, and the Square Convention Centre near the central train station recently underwent a complete renewal and refurbishment.
Being in the political heart of Europe, Brussels’ meetings industry has extensive experience catering to large, international gatherings. A convention program is sure to run smoothly in this city, and delegates will enjoy venturing out to Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent for their medieval charm.
Antwerp has the second-largest port in Europe and is the world’s diamond trade capital. This multicultural city offers cutting- edge fashion, shopping and culture in a historic setting.
Antwerp’s unofficial tagline is “so cool, it’s hot,” and the city has lately received much well-deserved attention. Antwerp has over 6,000 rooms, and regularly hosts large congresses such as the annual Breakbulk Exhibition. It has been regarded as a creative hub since the 16th century, housing master Baroque painters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Today, it is a fashion capital and boasts numerous shops and boutiques. Much like Antwerp’s famous diamonds, the city sparkles with an impressive range of architecture, from the gothic Cathedral of Our Lady to the contemporary courthouse. The city’s excellent restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural activities will round out any visit.
In the works is refurbishment of the Antwerp Concert & Conference Center from a historical complex into something unique and modern. Many of the breakout rooms, for instance, will look out over the Royal Zoo of Antwerp, one of the most beautiful and oldest animal parks in Europe. The center, slated to open in 2016, will offer an auditorium of 2,000 seats, and will maintain its central location next to the Antwerp train station, from which one can travel to Brussels Airport in 30 minutes.
Beauty in Bruges
The heart of Bruges, surrounded by an almost continuous ring of dreamy canals, is the best-preserved example of Medieval Flanders. All of this picture-perfect city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The chocolate shops, cobblestone streets, romantic restaurants and high-end museums make Bruges one of the top incentive destinations in Europe.
In keeping with the nature of the city, hotels in Bruges trend toward small and charming. But for those who need larger facilities, boutique establishments and international properties with great conference spaces are also available. The city holds close to 3,500 hotel rooms, a new conference/concert facility, and a historical conference center in a Medieval hospital—the latter making Bruges especially popular for pharmaceutical and medical conferences.
Ghent is Flanders’ hidden gem, sandwiched between Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp. This attractive and compact Medieval city is often overlooked by conference organizers but has much to offer in the way of beauty, culture and meetings convenience.
Ghent was Europe’s largest cloth producer in the 15th century, a wealthy city and the continent’s second-largest after Paris. Today, it holds over 900 UNESCO listed buildings that managed to survive both world wars.
Located just 30 minutes by train from Brussels, Ghent has three convention centers and 2,000 hotel rooms ranging from stylish international to trendy boutique properties. And Ghent University works closely with the Ghent Convention Bureau to attract association conferences. Ghent is ideal for U.S. meetings, incentives and conferences planners who want to provide their groups with something unique and special.
Originally posted on Cvent.