Outside are two ladies, chatting with the bus driver. The ladies look like they are coming for the Zwolle site visit organised by Congresregio Zwolle. My intuition is right; they are event managers here to explore all locations for company events Zwolle. The bus driver explains that he’s here to bring the people to the Provinciehuis. That means he’s not here for us. Me and the ladies, we have good chitchat about all event managers do. Other participants of the site visit in this city in Eastern Netherlands join us and it seems like we know each other for ages. A mini-bus stops in front of Lumen hotel & IJsseldelta conference center and brings us to the starting location of the Zwolle site visit.
Welcome in the Dutch star-shaped city
In the reception hall of the Nieuwe Buitensociëteit we are welcomed with coffee- in one of these fancy ice cream cones-, mint tea with ginger and honey and a beautiful plate of sweets. The mayor opens the Zwolle site visit and shows us why the Hanseatic city is so attractive for events and conferences. Zwolle region is doing very well in the fields of healthcare, education and logistics. As citizen of Zwolle the mayor is extremely proud of his city, which shows when he is asked about the star-shaped city canal. He enthusiastically tells us about the canals and the great canal boat tour through Zwolle. I, fan of cycling and watersports, immediately add this canal tour to my list of things to offer to you, reader, and your friends, family, colleagues.
Theatre turns into food truck festival
After a more than relaxing start, we split into groups and I follow Marieke Van der Weide, sales manager, for a tour through the meeting center. The building might not seem that big from the outside, inside there are rooms in different sizes spread out over 3 floors. Great for small gatherings, bigger networking events or big scale conferences. Marieke shows us all corners of the building and saves the best for last. On the 2nd floor, on the balcony, you have an amazing view on the theatre stage. The theatre itself is Marieke’s favourite: “It offers lots of possibilities, we even had a food truck festival here once”.
Bert Dijking is waiting for us in the reception hall. He is our tourguide on the city walk through Zwolle. I had to look up his name on internet and found out he is also an illustrator & painter and published a comic book about Zwolle. Bert has a beautiful radio voice. It is like listening to the Polygoon Journaal, the postwar Dutch news that was screened in cinemas. We follow part of the art route, marked in the ground like a snake made of gold and mosaic. It leads to a manhole cover depicting a map of the starshaped city of Zwolle. A bit further along the line is an audioscope. Here you can listen to the soundtrack of the video installation which can be found in the city’s train station.
From the Sassenpoort, the city’s 15th century entrance gate we walk straight into the historic centre of Zwolle. Every corner, every street breathes a past of kings, dukes and emperors. As we pass the majestic church on the market square and see that other church with the curious name of Pepper tower in the distance Bert tells us about the image of the dog depicted on Markt 15. A story for insiders about a tower, a fire and of course a dog. Like to know the full story? Let me know and I’ll arrange a city walk Zwolle with Bert for you.
At the far end of the street, there’s a big bus waiting for us. I’m wondering where I saw the bus driver before. Ah, he was at the hotel, waiting for the other group. Now he takes us in his IJsseltours bus along the river IJssel to hotel & conference centre Mooirivier.
Meeting at a Dutch dream location for events & conferences
Mooirivier is such an idyllic place, it is hard to describe in words. As I enter the main building it’s the the ambiance and the amazing panoramic view on the river Ijssel that make me feel like I’ve just entered a different world. As a fan of nature and scenic places this is truly my dreamspot. While account manager Daphne Kusters shows us meeting rooms of different sizes, a large, new & spacious hall for birthday parties, conferences and weddings and makes us daydream in the luxurious bedrooms of the hotel, I’m already thinking of team building events & group activities I could organise here. ( Hang on, I’m planning a trip for you here in August 2018, so stay tuned!)
City of amazing locations for company events
An exquisite lunch ends our visit at Mooirivier and we’re in for a treat. Outside are five classic Citroën C2V which in Dutch we call Lelijke Eendjes – Ugly Ducklings-. We’re going vintage! With the motor humming and everything else squeeking we chug behind the Hiawatha Actief organisation along canals and through polders and reach our last destination. The cultural heart of Zwolle, Theater De Spiegel & Schouwburg Odeon will inspire every group. I feel surrounded by creativity as we pass the rooms where young artists have transformed the theatre into rehearsal rooms. In the café men & women sit with their laptops, notepads and sketchbooks creating mind maps and are enthusiastically discussing projects. What a great atmosphere. Outside, looking out on the spectacular De Fundatie Museum we have a drink, a bite and end our Zwolle Site Visit organised by Congresregio Zwolle. It was inspiring, impressive & incredible. There are so many fantastic locations for company events Zwolle. You and I, we should visit this city in the east of the Netherlands sometime soon, it’s only an hour away from Utrecht & Amsterdam. So let’s organise a team building event or meeting here!
* Except for the main picture all pictures in post where taken with mobile phone. Check this album for photos taken with mirorless camera.
More info? Here are two articles in Dutch:
and some more pictures ( Maureen Smith, Petra Hullen & others)