His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander
was the guest of honour, as Amsterdam RAI officially opened its new Elicium venue.
The €50m Elicium offers the largest
ballroom in the Netherlands
and four conference halls. Its 20 meeting
rooms mean the RAI can lay claim to have
the largest multifunctional conference centre in Europe.
Chairman of the board at RAI Hans Bakker,
welcoming 900 guests to the opening gala, described Elicium as “the new
figurehead of RAI, showing our vision of the future of exhibitions and
The Elicium he said: “puts us back on the
map and in the lead in the convention industry, and we want to be leaders.”
Architecturally, Elicium ‘squares the
circle’ of the Holland
and Europa sides of the RAI building
The Elicium project is a welcome shot in the arm for the RAI, which lost nearly
all its income from its cut down
AutoRAI and the cancelled TERTS (commercial
vehicle show) this year.
director Maurits van der Sluis tells conference-news
that, despite a 10 per cent drop in net turnover in 2008, the RAI is forging
ahead with its new multi-year €110m investment
plan. “The €50m investment in
Elicium has created one of Europe’s top five conference
centres,” he says, adding that a new hotel is planned on the RAI site in the
south of the city, and a ‘South Pole’ space is designed for the winter season,
based on the success of the RAI’s summer
beach, which attracted 150,000 visitors this year.
The new five-year plan also includes a
strategy to cut energy use by 25 per cent.
And RAI is looking to broaden its international
perspective, Van der Sluis told conference-news
the venue is exploring avenues to expand its multi-venue management portfolio beyond Maastricht (MECC) and Cape