Exploring the corporate options with Diederick van Eeden

"Everything works out at Amare" - manager business events Diederick van Eeden

What can Amare, due to open in September 2021, offer the business sector? It is up to Diederick van Eeden, manager of business events at Zuiderstrandtheater, and his Amare team to put Amare on the map as a business venue. “Amare will be an interesting option for a wide range of event organisers in the Netherlands,” says Van Eeden. “We will attract types of conventions to The Hague that previously stayed away because other venues in the city are either too large or too small for visitor groups of around 1250 people. So that’s good for us and for the city.”

Easy accessibility 
In addition to large international conventions, Van Eeden also expects to host many Dutch events, organised by parties seeking an easily accessible venue, close to the railway station. “Zuiderstrandtheater was a trendy and popular location, but it did take 30 minutes by bus to get there,” Van Eeden explains. “While Amare is just a five-minute stroll from The Hague’s main railway station, Den Haag Centraal. And there are seven parking garages nearby, too.”

Amare clearly has much to offer. “We are also located at a strolling distance from all the ministries. It will be a great location for relationship marketing. For example, businesses can invite their customers or prospects for an exclusive dinner, followed by a cultural show.” Van Eeden also sees an opportunity in the organisation of award events. “There are so many award events in the Netherlands: for sports personality of the year, the Golden Giraffe event awards, marketeer of the year awards, and so on. It’s an entirely new category of events, and I really intend to promote Amare in this market.” 

Unprecedented possibilities 
Considering all the options offered by the complex, Van Eeden believes that Amare will shoot to the top of favourite venues in no time. “Lots of people will be eager to have their event here.” After all, Amare offers a huge range of options, from grand and dramatic to intimate and small. “We can host plenary events for some 1200 visitors in the Concert Hall, and then another 1200 in the Theatre Hall. But we are just as eager to host a group of 50.”

Van Eeden frequently hosted groups of between 100 and 175 visitors in the lobbies of Zuiderstrandtheater. “That’s a popular event size. Accommodating such events in Amare will be as easy as pie. We will have a convention centre that can operate entirely separately from the rest of the complex. It’s a perfect place to meet with a small group of people. The large meeting room can accommodate between 160 and 200 people with row seating, with another four breakout rooms. All these rooms are adjacent to each other, with an independent bar and lobby space, making it a fully autonomous unit. Events can be held here around the clock, so to speak, independently from the overall programming.”

Amare’s appeal
Thanks to all these options, Van Eeden has lots of room to improvise. “Obviously, we are not a convention centre in the usual sense of the word. But then that’s our particular appeal. To choose for Amare means choosing something special, instead of the usual dull corridors lined with meeting rooms.”

Van Eeden mentions the programming in the open public spaces as a clear and unique added value for any business event organised here. “There’s always something special happening somewhere in the complex. In the entrance hall, in the restaurant, on the wide wooden steps: basically anywhere and virtually all day. When visiting a conference in Amare, and you’re not attending a particular session or just want to get some refreshments, then there’s something to watch and enjoy. Of course visitors can also stroll into the city for some fresh air, but they can also stay indoors to experience all the exciting things happening inside. As far as I know, there’s no other theatre or convention centre in the country with this unique dimension.” 

What if people wish to organise a quiet and private event? “That’s possible too. Simply take the escalator and use the theatre hall plus lobby, for example. This way you can conduct your event entirely separately from everything else that’s happening. So we are extremely flexible.” And that’s not the only flexibility that Van Eeden can offer. “It’s not a problem at all to reserve facilities for an international convention, three years in advance. Of course following consultation, but Amare does offer the option of making long-term arrangements.”

Hospitality at a world class level 
For Van Eeden and his team, hospitality is paramount. “I have a background in event organisation and the hospitality sector, with experience in working at prominent hotels. The level of hospitality offered by 4 and 5-star hotels is what I aspire to offer at Zuiderstrandtheater and at Amare as well. The restaurant and bar facilities attempt to do the same. In fact, everyone at Amare is dedicated to achieving the same high level.” Precisely that dedication will make Amare an exceptional venue, says Van Eeden. “I understand what event organisers want and how they think. I speak their language. And even as we are talking, I am converting their wishes into concrete arrangements on our part. Our goal is to devise the perfect solution for our customer’s needs and wishes, instead of just presenting a standard menu.” 

Van Eeden sees a role cut out for him as a connector and catalyst. “I have a huge network, so once things start rolling, we are sure to see a snowball effect. The opening of Amare will create quite a splash, and I am convinced that my team and I will be able to ride the wave and exceed all expectations.” Of course it won’t all be plain sailing. “Commercial events tend to be more unpredictable than cultural events: so much happens at the last minute, with things to add or to cut. Our team is responding very well so far, especially the theatre technicians. I can therefore be flexible towards our customers, with full confidence in the outcome. So I can always say, without hesitation: ‘Everything works out at Amare.’”

The same DNA
And then Van Eeden hasn’t even mentioned all the distinguished residents of Amare. “That is truly a unique selling point: that the Zuiderstrandtheater staff will be working with people of the Nederlands Dans Theater, Residentie Orkest and Royal Conservatoire. So at a business convention we can have a conservatoire student perform classical music during a break, or a large group of convention participants can be invited to visit an evening performance with pre-bought tickets. The possibilities are endless, really.” 

Van Eeden furthermore expects that many students of the conservatoire will seek a side job in Amare’s catering facilities. “If visitors have any question about anything at all, then they can expect to receive a heartfelt answer from someone who also inhabits the building by day. This way, we’ll have the same DNA running throughout the whole complex, from top to bottom.

And when everything clicks together in that way, then you can really feel that. Both as visitor and convention participant, and as event organiser.”

Read more about organizing events in Amare >