If you are looking for a stimulating environment for a conference, incentive or meeting, then Belgian Limburg is the place to be. The untouched nature, the atmospheric industrial heritage and the historical cities guarantee that there will always be a location that matches your theme or strategy.
The Belgian Limburg Convention Bureau (BLCB) is a relatively new platform (2016) that promotes and facilitates conference tourism in Limburg.
Meeting consultant Tamara Weide: “With a fresh, independent look, we are creatively using the many advantages Limburg has to offer for professional events. The closure of the mines and other industries in Limburg provided pioneering space, both literally and figuratively. Breeding grounds were set up where creativity and knowledge come together, where start-ups are given opportunities and innovative ideas are stimulated. Limburg has transformed from a manufacturing industry into a knowledge and innovative economy.”
The knowledge areas of Limburg can be divided into four strong spearheads: LifeTech, HighTech, Energy and Creative & Innovative Industry.
Tamara: “In Limburg we have a large number of knowledge institutes and companies that are involved in technological developments to promote health and care. LifeTech in Limburg focuses mainly on diagnostics and therapeutics, medical devices and innovation in healthcare. With the local expertise of Hasselt University, PXL University of Applied Sciences, two major hospitals (Jessa and ZOL) and Bioville, there are many researchers and specialists who can contribute to a conference on various topics within this sector.”
“Within Limburg, we have many (starting) companies and researchers who are engaged in the most advanced technological developments in various industries and products,” says Tamara.
“We have various HighTech campuses in Limburg and therefore a large number of companies that are at the forefront of technological research and products, such as the international and leading Corda Campus in the field of Technology, ICT, Hightech and Media.”
“In addition, there is Drone port which is setting up a unique ecosystem with an infrastructure and services to facilitate research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the aerospace and drone market. The Drone Port Incubator is the home base for start-ups, organizations and research teams that develop, produce or provide services for this new market.”
“Flanders Make is the strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry. They contribute to new products and production processes to create the vehicles, machines and factories of the future. MIA-H, for example, is a Fashion Tech Campus where technology and creativity in the field of fashion meet. And Bike Valley is an open innovation centre for the bicycle industry and is internationally known as a true cycling paradise.”
“Bike Valley is committed to cycling year-round as a possible solution to road congestion. In addition, we have the mobility school within the University of Hasselt and Limburg also has a high-quality bicycle route network.”
“We are very proud the Winter Cycling Congress will take place here in Limburg in 2021. A conference that attracts more than 600 participants from all over the world. This conference has never been held in Europe before and perhaps our approach has changed that. We didn’t make a bid book first; we invited the board members for an electric bike ride instead. They drove to various places where explanations were given about the advantages of Limburg as a conference location. Only then did we compose the bid book and, as a result, the organization chose us.”
Tamara: “Limburg gives you energy through its inspiring environment, its tranquillity and hospitality and through the presence of knowledge in the field of energy.”
“Here, within the former Mijnsite Waterschei, lies the Thor Park energy park with EnergyVille on top. This is a collaboration between the Flemish research partners KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt for research into sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. EnergyVille brings together research, development, training and industrial innovation in close cooperation with local, regional and international partners. From the outset, the partnership was embedded in large national and international networks with the aim of becoming the expert and thought leader for sustainable energy in the built environment, both within Europe and beyond. It aims to be a centre for research, business development and jobs.”
“Within the above spearheads, BLCB has a good overview of the knowledge institutions and local actors in Limburg,” says Tamara Weide. “We are happy to share our knowledge with the local knowledge institutes and associations to help them organize conferences.”
The province of Limburg borders the Netherlands, Germany and the Liège region. An ideal location in the heart of the Euroregion, away from the hustle and bustle of traffic around Antwerp and Brussels. But above all, a region that has shaped the various surrounding cultural influences into a very special pleasant atmosphere.
Limburg is a compact region with very varied decors. The romantic Voer region, fruity and historic Haspengouw, the wonderful Maasland water sports area and forest-rich Kempen. Cities, nature reserves, heritage: they can all be found in this small area. The groundbreaking cycle route network is the connecting factor between these areas.
Limburg is easily accessible via various motorways and has many nearby airports that offer good train, bus or taxi connections to places in the province. It goes without saying that BLCB also provides shuttle services for small and large groups to and from the airports if required.
The largest international airport is Brussels-Zaventem, which is less than an hour’s drive from the provincial capital of Hasselt. Every city in Limburg has a train station with good bus connections to the rest of the region and to the larger conference locations such as De Grenslandhallen in Hasselt, the Limburghal in Genk and the Soeverein Arena in Lommel. From an international point of view, Limburg is also easily accessible by Thalys and/or Eurostar from Paris or London via Brussels.