Typical Dutch canals and canal houses, centuries-old universities and richly endowed with art and culture … The Dutch cities of Delft and Leiden are so similar that it is only logical that they are tempting the MICE market together.
Just as Leiden has the painter Rembrandt van Rijn – born and raised in Leiden – so Delft has Johannes Vermeer. You know, of the famous painting “Girl with a pearl earring”.
As Leiden is affectionately called “Little Amsterdam” by international travellers, Delft can safely pass on for an even more intimate Amsterdam.
Just as Leiden is famous for its university – the oldest in the Netherlands dating from 1575 and which has produced no fewer than sixteen Nobel Prize winners – Delft University of Technology is in the top 20 best universities for engineering and technology worldwide.
These are just a few examples of the many similarities between Delft and Leiden. These typical Dutch cities of knowledge already work together in so many areas and have so much in common that they have also joined forces in the field of MICE.
By joining forces we can offer organizers an even better proposition, says Ingrid Rip from Delft Convention Bureau and Yvonne Kret from Leiden Convention Bureau.
Cities of Wisdom
Both Leiden and Delft are gems among Dutch cities. Everything that the Netherlands is internationally renowned for is present here, and much more.
Just think of authentic canal houses and canals, beautiful squares and cobblestone streets that you can explore on foot, by bike or by boat. Both Leiden and Delft are home to the most beautiful churches, theatres and museums. The many cosy bars, restaurants and pleasant shopping streets also appeal to the imagination. In short, there is always something going on in these student cities.
Leiden and Delft also have in common numerous special meeting locations and hotels, ranging from the ultramodern to the monumental.
So it’s not so strange that both cities found each other and decided last year to present themselves jointly to the international congress and association market.
“Last year we took part in the M&I Forum in Paris together for the first time,” says Ingrid Rip. “It’s an international forum where supply and demand in the MICE industry come together. In addition, we organized a joint event for the first time last year. A FAM trip for the Belgian market, in which Belgian planners got to know Delft and Leiden in three days.”
Yvonne Kret: “It was such a huge success that we did it again last September. Again we were lucky to receive beautiful reviews. One of the participants said “Delft and Leiden are a treasure chest full of meeting options!” A wonderful compliment.”
Distinctive in content
Both Rip and Kret emphasize that “their” cities, in addition to all their Dutch features, are particularly distinctive in terms of content.
Rip: “Leiden and Delft are pure university cities. It’s not for nothing that we promote ourselves as “Cities of Wisdom”. The knowledge is here for the taking.”
The areas of expertise in which Delft excels include Industrial Biotechnology, Robotics, High Tech Systems and Materials, Maritime and Offshore Energy.
Rip gives an example, “Take Robotics”. “A few years ago, TU Delft took the initiative of setting up an ecosystem around robotics. First of all, the TU brought the robot research of six different faculties and fifteen chairs together in one new institute: TU Delft Robotics Institute. This resulted in RoboValley, a far-reaching collaboration between 160 researchers, companies, governments and educational institutions in one campus. The TU is now one of the absolute world leaders in the field of Robotics. So whoever organizes a conference on this subject is in the right place in Delft.”
The knowledge areas in which Leiden is a leader are a wonderful addition to those of Delft. With its university and Bio Science Park, Leiden is one of the leading scientific knowledge centres in Europe.
Kret: “The university has a top position globally in law and languages and a wide range of research areas, including medical, natural sciences (including astronomy) and archaeology. This provides a solid foundation for scientific and association conferences.”
“Take, for example, a conference on biodiversity; that links up perfectly with Naturalis: our national research institute in the field of biodiversity. Naturalis, which has recently been substantially expanded, has one of the largest natural history collections in the world, various laboratories and biodiversity data. Moreover, there is more than enough room to accommodate meetings & events.”
Leiden and Delft are easily accessible by train, by car and by plane. Schiphol International Airport has a direct connection to more than 300 destinations worldwide and is only 15 minutes by train from Leiden. The traveller can get to Leiden even quicker than to Amsterdam and arrives directly in the centre of the city. The train journey from Delft takes 39 minutes from Schiphol. From Rotterdam The Hague Airport, with 40 destinations, you can even be in Delft in ten minutes.
“Leiden and Delft are an excellent alternative to Amsterdam,” says Ingrid Rip in conclusion. “Our cities are much less crowded, very charming and convivial. Everything is within walking distance, participants meet each other easily in the evening. In addition, we like to go that extra mile for our customers.”
Yvonne Kret: “Our motivation is always to give organizers and their participants that little bit extra. So that they will still say in ten years: “You remember that time we were in Leiden or Delft? That was really an unforgettable experience!”“