On the final day of the NN North Sea Jazz Festival – Sunday, July 15th – Rotterdam Ahoy celebrated the official start of the construction of the Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre (RACC). Under the watchful eyes of many relations, City Councillor Adriaan Visser, Ahoy CEO Peter van der Veer and Director of Heijmans Vastgoed Dick Laheij gave the official start. The new convention centre and concert venue will be operational starting from the fourth quarter of 2020.
“I am extremely proud that today, after years’ worth of preparation, we were finally able to allow construction to commence,” said Peter van der Veer, Ahoy’s CEO. “In January 2021 we will celebrate our fiftieth anniversary here at this wonderful new venue. I’m really looking forward to it!”
Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre
Rotterdam has become a much more popular destination for (business) travellers in recent years. Rotterdam City Councillor Adriaan Visser stated, “The opening of the Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre will help the city grow further as a business hotspot and will cause more and more business guests to come to Rotterdam. This will cause an additional economic spin-off and employment opportunities for the city.”
The brand new Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre will open its doors in 2020 and will boast the largest auditorium in the Netherlands (seating capacity: 2,750). The event venue, which will have international appeal, will have four floors and will feature no fewer than 35 rooms that can be subdivided or enlarged. It will provide direct access to Ahoy Plaza and the trade fair and event rooms.
New concert hall
RTM Stage, the largest room in the newly to be constructed Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre, will be a genuine multi-purpose room. Not only will it serve as an auditorium and theatre, but once all the seats have been removed, it will serve as a concert hall where 7,000 people will be able to attend concerts and events. As far as congresses, concerts and plays are concerned, this makes RTM Stage unique in the Netherlands, and a great addition to Ahoy’s array of large rooms. It will also allow for the further expansion of events such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament and maritime trade show Europort.
Excitement versus intuition
The Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre was designed by Rotterdam-based Kraaijvanger Architects. David Hess, who was responsible for the design, said, “On the one hand, the building will allow people to feel excited about the event they are attending. On the other hand, it will provide them with an easy layout in which they will be able to intuitively find their way. The plan contributes to the sensory stimulation that is part and parcel of special events. In addition, the design will help Ahoy to perfectly manage the logistics of the various crowd flows.”
New and happening city centre
The renovation and enlargement of the Event & Exhibition Halls (which was completed ahead of schedule in May 2018) and the opening of the new event venue are part of the major Hart van Zuid area development. “This is a unique collaborative partnership in the Netherlands in which the local authorities, the business community, schools and local residents are joining hands to make the most of the area, in association with Ballast and Heijmans,” said Dick Laheij, the Director of the Ballast Nedam/Heijmans consortium.
The Hart van Zuid project is designed to improve the quality of life in the area surrounding Zuidplein Square. The project will lead to the creation of a pleasant and healthy environment, with ample room for leisure activities, work, housing, shopping and meeting places. Furthermore, the area will be made more easily accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. In this way, an entertainment district and residential area will be connected to their surroundings in the very best Rotterdam tradition. Together, they will form an urban hotspot with a metropolitan vibe, as well as a pleasant place to live where things will be happening 24/7; a green place providing plenty of opportunity for sports and exercise, arts and cultural events. The objective is to create a new and happening city centre in Rotterdam-Zuid.