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TAKE5 gives you an update on the latest Meetings, Incentives and Business Travel related news. It contains short and to the point information on venues, people, happenings, lifestyle and general news that cannot wait to be told!

Enjoy our 96th edition. All of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Events on the Brussels canal
De Serre Antwerp
Brussels Canal

Firma is a new public space located next to the Brussels canal. Two big halls can accommodate a variety of events. In total, over 2,000 m² is available for meeting rooms, private desks, shared offices and the likes.

A restaurant is available as well. In short, it’s an affordable and flexible workspace built for independent designers and small creative businesses. Lots of workshops are held here as well, from pizza baking to flower arranging and weaving. Sounds like fun.

Brussels Canal
Serre Antwerp

De Serre – Dutch for the greenhouse – is a brand-new venue located in the heart of Antwerp, next to the botanical gardens. This state-of-the-art event hot spot is part of Antwerp’s new Start-up Village.

With its contemporary interior design, covered terrace and beautiful courtyard, De Serre is an ideal location for cocktail receptions and dinner parties of up to 200 guests. To top it all, it has a 220 seat auditorium, making it a perfect venue for plenary meetings and seminars.

Serre Antwerp
It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
A’dam tower
Queen A Antwerp
A’DAM Tower

Amsterdam has a new landmark building: the A’DAM Tower. After years of renovating the former Shell Tower along the IJ, the new venue was opened to the public.

It houses a hotel, a loft, a club, a revolving restaurant and a magnificent 85m high view over the city. A swing set is installed over the edge of the lookout tower. Have fun, if you dare!

A’DAM Tower
Queen A Antwerp

The brand new Queen A Antwerp Hotel opened its doors on 19 December. It’s located on Astrid Square – soon to be the city’s main MICE hub – right across from the Central Station and the new Flanders Meeting & Convention Center.

This trendy 4-star boutique hotel offers 82 deluxe rooms and a restaurant where you can discover the Flemish classics via shared plates.

Belgian houses to rent for your next meeting
Belgian houses Belgian houses

Suite 17 is a home for rent in Nieuwpoort near the Belgian coast, suitable for groups of up to 13 people. It was bestowed with the FIDEAS award for ‘most beautiful home of the year’ in 2011.

Sommerain 64 is another big house for rent, in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes near the Lachouffe Brewery. It’s a combo of authentic farmhouse style and contemporary design and can accommodate groups of up to 28 people.

Chalet La Source is another house you can rent in the Ardennes. There’s even a sauna and a 7-person outdoor Jacuzzi to enjoy. There is room for 15 people.

Belgian houses Belgian houses
Thons of whisky

Brussels just welcomed its very first Whisky Club. ‘The Twelve’ is located in Thon Hotel EU in the European quarter, and offers no less than 185 different whiskies – probably one of the finest selections in the country.

Enjoy, but please don’t try them all in one sitting.
We publish much more news than you can read and see in our monthly Take5 Newsletter. Follow us on our Facebook page.
‘Why should I hire an events agency when I can do it myself?’
Get your event covered
events agency

This LinkedIn article by Eureka Events Director B. Phoebe Benta might seem misleading if you just read the title.

If you read the actual article though, she’ll give you all of the reasons why in-house event coordinators should rely on the help of dedicated event agencies in many cases.

Check it out for yourself here.
Get your event covered

Every organiser thinks about insurance; however, the possibilites reach further than most of them think. Tom Driesens, Event Insurance Specialist, wrote down his thoughts for us and urges the sector to think about safety and risks they might have forgotten.

This out-of-the-box thinking can result in tailor-made insurance products for professional event organisers. Enjoy the read, click here.
Invitation for meeting and incentive planners: study trip

The Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau and its partners are organizing a study trip to Geneva and Valais from 24 to 27 March. Register now and you might discover both the city of Geneva and the Valais region inways you’ve never experienced before!

The trip starts in Geneva where we will stay in the trendy design hotel Manotel N’vy. The second day we will spent in the small town of Martigny, located in the Lower Valais. On the third day – for those who want – can go testing the slopes. For non-skiers there’s an alternative program.

Interested to know the full program, don’t hesitate to mail

Manotel N’vy Manotel N’vy Manotel N’vy
Join us to Shanghai as a hosted buyer
See-through canoe

Join BBT Online to IT&CM China in Shanghai as a hosted buyer! China’s largest MICE tradeshow takes place from 21 to 23 March 2017. Meet several top suppliers from China and the rest of South-East Asia, enjoy a myriad of exciting networking opportunities and discover the biggest and most vibrant city in the Middle Kingdom.

If you’re interested in joining, mail us at

More info on
See-through canoe

Ever been kayaking and wondered what it would be like if you could just look straight through your little boat into the water below? Well wonder no more! See-Through Canoes will send you one within two weeks of ordering!

You’ll be able to paddle wherever you want in your transparent vessel, and will always be able to check whether there aren’t any giant sharks or crocodiles lurking beneath your bottom – because you just know there are, don’t you?
Discover Bruges – Destination report

Meeting in Brugge held a well-organized 'Discover Bruges Day' for Belgian meeting and event organizers on 13 December, offering a nice mix of new venues and good old classics.

Since it’s always a good time to revisit Bruges, we were more than happy to come along. Join us on the tour and read the full article behind the link. Click here.


Guest writer column:
Around the world in 110 days
Lufthansa absorbs Brussels Airlines
Hugo Slimbrouck

Director of Sales & Strategic Partnerships at Ovation Global DMC Hugo Slimbrouck is someone who travels – a lot. Working for a global company and managing a strategic partnership located in 43 countries will do that to you.

This month – after he cracked his ribs accidentally summersaulting over his wheelbarrow – he found some time to guide us through 2016, one of his most hectic years as far as traveling is concerned.

He talks about where he went, where he’s going and where he stands in life. Enjoy the full article here.

Now that Lufthansa officially owns Brussels Airlines, the Belgian airline will become part of Lufthansa’s low-cost Eurowings branch. There will be no further reorganisation and no staff members will be fired.

The name Brussels Airlines will remain as it is for at least two years, keeping the national identity in place. Brussels Airport will serve as Lufthansa’s Sub-Saharan hub.

What is your opinion on the Lufthansa deal? Is it beneficial or not? Let us know via
BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop

We’ve received so much positive feedback (and a single critical note) on our workshops in Lamot, Mechelen and Hotel BLOOM!, Brussels last month – heart-warming to read. We would like to thank all 108 top Meeting and Event planners for making it the biggest edition so far!

BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop
BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop

Our sushi and oyster boys were a bit late, but they still served 150 oysters, 250 sushi rolls. Comme Chez Soif prepared 190 cocktails and served many glasses of Laurent-Perrier champagne, and Lamot welcomed our guests with food and beverage as well.

BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop

We like to put some variation in our workshops, so this time we invited three guest speakers: Jean-Paul Meus, Tom Meyers & Patrick van Rosendaal. Timothy Veryser sang some fabulous opera for us. As always, many suppliers presented us with great prizes for the lucky draw.

We hope to see you all again on our next editions on 3 July (for event & incentive agencies) & 4 July (corporates & associations) this summer. The venues will be announced soon. Please enjoy, like and share our different sets of pictures here. For Monday 9 January, click here and for 10 January, click here. Don’t hesitate to tag yourself.

BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop
BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop BBT Online’s 11th B2B Workshop
Real Short !!

Consult BBT Online's MICE agenda, and don't miss any event.
5 February, Zuiderkroon, Antwerpen: Antwerp Diner. Looking for a great dinner prepared by star chefs? Want to support a good cause at the same time? Antwerp Diner is where you need to be.
16 February, J&M Catering, Schelle: #MICEParty17. Get-together for the Belgian MICE industry organised by Erik Wood and Olivier Wauters from Eventonline.
20 February, Kursaal Ostend: Chefs against Cancer. Six Flemish top chefs will each prepare a dish on this gastronomic event, hosted by Royal Villa Ostend in honour of World Cancer Day. A seat is €250.
25 March, Pentahotel Brussels City Centre: MCI Unplugged, Vol. 2. Come to the Pentahotel at 8.30 pm for an acoustic evening in a lounge setting – all for a good cause. Click here for more info.

BBT Online celebrated its 15th birthday last month. Fifteen years ago, lots of people laughed at the idea of an online magazine. It wouldn’t work, they said. Today, we are the leading online MICE publication in the country. We would like to use this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to those who believed in us. We’ve sure come a long way.
Are Multi Hub meetings the new trend in our industry? In this format, multiple groups in several different cities have one meeting at the same time, connected with each other. A survey shows that while most event professionals have not organised a meeting like this yet, the format interests them. It’s innovative and limits travel.
Flemish Minister of Tourism Ben Weyts wants to attract more international congresses to the region and will invest €9,5 million in the ICC in Ghent – enlarging the complex as a unique congress location surrounded by heritage.
IMEX identified five trends for the meeting industry to watch as the year unfolds. Check them out here.
More and more cities are putting Airbnb restrictions in place these days. In Amsterdam, it’s now illegal to put up a room or house for rent for more than 60 days per year. The city hopes it will decrease tourist pressure on certain quarters and will make more rental homes available for residents.
South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province opened a Benelux office aimed at getting this relatively unknown part of the country on our tourist radar. We’re always in for new adventures in the Rainbow Nation.
There will be no Tomorrowland in Sao Paolo in 2017, due to problems with the foreign partner co-organising the event. However the original in Boom will last two weekends this summer.
The local government in Brussels announced tourist numbers are on the rise again. A new international campaign will have to push them up even further. The Wunderman Bruxelles agency is in creative charge of this project.
EventMB published a list of 23 event planner Instagram accounts to follow this year. Click here to see them all.
In February 2017, Manneken-Pis, the most famous Brussels resident, will have his own museum. What could be more fitting for this little gentleman courted by the world? More info, click here.

WIP (Work in Progress) is a new co-working space in the Dolce La Hulpe Brussels Hotel. It offers virtual, communal or private offices, as well as meeting rooms for rent. If you’re in for a quick WIP, you know where to go.
Sheraton Brussels Downtown filed for bankruptcy this December. Two hundred employees lost their jobs. According to management, the main reason for the inevitable was the terrorist attack last year. Sheraton Brussels had 500 rooms on offer, spread over 30 floors, and was the largest hotel in the country.
Meininger Hotels will open a second venue in Brussels. The new hotel (to be opened Q4 2018) will be close to the Brussels Midi train station and will offer 150 rooms and 668 beds.
The Brussels Parliament agreed to harmonise the tax on touristic accommodation on a regional level, ending the inconsistency existing between the different municipalities. They believe this reform will put everyone on an equal level.
The Fourth is a new hotel opening its doors in Leuven early 2017. It’s housed in a 15th century guildhall, and served as a theatre and a bank in more recent times. It offers 44 guestrooms and an adjoining restaurant. Meeting facilities are available as well.
Sofitel Frankfurt Opera – based on the French city mansions of the 17th and 18th century – is a new venue in Frankfurt, offering 120 rooms and 31 suites. According to Sofitel, it’s the first 5-star venue in the city. It comes with a cosy bar and a restaurant offering typical French bistro cuisine.
Haymarket by Scandic in Stockholm was completely refurbished in Great Gatsby style – to the smallest detail.
Zenden Design Hotel in Maastricht is housed in three renovated old town houses in different parts of the city – all beautifully and uniquely designed.
Jetsetter published a list of twenty trendy, high-class and stylish hotels that are under $200 per night. Check it out here.

After a 36 month renovation period, AED Studios in Lint (close to Antwerp) was officially reopened. AED Studios is the largest media complex in the Benelux and offers lots of meeting rooms, event rooms and room for congresses & B2B events.
In Nemo 33 in Brussels – a swimming pool to train deep-sea divers ­– you can now have dinner in a sphere five meters under the surface. Sounds very interesting, but what to do when you need to go to the bathroom? The plot thickens…
Europa Park in Germany opened up a new arena suited for multifunctional events for up to 6,000 guests. The amusement park organises more than 1,300 congresses, concerts, fairs, gala dinners and other events in its many on-site venues and its five 4-star hotels. The new venue will dramatically increase the park’s total capacity.
Current proprietor Artexis wants to buy the Nekkerhal in Mechelen and expand it to be more suitable for seminars and congresses. They even want to add a 3-star hotel.
The iconic Bauer Palazzo in Venice launches ‘The Art of Perfume’ in February: a package including accommodation, teaching guests about the history of perfume making in this historic city. It smells better than the canals.

Brussels Airlines now offers a 24/7 social media service, promising to answer every question within 30 minutes in Dutch, French or English. This to better help their clients when they need it most: on the road. and its app were completely renewed, making it faster, more interactive and more personal. It will now remind you of the necessary documents for your destination, and tell you which shops are available to you in the part of the airport you’re going to.
British Airways is launching its own exclusive brand of gin, exclusively reserved for its premium customers. If you want to order a glass, you’ll have to go to the Concorde Room Bar in Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
Jet Airways flights to Mumbai, Delhi and Toronto leaving from Amsterdam now include a two-way train ticket from Brussels or Antwerp – this to attract the Belgian traveller of course.
The opening of Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport was once again postponed – now for the fifth time. The building will now (hopefully) open in the spring of 2018. Problem is, the airport might be too small. It can process 27 million passengers each year, but when the plans were made in the 90s, no one had a clue Berlin would attract more than 33 million tourists in 2016.
Get your sewing needles out! Air Belgium – a new Belgian long-haul airline offering direct flights to Asia – is organising a competition for young designers to come up with the uniforms for their future crews. The lucky winner will get a €10,000 prize.
Air Europe flew its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Madrid to Buenos Aires this month. As from March, Dreamliners will fly to Lima and Havana as well.

On the Antor (Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives) Workshop in Hotel Métropole, Brussels, two journalists received awards for their travel articles. Toni De Coninck wrote the best Flemish article; Eric Vancleynenbreugel was awarded for the best French Article.
Jochem-Jan Slieffer will become the new Senior Vice President for Operations, Full-Service Hotels in Continental Europe for Hilton. He’s now responsible for 51 Full-Service Hotels on the continent.
Jaimy de Graaf, concierge at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, received a NY Times award for his service. Now recognised as the most talented young concierge in The Netherlands, he will compete for the grand prize with other national winners at the Les Clés d’Or conference in Berlin.
Since 1st January 2017 all staff and MICE activities of A.C.T.E Travel & Events BVBA (ACTE) are transferred to Herfurth Travel NV, trading as FCM Travel Solutions.
Meeting Brugge is looking for a meeting officer. More info, click here.

Laughing is good for you. Nobody has better video’s than we have. It’s gonna be a great video. It’s gonna be absolutely fantastic. It’s huge. Click here.


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Rue de l'Aqueduc 149 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium
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