“Jaarbeurs transformed the entire room into a traditional Dutch pub, even down to the lace tablecloths.”


Last January the focus was very much on New Year’s drinks receptions and along this same theme, an event was hosted in the Jaarbeurs Polar room. The room, which is usually ultra-sleek with clean lines, was transformed into a traditional Dutch pub with an entertaining pub quiz. This year, put every effort into its New Year’s drinks reception.

New Year’s Reception

For some time now, every year during the Webwinkel Vakdagen, also holds a New Year’s reception. For the organisation, this provides the opportunity to wish one another a happy New Year and to maintain links with other people. Marleen van Soest, Sustainability & Events Marketing Officer, says: “We combine our New Year’s reception with the Webwinkel Vakdagen. We have a stand at that trade fair and our associates are therefore already at the event; they then simply have to hop on the escalator to the next floor, where they can join our reception.”

Something surprising every year

This isn’t the first time that has linked its reception to the trade fair. For a couple of years now, the Media Plaza Polar area is used to meet members, stakeholders and other associates. But this definitely isn’t a boring repeat of the previous year: every year, the organisation thinks up a different theme, with a different look and feel. This year, the theme was 20 years of e-commerce in the Netherlands. The room became a traditional Dutch pub, complete with pub quiz.

Creative freedom

Van Soest is always happy with the Polar room: “The room gives you a whole host of opportunities and creative freedom. We discuss our requirements with Jaarbeurs and they then come up with a design. We actually didn’t have to get involved with the interior. Jaarbeurs transformed the entire room into a traditional Dutch pub, even down to the lace tablecloths. You felt as though you were standing in the Jordaan neighbourhood in Amsterdam. There was also a stage at the side of the room, and standing tables and chairs were dotted around the room. Of course, the Chesterfield sofas took pride of place.”

Ask away!

Following the director’s New Year’s speech, it was time for the pub quiz. “This year it’s the 20th anniversary of online shopping in the Netherlands”, says Van Soest. “The quiz therefore focussed on a journey through time, to which we linked the pub quiz questions. We started in 1990 and ended in 2010. As an example, we presented film fragments about online shopping and asked which didn’t belong in the line-up. Our members thought it was a fun variation to the usual New Year’s drinks receptions.”

Contribute ideas for success

Van Soest has already tentatively booked the venue for its next New Year’s reception. That is in part due to the excellent cooperation with Jaarbeurs. “The Jaarbeurs team always helps us to think through our requirements. A good example of this is the way in which our theme was translated to the catering: wooden boards filled with cubes of cheese and pieces of sausage – a perfect ‘Dutch touch’. On the day itself, a manager was assigned to us and this person remained in close contact with us throughout the day. If, for example, I needed additional tables at the registration desk, I simply had to call a number, which was available all day. That manager also made sure that everything was arranged. Jaarbeurs relieves you of much of your load.”

Article by Claire van Berkum