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Doing good and doing business in The Hague

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Doing good and doing business in The Hague

CMW explores how event planners can address both societal commitment and economic success in the International City of Peace and Justice.

In the MICE industry, it is increasingly important not to focus on business objectives only. Events need a message, a mission, should pay attention to sustainability and preferably contribute to the greater good. The city of The Hague, seat of government of The Netherlands, supports this way of thinking by showcasing that economic success and social engagement can and should go hand in hand. The city’s motto ‘Doing Good and Doing Business’ encapsulates this mind-set.

The motto’s underlying aspiration represents the DNA of the city; whether that is as member of the diplomatic corps, which in The Hague consists of some 25.000 people, or one of the many renowned international organisations such as the International Court of Justice, Europol or the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.

In The Hague, more than 200 impactful international organisations, knowledge institutions, startups and NGO’s are working towards building a better, safer and more just world every day. The city has also hosted major global events and conferences for many decades.

At the same time, The Hague is a growing hub for innovation and entrepreneurship with a growing number of start-ups, scale-ups and dynamic small and medium sized businesses.

Case study: International organisers and local initiatives join forces

In November 2019, under the city motto theme of ‘Doing Good and Doing Business’ the ImpactFest welcomed 1,600 visitors from across the world to a sold-out Fokker Terminal The Hague. This fourth edition was a special one as the European Venture Philantrophy Association (EVPA) and The Hague’s ImpactCity joined forces to collaborate on the event. The connection between the two organisations had been initiated by The Hague Convention Bureau (THCB).

ImpactFest is an annual event initiated by the municipality of The Hague to provide a platform to start-ups and scale-ups that work towards building a better, safer and more just world. The diverse programme offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect to like-minded people, gain access to the extensive impact ecosystem of the city, and to pitch their solutions in front of investors. The themes of ImpactFest also align with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

EVPA members share a vision and ambition to create positive impact by means of Venture Philanthropy – that is the usage of capital to support social, ecological and societal projects. Some of the November event highlights demonstrated that societal commitment and economic success can go hand in hand:

  • During a ‘Reversed Pitching’ session, investors from the EVPA network explained why they were the perfect partners for the 80 start-ups participating in the event.
  • Euclid Network, a The Hague-based European network of civil society leaders, and the European Commission hosted an exclusive meet-up for 30 civil servants from all over the EU to discuss policy on social entrepreneurship and improving local impact ecosystems.
  • The Ministry of Economic Affairs used ImpactFest as an opportunity to announce they had granted a contribution of €6m to the 4impact investment fund as part of the ministry’s Climate’s Seed Capital scheme. (4impact invests in digital tech start-ups focusing on societal and sustainable impact and financial return). The investment fund also announced its intention to relocate to Apollo 14, the impact start-up hub in The Hague.

ImpactFest’s programme included a variety of roundtable sessions in which 4-6 participants exchanged experiences and challenges of their daily business under the guidance and observance of experts.

There was also plenty of feedback illustrating the valuable connections, motivation and inspiration on show:

“Great to see the impact ecosystem come together during this sold-out 4th edition of ImpactFest! Together with international and local partners who are working on innovations for a better world, The Hague has once again demonstrated why it is the ImpactCity of Europe.”Erik van der Rijt, Director Urban Economy, Municipality of The Hague
 “What a great day today at ImpactFest! So many international investors, start-ups and scale-ups came together, creating a really nice and energetic vibe. I’ve made so interesting connections that will certainly be continued.”Patricia van Someren – District manager Rabobank The Hague

Peace Palace


The Hague is a frontrunner in key industries such as Cyber Security, Peace and Justice, IT and Tech as well as (renewable) energy. This immense knowledge structure, paired with an entrepreneurial spirit, makes The Hague the perfect event destination for an event with impact.

The Hague Convention Bureau (THCB) not only provides access to the best event infrastructure the city has to offer but functions as a connector between event planners and local expertise.
THCB can also assist in sourcing inspiring keynote speakers and help organisers partner with local organisations to put together an impactful side programme as well as engaging educational fam trips.

Want to learn more about combining societal commitment and economic success? Get in touch for help or advice, via Manuel Wrobel: M.Wrobel@thehague.com

Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.