Dutch dynamism gives head-start to events reopening

Coronavirus Updates Features
Dutch dynamism gives head-start to events reopening

The event sector is reopening and the EU Digital Covid Certificate is set to make travels and events in the EU much easier. This is the sentiment expressed by RAI Amsterdam, international organiser and Amsterdam’s largest conference and exhibition venue, following the reopening of the Dutch event sector on 1 July.

This reopening was assisted through the holding of successful pilot events organised by Fieldlab Events, which led a Dutch government organised pilot events scheme. With nearly 30 events and 129,000 attendees, Fieldlab looked at event dynamics, focusing on how air ventilation, group size, and personal interaction, affected the spread of Covid-19.

Following these events, Fieldlab concluded that corporate events are the safest type of event to organise. The Fieldlab recommendations contributed to the Dutch government’s decision to allow reopening of events with full capacity on 1 July.

With this reopening, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has been integrated with the Dutch CoronaCheck. This integration checks an attendee on three levels: whether they’ve been vaccinated, whether they’ve had a negative test, and whether they’ve recovered from the virus.

These measures allow for the creation of a de-facto event bubble, accompanied by minimal, but still important, Covid-19 safety measures, such as sanitisation and extra cleaning. Bart van der Heijden, director of clients at RAI Amsterdam, said: “It gives us more freedom and people are regaining the freedom to travel within Europe.” He added that these measures would bring the Netherlands: “almost back to normal”.

He concluded: “Let me express admiration for Fieldlab Events. Everyone is keen to get started. We’ve had no events since 15 March last year, and events of the size we organise at the RAI take months to organise. Getting the news means starting in September and we’ve received lots of positive feedback.”

Van der Heijden was speaking at a recent RAI Talks webinar session exploring the Fieldlab work and topic in general. Speaking also was Sjoerd Weikamp, publisher and editor-in-chief of Eventbranche.nl, who said: “We now need to use the digital for hybrid moments during live events. If we don’t apply these tools but simply go back to the old normal, that would be a real waste of a crisis.”

Van der Heijden added: “Once we start, once the red carpets are rolled out, we will have a great year.” 

Pieter Lubberts, programme manager of Fieldlab events, continued to urge caution, however, despite the reopening trend: “It is important to realise we are still in a pandemic. If you organise an event, make sure you keep to the rules as it will show the event sector can handle it and help us in the future.”

To watch the RAI Talks in full, click here.

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