RAI 2018, highlights

2018 in four minutes

Key figures

Enriched strategy

In 2018, RAI Amsterdam formulated an enriched strategy for the period 2019-2022, including a newly defined mission/ambition and strategy.


Portfolio development

We work on the (continued) development, purchasing and acquisition of (new) titles, focusing on business-to-business events both in Amsterdam and abroad

Customer solutions

We provide our clients with an even better service by constantly expanding our service portfolio

Data & digitalisation

We apply technological developments to create value for our clients and work more efficiently. We also use it to develop new business models

Building & infrastructure

We offer an accessible and safe place for valuable meetings. We increase the available square metres of exhibition space within the existing options and substantially improve logistics and traffic management. The location is fully equipped for business and leisure.

A learning organisation

We challenge ourselves to constantly work in smarter ways and ensure an optimal working environment for our employees

Multifunctional area development

We are a meeting point for everyone. Our unique location in the heart of Amsterdam facilitates corporate and spontaneous meetings alike. RAI Amsterdam should be an attractive environment, before, during and after events

From the staff...

'Horecava 2018: Taste the Future'

'Horecava 2018: Taste the Future'

Luuk Scholte, Domain manager Food

The 62nd edition of Horecava more than lived up to its theme ‘Taste the Future’. No fewer than three-quarters of the visitors indicated that they found this edition more innovative than the last. 

The exhibition was full of new initiatives, including future trends in the Innovation & TrendLAB, multiple pop-up restaurants, new competitions and the extra ‘Fast Casual on the Move’ hall. The latter responded to changing consumer demands for convenience concepts and was visited by two-thirds of visitors. Three-quarters of the visitors indicated that they had come to the exhibition for new products, services and technologies. Horecava is now so large that a multi-day visit is recommended and twice as many visitors did so in 2018 as in previous events.

Continue reading in the annual report

'Marketing goes digital'

'Marketing goes digital'

Eline Deijs, Director Marketing & Digital

What is the red thread in the marketing of events? Database marketing, cooperation with partners and platforms, paid campaigns and influencers; the RAI uses all available means to make an event successful. The magic word? Data-driven. 

The basis for the promotion of events lies in database marketing. The communication with visitors via our own social channels, including outside of event periods, contributes to this profiling.

Content marketing is another major focal point for the RAI. All our marketeers are trained in the discipline and a specific content plan is developed for each event. It has proven a successful approach, resulting in 35 percent more visitors to our websites.

All this is supplemented by paid online campaigns. Facebook and Google are the main platforms in this framework, as well as LinkedIn for trade events.

The RAI uses the Gleanin platform for the registration process, a tool which stimulates people who register for the exhibition to invite colleagues, acquaintances and friends via social media. Practice has shown that it works, leading to many more registrations of which 75 percent are new.

Last but not least, the RAI employs influencers to make the marketing machine even more effective. The importance of influencers in the online domain is considerable, whether it involves corporate events or consumer exhibitions.

We are proud of the steps we have taken in 2018, gearing toward even more data-driven operations.

Continue reading in the annual report

'Seen by society as a socially responsible organisation'

'Seen by society as a socially responsible organisation'

Stephanie Mathas, CSR Manager

Our goal at the RAI is to be perceived as a socially responsible organisation by society. We also work towards integrating CSR in our operational management. This requires us to ask questions like: who represents society in relation to the RAI? Is CSR an issue for them? Which people matter in the framework of integrating CSR within our operational management? What are their expectations for CSR? What is important to them and how can we align our activities accordingly?

An issue I often encounter in the RAI is not whether we should focus on CSR, but how. In 2018, I was surprised to discover that the way people at the RAI deal with CSR varies a great deal. Insight into these differences may help achieve improvements in practice. Where are our types of organising functional? Who are they functional to and who not? How can we make different choices or apply a different approach to enhance the everyday practice of those involved?

We need to be open, to listen, to observe, to feel... And that means focusing on the ‘now’ rather than the ‘should be’. What is the value of our operational management to society? To whom is it valuable? Which aspects of our business have a negative impact on society and on whom? How can we hold ourselves accountable for our actions?

Looking back at 2018 I see many questions and more and more colleagues asking them, with a broader focus on posing questions instead of seeking the right answer. In 2018, we learned that the widely supported answers can sometimes result from questions in a natural way. This enables us to work towards becoming an organisation that is perceived as socially responsible by society… And that is something of which I am justifiably proud!

‘It matters how we get there or else nothing matters’

Continue reading in the annual report


'Carrying out a pilot project at METSTRADE of delivering goods to a transhipment facility outside of Amsterdam'

'Carrying out a pilot project at METSTRADE of delivering goods to a transhipment facility outside of Amsterdam'

Wim Braakman, Manager Traffic management

Carrying out a pilot project at METSTRADE for the further development of sustainable exhibition logistics together with our logistics partner. During the build-up and breakdown of METSTRADE, the world’s largest trade exhibition for the international leisure marine industry, DB Schenker offered exhibitors the option of delivering goods to a transhipment facility outside of Amsterdam.

The goods were then grouped and transported to and from the RAI in an eco-friendly Scania LNG truck where they were unloaded with electric forklifts.

The RAI is constantly looking for innovations in various fields, including in our logistical operations as we aim to significantly reduce traffic flows and the number of trucks on and around the RAI complex.

Continue reading in the annual report

'The RAI also exports its own successful events to other continents'

'The RAI also exports its own successful events to other continents'

Anette Bos, Manager Domain Watertechnology

The RAI also exports its own successful events to other continents. Six such events took place in 2018.

Aquatech China is a part of Aquatech Global Events. The Asian exhibition programme also offers a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in the field of water treatment, transport & storage, process control & automation and point of use. The latest exhibition in China attracted 80,000 visitors, with more than 1,200 exhibitors participating.

Continue reading in the annual report

Sustainable expansions & renovations

The infographic shows some of our improvements, realized or developed in 2018.

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

4,000 parking spaces

The RAI has 4,000 parking spaces on its premises, strengthening our position by increasing customer satisfaction, stimulating smooth traffic flows and reducing any nuisance to the neighbourhood.

The concept of registration-based payment for parking reduces the use of physical tickets. It has already decreased the number of tickets by 50% and stimulates the flow at peak times, which in turn reduces the traffic on surrounding streets.

Park Foyer renovated

The renovated Park Foyer now has an open and multifunctional character. The extra passages (7 metres wide) to Hall 8 and a movable wall between the Park Foyer and the public area on the first floor allow the space to be used as an expansion of the hall capacity and for presentations and dinners. This gives the RAI 6,000 m² of extra space for events.

Forum Complex renovated


Rooms E103 to E108 in the Forum Complex were renovated in various stages. The placing of five sliding walls means the rooms can be used individually or be interconnected to form one or more large halls. The high rooms were equipped with a full-glass facade which can be darkened with black-out or shading screens.

Additional solar panels

It was agreed in 2016 that 2500 solar panels would be fitted on the Holland Complex for use by the nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel. This expansion was begun in the autumn of 2018: half had been installed by the end of the year and the rest by the date of this report. The number of panels was reduced to 2,164 as the capacity per panel has increased, and they will be taken into use in the spring of 2019. As the energy will be supplied to the RAI hotel, the addition will not affect the CO2 footprint of the RAI itself.

Stairwell entrance C expanded


To ensure a safe environment for our visitors in the future, an extra stairwell next to the existing stairwell and escalator was added at entrance C. The stairs improve the flow of visitors toward Halls 10, 11 and 12 and allow us to perform quick entrance checks on the ground floor.

P+R parking

RAI Amsterdam is a designated P+R location for the municipality of Amsterdam. On days when there is little or no event-related traffic, drivers can park their cars in the garages on the RAI’s premises, reducing traffic in the city centre. The RAI welcomed its 100,000th P+R user in 2017, and in late 2018 the total was over 221,000 vehicles. In the reporting year, more than 73,500 cars used our P+R services.

The opening of the North/South Line has further increased the popularity of the RAI P+R location. The door-to-door travel time via the parking facilities of the RAI and public transport to many parts of the city centre is now shorter than by car. The P+R route via RAI Amsterdam also offers time benefits compared to driving to city centre destinations by car. From January to July, the average number of vehicles was 4,200. From August (the North/South Line opened in July) this figure more than doubled to 8,800 vehicles a month. Although P+R parking is not available daily due to events, these 8,800 vehicles a month over a 30-day average translate into 300 fewer cars a day parking in the city centre.

New metrostation North/South Line

The North/South Line is a new underground section of the Amsterdam subway system that was opened in 2018. It runs from Amsterdam Zuid station (walking distance from the RAI), via the new metro station Europaplein right by the entrance of the RAI, to the centre of Amsterdam, underneath the IJ waterway and on to Amsterdam North. The connection brings RAI visitors from the convention centre to the city centre or central rail station in under ten minutes, It also runs very frequently.

Catering points Hall 1 renovated


The permanent catering points in Hall 1 were renovated to provide sufficient comfortable seating and a varied choice of places for networking or moments of rest during a visit to the RAI. The catering points offer visitors a wide-ranging menu from sandwiches and healthy smoothies to freshly made pizza.

New air-conditioning units in Hall 5

The air-conditioning units in Hall 5 were completely renewed. The old units had energy label C while the new ones come with energy label A. The expected reduction in energy consumption is over 30%.

Hall 5

To fulfil the demands of our stakeholders RAI Amsterdam is always looking for ways to upgrade the complex. In 2018, we presented concrete plans for the renovation of Hall 5, situated in the Europa complex on the Wielingenstraat side and originally built in 1961. The space can be used as an independent hall or combined with the surrounding halls.

Hall 5 will be extended by 30 metres, giving it approx. 4,000 m² of extra multifunctional exhibition space. Due to its new glass facade, the hall will have a modern and open appearance to the nearby residential neighbourhood. The main entrance for Hall 5 will be the main entrance of the Amtrium, Entrance L. This will reduce the visitor flow in Wielingenstraat. The project will also include various sound-reduction measures as well as a green strip to create a clear demarcation from the street. Part of the facade of the current hall will be reused. Any trees felled will be used to build wooden benches for the outdoor premises of the RAI. 

RAI Vision 2030: building on the future

In January 2018, the RAI started developing a new spatial vision as part of the RAI 2030 plan, with the following goals:

  • Anticipate the expected future growth of large events. The RAI can expand on its existing site in phases, gradually increasing the available exhibition space;
  • Improve the quality of the public space around the plinth (outer contours of the ground floor) of the RAI;
  • Enhance sustainability when organising and facilitating events, including reducing the nuisance caused by logistical movements around the RAI, particularly in the build-up and breakdown period of large exhibitions. Optimising the in & outflows and logistical processes minimises the inconvenience caused by freight traffic.

The video below visualises some of the concepts contained in our 2030 vision plan.