Executive Board report


RAI Amsterdam realised 405 events during 2018 (443 in 2017), which together attracted over 1.8 million visitors (1.6 million in 2017).

A broad range of inspiring events took place for professionals and consumers alike.

The RAI also exports its own successful events to other continents. Six such events took place in 2018 (nine in 2017).

When facilitating exhibitions, the RAI stimulates sustainable development, operating with a clear focus on our ecological and social environment. When organising events, we place an emphasis on sustainable content in order to stimulate eco-friendly innovation and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Several categories of events can be distinguished based on the location where they took place and the role that RAI Amsterdam played:

  • There were 388 events (421 in 2017) organised by third parties in the convention centre in Amsterdam – they jointly accounted for 1,294,000 visitors (1,124,000 in 2017) – for which RAI Amsterdam played a facilitating role.
  • Eleven events (13 in 2017) were organised by the RAI itself in our convention centre in Amsterdam for which the RAI had an organising and facilitating role. These events welcomed around 421,000 visitors (375,000 in 2017).
  • The remaining six events (nine in 2017) were organised by the RAI abroad and attracted around 109,000 visitors (126,000 in 2017); here, RAI Amsterdam only had an organising role.

facilitating and/or organising


2018 In Amsterdam Elsewhere Total    
Trade exhibitions 40 6 46    
Consumer exhibitions 34   34    
Conferences 45   45    
Stage shows 18   18    
Other 262   262    
  399 6 405    


x 1.000

  In Amsterdam Elsewhere Total    
Trade exhibitions 564 109 673    
Consumer exhibitions 796   796    
Conferences 231   231    
Stage shows 21   21    
Other 102   102    
  1,715 109 1,824    

Events in Amsterdam

The table below show a selection of events divided by type. The relevant websites provide more information about each event.

Trade exhibitions in RAI Amsterdam

in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre (selection)

Trade exhibitions in RAI Amsterdam
Month Title sector / field of interest website
Jan Horecava 2018 Hospitality & catering https://www.horecava.nl/
Jan Wine Professional 2018 Wine http://www.wine-professional.nl/
Jan MODEFABRIEK 2018 Fashion https://www.modefabriek.nl/en/
Feb ISE 2018 Audiovisual systems https://www.iseurope.org/
Mar Intertraffic Amsterdam 2018 Mobility & traffic technology https://www.intertraffic.com/
Apr Building Holland 2018 Construction https://www.buildingholland.nl/
Apr In-cosmetics 2018 Cosmetics https://www.in-cosmetics.com/visit/
May Interclean Amsterdam 2018 Cleaning sector https://www.intercleanshow.com/nl/
May PLMA 2018 Production, private label https://www.plmainternational.com/
Jun Money 20/20 Europe 2018 Fintech https://europe.money2020.com/money2020-europe-2019
Jun PROVADA 2018 Real estate https://www.provada.nl/
Jun GreenTech 2018 Horticulture https://www.greentech.nl/
Jun World of Coffee 2018 Coffee production and consumption https://www.worldofcoffee.org
Jul MODEFABRIEK JULI 2018 Fashion https://www.modefabriek.nl/en/
Sept IBC 2018 Media, entertainment & technology https://www.ibc.org/
Sept Euro Attractons Show 2018 Entertainment parks http://www.iaapa.org/expos/euro-attractions-show/home
Oct Offshore Energy 2018 Energy https://www.offshore-energy.biz/
Nov METSTRADE 2018 Maritime equipment https://www.metstrade.com/
Nov Amsterdam Drone Week 2018 Drones/aviation https://www.amsterdamdroneweek.com/

Horecava 2018
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.

The following activities took place during Horecava 2018:

  • Partnership with the Vegetarian Restaurant Week held annually in March. RAI Amsterdam called on visitors, chefs and hospitality entrepreneurs to participate and generate extra attention for vegetarian recipes;
  • Partnership with Stichting Verantwoorde Voeding Basisonderwijs (foundation for healthy food in elementary schools): signatures were collected at the exhibition for a petition calling on the government to pay more attention to this subject. A press conference featuring a parliamentarian and a university professor was also held at the exhibition;
  • Innovation & TrendLAB: one of the themes was ‘circularity’. A number of speakers at the seminar (including the writer and former politician Jan Terlouw) called for sustainable solutions. The lab itself hosted several circular companies and applications, including cradle-to-cradle work clothing, equipment for longer storage of prepared food, waste reduction (La Place took part here), worm hotels (biological decomposting solutions) and city greening (urban gardens for hospitality businesses);
  • Advisory lab: a range of consultants provided businesses with ideas on sustainable solutions (energy, water, food waste, etc.);
  • Innovation Award: the winner in the sustainable category was a new cleaning agent using natural minerals and no chemicals;
  • Several sustainable pavilions could be found at the exhibition, including:
    Veggie & fruit market: encouraging the use of vegetables;
    From source to plate in NL: top chefs demonstrated the preparation of culinary dishes with local seasonal products from the region.

Intertraffic 2018
Intertraffic Amsterdam 2018, the world's leading trade event for infrastructure, traffic management, smart mobility, safety and parking, took place in March and attracted more than 32,000 visitors. A new component at the exhibition was ITSUP: start-ups play a significant role when it comes to innovation in the international smart mobility sector and this platform allowed them to present their ideas to a large group of companies and specialists from the sector. Forty-six start-ups were hosted on the stage in Amsterdam and an ITSUP was also held at Intertraffic China.


Interclean 2018
This exhibition took place in 13 halls and hosted more than 800 exhibitors, making it the most complete event in the field of professional cleaning. Professionals came to Amsterdam to find products that deploy the latest developments in technology and innovation. In addition, there were extensive, industry-specific seminars on multiple stages, sub-events, and demonstrations of products and specialised cleaning skills. The Interclean Amsterdam Innovation Award was also presented.

ITSUP, Intertraffic 2018

Anatomy of the waste bin

ZeroWaste Foundation developed a concept for Interclean in which companies are taken on an ‘expedition’ in their transition to a circular way of production. The keywords in this concept were awareness-raising, knowledge development and behavioural change. The ‘anatomy of the waste bin’ was an immediately successful concept from the start (see below). The expedition to zero waste focused on four interrelated topics: people, logistics, technology and raw materials. Processes and behaviour were examined, goals set and concrete measures formulated for each topic.

Anatomy of a rubbish bag
The zero-waste expedition started with an interactive workshop where a waste bin or container with a normal, representative amount of safe industrial waste was analysed. The options for sorting valuable raw materials from residual waste were discussed at length. ‘Anatomy of the waste bin’ is a stepping stone for a follow-up process within companies studying habitual behaviour, goals and approach towards a zero-waste situation and value creation.

The RAI had to prepare its maximum capacity for Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), the world's largest audio-visual equipment trade exhibition. An additional 9,000 m² of exhibition space in the form of temporary pavilions were added to the area in front of the building and a further 2,650 m² to the conference square. Moreover, the conference had 15 halls at its disposal.

In July 2018 ISE announced that it would remain in RAI Amsterdam in 2019 and 2020 and move to another European city in 2021 to accommodate its explosive growth. The organisers made the following statement: “The RAI and Amsterdam have offered us a fantastic stage and been wonderful partners who have made a real contribution to the success of the exhibition. Unfortunately, the increasing demands to join as exhibitors and the ongoing increase in visitor numbers, combined with the limitations in available floor space, made us realise that, despite all our efforts, the event could not continue to grow while remaining in the RAI.” While regretting ISE’s decision, the RAI understands its reasoning and is pleased that ISE can continue to grow. We built a very successful event together over the past 15 years and will ensure that the remaining editions in RAI Amsterdam in 2019 and 2020 are events to remember.

Successful introduction: Amsterdam Drone Week
Professionals from 28 European countries involved in drone-related technology, applications and regulations came together during Amsterdam Drone Week in November. This new event was developed by RAI Amsterdam in collaboration with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management as a partner. It responded to a need for clear regulations requested by sectors such as defence, police, healthcare, logistics and transport as a prerequisite for using new drone applications. In fact, the first European regulations for unmanned aircraft are expected to arrive in 2019. The drone industry is developing very quickly and Amsterdam Drone Week facilitated discussions, innovations and connections among the relevant stakeholders.

Amsterdam Drone Week

Consumer events in RAI Amsterdam

in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre (selection)

Consumer events in RAI Amsterdam
Month Title sector / field of interest website
Feb Huishoudbeurs 2018 Home & living https://www.huishoudbeurs.nl/
Feb Nine Months Fair 2018 Pregancy & children https://www.negenmaandenbeurs.nl/
Mar HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show 2018 Watersports https://www.hiswarai.nl/
Apr International Amsterdam Motor Show 2018 Cars https://www.amsterdammotorshow.com/
Apr KunstRAI 2018 Art http://www.kunstrai.nl/
Apr Kingsland Festival 2018 Festival https://kingslandfestival.nl/
Sept Comic Con Europe 2018 Comics-related entertainment http://www.comiccon-europe.com/nl/amsterdam/
Oct In de Wolken Festival 2018 Parents & children https://www.indewolkenfestival.nl/2018/
Oct vt wonen&design beurs 2018 Living, interior & design https://www.vtwonen.nl/wonen-design-beurs/
Oct Martin Garrix Concert Concert https://martingarrix.com/
Nov Pan Amsterdam 2018 Art http://www.pan.nl/
Dec Masters of LXRY 2018 Luxury products https://lxry.nl/
Dec Hond 2018 Dogs/pets https://hond-event.nl/
Dec Valhalla 2018 Festival https://www.valhallafestival.nl/
Dec Amsterdam Winterparadijs Christmas event https://www.hetamsterdamsewinterparadijs.nl/

More sustainable new products at the Huishoudbeurs and Negenmaandenbeurs
The Huishoudbeurs and the associated Negenmaandenbeurs, which took place in RAI Amsterdam in February, offered lots of interesting news for consumers in terms of sustainability. There was plenty to see and do, from bamboo diapers to natural deodorants, from a vegetables plaza to fashion with a story. Waste was taboo: leftover products were collected and donated via the Zending over Grenzen charity as the many visitors to both exhibitions jointly made a contribution to a cleaner environment.

The exhibition organisers have been working together with the Stibat foundation since 2012 to encourage visitors to bring in their used batteries during the exhibition. A total of 650,000 batteries have been recycled in this way over the last four editions of Huishoudbeurs.

A Huishoudbeurs app available for download from Google Play and the Apple Store provided all the information required for a fun day at the show, such as the programme and a map. In addition, visitors could activate a virtual scratch card every week until the start of the exhibition to have a chance to win gifts. Users who switched on push notifications were automatically reminded of this every week.

Parents want the very best for their child – and it is natural to wish one’s children to grow up in a clean and healthy world. This is why the Negenmaandenbeurs also featured many sustainable products, brought together at the Puur Baby Plaza.


More visitors and high willingness to buy at HISWA 2018
The water sports season started with the new HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show in March 2018. Around 37,500 visitors, seven per cent more than for the previous edition, came to find information on the latest news, try things out and make purchases. A poll among exhibitors showed that lots of sales were made. The Funsports Xperience, which was twice as large this year as last year, was also a hit. Eighty per cent of visitors were enthusiastic about the new course plotted by HISWA.

Masters of LXRY
For the first time in the history of the RAI, a Michelin-star restaurant was opened on the exhibition floor: M21. Ten elite chefs – together accounting for 21 Michelin stars! – cooked for visitors to the Masters of LXRY over four evenings.

Huishoudbeurs 2018


in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre (selection)

Month Title sector / field of interest website
Jun Annual European Congress of Rheumatology - EULAR 2018 Reumatology /health care https://www.congress.eular.org/
Jun EUROPERIO 9 Periodontology/health care https://www.efp.org/europerio/
Jul 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) AIDS/health care https://www.aids2018.org/
Aug World Dog Show 2018 Dogs/pets https://wds2018.com/nl/
Sept ECI Immunology/health care https://www.eci2018.org/home/

AIDS 2018
AIDS 2018, the 22nd edition of the world’s largest conference in the field of health, took place in the RAI in July. Scientists, policy makers, activists and politicians all came to Amsterdam to talk about ways to curb the global AIDS epidemic.

Eighteen thousand visitors to the conference, including doctors, researchers, activists and HIV patients from 180 countries were received in the RAI. Tens of thousands of visitors came for the Global Village, 35,000 nights in hotel rooms were booked and 500 sessions, workshops and activities were held accompanied by 800 volunteers, prominent speakers and international ambassadors. A number of side events took place in Amsterdam, there was a major publicity campaign in the city, and around 800 journalists from the Netherlands and abroad were present at Schiphol. Luminaries such as Prince Harry, Charlize Theron, Princess Mabel, Bill Clinton and Elton John all participated in AIDS 2018.

AIDS Conference 2018

Stage shows

events in the RAI Theatre in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre (selection)

Stage shows
Month Title
Apr Chippendales! Best.Night.Ever Tour
Jun Dan & Phil
Jul Lucia Marthas Institute for Performing Arts final performances 2018
Jul Markiplier
Sept Trailer Park Boys
Oct Michael Jackson - THRILLER LIVE
Oct Jacksepticeye
Dec Concert Ebi

After 15 years, the Musical Awards Gala is back in the RAI Theatre

It had been agreed in 2018 that the 18th edition of the Musical Awards Gala would take place in the RAI Theatre on Wednesday 23 January 2019. The prestigious awards for the greatest musical stars and best productions in the Netherlands were handed out during this impressive live show.

Other events in Amsterdam
In addition to the abovementioned categories, a range of other events took place in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.

Jumping Amsterdam
The 59th edition of Jumping Amsterdam was held in January 2018. The event was a huge success, with several completely sold-out components. To accommodate this interest, an extra hall was used for the event in 2019. The area accommodating the general public and stands was expanded by 4,000 m², while the promo village grew by 700 m². This ensured a more varied selection of stands for our visitors, ranging from equestrian sports to jewellery and from the latest horse transportation vehicles to bridal fashion. The increase in the capacity of the spectator gallery made it possible for us to host more visitors. The programme was also adjusted, among other things due to the return of the Show Jumping World Championships.

Amsterdam Sports Gala
The gala celebrating elite sports in Amsterdam took place in December. The Fannies were awarded to the best sportswoman, sportsman, talent, coach and sports team in Amsterdam, respectively, in the RAI’s Ballroom. The association with the widest range of sports on offer for the disabled and chronically ill also received the Amsterdam Plum.

DNA Gala
The second DNA Gala was held in honour of the 105th anniversary of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital. This grand event for 1,000 guests aimed to raise funds for research into immunotherapy. During the evening, guests were treated to a dinner interspersed with performances by various famous artists. There was also an exclusive auction, as well as a draw. The event was followed by an exclusive after-party. The gala ultimately raised a whopping €919,530 – one of the highest results ever seen for a benefit gala.

DNA Gala


Innovation is usually given as one of the top 3 most important reasons for visiting an exhibition. In response, in 2015 RAI Amsterdam created the InnovationLAB, a place where ideas, innovations and news take concrete shape on the exhibition floor and online. RAI Amsterdam’s InnovationLAB is a collaboration with external partners TNO, 3TU Federatie and Accenture Innovation Awards.

The rich and diverse platform provided by the InnovationLAB encourages exhibitors to make their innovations more visible at RAI Amsterdam shows. In addition, the InnovationLAB provides knowledge centres, research institutes and innovation partners with a platform to bring their new ideas to the market and enrich RAI Amsterdam’s exhibitions. The InnovationLAB is a platform where visitors see and experience innovations in their market online and in person. Moreover, it enables the exhibition medium to stand out and profile itself in this crucial field. The RAI gives sustainability a prominent place in the InnovationLAB so that sectors and markets are encouraged to work and innovate sustainably.

How do the RAI’s own events stimulate the sustainable growth and development of people, markets and the environment?

RAI Amsterdam strives to see all our own events linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. By putting the social challenges linked to the relevant sector/community on the agenda of every exhibition, we stimulate the sustainable growth of people, markets and the environment.

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formulated to help end poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

The RAI’s business operations contribute especially to the six Sustainable Development Goals shown in the table in the Strategy paragraph. Moreover, the RAI’s own events make their own contributions to specific SDGs depending on the sector in which they are active.

Aquatech China

Water is already a problem in many places in the world, and things are getting worse. Sometimes there is too little of it, at other times too much, and sometimes water is contaminated and cannot be used. Aquatech Global Events are a series of trade exhibitions organised in Amsterdam, China and Mexico where the global water industry comes together to jointly address these problems. The exhibition programme offers a complete overview of the latest developments in the fields of drinking, waste and process water. Aquatech focuses on professionals working in all areas of the water industry and brings policymakers, specialists, scientists, the business community and other stakeholders together.

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.

Events abroad

The RAI organises several of its hallmark trade exhibitions from Amsterdam in local versions abroad as well.

RAI events abroad

RAI events abroad
Exhibition title Visitors  
Aquatech China 80,000  
Aquatech Mexico 5,844  
IBEX 4,300  
Intertraffic China 3,830  
Intertraffic Mexico 3,302  
WaterEx Beijing 12,000  
total 109,276  


RAI Amsterdam offers dedicated services to clients and visitors before, during and after events. Based on its many years of experience, the RAI is able to meet the most wide-ranging demands.

Various restaurants & catering points and a wide range of options for catering on the exhibition floor guarantee a good time at the RAI. The RAI’s culinary team is innovative and committed to using local and sustainable products and methods.

By playing an intermediary role in the hotel bookings field, the RAI ensures capacity and availability during large-scale events.

In October, RAI Amsterdam organised the first Event Industry Hackathon with 50 international hackers.

Organiser Services

RAI Amsterdam offers know-how and various services to ensure that organisers’ events go as smoothly as possible. Our specialists provide advice and support to organisers on preparing an event or setting up the exhibition floor. Expertise and networking are deployed to ensure that the opportunities provided by the Netherlands, the city of Amsterdam and RAI Amsterdam as a convention centre are used to the fullest for the success of the event. Solutions are also offered in the field of IT, registration, logistics, audio-visual and media. Our staff work closely with clients to look at ways to achieve the highest possible return on investment.

know-how and services that make events run smoothly

Exhibitor Services

RAI Amsterdam Exhibitor Services supports exhibitors in their preparations to make their event participation a success. Exhibitors can order products and services for their stands via a special webshop, including uniform stand constructions, host services, furniture, catering, flowers & plants, telecommunication & ICT facilities, parking tickets and stand cleaning. There are contracts in place with preferred suppliers for uniform stands, and the webshop offers a range of sustainable choices and alternatives.

broad range of services for exhibitors before, during and after exhibitions

The first Event Industry Hackathon
In October, RAI Amsterdam organised an event which invited 50 hackers, divided across eight teams, to find solutions for four challenges related to the events sector in 24 hours. The day saw the most pressing questions in the field of sustainability, matchmaking, experiences and event management solved by experts, scientists, students and professionals from a range of different disciplines. Each challenge was hacked by two teams and the solutions pitched to the jury. The solutions and ideas will be shared within the Dutch and international events sector.

impression of the Event Industry Hackathon

RAI Insights #2: The customer journey for exhibitors

How can companies ensure they get the most out of their participation in an exhibition? RAI Amsterdam has examined the exhibitor customer journey and provided tips for every phase in the second edition of our RAI Insights report. Exhibitors can use the knowledge it provides to enhance the impact of their brand during trade shows or other events, while organisers will find ways to provide even better support for their exhibitors.

The report describes the following five phases of an exhibitor’s customer journey:

  • Orientation: deciding whether to exhibit in an event, with which objectives and how;
  • Preparation: from exhibiting concept to invitations;
  • Leading up to the exhibition: physical transportation and build-up;
  • During the exhibition: physical and digital encounters;
  • After the exhibition: a proper follow-up of contacts and measurement of results.

The report contains specific tips for exhibitors in each phase.

Every year, RAI Amsterdam examines a theme and places it at the core of the annual RAI Insights report. The reports published over the period 2017-2019 formed a customer journey trilogy. In 2017, the focus was on the customer journey of event visitors while the 2018 edition looked at exhibitors and the 2019 edition analysed organisers. With this expertise, RAI Amsterdam aims to contribute to the further professionalisation of the event sector for and by all the stakeholders involved.

knowledge sharing focused on increasing returns for exhibitors

cover of the RAI insights report

impression: phase of the customer journey

Visitor Services

RAI Amsterdam offers services to visitors to optimise their experience. We arrange hotel accommodation and transport, parking, a courtesy lounge (help desk, work and meeting places, etc.) and visitor catering.

focus on the visitor experience

Food & beverage

The delivery of food & beverages is an important component of every event. RAI Amsterdam organises this independently or in cooperation with external specialists, and supervises the quality and realisation in all cases.

food & beverages: self-catered or in partnership with third parties


food & beverage concept

Five convention restaurants, two permanent restaurants
The RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre has five restaurants: the Grand Café, First Floor Restaurant, Holland Restaurant, Café Amsterdam and the Amtrium restaurant. They are opened as required when an event or conference are taking place. There are another two restaurants in the convention centre which are operated by third parties: THE ROAST ROOM and Strandzuid. In addition to the restaurants, various catering points in each complex are operated during exhibitions and conferences by cafés and eateries such as La Place, Sunday’s and Sushi Time.

Basement Chefs
The RAI’s culinary team is called the Basement Chefs and works in the nexus of underground corridors and cellars where our kitchens are located. From gala dinner to catering for a conference or exhibition, the RAI can offer the logistical capacity as well as the flexibility to turn any event into a gastronomic success. There are sometimes more than a hundred cooks active in our kitchen during large events.

Heartwarming Amsterdam
The ‘Heart-warming Amsterdam’ concept we deploy in our kitchens showcases a deliberate choice to work with regional products and remove vulnerable ingredients from the range. Products used have an added value for the region or society at large. Care farms for outings or education, small local farms, urban greenhouses and dairy farms in the region are seen both as suppliers and a key source of inspiration.


This supports vulnerable products in our urban region while enabling RAI Amsterdam to offer people a chance to enjoy distinctive products grown in the region and dependent on the season. In addition, keeping the route and distance between production and consumption as short as possible helps reduce our CO2 emissions.

In the spotlight: Warm lunch at the Bosshardt house
Since June 2018 the Basement Chefs have provided the ingredients for a weekly warm lunch for 50 guests at the Salvation Army’s Bosshardt house in Amsterdam Noord. The house serves a free lunch every Thursday to give people who are lonely, elderly or have special needs a place at the table. This initiative has seen the RAI offer a fine second destination for quality products from our kitchens.


Sustainable alternative

At RAI Amsterdam we find it very important to add a sustainable alternative to each product group and, where possible, provide sustainable products as standard. The range of sustainable alternatives covers everything from furniture, carpeting, lighting, plants and modular stand construction to food & beverages. The catering on the exhibition floor is particularly important to visitors. It is not realised entirely by RAI Amsterdam itself, with a part being provided by sub-contractors. In addition to innovating in our own kitchens, RAI Amsterdam has therefore entered a dialogue with these suppliers on ways to boost their level of sustainability. Whenever possible, all concession holders now include an organic product in their range as standard at all events in which they are active.


In the spotlight: Sustainable chefs’ whites

New chefs’ uniforms were introduced during Horecava 2019, made of a unique fabric that is designed to be reused. Instead of being thrown away, old work clothes are reworked as raw material into new ones. The new line of chefs’ whites was designed by Persu and developed by Dutch-awearness, a textile company active in the transition from a linear to a circular economy in the field of clothing.

Gold level of the EPCAS Food Waste Initiative
In September 2018, RAI Amsterdam was awarded the Gold level of the EPCAS Food Waste Initiative for the many activities it undertakes to counteract food waste, such as:

  • Participating in a study by Wastewatchers to monitor what is left over from ordered lunch items so as to learn more and adjust our range if possible;
  • Whenever an organiser is open to the idea we can gradually change our catering offer so that there are less leftovers. For instance, The Basement Chefs created a street food assortment during a large private event and during Money20/20;
  • Our Visitor Catering department developed a sustainable food box as a way to prevent waste by giving people the option of taking their food or leftovers with them;
  • The Basement Chefs also have a partnership with In-Stock, which purchases leftover items from supermarkets for use in the RAI;
  • RAI Amsterdam regularly donates products to the Food Bank;
  • Every Thursday, the RAI offers a free three-course lunch for the Salvation Army in Amsterdam-Noord, where dishes are compiled from a residual stream of event catering in the RAI for around 50 people at a time. These are prepared meals left over at the RAI which cannot go to the Food Bank. This creates a new social purpose for leftover food, which naturally meets strict standards of food quality;
  • Biodegradable food waste remaining at the RAI goes into a swill tank and is converted into biogas. This biogas is later returned to the RAI in the form of generated power;
  • The production of RAI Ketchup: the Basement Chefs were contacted a few years ago by a tomato grower asking if they could find a new destination for tomatoes left over at the La Place restaurant chain, which was in dire straits at the time. This was the beginning of a new product line, and some 2,500 litres of ketchup have been produced since then.

Heart-warming Amsterdam

Hotel Services

The ability to attract large international events to Amsterdam is strongly dependent on the availability of sufficient hotel rooms at attractive prices. The increase in the number of rooms available in recent years to 40,000, along with close partnerships with hotels and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is making it easier for RAI Amsterdam to meet this requirement from international organisers.

meeting the demands of international organisers

RAI Hotel Services is the largest accommodation intermediary in Amsterdam and the surrounding region, mainly booking hotel reservations for visitors to international events. In 2018, over 36,600 reservations were processed, comprising more than 174,500 overnight stays (in 2017 this number was 141,500). The RAI’s Hotel Services website provides information on the hotels’ sustainability labels, permitting this criterion to be highlighted during the selection and booking.

intermediary for more than 174,500 hotel nights

RAI Hotel Services only works with hotels that have the ‘I Amsterdam approved’ quality label. This label is granted by Amsterdam&partners (formerly Amsterdam Marketing) to hotels that meet certain standards and agree to reserve available rooms at a fixed rate for organisers, visitors and exhibitors during large city-wide events.

'I Amsterdam Approved' quality label


RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

The year 2018 proved once again that the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre is 'built for purpose'. The venue hosted an exceptional number of events and functioned entirely as expected.

Sustainability is a major starting point in the development of the convention centre. Every year, the RAI continues to invest in increasing the sustainability of its buildings, products and services.

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre facilities

The table below shows the facilities the convention centre has to offer.

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre facilities

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre facilities
Properties Facilities
Total surface area 112.600 m2
Conference centres 3 interlinked conference locations
Halls 12 interconnected halls, expandable with two semi-permanent halls
Rooms 2 auditoriums, one large ballroom with 2,000 seats. A total of 70 conference and meeting rooms. Accommodation for 10 to 10,000 people per room.
Foyers and lounges Multifunctional space for exhibitions, parties and celebrations
Entrances 9 separate entrances: own entrance for each event
Restaurants and bars 9 restaurants, bars and lounges. From buffet to à la carte
Parking garages Capacity for 4,000 spaces on the premises
Marina Own marina directly connected to the Amsterdam canals
Train station Named Amsterdam RAI, directly adjacent to the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre
Two metro stations Amsterdam RAI Station connects to the metro line that forms a circle around the city. The new Europaplein station is situated just 50 m from the entrance to the RAI and connects the RAI to the city centre.

the 23 hectares of the RAI


RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre with the Europa Hall in the foreground

Expansions & renovations completed in 2018

Despite having such a busy year, the RAI still found time to renovate, innovate and invest in the sustainability and quality of the venue. The renovations included:

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.

individual halls can be linked


new rooms in the Forum Complex

Room E101 in the Forum Complex was also renovated. Two previous spaces were combined into one large location with direct access to the technical area and interpreter booths of the Forumzaal. Although the room does not have natural light, the installation of a unique daylight system in the ceiling makes it a comfortable space.

completed in October 2018

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.

completed in August 2018

Park Foyer

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.

completed in September 2018


catering points

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.

completed in October 2018


entrance C

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%.

Sustainable venue

Traffic, accessibility and parking

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.

The parking rate principle was changed in the reporting year. Previously, the RAI used day rates, calculating a full day even when visitors parked for a much shorter time. In 2018, we switched to hourly rates which resulted in improved customer satisfaction. Partly due to the growing number of visitors, the total parking profits increased by 14% to € 6.5 million.

4,000 parking spaces

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.

opening of new metro line

Metro station Europaplein opened in 2018

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.

December was the busiest month with 12,100 P+R users. We expect the flow will further increase in 2019 as the option becomes known as an effective and sustainable alternative for reaching the city.

P+R location RAI contributes to more accessible city centre

Mobility actions, reducing excessive traffic

Watch the video on mobility on and around the RAI premises

RAI Amsterdam deploys various measures to reduce periods of excessive car traffic around the complex:

  • Proactively stimulating the use of public transport. RAI Amsterdam offers clients alternative transport to driving. Deals that combine tickets to exhibitions and transport, offered in partnership with the public transport companies NS and GVB, are both convenient and cheaper for visitors;
  • Use of neighbourhood traffic controllers on busy days;
  • Partnerships with NS, GVB and Taxicentrale Amsterdam (TCA);
  • Facilitating electric transport: RAI Amsterdam now has 38 charging stations for electric cars;
  • During exhibitions for which busy build-up and/or breakdown periods are expected, external premises in Westpoort (outside the Amsterdam ring-road) are used as a buffer zone. Incoming traffic is directed to this area, where the vehicles are registered and then invited to drive through to RAI Amsterdam in an orderly fashion. This significantly reduces lorry traffic around the RAI. The buffer facilities can accommodate 90 trucks;
  • Using the boat services of Mokum Maritiem to transport waste over the canals as an environmentally friendly alternative to trucks. This decreases road use, reduces transport movements around the RAI and lowers air and noise pollution in the city centre. The barge sails twice a week and when full, each trip – including the return cargo – eliminates 10 to 12 trips by lorry.

Other ways that we improved mobility in and around the RAI during 2018 include:

  • Making a logistical plan within the framework of which we performed various pilots and developed a long-term vision;
  • Creating and using a permanent buffer zone in Westpoort to prevent vehicles searching for parking around the RAI and enable a smooth traffic flow;
  • 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;
  • Researching innovations and new types of logistics that might reduce pressure on the neighbourhood;
  • Testing the exclusive use of electric taxis at a (small-scale) event. Non-electric taxis were banned on the annual Dutch ‘Sustainability Day’;
  • Opening a separate queue ('fast lane') for electric taxis at various large events. This stimulated the switch to electric transport as the electric vehicles were able to reach visitors more quickly. The experimental stage with the fast lane was completed in 2018 and we have decided that all major events (which involve taxi queues) will have a fast lane in 2019;
  • Performing tests with three electric forklifts. While these worked well technically, the balance between autonomy, charging capacity and logistics still requires some attention. In 2019 we will decide whether to make electric forklifts compulsory or stimulate their use in some other way;
  • Tests on washing cars without water, offering people who are disadvantaged in the labour market with an opportunity to gain experience within the RAI organisation;
  • Increasing the number of bicycles at the RAI within the Hello Bikes share programme;
  • GBC Zuidas signed the Green Deal Zero Emission Urban Logistics agreement during the annual CEO breakfast of its Green Business Club, with the 25 CEOs present underlining their support for the deal. This will ensure that GBC Zuidas and its participants contribute to the ambition of the Amsterdam Economic Board to make urban logistics in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region emission-free by 2025;
  • Working on the development of a Mobility Portal to coordinate the mobility on and around the RAI premises. We expect to perform the first tests with this application during 2019.

Public transport deals

The RAI stimulates the use of public transport via special deals. These allow us to limit the busyness around the RAI during large events as much as possible and reduce CO2 emissions.

Public transport deals

Percentage of visitors using public transport deals compared to total number of visitors

Public transport deals
Number of visitors Current edition Edition -1 (previous) Edition -2 (second to last)    
Huishoudbeurs 6% 5% 5%    
HISWA 4% 5% 9%    
Horecava 16% 19% 23%    
METS 40% 41% 39%    
Intertraffic 30% 31% 19%    
Interclean 26% 29% 14%    
GreenTech 25% 35% 13%    
Total 21% 24% 17%    

Marketing, Digital & Information and communication technology

High-value Marketing & IT facilities are an increasingly important factor for the success of an event and sound business operations. The rapid growth of virtual applications on and around the exhibition floor requires constant attention, as does the need for exhibitors, visitors and RAI staff to be connected 24/7. RAI Amsterdam therefore prioritises the renewal and further development of its Marketing & IT services and service provision, with an emphasis on data, marketing automation, connectivity and indoor navigation.

One of the RAI’s activities in this framework in 2018 was redefining our IT architecture to work from a 360-degree customer perspective (customer-centric databases). We also worked on the company-wide implementation of a new CRM system which is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2019. In addition, we’ve improved the wayfinding and achieved good results with beacons that help determine position on the exhibition floor and communicate with visitors’ smartphones via a dedicated app. The processes related to the webshop for exhibitors have been optimised and tested during METSTRADE and our webcare was further professionalised to perform faster and reach more of the community. We’ve performed tests with a live chat on RAI.nl to gain more experience in this field. In addition, we developed a white label app with functionalities that will be applied to the RAI’s own events and made available to organisers/third parties as well. Finally, we’ve taken steps in the field of virtual and augmented reality, as you can read below.

The European privacy legislation (AVG/GDPR) was implemented on 25 May. This was preceded by an internal communication and awareness programme.

high-value Marketing and IT

Highlighted: virtual and augmented reality
As part of our focus on innovation, the RAI started developing new virtual reality (VR) & augmented reality (AR) services for our three commercial target groups (visitors, exhibitors and organisers) in 2018. We believe these services will offer major value to our clients in the future.

Why VR?
A person wearing VR glasses is situated in a digital environment. We use VR to answer questions like ‘What’s possible in the RAI?’ and ‘What will it look like?’. We are currently developing various VR services:

  • The virtual testing of the personalised setup of an event to realise the best possible setup in the early stages. This way we can test new features and setups to further optimise the value of our halls;
  • The various types of possible basic setups can be visualised in 3D. This service gives organisers the chance to experience their options in a timeframe of just 15 minutes;
  • Providing visual support to the construction and reconstruction of the convention centre. The RAI is always innovating in its halls, rooms and exterior spaces; VR allows us to see in advance what these changes will look like and test various alternatives among users.

Why AR?
AR is a technology in which a digital layer is projected onto an actual image of the environment. For example: you could use the camera of your phone to see your surroundings on a screen, onto which an application then projects 3D objects in a realistic position. General research shows that a prospect who has an AR experience with a product is 30% more likely to purchase it.

As we can use the technique to remove doubts, AR has major potential in the fields of e-commerce and the setup of events. We are currently developing the following services:

  • Various packages with uniform stands can be projected in a space in actual size or to scale. This service allows us to answer questions such as ‘Is my stand big enough?’, or ‘Do I want to change my furnishing or is standard my best choice?’;
  • Another option is providing AR at exhibitor stands so they can better utilise their own space. They could use an AR service to show potential customers products which are exhibited digitally instead of physically at the event.

The RAI has already mapped various spaces in VR during 2018: Hall 1 (Europa Hall), Hall 4 (in the Amtrium) and Hall 5.

Safety & Security

Safety & Security is a broad policy area. Cyber-crime, fraud and terrorism have become increasingly complex over recent years, with new threats that cannot be resolved by organisations alone. A combined and integrated approach with the police, justice department and defence together with government institutions and companies is required.

Several years ago, the RAI’s focus was mainly on the safety and security of the building. Due to various recent events in Europe, however, our awareness has increased to other areas. As many people come together in the RAI, we have changed our policy to work more closely with public bodies and establish security agreements with the police, emergency services and the control room, the district council, companies in the surrounding Zuidas region, public transport and the Mayor of Amsterdam’s advisory team.

Several examples of activities in 2018 aimed to further improve safety & security include:

  • Fire safety: we moved forward with and partly realised various planned investments. This includes extending the fire alarm system to all halls and replacing 50% of the fire alarm centres, placing extra emergency stairs, installing extra emergency doors and taking various actions to optimise the compartmentalisation. In 2019 the RAI will go through the inspection and certification stage of various elements, such as the smoke & heat ventilation, fire alarm systems and the automatic evacuation system;
  • Safety & Security documentation: the factual reporting of action and check lists at all stages of events has been further improved;
  • We have established and taken the necessary integrated mitigating measures for 17 identified threats in this area. The Safety & Security policy will be developed further based on these threats;
  • Cameras help monitor the premises and software helps us recognise people. Should something happen in the RAI, we can share information quickly with other parties such as the police, public transport and Schiphol;
  • Within the Safety & Security field we have made a distinction between policy & development and operations. This means there are now two departments working on safety, each with its own responsibilities.

broad policy area, major investments in reporting year

Sustainable use of natural resources

Energy consumption and CO2 emissions

The total energy consumption of the convention centre increased to 141 TJ (terajoule) from 134 TJ in 2017. This represents an increase of 5%, caused by the growing number of activities at the RAI. To compare: in 2018 there were 20% more visitors in the RAI than in the previous year.

To a certain degree we cannot directly influence total consumption as the RAI supplies the power our customers request. What we can do is ensure that we help our organisers and exhibitors in the most sustainable way possible. The following measures reduced our energy consumption in 2018:

  • Since 2014 we have gradually been switching from gas absorption machines to electric cooling for the cooling of our buildings. The RAI no longer needs natural gas for cooling purposes, making the process at least eight times as efficient as before;
  • We offer customers a sustainable and energy-efficient range of products such as LED lighting, and tackle unnecessary consumption with smart meters and presence sensors. We also offer day and night connections, which means that stands no longer need to be powered continuously: the electricity is switched off in the evening after the exhibition closes, except for exhibitors who have specifically ordered night power. This saves a great deal of unnecessary standby consumption at stands, which is beneficial for the environment and cost effective for exhibitors;
  • In 2018 the RAI commissioned an external energy audit, designed to give us insight into opportunities for improving the efficiency of our building interior and consumption. The goal of the energy audit was to map all measures with a payback period of five years or less. It analysed major consumers such as boilers, compressors, cooling units, heat pumps, lighting, computer equipment, PV cells and the thermal storage. The audit showed that we can take actions such as continuing the centralisation of refrigeration and freezer units (1,200 kg CO2 reduction/year), replacing the central compressed air system with a mobile one (700 kg CO2 reduction/year) and improving the seals, switching off fans when the door of a cooling unit opens, and replacing (un)loading doors by speed gates (combined approx. 600 kg CO2 reduction/year). A further aspect with a significant potential benefit is reclaiming heat from ventilated air;
  • The RAI constantly monitors the consumption data with specific software and closely monitors energy data;
  • Natural gas is only used incidentally to heat spaces. It is used to generate the CHP and the boilers (in both cases: several days a year during peak loads).

responsible use of energy

All the power consumed in the RAI is green power without a CO2 footprint. The RAI receives certificates from Centriq confirming the purchase of green power from energy provider NUON (Vattenfall).

The RAI uses 1806 solar panels – 174 on the Amtrium building and 1632 on hall 8. Hall 8 measures 12,000 m² and more than 60% of its roof surface is covered in panels – the maximum proportion allowed given its structure and use. The RAI’s solar panels produced more than 1,697 GJ in 2018 (2017: 1,482 GJ).

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.

solar roof supplies approx. 1,700 GJ of energy

solar roof

Gas consumption
Gas consumption has dropped abruptly in the past few years: in 2018 it was just 11% of the figure in 2013, when the RAI started switching over to more sustainable district heating. The NUON pipeline has have a capacity of up to 18 MWh, which is sufficient for the RAI to switch entirely to district heating in the future.

CO2 footprint
Switching from gas to district heating has led to a major reduction in our CO2 footprint. District heating is a more sustainable energy source than natural gas as it is based on the residual heat produced during industrial processes, power generation and/or waste separation.

CO2 footprint

x 1 tonnes. RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

CO2 footprint
  2018 2017 2015 2014 2013
CO2 emissions 2,128 2,043 nb 5,929 6,345

Water consumption

RAI Amsterdam consumed 64,631 m3 of water in 2018, with the corresponding figure in 2017 being 62,336 m3. This represents an increase of 4%. The number of visitors rose by 20%.

Water consumption

x 1 m3

Water consumption
  2018 2017 2015 2014 2013
Water consumption 64,631 62,336 55,765 66,084 50,253


Waste is one of the priorities within RAI Amsterdam’s CSR policy. We aim to be among the leaders in terms of waste management in the global conference and events industry.

waste management: 'best in class', zero waste

Together with our waste processing partner Renewi, RAI Amsterdam recycles 100% of its waste. Zero waste is the basic principle. Seeing waste as material looking for a new use, we try to recycle into new end products as much as possible and do our best to reuse the products ourselves. In this process, we involve the entire product chain so as to inspire as many people as possible to reduce, reuse and recycle.

There is zero landfill and, as a result, 100% recycling as all materials are reused or used to generate energy. There was, however, a larger percentage of incinerated waste than we were aware of, namely 23%. This was the due to the difficult market for materials such as wood and construction waste along with the fact that the wet fraction of pellets is also incinerated. Due to these variables in the market we cannot be certain that the percentages will also apply to 2018.

Waste separation on the RAI premises was 62% (2017: also 62%).

The re-use of removed IT materials and reclaiming of the raw materials they contain is realised via the ‘Ladder of Lansink’ waste hierarchy, which means that the priorities for reuse are as follows:

  1. reuse of the product as complete device;
  2. part of the product is used for another device;
  3. reclaiming raw materials;
  4. incineration with reclamation of thermal energy;
  5. dumping/incinerating.

We removed 0.5 tonnes of IT waste using this method in 2018, earning us an environmental certificate from WEEELABEX Certification, which works in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system. The RAI complies with the EU recycling goals and does not export computer waste to third-world countries.

zero waste: 100% recycling. 62% waste separation at the source

Waste volume

x 1 tonnes

Waste volume
  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
wood  1,464   1,074   929   722   684 
carpet  342   284   257   275   239 
paper  260   250   235   213   230 
plastic  2   ‑??   ‑??   ‑??   ‑?? 
swill  146   151   119   133   109 
organic  4   16   67   ‑??   ‑?? 
iron  31   40   30   21   10 
glass  77   73   104   71   50 
construction & demolition  849   744   573   377   131 
other specialist waste  2   6   7   7   2 
residual  1,977   1,583   1,701   1,785   1,706 
Total  5,154   4,221   4,022   3,604   3,161 

City scavenger walk with a sustainable touch
City walks were organised in the neighbourhood around the RAI together with our waste partner, hosted by professional guides from Gilde Amsterdam with support from students. During the walk participants collected waste in jute bags. After returning to the RAI, the contents of the bags were sorted and the participants given a certificate.

GreenTech InnovationLab stage made of recycled paper/cardboard
In the reporting year, we experimented with paper and cardboard construction materials, which resulted in a recycled paper/cardboard stage for the InnovationLab during GreenTech.

Coffee cup project
In December 2018 the RAI found a destination for our used paper coffee cups, which add up to around 1,400 kg a month. These will be used to produce paper towers for the kitchen staff.


We try to prevent excessive noise as much as possible by using a so-called acoustic map. This enables RAI Amsterdam to predict when we need to apply for a noise exemption permit – four such permits are allowed per year. This way, we monitor the standards and can take preventive measures when necessary.

We made use of the acoustic map eight times in 2018. Noise exemption permits were required for four music events, for which we eventually received 23 complaints. All other events were within the noise standards of the RAI environmental permit and caused no disturbance to our neighbours.

In total, the RAI received 30 noise complaints in 2018 which were reported to the RAI, the environmental service (Omgevingsdienst) or the Amsterdam Zuid district.

The RAI sent letters to 20,000 addresses in the neighbourhood to inform them about licences for the Valhalla and Winterparadijs events.

four noise exemptions to RAI environmental licence requested, careful monitoring of sound standard

Expansion of 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. 

A neighbourhood meeting to present the plans took place in 2018.

start 2018 – delivery planned in 2020

Impression of Hall 5 development

On site hotel

It has been a long-held desire for RAI Amsterdam to have a four-star hotel on our premises that would allow us to offer tailored accommodation to conference and exhibition visitors. With the development and realisation of the nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel, this wish is becoming a reality. A hotel on the RAI site with 650 rooms and parking for around 200 cars is a strategic addition to RAI Amsterdam’s core activities. Responding to the needs of the market by creating an adjacent ‘headquarters hotel’ where event organisers and key exhibitors, speakers & visitors can all stay seriously strengthens our international position.

The construction officially started in late October 2016. The basement was completed and the sheet pile wall removed from the ground at the end of 2017. The construction rose into the sky during 2018.

The world-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas (OMA) created the design. As a new landmark for the city, the hotel also features a phenomenal sky bar at 90 metres.

The developers COD and Being Development have sold the nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel to the investor AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets. The building will largely be leased by the NH Hotel Group and the restaurant unit on the ground floor by a catering business. A 20-year lease agreement was made with the RAI for the operation of the parking garage.

The hotel is located in the triangle between the RAI complex, the Europaboulevard and the A10 motorway. This site is highly strategic thanks to the proximity of the railway station Amsterdam RAI (which allows quick connections to key places such as Schiphol Airport), the metro stations and the A10 junction.

The construction reached its peak of 91 metres on Friday 8 February 2019. The milestone was celebrated with a spectacular projection mapping show in the presence of the construction partners and various guests. The opening is planned for the first quarter of 2020.

construction of conference hotel continues

nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel, impression

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.

Importance for city and society

RAI Amsterdam aims to contribute to the prosperity of Amsterdam and its hinterland, and to society as a whole. While the events obviously bring revenue into the city, RAI Amsterdam would like to be involved in other ways as well: by attracting local suppliers and offering opportunities to local residents who are disadvantaged on the labour market; by limiting the impact of large events on daily life in the city wherever possible; and by having an active dialogue with all our stakeholders. In all these ways, we aim to ensure that RAI Amsterdam continues to provide a valuable contribution to society.


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

Comprising six pillars, the strategy is focused on strengthening the core business and creating a balance between social profits and losses. Focal points and goals have been assigned for each calendar year up to and including 2022.

The RAI Roadmap gives direction to our brand and the implementation of our strategy.


RAI Amsterdam aims to contribute to the sustainable growth and development of people, markets and our local environment. We realise this mission in the following ways

  • organising and facilitating high-quality events that bring people and communities together and inspire them;
  • being an ideal and attractive meeting place for everyone;
  • working in a sustainable way and generating economic and social value.

In short: 'inspiring people'.

motivation: Inspiring people


Our strategic goals help RAI Amsterdam achieve its ambitions. Until 2022 these are:

  • Strengthening our core business by realising growth in events and communities. We increase our sustainability for the future by addressing changing client demands and aiming for even greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness;
  • Creating an optimal balance in social costs & gains to increase our social value. We integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) in our operational management, constantly interact with our stakeholders, are valuable and indispensable to the city of Amsterdam and provide a substantial contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, relative to the company size.


strengthening core business & social balance

We have defined six pillars to achieve these goals:

  • Client solutions: We provide our clients with an even better service by constantly expanding our service portfolio;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;

Sustainable business

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of RAI Amsterdam’s strategy and has even been embedded in our mission: the RAI aims to stimulate the sustainable development of people, markets and society.

We work with our clients and suppliers to integrate CSR in our business on a daily basis. Proud that many activities make a social contribution, we also realise that our business uses natural resources, takes up space, produces noise and impact society in other ways.

Via a constant dialogue with our stakeholders, we try to operate in a way that is experienced as sustainable by society. We do this by:


  • Minimising/neutralising the negative social impact of our business as much as possible. We aim to create a sustainable environment in which we can facilitate valuable meetings, now and in the future. This includes constantly increasing the sustainability of our facilities, products, services and operational processes and focusing on the reduction and management of logistic movements around the RAI. We also help organisers realise their events in the RAI in a sustainable and responsible manner.
  • Increasing the social value of the business wherever possible. We actively aim for the development and growth of the people and communities with which our business crosses paths. For example, we stimulate the local economy by attracting visitors to the city who then stay in the region. Where possible we work with local suppliers and stimulate a safe learning, working and living environment. With the events we organise, we also actively try to stimulate the sustainable growth and development of the sector in which the relevant exhibition operates by putting the spotlight on social challenges on the exhibition floor. We also work actively on organising/facilitating meaningful meetings that contribute to the growth and development of (vulnerable groups in) society, with a special focus on the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.


minimising negative impacts, increasing social value

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Global UN goals

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
SDG RAI strategy
8 Work and economic growth We stimulate business and create spinoff via the growth of our core activities
9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure Our events and operational management provide a platform for industry, innovation and infrastructure
11 Sustainable cities and communities We create value for the city of Amsterdam
12 Responsible consumption and production As an early adopter of proven technology/processes, we help build a circular economy and climate action
13 Climate action See 12
17 Partnerships Meetings in the RAI contribute to partnerships to achieve the SDGs

Brand values

RAI Amsterdam has the following six brand values.


At RAI Amsterdam you will be received personally, professionally and, above all, with a warm welcome. Our doors are always open, whoever you may be and whatever drives you. RAI Amsterdam is for everyone. Whether joining us at our Convention Centre in Amsterdam or at one of our events elsewhere in the world, or taking part via virtual channels, you will feel welcome at RAI Amsterdam!

the RAI is for everyone


RAI Amsterdam appreciates who you are and what you need. Any challenges are dealt with as smoothly as possible. Whether you are an organiser, exhibitor or visitor, we aim to respond to your needs before you even ask. We gladly offer you a complete solution. We think along with you, look ahead and are dedicated to being of service so that you feel supported.

focused on service, including total solutions


RAI Amsterdam is a stage for creativity and innovation. Through our concepts, products and services, RAI Amsterdam ignites new ideas. In a modern and innovative setting, we enhance the experience of your physical or virtual presence. We can push the window of innovation in a significant way because our applications are widely applicable. This ensures that you get ahead.

driving sustainable innovation


The quality of our location, concepts, products, facilities, services and people ensures that you encounter all the elements of success at RAI Amsterdam. You can rely on an enterprising organisation that has the experience required to create the ideal conditions for achieving maximum added value for every customer. RAI is ready to make the most of every opportunity, thinks along with you, offers its partnership and actively contributes to your success.

creating the perfect conditions for success


RAI Amsterdam understands like no other that the quality of an event depends on solid preparation and sticking to agreements. Our goals are ambitious yet realistic. Forecasts and commitments are based on a responsible realisation. We carefully manage expectations and offer you peace of mind.

a deal is a deal


RAI Amsterdam is embedded in the community, committed to sustainability and takes seriously its responsibility towards people, our city and the world. The passion and emotional involvement of our employees and all the other stakeholders determine our success. We ensure that everyone is heard and feels connected.

connected to society

Our driving force: 'inspiring people'

RAI Foundation

In late 2018, the RAI took steps to increase its social involvement under the working title RAI Foundation. Based on the RAI’s promise to stimulate valuable meetings, sustainable growth and the development of people, markets and our environment, we want to actively contribute to the growth and development of (vulnerable groups in) society. We will facilitate and/or organise meaningful meetings in which we voluntarily provide expertise, manpower, facilities and/or networks for local society, with a special focus on the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.

start of charity initiative

Personnel and organisation

RAI management and staff have been involved in intensive cultural and structural changes over the past two years. The departmental structure was abandoned and the entire organisation reorganised in five company divisions (Marketing & Digital, Commerce, Clients, Venue and Operations) and supporting departments (such as HR, ICT and Finance) working together in three main processes (events, innovation and management). All RAI managers followed an intensive leadership trajectory and were enhanced their skills via training courses.

Employee satisfaction is at 81%. Absence through illness increased to 3.2%. While these figures are good in relative terms, they are clearly less positive compared to previous years.

The RAI has a socially responsible and sustainable HR policy focused on the well-being, vitality and lifestyle of its personnel.

In 2018 the RAI carried out research into strategic personnel planning as part of a project that will be finalised in 2019.

Our employees

RAI Amsterdam is a company for people, by people. Our employees are the outward face of the RAI and function as hosts during events. The RAI realises its company goals in large part by empowering its employees with responsibilities, streamlining their tasks and enabling them to make the most of their talents.

‘for people, by people'

Employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is a crucial yardstick and an important instrument for the continuous improvement of our company. The RAI undertakes a major survey of employee satisfaction every two years: the last time this took place was in late 2018. The goal of the survey is to map the experience of the employees and their suggestions for improvement. With this input we can move towards increasing the satisfaction, involvement and enthusiasm of our staff.

In 2016 the RAI scored extremely high with a percentage of 91%. In 2018 the general satisfaction among employees had fallen to 81%. The rating of the direct managers was the same, but most others were slightly lower, including the satisfaction regarding activities, working conditions, development opportunities and the organisation as a whole. The lower marks can probably be attributed to the fact that 2018 was a very busy year.

overall employee satisfaction: 81%

Multi-year cultural and structural transformation of the company

The RAI started transforming the way it is organised in the summer of 2016. A change to the corporate culture was seen as an important step in staying successful in the long term and continuing to innovate sufficiently. There were also several processes that were ripe for improvement and bottlenecks which needed to be removed. A structural change was initiated to achieve these improvements and the planned process involves changes to both the culture and structure of the company.

changes in culture and structure go hand in hand

In 2017 the RAI was still organised in a departmental structure with two main divisions: RAI Exhibitions and RAI Convention Centre. Over the course of 2017, the new management team worked together with the RAI’s employees to move from a structure divided into departments toward a process-oriented structure.

abandoning the departmental structure

Each new organisational segment has its own responsibility with regards to the RAI’s three core processes:


  • Events are leading in all our activities;
  • Each department provides a contribution (direct or indirect) to events;
  • The organisation and tasks are set up in a way that ensures that the interests of departments are subordinated to the event process;
  • The RAI works with a single uniform event process during both its own and third-party events.


  • Innovation is a responsibility of the business;
  • The focus needs to shift from pioneering instead of merely improving;
  • It is crucial to increase the value of meetings; Innovation specialists support the business and stimulate the process;
  • We focus on short cyclical steps by initiating small projects;
  • We work outside-in by bringing in external knowledge. To make this happen, we are continuously expanding our innovation ecosystem.

MANAGEMENT including new business, HR, IT, etc.)

  • New business fills and manages the pipeline of new initiatives. In this context, the RAI aims to have an open partnership with third parties;
  • The new business process is managed and given substance at discussion meetings where departments and experts jointly make choices and bring together results;
  • Portfolio Management, Revenue Management and Capacity Management are active on a tactical level. Portfolio Management coordinates the event portfolio while Revenue Management optimises turnover and Capacity Management prevents bottlenecks;
  • RAI services ensure a smooth and efficient handling of demand; The costs of RAI services (fixed and variable) are passed on to the relevant event;
  • We use a uniform reporting structure for all events.

three core processes as the red thread

We have been working on translating these starting points into a new structure throughout 2017. Around the turn of the year 2017/2018 the changes became concrete for most employees and most process changes were implemented.

consequences of structural changes

The new organisational configuration of the RAI went live on 1 February 2018. The new process organisation did not apply to events that took place within three months of this date.

switching over to the event process

The company reorganisation involved scores of internal moves, which took place over February 2018. This was preceded by an adaptation of the Elicium (floors 6-9) and Amtrium (floors 3-4).

In 2018 the RAI agenda listed many activities in the framework of the ‘We are on’ internal change programme, including:

  • Change Leadership (team sessions for managers);
  • Fishbowl sessions (open meetings with employees);
  • Leader Days;
  • Various brainstorming sessions;
  • Activation of the seven habits: the habits of RAI employees that represent the desired culture and behaviour.

In 2018 we also prepared a strategy activation programme called 'Museum of the Future’ in which the RAI used a space in which teams and departments are stimulated to start a dialogue on the determined strategy. The museum opened its doors in February 2019.

many activities related to cultural and structural changes

The event table, an important link in the new process, was evaluated in 2018. It brings together all people involved in an event. The process ensures that people are involved in decisions at an early stage, can contribute their expertise to the innovation of the event and translate decisions made to the event table for their own departments. The evaluation brought forth over 250 recommendations and points for further improvement. One of the strategic pillars of the RAI for the period up to and including 2022 is to be a learning organisation. This means that more evaluations will take place and that commenting on what is not going well in the organisation will be anchored in the cooperation between all RAI departments.

evaluation process event table

Development and setup of compliance function

In late 2018, the RAI started to set up a compliance function.

RAI Amsterdam aims to comply with all the statutory and licence-related requirements and guidelines that apply to the organisation. We also wish to comply with and work in accordance with the standards and guidelines that the RAI itself determined are relevant. Moreover, we aim to minimise the risks of non-compliance as much as possible and apply a very low tolerance in this regard.

To meet these demands, the RAI is setting up a compliance management system. In this process, we are led as much as possible by the starting points and principles as defined in the ISO 19600 standard for compliance management. Significant starting points include:

  • A goal-oriented, structured approach in a continuous process;
  • A defined scope and a risk-analysis based prioritisation within the context of the specific characteristics of the RAI organisation;
  • A clear division and appointment of tasks and responsibilities with a leading and closely involved role for upper management;
  • A cyclic process that enables the RAI to be a learning organisation;
  • Focus on culture and behaviour in line with the core values and seven habits principle;
  • Transparency on the compliance approach and the way non-compliance is dealt with.

setup of  compliance function started late 2018

Mobility survey

In the framework of commuting and mobility issues around the Zuidas district, we performed a small survey into the transport preferences of RAI employees. Seventeen employees who commute by car or public transport participated and over 450 trips were monitored. The speed, comfort and flexibility were shown to be the most important aspects. The main benefit of commuting by public transport is how relaxed it is for the traveller, while the car was the preferred mode of transport, except on busy days. The RAI will be using the results as input for the future mobility policy.

mobility survey among employees

Training and education

An extensive training and education plan was implemented based on the findings and improvement proposals from the work floor. Employees and managers participated in job and/or discipline-specific training courses in 2018. There was also a simulation game which considered various situations in the new event process. In addition, a basic Finance course took place in 2018 focusing on the management process, as did an Innovation Bootcamp. There were also Agile and LEAN workshops as well as a range of inspiration sessions looking at the innovation and new business process.

extensive training and education plan deployed


RAI Amsterdam aims to promote the vitality of its employees so that they can be fit, energetic and healthy at work. A dedicated programme initiates, facilitates and promotes vitality campaigns among employees. A variety of tools, workshops and campaigns were offered under the ‘RAI Vitaal’ framework to help employees in the field of health & fitness, stress & absenteeism prevention, and work enjoyment & work-life balance.

In 2018, training courses were offered on topics such as sleep, exercise, food and relaxation. Sports were also a part of the initiative, with courses given three times a week in bootcamp, kickboxing and HIIT training. The work in 2018 was based on the results of the Vitality Scan and the Periodical Medical Survey which took place among RAI Amsterdam employees in 2016 and 2017.

initiating, facilitating and promoting fitness campaigns


The RAI strives to ensure the diversity of its departments in terms of age, experience, gender and competencies. RAI Amsterdam is convinced that diverse teams have a positive influence on results. With 56% women and 44% men among its employees, RAI Amsterdam has a balanced staff. Moreover, the objective in the field of gender diversity as described in the Talent to the Top charter has been amply achieved: the share of women in the policy team and second echelon of managers is 41%.

diverse teams; target for Talent to the Top charter reached and surpassed

Composition of personnel

Below are some cross-sections of the composition of the RAI’s employees.


At the end of the year

    2018   2017  
Male 193 46% 181 44%  
Female 230 54% 228 56%  
Total 423 100% 409 100%  
Male 190.0 48% 178.2 47%  
Female 202.0 52% 197.9 53%  
Total 392.0 100% 376.1 100%  

Personnel by age

Percentage/FTE (at the end of the year)

Personnel by age
  2018 2017      
BY AGE          
25 and under 1% 2%      
26 to 35 25% 26%      
36 to 45 32% 34%      
46 to 55 28% 24%      
56+ 14% 13%      
Total 100% 100%      

Personnel by discipline

Percentage/FTE (at the end of the year)

Personnel by discipline
  2018 2017      
Commercial 48% 53%      
Operational 39% 35%      
Financial/management 13% 12%      
Total 100% 100%      

Strategic personnel planning

In 2018, the RAI worked on further improving its strategic personnel planning. The objective of the project was to implement an adequate functional and practical method that could be integrated within the normal HR and department processes. Starting points were formulated, a training course was held and a gap & bottleneck analysis was carried out. The results of the project, including the strategic personnel plan, are expected during 2019.

further improvement and embedding in HR and department processes

Absence due to illness

The absence due to illness rate in 2018 was 3.2%. While this is a good score, it is unfortunately higher than the even better score of 2.5% in 2017 and equivalent to the level last seen in 2015. The high degree of activity around events, combined with changes in company structure and culture, doubtless played a part in this rise.


Absence due to illness


Absence due to illness
  2018 2017 2015 2014 2013
Total 3.2% 2.5% 2.9% 3.2% 3.4%

Social engagement

The HR policy related to social engagement reflects an aim to generate a greater social return for the city of Amsterdam. In 2018, RAI Amsterdam took part in a range of major initiatives which strive to create better opportunities for unemployed youth (work agreement for tackling youth unemployment) and people with occupational disabilities.

more opportunities for unemployed youth and people with occupational disabilities

RAI Amsterdam has been participating in the work agreement for tackling youth unemployment since 2015. We increase opportunities for unemployed youth by offering the following:

  • Deployment and training of around 4,200 flexible workers: opportunities include participating in hospitality courses or obtaining traffic controller certificates;
  • Tours: some 300 students from various schools visit the RAI each year to learn about this type of work environment;
  • Ninety internships: the RAI’s internal traineeship office places students from the intermediate and higher vocational (MBO and HBO) levels in BBL (vocational learning track), BOL (vocational training) and combined work/education structures. The trainees learn about topics such as job applications, personal branding, time management and Office skills. We organise a RAI Discovery process at the start of the traineeship as well, an introductory day during which the students visit the entire company. Later on, trainees can participate in a DiscoverRAI structure, where they spend a day in other departments to gain knowledge and expand their skillset.

more opportunities for young people

The social involvement of RAI Amsterdam and its employees is also illustrated by the various charities they support.


In the spotlight: Event Operations Management helps the Food Bank
The department excursion of Event Operations Management on 24 May was entirely dedicated to the Food Bank. There is a major distribution point on Lutmastraat, a stone’s throw away from the RAI, where some 150 people pick up a package every week. The department enthusiastically carried out the tasks requested by the Food Bank. The supplies and materials collected by the RAI team, from food to refrigerators, should provide substantial help to the Food Bank in its mission.

Cooperation with the RAI works council

As in previous years, there was frequent and constructive dialogue with the works council in 2018. In addition to the structural changes in the company and the cultural evolution that accompanied them, the diverse topics discussed included the financial results, construction developments, consent requests, innovation, new business and working conditions. In addition to these formal consultations, the dialogue continued in a number of subcommittees, such as the HRM Committee, the Financial Committee, the Working Conditions Committee, the Terms of Employment Committee, the Pensions Committee and the Temps Committee.

frequent and constructive dialogue


Market, events
International business exhibitions and congresses are clearly growing. The revitalisation and development of events for the Dutch public remains a challenge, although good results were achieved here too in 2018. On balance, the long-term outlook for RAI Amsterdam is positive while the expectations for 2019 are moderate in comparison with such a peak year as 2018. This fact has been taken into account in the multi-year forecast and the RAI expects to perform in accordance with that forecast.

The RAI has a well-filled portfolio of events. Nonetheless, it will be a challenge to compensate for the added value lost after 2020, the last year in which ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) will be held at the RAI. Partly for this reason, developing and bringing in new events will be a major area of focus.

While Dutch events are stabilising, everything points to international events continuing to expand. Sustainable innovations will increasingly become an important part of the content of events. The RAI will focus more on the contribution of its events to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Implementation of strategy
The following activities are on our agenda for 2019:

  • Portfolio development: organising sales to further meet customer needs, opening one or more offices abroad, optimising our annual agenda and strengthening event communication outside event periods;
  • Customer solutions: developing more services and updating our range based on customer journey surveys while developing a new vision and a strategic plan in the field of stand construction;
  • Digitisation: translating data products into commercial propositions such as matchmaking and solutions for lead generation;
  • Multifunctional area design: completing our 2030 plan for area design, experimenting with temporary functions on the plinth (outside the ground floor) of the convention centre and continuing work on the design of area communication;
  • Learning organisation: the implementation of a new phase in strategic personnel planning, the development of a vision on flexibly deployed workers and further work on safeguarding our cultural values;
  • Building and infrastructure: further development of a vision on infrastructure together with the City of Amsterdam and the Zuidas organisation, renovation of hall 5, further integration of physical and digital safety & security, development of an innovative logistics concept for the future and deployment of external logistics hubs for dispersing freight traffic.

Developments in direct surroundings
The construction of the convention hotel nhow Amsterdam RAI will be very visible, and the outdoor area will be structured. The building area will become a refined urban environment by the end of 2019.

The programme-based approach to the culture and structure process will be further shaped by the executive team in 2019.

As mentioned in the foreword, the Executive Board wishes to thank all stakeholders for their efforts and involvement.

We are especially grateful to our employees, who have delivered truly impressive commercial and operational performances while working on the company strategy, culture and structure. We look forward to continuing to work with our teams in 2019 and aim to bring employee satisfaction back to its 2016 level in addition to achieving our operational objectives.

Amsterdam, 26 March 2019

Executive Board of RAI Holding BV,

Paul Riemens, CEO
Maurits van der Sluis, COO

The Executive Board declares that the drawing up of the financial statement is based on the assumption that the company will continue as a going concern.