RAI Amsterdam

RAI Amsterdam

Select an option from the set of our Amsterdam

apartments and stay in the charming area of Zuideramstel with close access to

the fantastic RAI Centre.

RAI is a

nickname for Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, though the long

name appears usually only in official news, press releases or business

publications. Usually people refer to it simply as ‘RAI’, or ‘RAI

Congrescentrum’ if you wish to speak in Dutch. To put it short, RAI is a

state-of-the-art complex of exhibition and conference halls, perfect for

business, cultural and scientific events – which do in fact take place on the

premises, some on a regular basis. The place lent its name to the nearby

railway station – Amsterdam RAI, so if you notice a train/tram/metro stop

called like this, you will have at least one good reason to leave and explore

the vicinities. The district of Zuidas is a very business-oriented area, with

many global companies having their seats in one of the several giant glass

buildings, so the feature of RAI in such landscape seems more than natural.

After all, the year 2009 saw the completion of RAI’s tall expansion under the

name of Elicium (47 meters high!); with such addition, it became Europe’s

largest conference center – and a great local landmark to boast with.

The beginnings


completely modern in its look and character, RAI dates back – quite

surprisingly – as early as 1893! Anyway, the story behind the name is connected

to Rijwiel-Industrie (‘Bicycle Industry’ if you translate it into English)

trade industry – in short, “RI”. It was started by a group of manufacturers of

bicycles (it’s not so surprising if you take into consideration the popularity

of this means of transport, is it?) and they held their first show in 1895 at

the Palace of Industry (‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’ – a beautiful building found

on Frederiksplein, which was, sadly,

devastated by fire in 1929). With much public acclaim, the trade show laid the

foundations for further activities in the area and in 1900 the RI renamed

itself to RAI (the ‘A’ is for automobiles), as more and more of its members

began making cars. In 1922 the show moved to another exhibition hall at the

prominent Ferdinand Bolstraat street – one of the most-known local parts of the

city, featuring the Heineken Experience or the 23-floor Okura Hotel. However,

as the scope of exhibitions was extending, the year 1961 saw the opening of the

current premises on Europaplein square; the new facility was opened by Prince

Bernard of the Netherlands, adding to the momentousness of the event, and has

remained there ever since. An interesting fact is that the municipality of

Amsterdam owns only 25% of the place, while the remaining majority of it still

rests in the hands of the original RAI association, providing yet another good

example of successful cooperation between the city and private business in the

Venice of the North.

RAI inside out


Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre (Dutch: RAI Congrescentrum), or

RAI for short, is a complex of conference and exhibition halls in the Zuidas

business district of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Still, apart from the plenty

of globally-known brand logos that soar above the area, functioning as a kind

of landmark for the visitors, you will also find this place surrounded by an

abundance of fresh greenery lining the charming neighboring alleys, including a

vast park named after the former Dutch monarch – Beatrixpark, overlooking the

RAI at its eastern section stretching along the small lovely canal. The feature

of a fantastic green space like this provides a wonderful natural contrast to

the otherwise ever-developing, business-oriented Zuidas neighborhood.


complex remains, of course, a special highlight of the district. Imagine an

exhibition area of over 87,000 square meters with 11 multifunction halls – can

you think of any better place to organize trade fairs, art exhibitions, sports

gatherings or cultural events? There are 22 conference and congress rooms in

the Congress Centre, able to fit about 1,750 people altogether. Moreover, one

of the large exhibition halls can be transformed into a conference hall at

special request. Add to this full air conditioning and local catering services

for over 3,000 people at the time (with four restaurants providing

self-service; La Ronde and the Brasserie – two of the more ‘specialty’-type

eating establishments offer waiting services, too) and you have a 100%-complete

supply to manage any kind of event, ranging from press conferences and big

parties to product presentations and banquets. In case you’re still hesitant,

let the figures do the talking: in 2012, the RAI attracted over 1.4 million

visitors with around 400,000 of them attending international conferences and

exhibitions, which is a growth by 30% compared to 2011! And the number of

exhibitors is just as dazzling – a total of 16,364! This huge popularity was

one of the factors to secure a prestigious award for RAI – in 2012 it was named

Best International Venue by one of the leading magazines dealing with commerce

and trade issues, Exhibition News.

A rich portfolio

If you’re

familiar with event names like METS, Intertraffic, ISSA Interclean or Eurovision

Song Contest (held at the place in 1970), then you know more or less what to

expect. If not, then let me just say that regardless of the branch of business

you’re into – whether professionally or as a hobby, the RAI is

THE place to go if you’re after the most

innovative, inspiring, groundbreaking and cutting-edge ideas in the field of

science, medicine, technology, automobiles, construction, food or water sports…

Actually, the list goes on and on, but events like IBC (International

Broadcasting Convention) devoted to the area of global entertainment and news,

PAN Amsterdam – for all the genuine art lovers, ATC Global dedicated to air

traffic issues, PanStadiaExpo dealing with sports facilities and events attract

thousands of visitors each year, so why not take part in it yourself? Discover

the world of variety in the fantastic maze of stands and exhibitions found

inside the place virtually all year long. After all, there’s no better spot to

get in touch with international business on the highest level than the RAI Exhibition

and Convention Centre.

Finding the way

As said before, you’re bound to notice the

exceptional structure of the RAI already from afar, especially if you arrive

from the direction of Amsterdam RAI station. Still, if you prefer to get there

by car, the site offers an underground parking space for around 3,000 cars, but

the total capacity on the premises amounts to something about 4,600 parking

places. Still, there’s also another parking lot right next to the center,

serving around 7,500 vehicles – including coaches. Another great thing about

the RAI’s location is that its landing stage is also used as the access point

for local canal boat trips. Sounds fun, right? And it surely is fun. The entry

fees depend on the current exhibitions, so it’s advised to go through the

agenda at: