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Photo Credit: Maastricht Convention Bureau

Magical Maastricht Tour

The exclusive “Magical Maastricht” event was held from December 1 through 4. Set in a wintry, enchanting atmosphere, this three-day tour is a joint initiative of MECC Maastricht and Maastricht Convention Bureau designed to put Maastricht and the region on the map for American organizers of scientific congresses.


These multi-day conferences mean so much more for the region than just revenue for conference venues and hospitality businesses. For knowledge institutes at the regional Brightlands campuses, these international events offer opportunities to raise their international profile and attract top talent. Magical Maastricht focused on an introduction to the Maastricht area, the Brightlands campuses, and the recently renovated conference centre MECC Maastricht.

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Photo Credit: Maastricht Convention Bureau

Post-tour after European trade fair

Several prominent North American associations were carefully selected for this program. They combined their trip to Maastricht with their visit to IBTM World, the global events industry trade show in Spain. All of the associations invited to attend are considering holding their major multi-day scientific conferences in the Maastricht area between 2023 and 2026. This includes titles that account for a total of over 25,000 overnight hotel stays and a total economic spin-off of 13 million Euros. Accompanied by Maastricht Convention Bureau and MECC Maastricht staff, the delegation toured South Limburg and the Belgian border region. They visited hotels, restaurants, and event venues and were truly captivated by ‘magical Maastricht”’. At MECC Maastricht, dressed in the festive Christmas atmosphere for the upcoming Rieu concerts, people were awed by the versatility and flexibility of the auditorium and “break-out” rooms.

Highlights of the visits to the Brightlands campuses included the knowledge institutes Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4I) and the Chemelot Innovation & Learning Labs (CHILL), where the innovations in health care and sustainable processes and materials for green chemistry made a major impression on them.

Synergy between science, entrepreneurship and holding conferences

Along with cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Maastricht region is one of the favourite conference destinations in the Netherlands. The advantages Maastricht offers as a central hub and city known for “the good life” coalesce with the presence of an innovative regional knowledge ecosystem. This creates more synergy between science, entrepreneurship and successful conferences, such as those held at the MECC Maastricht or on the campuses themselves. All of this is an indication that the region is capitalizing on the growing interest in combining conferences with external company visits, B2B matchmaking sessions and educational workshops on-site.

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Photo Credit: Visit Maastricht

“The Maastricht region really stands out when it comes to hospitality and top-notch science.”

Gerard Lebeda, International Society for Urban Health, said: “During the visit, we learned a lot about the interdisciplinary nature of the knowledge institutes. It was amazing to experience this at the campuses and see how well it works. I am extremely impressed.”

Leah Sibilia, Academy for Eating Disorders, added: “The people’s sincerity and their hospitable nature make you feel very welcome as an international visitor. Not only are the community and what we saw of the region inspiring, but the Dutch innovation and creativity are particularly energizing. History and innovation go hand in hand here.”

Ron Heeren, Professor at Maastricht University and founder of M4I, concluded: “Recently, the 2022 International Mass Spectrometry Conference was held in Maastricht, a very successful event thanks to our partnership with the MECC, the Maastricht Convention Bureau and their affiliated partners. The Maastricht region really stands out when it comes to hospitality and the combination of top-notch science with a strong hospitality sector. The best way to get this across to international conference organizers is to let them experience it for themselves. This is why we were more than happy to open M4I’s doors during this tour. The new contacts this has generated are obviously also very valuable to us.”

Find out more about Maastricht Convention Bureau here.