Maastricht Convention Bureau

Archives: July 2017

Stayen new partner Maastricht Convention Bureau

The network of partners of the Maastricht Convention Bureau continues to grow: recently, Stayen (B) has joined the foundation.

The Maastricht Convention Bureau is a foundation that maps the Maastricht Region as a destination for multi-day (inter) national congresses, especially in the field of Health & Materials. In addition, the agency offers independent information, advice and mediation to people who want to organize their conference in the Maastricht Region. The Maastricht Convention Bureau facilitates and takes the worry of their hands. Close cooperation with regional international institutes, governments and euregional alliances is of great importance.

Staying has a clear reason for joining the foundation.



Marieke Höfte, Director: “As a multifunctional conference center, Stayen is located in Sint-Truiden in the heart of Haspengouw, just across the border in Belgium, with many possibilities for international conferences, events and hospitality. Cooperation with the Maastricht Convention Bureau is a logical step in further expansion to an international clientele.”


The Maastricht Convention Bureau is pleased with the accession of Stayen. Director Jurgen Moors: “Staying is an absolute asset for our venue portfolio. We are always striving for high-quality partnerships with locations and service providers from the region and surrounding border regions. This is only important for business bookers who make use of our services free of charge, as well as the organizations connected with us can work together and do business together, thanks to the close network.”

For an overview of all partners, click here.

In the spotlight: Niels Klinkhamer

Each month, we aim our spotlight at one of our regional partners. What are the developments within their company? What are the challenges? In short: you will not only get to know the person better, but also the company where he or she works. This month’s In the spotlight guest is Niels Klinkhamer, Director of Klinkhamer Group | meeting services:

1. Why did you choose the position you have now?

“The position I now occupy, as director of the Klinkhamer Group, has been almost an inescapable growth process. It all began when I started my career at an event venue in Kerkrade, the Rodahal. Then I built my expertise as event manager at Van Zandbeek Lieben and manager at Conference Agency Maastricht. The beauty of this profession is the diversity in customer contact, the changing workplaces (often international) and last but not least the various aspects that each new project involves. Thanks to such ample experience and knowledge that I was able to build with these employers, the most logical follow-up step was to become an independent entrepreneur.”

2. What are the most recent developments within your company? (HR/renovation plans etc.)

“In the last 10 years of our existence, which started as a sole proprietorship in an attic room, an employee was added to the team almost every year. As a result, we have moved 2 times to a larger location and are currently housed in the MECC building, with which we are very pleased. Furthermore, we became Rijkswaterstaat’s exclusive supplier 1.5 years ago, we have built up a good cooperation with the Province of Limburg and Maastricht University and include Toshiba and LED to our regular customers. We are very proud of that.”

3. Which challenges are you facing?

“In business terms, managing a growing company always requires a different approach. One could call it ´the pain of growing’. On the one hand, you must continue to serve the customer optimally and keep your team on track while on the other hand you often have that demanding client who still expects –rightly so–with less and less budget the usual high-quality service and who wants to look back on a successful conference. This sometimes feels as ‘acrobatics’. But a very interesting challenge that we like to face together as a team.”

4. What have you achieved, of which you are most proud?

“I started 10 years ago in the midst of an economic crisis. Over the years we have been able to build a good reputation as a PCO specialized in specific events and congresses. This reputation is thanks to my first hour employees, who are still part of our team. They supported me in the build up of this company in a difficult market, very motivated and loyal. I am very grateful and proud that in the start-up phase I have been able to tie these motivated young people to me.
Of course, I am also proud of the many beautiful and unique events we have been able to organize over the years. Especially those during which someone of the Royal Family was represented and where we had to deal with many specific protocols and strict court rules.
Developing our own registration tool called ‘Insight’ is also something I’m proud of.”

5. What does the Maastricht Convention Bureau mean to you?

“The MCB is an important, if not the most important, promotional agency to internationally put the Maastricht Region on the map as an excellent destination for congresses and (large) meetings. This is of course very important for us, as our core business is organizing (large-scale) congresses and meetings. When the MCB is able to perform its function properly, this is in the interest of all stakeholders, participants and all affiliated companies and organizations (SMEs) which benefit from business brought to the Maastricht Region.
The MCB is a good cooperation partner to recruit congresses for the city. Over the years, the MCB has been able to realize a useful and good expansion of its service package.”


Earlier editions of this feature

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Leading Congress on Computational Intelligence and Games to Maastricht

From 14-17 August 2018 the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG) takes place in Maastricht. It is the first time that this annual conference, organized since 2005, will be held in the Netherlands*. IEEE CIG is one of the major international conferences in this field. Around 150 leading researchers and developers from the academic world and game industry from all over the world come together to exchange the latest developments and launch future research guidelines.

Topic of the conference is, in brief, Game AI. Computer games can be used as a challenging environment to test and compare methods for artificial intelligence, as they have all kinds of dynamic elements that also occur in decision making in the real world.

In addition, methods of artificial intelligence will greatly influence game technology and development, assist designers and developers, and making new types of computer games possible.


The conference is organized by the Department of Data Science & Knowledge Engineering of Maastricht University. The conference is under the auspices of the Games Technical Committee of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. This Society, the IEEE Computer Society, the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society and the IEEE Sensors Council also sponsor a magazine on this subject: IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games.


Chairman of the committee of this congress is Dr. Mark Winands, associate professor at the Department of Data Science & Knowledge Engineering of Maastricht University. He explains why the organization of IEEE CIG has chosen Maastricht as destination for the 2018 edition of the conference:

“Maastricht is a historic city, with a rich cultural heritage. It is a great location for the CIG conference, with excellent conference facilities located in and around the university campus. The proposed conference venue is the former Jesuit Monastery and the School of Business and Economics, within walking distance of the train station and close to various hotels. This location contains two large auditoriums, seats for 180 and 500 people, and various small auditoriums for parallel sessions. The organization team also identified several good hotels that provide affordable accommodation near the proposed conference room.

The main cities of Europe are within two hours of Maastricht. The city is surrounded by Belgium and Germany and close to France. It is easily accessible by car, train or airplane. There are several international airports in the area, one hour’s drive from the city. There is a direct train service from Amsterdam Central Station to the city of Maastricht every 30 minutes.”

John Aarts, alderman for Economic Affairs, Mobility and Finance of the city of Maastricht, is delighted with the coming of the conference: “Leading international congresses such as IEEE are of great importance to Maastricht. The economic benefits for the city are considerable. In addition, the congresses provide knowledge development and contribute significantly to the renown of Maastricht as a university and knowledge city. ”

For more information about IEEE CIG 2018:


* Previous countries were UK, USA, Hawaii, Australia, Italy, Denmark, South Korea, Spain, Canada, Germany, Taiwan, and Greece.