Last week we were invited to the Belgian Ambassador’s residence on Belgrave Square for tea and a presentation organised by Visit Brussels. We were welcomed into the beautiful reception area, where we were surrounded by stunning Flemmish art, and offered traditional Belgian waffles and tea.

Once we were all seated for the event, the Ambassador of Belgium welcomed us, and talks about the many things Brussels has to offer as he positions the city as a premier destination for MICE activities and associations. A gateway to Europe, he gets a laugh when he reminds us that it’s easier to get to than Manchester, and will stay that way following the HS2 decision! The Visit Brussels team go on to talk about how accessible Brussels is, both from London and from Europe. With art nouveau alongside street art, it is a richly contrasted city, Europe’s decision making capital as well as an open-minded, creative and LGBTQ+ friendly destination.

The team shared details of The Association Place, a soon to be opened building in Brussels that will serve as a hub and a home for the many international associations that are either based in Brussels, or pass through it.

We then heard from Adrian Harris (FAIB) and Mike Morissey (ESAE and European Cancer Organisation) in a discussion facilitated by Paul Walsh (Association Ambassador). They talked about why they had chosen to set up associations in Brussels, sharing the many benefits they have experienced as a result.

Finally, Sarah from the Visit Brussels team spoke about what the Convention Association Bureau does to support associations and event planners there. They shared some of the fantastic resources they have on offer including meeting planner guides and interactive venue finders.

We then returned to the reception area for a networking drinks event, during which delicious canapes were served.

It was a pleasure to see what Brussels has to offer to associations, and to event agencies. We’ll certainly be visiting soon, and we hope our members will too!

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