Prof. Maarten van Kleef, best ambassador for Maastricht as a conference cityIt was no easy task for the jury of the Brightlands Convention Award 2014 as all four nominees have done pioneering work in keeping scientific conferences and symposiums in Maastricht or winning them for Maastricht. Every symposium, every conference, every medical convention puts Maastricht more firmly on the international conference map. Every conference brings a flow of visitors in its wake, so hotels, restaurants, transport companies and other suppliers reap the benefits.
Brightlands sponsors the award, thereby underlining the importance of conferences to the organisations and businesses on the Maastricht Health Campus and the Chemelot Campus.
One winner, four ambassadors
Tribute was paid to all four nominees during the annual TEFAF meeting of the conference ambassadors club Amici ad Mosam) on 21 March 2015. They had each shown themselves to be true and worthy ambassadors for Maastricht as a conference city.
After a two-year process, working closely with the MCB, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chris Arts managed to bring the European Conference on Biomaterials 2018 with over 1,500 expected visitors to Maastricht.
As long ago as 2010, it was announced that the XXI Congress of the European Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery would be held for the first time in the Netherlands – in Maastricht. The departure of one of the initiators threatened to throw a spanner in the works. Neurosurgeon Prof. Yasin Temel managed to keep the congress, with its 900 international participants, for Maastricht.
In 2017, 1,500 international archaeologists will descend on Maastricht for the five-day Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. This is thanks to Gilbert Soeters, who teamed up with Karianne Winthagen (Province of Limburg) and MECC Maastricht to bring home the EAA conference after almost four years of preliminary work.
The winner of the Brightlands Convention Award 2014 is Prof. Maarten van Kleef. For years, working closely with MECC Maastricht and the Maastricht Convention Bureau, he lobbied to have the World Institute of Pain conference, with its 1,800 participants, organised in Maastricht in 2014.
In the words of the jury: “We have much pleasure in presenting the Brightlands Convention Award 2014 to Prof. Maarten van Kleef. It is a token of thanks for his pioneering research, his enthusiastic ambassadorship for the city of Maastricht and his cooperation with highly respected colleagues from UMC Radboud and East Limburg Hospital (Genk, Belgium). But it is also a compliment to his determination to bring this conference to Maastricht.” The compliments were accompanied by a bronze guardian angel symbolising the ambassadorship of Maastricht, Conference City, created by artist Wil van der Laan.