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Session: CEO Talk - Going Dutch?


Tuesday 25 Sept. 2018
17:00 - 18:00


IAAPA Theatre Sponsored by Polin Waterparks

What can the wider industry learn from the Netherlands?

Even though the Netherlands is not one of the biggest countries, the impact of its leisure industry professionals has been, and still is, undeniably strong. From inspirational facilities to some of the most highly regarded suppliers and manufacturers, the Netherlands has an interesting track record.

Join this CEO Talk for a lively discussion on the Dutch and broader leisure industry and the people in it. How has the industry and its people grown up? What have been the most challenging developments in the market and how have the speakers adapted to that? Learn about their passion, their drive, their successes and their mistakes. A session full of stories that will inspire; guaranteed!


Moderator - Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh, Owner, Van Assendelft & Partners

Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh is the owner and principal force behind Van Assendelft & Partners, a Dutch attractions consultancy. The company enjoys international recognition as a specialist for amusement parks and public attractions, especially in the areas of strategic marketing and concept development and has completed over 240 national and international assignments for Theme Parks and Attractions, museums, theatres, local and regional governments and various leisure related companies. Reinoud was a member of the Marketing Committee of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) for five years and was the chairman of this committee for three years. He served eight years on the education committee of IAAPA Europe, was in 2011 and 2012 a member on the IAAPA Hall of Fame Committee and served until 2016 on the Exhibit Awards Committee.


Caroline Kortooms
Caroline Kortooms, Managing Director, Toverland

Caroline Kortooms is as Managing Director of Attractiepark Toverland a believer in magic since day one. She is always searching for the magic in herself and in the people around her. Caroline is curious about unconscious motives and real passion. And then translates that into the authentic signature of Toverland. After all: 'We do not make Magic, we are Magic'.

Huub Lazarom
Huub Lazarom, Managing Director, Corpus

Huub Lazarom is a married father of two boys, one still at home and the other working for Jora Vision after his ‘International Game Architecture & Design’ studies in Breda. Huub worked for over 25 years in the Casino business (government guided Holland Casino's as well as private) and studied Business Management in Rotterdam at the age of 40!

A little less than ten years ago, he decided it was time for a change and got the opportunity to work for a just started (5 months open when he joined the team) educational attraction called CORPUS 'Journey Through the Human Body’ in Oegstgeest near Leiden. Huub’s team exists out of 35 colleagues on a fixed contract and, depending on the season, 60 to 80 flex colleagues (mostly students also from the Leiden area).

CORPUS wants to share three key values with the visitors: lots of exercise, responsible nutrition and healthy living. The attractions does this by giving the visitor an experience on how special you are and by showing what a magnificent instrument your body is. Overall, the attraction wants to motivate people to take good care if themselves.

Dirk Lubbers
Dirk Lubbers, CEO, Tourism Group International

Since the end of 2017, Dirk Lubbers was appointed as CEO of Tourism Group International. A company with business activities in attractions, bars, excursions, museums, canal cruises and ticketing. Selling over 4,5 million tickets on a yearly basis, with a mission to deliver beyond expectation experiences. Before this, Dirk was responsible for the Heineken Experience for seven years. Under his supervision, the attraction has more than doubled the number of visitors in five years and is now one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam. When he’s not working, Dirk reads many (preferably historical) books, plays soccer and jogs. He loves to play with his kids, but only when he will be the winner. Dirk loves to sing along with Frozen, the Rolling Stones and INXS. And finally, manipulating and teasing people are his passion.

Marcel Westerdiep
Marcel Westerdiep, General Manager, Escher in het Paleis

Marcel Westerdiep is the General Manager of museum ‘Escher in the Palace’ in The Hague where he able to establish a significant growth of 110% in visitor numbers within 7 years with a very small and enthusiastic team. Passion, dedication and discipline are the keywords he lives by and what he looks for in others, which are characteristics rooted in his martial arts background.

He enjoys the international aspect of the trade and loves combining not ‘field’ related technologies with the content of the institutions he works for, in order to create new ways of telling stories.

As a team manager, Marcel truly believes that creating ownership within a team results in the best possible outcome, for the company as well as for the individual team members. While working for Merlin Entertainments, he was nominated as innovator of the year for the introduction of the ‘shark weeks’.

Before managing the ‘Escher in the Palace’ museum, Marcel was the general manager of the Sea Life Center Scheveningen, Stayokay Hostel The Hague and the Rotterdam Euromast.

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Practical summary

Date: Tuesday, 25 September 2018
17:00 - 18:00
Location:   RAI Amsterdam Convention Center IAAPA Theatre Sponsored by Polin Waterparks
Fee: Free Admission with EAS badge (IAAPA-members)
'Conference Programme' add-on required (non-members) 
Track: Local Challenges Track
Notes: Must be 18 or older to attend.