It’s been amazing! The 49th WTCA General Assembly in Leeuwarden is over

A few responses we have received:

‘It’s been amazing, the best WTCA General Assembly ever’

‘The program, the organization, the speaker and even the food were all Top Dutch! The best conference I’ve attended ever, period!’

‘First of all, my compliments for the well-organized and informative WTC conference. We received many visitors at our stand and gained many new contacts from countries we don’t even export to yet’

‘The guests hadn’t even departed and we had our first assignment’.

‘The matchmaking meetings arranged were fruitful in that we learned much about the leading water tech position that Holland holds and why this is the case, as well the diverse initiatives to manage water quality, environmental impacts, food supply, etc.’

‘It has been a long time since I can remember attending such a great event, involving not only authorities but especially companies of the local business community.’


We never would have been able to realize this convention without the substantive and financial contributions from our sponsors. Their share with their input of expertise, enthusiasm and energy in various parts of the program has been indispensable. A special word of thanks for Jant van Dijk and her ‘Congres Bureau Friesland’ team, and Ebel Jan van Dijk from the ‘Jongens van de Lucht’. Chapeau for their organization such a great program. We also give the team from our own location a special thanks. It has been amazing to welcome everybody in our location the WestCord WTC in Leeuwarden.


  • 271 foreign guests from
  • 39 countries
  • the 1st International Trade Day 2018
    • 230 participants from the Netherlands
    • 271 participants from abroad
    • 5 focus areas: Water Technology, Healthy Ageing, Real-Estate, Energy, Agri-Food.
    • 22 workshops
    • 1 inspirational opening film (if you’d like to reminisce, click here)
    • 2 inspirational keynote speakers
    • 1 great ‘Day Chairwoman’
    • 2 surprising musical performances
    • 4 experts on ‘doing international business’
    • 1 theme: ‘Trust the Core of International Business’
    • 1 goal: Putting the Northern Netherlands into the global network to promote business in and with foreign countries
  • 8 MOU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) signed
  • 4 WTC delegation tours (focus on Dairy, Water, Real Estate en Energy & Sustainability)
  • 41 traveling companies
  • 5 B2B matchmaking day tours in which 22 North Netherlands companies were visited
  • Several delegations who, after three days of visiting North Netherlands, among other things the WUR in Wageningen, met various companies in Zeeland.
  • 3 days of tourist day trips through North Netherlands for the accompanying partners
  • 1 gala dinner including:
    o amazing presentation from Top Dutch
    o sneak preview of Conference of the Birds program from LF2018
  • 1 convention organizing company
  • Leeuwarden and our region the Northern Netherlands was put on the map. It is and was a success!!



Click here for a visual review

  • The welcome reception on 22 April
  • The International Trade Day on 23 April
  • The signing of the MOU’s
  • Delegate member meetings and B2B tours
  • The gala dinner
  • Closing program in Amsterdam

Leeuwarden/Amsterdam was the epicenter of international trade from 22 – 27 April. The Frisian capital welcomed approximately 280 international guests from 60 different countries from the worldwide WTC network. An excellent opportunity to introduce (North) Dutch entrepreneurs with international ambitions to the WTC network and to match them with the approximate 60 international companies that attended. A network that, in addition to knowledge and expertise, gives access to no less than 750.000 organizations and companies.

22 April 2018 – Welcome reception.

The official opening of the three-day international conference consisted of a welcome reception for the WTC delegates, sponsors and guests. The kick-off was done by Scott Ferguson, CEO of the World Trade Centers Association. Friso Douwstra (Alderman for Economic Affairs) welcomed our international guests from the Municipality of Leeuwarden, followed by Paul Visschedijk, Chairman of World Trade Center Leeuwarden.

23 April 2018 – International Trade Day

Cooperation, doing business, networking and sharing knowledge. That is what you could expect during International Trade Day! Trust, the core of international business, was the central theme of the ITD. Mayor Ferd Crone welcomed all those present to ‘his’ Leeuwarden, the Cultural Capital of Europe. With an inspiring opening film, (if you’d like to reminisce, click here) the start signal was given for the many program elements that the day had to offer. During the plenary part and the workshops, various themes and top industries with fascinating keynote speakers such as Henk Ovink (Watergezant) and Aalt Dijkhuizen (President Dutch Topsector Agri & Food) were discussed. A viewpoint was also given on Energy, Healthy Ageing and Real Estate & (Re)Development. Iris Kroes, together with the NHL Stenden choir, provided a musical setting with beautiful songs like ‘Surrounded by Water’ and ‘We are the World’.

Between all the workshops, you could be informed on the exhibitor’s market. Approximately 35 companies and organizations were present. With the NetworkApp, everyone could put together their own program and make appointments. This app was already available prior to the 23rd of April.

The day came to a close with Happy Hour. Our personal WTCL Business Club members were invited.

No less than 8 MOU’s signed in Leeuwarden.

During the ITD and the WTCA delegate meetings, 8 MOU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) were signed. This strengthens an intensified cooperation between various cities and partnerships, such as: – Shanghai with Leeuwarden, São Paulo with Den Haag/Rotterdam – Las Vegas with Twente, Denver with Leeuwarden – WTC Mumbai with NICCT (Netherlands India Chamber of Commerce & Trade) – WTC Agricultural Commission, an agri partnership consisting of approximately 40 WTCs.

24 and 25 April 2018. Delegate member meeting and B2B company tours

These days focused on the members meeting for the WTC delegates, during which they closed their meeting day on the 24th with four thematic tours, namely :

1) Water Alliance /Wetses by host Hein Molenkamp, Director;
2) Dairy Campus visit by Kees de Koning, Director;
3) Blokhuispoort visit by Dennis Mous, Development Manager at BOEi;
4) Elfstedenhal visit by Tauw including a guided tour, presentation of the Frisian Eleven Cities, Oud Fries Museum visit and and exposition about climate tasking.

For the entrepreneurs travelling along with the delegates, this day was all about ‘meeting’. They participated in the day trips that suited their business and interests or had a personal program.

Their choice consisted of:

A company visit to the Dokkumer Vlaggencentrale was organized for these participants in the morning of April the 25th.


24 april 2018 – Gala dinner.

In the evening the gala dinner took place with Klaas Kielstra (Deputy Province of Friesland) and Friso Douwstra (Alderman for Economic Affairs municipality of Leeuwarden) present. Between the courses of the meal, guests could view a sneak preview of ‘Conference of the Birds’, one of the bigger projects of CH2018; Led by musician/composer Sytze Pruiksma, the story of a group of birds looking for a leader is musically interpreted by an orchestra comprised of various bands. WTC Leeuwarden also symbolically passed the baton to Mexico /Queretaro, where the General Assembly is being hosted in 2019. For dessert, all the guests were directed to a higher floor where they were treated to a rousing Top Dutch Experience which demonstrates, in a cool way, what we are good at in North Netherlands. Click here to experience this again, don’t forget to turn up the volume. Part of the experience was a beautiful performance by Elske de Wal with her interpretation of  BLØF’s ‘Omarm me’. With a modern dance and a repeat of  Elske de Wall’s song ‘Wonderful life’ by Black, the show came to an end and the dancing began at Bar One.

25 April 2018 Closing program in Leeuwarden.

The WTCA delegate members had their closing meeting in the morning. For the accompanying entrepreneurs who did of course not join the WTCA delegate meetings a visit to the Dokkumer Vlaggen Centrale in Dokkum was organized.
In the afternoon all international guests headed for Amsterdam via the Afsluitdijk. They visited the new Waddenbezoekerscentrum (Mudflats visitor center). After leaving the Afsluitdijk the bustour went straight through the flourishing bulb fields towards WTC Amsterdam. The WTC Amsterdam Business Club organized a great network reception. Coen van Oostrom from EDGHE Technologies gave a lecture in the field of sustainable and smart buildings.

A word of thanks

And, last but not least, we would like to thank our three General Assembly board members. Their perseverance and tenacity  contributed greatly to the success of this event.

– Gerrit Baarda (Ziuz Visual Intelligence)
– Arjan van der Veen (Fiber-Line International BV)
– Jan Zeinstra (Zet BV)





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