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Give your events a little more soul – An interview with Mathilde Oechsner, from BELvue and Coudenberg
A ‘royal event venue’ manager under the spotlight:
Mathilde Oechsner, BELvue and Coudenberg
In our interview with Mathilde Oechsner, promotions manager for BELvue and Coudenberg, she reveals how exceptional historical sites and museums are evolving and interacting with event planners’ requests.
Mathilde Oechsner | Promotions manager BELvue & Couenberg
BELvue is a project from the King Baudouin Foundation whose mission is to contribute to a better society and to attain social cohesion in Belgium and Europe
BSV: In the last few years we have noticed that an increasing number of museums and cultural sites are offering professionally equipped spaces to host meetings, dinners, receptions and other gatherings. Is this a change for the better?
MO: Our museums and heritage sites add value to our clients’ events. They give an inspiring cultural charge to their delegates, and the problem of theme and décor is already solved! BELvue and Coudenberg both offer an exceptional atmosphere! We have adapted our museums to suit all kinds of events and have put facilitating logistics in place for organisers. Our spaces are fully equipped with the requisite modern technology, and we have trained personnel dedicated to the meeting industry.
BSV: What arguments would you use to convince doubtful organisers to hold their events in a museum or a historical site? What can you actually offer them?
MO: While retaining the intrinsic nature of our sites, we are giving our image a makeover and developing in very positive ways. At BELvue, acting on observation and feedback, we have created new offers, as well as adapting and building on existing packages to meet our clients’ needs. We have noticed that many customers really like the combination of our two sites BELvue and Coudenberg for the same event. With this they can treat their participants to a change of scenery and a little refinement, as well as enabling them to wander through time and to dream! But two venues come with a cost. So we have adapted our formulas and have created a number of ‘à la carte’ arrangements, which are in line with the time to be spent and the number of participants; this, of course, comes with advantageous prices for the clients who wish to combine their events in both venues. It is now easier (and cheaper) for example, to combine a visit to the archaeological site and the rental of the Atrium.
BSV: Rethinking and rebranding: how can a museum be reinvented as a client might reinvent their company?
MO: The cultural aspect here plays a key role, and diversity too (especially for returning clients). We are not offering a dusty environment and we want to reinforce this with regular attractions. For example, between October and early January, we will be hosting an exhibition on the surrealist painter and poet Christian Dotremont. Visiting the temporary exhibition or privatising it along with a reception, will be an added incentive for organising an event at BELvue & Coudenberg. It would also be ideal for a themed end-of-year event!
BSV: We recently wrote an article on how nature and daylight have positive effects on delegates and provide them with a sense of well-being and happiness. You can also add this attraction to your venues.
MO: We are centrally located directly opposite the Parc de Bruxelles, which is the city’s largest public park. It is already a wonderful setting, but the natural daylight of our Atrium and our event garden are the cornerstones of a successful event. And if our garden, with its view of the Royal Palace, can’t always promise a royal presence, if you’re in the right place at the right time you might just get a royal wave!
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