Hugo Slimbrouck, our director of Strategic Partnerships recently took part in a famtrip to Norway. He describes the beautiful and most northern country of Western Europe as a safe place populated by the happiest people. Norway has what National Geographic calls one of the best-preserved attractions on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List: the Fjords of Western Norway. We can’t wait to discover more about this unique experience!
Not far from the magnificent Fjords and bright northern lights, modern conference venues and infrastructure open up a large number of program options for those who plan meetings, conferences, events or incentives. The Stavanger Region, which we discovered on this trip, is easily accessible with direct flights from Europe and connected to many other Norwegian cities, which allows for an easy combination.
Incentive activities range from hiking across the unique Fjord landscapes and glaciers to catching the magical Northern Lights, spectacular whale safaris, charming Fjord cruises, adventures and activities in a Winter Wonderland. Here you take a walk in the Vikings’ footsteps or enjoy a culinary adventure based on the very trendy “Nordic Food” concept.
This educational trip was hosted by Innovation Norway / The Norway Convention Bureau, locally supported by Ovation’s Strategic Partner for Norway, Scan One. Always putting the client’s needs first, Scan One takes pride in designing tailor-made projects and programs which deliver their client’s corporate identity, values and vision with a uniquely Norwegian twist. By combining Norway’s exceptional landscape and charm with the high-tech infrastructure available, the DMC team under the leadership of our very own Flemish Heidi Legein creates highly interactive programs which cover all industry activities – meetings, incentives, conferences and events.
Hugging Norway’s fjord-laden west coast, The Stavanger Region promised to refresh and excite guests with a wealth of activity options. And they did deliver! We discovered what visiting corporate groups can expect when visiting this Northern European wonderland.
Travel from the Benelux to Stavanger is smooth and easy. From Brussels one connects through Copenhagen or Oslo, from Amsterdam one flies direct to Stavanger.
We were welcomed at the completely renovated Radisson Blu Atlantic hotel. I had stayed here some 25 year ago and the place had indeed a complete make-over recently. To get to know the Norwegian partners, a short meeting and reception were staged whilst Executive Chef Daniel Rougé Madsen shared his new culinary vision at the show table of the Firelake restaurant.
By now it was time to stretch our legs and get a fresh nose. So we walked from the hotel, through the old town toward the new concert house. Many of the buildings we passed were old fish canning workshops, now turned into luxury apartments and houses, reminiscent of the old Stavanger, from the years before one discovered North Sea Oil and turned the place into the oil capital of the North Sea.
The impressive Stavanger Concert House is not only used for spectacular concerts (of which we got a taste), but also overlooks the stunning harbor. A great place for larger conferences too. On the way back, we of course had to get one for the road (although it was just a short walk back to the hotel) and found ourselves a nice watering hole called Alf & Werner. Luckily we were on foot because zero tolerance for alcohol when driving means zero tolerance in Norway!
A nice bag of pillow gifts was waiting in our room when we got back to the hotel. A very traditional way of connecting with Stavanger past, the set included some canned fish, woolen egg warmers, a mouth harp and a story book.
We are here to work!
Early birds had enjoyed the hotel spa before hitting the extensive breakfast buffet. And so we set off for Stavanger Expo, where in the main hall, the “Norwegian Travel Workshop” was taking place, but where a separate room was set up for one-to-one conversations between meeting and event planners and the local destination suppliers. Scan One transformed the room playfully for two hours of speed dating under the theme of ‘Norway’s got game!’.
Enough work done, it was time to experience the destination and its activities a bit more so we set off for some Trends Fusion activities and a lunch party at one of Stavanger’s alternative hotspots. Workshops in the Tou Scene brewery included a Lego challenge, Graffiti and Norwegian cooking. We were very worried when we found out that most of the British delegates were in the kitchen, after all, they were cooking our luncheon! But hey, they did very well. Bearded DJ Doc Lello made sure to warm us all up and allow us to do some singalongs in the style of ‘Last Night a DJ shaved my wife’.
We were picked up by two small fishing boats to bring us back to the harbor. Whilst some disappeared to the hotel to catch up on emails, others found the time to roam the quaint downtown area and grab a coffee. We came back to the downtown area for a great dinner party at Food Loose with live music by local ‘imported’ artist Jeremaya. Time for storytelling, a skill we master particularly well in our industry. And of course, we ended up in Hall Toll, one of the great clubs the city of Stavanger has, for some serious G&T therapy.
And surprise surprise, DJ Doc Lello was playing at the hotel bar when we got back. Guarantee for another late night …
Of fjords and pedestals
Norway’s world renowned fjords were top of today’s agenda. Stavanger harbor is a short transfer walk away, the town is really built around it and acts as the launching port for an adrenaline filled rib boat excursion through the Lysefjord, one of Norway’s most impressive fjords. We were able to discover this beautiful fjord, known for its many waterfalls and above all the Pulpit Rock, one of Norway’s eternal iconic places. We were accompanied by a video crew who brought their new drone toys and so you can experience most of the above again by watching this short video which was produced of our Norwegian experience here: https://ovationdmc.com/destinations/norway/
Before we went back to the airport, we made a stop on a beautiful white sandy beach for our farewell luncheon at Ølberg. Again gastronomy of the highest level!
Vicky the Viking
What we did not do on this trip, but will certainly do when we are back, is a Viking experience. Bow & arrow, axe tossing and spear throwing are just a few of the team building activities which guests will enjoy during avisit to the nearby Karmøy Vikingfarm. A great opportunity for building team spirit and earning the title of Strongest Viking.
During the workshops, we also met representatives of Bergen, Alesund and Bodo (in the North of the country). We didn’t have time to visit these destinations though, so Norway, we’ll be back!
The Norway Convention Bureau will be one of many partners on our B2B Workshop in Antwerp on 25 June.
Text and Photography by BBT Online
Published on www.bbtonline.eu in June 2018.