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Getting started

Organising events yourself

Are you organising a reception, farewell dinner or lecture? However small the occasion, there's still quite a bit of work involved. Here are a few tips to ensure you are well prepared.

1. Objective and budget

What exactly do you want to achieve with your event? Think about the objective and budget. Once those are clear, you can determine how to proceed with organising the event, and come up with answers to questions such as:

  • Who is the target group?
  • How can I reach the target group? Which means of communication is most suitable, and who will be responsible for communication?
  • What day and time should the event take place?
  • What would be a suitable location?
  • What will the programme be? Will it be interactive?

It may seem obvious, but make sure your event starts on time. If you’re short of capacity, you can consider outsourcing some of the organisational work to the Communications Office (at an additional fee).

2. Booking a room

You can book a room in a UvA building through the secretariat in your own department. Also bear the following things in mind:

  • whether you need to reserve a hallway. Many parts of an event programme take place in the adjacent hallway, such as the welcome/registration, coffee break or reception. That area needs to be booked too.
  • other activities scheduled to take place in the building where your event is being held. For example, it’s not a great idea for your event to start at the same time as a lecture or break times. Bear in mind when exams are being held too.
  • potential extra costs for keeping a building open beyond regular opening hours: extra security, cleaning or AV support.

See the entry on Rooms for more information.
If no UvA room is available, it is also possible to hire spaces outside the UvA. The UvA has set price deals with a number of hotel and conferencing chains in Amsterdam and the surrounding area. Look under Meeting spaces outside the UvA (in Dutch).

3. Registering participants

For organisers, it's useful if participants register in advance. With those figures to hand you can adjust the room capacity and catering requirements, and you can send a confirmation to the people coming. This reminds them that you are counting on them to turn up. It also gives you an idea of who hasn’t registered yet and might need a reminder.

4. Facilities support

You will always need additional facilities services when you organise an event. Just think of the following aspects:

  • cleaning (before and/or afterwards)
  • changing the room layout (before and afterwards)
  • hiring furniture, signage and flipcharts
  • AV support
  • security (required for the safety of participants and for building surveillance outside of opening hours).

Facility Services will organise all of this. Submit your request well in advance using the appropriate form to make sure your needs can be met.

5. Catering

The UvA works with a regular caterer: Eurest Campus Catering. Once you register an account on their website, you can place an online order. The banqueting brochure is also there, showing the packages available for meetings, receptions, dinners and buffets.
When placing your catering order, bear the following things in mind:

  • estimated quantities. Make sure these are not too high, because there are restrictions to making changes afterwards. See the rules of thumb in the PDF below.
  • special dietary requirements
  • the facilities required by the caterer (parking spaces for loading and unloading, water and electricity)
  • requesting an extra cleaning service after the reception or lunch.

For information on catering orders, look under Catering (in Dutch).

6. Gifts with the UvA logo

You may wish to offer giveaways to participants at an event, or give a gift to speakers. The UvA shop has a collection of writing materials, bags, sweaters and other gifts, all branded as the University of Amsterdam. These UvA items can be bought from the UvA online shop.

7. Hotel accommodation

The UvA has reached price agreements with several hotel chains for hotel accommodation in Amsterdam and environs. This means staff can book rooms for their guests at a special rate. Look under  Hotel accommodation in the A-Z list for an overview of the participating hotels (in Dutch).

8. Guest WiFi account

UvA staff organising events can give participants access to the UvA’s wireless network. For more information, see Wireless network (WiFi) in the A-Z list. Visitors can also make use of the open WiFi network in UvA Buildings, which does not require registration or a password.

9. Plan of action

If there is a lot to do on the day itself, draw up a plan of action setting out the time, place, activities and responsibilities. Include a list of names and contact details for everyone involved: external suppliers (caterer, florist, photographer), speakers, emergency response coordinator, etc. And add an overview of all the materials required: participant lists, name badges, signage, presents, etc.