Meet Peter Van Der Veer, New President Of The European Arenas Association

The European Arenas Association (EAA) has announced its new president, Peter van der Veer, co-CEO and co-owner of the Rotterdam Ahoy in the Netherlands.

Rotterdam Ahoy
– Rotterdam Ahoy
View from the outside

Van der Veer has been a part of the association since 2006, and an active board member since 2012. He succeeds AEG Europe’s Brian Kabatznick, who held the position of EAA president for the past three years.

Van der Veer was born in the city of Utrecht, where he started his career in live entertainment as a student, working at the city’s Jaarbeurs exhibition and convention center. He moved close to Rotterdam together with his family in 2006.

He joined Rotterdam Ahoy’s management board in 2005, buying the operating company from the city of Rotterdam a year later together with four colleagues. He became co-CEO in 2011, alongside Jolanda Jansen.

Peter van der Veer
– Peter van der Veer
Co-CEO and Co-Owner of Rotterdam Ahoy and president of the European Arenas Association

He told Pollstar, “Ahoy is a unique venue, not just in the Netherlands, but Europe as well. It’s an [almost 15,000 standing capacity] arena as well as a [30,000 square meters-plus] exhibition and convention center. We have a lot of events, like the ABN AMRO Tennis Tournament or the Friends of Amstel, who not only use the arena, but also the exhibition and event halls. We are quite a large venue, if you compare it to stand-alone arenas.”

He revealed that Ahoy is going to build a new conference center with an amphitheatre-style venue that holds 2,750 people. “We can convert that to a 7,000-capacity concert hall, a black box. It will be quite a unique venue.” The opening of the new venue is scheduled for 2020.

Ahoy isn’t just a venue, it also promotes its own events: trade fairs, sports and some music events. Said van der Veer:

“The Netherlands, and especially Rotterdam, has always been a gateway to Europe, so we see a lot of tours passing through. The Dutch people are known for their positivity and their engagement with events. We have a strong festival and event market. People have money to spend on events, which makes the Netherlands – a relatively small country with 17 million people – a good stop for tours,” van der Veer continued.

“There are a lot of Dutch professionals, not only venues, but also suppliers, caterers, etc. working in the business.”

Commenting on his new role as EAA president, he said, “as an association of arenas, it’s very important for us to get relevant content. We’re always looking at commercial possibilities, to do more events. The eGaming market is an example, you see new kinds of sports and music events coming up as well. We want to be inclusive to all kinds of events.”

Other hot topics on EAA’s agenda include security, sustainability and ticketing. 

“We’re constantly evolving as an association. We have two general meetings a year, always at another venue, which are all about learning from each other and from experts. We, for example, invite people from Google, who’ll explain how we can be more visible online.”

“Thirdly, it’s very important for our association to train and develop our staff to become more professional. At our last meeting in Lisbon, we had young sales and marketing professionals from different arenas sharing best practices.”

A forth point on our agenda is concerned with cooperating with other associations from other fields, such as production or safety and security. “In the end, the sharing of information will make the business more professional, and thus enhance the event experience of our clients and visitors,” said van der Veer.

His favorite live act is John Mayer. “But I also like all the old soul music, and, of course, The Rolling Stones. I’ve seen a few of their concerts; they’re amazing. My musical perspective is very broad. It’s a gift to work at a company, and also in an association, where you have the possibility to join all kinds of live events almost on a daily basis.”

In 2017, the 35 EAA member venues from 22 countries welcomed 18.7 million customers to 2,899 events in total. Besides van der Veer, the EAA board is made up of Girts Krastins (Arena Riga, Latvia), John Langford (The O2, London, England), Jorge Silva (Altice Arena, Portugal) and Lotta Nibell (Scandinavium, Sweden).

Rotterdam Ahoy
– Rotterdam Ahoy
Rendering of the new venue, scheduled to open in 2020