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RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

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RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre
RAI Elicium in 2010
LocationZuidas, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates52°20′29″N 4°53′18″E / 52.34139°N 4.88833°E / 52.34139; 4.88833Coordinates: 52°20′29″N 4°53′18″E / 52.34139°N 4.88833°E / 52.34139; 4.88833
ArchitectAlexander Bodon
Opened2 February 1961
Renovated2007–2009, 2018
Expanded2009 (RAI Elicium)
Former names
Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre
Theatre seating
  • 12,900 (Europahal RAI)
  • 1,750 (RAI Theatre)
Enclosed space
 • Total space112,200 m2 (1,208,000 sq ft)
Parking4,000 spaces
Public transit access

RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre,[1] commonly known as RAI Amsterdam[1] or simply RAI (Dutch pronunciation: [raːi] (About this soundlisten), acronym for Rijwiel en Automobiel Industrie), is a complex of conference and exhibition halls in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Opened in 1961, the RAI welcomed its 75 millionth visitor in February 2001. Up to 2 million people visit the RAI every year. Some 50 international conferences and 70 trade shows are held at the RAI annually. The complex consists of 22 conference rooms and 11 multi-functional halls and has a total floor space of 112,200 m². The largest hall, Europahal RAI, can Capacity 12,900 people. The complex also includes a musical and concert theatre and underground parking space for over 4,000 cars.

It gives its name to the nearby Amsterdam RAI railway station.


Europahal RAI in April 2002
Europahal RAI in April 2002

The origins of the RAI complex can be traced back to 1893, when the trade association RI (Rijwiel-Industrie, Dutch for "Bicycle Industry") was founded by a number of bicycle manufacturers. The first bicycle trade show of the RI was held in 1895 at the Paleis voor Volksvlijt ("Palace of Industry") building in Amsterdam. In 1900 the RI changed its name to RAI (Rijwiel en Automobiel Industrie), because many of its members had started manufacturing automobiles in addition to bicycles.

In 1922 the RAI occupied an exhibition hall of its own on the Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam. This building, the "old RAI", was replaced by the current building complex on Europaplein square, which was opened by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands on February 2, 1961. The RAI trade association still owns 75% of the complex, with the remainder in the hands of the municipality of Amsterdam.

The RAI completed construction of a 47 metres tall expansion named Elicium in 2009, serving as Europe’s largest conference center.[2]


The c,mm,n 1.0, an electrically powered car which made its debut at the AutoRAI automobile trade show in 2007
The c,mm,n 1.0, an electrically powered car which made its debut at the AutoRAI automobile trade show in 2007

Trade shows and other events held annually at the RAI include:

  • Art Amsterdam, an art fair
  • AutoRAI, an automobile trade show
  • HISWA, a boating and watersports trade show
  • Horecava, a trade fair for the hospitality industry
  • Horti Fair, a trade show for the horticultural industry
  • International Broadcasting Convention, an annual trade show for broadcasters
  • Jumping Amsterdam, an equestrian sporting event
  • LXRY Masters (previously Miljonair Fair), a trade fair aimed at the very wealthiest

In addition, the 1969 Grand Gala du Disque[3] and 1970 Eurovision Song Contest were held at the RAI.

In media

Parts of the film Trafic (1971) by Jacques Tati were shot at the RAI during the 1970 car show.


  1. ^ a b "About RAI Amsterdam". www.rai.nl. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Our heritage – the RAI Story". Rai.nl. Archived from the original on 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ "Artist Are Listed For Amsterdam Grand Gala" (PDF). Billboard: 62. March 15, 1969.

Media related to Amsterdam RAI at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Teatro Real
Eurovision Song Contest

Succeeded by
Gaiety Theatre
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RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre
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