Traditionally, the Dutch nautical season has always started with the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show, but in the past couple of years the competition has increased and visitor numbers have dropped. Today, Dutch water sportsmen can choose from several shows and, with the increased mobility (Düsseldorf is within easy reach), the show in the RAI-exhibition centre in Amsterdam has suffered a decrease of visitor numbers.
"After visiting Boot Düsseldorf earlier this year, with BYM News' reporter Thomas Schmidt, the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show had the bar set high for the visit of this reporter." says Luuk le Clercq.

Makeover

This year’s show had a new approach, matching boats and products were displayed next to each other - outboard engines lined up near the sports boats, for example - and this resulted in clearly defined halls. For the visitor coming to the show with a clear goal navigation was very easy and suppliers were easily approachable. The more casual visitor could also enjoy the new set-up of the show.

When it comes to size, the Amsterdam Boat Show is not able to compete with the show in Düsseldorf. Whilst all the major European brands seemed to be present in Germany, many brands were absent in Amsterdam. Only a dozen or so sailing yachts were on display and the internationally popular Dutch steel motor yachts had also very few models present. It looked as if Dutch builders were more present in Düsseldorf than on home territory.

The show itself benefited from the new arrangement, it meant that sports boats were shown next to each other, large motor boats had their own hall, sailing vessels and gear were to be found in another hall and the very popular small motorboats were displayed in a hall of their own. Except for the (usual) boats and gear, this year’s show had, as an extra, a large section dedicated to wakeboarding and waterskiing, this included a basin where visitors could try out these sports.

This same basin, of 60 metres long and 10 metres wide, was the place where the show was officially opened. Dutch National Wakeboarding Champion Abel Vegter opened the show with an impressive jump, ringing the bell that traditionally opens the show. Also quite traditional was the fact that the show opened quite slowly. Visitor numbers, on the first day at least, did not look impressive, but during the week that has changed. Both exhibitors and the official figures noted an increase (+4.084% compared to last year) in the visitors, though the exhibitors were not sure it resulted in extra business.

Other events were a design contest for children, maintenance workshops for motor boaters and lectures at the ‘Sailing Yacht Club’. The design contest especially was a big success with always several children working on their own graphical design for their chance to win an Optimist (with their graphics on the hull).

For the people looking to see the latest and newest, the Amsterdam Boat Show is not the place to be. That particular audience is better served at the Amsterdam in the water show in September (with usually several new models launched) or the METS (with all the latest innovations in gear and gadgets) in November. The premieres at the show were mostly slight alterations or added options to boats focused on the Dutch market.

The Amsterdam Boat Show 2007 was not as impressive or newsworthy as Boot Düsseldorf, but the show was a good place for the audience with a clear goal. For those without a plan of manufacturers they want to visit the Amsterdam Boat Show is not the best. Those people will be best served with a visit to either the Amsterdam in the water show, or Boot Düsseldorf where the choice is simply wider.