Beach volleyball gives Apeldoorn a big buzz
“I am noticing all around that it’s making people happy. It’s a real summer sports, with an almost Caribbean atmosphere. It really lights up the city centre.”
The Transavia Grand Slam is a prelude to the FIVB World Championships next year. Apeldoorn will be one of the four host cities next to The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
“I really think it’s an event that suits Apeldoorn”, says Berendse. “That has everything to do with the fact that we have two very good volleyball clubs here in Apeldoorn, Dynamo and Alterno, who play at a real high level. The Alterno ladies are even national champions.”
With a huge volleyball fan base the stands in the Apeldoorn stadium are pretty crowded this week, especially in the evening, creating a fantastic atmosphere for the players.
“We might not have the sea, but they set up a perfect beach here on our Marktplein”, the mayor continues. “It’s all been done very professionally, from the court set-up in front of the city hall to the announcers. They are very professional, they get the crowd excited. That’s important, to create a good atmosphere and it’s there.”
“I am noticing that the city is getting excited. The people are enjoying themselves, they like the atmosphere and the entrance is free. So no negatives, the only thing is that my people here in city hall need to get used to is the music, that’s loud.” Adding with a smile: “Maybe they can take a week off next year, I am open for all options.”
On his daily walks through town, the mayor hears nothing but positive comments. “Yesterday I took a walk, as I often do, and people tell me that they are liking this event. Especially the entrepreneurs on the square, they are enjoying the atmosphere and the buzz it’s bringing. Perfect!”
Next year it will be even more buzzing on the Market Square. There will be two courts instead of one, with stands seating 2000 people. “And we will have more terraces and a VIP village. The entire Marktplein will breath beach volleyball.”
Berends had never been to a beach volleyball event before. “But when we were asked to be one of the hosting cities, I said yes immediately. Let me know what facilities you need and we will make it happen, I told them.”
“We thought beach volleyball would go perfectly with our city. Not only because of Dynamo and Alterno, but we really are a sport-minded city. We organize lots of equestrian events and we are actually a cycling city. We have the Omnisport indoor cycling centre where we organize European and World Championships. And we will have the start of the Giro here in 2016.”
The mayor is happy with the ‘dress rehearsal’ this year. “We will evaluate this event and will pull every string to accommodate all the players, fans and journalists coming here next year. We have some nice attractions in our city, and I will be happy to promote them, but beach volleyball needs to be leading.”
Apeldoorn is a town with nearly 160,000 people and is located about 80km east of Amsterdam. It has some nice attractions for people looking for a break from beach volleyball next year: the Kröller-Müller Museum in National Park De Hoge Veluwe, Palace Het Loo and the Apenheul (monkey park).
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