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News & Events


Invitation to the XXIII Congress of the European Spas Association

23rd-25th May 2018 Domburg (The Netherlands)
Date: 29 May’17


Water & Health - a way of life

We would like to invite you to our next congress to Holland, to Zeeland Domburg.

Domburg is the oldest seaside resort of Zeeland. A natural and healthy environment.
Seawater, sea air, climate and soil products all play a role in the health region status Domburg has.

The jury of the Green Destination top 100 have designated 2018 the four QualityCoast areas in the Dutch Delta, namely Veere (Domburg, Goeree-Overflakkee, Schouwen-Duivenland and Westvoorne, the best sustainable coastal destination worldwide!

Moreover, the four municipalities also jointly received a shared first Public Prize for best sustainable destination in general.

The Dutch Delta Region is characterized by unique nature reserves, seals, porpoises, deer, flamingos and other special birds. Pristine wide beaches and dune areas alternate with one another and Blue flags flutter on the beaches and marinas bordering the North Sea. These areas are renowned for their very clean bathing water. The areas in the Dutch Delta stand out for their ecological sustainability and are fully committed to sustainable developments. All four areas have received a Quality Coast Award.

Transport from Airport Schiphol Amsterdam by train to Middelburg (change in Rotterdam or in den Haag Station) 2h - 2h30min. From Middelburg to Domburg congress transfer or bus (30 min) or taxi (40 €).


15h00 ESPA Board Meeting (on separate invitation)

18h00 Welcome and Get together dinner


Location: Stadhuis, Traverse 1 - Domburg

City Hall - Opening ceremony with the traditional Flag Parade, Greetings

Opening Session by the commissary of the King, Mr. Drs. J.M.M. Polman

The mayor of the municipality of Veere, Mr. drs. R.J. van der Zwaag gives a presentation of the Dutch ESPA members: Municipality Veere, Bad Nieuweschans, Cadzand en HZ University of Applied Sciences.

Traditional Flag Parade


Section 1: New methods in Health Tourism

11h00 - 11h30 1. Prof. Dr. Olaf Timmermans
Health benefits of living and recreating in a coastal area: health and business opportunities using natural assets

11h30 - 11h50 2. Claudia Wagner
Which product are booming and why - result is important! By FIT Reisen Tour Operator

11h50 - 12h10 3. Yan Schroën
A preventive and personalized approach of health and wellness - Integral Medicine and practise in health tourism

12h10 - 12h30 4. Dr. Karin Lehmann
The first official healing and therapeutic forest in Europa. The green pharmacy

12h30 - 13h30 Lunch


Section 2: Health and Innovation

13h30 - 13h50 1. Prof Dr. Christian Roques
Epidemiological survey of ESPA - first result

13h50 - 14h10 2. Joachim Lieber
Quality in Health Prevention - The European network for Health Tourism and Prevention! Strategy & Best Practises

14h10 - 14h30 3. La Roche Posay
Best case - from research to treatment

14h30 - 14h50 4. Silvia Giannini
New solutions in the spa architecture and design under aspect of sustainability

14h50 - 15h10 5. Dennis Spronk
The Health benefits of a plant-bases whole food diet

15h10 - 16h00 Coffee break

16h00 - 16h40 1.Presentation of the TOP 10 - ESPA Innovation Award winners

16h40 - 17h00 2. EU support in tourism

17h00 - 17h20 3. The growing market: China. The chance for Spas in Europe

18h00 - 22h00 "A ROYAL NIGHT OUT" with GALA DINNER and the ESPA Innovation Awards Ceremony at Badpaviljoen

Badpaviljoen in Domburg opened in 1889 and has a very rich history. Here you could find the blooming artist circle and also the rich local nobility, Russian princes and German princesses. They came to this mondaine resort to enjoy the healthy sea air in Domburg. The European nobility also came to Domburg to visit the famous Dr. Metzger. He treated many spa tourist and is seen as the founder of the current physical therapy.


For the GALA DINNER we won't go back that far (19th century). We will make a time jump to the fabulous fifties, because in these years the spas were booming again and accepted by various countries.

Inspired by the movie "A Royal Night Out" we will organize a 50 Gala by the name "A Royal Night Out with ESPA". This very much suits the mondaine character of the Badpaviljoen as location and will appeal to the guests.

FRIDAY 25th May

Location: Museum Veere, Kaai 25, Veere
7h30 - 8h15 Beach walking tour and treatments in Badhotel/Meztger Lodges (twelve rules)

8h30 - 09h00 Sightseeing bustour to Veere

09h15 - 10h30 General Assembly ESPA

10h30 - 11h00 Coffee-Break


Section 3: Business and future market value

11h00 - 11h20 1. Marleen van Griensven
Trends in nowadays wellbeing guests by Puurenkuur leading Touroperator in Holland

11h20 - 11h40 2. Mike Wallace
Effective HR systems in spa operations and the importance of HR management for spas

11h40 - 12h00 3. tbn Social Media in practice

12h00 - 12h30 4. Herman Lier
Innovative Business Model Canvas transformation

12h30 - 12h45 Closing Session of the ESPA Congress

12h45 - 13h45 Lunch at historical Veere

13h45 - 14h45 Freetime in Veere

14h45 - 15h15 Transfer to Vertrek van Veere, Neeltje Jans

15h30 - 17h00 Excursion Deltawerken
the final program is also a big attraction of Hollands professional Knowledge, we invite our guest to visit the Deltawerk

17h00 - 17h30 Transfer Vertrek to Seafarm

17h30 - 20h00 Dinner by Seafarm

20h00 - 20h30 Transfer to Domburg

Special location and Background:

The seawater at Domburg has been investigated by the renowned international SGS Institute Fresenius. In summary the nature of Domburg - near the sea with his pure air and beneficial water - offers opportunities for balneo (water) therapies and thalasso applications aimed at prevention and recovery. Even in the Roman times there were bathing equipments. Dr. Mezger, founder of modern physiotherapy, opened a practice in Domburg in 1868 and introduced the new treatment methods. Domburg has the ambition to grow into an internationally qualified vitality and wellness destination. The ESPA congress Domburg in 2018 is a valuable addition and for many members of the European Spas Association a first acquaintance with Domburg, Zeeland and perhaps the Netherlands!

Discover the 125 years practice in the healthy Resort and learn from our Dutch and international Experts of health tourism and medical Spas! Stay with us on 23-25. May 2018!



Excursion Delta Works
The Delta Works, consisting of 13 sections, together form the largest flood protection system in the world and are definitely worth a visit. This imposing project, also referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world, illustrates how the Dutch deal with water. Furthermore, they lie in a gorgeous environment with wonderful beaches, beautiful nature and many culinary spots.

The Delta Works - incorporating among others a storm surge barrier, dikes, dams and sluice gates - have much to offer for everyone who wishes to see how the Dutch deal with and protect themselves against the waters. The main attraction of the Delta Works is the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, a unique flood protection construction of 8 kilometers in length, that can shut off the entire Eastern Scheldt in 75 minutes. This ingenious system of 62 enormous sliding gates is meant to prevent a disastrous flood like the one in 1953. The gates are open during normal weather, preserving the marine tide nature and allowing delicious oysters to still be cultivated and Eastern Scheldt lobster to still be caught today.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans, a water theme park on an island in the middle of the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, is a place where you can enjoy gorgeous nature, culture and technology. You can also visit the Delta Experience there, where you will learn everything about the notorious North Sea Flood of 1953. It's an absolute must-do when visiting the Delta Works.

There are several group arrangements available at Neeltje Jans. The group size varies from 15 to 20 people. Arrangement "Experience the Delta Works" takes about two hours and is probably the most suitebale for the ESPA group. This excursion is provided by a supervisor and includes an introduction of the storm surge barrier and a fascinating film about the construction. After that, guests can see the storm surge barrier with there own eyes during a tour.


Depending on the time schedule it is possible to visit the seaweed farm in the Jacobahaven (near Seafarm) before visiting the Delta Works. Here the two ladies of Zeewaar ( can give an introduction of the cultivation of seaweed in Zeeland and the growing European market for this healthy and commonly used product in Asia.

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