Study visit to the Netherlands

Study visit to the Netherlands

No wonder Maastricht is considered “the best town” of the Netherlands; its industrial upswing, after the complete economic disintegration of the II. World War can mostly be attributed to the development of the educational system. Its world-famous gastronomy is one of the main reasons tourists are so attracted to this city. During our trip we could personally experience that these people are not only experts in the field of gastronomic flavors but we have a lot to learn from them about catering as well.
We could experience the interconnection of education and catering in ZUYD Hotel Management School of Maastricht. The Betlehem castle building of Teaching Hotel Chateau was bought in 1952 by the National School of Hollandia. The building is now part of the campus but first it functioned as an office building then since 2010 it has been used as a teaching hotel and restaurant. We have been informed about the project from Vera Duehring, reader of the university, who talked about it very enthusiastically.
The place is run by a non-profit organization and it is a true masterpiece of interior design; no wonder since it is a work of 12 excellent dutch designer out of whom there were four students implementing their entries in the design. The inner harmony of the establishment is created by the fact that all of the rooms and places of both the hotel and the restaurant can be attached to the material culture of education.  The 26 rooms are furnished entirely with unique pieces of furniture and interior design components – all of which have its own story and possesses modern, daring outlook. The messages of the interior spaces are in themselves the point of sustaining the establishment: self- sufficiency and the practical education of the students. They cannot sell their services in the competitive market so they cannot be found on the big accommodation websites, they cannot appear in paid advertisements instead they attract guests through word of mouth, recommendations, articles and their inner school web portal. That is why we met favorable room and dinner prices as compared to the central suppliers of Maastricht.
Namely, the complete staff consists of hotel trade students from the cleaners through the bar tenders to the chefs. In every shift there is a professional receptionist manager, a chef, a restaurant manager and an event manager holding together the work of the apprentices. For example in the restaurant we can watch it on a projector how students in the kitchen do their job in their neat uniforms and the waiters with uncertain, slightly shaking hands are compensating their inexperience with great striving and big smiles.  The furniture are exactly the same as if those were taken from the schoolrooms. The setting, which is a compulsory “requirement” of serving, is stylishly sketched on a chalk board. Through the open-view kitchen the students can prove themselves on the spot, fascinating the guests having dinner in front of them.
The equipment, the kitchen devices are all donations from supporting companies. One of the things that we liked the most was that the place is not thanking it to the companies by putting huge marketing signals and logos everywhere rather with the fact that the students can actually meet and experience the products and have a positive impact – and since they are the next generation of hotel trade and catering it is by great chance that they will buy and use these devices when constructing their own businesses.
All in all we can say that in Maastricht we experienced, in a very innovative understanding, how to operate a hotel trade unit in a way that it is not only a fair and unique treat for the guests but an exceptionally important part of the practical education.

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