15 Year Jubilee
This year OCEANDIVA celebrates her 15th anniversary. In honour of this milestone Edwin Petersen (CEO) and Mandy Berding (Managing Director) were interviewed by Django Drost of Dutch event platform GreaterVenues and together they look back on a successful and long-term cooperation. Read the full interview below.
What started out as the ‘Love Boat’ has become a unique phenomenon in the events industry. OCEANDIVA is the name of the company now, with The ORIGINAL and The FUTURA making up their fleet. Two mighty ships that offer something quite unique: large-scale events with all the trimmings, but then on the water. Because OCEANDIVA is unique in its kind, they have already conquered the German and Belgian market, and England will soon be following suit. GreaterVenues is always intrigued about special events venues and was welcomed on board The Original by CEO Edwin Petersen and General Manager Mandy Berding to further investigate this phenomenon.
The ships are usually moored at their base in North Amsterdam, close to OCEANDIVA’s head office. We already had an idea of how impressive the ships are from the photos, but they look even grander in real life. To give you an idea: cars can easily be lifted aboard for product presentations – with there still being enough room for 1.500 people, staff and all the facilities you could expect from an events location. When it’s on land that is; because who can say that they can provide events for 1.500 people on the water? No one we know.
What is now a well-organised events location started out as something completely different. Edwin: “OCEANDIVA actually originated from the ‘Love Boat’. We were more active in the public sector and focused mainly on dance events. My ships soon became too small because of their popularity, so at one point we sailed around with three ships tied together with ropes and rubbish bags. That was still possible in those days. What we did back then was all very easy-going. Fun was foremost. The ‘Love Boat’ doesn’t have much to do with what we do now, but we have brought the joviality and fun, that soul, with us.”
Popularity continued to grow, which called for a larger ship. “We occasionally did corporate events, so what we ideally wanted was a large ship which could cater for both business and public events.”
2018: 15-year Jubilee
My business partners and I invested in a large hull in 2001 upon which The Original was then developed. She entered the water for the first time in 2003. But it soon became clear that it wasn’t easy to do both business and public events. “Production doesn’t go hand in hand technically, and there were also problems in terms of image and branding.” Mandy adds: “What’s more, business events are financially more interesting. When we were unable to organise a huge business event because we had just scheduled a social party on the same date – and thus lost out on a grand in income – we knew for sure: it was time to focus purely on the business market.”
And that’s how it happened. Since then, OCEANDIVA has developed rapidly into the unique events company that it is today. A second ship, The Futura, has been added, the company has around 25 employees, and moreover: OCEANDIVA is active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and shortly in England. OCEANDIVA celebrates its 15th Jubilee this year.