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A word from the expert

Prof. dr. Alfons (Boy) Houben

Welcome to our feature “A word from the expert”. In this feature, we introduce someone who has organized a conference in our region or will do so in the future. This month, we meet doctor Alfons Houben, associate professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at MUMC+ and CARIM, and president of the European Society for Microcirculation

Why did you choose your specialism?
After finishing high school, I chose to study biology because I was (and still am) very much interested in the human body and how everything works. But, at that time I was not interested in possible diseases and treatments, that’s why medicine was not an option. Following graduation, it was more or less by coincidence that I met with prof. Arie Kruseman who wanted to start a microcirculation lab at MUMC. Next thing was that I fell in love with the microcirculation.

Which conference have you managed to acquire for the Maastricht Region?
Last April (2019) I’ve organised, together with my colleague dr. Judith Sluimer, the 3rd joint conference of the European Society for Microcirculation and the European Vascular Biology Organisation (ESM-EVBO). ESM and EVBO are two scientific societies with overlapping interests in studying the functioning and diseases of both large and small blood vessels.

Which were the competitive cities and what was the decisive reason to choose for Maastricht?
Our competitive city was Amsterdam. One important reason to choose for Maastricht was a financial reason. Because our budget was not that large, Maastricht with an attractive offer was much more attractive then Amsterdam. Another important reason was the compact and small size city centre, which enabled much more for our delegates to meet each other in the streets and in the many cozy cafés and restaurants.

In your opinion, what is the development perspective for the region?
As we heard from our delegates, Maastricht is a very exciting city of compact size, with a great historic atmosphere, and international style. This, in combination with the beautiful surroundings (het Heuvelland) and international cities as Aachen, Liege, Brussels and even Paris within reach, makes this region very interesting and attractive.

What does the Maastricht Convention Bureau mean to you?
The Maastricht Convention Bureau turned out to be the ideal intermediary between me as a conference organizer and the venue MECC and the city and hotels. At the start, I didn’t know what to think of, where to go, who to contact, but this was all taken care of by the MCB. Thank you for that! And, in general I think that MCB is a great ambassador for the city of Maastricht.

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