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Azzurro in Noordwijk aan Zee (left and this page), while luxuriously appointed, has only 1,000 members – halfway to breaking even


“In Holland, companies are obliged to take care of their


employees’ health and wellbeing”


Floor and equipment are all black, contrasting with warm oak ceilings and expansive windows, and with large glossy-leaved plants adding splashes of green throughout. A Kinesis studio is set off to the side, while studios elsewhere in the building offer perfect soundproofing. Linking in with the emergence of


wellness in the Dutch market, Azzurro’s instructors are known as ‘wellness coaches’, and are able to offer broad lifestyle advice to a membership with an average age somewhere in the mid-40s. There’s also a physio and nutritionist, plus four spa treatment rooms that are open to day visitors too. Membership costs from 67 (£57) a month based on a three-year contract, or 82.50 (£70) a month for a year. But is this bold strategy paying off


in what seemed to me a rather sleepy seaside town? Having opened in September 2009, eight months later the club had around 1,000 members, only around halfway to break-even. It was also – though beautiful and actually, I’d say, good value – very quiet when we were there, even accounting for the mid-week daytime nature of our visit.


extended wellness Taking wellness one step further, around two years ago Frank Vahle, the owner of Amstelhof – a large, full- service facility located just outside Amsterdam – launched a scheme called


october 2010 © cybertrek 2010


Feelgood Company. Essentially a network to which clubs can subscribe for 200 (£171) a year provided they meet certain criteria – an on-site physio and rooms for doctors, for example, as well as more intangible aspects such as a human feel to the club – it’s an initiative designed to sell, in Vahle’s words, “health, not fitness”. The concept – which brings together


physio, doctor and instructor in an integrated approach – was tested at Amstelhof, with Vahle approaching corporates to deliver both preventative and curative wellbeing services; in Holland, he explained to me, companies are obliged to take care of their


employees’ health. The concept was rolled out in February 2009. Clubs joining the network are


encouraged to incorporate the V-Check lifestyle assessment tool into their offering (see p29); it’s been used at Amstelhof since September 2009 and, says Vahle, helps deliver the sort of evidence- based services that corporates require. Such has been the success of the


initiative that, by the time of my visit in May of this year, Feelgood Company encompassed 104 locations, all sitting beneath an umbrella brand that’s increasingly recognised by companies across Holland as a way to help them fulfi l their obligations to their staff.


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 65


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