Over 550 Fitness Industry Leaders attend IHRSA European Congress

IHRSA’s 14th annual European Congress concluded on 19 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands at The Beurs van Berlage with attendance of over 550 delegates from 36 countries and 5 continents.

“The event was once again remarkable and confirmed our deep commitment to growing the global industry and focusing on the fundamentals that will enable success,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA President.

See photos from the Congress here.

“Thank you for a fantastic Congress!  For me it was the best of all of the European Congresses I have attended – and I have attended them all,” said Paul Eigenmann, CEO QualiCert AG in Switzerland.

“We were fortunate to be working with a wonderful local partner in Amsterdam,” Moore added. “Theo Hendrkis of Sports Leisure Group did an outstanding job in helping with the event.”

Opening keynote speaker Jonas Kjellberg, Co-creator of SKYPE (sponsored by Technogym®) encouraged attendees to find their “delight” – what makes them stand apart from the competition. Efficiency and functionality are expected of any company, Kjellberg noted. “That won’t help you increase sales, though,” he said. “Delight will. Companies focus on the first two because they can control them. Figuring out what delights people is more difficult.”

Annemarie van Gaal, who built a multi media company in Russia with a US$4,000 initial investment and sold it for US$149-million, said that the secret of her success did not lie in education or experience. “It’s important to open your eyes and ears to what the market is saying,” she said. “Listen to your clients and change your business model accordingly.”

Among the highlights of the event was the presentation of the 2014 IHRSA European Club Leadership Award to Olav Thorstad, CEO of Health & Fitness Nordicc, which counts more than 200 clubs in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, and more than 550,000 members.

In presenting the award, Joe Moore noted that Thorstad is a visionary with a holistic view of the industry, who shares his insights and leadership via international and national summits and seminars to help other industry operators.       

The Congress also featured a Sponsor Showcase and tours of some of Amsterdam’s leading health clubs, sponsored by Technogym®.

The 14th Annual IHRSA European Congress was sponsored by: American Council on Exercise (ACE), Anytime Fitness, LLC,, LLC, Cybex, CYQ, eGym GmbH, Fabiano Designs, GANTNER Technologies, Gruppo P&G - Fit interiors, Indoorcycling Group GmbH, Johnson Health Tech. Co., Ltd. / MATRIX FITNESS, Keiser Corporation, Keyless Security, Les Mills International, Life Fitness, miha bodytec GmbH, milon industries GmbH, MYZONE®, OJMAR, Piloxing®, Pixformance, Polar Electro, Precor, QualiCert - Qualitop International, Greinwalder Marketing Services International GmbH, Star Trac, Technogym SpA, Virtuagym, XCO Sports Company B.V. and Zumba Fitness LLC.


IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the not-for-profit Association for Health Clubs. IHRSA’s worldwide membership represents over 10,000 health, fitness and sports facilities as well as industry suppliers. IHRSA's mission is to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with benefits that will help them be more successful. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion. To find an IHRSA club, please visit

About the IHRSA European Congress

IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association hosts an annual meeting for leaders in the European Health Club Industry. With an average of over 500 of the industry’s business leaders in attendance, the annual IHRSA European Congress offers one of the best networking opportunities for the industry in Europe, and features seminars presented by an array of speakers from within and outside the industry.