Aberdeen: The Granite City

Where landscapes meet the sea, and the granite buildings sparkle like silver, EN takes a closer look  at the heritage and future of Scotland’s third most populous city, Aberdeen. 

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With a booming offshore petroleum industry, Aberdeen is home to a vibrant international population, where the Dee and Don rivers meet the North Sea.

 

The city’s historic local shipping, fishing and oil industries are offset by its panoramic views of the busy harbour as the flourishing Granite City boasts architecture and cultural gems.

 

During the mid-18 to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen’s buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which sparkle like silver in the sunlight because of its high mica content. It’s no wonder the city has nicknames such as the Granite City, the Grey City and the Silver City with the Golden Sands.

 

As EN has discovered, similar to Edinburgh and Glasgow, the port city in the northeast of Scotland is celebrated among its people and its events. Walking through the streets of Aberdeen, bunting and posters proudly showcase the city’s biggest event – SPE Offshore Europe (OE).

 

Contributing a reported £53.9m to the region’s economy (Aberdeen Exhibition and Convention Centre Economic Impact Report Offshore Europe 2013 Summary 2014 compiled by IPSOS), the event is backed by the Aberdeen City Council.

 

The biennial premier oil and gas show celebrated its 41st year last month with more than 55,000 delegates in attendance.


Aberdeen is often referred to as the Oil Capital or Energy Capital of Europe as it’s home to companies including BP, Shell, Subsea 7 and GE Oil & Gas, and the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC - in the featured image).

 

AECC, the ‘gateway to the Scottish Highlands’ was established as a Limited Liability Company in 1985, when the Centre at the Bridge of Don first opened, built primarily as a permanent venue to house OE.

 

Welcoming more than 300,000 visitors through its doors a year, the venue hosts over 600 events annually and has had £18m investment in the last five years. More is yet the come, the team tells EN. A new, state-of-the-art arena, exhibition and conference centre will open 2018.

 

“A modern, purpose-built venue with increased capacity for business events will help to anchor key energy-related events such as Offshore Europe, in Aberdeen,” says Graeme Cumming, AECC’s interim managing director.”

 

The new AECC will allow Aberdeen to bid for larger national and international events, with a 9,000sqm arena capable of hosting a large range of events including entertainment, exhibitions and sporting events.

 

“The larger 10,000 seat Arena will ensure Aberdeen attracts many more major artists to bring their tours to the city,” Cumming adds, as the new venue will be able to meet the demands for concerts and tours, that AECC, in the past, has not had the capacity to stage.

 

“Our team can now get on with the job of promoting the new venue, and continuing to build the business over the coming years.”

 

This flexibility, the team says, will allow for a wider range of conferences and exhibitions to consider AECC for their upcoming events.

 

Having 15,000sqm of flexible exhibition space in the new halls will allow AECC to continue hosting the ever-growing flagship event, Offshore Europe, as well as space to grow other established events such as Subsea Expo.

 

This article was first published in the October issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

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