Course summary

How can you use protocol to maintain or build strong relationships? How do you ensure a successful visit of a high-level delegation or a successful networking event with dignitaries? How should you officially welcome dignitaries? How to ensure that a formal seating arrangement also supports the goal of strengthening relationships? What is the role of the protocol officer?

During our three-day protocol course in Brussels (organised by our partners in The Netherlands, Protocolbureau), we will not only teach you the rules of protocol, but also the method of protocol, as described in Protocol to Manage Relationships Today (Amsterdam University Press). By applying the method in several case studies, you will become proficient in preparing any meeting with dignitaries or any other most valued stakeholders. After following our Protocol Training, you will be equipped to meet the challenges and complexities of contemporary protocol management to build strong relationships.

The protocol course also focuses on developing personal skills; we will teach you diplomatic and networking skills during several interactive classes. Furthermore, the course includes a formal three-course etiquette dinner, a workshop about cross-cultural communications and a guest lecture about UN, EU and NATO protocol.


Course information


26th - 28th June 2024

4th - 6th December 2024


Brussels, Belgium

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Excluding 21% VAT (see FAQs for more on VAT).
Book via our partners in The Netherlands - Protocolbureau

  • Full catering throughout, including lunches
  • Three-course etiquette dinner (day 2)
  • Framed A4 certificate
  • A copy of Protocol to Manage Relationships Today

Course programme

An overview of the syllabus of this interactive, hands-on protocol course in Brussels.

Welcome and introduction

  • What is protocol? What is the difference between protocol and etiquette?
  • Why do organisations need protocol – examples of lack of protocol in popular culture
  • Introduction to strategic protocol – what is strategic protocol?
  • What is the goal of protocol? How can protocol contribute to the goal of an organisation?
  • What is the difference between classical and modern protocol: examples of the use of modern protocol

The method of protocol (part 1)

  • The theory of protocol
  • The préséance – the ranking of high-ranking officials
  • The application – welcome and departure, greeting procedures and seating arrangements
  • The application in other forms of protocol – signing ceremonies, flag protocol, wreath laying, honours, cortèges and escorting guests, speeches, forms of address, group photos, gifts, toast, press & security
  • International and multilateral protocol
  • The visit of a high-level delegation – the practical application of protocol in a case study
  • Managing seating arrangements – the role of the protocol officer

Why cultural awareness is important in the work of a protocol officer

  • Cultural dimensions theory – the Hofstede model
  • The challenges of cultural awareness in protocol – good and bad examples
  • Exercise – determining the cultural differences for today’s case study
  • Exercise – determining how the protocol is influenced by the cultural differences

The method of protocol (part 2)

  • A VIP networking event with dignitaries – the practical application of protocol in a case study
  • Welcoming guests and coordinating the greeting procedures – the role of the protocol officer

Networking and politesse

  • Introducing clients, colleagues, and VIPs
  • Small talk to big talk
  • Cultural differences in introductions
  • Working the room
  • Presence and deportment
  • Remembering names
  • What to do when you forget their name

Preparations for the etiquette dinner

The participants are split into groups and assigned to organise the evening’s dinner, attended by guests from the Brussels diplomatic community.

Duties include:

  • Creating a seating arrangement
  • Welcoming and escorting the guests
  • Implementing a seating ‘changement
  • Facilitating networking

Three-course etiquette dinner/tutorial

The three-course dinner is an etiquette tutorial delivered by a tutor from The English Manner, covering:

  • Styles of service
  • The place setting – navigating your way
  • Tools of the table
  • How to hold correctly cutlery and glassware
  • Common mistakes and slip-ups
  • Tricky foods
  • Unfamiliar cuisine or an inedible meal
  • Customs & nuances around the world
  • Napkin etiquette
  • Alcohol awareness
  • Excusing yourself
  • Mobile phones
  • Smoking
  • Taking your leave

Evaluation of the etiquette dinner

The method of protocol (part 3)

  • A high-level international conference – the practical application of protocol in a case study
  • Coordinating a signing ceremony – the role of the protocol officer

Protocol at the European Union

  • The European institutions
  • The officials at the European Union and their precedence
  • Protocol at the European Union in practice

Closing: certificate ceremony

Course tutors

Jean Paul Wijers

Jean Paul is Executive Director of Protocolbureau and the Institute of Strategic Relationship Management, and the key facilitator for this protocol course. As a relationship management expert, he is regularly called upon to support the development of new relationship management. Between 2001 and 2009, Jean Paul Wijers worked as Head Usher for the Master of Ceremonies of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, at Royal weddings and state funerals.

Jean Paul is co-author of the books Managing Authentic Relationships; Facing New Challenges in a Changing Context and Protocol to Manage Relationships Today: Modern Relationship Management Based Upon Traditional Values, both published by Amsterdam University Press in 2019 and 2020.

Bengt-Arne Hulleman

A graduate of Hotelschool The Hague and with a Masters degree from Erasmus University, Bengt-Arne started his career in protocol at The Dutch Royal Household as Policy Assistant to the Grand Master and Master of Ceremonies of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. Bengt-Arne is also the former Head of the Protocol, Visits and Events Unit of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (2010-2019), an international organisation with over 120 Member states.

He is the author of The Hague, International City of Peace and Justice: A Relational Network Brand and co-author of Protocol to Manage Relationships Today. As a protocol expert, he assists in the organisation of high-level events and teaches international protocol around the world.

Image of William Hanson

William Hanson

William joined The English Manner in 2008 before taking ownership in 2019.  He is widely regarded as the freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and civility, with his relative youth and old-fashioned values making him an arbiter of modern manners.

Based in London, William’s work sees him teach in the UK and worldwide, including in Europe, America, China, south-east Asia and GCC countries. He is a trusted advisor and trainer to many official households, embassies, businesses and academic institutes.

He is also a co-author of Protocol to Manage Relationships Today and the author of three other books.

Isabel Amaral

Isabel is a renowned Portuguese expert on corporate image and protocol and has developed executive trainings and coaching programmes around the world. Holding a Master’s degree in International Relations from Lisbon University, she is a teacher at the Diplomatic Institute and at several universities in Portugal, Spain and Brazil

She’s the author of three books: Imagem e Sucesso, a book on image and corporate protocol (nine editions), Imagem e internacionalização, a book about cross-cultural communication for a global market (two editions) and co-author of Protocol to Manage Relationships Today.

François Brunagel

Born in Strasbourg in 1947, François has been an official of the European Union for 40 years. He served in several cabinets (private offices) of Presidents of the European Parliament, and he was Director of the Protocol Service of the European Parliament for ten years.

Presently he is an ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Council of Europe and an expert consultant on protocol issues at the international level.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Protocol Training will take place in a hotel in the centre of Brussels, Belgium. Participants will be allowed to reserve accommodation at the training location, but all travel and hotel expenses are at each participant’s discretion.

Some organisations, such as embassies, international organisations and/or multilateral organisations are exempt from VAT. We will not include VAT if the necessary documentation can be disclosed. VAT can also be waived if an EU VAT number is provided. For individuals outside the EU, VAT is also not applicable.

A visa letter can be provided upon request, but only after full payment has been received.

In three days all the basics of protocol and the management of high-level events are covered, plus a lot of other subjects. This training is the best way to learn a lot in a short time. I really recommend this masterclass in modern protocol.

— Aneta

The Protocol Training is insightful and interactive. By learning new practices and sharing experience. It is also a great networking and training opportunity with protocol colleagues from all over the world.

— Anu

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Register today

Join us in Brussels and learn how to become the protocol management expert of your organisation in charge of building strong relationships.

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