By Duncan Mackay

Inner_TempleJune 18 - Belgium has become the latest country to conclude a deal to set-up a hospitality centre in London during next year's Olympics, choosing a site that has close associations with the Da Vinci Code.

They have signed an agreement with Inner Temple to take over the whole site for the duration of the Olympics, including the new Apex Temple Court Hotel, during which they expect to entertain up to 11,000 guests, including King Albert II.

The building is located in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Thames with history that dates back to the 12th century when the Knights Templar first occupied the site,

They built the Temple Church, made world famous in more recent times by Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci Code".

Scenes for the film of the book, starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ian McKellen, were shot there at 2005.

Since the Knights, other historic buildings have been erected on the site to cater for what is now one of England's leading legal institutions.

The Inner Temple commissioned EXP Sport in August 2010 to secure a client specifically for the Olympics.

Following months of negotiations, the Belgian Olympic Committee (BOIC) signed a contract with the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple earlier this month to take the whole site for the duration of the 2012 Olympics to entertain their supporters and their Olympic partners.

"We want the many Belgian fans who plan to travel to London to be able to meet the athletes in a friendly environment," said Piet Moons, the marketing director of the BOIC.

"We are very happy with our choice.

"Inner Temple is a beautiful historic building, a typical London location."

In more recent times, the Queen visited the Inn to renew the 400 year Royal Charter that King James I issued to the Inn in 1608 to protect the site as a facility for legal education.

The Princess Royal, a member of the International Olympic Committee, is also the current Royal Treasurer of the Inner Temple.

Belgium join Romania, who it was announced earlier this week had signed a deal to base themselves at 30 Pavilion Road, a Georgian townhouse in the heart of affluent Knightsbridge.

Brazil, France, Georgia, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan and Switzerland have also signed deals with London properties for the Olympics.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming the Belgian National Olympic Committee, their guests and the Belgian Royal Family to the Inn during next year's Olympics," said Patrick Maddams, sub-treasurer of The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.

"Given the friendly relations and close proximity of our two countries, we hope that our Belgian guests will have a memorable time with us."

The deal is a coup for EXP Sport Ltd, a Twickenham-based sports sponsorship consultancy firm who other clients include Bath and Harlequins rugby clubs.

"We are delighted that the Belgian National Olympic Committee has agreed terms with the Inner Temple," said Laura Oakes, the firm's managing director.

"They were one of the first clients to view the facilities and anyone who comes to the Inn cannot fail to be impressed by the stunning facilities and the service levels that the Inner Temple offers.

"The Belgians and the Inner Temple have been a joy to work with and we are very excited about helping them both to deliver a truly world-class hospitality facility in just over a year's time."

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