Tours With Locals took place in Amsterdam’s Zuidas

October 3, 2022 4mn
September 29-30, the GBD Innovation Club’s members gathered in the Dutch capital to discover Zuidas global business district through professional presentations, urban strolls and informal networking

Living in an era in which technology has taken us to new levels of communication and sustainable issues made us to rethink the way of making business connection, we question our need for business travel at all. Video conferencing is a fantastic way to communicate when working remotely, but when it comes to urbanism subjects nothing quite beats visits to local areas and real-life professional exchanges.

In response to this need, we have created what we call the ‘Tour With Locals’, a program of short trips, designed for colleagues from neighboring geographical areas. The purpose is to learn more about neighboring territories, their operation, business models, development strategies, and their specifics, as well as local responses to major global challenges.

The first destination was Zuidas, the Amsterdam global business district. September 29-30, the GBD Innovation Club’s members gathered in the Dutch capital to discover Zuidas through professional presentations, urban strolls and informal networking.

As David Van Traa, the Zuidas Director, told us, the Zuidas area is the prime location in Amsterdam, an urban center with an international flair. The district benefits from a strategic location, south of the city center and in the immediate vicinity of Schiphol airport.  With its high concentration of businesses – more than 700 companies are already established there-, public institutions and housing, this is a dynamic new part of the Dutch capital.  Zuidas is bordered by the main buildings and central campus of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and by the VUmc University Hospital on the south side.

An intermingling of high-density, multipurpose use of space and far-reaching function (43% working space, 43% residential space, and 14% facilities) are available in the Zuidas. This generates a lively urban environment with an abundance of social and cultural stimuli.

Paco Bunnik, Lead Urban Designer, Gemeente Amsterdam, and Jaap Brouwer, Urban Planner at Soeters Van Eldonk architects, both noted that open public spaces, where the interaction between individuals and society are supported by the urban environment are critical for the Zuidas area urban development.

They added that the public realm represents a critical opportunity in the area response to climate change. Ecological functions, habitat protection, rainwater management, heat island mitigation and disaster response hubs must be integrated into public space planning and design, to ensure a healthy resilient urban environment.

Soft mobility is one of the important axes at the base of the mid- and long-term strategy of the Zuidas district. The active development of appropriate infrastructure – underground parking for bicycles, expanding the network of cycle paths, speed regulation through Internet of Things – allows the further development of bicycle culture and encourages even more people to use the bicycle as their main means of transportation. “Bike usage in Amsterdam has grown by more than 40% in the last 20 years,” Isabelle van den Bouwhuijsen, Manager of the Zuidas Mobility program, VRA, noted in her presentation.

Сollaborative work offers the opportunity to move forward and find new solutions to current challenges. Niina Pusinnen, Manager of Business Innovation & Collaborations at ABN AMRO, told us about the Zuidas Green Business Club, a network of professionals who share a common goal: to make both the area and their own operations more sustainable. Thank to this initiative, large and small businesses, government and knowledge institutions representing the Zuidas area join in the Energy, Mobility, People, Water & Green and Waste & Circularity teams to develop projects and exchange best practices. They share their own expertise to inspire and help each other in these key areas. 

A brief but intense acquaintance with the quarter demonstrated the potential of the Zuidas area to rise above the local scale, as it can supplement business activity on the supranational level. The Zuidas GBD is a form of model for a modern, open society founded on local values but at the same time it can express itself in a global context.

IMPORTANT! We are glad to announce that the next destination is Dublin. Richard Guiney, the CEO & President of DublinTown BID, and his team will be happy to welcome the ‘Tour With Locals’ participants in the spring of 2023 and talk about the main economic, environmental and social initiatives being implemented in the capital of Ireland.

Please contact us bellow if you would like to get more information about upcoming ‘Tour With Locals’ in Dublin