Zuidas Lives

Builders continue to build, as service providers work from home

On 15 March 2020, Zuidas, too, came to a standstill. At many offices, people were already following the advice to work from home. The government’s decision to close catering establishments did the rest. But there is still some activity. Where possible, construction workers are continuing to work.

However, there are some staffing issues in construction. Construction workers from Eastern Europe in particular are not working, and some have returned to their home countries, fearful that they would otherwise not be able to get home. Anyone who can work somewhere else rather than on the construction site (planners, etc.) is being instructed to do so. Staff from the ZuidPlus construction consortium that is developing Zuidasdok are also working from home as far as possible. In addition, many companies are applying a stricter on-site hygiene policy, including taking meals in shifts. The companies have to apply and enforce the measures themselves. Construction sector organisation Bouwend Nederland has also drawn up guidelines relating to the coronavirus, reflecting the advice of the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment).

The business community

The offices of almost all of the service companies are virtually empty as huge numbers of people work from home. Everyone at ABN AMRO, from the work floor through to senior management, is working in two shifts. Half are working from home, the other half at the office. After a week, the shifts swap over. Its Zuidas office has also been divided into six departments, separated from each other. The bank is doing this in an effort to guarantee services. Like many in the financial and legal service industries, the staff at Deloitte have to deal with their own policy and that of their clients. If they differ, Deloitte applies the strictest policy. In almost all cases, that means working from home. The large law firms have also taken drastic measures. Staff at such firms as De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, NautaDuthilh and AKD are working from home. As far as possible, meetings are being held by phone and videoconferencing. International travel has also been cancelled, including at Baker McKenzie.

It's quiet in Zuidas for the time being

Education

For the 25,000 students and 4,500 staff at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), the doors will remain closed until 6 April at least. Only staff required to keep essential processes up-and-running (ICT, energy, security) are continuing to work. Examinations and doctoral ceremonies have been postponed and VU Amsterdam is providing digital lectures as far as possible. Other schools in Zuidas are also closed, as are the childcare facilities (Kindercampus Zuidas primary school and crèche, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, The British School, the Geert Groote College, the Geert Groote School, the St. Nicolaaslyceum).

Catering establishments, sports facilities

In Zuidas, as elsewhere, cafés, restaurants and sports facilities are all closed. Some cafés and restaurants are exploring the options for delivering meals. However, the hotels in Zuidas are open. Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, the trade organisation for the hotel and catering sector, is recommending that people observe the RIVM guidelines. Meeting places, such as Circl and De Nieuwe Poort, are also closed.

Public transport

Both GVB and Connexxion have adjusted their timetables. You can find the latest information on their websites. It is also no longer possible to buy tickets from the driver and you cannot board at the front. Since 13 March 2020, metro and tram doors have been opening automatically.

What about us?

Amsterdam’s Zuidas department, together with the Zuidasdok project office (based in Amstelveen), will definitely be closed until 6 April. As a general rule, we are also all working from home. The Amsterdam Zuidas Information Centre, based in Tower A of the WTC, is also closed. This means that it is currently not possible to visit us. However, if you would still like to contact us, just call or email us. We are still available if you need us.

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