Jeroen Assen is part of the team responsible for realising the green initiatives. ‘Making Zuidas greener is a key priority. There’ll soon be thousands of people living in Zuidas and a greener environment also benefits visitors and commuters.’ The fact that a mini-park has now been created in front of Amsterdam UMC, in the green strip of land on Amstelveenseweg, is all part of this process. ‘It was already a green area, but it lacked shape. There were trees and grass, for example, but it was hardly inviting. Now that we’ve created a path here, tree trunks to sit on and the planting has been relandscaped, more people will hopefully start to make use of it.’
Although work has been completed, it’s not yet quite as colourful as the greenery team envisaged. ‘That will take time’, explains Assen. ‘The bulbs and herb seeds that we planted are not yet visible. You’ll only really be able to see what we’ve done in May 2021.’ The added greenery has been carefully and deliberately chosen. ‘We wanted visitors to the mini-park not only be able to use this place to walk and sit, but also actually be able do something with the plants. From summer, it will be possible to harvest elderberries to make syrup, gather red currants, and pick the herbs to use in cooking.’
Some distance away, in Gustav Mahlerlaan towards Deloitte, work has been done on the tree pits. Assen: ‘We planted herbs and removed gravel from around the trees here.’ Amsterdam UMC is pleased with the result. ‘Although this is a public area, it’s obviously adjacent to their site. That’s why we involved Amsterdam UMC in the design process. They can also recognise the benefits of the mini-park.’ These are not the only plans for more green areas around the VUmc location at Amsterdam UMC. ‘In the future, we plan to make the wide pavements around the building narrower and add new planting and seating. The main aim is to replace the current greyness with a greener and friendlier look.’
In May 2019, residents were invited to suggest ideas for more green areas in Zuidas. The three initiatives that secured the most votes have been made a reality. The winning idea came from Hinke Helder. She wanted to see more green areas around Amsterdam UMC, VUmc location, in order to encourage staff and patients at the UMC – where Helder herself also works – to go outside. This idea has now been made a reality. The bee hotels, initiative number two, have already been built. The green walk will be realised in 2021.