Most of the people who normally work in Zuidas are now working from home. But there are still more than 4,000 people living in Zuidas and they’re the ones now supporting small businesses. ‘The restaurants and small businesses here are so popular, that we’re doing all we can to keep them’, explains Emile Rietveld, who is behind the initiative. ‘They bring charm and a sense of fun to Zuidas. The good news is that lots of residents are enthusiastic and glad to be able to do something to help.’ A website was launched in virtually no time at all. It also features a call to restaurant owners to sign up, so they can add their menus to the site.
The businesses have been touched and cheered by this initiative, says Rietveld: ‘Personally, I live in Intermezzo and as a committee member in the Homeowners’ Association, I have regular contact with both residents and businesses. This is now proving very useful, because I was able to step into action quickly.’ Market33 was the first to show an interest, followed by several other restaurants. ‘Increasing numbers of businesses are now signing up, including Leonidas in Gustav Mahlerlaan. Admittedly, it’s not a restaurant, but it can also benefit from our initiative.’
Does Rietveld expect more to join? ‘I certainly hope so. The positive responses have been encouraging. Of course, what’s happening is totally unreal, but it’s good to see that a sense of connection and belonging is emerging as a result. To that extent, I hope this initiative is inspiring to others. We need each other now more than ever, so let’s make the best of it.’