So much is happening simultaneously in Zuidas that there was something to experience for all interests during the Open Day. All of the guided tours were almost fully booked for good reason. They ranged from an art walk in Zuidas with an expert guide to a cycle journey between the Amstel and De Nieuwe Meer interchanges and included visits to underground Zuidas and Hotel Van der Valk Amsterdam Zuidas and even the work sites for the renovation work on Amsterdam Zuid station. Because of the disappointing weather, some of the attendees who had signed up understandably dropped out. But plenty of people turned up on the day and made up for that. All in all, they turned out to be very well-informed members of the public who were eager to be briefed on the finer details. But that was what the day was all about: finding out exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.
Two Zuidasdok work sites
For the refurbishment work on Amsterdam Zuid station, part of the Zuidasdok programme, attendees were able to visit two different work sites: one alongside Arnold Schönberglaan and another between the metro tracks. They saw what has already been done, heard what still needs to happen and above all discovered how complex this job is because of the very limited space. This evoked a lot of enthusiastic and even critical questions.
Van der Valk Hotel
Van der Valk Amsterdam Zuidas offered a special ‘Tour du Hotel’, which proved very popular. Many loyal fans of the Van der Valk hotel chain could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the Best Building of 2021 for themselves.
Guided tours, above and underground
The themed guided tours also proved popular. Lovers of architecture, art and nature all had bespoke tours with professional guides. There was a cycle trip to the neighbourhood that will soon be built behind the AFC football pitches. Even fans of cables and pipelines had something to entertain them. Next to the new Ravel residential neighbourhood, they were briefed on how masses of electricity and glass fibre cables (90 km) are being laid underground, stacked layer by layer. And the guided tour through the ‘integrated cable and pipeline tunnel’ underneath Mahlerlaan was fully booked in half a day, as is now the tradition.
A key surprise was the visit to the Verdi neighbourhood, by electric transport. Unlike the rest of Zuidas, this is an area with existing housing, houseboats and lots of greenery and water.
Oliebollen and mini-circus
In Circl, ABN Amro’s circular pavilion in Mahlerplein, there was not only plenty of information to discover all about Zuidas and Zuidasdok, but also some warmth to enjoy. With free coffee, a stall open and selling dough balls (oliebollen) and a mini-circus, it turned out to be a day full of inspiration and warmth. We look forward to the next one in the summer of 2022.