Category: Reside

‘Last year we rescued celebrity Lil’ Kleine from an elevator.’

Amsterdam has had a professional fire service since 1874, making it the oldest in the Netherlands. Of course, a lot has changed since then. For example, look at the Zuidas…

Amsterdam has had a professional fire service since 1874, making it the oldest in the Netherlands. Of course, a lot has changed since then. For example, look at the Zuidas area with its high rises. How can the fire service adapt to these new buildings? And what is a day like for these firefighters? We talked to 48 year old Peter Westerbeek, a supervisor at fire station Dirk.

Station Dirk is located in Amsterdam South, on the corner of Houthorststraat and Hobbemakade. It is the oldest operational fire station in Europe. Amsterdam-Amstelland’s fire service is responsible for the (fire) safety of the nearly one million people. Every day, at least 90 firefighters are on duty here, ready to serve the people of Amsterdam. In combination with the six voluntary stations, the total number of firefighters is 160.

Peter Westerbeek’s crew consists of eight people. He calls this his second family. “Together with my colleagues, we work 24-hour shifts, which means that we start at 8am and say goodbye at 8am the next day. We do this two days a week, so we have 48 hours of sleeping, eating and living together. You could say that Station Dirk is my second home.”

Productivity

You are mistaken if you think firefighters sit around and wait till they get called out. “We work around the clock. After the morning briefing, we perform vehicle and equipment checks. That’s our daily routine. Maybe the previous crew was called out, and a crowbar or something was left behind.”

“After we complete the check-ups, and the station is clean, it is time for our daily exercise. We take a run through the Vondelpark, for example. We take the truck and all our gear and go running together for at least an hour and a half. Each of us is super fit. We have to be because we are regularly submitted to the beady eyes of a strict doctor. If you fail their tests, they follow you up until you succeed and pass the tests.”

House calls and exercises

“Members of the crew take turns to cook and prepare lunches. We spend afternoons doing house calls and exercises. During these house calls, the firemen and women visit people and explain safety measures and distribute smoke detectors.

“Some people are surprised when they open their doors. Some don’t believe that we are real firefighters,” Peter says, smiling. “But we can always point out our fire engine. And if that doesn’t help, we can always identify ourselves.”

The crew visits commercial and public properties as well. In the area around Station Dirk there are several iconic buildings, such as the Rijksmuseum, the concert hall and the Van Gogh museum.

“For each of those buildings, we have a specific plan of action in case of an emergency. We need to know where the emergency exits and the fire hydrants are. We check the plans regularly, and we are shown around the sites by the in-house emergency officers. The Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, is, of course, a unique building. Our priority is saving humans and animals, obviously, but for a beautiful place with such precious pieces of art, we go one step further to save valuable contents. Luckily for The Night Watch, it has a special construction so that in the unfortunate case of a fire we can hopefully save it.”

EMA, Courthouse and nhow

Peter’s team recently had an orientation around Zuidas. “We paid a visit to EMA, the European Medical Agency. Now we know exactly where we can find the escape routes and how to connect to the water supply.”

“Everything worked out perfectly. During a calamity, our briefcases are ready with handsets and floor plans, so we know where to find the technical equipment. We have done the same thing at Amsterdam Rai Hotel. This building might look complicated from the outside, but the inside has one central point, so the guests know how to escape.”

Some of the buildings in the Zuidas are up to 70 metres high. No ladder reaches to the top.

“Our tallest ladder has a height of 24 metres. That is sufficient for the centre of Amsterdam but not for the Zuidas. At best it will take you to the sixth floor. It means that we would have to perform all rescues from the inside of the sixth floor. We’ve had a recent experience of this situation in the new Courthouse. An employee got trapped on the seventh floor, under a wooden construction, but our ladder only reached the third floor because of the height of the building’s levels. Orientation visits are essential to get this sort of knowledge beforehand.”

Firefighters deal with a lot more than just fires, they manage resuscitations as well. “That happens at least two or three times a week. We had one recently at ABN AMRO’s main office. Resuscitation is part of our job, but it does have an enormous impact. We have to talk to and support each other in order to carry on.”

Naturally, it is not all disasters for Station Dirk. There are also minor cases. Some can be laughed about, and there is, of course, false alarms.

“Most offices at Zuidas have their restaurants on the upper floors, the best location to have Thursday afternoon drinks. It often happens that an employee sets off the fire alarm on the fourteenth floor. The emergency room immediately gets a call, and they notify the reception in the building, and they have to go up and check. The receptionist has to climb the stairs, all fourteen flights of them, because during a fire alarm the elevators are shut down automatically. This receptionist has to report back within two minutes. If not, the nearest station is alarmed, in which case we are called out for what we presume to be a priority stage 1 alarm.”

Sometimes, Peter gets to tell exciting stories when he returns home from duty. “Last year we rescued celebrity Lil’ Kleine from an elevator at Zuidas. He was stuck inside it with his girlfriend and baby. To make matters worse, it was the hottest day of the year! But before I got back into our truck, I realized I wanted to capture the moment because my children are big fans. As I had forgotten my mobile, Lil’ Kleine took a shot with his phone of the two of us together. Imagine! My kids, 10 and 13, went crazy.”

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Join the discussion about new green along De Boelelaan

Have you noticed them already, the human-sized question marks along the De Boelelaan Midden? They are there for a reason of course. The Zuidas department of the City of Amsterdam…

Have you noticed them already, the human-sized question marks along the De Boelelaan Midden? They are there for a reason of course. The Zuidas department of the City of Amsterdam has started preparations for the refurbishment of De Boelelaan Midden (located between Beethovenstraat and Parnassusweg).

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Feiten en cijfers Zuidas

Zuidas, het gebied dat ligt tussen Schiphol en de Amsterdamse binnenstad, tussen de wijken Buitenveldert en Oud Zuid en natuurgebieden Nieuwe Meer en Amstel, is constant in ontwikkeling en is…

Zuidas, het gebied dat ligt tussen Schiphol en de Amsterdamse binnenstad, tussen de wijken Buitenveldert en Oud Zuid en natuurgebieden Nieuwe Meer en Amstel, is constant in ontwikkeling en is de laatste jaren enorm gegroeid. Hier wat feiten en cijfers op een rij.

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The sound of violins in Zuidas on Woningsdag

On Woningsdag 2020 (a play on words that turns King’s Day into Home Day), three violinists will treat Zuidas to mini concerts at 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00h. They will be…

On Woningsdag 2020 (a play on words that turns King’s Day into Home Day), three violinists will treat Zuidas to mini concerts at 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00h. They will be drawing their bows across the strings on the roofs of Intermezzo and the Gershwin Brothers, and in the courtyard garden of Xavier.

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The construction of the Zuidasdok project in Amsterdam may cost 1 billion euros more, according to the NOS yesterday. Moreover, a letter from Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen to the House…

The construction of the Zuidasdok project in Amsterdam may cost 1 billion euros more, according to the NOS yesterday. Moreover, a letter from Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen to the House of Representatives reveals that the large-scale construction project is once again being delayed.

Construction had initially been planned for nine years. But even before the first shovel hit the ground, the prestigious project was delayed. One of the reasons for this was the complexity of the project, with many tunnels in a small area.

Because of the delays, the cabinet had the project investigated by a committee led by former minister Sybilla Dekker. It now concludes that the project must go ahead at all costs. “Doing nothing is not an option,” she advises. Otherwise there will be too many traffic jams on the highway and at the public transport.

In view of the complexity, the project should be divided into small parts, Dekker advises. The last part will then be completed between 2032 and 2036, which is four years later than planned at the earliest. But all this also costs more money. The budget deficit is now estimated at between 700 million and 1 billion euros.

Source: www.nos.nl

Update:

From an article that newspaper NRC Saturday 28 March devoted to the developments on the Zuidasdok, it appears that the expansion of Station Zuid in particular has high priority. The number of passengers grew by 47 percent in the last year. Partly due to the arrival of international trains, 300,000 passengers per day are expected here in due course instead of the current 80,000, according to NRC.

Walter Etty, chairman of passenger organisation Rover, even calls the situation dangerous. “People are falling off the platform, it’s so crowded there.

Two professors, the economists Coen Teulings and Henri de Groot, who were consulted by Dekker, find the plans for two additional tracks too modest. They advocate eight tracks.

In her advice, former minister Dekker concludes that the national prosperity will only benefit if the Zuidasdok project is completed. Bureau Decisio calculated that two billion in costs would be offset by 2.1 billion in benefits.

According to a spokesman for the municipality of Amsterdam, the municipality is now entering into talks with the national government. The agreement is that Amsterdam will pay a quarter of the extra costs, and that the government will pay the rest. Dekker expects that politicians will agree to the extra billion, because the transport hub is of national importance. “You don’t solve anything by stopping, especially in times of crisis,” she says to NRC.

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Heidrick & Struggles: corporate Excellence

Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s leading recruitment firms, has found itself a more suitable location for its Amsterdam office by moving to the new NoMA building. When deciding…

Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s leading recruitment firms, has found itself a more suitable location for its Amsterdam office by moving to the new NoMA building. When deciding on a top Zuidas location for your business, you should want your interior design to equal the quality found in this building.

The Amsterdam based concept and design studio Hollands Nieuwe was picked to be responsible for creating an interior design for the space that corresponds with the dynamic work processes of the recruiter. Since Heidrick & Struggles offers executive recruitment as well as consulting services, executive coaching and leadership development, it was of the utmost importance that their place of work makes a powerful impression immediately. Consequently, the entrance and foyer has a warm, inviting and high-quality charm, which welcomes retained and new clients, as well as employees and partners on a daily basis.

Due to the high frequency of visitors to the building, the entrance area has a variety of meeting facilities, which differ in spaciousness and privacy. A wooden slate subdivides the open reception into more private spaces. These spaces provide employees with secluded workspaces while there is a training session in progress on the other side of the hall.   

Photography Hollandse Nieuwe

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Next level loft

Exclusive living is the best way to describe this apartment located on the 14th floor of the Intermezzo Building that is up for sale now. Two apartments have been turned…

Exclusive living is the best way to describe this apartment located on the 14th floor of the Intermezzo Building that is up for sale now. Two apartments have been turned into one, making this place unique and extremely spacious: 207m² (2,200 sq. ft). To top it all off, it offers a roof terrace and spectacular views of Amsterdam.

The apartment on Leonard Bernsteinstraat has a south-west orientation, making it very light, and a roof terrace with stunning views. 

The level of finishing is very high. The dining area and the handmade large open-plan kitchen are fitted with all modern appliances including an oven, microwave-oven, Quooker, double refrigerator and freezer, coffee machine, cooker, as well as a climate cabinet for wine. The kitchen island and the wall are made of Italian Arebescato Gold marble. The worktop is made of Belgian bluestone. 

The very spacious and light living room gives access to the terrace facing Zuidas and De Boelelaan. There is Hungarian point oak flooring throughout the entire penthouse.

The master bedroom, with double doors opening to the outside, has an adjoining half-open bathroom with tub, walk-in shower, double sink, toilet and a spectacular dressing room. 

In addition to the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, there are two spacious bedrooms with a large shared bathroom and walk-in shower. There are two private parking spaces (next to each other) in the building’s underground car park. Asking Price: € 2.250.000,- (costs for buyer).

For more information: www.engelvoelkers.com/amsterdam, tel. +31 (0)20-2252736

 

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Van Gelder contributes to a warmer Zuidas

A new impetus and a warmer atmosphere – that was architect Ben van Berkel’s remit when he was given the assignment to transform the entrance of the UNStudio building. And…

A new impetus and a warmer atmosphere – that was architect Ben van Berkel’s remit when he was given the assignment to transform the entrance of the UNStudio building. And did he succeed! “It has become much more inviting for people to just walk in,” Van Berkel says.

The entrance hall of the UNStudio building has undergone a massive change. Is it the tremendous height, the earthly colours or the abundance of light that gives the new entrance this real ‘wow!’ factor?

Ten years after delivering the 21-floor building he himself designed, architect Ben van Berkel was asked to create a new entrance that should above all appear ‘friendlier’. “It was a very nice assignment. It was wonderful to improve an existing building I designed a long time ago. To correct it, as it were. ” 

Warmer

The present owner, Union Investments, wanted to give the entrance hall a new dimension and a warmer character. “We realized that by using ultra-transparent glass, enabling people outside to see what’s happening inside. The plants we incorporated into the entrance hall create a nice play between inside and outside.” Another noticeable change is the connection with Coffee DC at the other side of Claude Debussylaan. “This could have been made even more visible, if it was for me.” 

The character of the new entrance hall of this building, located at the corner of Gustav Mahlerlaan and Parnassusweg, is defined by amazing lines of sight, a sense of openness and free-standing columns. And, of course, by the copper-coloured artwork hanging from the ceiling, a real eye-catcher. “In the old days, people used chandeliers to draw attention to the ceiling. We’ve given this a modern touch, using the movement of light to give the illusion the ceiling is even higher than it is.”

Pushing boundaries

UNStudio, Ben van Berkel’s architectural firm, is an office with versatile professionals. “That artwork is of our own making; our interior design department really pushed the boundaries there. We also came up with the bench flowing over into the planter and other surprise elements, including the chairs in the entrance. All these things together give visitors that feeling of ‘Wow!’ when they enter this building.”

Interesting fact: there is another Van Berkel building at the Zuidas – the NautaDutilh building on Beethovenstraat was also designed by UNStudio. “When the UNStudio building was delivered in 2009, there were mainly offices here at the Zuidas. Back then, I said they should avoid creating a monoculture as the place would be dead after 5 p.m. and people wouldn’t feel safe going home after work. It’s much more lively now, with all the restaurants, bars and cafés that have sprung up, and due to the residential tower blocks that have been built.”

“I would definitely like to stay involved with the Zuidas and I’ve already been asked to look at new projects. It is important to keep building residential homes here, not just high-end apartments. Only then, the Zuidas will be able to make a real contribution to the city of Amsterdam. Actually, I think people underestimate how close the Zuidas is to the town centre and how nice it is to live here. As you can see, I’m very upbeat about the Zuidas!”

 

 

Architect Ben van Berkel
Photo: Christian Richters and Els Zweerink

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Zuidas versus The City

Obviously, one cannot compare the Zuidas with its bigger financial brother in London as the British capital has ten times as many inhabitants. But still, the Zuidas is slowly but…

Obviously, one cannot compare the Zuidas with its bigger financial brother in London as the British capital has ten times as many inhabitants. But still, the Zuidas is slowly but surely getting a more international image and – due to the impending Brexit – more and more companies are opening offices in Amsterdam. Reason enough to ask three experts about the opportunities in both cities and the differences and similarities between Amsterdam and London.

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Amity International School Amsterdam

The former head office of Van Leer’s Vatenfabriek on Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen has been brought back to life. Amity International School Amsterdam has revived the impressive old building by fully…

The former head office of Van Leer’s Vatenfabriek on Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen has been brought back to life. Amity International School Amsterdam has revived the impressive old building by fully renovating its interior and turning the facilities into a fitting location where children are taught at the highest educational level.

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