As we stated in our newsletter today , life returns very slowly to Zuidas. But the streets are still quieter than ever. Emile Rietveld, resident and entrepreneur in Zuidas, also notices this. Our public space & security project leader Fouad Benaya asked him how he is experiencing this time.
What's your name?
What is your function and your relationship with the Zuidas?
Zuidas resident, VvE (Association of Owners) director and owner of Avenue Services BV.
To what extent do you notice that the Coronavirus has an impact on your work and living environment?
Normally, the Zuidas is a vibrant environment, with many people during the week and a good atmosphere on the street. As a result of the Corona crisis, the streets are empty, offices are dark and catering is closed and every day feels like a Zuidas Sunday.
To what extent do you see the area changing as a result of the Corona crisis?
Let me start with a positive change; the streets are and will remain cleaner and free of litter. Many residents take a walk on the street and there is a greater sense of togetherness. This is a very difficult time for the local entrepreneur. Before the Corona crisis, various catering entrepreneurs, at the frequent request of the Zuidas residents, intended to open during the weekend. The big question now is which entrepreneurs survive this period and which of them is still willing to open the doors on weekends.
What are you extra alert to in the Corona crisis?
During this time you pay more attention to your neighbors and especially those who fall into the risk group. You try to help them by getting groceries or making a (digital) chat. As VvE driver, we have intensified cleaning, paid extra attention to cleaning touch parts, made lift rules and installed 1.5m deposits. I also ask my service managers to pay extra time and attention to residents who need this so that they do not become isolated.
Do you think more should be done in the area of safety?
There is always room to improve safety, especially in an attractive area such as the Zuidas. Here too too I often see unnecessary unsafe situations. Despite the experiences gained and the current techniques that are available, many buildings still leave rough marks in the field of safety and prevention.
If so, what then?
There are clearly noticeable differences in buildings that may or may not be part of a VvE. In buildings that are not part of a VvE, residents (tenants) have little influence whether investments are made in (extra) measures such as camera surveillance and good hinges and locks because they depend on the major owner or investor. But also buildings that are members of a VVE are abandoned and that sometimes frustrates me. In my view, this is a great challenge for the Municipality of Amsterdam, among others, to enforce such minimum safety requirements when realizing and delivering a residential building.
What do you miss most about the 'normal' Zuidas?
The busy Zuidas during the day with office staff walking through the streets and the following quiet evenings. The bustling part of Zuidas is currently not to be found anywhere, just getting a coffee or smoothie is not (yet) possible.
Do you want to say something to the readers?
The streets may be less bustling, but at this time I advise everyone to be extra alert to suspicious situations or people. In addition, a call to all Zuidassers and Zuidas visitors, support the local (small) entrepreneurs and above all, Stay Safe!