Category Archives: STRATEGY

From 16th of May 2024 onwards the preliminary vision upon the built environment (Ruimte Maken voor Morgen: Ontwerp Omgevingsvisie 2040 en verder) voor Zaanstad Municipality has been published for feedback by inhabitants and professionals.

This is the first time that Zaanstad, famous for its many windmills and the cradle of the European industry made an integral vision for the entire municipality. Today the 170.000 inhabitant city is rapidly growing to 200.000+ in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. The Vision includes 5 essential principles to ensure a suistainable future and 14 key projects that pave the way.

It was great to co-author, inspire and take care for the continuity of this poject together with Anne Langenesch. The team of professionals who delivered this spatial vision for 2040 and beyond include Joyce Goudschaal, Lisan Adolf, Marian van den Brink, Mirjam Witjes-Hoetjes, Tijs Rothweiler and many others. The beautiful maps based upon our sketches and a draft by Urban Synergy were made by Lisa Schouten, Jasmijn Hofman and Esra Esen. The beautiful and friendly impressions of the key projects were made from my rough sketches by blau.

In December 2023 the 3rd season of the executive Program for the Knowledge of Space 2024 was finalized. Mathias was again part of the team of colleagues who aim to improve the awareness, competences en strategic knowledge in spatial and urban development for Zaanstad Municipality and her partners by these monthly educational in-house events. The team consists of Marc den Hertog, Yorick Waardenburg, Tijs Rothweiler, Meike Westers, Hilde Bloemers and Lisa Schouten.

In December 2023 Mathias published an article on the website of the Dutch National Association of Landscape Architects NVTL, member of IFLA Europe. The text addressed the advantages of spatial planning based upon the very long term. The main idea of this approach is to look ahead for the very long term of hundred years. Design and policy decisions are subsequently based on that perspective by deducting decisions for today from the expected or desired scenario’s for the future. Within his teaching he learned that this approach gave both trust and empowerment to the students, and resulted in unexpected and innovative design solutions; in his role as strategic advisor for Zaanstad Municipality he had previously commissioned a research with a comparable approach in order to determine if urban development should take place in an area currently used for agriculture.

The article was published on the homepage of the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam within a few days, too.

On October 30 Mathias was invited to present the status quo on the Urban Development Plan for Zaanstad Municipality. Housing Corporation Rochdale was meeting up in a Zaandam Church next to the river to discuss current and future developments in their housing stock and the rapidly growing municipality.

After having chaired the board of the Foundation of Kunstfort, Island or Art and Heritage for a number of years it was finally time to say good bye.

Such a departure is a perfect opportunity to look back upon the accomplishments (such as introducing Zippora Elders as our new director; introducing the Code Cultural Governance; streamlining the rental and energy contracts; acquiring the ANBI status; securing continuity of the island by splitting the foundation in activities and real estate, and many others; investigating energy autarky by aquathermia).

But I am grateful that the new board and its chair, Peter Oussoren, granted me the wish of little conference with experts to look ahead too. Where will Kunstfort at Vijfhuizen stand in the coming years? How will we tackle transitions in climate, energy, demography and biodiversity to name just a few? After my little key note the experts came up with long term and practical short terms ingredients for the future of Kunstfort. The building blocks for a new policy plan, I would think. I am looking foward to how the new board and chair will take care of Kunsftfort, and wish them all the best!

On July 12th 2023 Mathias was speaking at the Re-Building Europe conference organized by international real estate consultancy group Drees & Sommer in Stadstimmerhuis Rotterdam.

Other speakers included Emiel Arends (municipality Rottterdam and Amsterdam), Vincent Taapken (New Industry), Niklas Veelken and many others.

The Re-Building Europe series is organized by DreSo in collaboration with Schneider Electric, E.ON, Georg Fischer Piping Systems, Schindler, New European Bauhaus, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Ghelamco, City of Warsaw, MVRDV, Hines, Lendlease, SwissLife Asset Managers, KPF, Foster + Partners and UNStudio.

(c) Floor Films

The second season of the Kennis Programma Ruimte (KPR, Knowledge programme ‘Space’) at Zaanstad Municipality was kicked off by Mathias on the 21st of March 2023 with a Master Class featuring Rotterdam based urbanist Franz Ziegler of Ziegler Branderhorst addressing the topic of ‘Drawing Essentials’, the competence to make sketches of spatial conditions by hand (or on a tablet) by reducing the huge amount of information to it’s essence.

On October 27th, Mathias was speaking at the conference on urban development and the importance of the discipline of urbanism, which he was also setting up together with Gert Grandiek, head of Area Development. After a grand bow towards the urbanists Sjoerd Soeters and Frits Palmboom who worked more than 20 years for Zaanstad Municipality the second act of the show presented in Zaantheater focussed on the coming 20 years. Indira van t Klooster and Esther Agricola gave their inspiring and critical take on the role of governments and the importance of staying connected with the citizens, followed by a discussion with the speakers and Mathias, led by host Jacqueline van der Sande on how urbanism is a crucial tool for the Vision upon Urban Development for the long time.

In his position as Strategic Advisor Urban Development of Zaanstad Municipality Mathias was invited by the architecture centre Babel on October 13, 2022 to speak about the Vision upon the Built Environment 2040. This document sets out five crucial principles for the future development of the city in the immediate vicinity of Amsterdam, and that is rapidly growing from now 155.000 inhabitants.

The city is famous for its heritage as first European Industrial City along River Zaan, green wooden houses and it’s formerly ‘1000 windmills’ now illustrated by the international tourist attraction Zaanse Schans. The city faces major (spatial) challenges when it comes to climate adaptation and its ecosystems, transitioning energy and mobility, while working on equality and inclusivity. All growth growth for houses and spaces for future-proof work will be realized within the boundaries of the urbanized agglomeration and sparing the protected green landscape.

The Vision will be finalized in 2023 and co-authored with Simone Huijs, Marieke Ros, Marian van den Brink and others.
The presentation took place in cultural centre Bullekerk, and Mathias was interviewed by Leontien de Koning, former head or Urban Development.