This week I did something very exciting: I moderated a symposium about depopulation in the Royal Palace where His Majesty, King of the Netherlands Willem Alexander, Queen Máxima and Her Royal Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands were all three in attendence. In another fancy pancy environment, I got to announce the nominations for the Amsterdam Art Prize. Also I interviewed professor Mark Shucksmith on depopulation and Sarah Leary of the neighbourhoodapp Nextdoor. Later in the week, I spoke on a huge boat about climate responsive water design, saw an amazing performance at the Holland Festival and went to the Fotomuseum in Den Hague to see the black&white photographs of Peter Hujar.
Hi all! This week it was a lot of family business with visits from my step- and grandsons. Besides that, we went to a spectacular performance of the Holland Festival, the photography festival in Naarden and got to see a very innovative idea for a hotel with water as its theme and some very funny dancing robotic chairs… Read the article…
On November 4th, 2016, I was awarded the Maaskantprijs 2016 by Mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb. This is a bi-annual prize for a person that stimulates the debate on architecture, landscape and urban design by publications, teaching or commissioning. That day I also launched the multimedia project ‘Tracy in Nederland‘ (Tracy in the Netherlands) that I developed with multimediaproducer Submarine, artist Jan Rothuizen and podcastmakers De Kostgangers. Part of the project is the essay The Dark Side of Urban Success designed by Hamid Sallali.
Look closely at the photo below: on the far right you can just barely discern a human figure. That gives you an idea how big the new building for the Estonian National Museum is in the city of Tartu, which opened to the public last week. It’s huge: 356 meters long, 72 meters wide, and 15 meters high at the front, sloping down gradually to just over 2 at the back. One of the world’s smallest countries now has one of the world’s biggest museums, at a cost of 75 million euro’s. The only bigger cultural building in the country is the Linnahall, built by the Soviets on the occasion of the 1980 Olympic Games.
The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. HEYU! Urbans is part of a talkshow series of the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA). The OBA asked me to invite and discuss the urban challenges of today with six prominent thinkers, one a month from six cities in and around the EU in the live talkshow HEYU! Urbans. Literature critic Margot Dijkgraaf invites 12 of the best European writers for HEYU! Writers. Guests include David Madden (London), Stavros Stavrides (Athens), Marten Kaevats (Tallinn), Francesc Muñoz Ramírez (Barcelona), Tuna Kuyucu (Istanbul) and the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.
The Straits Times of Singapore wrote an article about my lecture with the title ‘Tackle floods? Create more space for water’. I gave this lecture, called ‘Water – Holland’s ‘Frenemy’, on February 18th for the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore.
The Netherlands is known for its control over water. But now that the climate is changing, the Dutch are also changing their approach towards water management. In cities more space is being created for water, the landscape is being redesigned to let water in and sometimes the dikes are even being lowered. Water is becoming a friend instead of an enemy – or better said, frenemy.
Read the article…