A Boeing 747 taxies past. Further away, an Airbus lifts off into the sky. Working at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol never fails to fascinate: it’s such an international, accessible and dynamic environment. It has an energy that is also reflected by the companies established at the airport.
Actually, it was not even a hundred years ago when a small field in the Haarlemmermeerpolder was transformed into a windy rudimentary runway. In those days, airplanes pulling themselves out of the mud and taking off were a novelty. The airport buildings consisted of a few barracks and the airport staff used ditch water to wash. And yet, those humble beginnings marked the start of an ambitious and innovative development. The pioneering spirit of those days can still be felt at Schiphol and among the companies doing business at the airport. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a world of international business, a melting pot of cultures, an Airport City that never sleeps and where there is always something going on. The name “Schiphol” therefore not only evokes the image of one of the world’s best-known and most renowned airports, but also of a Dutch business location second to none.
Aside from the endless flows of departing and arriving passengers, Schiphol is home to around 500 businesses. Schiphol Real Estate, the airport’s real estate company, has drawn up a carefully formulated strategy and vision, known as ‘Creating Preferred Locations’. Pieter van der Horst responsible at Schiphol Real Estate for the redevelopment of Schiphol Central Business District (CBD) is enthusiastic about these plans: “It means that we need to focus on every aspect of the location. It goes without saying that entrepreneurs like to be located close to the airport. But they want more than that. They want an efficient international office complex that is also a dynamic and lively international environment where people enjoy working or spending time. That means that tenants and employees must not only feel happy inside our buildings, but also in the spaces outside. Our job is therefore to create an environment where everyone feels at home and can work and do business in a way that feels right to them.”
Most of the upcoming development will be focused on Schiphol-Centre with The Base and the new Hilton Schiphol as groundbreakers. The entire area will be undergoing a transformation. The walkway which currently connects the WTC with Schiphol Plaza and the Terminal, will pass through the new Hilton from September this year. And from the new Hilton, you will be able to walk through to The Base, which offers facilities that will service the surrounding office buildings. This interconnectedness will bring greater vitality to all the areas involved. “The Base now offers facilities that are available for everybody working in the area like a 24/7 child day care center, Starbucks, restaurant, bar, a Regus business center and later this year also a small convenience store, fitness, hairdresser and even a small library. The entire public space will be transformed, with its quality enhanced with trees, squares, better pathways and roads. The result: a more lively and multifunctional working environment.” Squares with birches and plane-trees, design, art and glass: all attractive elements that will shape the ambience of the area. But is it enough for a successful business district? Van der Horst: “Of course, a public space is only successful when everyone actually uses it, when it becomes a place where people converge to live, share and work. But that’s something we are working hard to bring about.”