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g buildingpassion h The International Edition

1 Laura Stevens


Building Passion

The International Edition

Word of thanks from the Creative Director Laura Stevens For Samantha & Fergus

Do one thing every day that scares you Eleanor Roosevelt

What country are you from? Where were you born? What is your nationality? Where is your residency? What country do you call home? When someone asks me after we've spoken for a bit, "Where do you come from?", I'm not sure what to answer. I ask, "Do you mean, right now, or originally?" and am surprised when they are startled by the question. Sometimes it's obvious, my accent... but sometimes they just want to know how long my drive was that day. After living in The Netherlands for 28 years, I still am confronted with the fact that I wasn't born here. While trying to "categorize" the Building Passion women who come from all over, the world, I discovered this was virtually impossible. We are world citizens and feel at home where our heart is. The more I spoke with these fascinating women, the more I discovered about my own transition from America towards Holland. It's been a wonderful journey with you this year. I thank you all. We've done workshops together, brainstorming about the future of the building industry and about cultures. Your stories have taken me around the world at least a dozen times. The men and women who have given workshops, added the extra power we needed to strengthen our network by getting us thinking about the building industry in different ways. Discover the outcome of the workshops with this book in hand and learn, as I did, with pleasure! A special thanks to my sponsors and of course the rest of you who have joined in to get this party started! Thanks to the dedication of my team, the true Passion Builders, who believed in this project from the start: my dear friends: Anita, Joanne, Michelle, Carola, Ina and Ruud, my Building Passion task force: Anjelica, Sabine and Serena, my book and website designer Yolanda Huntelaar, my photographers Walther Pehlemann, Fred Tiggelaar, Guus J.Baks as well as the photographers who helped me from around the world while asking for nothing in return . And last but not least, thanks to my kids, Samantha and Fergus, who kept me pepped up even when it seemed like it was too large a project to manage on my own and to my partner and managing editor, Sjaak Fonville, who gave me the inspiration and knowledge to make this book even better than the first. I love you all. I think I can, so I do. So can we all



The female passion for international real estate It makes you wonder why this international publication of Building Passion is an initiative so desperately needed and so well appreciated. Are female professionals in the real estate business still “under cover” or can we see a significant turn around and notice that women are more visible than ever since the last couple of years? In various publications all over the world this big question is debated in many ways. Diversification in the workforce is an objective well acknowledged and well accepted in companies. If you have the brains and the drive to get the most out of your career, opportunities are there! The question is if women also grasp the challenges given to them. Do women indeed want to work full time? Can women combine a successful career with a fulfilling family life?  Individual choices, which have great impact on the diversification process in many countries. A great support for all of us working women is the chance to join various network groups. In the Netherlands dwire Dutch Women in Real Estate was founded some 3 years ago and it counts more than 455 members. The exchange of knowledge and best practices helps each of us to reach balance in our career between on the one hand the business aspect and on the other hand our personal life. The good thing is that men in real estate business also support these network groups and encourage their female colleagues to join. Enjoy this international edition of Building Passion, which has been published, with the international vision of Laura Stevens and the cooperation of many international women all over the world. It will show you as a reader that female passion for international real estate is something to be proud of! Marcia A.M. Schless, Owner Pink Line Communication Manager International Marketing & Communication Multi Corporation Boardmember uli Netherlands Boardmember  dwire Boardmember igc Real Estate table & Ladies table.



Anjelica Cicilia

Building Passion Woman of the Year 2009 It was an honor to win the Building Passion Woman of the Year Award. Mostly because it was such a passionate project. Some call it an achievement, but it’s just work right? I was born on Bonaire and moved to Holland in 1999 to study Urban Design at the University of Technology in Delft. I already spoke the Dutch language so I only had to deal with the cultural differences. I didn’t have a problem with the straight forwardness of the Dutch. What I had to get used to was the diplomacy that came with it. Why does everything have to be poldered? On my first day at the University I got in a discussion with one of the professors. Having just obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Construction and (Civil) Engineering, it was impossible for me to understand conceptual design. After a while developing concepts became a standard part of my design approach. Maybe I just did it to get a higher grade. But maybe after a while I just understood what he had meant. Believe in yourself and always follow your gut. Winning the Award has brought me a lot of good things. It has been a wonderful journey so far but I know it hasn’t ended yet. There is still a lot to accomplish. Tomorrow there will be other greater challenges. I can’t wait! Here they are: the new Building Passion women of The International Edition. I'm very excited to see what their future will bring. Just as I have experienced the benefits of the cultural differences, I believe these women can provide a valuable contribution to our building society. This book is the result of Laura’s passion and mission to make these women visible.



Laura Alvarez

Deputy Director Laura Alvarez Architecture I think the greatest satisfaction we can have as architects is to see that people enjoy the space you design for them. This is actually our mission: to create spaces for people. Not so long ago, I was invited to the opening of La Llotja, the first project built in Spain by Mecanoo, a company I had the pleasure to work for before starting on my own. All authorities were present. It was so wonderful to hear the emotional words of the mayor referring to the building! We could feel his pride, his love and commitment to that building and I guess that there is no way to be better paid as an architect than experiencing something similar to this. My office is very young so we haven’t completed any building yet but it will happen soon and I hope that the people who will use it will be also very proud of it.



Janet Carla Catrin André

Stations Architect, dhv/npc Share the invitation of architecture I love and believe in architecture. It creates an intense joy in the experience. Architecture combines all the different aspects that I need for a good life. Growing up in Sweden has given me a sense of value and responsibility for our surroundings which I want to protect and preserve for the future. Design is part of this and for me a way to be aware of what I use and which function I use it for. Practical and beautiful products have a longer life and bring more joy in our everyday life as well as making the ordinary extraordinary!   Having the privilege to follow your own recipe and using the most beautiful products to create something tasteful in more than one way, is an addiction that I can’t and won’t ever give up.   Space, location, people, program, innovation, materials and a good hunch are a few of the ingredients that give me the input to feel which solution is mature for the moment and of course I always keep a number of other possibilities up my sleeve to surprise with.   It’s like fresh spinach and asparagus risotto, a mega intense, lush green which surprises you and makes you believe that you even can taste the color with our eyes shut. This is a quality I seek to realize in my work.   Living and working in the Netherlands has made me a true European. The will of the Dutch to be an outspoken part of our European community has inspired me to also take on this part. I have learned to give my opinion while allowing the space to grow and my outspokenness grow with me. In this small country the space is not always found in the surroundings but more in the openness of speech.   Invite architecture to all of your senses and don’t’ judge it without giving yourself the full opportunity to enjoy it.  Sometimes it’s very complex but quite often, it’s just simplicity itself.



Lydia Albinus

Owner Stadem bv Indonesia is my native country, but I came to the Netherlands when I was 1,5 years old. Very unlike the typical Indonesian traits like being easy or even considered lazy, I’m actually quite the opposite. I love the energy of balancing the high wire between the city government administration and the board members, finding that synthesis of the social, political and official requirements. As process manager with major urban developments for the City of Ede, I’m always finding this balance. I’m good at what I do and I’ve done this as an external bureau for the past 17 years! It’s important not to be a threat to the men in the business and let them see your work ethics naturally. I help them make development something we can be proud of. 'No more bad building habits allowed!'



Julie Ascoop

Leader of the maritime group at Arup in Ireland From Civil Engineering in Delft to Wave Energy in Ireland, my work has taken me to what I am passionate about: our relationship with the sea. After working for BAM as a project organizer on the Storm Surge Barrier in Ramspol, I moved to Ireland to work as a project manager on various maritime projects, such as the construction of a new container terminal in Dublin Port. I love working with all sorts of different people and running a building site is really the best project management experience you can get. (On the same day you could be agreeing the contract sum with the client and settling a dispute with the steel fixers.) Ireland has won my heart with its kind people, beautiful mountains and coastline. I love hillwalking and sailing, and in Dublin both are on my doorstep. (In the summer there is nothing better after work than the evening sailing races in Dublin Bay.) I moved to work for Arup a number of years ago, where I lead the maritime engineering group in Ireland. Our team provides a wide range of engineering services such as the design of ports, harbors, coastal protection and anything else to do with the water. Being an engineer trained in the Netherlands is certainly an advantage in my work! The recent economic downturn in Ireland has really focused us on utilizing the fantastic ocean resources around the coast of Ireland. Arup are currently assisting the Irish government with the development of a ‘Wave Energy Test Site’ of the West coast of Ireland, the location of the largest waves in Europe. As project manager for this project, I’m hoping to be part of fantastic new opportunities for this green island.



Pnina Avidar

Co-director 12PM – Architecture (fyeo. – as clear as midday) ‘Turn your face to the sun and the shadow fall behind you’ Maori proverb Come to think of it, my ability to operate in a ‘foreign’ culture relates to the understanding of the shadows cast by cultural differences. Like no other physical phenomena the shadow indicates a geographical location in the world. It is the evidence of a relation that determines an explicit object in space during a specific season and time of the day. It is the evidence for one’s existence and position between heaven and earth.  Turning to the sun, knowing my shade falls behind me, is knowledge gained by experience. It is a universal knowledge, a commonplace. However, only the action of turning towards the sun affects my ability to share, adapt, function and communicate this knowledge. With no shadow of a doubt, only this deed leads me to an insight - enabling me to manage the shadows thrown by cultural differences. Architecture, within this context, perceived as an organizing spatial discipline, addresses cultural shadows by incorporating certain characteristics into the design. A space can, apparently, be considered as hierarchal - non-hierarchal, open - close, public - private, formal - informal, cozy - estranged, accessible – secluded, etc.; and therefore represents cultural attitudes and social behavior codes. My gaze towards the sun defines my ‘foreignness’. The Maori proverb combines Dutch pragmatism and the ability to state the obvious; simulta­ neously it requires a vision, a need to decipher ‘reality’ and the search for other layers of meaning, an attitude I hope to have inherited from my sunny homeland and my Jewish culture.



Morag Beers BS c MRIC S

Director, Business Development & Investor Relations Composition Capital Partners, Amsterdam & Hong Kong A career in creating real estate is complex and offers an exciting range of diverse activities. My wardrobe includes steel toe-capped boots, sharp business suits and the odd cocktail dress: I love it. My education and training was typical of that in the structured UK industry: real estate at university leading to a professional qualification from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (rics). The Netherlands offers much freer access and maneuverability within the industry, broadening the range of people active in it. This has made me more open-minded and more conscious of my own broader capacities and interests. Given my global remit, being British and based in The Netherlands is an advantageous position: viewing the world from another’s perspective is a valuable asset that has removed many old built-in prejudices. Some habits are hard to break. My professional background is about complying with standards, exceeding targets and voluntarily opting-out of European working time regulations. I struggle to come to work in jeans, to take a proper lunch break and to leave work on time. I am also (very happily) conditioned to working fulltime, even with children. Not quite the Dutch way, but when working in a multi-cultural situation, there is never just one way. Personal qualities of honesty and respect for others fit well in the international market and can overcome less relevant cultural differences.



Willemijn Berenschot

Dutch lawyer in France, associated with the Italian law firm Pontecorvi Mannaerts & Triboldi After graduation I decided to move to Italy in order to broaden my cultural horizon. Having spent six years in Italy, I then moved to Bordeaux, France, to expand my career possibilities. Italian and French business cultures are very similar. Both are strongly characterized by good manners. However, although Italians prefer the establishment of personal relationships over directly going down to business, the French are more straight to the point and can easily feel annoyed by unsolicited chatting. During my work, I facilitate legal procedures that involve assisting clients overcome linguistic, professional and cultural differences, such as the one mentioned above, while combining Dutch efficiency, the Italian grace of dealing with people and situations and French Cartesianism. One of my more memorable “cultural clash� cases involved the purchase, by a Dutchman, of property in the Maremma area of Tuscany, from twentyone heirs of diverse Italian families. After completing complex and time consuming negotiations with representatives of the heirs, the client con­ sidered that the execution of the deed was merely a formality. However, when the buyer found himself in a small and steamy meeting room in the office of the civil law notary, all twenty-one heirs felt they had to develop, as Italian custom dictates, a personal relationship with the buyer in order to expedite the purchase. Furthermore, Italian civil law notaries do not keep the purchase price in escrow and, therefore, the buyer had to pass each of them a personal cheque to the value of a proportional amount of the purchase price.



Saskia van Bohemen

Real Estate Developer, TCN Passion for solution In my work as a real estate developer I have a passion for solutions. The Dutch are good at talking about all their problems, which is not an appropriate way of expressing yourself especially in Anglo-Saxon countries. TCN used to be part of the Trammell Crow Company, which is an inter­national company with its headquarters in Dallas Texas. They were always put off when we presented our information too negatively and started our sentence with: “the problem in this project is…..” Our approach was all wrong!  I think I have adopted this positive way of thinking from my American colleagues: always come up with solutions, think ahead, and look for the potentials in your projects.  Nowadays I see it as a sport and obligation to train and coach my colleagues to use this approach as well; it brings more progress in your projects and company. I have experienced that you achieve more in life with a positive mind set, by being goal driven and by looking for the opportunities instead of the pitfalls. The answer is always yes, just listen carefully: “What is the question?”



Mohini Boparai

Director, Boparai Architectural Services NL Going 'home' meant waking up and learning how to use the means at hand to my advantage. Growing up in The Netherlands and going to India to open an office was a wake-up process in itself. You would think that, as I have been raised by parents from India, I would be conditioned to the culture there. I remember the day I scheduled appointments every hour to interview candidates to join my new team. From the 8 appointments 4 showed up. I wasted half a day waiting…Today I schedule in 4 appointments every hour and on a bad day perhaps only one may show up but I am never left waiting. I have tried to harness the indomitable Indian work spirit to deliver excellence in service to our Dutch clients on an unprecedented timetable while holding normal Dutch office hours. This is not always customary in India but is naturally happily embraced. At the same time I am aware that empowering more women in a (worldwide) male dominated profession is very important. In our office more than half of the team is female. My Indian team was naturally forced to learn about our completely ‘un­ usual’ Dutch building methods in order to be able to draft for Holland. This has helped them further their personal development to the extent that they are one step ahead and ready for where India is going in the future. My sister Neelu, who works in the Netherlands as an architect, has also been a huge influence. We have unintentionally created a synergy between our two environments. My Dutch clients see me as an Indian architect who brings them the exotic stories and refreshing ideas. My team in India sees me as Dutch. My sister and I have diverse environments and we are able to use our diverse backgrounds to accentuate our differences or build on our similarities, as the situation may demand. A wise man once said: “When in Rome, do as the Romans” My experience has taught me the importance of embracing what is at hand and turning certain aspects to my advantage. At the same time I feel that I give back to India that what I have gained from my Dutch background.



Neelu Boparai

Director, Boparai Associates bv Growing up with a 'functional mindset' We grew up with the old masters of architecture, traveling to see Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Doing this taught us that architecture must speak for itself. Finding the design that makes perfect sense without the huge philosophy is a part of our functional mindset which we have learned to appreciate. My sister and I have an unintentional and synergetic relationship. India cannot be compared with Holland. Therefore our diverse backgrounds (Indian/Dutch) cause us to understand the environments that we work and live in so that we can service them in the most effective way. Design can be a mixture of spiritual, highty flighty or down to earth. Not everything is as it seems from the outside and not all Indian architecture is full of philosophy. I choose the aspects from the various cultures and make a new “mindset” to fit the requirements. It’s important for me as an architect to find the obvious in that what seems to be a complex place. Once that is found, intuition will cause users of a building to use it well. Good use will lead to a long lifespan and, to complete the circle, to a building’s reincarnation through transformation. My architecture is like how I live my life – Uncomplicated.



Femke Borst

Lawyer/partner at Six Advocaten Constructive law As a real estate lawyer, helping clients to realize their projects while improving the end result is what I love about my job. I enjoy seeing the actual (re)足developments and buildings that I have advised on or went to court for. It makes me feel part of the bigger picture. If a client allows me to get involved early in the game and shares his plans and the paths through which he intends to achieve his objective, I am often able to avoid problems and thus save money. I believe and know, law can be constructive to the process. Being a Dutch real estate lawyer, my work solely involves Dutch real estate. Having lived in New York for a while and being married to an Englishman, English is second nature to me. Perhaps through that I have acquired quite a few English and American clients. Working with and on behalf of people from another culture makes my work all the more interesting. It takes that little extra, that necessary detachment from your own assumptions, to be able to fully understand what a client requires. No matter which nationality, many see the legal side of matters as an obstruction to getting things done. I try to show my clients it does not have to be that way. A quick brainstorm on legal consequences prior to taking any action can save expensive and unnecessary legal procedures down the road and thus paving the way towards a solid and legally sound business deal.



Heidi (H.M.J.W.) de Bruin

SMP, DipM, FCIM , Chartered Marketer Managing Director Europe – TR ADEPAQ:TRM

Trade and Risk Management Software for the Metals and Steel Industry 'Building a solid client base as international software supplier to the global commodity trading industry in the steel and metals sector, is as hard as steel itself.   Believe in it, go for it, and get it!'. Last year I woke up in Paris and went to sleep in New York City. Looking around in my hotel room I get immediately confronted with the business I am in. Opening the curtains which are on a metal rail, taking a shower where the water comes out of the metal shower head, opening the door with the handle made out of metal, to take a ‘bon petit déjeuner francais’  with its great variety of baguettes and French cheeses which are served in a stainless steel basket… Yeah, I’m positive this is the right business to be in. This is what my passion is, this is my deeper love. It’s everywhere… A bit later I enter the Board Roam of a huge player in the commodity trading industry who produces, blends and trades LME (London Metal Exchange) metals for the building industry. The French always know better, “ils ont toujours vrai!” Metal traders take enormous risks when not having the right risk management software in place. Let’s get the famous signature under my contract now…. Getting off the KL 643 at JFK New York City later that day I want to go to straight to bed; however, a business relation is waiting. Turning my mind from “they always know better”, into “everything is over the top”. Dinner is in one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan with a view of the incredible Brooklyn Bridge. That’s architecture over the top, imagine the view by night!   Can’t wait to be back in Hong Kong soon where I deal with operational risks such as kindly thanking my business partners for offering me parts of snakes and dogs as a delicate lunch… culture, it’s what you think it is. C’est la vie, c’est ma vie…..Et je l’aime tellement….



Marsha van Buitenen Concept Developer

What does the built environment do for you? Do you notice it, or is it perhaps just there? For me the built environment facilitates ‘just being’. It does not impose on you, it does not direct you and it lets you be whoever you are. It facilitates your life and makes you feel comfortable. Far too often people feel out of place. My wish is to create places that have a positive impact on your everyday life. It helps you lead your life the way you want to and perhaps it even helps you make it that little bit better.   Contradictions are what my international life has brought me. It has given me a better understanding of people and more respect for the differences we have. But it has also given much frustration. By mixing and taking something from different cultures you end up with an unusual mixture that doesn’t really fit anywhere.   Being very Dutch and speaking your mind, sometimes bluntly, or being treated as a secondary person only because you are a woman, has made me want to prove myself so much more. Having a lack of respect for authority ‘because it is authority’, whilst still believing in a respectable distance in relationships. Contradictions keep on turning up.   The feeling of not belonging, of not fitting, is sometimes difficult. I am not fully (culturally) Dutch, nor am I a foreigner. My building passion for creating spaces that will let you ‘just be’ is related to this, creating that sense of belonging.



Helena Casanova

Architect, casanova+hernandez architecten Architecture is my passion.   My relationship with architecture started 35 years ago when as a child I used to spend long hours drawing plans on scale of my dream houses. Since that time I have always felt the power of creativity with space.   In my years of studying at the University of Madrid I followed a very strict education based on a balanced combination of art and technique, while at the same time working in order to get a solid background. Next, I spent some years living, studying and working in Italy, Belgium and Germany, before establishing myself definitely in The Netherlands in 1999.   From each country I have taken the best of the working process for my own personal and professional development. From Spain I have taken the enormous creativity and the capacity of improvising in order to give proper quick and efficient answers to problems. From Italy I took the feeling for proportions and materials, and from Germany the accuracy and care for architectural details.   Due to my multicultural background I have learned to remain open to the voices of different people, from specialists and clients, still never forgetting the main goal of my work: to offer my professional experience and go beyond the mere solving of functional problems so that I can create special architecture even with minimum resources. I have been doing that since I founded my own company together with my partner in 2001, when we started developing architectural, urban planning and landscape projects in The Netherlands and abroad.   Architecture has to respond to human needs, based on human scale. Architecture has to create a good relationship with the surroundings, with the urban scale, and the landscape around it.   Architecture has to be capable of creating emotions.



Lana du Croq

Architect, Architectenbureau Ellerman, Lucas, van Vugt

From clash to combination; the meeting of South African and Dutch culture.


As a South African in Holland I’m still from time to time confronted with what I feel as brashness, which is actually just efficiency. I remember trying to make a withdrawal from the bank when I first got here from South Africa. I approached the counter and greeted the cashier with a warm and friendly hallo. She suspiciously looked at me and rudely asked me what I wanted. Insulted, I demanded to make a withdrawal, NOW! The woman’s whole posture changed. She sat up straight, looked at me, smiled and said ‘certainly madam, how much would you like to take out?’   Since then I have come to realize that most people do appreciate small talk most of the time, but that sometimes good old Dutch straight talk is more appropriate.  South Africans have a rather poetic way of looking at architecture, much more so than the Dutch. For example, the phrase ‘desire line’ could be used to explain the introduction of a bridge or road connection between a well functioning part of a city and a designated area of intended re-gentrification. Most memorable was when I used whole wheat bread as a simile for the desired look in brickwork in a plan.   As a child of the apartheid era. I was brought up with the understanding that rules are made to restrict and that they should be contested and if possible broken. I was also lucky enough to be at the university when the “New South Africa” was formed, a time when the country rewrote the rules. Nothing was a given, everything had to be tested to define its value. Not being able to blindly accept programs of requirements, building regulations or other boundaries, the ability to analyze the situation and formulate the right question has been one of the biggest assets that I have been able to adapt to the Netherlands. I have found that asking questions like, ‘Why has such a rule been formed?’, or ‘What is really required?’ often results in a completely different solution that is closer to the wishes of a client than otherwise would have been by just following the regulations. In Africa labor is cheap while at the same time inventive and often skilled with the knowledge of traditional craft and building techniques. This allows for an architecture where building and decoration are entwined with each other. Unique, hand made, low-tech/high-labor intensive buildings. However, in Holland we make high-tech/ low-labor intensive buildings. A combination of both cultures has been the logical result. By using the African techniques as an inspiration and replacing the manual labor with digital and mechanical technology, a new craftsmanship can be developed. Dutch fashion and product designers have already taken steps in this direction. We can use the advancement in digital technology and the possibility to digitally control industrial machines and processes to create beautifully decorative buildings. Thus moving from culture clash to culture combination, as a true South African Dutch architect.


Aglaée Degros

Co-founder (with Stefan Bendiks) of the urban planning practice Artgineering and visiting Professor of Urban Planning at the Vienna University of Technology Infrastructural lace making Belgium is best known for its chocolate and its French fries, but lace is also a famous Belgian product. The very popular chocolate and French fries can be found on almost every street corner in Belgium, but lace is often harder to come by. Thanks to this book you’ll discover a reference for lace making within the building field. I was born in Leuven, Belgium, where today you will still find lace makers winding bobbins of thread on their cushions, to create complete pieces of lacework. This must be where my approach to infrastructure came from. It’s my passion to wind paths, roads, tracks and land together to make something completely coherent. Just like lace making, it’s a work of art that is all about the nuances and finer details. The love to interlace-build and not simply building environment with the infrastructure is something that can only result from meticulous analysis of the current circumstances of physical landscape as well as non physical sociological landscapes. Even if it is quite old fashioned, without lacework we would not have haute couture!



Jeannette Dijkman

Co-founder and publisher Real Estate Publishers (REP) I enjoy developing new things. As a publisher, I get involved and when producing English-language books about international institutional real estate and finances, it becomes quite interesting. I am curious about other countries and cultures. With the Italians you have a different manner of doing business than with a German, a Brit, or a Turk. These differences in culture and experience make my job so multifaceted and rewarding; you soon forget about the stress that goes along with it. With pleasure I think back on the start of our first Turkish book. There was great excitement in being a pioneer in an entirely new market, starting to make that market comprehensible for others. Turkey, with its warm and hospitable people, provides a wonderful starting point. It’s all about the organization. The art of putting together good teams and making a high-quality product from the beginning to end makes it exciting and fun.  I remember our first European yearbook in 2004. It seemed like a ‘mission impossible.’  Europe with all its different languages, cultures and customs seemed enormous in size and incompressible in scope. But I soon found out that next to all of the differences, there are many similarities between these wonderful people. Embrace both, as both are equally important. Pride for their country and culture make people eager to participate.  With every new publication, the world becomes more one workd.  It feels like an unexplored journey: you don’t know where you will end up. Going on this journey has become my passion.



Lilian ter Doest

Specialist Green Finance, ABN AMRO Groenbank Early in 2007, our daughter Anna, then three years old, was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, and we learned she would be profoundly disabled for the rest of her life. Her diagnosis really brought home to me that I want to make some sort of positive contribution to the world we live in – however modest. I want to help create a world that doesn’t shun financial gain, but marries it with corporate responsibility. I don’t believe in chance and when a few weeks later a vacancy opened up at Fortis Groenbank (now ABN AMRO Groenbank), I jumped at this perfect opportunity. At the time, sustainable real estate did not rank very high on anyone’s agenda, not the government’s, not investors’ and not even tenants’. Even in 2007, real estate was widely known to hold out major environmental gains. How times have changed! The biggest culture change of the past couple of years hasn’t been within myself, but within the domestic and international property sector at large. Sustainability has become par for the course. Even when the business case poses financial challenges, the property sector will need to do much more to share expertise at both the sustainable and financial ends, and observe best practices. I enjoy doing my bit in all of this: after all, the most sustainable type of energy is the one we generate ourselves and which inspires ideas we can share with others!



Marie-Anne van Den Dool

project manager, DWA installations and energy advice As long as I remember I am extremely curious and always searching for the spark that starts the fire. It’s the fire that is important because it helps you to fulfill your purpose. I like to keep in mind that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without it. So most of my time I ask questions. “What are we making”, “how is it made”, but my favorite question is ‘why’. Why do people create things, what motivates them to do the things they do? At this junction – where ratio and emotion, people and technique meet – I have always been at my best. Perhaps because of my passionate Latin spirit combined with my rational Dutch upbringing? I have managed to integrate most of above aspects in my work as a process manager in the field of real estate and urban development. My work is about creating awareness and consensus, resulting in projects that are comfortable, affordable and sustainable. I also work on the topics of social responsibility, energy transition, multidisciplinary development and system change. All of which are inter-related and contribute to the way of developing required to keep the future safe for the next generation.  I strongly believe that the building sector will change because in the long run there are no alternatives. We need a new way of thinking, a new attitude towards energy and resources that leads to a new way of developing. To do that we have to be aware of our motives but also the motives of others. It’s important to know the various stakeholders and their interest to bring the innovative projects to a good end.   In the past 10 years I have become familiar with both the Dutch and the Portuguese real estate market. The differences between the two countries are noticeable at the construction site as well as in the project and design teams. Things like project management, quality control, cost-efficiency, legislation and contracting are different. Nothing is really comparable. Portuguese and Dutch just have different approaches, but that doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you have a common goal, shared values, as well as a sharp eye for the various interests. This enables me to work in the field of innovative techniques and help develop tomorrow’s world.



Natascha Drabbe

NDCC | Cultural Connections

The poetry of architecture Immediately after graduation I started out as architectural historian and manager of the traveling exhibition 'Architectural Visions for Europe' based in Dusseldorf. After that I settled in Utrecht and initiated my own exhibition, “re-f-use”, on sustainable product design that travelled through Europe for five years. Thanks to this exhibition, the Dutch Design Institute asked me to help establish and manage international projects in the current Premsela, The Platform for Design & Fashion. Eventually I specialized in media communications and PR and became an independent agency, this time in Amsterdam. Innovation, new materials, technology and progress are essential. Each design must complement what we already know. I transfer my enthusiasm from working with clients to my my work as publicist. The media may be fleeting, but the books I publish as ndcc Publishers are able to preserve the essence.   It is time that design via the senses is more often used. Not just reflections of light and water, but also the sweet perfume of lime trees, the sounds, feel of the seasons, the dark of night, the pavement that affects how you bike or walk on high heels over cobblestones, or the enjoyment of silent asphalt. For example, bakers must return to town so that the scent of freshly baked bread makes our mouths water during our morning walks.



Winka Dubbeldam

Principal Archi-Tectonics NY/NL The understanding of architecture as 'meaning-form' departs from the tradition of architecture as a style or form, turning to architecture as a process. Architecture is often an expression of the traditional, pervasive mechanic way of thinking— we at Archi-Tectonics are interested in a more systematic, process-oriented, organic approach. This investigative approach has been the main link throughout the research and design conducted over the last decade at Archi-Tectonics. The work can be described as an open network, a network of projects linked through three fields of investigation: interface [urban data], surface [smart skin] and armature [smart space]. These fields are not isolated but rather create a synthesis of interests that overlap and inform each other while the rethinking, re-investigating and regenerating of architectural concepts can develop. The focus is not on form but on the performative, not on aesthetics but on intelligence. Our research, as it has evolved over the last 10 years, is focused on the re-thinking, re-searching and re-evaluating of the generation of these per-formative models.  Performance in the traditional sense to create maintenance-free skins, low-energy use and ‘green’ structures, but allowing more focus on the creation of generative environments, where the boundary is blurred between industrial design intelligence and built form.



Britta van Egmond

Partner at Van Egmond Totaal Architectuur The 'Wow -factor ' I never realized what it meant to be Dutch until I moved to London. While I love to be upfront approach, they showed me tact. When I talked much, they showed me how to be a good listener. London balanced me out. And most of all, I love the inspiring buzz and multicultural environment of the city. In my architecture, I look for that one moment when you realize that you’re relaxed, the moment you take the time to be surprised, to be playful and experience something good. Pure happiness maybe? I call it the “wow-factor”. Simple but complicated at the same time. How do you create something that feels natural and yet still surprising and exhilarating? That’s what I’m aiming for in my design. Does this have the “wow-factor”? If it‘s not the case, I start anew. So where is it? I find it in the user of the architecture. Together with my creativity I can emphasize and enlarge certain aspects of the function of a building, of a street, a park, or city. Create a breathtaking view by designing the greatest bay window, have the first ray of sunshine into your bed first thing in the morning, or design the perfect office building. Sustainable, with common sense and respect for mother earth. It is about giving direction to the senses. Pleasing the eye and teasing the habits. Creating space by owning it up. By doing so, I use my typical Dutch boldness, softened with a pinch of gentle English manners.



Cherrelle Eid

Bsc, Spatial Planning and Development Delft University of Technology – The Netherlands We are with child: growth, strength, nourishment, comfort; these are daily needs. We need her. Complex problems; International cultural crossings & resources must lead instead of cash and power. Responsibility is ours; Carry her willingly, Treat her with care, no regrets, Nourish creativity. She is vulnerable, In need of a safe environment. Patience must outweigh fear; The future is in her hands.



Margriet Eugelink

Architect/director, van aken architecten Since I started working as an architect I soon found out that I felt like a fish in the water in the more complex and larger building projects. Urban Design as well as designing buildings for larger and sometimes complex technical companies was my thing! Although I never quit designing smaller beautiful housing projects, I especially enjoy working in integrally working design teams. Since 2000, when I became partner and director of Van Aken Architects, we have more and more started to work in international designing teams. Whether as an urban supervisor in projects with foreign architects working in NL, or as an architect working for a foreign company wishing to build a project in NL, or our first steps in the Chinese Market, I really used a lot of my travel experiences from all over the world. When you are an independent traveler (rather then a tourist) you really learn a lot about different cultures and attitudes. For instance: Never tell your Chinese Client the departure time of your flight to Amsterdam We were invited to spend a week to get to know our Chinese Client, a major Urban Developer in Beijing. Unfortunately I made the mistake of telling our client that we had to leave 5 am the next Tuesday. So of course the negotiations about our contract kept on going and going that evening. After midnight my colleague became more and more nervous. Here, my travelling experience to this strange part of the world helped us: with a very friendly smile, sipping endless cups of tea, we persisted that we should be paid for designing 300 houses for them. With an even bigger smile at 4 am they brought in the stamps to seal the deal!



Marijke de Goey

Artist & Illusionist Between loops of ideas, language and materials, lines are set out to show the human scale. My small sculptures are an unbound confrontation with space, without losing the power of large monumental works. They are an absolute necessity to make the leap from atelier to the outside world. My jewelry is a sculpture for the body and my sculptures are jewelry for the landscape. My lines describe transparent shapes in space, suggest the illusion of space and cause a visual disorientation. The experience of the sculptures occurs within the context of the surrounding space. Space is sculpture, sculpture is space. I consider little threads to be just as powerful as big monumental works. The expression stays light, transparent, subtle: defying gravity.  Technical development makes the earth shrink to one global village. I’m happy to be part of that. Albert Einstein said: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”. Imagination is the magic wand that changes everything: virtual reality, imaginary truth, illusion of mass. Illusions generate space; a word is a suggestion, a color, a reflection.



Lorna Goulden

Creative Director, Innovation Design - External market, Philips Creative supervisor public lighting programme Strijp-S Eindhoven Finance Director of the ‘Culture for Micro-Credit’ Author award winning book Strijp-S – Creating a Public Lighting Experience Member of the Steering Committee of the ‘Virtueel Platform’ Member of ‘Council: Internet of Things’ I am a designer. In a world of accelerated change and increasing complexity, I see design as creating an all-important link between strategy and implementation; turning vision into reality is the role that I enjoy as supervisor for the innovative public lighting plans of the inner-city development of Strijp-S in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. I believe in designing with people as well as designing for people, making the users both the subject and the object of innovation. Moving towards experience design means thinking in a more immersive way about people, technology and the environment, as well as the way they interact and influence each other. The key lies in understanding how, over time, that relationship can develop and evolve in a meaningful way. This design culture has become a passion that has evolved in over two decades, with embracing new and challenging experiences, frequently placing myself out of my ‘comfort zone’ and occasionally nudging people out of their comfort zones too. One early memory I have is of being one of very few, if not the only, women present in the corridors of a research lab in the UK. Apparently such an unnerving sight that one researcher literally stopped and faced the wall until I had passed, before turning to continue on his way to the coffee machine. Based in the Netherlands, I have enjoyed the influence of the culturally diverse population at Philips Design. Through projects in Asia, America, England, France, Germany, Belgium and Finland, I have interacted with a wide diversity of disciplines from research to marketing, from socialscience to software engineering, from city council to corporate board member. Each and every one with their own particular culture. What I have learned from these interactions is that there is rarely only one means to an end. It is possible for two people to disagree and, at the same time, for them both to be right. Innovation requires new, unique ideas, and the best ideas flourish in a diverse environment. The key to navigating this diversity towards what is ‘by default’ an uncertain destination: sustained optimism.



NiNa Graziosi

Interior Designer, Graziosi Progetti, Office for architecture and design Tutto Il Mondo E’ Un Paese Around The World One Country Meaning that it doesn’t really matter where you are in the world, we are pretty much all alike. The differences can be found in the nuances, in the gravy. It’s like cooking a recipe - cutting, mixing and baking - we take the same steps, but add different ingredients and spices. The expectations we have determine the atmosphere of the outcome. Just as a dinner appointment or board meeting with foreign contacts will go well as long as our expectations are the same. Do we have similar expectations concerning arrival time or duration of an appointment? Do we have different ingredients in mind? It’s when we have different expectations that things go wrong. My advice is to take risks and be prepared to stick your neck out. Try new tastes and understand the differences while strengthening the things that compliment one another. While designing, I use 3 themes (ingredients): The identity of the client (person or company) The identity of the building (the architectural influence) The identity of myself (slim and sleek, but warm and baroque, by adding a planned “mistake” somewhere or something that is 'not done') I never use the same proportions. The 'spice' can determine the outcome. Sometimes my client has more influence, sometimes the architecture. This assures a well-balanced result.



Katharina Hagg

Architect, CS Venhoeven architecten Learning the life of a city During my travels and projects abroad I have been fascinated by the enormous variety and complexity of urban spaces. Their diversity and multiple layers have always been a challenge for me. I love the city’s complexity, its variety and its dynamics. The city is always changing and never finished. In my projects I don’t want to re-invent cities but rather re-direct existing forces. I like to look further than solving problems, being aware of the limited influence one person has in my field. That is why I appreciate a close cooperation with other experts to find the surplus value a project can have.  To illustrate, a tunnel in Maastricht does not just improve the flow of traffic on the highway but it also connects the formerly isolated neighborhoods with the center, providing access to work and education for the inhabitants. Similarly, a new football stadium is the perfect excuse to create a strong public transport network for Rotterdam South.  Working in different scales and scopes, I learned to take all aspects into consideration that help make a city. The key is how to make it all work to­ gether – technical and financial feasibility as well as social sustainability, ecological diversity and future flexibility (my German background accen­ tuates this mix). A good urban plan has to reflect the lives of its users: the rhythm and perspectives of the buildings and neighborhoods should reflect those of the daily life of its citizens. Rather than a finished design, my projects are basic frameworks that give structure to individual ambitions and changing forces. My ambition is to give people a good place to live. It’s not just about designing beautiful places as a goal in its own end, but designing spaces for people to use and enjoy. The urban jungle should be a comfortable home to all exotic species.



Carolien van Heerde

Director and President of Asociación Constru Casa and General Manager of Delta Proyectos, S.A Guatemala: Developing Social Housing Projects and Project Management for Community Development Construction Proyects. Being a Director of an NGO that provides basic housing in Guatemala has made me very aware of the importance of culture and its role in the work place. This has been evident from the very beginning of my work ten years ago, when the first laborers that I contracted to build our initial houses were somewhat shocked and puzzled by two Dutch females turning up to lead the building supervision. It was just not done in Guatemala. My own culture has allowed me to bring qualities that could be regarded as slightly missing in the Guatemalan workplace. My Guatemalan co-workers avoid making decisions and leave this to me: “Carolina, could you decide about this family, please?”, was something that I hear repeatedly. Decisionmaking is perhaps a quality that I have gained from my cultural background, but perhaps this also stems from a confidence I gained through my previous work in Holland in the areas of social housing, civil engineering and project management. Sometimes the solution to problems (providing basic housing included) can be so simple but many Guatemalans appear to prefer to discuss and discuss instead of a quick decisive move. One could argue that this is similarly a Dutch trait, as we are a society that embraces consultants and meetings. My organization, Asociación Constru Casa, is based on simple prin­ciples and solutions. Here, I constantly include other people to show them how logical some solutions are to find. The impressive thing is to see how the local masons are able to construct a three-bedroom house in less than two weeks. We Dutch can learn a lot from them (don’t talk, just act).  Owing to the difference in cultures, there have also been frustrations along the way. Guatemalans find it very difficult to say “no”, even if they are asked the impossible. This contrasts strongly with the Dutch, where if something is not possible (or sometimes just difficult to realize), the answer will be a clear 'no'. I frequently have to be careful about my attitude and sarcasm when we face the difficult and multiple problems of these extremely poor families we work with. Guatemalans are tremendously resourceful and their desire not to disappoint leads to them not wanting to say 'no'. It makes them to be very happy people, happier than the Dutch, with both being in the top 10 of happiest people in the world, isn’t that interesting?  Being a foreign Director in Guatemala can certainly have its advantages, but being a female foreigner in a principally male dominated world can open up even more doors. To my surprise, my requests for meetings with the Minister of Housing, Directors and local mayors are quickly managed,


as well as telephone numbers of people in authority. This is alien to how the Dutch conduct their business. Perhaps Guatemalans are surprised, intrigued, or embarrassed to see a Dutch lady doing the work (and helping their own extreme poor families) instead of a Guatemalan male. My organization, Asociación Constru Casa, has evolved to become a great way to see different cultures working alongside each other. Volunteers come from around the globe and marvel at the Guatemalan work ethic, and I hope that Guatemalans have learned from some of the Dutch culture that I have brought with me shown over my past 10 years in Guatemala.


Marie-Laure Hoedemakers

Landscape architect and owner Marie-Laure Hoedemakers – Landscape architecture From space to place  Landscape architecture and public space design requires a thorough understanding of both the landscape and its forming processes, and the people or cultures inhabiting that landscape. I feel a design is successful if the space or landscape is flexible and can grow, if it allows our dynamic society to use it. And at the same time it needs to breathe a sense of belonging, an identity people can relate to. Whether it is working with youth in the Bijlmermeer or ambulance per­ sonnel in Outback Australia, I enjoy getting to know people’s ambitions and frustrations, and use this information to improve the design concept. The landscape design for the ambulance centre in Bairnsdale, Australia illustrates this. It is inspired by the day-to-day life the workers lead. From the personnel of the ambulance centre we learned that during work time, they are either extremely busy trying to save someone’s life, or extremely bored, waiting for the next call. The garden is composed as an undulating surface, a scale free landscape made of Banksia hedges. Openings provide spaces for exercise, relaxation, and dining. The ambulance personnel do the clipping of the hedges with love and as a way to pass the time.      Working internationally, in teams with people of many professions and nationalities, has honed my skills in sourcing local knowledge, techniques and products that can be used in a design, translated into built form or applied in the maintenance of the landscape.  If I find the right ingredients I can turn an ordinary space into an extra­ ordinary place.



Birgit Hopff

Project manager Bloeii Advies & Ontwikkeling I am fascinated by the construction process in its entirety, from the first rough design idea to the satisfied expression on the future owner’s face as you hand over the key. On the design side, as an architect coming from Germany, I have brought with me a love of detail, quality, and sound technical and sustainable solutions. In the Netherlands I found that the role and influence of an architect in the construction phases is often more limited. In search of more involvement in the construction phase, I worked for a while as the on-site project manager at the construction site. In my current role as project manager for a project developer, I am involved in all phases and facets of the construction process, and work with people with diverse interests and needs. My motivation comes from the daily challenges, diverse questions, search for innovative solutions, and personal development that are involved in the successful execution of a construction project. The confidence I received as project manager from the various stakeholders in my latest project, the National Glass museum in Leerdam (realized in 2010), is very rewarding.



Mariana Idiarte

Business Consultant for the Creative Industry Bridging apparently irreconcilable differences. Bridging between the creative mind and the commercial owner. Bridging the cultural differences. Building solid relationships. That is negotiation. That is my passion. Cultural differences exist not only between countries: each company, each business branch has a unique culture. For some, those differences are an obstacle. For me, they make my work interesting. Life is richer thanks to the uniqueness of each person, each company. Being the connector between the architect and his client, I live between two worlds I love: business and architecture. Moving from Argentina to the Netherlands I became multicultural. I combined my roots with my present and created new possibilities. Working internationally, I move among all worlds and learn continuously, endlessly. No matter how different people and cultures seem to be, I believe there is always some common ground to laugh together, to bond, to create.



Nathalie Jager

Urban Trend Hunter | The Spherist My agency ‘The Spherist’ focuses on the branding of indoor and outdoor environments. I utilize psychological insights for both environments. I work at the crossroad of communication and form. I am always looking for signs of a new time spirit or different atmosphere: images of people, interiors, architecture, ornaments, stylish shops, and the lively bars and terraces all leave an impression. I foresee a ‘warmer’ street image, even among Northerners. We will get dressed (public) areas, recall the playful and make more hangouts to enhance the storytelling at street level. What makes one place flourish and the other inert? Starting from the brand of architecture and adding insights of environmental psychology, I help companies with their questions related to branding identity and innovation projects. Sustainable design may pull or push people, but the atmosphere on the location makes them stay or go. The atmosphere is the accumulation of the total environment: the total effect of physical and nonphysical stimuli or communication. I see, stroll, sense, observe, I soak up a city. I shop, take part in events and I visit the city hot spots. I collect new inspiration to predict developments and to create attractive environments. ‘The Spherist’ stands for sharp observation. Identity is always in the making.



Bianca Kamp

Kamp Consultancy My working passion is to reach people, mostly from different cultures, to participate in the renewal of their Dutch city´s. I come from Surinam, South America, and because of my two cultures it was easier for me to understand and communicate with people from different cultures. It’s all about asking the right questions and listening to the answers. Thus, creating an environment for people to feel free to participate in. Holland is changing into a multi-cultural country. It is important that we recognize that the housing requirements have changed with the emergence of the new cultures in our Dutch society. This explains our need to make buildings and plans more fl exible. I am convinced that an increase in people with building passion, and experience of different cultures, will have a positive impact on the way of building and urban renewal.



Monique van Kampen

Van Kampen process and project management Go with the wind Motto of life on Aruba is 'poco poco' (go slowly). Aruba is a part of the Dutch Caribbean but usually they don’t want to take part in the habits of the Dutch such as planning in the future, making appointments and time- management. For the people of the Caribbean, contacts are far more important than contracts. Managing of projects and people is quite different than in Holland. The most important aspect is to build fl exibility, to get rid of the Dutch directness and strictness and to not put too much responsibility on one person. Project management on Aruba is like the wind on the island: where the wind blows, that’s the way you go. And there is a strong wind all year! There is no use struggling in the opposite direction of the wind. But there are periods that there is no wind or the wind is blowing in an opposite direction. That’s the moment you can use to get the project going.  The charming life there and the fact that it is not common to regulate by rules helps everything to fall into place and work well. Why do we always want to regulate everybody and everything? What happens if we don’t? After years in the Caribbean you learn to see the advantages of both cultures and that is very useful to use aspects of both sides for managing your projects, also in The Netherlands.     So go with the wind and try to remember that there are always more ways than one and often more time to get beautiful project fi nished, without getting frustrated.



Brenda Kamphuis

viA BK Architecture’s delights, communication travel events Architecture adds zest to everyday life To encounter architecture is to enjoy a juicy bite of your favorite food. Architecture is immensely appealing and delicious in many ways. Celebrating ingenuity All built environment is what we’ve added to the Earth to establish mankind’s habitat. Every intervention in our cities and streets is the outcome of human brainpower and vigor put into focus. Respect this and keep it clean. And we go on arranging the surface to make everyday life more comfor­ table. Ode to the designers and builders who put energy into enhancing the world we use and live in. Enjoying seduction Architecture and public spaces make us travel. We yearn to get a taste of people’s achievements elsewhere in the world. To experience lots of kodakmoments and to learn. Knowledge makes the difference between passion and fascination. To walk up to a building, to stroll around inside, enjoy a concert in or the view from it, to meet the users, to have a drink nearby it. This inspires like a kaleidoscope. Realizing boosts Putting together captivating and charging city trips is not about fi nding exciting architecture. Nor the best fl ights for a one-day-in-Munich powertrip. It is about fi nding sparkling people. Who are proud. Proud of the architecture they designed, were assigned to, work, study or live in. Talkative architects in New York, scrutinous guides in Berlin, friendly school directors in Lisbon, all of these I treasure. For professionals these 'cherries-on-the-cake', along with nice restaurants, make truly enriching city trips. Enthusiasm proves to be the best international language.



Moriko Kira Architect

I come from a country where most of people are living in detached small wooden houses surrounded with a small garden. As a child I loved looking at a group of carpenters building up wooden columns, beams and roof structures. Most works were, and still are, hand work and houses are very light and informal. Even in the center of Tokyo, streets with those wooden houses look like a village. In 1992 I moved to Europe and started to work both in Europe and Japan. I have been fascinated with the European tradition of urban design, large scale housing and urban life style. People in Europe talk about ‘to create a beautiful city for eternity’ and maintain the historic cityscape from hundreds years ago where people are still living in the old buildings. The extreme consciousness about the street, the quality of neighborhood, I assume, is the power of European cities and development. When it comes to the appreciation and attention of the crafmanship, details and material, I am convinced that no other culture beats Japan. Both cultures have become an intrinsic part of me. Wherever, whatever project it is, it has to be built with care and attention and it has to contribute to the quality of street and life around it.



Angelique Kok

Manager Research & Marketing at Phanos Passion is the fi re in us that makes us create and build new things, for ourselves or others. From passion comes a vision. Some visions are not yours, but are vast enough to follow. If that vision is an answer to a dream or if you believe that it’s going to make a difference, it can carry you away from home. That was my reason for experiencing a legend in the making, learning from it and hoping that one day I can make a difference. In 2006 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: ‘What I have achieved for Dubai is only 10% of my vision of it’. These words carried me away from home, to the world’s fastest growing city with unprecedented achievements beyond your comprehension. Local architecture mixed with architecture from all over the world, standing side by side, in their uniqueness form the skyline. With the Burj Al Arab as their landmark. Because of its unique charm, safe environment and the divers culture life, I felt right at home. For me Dubai was a place where sea and sky meet. Keywords like ‘bigger’, ‘taller’ and ‘better’ were a way of life. In little things you saw their Arabic heritage, they were business-people and friendly to the max. It was fabulous to be working with and learning from the dazzling way of thinking of the people of Dubai. The passion and vision of another man drew me back home. Looking at my offi ce, a rebuilt 16th century castle, I look back and think: ‘Let’s see if we can create a new legend in the making.’



Dorte Kristensen

Architect director of atelier PRO A Dane in The Netherlands European architecture seems homogeneous, but there are regional differences, subtleties for which one must have an eye. An important condition to function well as an architect is one’s ability to tune into local situations. And to speak the local language is absolutely an advantage. The crux of the situation is that, as an architect in a foreign country, one has to make an extra effort to bridge the cultural differences. If you succeed you can contribute with new solutions, whereas architects operating within known territory can develop blind spots. An outsider that understands the culture has a fresh and new approach. Unique Space Making My fascination is the place where something needs to be created. The necessary elements are already there, and each place is unique. Each place has its own character, its own atmosphere. As an architect, you need to look and listen very well. Touch the things that are there, in this one unique place. Meet people and talk to them. Study and analyze functions and programs. Weigh the pros and cons. Study the history of the place. Have a good look at the plans for the future and listen. Then the building is ready to exist, never historicizing in its architecture, but via its connection. It’s all about the spaces and the movement through. Shapes, materials and light generate character. A spacial continuity, now that is a strong concept. The building takes form and is waiting to be discovered. Genius Loci, that is my great passion. Not making buildings, but creating space.



Aimée Krommenhoek

Leiden University, Real Estate Department, Project Manager Understanding differences I want to fi nd the deeper meaning behind a question in order to provide the better solution. As a young professional I worked for North European investment developers with South European companies. It was an eye-opener to see the reaction to my Dutch open and direct way of communication. The biggest confrontation I experienced was between myself, a clear-headed technical woman (but also blonde) and southern European traditional, conservative man. Dealing with the differences eventually lead to a more comfortable way of approaching business. This experience turned out useful for my further career working on real estate projects. I use this skill to understand my partners in business, co-workers etc.



Joyce Kuiken

Architect and owner of eggworks Constructions under tension  When people hear I am an architect, very often they ask what kind of architect; do I make houses or offi ce buildings? When I answer that my real passion lies in lightweight, mobile and tensile architecture, puzzled looks are usually the response I get. In the Netherlands there is a very strong modernistic building tradition, next to the regional building styles that have existed for many generations. We’re used to seeing houses and other buildings as massive, solid blocks, occupying space and defi ning our built environment with an atmosphere of permanence. To me, and internationally to a growing group of architects and designers, this is not the only way to look at architecture. Our modernistic ancestors taught us to create an atmosphere of lightness by using glass in combination with steel, concrete and other solid materials. But for me lightness is not just an image or a feeling. It is actual lightness: in materials, in use, in location and even in the role as an architect.  Architecture according to me (especially when talking about durability) is all about mobility: using lightweight materials, tensile and/or foldable constructions. It is not for all eternity with materials like concrete or steel, but using lightweight constructions - fabrics under tension, or grid-shells, or foldable constructions, thus creating a maximum effect with a minimum of materials and energy. Doing more with less. Being not only eco-friendly but mostly eco-effi cient.



Annemarie Leeuwen

Relationship Manager Property Finance, Deutsche Hypothekenbank This morning I drove on the highway and looked at the various companies which suddenly seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and had managed to get hold of a place in the meadow. Fortunately, there are now try-outs for public-private business, which offers hope of a better (re) clas­ sifi cation of the limited space. A little further down the road, a hotel arose where for months a piece of wood had been nailed on one of the windows. Are we dealing with a misinterpretation of a 4star classifi cation or was there something else going on? In the middle of the country I blinked my eyes when I saw the abundance of empty offi ces, this was clearly when the crisis struck. Tonight I rode my bike along rivers, hills, cows and corn crops through our beautiful Netherlands to the German Border thinking: “Can the offi ce vacancy rate, which partly appears to be structural in nature, be solved?” Perhaps if you would accept the fact that the world changes, you might also want creativity, fl exibility, having a solution-oriented attitude and contem­ porary values, to become your credo.



Angela M.H. Mannaerts

Partner of the Italian law fi rm Pontecorvi Mannaerts & Triboldi My move to Italy was based on personal reasons but it soon also proved to be a deeply enriching experience, professionally. Italian society can be complex and contradictory. In addition, the exposure of the Italian people to foreign cultures, due to various occupations over the centuries, can still be felt in the various regions of this country, which was unifi ed only 150 years ago.  A very challenging aspect to doing business in Italy is the Italians’ general reluctance to be direct, or to say no, as they perceive this to be rude.  Therefore, to fully appreciate the message an Italian is trying to convey, you need to read between the lines. On the other hand, the courtesy and elegance of the Italian people are the very attributes that render Italian society so intrinsically wonderful and make my work so fascinating.  Indeed, my position in Italy allows me to be more than a lawyer for my client.  My passion for my work derives from the fact that I can guide my client through this complex world, by providing protection against legal pitfalls while simultaneously preventing 'bull in a china shop' behavior. My advice to a foreign real estate investor who is well counseled, swift and decisive and possesses the stamina required to deal with bureaucracy, would be to closely examine the Italian market as it offers many interesting opportunities, instead of being discouraged by its complexity.



Anja Meerhoff

Architect and owner, ArchAM German architecture combines functionality and simplicity with care for detail. A building must interact with its context. Sustainability has been a major aspect for several years. Responsible choice of building materials and appropriate use of technology enables energy effi cient buildings as well as a coherent materiality with a strong expression. At the same time, (new) materials can generate a new aesthetics, whereas engineering stays embossed at the core of architectural creation. With this cultural background and the inspiration I received from my German father and grandfather, both driven architects, I came to the Netherlands as a student. At Delft University of Technology I have learned to think in concepts. The innovative approach of Dutch architecture and the high standard of Dutch urban design have been fascinating me even before I started my studies in the Netherlands.  After my graduation, my great interest in large-scale projects such as high-rise, airports and master planning brought me to London where I developed my skills as an architect and employee of one of the largest international architectural offi ces. In the UK new aspects such as interaction between building and environment and accordingly building and people became part of my design process. Building technology and landscaping became essential tools for my work.   Family ties proved strong and pulled me back to The Netherlands, shortly after which I started ArchAM in May 2007.   Cultural differences? Germans are formal and accurate; Dutch are forthright, effi cient and innovative, Brits are competitive, hard working and excellent team workers. Throughout my studies and my work experience in all three countries all these qualities have characterized me. I love challenges and simplifying the seemingly complex while striving for sustainability.



Juliette van der Meijden,

Architect and Urban Designer, Principal, Urban Visions Reflexions on Interculturality It was a November morning when I fi rst arrived in the Netherlands. Outside there was this meek light, like someone still had to decide whether the sun would come out that day. It started snowing and it became intensely silent. I grew up between very different cultures and at birth was given two nationalities: Dutch and Brazilian. Interculturality became my second nature. I learned immensely about myself through the eyes of other cultures. Sense of humor and respect are key to rewarding experiences. The Dutch so called “direct sincerity” took some time to get accustomed to (despite me having a Dutch father). Finally I realized that combining sincerity with charm works best everywhere. Communication is about how to reach the receiver and not the other way around. Today I apply empathic communication methods to my work and I have become somewhat specialized in bridging between (sub)cultures, which is a great asset in urban design these days. What I take with me from Brazil, is the love for both a strong urban and natural environment. Nature is extremely potent in Brazil, by contrast also within cities. Nature is involved in continuous transmutations; never dormant, always in movement. Placing ourselves within this ‘natural process’, our cities would become much more transmutable and exciting. In my work I transpose this idea of ‘natural urbanity’ to the contemporary city. I would like to inspire the “world of building” to transmute existing cities into natural urban organisms, that’s what this century is about! Together with a select group of architects and planners I am developing design methods to do so.



Rosalie Merks

Owner’s Representative (Construction Program Management Consultant), B&G Consultants Facilitate through massage Working on location, I love it! I really like to work within the process of building from the initial concept to completion, watching it grow. Being lucky enough to study abroad and work for architecture, contractor and development fi rms in different countries helped me to fi nd what I wanted. Between Australia, Canada and now San Diego and by being at the front lines of architecture and construction for mixed-use high-rise to yacht club projects and everything in between, I was able to acquire the knowledge to help my clients make their decisions on time, massaging them through facilitation as it may. Massage as opposed to pushing, kneading the teams to help them reach as far as they can go from A to Z. And because I know what quality is and what I want as a result, I’m able to steer the teams in the right direction towards those goals. At the same time, I give options and explain what the consequences are if they choose to take them or not. Just making things clear helps the building process move swiftly and in a way in which we all can benefi t from. That is massage through facilitation!



Lyanne Metz

Managing Director, Lyanne Metz Real Estate Services I fi rst set foot on the sands of the Costa del Sol in 1965. Ever since then, every year I looked forward to packing my suitcase for a holiday by the Mediterranean Sea. I enjoyed Spanish life so much that Spain became my second home. I grew up with estate agency work. In the seventies in Holland, my mother encouraged many Dutch people to buy a house in various developments. Between lunches and siestas she showed potential locations to purchasers on behalf of local developers. Since I was enthusiastic she often took me along and I became familiar with all facets of purchasing a house in Spain. In 2003 I realized my long held dream, and my entrepreneurship became reality: I got my own estate agency in Breukelen. Next to working in the usual housing market in the Vecht area, I advise and assist customers in buying a second house in Spain. My professional activities are a source of inspiration and give me a great deal of energy. Living is emotion - a house is much more than just bricks - it is pure experience. My motto in life is ‘Go with the fl ow’. I feel strong and alert when in the ‘fl ow’ and can then carry out my work effortlessly. I give my intuition a role in the creative process, just as the Spaniards do. They enjoy life to the fullest and spend as much time relaxing and celebrating as they do working. There is a fi esta almost every day of the year. Spaniards are hospitable and a pleasure to do business with. So I feel at home in this ‘flow’, but mañana: that is something I cannot quite get used to.



Connie Moser

Senior Editor Real Estate Publishers bv Texts are my tools. Explanations are my blueprints of design. I build publications. Words are my building blocks, one upon the other, forming sentences, row upon row, creating paragraphs, each growing: level upon level. All of this gives a visual voice in print, from experts, visionaries and dreamers… It takes many ideas and concepts, facts and figures, with chapters, images and graphics − all added to this structure − until a book is constructed. Almost 20 years ago life’s circumstances forced my existence into one room, two children, three suitcases and no home. It makes me angry that there is still a shortage of housing in the Netherlands. So build what people need, build houses so that people can build homes. I am passionate about design, innovation and sustainability. I believe that every person on the planet should have a decent, affordable place to live. We need to build places where people want to be, structures they want to live in and communities that are sustainable. Networking is also a passion; bringing people together, getting them connected, experiencing excitement about ideas while building rewarding relationships. We all have so very much to offer, we should share more and make life better for all. In America the mindset is ‘anything is possible’ – so we do it. In Holland we talk a lot about doing it, then discuss it again and perhaps eventually something gets done… Make a difference. Think about people, one planet and abundant pros­ perity. Then we will all profit.



Nadya Nilina

Senior urban planner /KCAP architects& planners Adapting values and the Mosaic of ideas I am a concept courier, a professional global nomad collecting seeds of ideas everywhere and disseminating them across varied terrains. Once nicknamed ‘thunder flower’, I introduce new ecologies of thought to my clients.  Having spent first half of my life between a pastoral Russian countryside and a bustling metropolis of Moscow, I settled in the US for twenty years before moving to Europe in search of 'greener creative pastures'.    In New York City and Boston I went through a complete metamorphosis, from an illegal immigrant laboring my way into a new culture to an Aristo­ telian scholar, an architect and finally into the best vocation of all – urban planning. Along the way, like a sponge, I absorbed democracy, internalized tolerance, embraced diversity.  I learned to be humble and confident at the same time and although 'the only thing I know is that I don’t know anything' I have to go on and make decisions, every day. Decisions that will affect the ways people live. The responsibility is huge but, after all, it is a labor of love, a work of passion, and it has to be done. Rotterdam is my home now. The sublime pseudo city, where one is stimulated just enough to be innovative and has just enough water, rare birds, cows and free air around to be sustained. It is an ideal city for me, with strong people who, like the pioneer plants, flourish in dramatic weather. It is also at the center of the rest of the world. So I can be in Russia one day, where KCAP has large projects, come home for a day, recharge the batteries by swimming in the Maas or biking through the Green Heart, get on the next flight to the Middle East and still maintain the productive rhythm.  My mission is to promote values I absorbed - to advocate the natural environment through balancing the composition of the land mosaic between the patches of nature and the dense, livable and compact built environments.



Dorothee Pape

Designmanager / partner at Studio Ninaber You can get a lot more out of any company. You can get an organization to move the way you have in mind. Originally a designer and now a design manager, one of my jobs is to orchestrate change processes in companies and to translate them into visual results. My advantage is that I can always look at companies from a distance. This way I’m able to view them in a completely different light and to see things that other people have missed. But these things are still felt subconsciously. I don’t build buildings. Neither do I design them. I build companies and I design ways of putting them where they want to be: in the public eye. I do that for all sectors, but the building industry is special to me because it’s a part of my background. Swapping ideas with an architect or contractor is like talking to my alter ego.   A building is more than just four walls. It’s a reflection of who you are. Take a look at how you live or what your office looks like. That’s you.



Yasmina Parodi

Beaumont Communicatie & Management bv Co-create like a Stufata A lot of different partners and professionals with different cultural backgrounds are involved in project development and urban renewal. Bringing these people together and communicating their wishes, expertise and perspectives in order to work in concert on the development of their products is my passion. Co-creating is the word! In the world of project development we tend to specialize and work in our own domain. Phases in project development are separated, and often people in the next step have to wait for the results of the last step before they can get their specific skills to work. Co-creating saves time as it integrates different phases of the project development process. People with different cultural backgrounds bring in their own know-how and skills simultaneously during this process of co-creation. Therefore an overall alertness of strengths and weaknesses, possibilities and threats to the project at hand is far more present than when people work separately. Participation is a broad concept.  The aim of participation is, firstly, to develop qualitatively superior and broadly approved plans as many parties are welcomed to bring in their own skills and expertise, and secondly to streamline the project process itself to gain time as all different parties cooperate simultaneously.   Co-create your plans like when making a Stufata... Put all the necessary ingredients in a frying pan, let the different flavors and scents blend, and see to it that a crispy mix comes out... Enjoy.!



Manon Pattynama Architect

Cameleon A cameleon takes over the beautiful colors of its surrounding. Being raised by an Indonesian-British father and a stepmother from Curaçao I got a bit of every part of the world. The Asian modesty and the Carribean boldness can collide, yet in a Dutch surrounding it can blossom into a creative way of being.  Due to this mixed background I easily adapt and fit in.  Because of this mentality I got the chance to work on a most inspiring project. The participation project  “Mi Akoma di Color”, is like a tailor-made suit for consumers of twelve different cultures for fifty houses in Amsterdam ZuidOost.  Inspiring and important above all was the process.   'Mi Akoma di Color' means:  'My Colorful Heart'



Eva Pfannes

Architect, Ooze architects (together with Sylvain Hartenberg, from France) I am German and we work everywhere from India to Lebanon, The Netherlands, Germany, France and other countries. It is my dream to give people a space for their dreams. I want to find out how people inhabit a space, to see their view projected into and inspired by the space, as well as how our environment can enable new forms of collectivity to emerge. Most importantly, space is always ambiguous and can be perceived in various subjective ways. The different meanings that can be given to our interventions create openness and enable us to integrate users. We want to give various users the freedom to occupy a room, a building, or a piece of the city, and to develop it further in their own way. Seen in this way, architecture is a universal language that has the power to open boundaries and offer people from different cultures a platform to experience themselves as a group. My aim is to strip architecture of any pre-conceived codes or hierarchies and to make it as inclusive, receptive and enjoyable for the senses as possible. Travelling helps me on my way to reach this goal. As a traveler, one is always an outsider and therefore able to perceive things afresh and pure rather than being influenced by old habits. This changes slightly once one gets sedentary. Nevertheless, I try to keep my awareness and ability to cast a fresh look on standard behavior and practice, which ultimately leads to a new paradigm. As a foreigner you also need to challenge yourself to create your base, which comes naturally when you are rooted somewhere. This has an influence on the practice and its outcome. This is also the reason why we are at home abroad and work abroad. It is a way to keep our creativity alive on a daily basis and find intuitive answers to the new questions our complex contem足 porary society is facing.



Danila Ploeger

Urban Designer and Designer of the public space Owner Spring ‘the source of spatial development’ During my studies in Utrecht (The Netherlands) at the School of Arts in Urban Interior Design I went to Istanbul to follow an exchange program at the Mimar Sinan University in 2003. It was certainly not done to integrate with the professors because of the hierarchy between the students and the teachers. But I managed to get my own office and every day I had my dinner in the professors’ restaurant. I had private lessons, I became friends with the assistant teachers who helped and taught me during this period of time. Being a little bit different, coming from another country, had a lot of advantages for me. This positive experience had a follow up in 2004-2005. I wanted to gain more international experience and decided to obtain a Master degree in Urban Design at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). The people in my course came from all over the world and with a lot of them I am still in contact. Opening up your vision of living, working and exploring with a lot of different cultures around me enriched my live. I translated this experience in my work by emphasizing genius loci and integrating spatial, economic, social and sustainable elements.



Hiltrud Pötz

Architect, opmaat Doing it since day 1 I grew up in the circle of life and with sustainability where low tech and back to basics is the norm. I want to make things beautiful, healthy and understandable. If we can do that in a crowded Netherlands, then we can do it anywhere! I’m an innovator, an advisor, a designer who, for the past 20 years, has valued the economic value of a city by influencing the nature, the art and the culture. Growing up in Germany showed me how nature in your neighborhood makes you healthier. These days, everybody’s saying they’re doing it, but I have never done any different. It’s in my genes. I work as an engineer as well as an architect because I’m not just interested in the outside. Equal team partners work with me from the start so that we may integrate from day 1. But then you must have a client with a clear vision. The time for Ego and icons (which is how I was educated) is over. It’s time to really solve the problems.



Diana Ramaekers Visual artist

Since 1993 I have worked as a professional visual artist. I studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht and at the Academy of Visual Arts in Düsseldorf. There I joined the video class of the famous light and per­ formance artist Prof. Nan Hoover. For several years I have specialized within Visual Arts in light and space, and in the field of public space. As an artist coming from the Dutch tradition of light and the clair-obscur of Vermeer and Rembrandt, I translate this heritage into contemporary and exiting forms of light in space. For several years my passion has been the delicate relationship between light and space. Light has the power to transform a space, a building, a whole city! Light can offer an exceptional input in the quality of architecture and public space as well as the lives of people when it is placed in the right way. It is my dream to transform the space of a complete city with the power of light! From my travels and experience in Norway, Finland and Germany, I observed that light is considered a mere addition to the architecture. But from my point of view, light as a medium should be considered as a very essential element of architecture and of public space. The idea of light as a building stone in architecture, is far more challenging than treating light as a decorative element, often installed in the last phase of construction. Light is a crucial element in our lives, so from this perspective it should be considered in architecture and in public space.



Beatriz Ramo

Founder and director of STAR strategies + architecture 17:03 It was the end of the summer 2002. I left Spain as an exchange student with a full car. The next day, after hours of driving, I arrived in my host country, the Netherlands. I had already arranged an apartment and I drove to the agency to pick up the key. I was tired but thrilled… It was 17:03. At that moment I did not know what that could stand for. I enthusiastically introduced myself to the first Dutch person I ever met – a smiling woman behind the desk – and asked for my key, which I saw already hanging at the wall behind her. Very politely, she told me to come back next morning as the girl of the keys had left already. I showed my ID and pleaded with her to verify me on the system. But with another smile she told me that anyhow it was 3 minutes past five, so she had to switch the system off. I told then her that I had driven all the way from Spain and had nowhere else to stay. And still smiling she recommended me a safe bridge where I could park and sleep in my car 'like camping' until I could pick the key next morning. She said she liked camping. At that moment I was not aware that, after only five minutes in the country, I had been already confronted with the essence of Dutch culture: Specialization, Pragmatism and Inflexibility.   Eight years have passed since then, and although I have never camped in my life, to some extent camping has become a metaphor of my life in the Netherlands. Originally planned as temporary my time here kept on extending…   Enjoying the indetermination of time and grounded on a Dutch base, I opened an architecture bureau with an oxymoronic modus operandi; sta r is a Dutch office - that doesn’t close at five – based on Diversification, Passion and Flexibility; a solid tent for a permanent camping.



Eline van Staalduinen Ransom

Architect and principal of Eline S. Ransom design LC . I went to the US after graduating from tud Bouwkunde in 1990. It has not always been easy to find my place here, but after 20 years I feel I am able to contribute something to my community. However, I do treasure my culture, background and Dutch education, and still define myself as a foreigner. Being a foreigner relieves me from the pressure to conform and, as a con­ sequence, it is easier to look at and react to situations and issues with an open mind, without preconceived ideas. I had to find my place again after losing my (emotional) memory in a serious injury in 2002 and regaining it slowly in the years thereafter. Now even more than before, in design I am trying to find the universal language of common elements and scale that trigger our emotions and memories, and that give us a place in the world and the community. I am interested in how our built environment affects the way we interact with each other, as well as the role architects, planners and politicians (can) play in that process. I try to use recognizable forms and materials that lead you through to a more complex and irregular world and organization of shapes beyond. A good building should not be a bite-size piece, it takes time to get to know it, it should continue to delight and surprise us. When I first moved here, an old world War II veteran told me: ”Ah... Holland, that is where people measure their wealth by the size of their windows!” (There must be some truth to that because good light is possibly the most important design element for me). I like to help people see the world around them, along with the potential in the spaces and buildings that are here already. Society in the US seems sometimes somewhat disposable – if it doesn’t work we’ll tear it down-, which stands in stark contrast with trying to build for at least the next 500 years as we sometimes seem to do in Europe. But it is not so much the buildings themselves that make our world function – it is their context with other buildings and the open spaces around them, and how that context affects people. When this context works, it is worth the effort to ‘recycle’ buildings and create some roots to build upon.



Ana Rocha

Architect Co-founder Rocha Tombal architects Complementary: the best of two worlds Architecture has become a “global profession”: there shouldn’t be, in the designing and building world, one single way to act, one best method to design, one correct way to communicate and express your ideas. A good project is mainly based on your own vision and personal fascinations, in spite of the different cultural context and educational background. This is what I have learned to believe and what motivates me to create inspiring architecture within each project. The architectonic language was not the barrier when I came to work in Holland 16 years ago. It was the “polder-model”, the strictly organized and non-spontaneous processes where profit often prevails over beauty. It was when architecture was described as a “product” and an architect simply as an ”advisor” that I first felt like a foreigner. I missed the tools to express ideas.  In Portugal, most of the architecture is seen as art of space, inspired more on feelings than on facts. Architects are more space-artists than technicians and managers.  When I become a “Dutch architect”, I concentrated on what I thought was the most pragmatic “know how”: management, financial and proces­ sing skills. I put aside my natural “know why”, the conceptual or even poetic approach. Later I realized that the ideal is finding the balance between two worlds. In my culture it’s said: you cannot love someone who doesn’t sing the same song”. So I went in search for the complimentary whole, the com­ bination of achieved tools and natural skills. In this process of “combining the best of both worlds”, the pragmatic with the poetic, I first feared the loss of my identity. But defining my personal objectives, concentrating on the essence and following my instinct allowed me to absorb a whole new culture and enjoy the new challenges.



Lovisa Rottier

Architect and owner  Lovisa Rottier architecture The culture of building differs from place to place, up to the way people hold meetings in it. Some cultures place a high regard for skill or materials, others value concepts or form.  In Sweden natural materials like wood and stone are the norm. Houses should let in as much light as possible, cities are very green. Spain tested my ability to work in an extremely hierarchical environment to the limit.  A great design transcends the local and is, in fact, universal.  This beauty or greatness cannot be defined or described: to see it is to recognize it. In the process of designing you ask questions and develop ideas until you have discovered this simple beauty.  There can be such excitement in simplicity, the Germans would call this an ‘aha-erlebnis’, the ‘of course!’-moment. My history of movement between countries enables me to ask the right questions.  It pushes me out of my comfort zone and brings me inspiration, freedom in thought. And if I succeed in freeing myself and finding beauty, I can share the joy.



Christine de Ruijter

Urban planning architect, executive officer, awg architects, Antwerp, Belgium. Founded in collaboration with Filip Delanghe, Geert Driesen, Ilse van Berendoncks, Bob van Reeth, Jan Verrelst I love my job. Being an architect is the best job there is. Every project is different. This means that every day is different and after years of work there is a lot to be proud of! I appreciate architects who make small homes seem large and large homes seem cozy; architects who accomplish more than the client ever dared to dream; architects who give shape not only to buildings but es­ pecially those who shape the public space surrounded by those buildings. Working in the Netherlands for the past twenty years while living in Belgium has been an experience in diversity and has given me a sense of my own (unique) self. What is considered frank in the Netherlands might be considered rude in Belgium. And modesty in Belgium might come across as insecurity in the Netherlands. Trust is the basis of a good relationship between client and architect. If a client looks over the border to select an architect, then his choice of architect is made with the utmost care. Typically, many years pass between the initial contact with a client and a project’s realization. If you are consistently able to approach, to love and to guide that process positively, then you can add value to it.   We architects actually offer a professional service. You work on commission. The client comes to you with a question, which you open out spatially, functionally, socially, historically and economically. Inspiration results from studying concrete answers to the question.   You’re constantly cheerleading. Quality increases with your enthusiasm. It’s only when everyone involved embraces the same specific plan, that the energy required to move beyond the set boundaries is created. Aside from working as an architect, making time for joining quality commissions, juries, building inspectorates and teaching is ideal to help preserve the distance between yourself and your work and for creating clarity in your thoughts. This clarity can be most useful in your own work. Learn from the past, dream about the future and enjoy today!



Mariska Ruiter

Director Advisory Group Urban Solutions at Royal Haskoning ‘Polderen’ we call it in Holland: urban planning with consensus; at times it seems even more important than quality. Making the spatial master plans for port and industrial areas in Oman, India and Bahrain, I soon found out how different our way is from theirs. The consultant is hired to make the plan: no scenarios, discussions with the client, contemplating options, etcetera. It’s my birthday, the 12th of May, as we arrive in Muscat, Oman, for the 4th time. Purpose of this trip is to talk about the progress of the Master plan for the new Port of Sohar and to present the plans to the ministers of Sultan Qaboos. I travel with consultants of Port of Rotterdam. We are staying in a 1001-night luxury hotel in Sohar, Arabian style all the way. Yesterday we talked with the local port authorities, today we are presenting the plans to the ministers. After a discussion between them, in Arab, the plans are adopted and the Sultan gives his Royal Decree to protect both the port development and the local people from haphazard development by real estate companies free riding the development of the port. Oman has an age-old history of world-wide travels and doing business while being very open to Western people, women included. The field trips that came with these projects made a deep and unforgettable impression on me.



Ayla Ryan

International Business Development and Public Relations, Mecannoo architecten 'God made the world, the Dutch made Holland' I have always seen architecture much like the way I have regarded art: reverently, critically and with a deep desire to be a part of it. Growing up, I spent a lot of time visiting the Netherlands and always experienced a sort of culture shock upon my return to America. “What makes these two places so different?”  I wondered. It was not until I made Amsterdam my home that I have been able to see my own country as rather strange. Marketing your business, or even yourself for that matter, is almost second nature in a society inundated with consumerism. Not so in the Netherlands, where a more sober approach to getting work has been the norm. I had heard a lot about Mecanoo and when I had the opportunity to develop their international practice, I was elated; it would be and still is a classroom where I learn to delicately balance my ease of the sale with the sobriety and order of the Dutch culture. The Dutch have in fact shaped their own environment, through architecture, urban plans and the ever necessary and now mar­ ketable water management. And in turn, the designed landscape has most likely shaped the Dutch mentality. I have learned that this natural, innate ability to sculpt structures and work through consensus is what makes Dutch architects so esteemed.



Daniela Schelle

Architect, KraaijvangerUrbis architects Rubber band   'Multicultural', this word did not exist when I grew up in Germany. My father was a pioneer in 1964 when he married an Italian woman. For my mother it was mostly a matter of her proud Roman heritage which helped to cultivate and to protect her identity.  Consequently, life as a child consisted mainly of walking the tightrope on a thin, stiff wire between the poles. On one hand I learned to use all my senses and on the other hand to I learned to dismantle and identify normal German conduct. I also found security by hiding in a fantasy world where I could try to understand and combine the conflicting views.  The origins of creativity?  This thin thread made it difficult to take a stand one way or another, which kept me balancing even during my college years. I found I could balance between the extremely solid craftsmanship and the vague conceptualism.  I learned to understand this from a Dutch professor, architect Mart van Schijndel, who invited me to his office in Utrecht to work.  ‘’This connection can also be achieved with a rubber band’’ was an idea I had which was considered ridiculous during my first attempt with detailing. The first lesson of design in The Netherlands was: sustainability and eternity are very different things and beauty is transitory. The essence for me is movement and change.  Thousands of years of Roman culture and German precision movement remain fascinating: movements in static space, observing, dismantling codes of human conduct: a space choreographer.  Tightrope is my movement, but now I jump on a rubber band.



Jacqueline Schlangen

Director, Vernieuwing Bouw What is the attraction of the construction sector? It impacts every facet of our daily lives and has a long lasting impact on both our environment and quality of life. My entire career, from the moment I completed my law studies until today and my present position as managing director of Vernieuwing Bouw, has been connected with the construction sector. Vernieuwing Bouw seeks to show construction businesses and organisations ways towards innovation and change and there are many thoughts and ideas to be shared internationally as well as in the domestic sphere. That is why we have many contacts abroad, including England, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand. Personally, working in an international environment has changed my view of things. For instance, on the HSL-Zuid project I worked in an international team. As you all speak English, you think you understand each other. But speaking the same language is not the same as communicating because communication is also culturally based, be it different legal systems or even just assumptions about what words mean. That has taught me to always look beyond what someone says to find out what he or she actually means, and to see that there are other approaches and solutions to the challenges business brings. In the public sector an increasing number of women hold top positions which involve them with the construction  sector. One of the changes in the sector that I will promote is a broader representation of women in the management of businesses because that is where differing viewpoints can help bring about the opportunities and ideas for change and innovation  that we as Vernieuwing Bouw   pursue.



Marcia A.M. Schless

Owner Pink Line Communication, Manager International Marketing & Communication Multi Corporation Crossing cultures via communication Business and personal relationships have one main focus: people! People need to communicate to reach their goals and get the best out of themselves and their communities, both from a business point of view as well as their personal way of living. That’s my passion! Explore and share experiences! This objective can only be reached if you have an open mind to different cultures. In my own personal experience it all starts with a natural curiosity for different cultures. Start by reading history books before you begin business in a foreign country. You will see that your new counterparts will be so surprised during your first meeting that you have already shown interest in the local history and culture. It will immediately open doors of communication before you get down to doing business together. Respect, values and standards are best shared with other people. The best business results will only be reached if people keep on communicating. New media tools will help you cross borders in short timeframes but will never replace “face to face� contact. The body language of your counterpart will always tell you more than an email or phone call can ever do. Learn by observing and listening. Having had the luck to personally work with people in more than 20 European countries as well as Turkey, and while starting to explore business opportunities in the Middle East, my passion for people and communication increases daily. It is a never-ending learning process, which has made me the cross-cultural real estate woman I am today.



Mariet Schoenmakers

Director AM Concepts, AM development Building is an act of culture Space and place are my key words. It is therefore that I always want to find out the culture of the place I am going to design for. I have to see the place before I know what to do. I try to discover how the space works, what it means for people and what their experience of space is. During my studies I lived in Africa for a year. There I learned you can never be sure what will happen; it was different from everything I had ex­ perienced in my life up to that point. There I became aware of how the cultural background steers your work and actions. While abroad in Europe these last years, I learned that there are more truths and that respect means that you accept the differences. I also found out that, next to building, the other main cultural aspect for me is the way people behave and take decisions; you hear a different 'language' when you find yourself in a different culture. You should always at least have an ambition and be willing to do more than the client asked for. The history of the place itself speaks to you when you are sensitive to hear this. And thus a moment of beauty is created. I strongly believe in design as a way to do research, to discover different realities, to start up a dialogue.  If we are talking about an act of culture, we talk about daring, daring to do things which influence the daily life of people for generations to come.



Serena Scholte Uturnity

Building Passion is the driving force for those of us who think in terms of 'new building'. People with passion are those who look beyond borders, who feel res­ ponsible for the social and ecological future of our planet and who have ideas about how the building industry can contribute to this future. My vision is that every human being possesses this passion, but sometimes just that extra boost may be needed to make that passion bloom. Sometimes that boost is creating space and giving attention. Sometimes it is sharing specific knowledge about a different field. Often we need the right acquaintances and networks. My passion is designing and managing learning contexts, which is groundbreaking for these people. 'Baanbrekers in de Bouw' in the building industry is one example. Great to see how innovations work in practice, but it entails much more. This year The 'KetenAcademie Bouw' will open its doors, it is a place where the “students” themselves are welcome to create long-term working relationships. Inspired minds need their own clubhouse. Together we are working hard to make this dream come true. The building will serve as breeding ground for people with innovative ideas, and hopes to help them turn them into reality. I strengthen my international inspiration in my friendships with Etienne Wenger and Bev Trayner. I worked with them in Portugal concerning learning contexts for professionals from Switzerland, England, Greece, Spain and Portugal to face the challenges of “promising neighborhoods”. I learned that the boundless knowledge sharing comes naturally when you finally realize that you cannot own knowledge. This requires openness and commitment. This approach is characterized by joy and optimism. Once you have worked together this way, you don’t want to work any other way.



Femke Schrakamp

Manager Sales & Marketing at Jäger Bau After many years being a real estate agent for the Dutch market, I recently took the opportunity to go abroad. One of the best decisions in my life. By doing this international work I realize more about the way we live in the Netherlands and how we how we look at other countries. Not to mention, how other countries see us! Since the beginning of 2010, I have been responsible for the sale of holiday homes in the Alpine-Region for the Dutch market. To encourage people who want to buy a holiday home no more than 800 km away of their current surroundings is motivating and inspiring. Also the location where we build and the quality with which we build our projects are first-class. A challenging and inspiring thing to realize. For all those people we make their dreams come true. Jäger Bau searches and finds the most beautiful places in the AlpineRegions, develops, builds and decorates all of the homes in Alpine style.  The best remark a client made after buying a house in Austria was “Now we can enjoy our investment! We hear the word ‘Grundlichkeit” again and again! A deal is a deal, no matter what. Our Austrian colleagues are wonderfully on time for appointments and completely thorough in every step of the process, which reveals a great feature of their culture which blends with that of the Netherlands. “Passion for people in buildings, building the passion in the people!” This statement fits me like a glove!



Corinne Schrauwen

Partner Abken Schrauwen architecten  'Looking for the best of both worlds...' That is, briefly put, my ideal of international collaboration, of living and working in various countries. Contact with other cultures can enrich you both personally and professionally. I love going to another country: speak the language, and follow the customs and values of the place.  My passion is making spaces in which people can live, work and meet one another. I love building because it is practical, direct and visible. I also love collaborating with different partners – from the developer to the bricklayer and from the structural engineer to the electrician – and I love the shared pride of achieving a result together.  Italy is important to my work and to my life. I feel at home in the Italian rhythm of life and with the entrepreneurial and creative character of Italians. Through them I have come to understand architecture with new eyes, to look deeper and to be more conscious of history. And I’ve learned to take the broader view of ‘the city’ in its function as the backdrop to people’s lives. In their turn, my Italian partners have gotten to know and appreciate the practical and direct approach of the Dutch.



Karin Sjaarda

Projectmanager, KSA bouwmanagement I have known I wanted to be in the building industry since I was 14 years old. As a Project manager on the actual construction site I found my niche. During construction it is crucial that decisions are made on time. This phase is like a train that doesn’t stop. You have to make sure you are a little bit ahead at all times in order to be able to influence the process and make sure the result is in line with the expectations of the principal and the people you build for.  In most projects I work with a new team, usually all men. At first some are suspicious and think, “Oh my God, She’s a woman! What does she know?” But after you show that you know what you’re talking about, you have them and they respect you. They don’t shout at you like they would at a man, so being a woman has actually become an advantage.   Born in Surinam and raised in Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles, I grew up with a lot of Dutch influences combined with local culture. The fact that Surinam people are not very direct means you have to learn to read between the lines when listening to what they’re saying. Find out what the problem is and fix it!  Understanding this comes in handy when working as a team.  In Holland I learned to work efficiently, something I now appreciate very much.  A positive influence from the tropics: take your time to do things right. Sometimes you have to say 'tomorrow is another day' rather than hastily making decisions you later come to regret.



Anastassia Smirnova

Writer, co-founder of SVESMI (Rotterdam) Dutch-Russian company for architecture&urbanism

I was born, and used to live, in Russia

Now, I also live and work in The Netherlands

huge                                                                   wild and mysterious                                               totalitarian                                                             individual  (notion of 'collective' compromised)        deeply emotional                                                    conservative                                                        

small man-made and well-researched democratic collective with a high esteem for the individual emotionally stable both conservative and experimental result-oriented open outwards developing towards the more homogeneous society very rational predictable safe modern pragmatic with preference for visual arts and media associated in the first place with its strong business and management ability

process-driven                                                     introvert                                                                very clustered                                                       irrational                                                                unpredictable                                                         unsafe                                                                   traditional                                                               spiritual                                                                  literature-oriented                                                                  associated in the first place with a strong and complex cultural brand    

One may wonder how I live - and work! – simultaneously in two countries that are, in fact, the epitomes of different approaches to life, that represent different social paradigms, that accentuate different values and that do not show any signs of convergence – at least not in my life-time? How do I find my way in-between this mind-blowing oppositions? And why, indeed, have I chosen this improbable modus vivendis? My answer is simple. I feel that today the personal quest for a new creative combustible entity, for a cultural fuel that can boost up your brain activity, sharpen up your senses and help you to drag yourself out of the comfortable equilibrium, is as vitally important as the worldwide scientific search for the alternative sources of energy.  For me, life/work in-between differently charged strata may create problems, tension, misunderstandings, sparks of frustration, but also, if you work hard, a new energetic field. A high voltage territory that can also become a good breeding ground for the unique product. Of course, the betwixt and between existence does not produce anything new automatically, ask millions of modern expats roaming the world. The Molotov cocktail will never go ka-boom if you do not match the ingre­ dients carefully and correctly. That is why my office sve sm i in Rotterdam (co-founded with the architect Alexander Sverdlov) for urban, architectural and cultural projects, functions more as a laboratory than as a typical ar­chitectural bureau.   I operate within the realm of literature, and of that part of contemporary architecture and urbanism that needs narratives, scenarios, written stories. I know how to translate visuals into words and vice versa. I can see the benefits of, for example, matching the Russian literary traditions with the Dutch design skills. In my case, translation, adjustment, matching and adaptation are the operational terms. The projects I do, the texts I write from my frontier position, always compete with those produced locally in Russia and in the Netherlands. They have to show full command of local knowledge and easily reflect local realities, while strategically maintaining the critical distance to the subject. At the same time, the projects/products have to be understood equally on both “electrical’ poles, so they have to be universal (as opposed to global), manifesting similarities that are not obvious, digging out common (sore) points, finding secret fulcrums for mutual apprehension.  Apart from the slight cultural caisson disease - an unavoidable side effect, I consider this business format very effective. Moreover, I am positively sure that it belongs to the future when the demand for products both very general and very specific will be increasing exponentially.



Marie-Anne Souloumiac

Public Relations, Mecanoo Architecten Bricoleur 'I am French (critical), Dutch (rational) & Asian (positive)' This is my toolbox. I like to think of myself as a 'bricoleur' of culture, the 'bricoleur'- a term borrowed from the French thinker Claude Levi Strauss, is a process whereby one spontaneously makes creative and resourceful use of materials that are at hand. In my case the materials consists of a toolbox of the cultural knowledge that I have acquired through my cultural roots and through my surroun­ dings. Every culture has a set of 'tools' - think of languages, methods and attitudes- that enable us to comprehend and respond differently to a situation. These tools are not only essential when dealing with International Relations but also come in very handy in one’s day-to-day operations. The trick is to identify the right tool at the right moment. At Mecanoo we think of architecture as a malleable handwriting that is re- appropriated each time according to the assignment and location, thus enabling all of our buildings to enjoy their very own cultural flavor. In a way, an architect is a cultural anthropologist, a person who studies a culture closely as every site belongs to a distinct culture. Even in the Nether­lands the contrasts between local cultures in adjacent locations can be enormous. It is essential to understand the local history, politics and customs of a place in order to realize a building that responds to peoples needs and wants. Now stop and listen closely. The success will lie in the interpretation.  Do not forget your toolbox!



Michaela Stegerwald

Engineer-Architect-Owner at stegerwald architecture & research Art of communication Architecture is a universal language, like a piece of music. Through your senses you can easily feel connected to the creator of an enjoyable rhythm without knowing him at all. Like in architecture you enjoy his choices of composition, movement, distance and balance. New alliances We believe that new alliances in a multidisciplinary and multicultural setting provide synergy for new forms of experimental and innovative architecture, urban design and working methods. More of less We achieve Sophisticated Simplicity in our building by creating more of less. Our architecture is enriched with new inventions on construction issues and refined with an emerging covenant between craftsmanship, materials and cultural patterns to achieve innovative developments which provide lasting social, cultural and economic added values.



Laura Stevens

Architect & Creative Director Building Passion An American architect in Holland. From big, bigger, biggest, to quaint, cozy and cute. I remember my first project at the University of Delft. It was a design for an agricultural school. My design was totally different from all of my fellow students. There were no stairs. Everything was ground floor. I don’t think I had actually ever gone to a school with more floors on it until I came here, so it didn’t even occur to me to add them. Especially since it was an agricultural school with greenhouses and such. One level seemed natural. These days I love an intricate design which has been woven together like a 3D puzzle. Like a good design, my own pieces of the puzzle now fit like a glove, as I have adapted quickly to the logical Dutch ways while keeping my American pride. My favorite project was a combination of both worlds, but unfortunately it was never built. I designed a self-sustainable Adventure Sports Center with everything from real snow for the ski/snowboard slopes to a 40 meter deep diving tank. The climbing mountain with speleology and wild water canoeing intertwined with the other sports, recharging the needed energy via the PV rooftops and fitness area. I couldn’t believe I could get paid for doing this work... it was just too good to be true. These days you could say that indeed it was too good to be true, as the crisis has hit the world of architecture like a sledgehammer. It’s time to reflect, become even more in sync with natural resources and recover from the terrible buildings of the 80’s. We will recover and come back even stronger because of it all. Building with Passion is the key. Welcome to my world!



Maike van Stiphout

Director, landscape architect, Wageningen Universiteit & Research, DS landschapsarchitecten Landscape architecture is a social profession, it is not just a decor in which we live, landscape is the fusion of nature and culture. I think land-­­ scape should progress by its design, which is only possible with an integral approach. DS is an office with a multidisciplinary team; we draw upon the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, industrial design, 'green' engineering and ecology. As we have sought to develop our practice, a set of core values determine the work we engage in: Anchoring in space and time, Authenticity next to Innovation, Beauty increasing over time and Designing with Nature. Every change in landscape is a step in a long series of transformations. We let history be part of the solution, either in physical form or by telling a story. We consider authenticity to refer to the fundamental qualities of a place in its historical, natural, cultural and aesthetic context. Innovation is what will bring us further. As for beauty in time, we orchestrate spaces that are alive to the extent that they are composed of ecologies. We design and set them into motion, the long run is our strength. Landscape architecture is the only profession that truly “designs with green”. We actively recreate functioning ecological structures in space and time. The human habitat is part of the habitat of all animals and plants. I think our task in landscape architecture is to cherish both.



Shu-Yan Tang

Architect Royal Haskoning Everyone speaks architecture! Architecture is an international language. Everyone speaks it because we all have an opinion about the buildings and public spaces that surround us. It is clear that these opinions differ because they are formed by our different backgrounds, societies and cultural diversity. However, you don’t have to be a professional to feel the spatiality of a building, to appreciate the landscape setting or to value the functionality of the layout. We all understand architecture to a certain level and that is the reason I love being an architect.  We, as architects, have innovative, creative, functional, progressive, conceptual and sometimes crazy and silly thoughts. We are allowed to bring those thoughts to life and communicate about these ideas by defining spaces and unique environments. Although I think architecture is an expression of art, it is also a consumer good and therefore it must be functional as well. My passion is to create functional art that can deal with the differences of time and place, and that is able to connect people and touch them on an emotional level. That will eventually lead to new perspectives and ideas!



Tatjana Trzin

Architect and founder of T R Z I N bv, office for Architecture and urbanism MANIFESTO I get asked for directions on the street a lot. Both in my hometown and in the countries I visit.  I’m asked in the native languages of the countries I visit for the first time in my life. This curious ritual confirms the clear feeling I have had since I was twelve: that I am from everywhere and belong everywhere.  We tend to divide things. That’s useful while analyzing, but once done, it’s better leave things together and mixed. They will not get mixed up.  Six completely different languages can inhabit one’s head and not get mixed up. The quality is that they’ll merge and their words will become synonyms. This new, total language helps understand the mixing and ming­ ling and makes the ‘complicated’ a friend. I want to see, to hear and to understand. Those are the ultimate tools. And the best tools are where there’s a lot to see, to hear and to understand. My passion goes out to my clients who think in the languages of Northern Limburg, Frisian and Hindi, and who, by putting everything on table, are willing to mix their dreams with mine. I can only add that I want to learn all languages of the world and, as such an action takes hundreds of years, I intend to be around and everywhere for a long time.



Alena Ulasava

Architect, Bureau Bos I often think that one could call oneself lucky if architecture is chosen as a profession.  An architect finds himself in the continuous mind span of inventing beautiful buildings and spaces that enrich places where they will appear, interfering with the world of people that will use them. This idea of creating something that will be permanent requires a certain responsibility as well as a sufficient referential framework for making the right decisions. As an architect trained in Minsk /Belarus, Amsterdam and London, I continuously feel the advantages of my international expertise, which often helps to bring different insights into the design process. For example, I like to zoom out from the specificity of assignment and question the conventional design logic of interference within the city . The master program at the Architectural Association gave me a broader vision on the field of Urbanism and the understanding of the potential of the architectural design intelligence in order to respond to the diversity of urban conditions. I’m passionate about sharing my enthusiasm with other people. To be in this atmosphere of trust and deep involvement within the design process, leads towards a result beyond expectation since the result is a collective effort.



Olga Vázquez Ruano

Founder Urban Land Consultancy, Partner Dot Kite We are a generation of homeless professionals


Homeless – I was born and raised in Spain, trained as an architect and urban designer in the United States and have spent most of my professional career practicing in the Netherlands. I guess I am not alone. We are a generation of homeless professionals. Funded by the Erasmus and the Fullbright programs we came and went and decided our friends and contacts would be scattered all over the world well before there was Facebook, online social media, and almost even before internet. After more than two decades of wandering around and looking at my own culture as if I were an astronaut gazing at the globe from outer space, I have to confess I am beginning to feel comfortable when I am in Spain. But it has taken a great distance to be able to come back to the place where I started. Cultural differences – In the meantime I continue to work from my base in Amsterdam. I value my work environment in the Netherlands for many reasons, among them its drive for practical innovation. And it is here that I have been able to reinvent myself countless times: from architect to academic, urban designer, developer, dealmaker and consultant; with the notable exception of policy advisor, but maybe not for long.  Being an outsider in the Netherlands has always had its sensible advantages. My experience in Dutch professional circles is that external influences from other cultural identities are not only accepted but also celebrated and, if possible, exploited. Like some form of currency – I keep thinking of a 17th century version of a merchant’s nickel and dime – one is almost invariably perceived as having something of great value to contribute. And one’s dedication to proving it seems beneficial to all involved.  The new assignments – If anything, I have a passion for challenge, and the challenges in urban development facing us are great and unique. From an educational point of view, the questions of today have little to do with most of our traditional training and arguments. So much that architecture schools seem beyond the point. Good vs. bad urban form, economic profitability, or infrastructural efficiency (the three pillars or measuring sticks from only a few years or even days back) may not bring us further when confronted with these new assignments: how to deal with shortage of natural resources (water, food, energy), climate change adaptation and mitigation, or the conundrum of personal mobility and rapid urbanisation. I must be an optimist. I am looking forward to the design of cities with innovative solutions in mind. To design energy-positive masterplans and on-demand networks of electric pods and solar-powered vehicles. Nothing this exciting has happened to our cities since the 19th century train stations came into town, we put lifts in multi-level department stores or the American parkways and ringroads were conceived almost a century ago.  And the party has just started.


Sara Veldhuizen

Associate Director Strategic Consultancy at Savills I was 10 years old when we moved to Europe. At that time Iran was still recovering from the revolution, and the war against Iraq was as its peak. Arriving in Europe, the differences were far too vast: from the simple things such as the weather to crucial things such as not being afraid to die in a missile attack. It was at school when the first cultural differences became apparent. Respecting your teacher, doing your homework, all things that had been such a part of my upbringing, were not so common amongst Dutch children. I was brought up to believe that it’s good to do the best that you can every day. This attitude made me more different than the fact that I was from a different country. Another significant difference became apparent when I started working. I was brought to believe that one should always consider others before thinking of oneself. This collectivist nature made me someone who thinks of the collective interest of the firm, rather than wait quietly until my own position was secured before raising questions. These two aspects still drive me today. I believe that good is not good enough and that we should try to be our best. And I believe one cannot go through life only thinking about oneself and never wonder whether one’s presence in the world is supposed to have meaning for others. In my work I hope to contribute to the understanding of how real estate impacts day-to-day life of others, and the responsibility this brings us as real estate professionals. Hopefully, my ingrained ambition will help to improve performance for our clients in each project.



Monica Verhaaf

Project Controller at Heijmans Infra Two countries, two cultures When I moved to Holland in my mid 20s, I wasn’t really concerned with the cultural differences. Actually, I wasn’t really concerned if there were any differences at all, I was in love. Initially you notice the obvious: the language, the food, the people and the parking spaces (or lack thereof). Once you’ve been there longer, the less obvious ones appear. To me the two that struck me most were communication and work ethic. Communication: Dutch are very straight forward, they say what they think and don’t sugarcoat. In turn you know exactly where you stand; there is little room for inferring. In the US, the message is the same but it’s hidden behind nuances so that the messenger doesn’t offend the recipient. Speaking Dutch I feel that I need to sound rather harsh to comply with the Dutch style. In the US, you begin with compliments but in paragraph two you let the zingers go. Work ethic: The amount of vacation time offered in Holland is based on the motto: 'work to live, not live to work'. In the summer alone most employees are entitled to three weeks of vacation, which sounds like a fairytale to the average US worker (not to mention the differences in maternity leave… I have three kids). The US was built on the Protestant Work Ethic: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The two week per year vacation allowance is just enough to catch up on the backload of laundry and causes nightmares for parents when planning the 12 week school summer vacation.



Carolien Vermaas

Owner/changemanager at C|CHANGE Operations manager at housingcorporation Vidomes My passion is: La Vida I had the privilege to work, live and enjoy Madrid for 3 years. The hard work, long days, but good food and lots of fun made me realize how I love work. Even now with 3 small children, I continuously seek to serve clients, improve the organization, develop myself and relax. There is no rigid boundary between Carolien at work or Carolien as mother, wife or friend. So what you see is what you get. No politics or hidden agendas but clear, pragmatic and no-nonsense in serving clients and motivating colleagues to go for the maximum.  My focus is to combine the internal organization and buildings with all its stakeholders in a continuously changing environment, enjoying the diversity of people. Life is like a glass of Ribero del Duero, jamon Ibérico y queso Manchego; very simple but very, very tasteful. e njoy !



Willeke Vester

Royal Haskoning After working for several architectural firms for many years, both in Holland and for a short time in Belgium, my transition point came when I started working for Royal Haskoning. The expertise of my team of urban planners, architects and landscaping architects has been requested for projects worldwide. When I began working with VHP (part of Royal Haskoning) the team worked under the instruction of President Poetin on the master plan for the Northern part of Russkii Island where the APEC 2012 would have been held. We also worked for Eco Atlantic in Nigeria on a huge island before the coast of Lagos and we worked on a proposal for Falcon Island on Dubai. The scale of these projects were much larger than those which I had been involved with before and that gave me a great awareness of being a world citizen rather than just a Dutch citizen. Early 2009 I was requested by our Moscow Branch to supervise an architectural project. In Russia signatures and official stamps are very im­ portant and the boss is very much the boss (and generally male). Russian architects know a great deal about rules and regulations about engineering, but hardly consider aesthetics. Yet, in The Netherlands aesthetics form an important part of the whole project. Working in Belgium is an adventure as well. In Holland as the commissioned party you can say everything that’s on your mind. In our neighboring country this is not the case. Dealing with these differences in a creative manner can be quite exciting. Dealing with differences and making combinations, that’s what it’s all about. Fortunately, combining my private life (family) with business comes naturally to me. Both complement my goals and my passions.



Emmie Vos

Architect, interior architect - director Europan Nederland Building is life, life is people Cultural difference is an advantage Of course it’s easy to feel subordinate to a ruling culture it’s comfortable to be with like-minded people But please realize you’re a unique person as are the people around you So be aware of your surroundings and yourself listen to others and cherish your roots And you’ll meet understanding and respect from your fellow-(wo)man you’ll sow and harvest both richness and happiness



Demet Voûte-Sert

Urban Planner, Royal Haskoning Tell me your dreams and I will translate them … My job is to understand what people are dreaming of, translate it, and make it visible for everyone. In order to do so, I continually meet new people: different people, origi­ nating from different cultures, having different customs and speaking different languages. However, not sharing the same language doesn’t mean you don’t have the same vocabulary. Being bilingual – Turkish, born and raised in the Netherlands – has taught me that much. Working in international projects with different customs, legislations and languages has shown me that we can learn to understand each other, beyond the spoken word. We can Connect. Connecting with people means understanding their dreams, so that I can make them reality.



Nadine Vrins

Senior Project Manager, AltusPageKirkland

Asia Pacific – same same but very different From the Netherlands to Australia to Vietnam Nadine Vrins, currently Senior Project Manager for Altus Page Kirkland, made the exciting move from the Netherlands to Australia in 2006. After 3 years in Australia she was asked by her company to go to Asia to manage some projects for their Vietnamese business.


The Australian construction industry is about networking, knowing people and being up to date with what is happening in the market. My Dutch way of thinking got affected by this more social and outgoing way of doing business, while at the same time I stood out because of my Dutch skills: being precise, to the point and always delivering. The opportunity to move from Sydney, Australia, to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, gave me a view on the South East Asian way of life. The HCMC skyline is rapidly changing from locally built townhouses to multi-million dollar luxury resorts and commercial/residential towers, mainly with help from international investors. This contrast, managing these construction projects in a country where a large percentage of the population still lives in poverty and where bribing is often seen as part of the contract, requires you to balance between being open and flexible to other cultures, while maintaining your own integrity and standards. The people are used to a rigid working structure where traditionally independent thinking was not encouraged as a consequence of the many years of communism. Vietnamese are hardworking, dedicated and want to “move up in the world” for themselves and the next generations to come. Most of them speak no English, which sometimes prevents an effective straight-forward way of communicating. However, the dedication usually results in creative ways of working and completion of amazing projects. Two main differences in culture are the conception of time and the preference of manual labor versus automation. To reduce the construction time, the more sophisticated equipment might be available but manual labor is still more cost efficient and results in less unemployment. Communication, interpretation and understanding are the main chal­ lenges working with the Vietnamese. My honest, straightforward and relaxed way of creating relationships and doing business has resulted in great projects, good friendships and unexpected opportunities. Living and working here certainly changed my views towards the local construction industry and life in general!


Mieke Vullings

Senior architect and owner, MIMOA .eu Let me show you those little gems, the yet to be discovered talents, and the buildings only locals know about. In 2006 I extended my passion for architecture from being an architect to launching the worldwide architecture guide: Now I’m enjoying the delightful combination of both designing as an architect, and assembling and promoting the works of other architects worldwide through m im oa . m im oa is born out of a personal frustration of never being able to find the right addresses of the most recent Modern Architecture when I set out to choose and prepare a city trip. In August 2006, architect Naomi Schiphorst and myself, simply started to make our lives a little easier. Today, thousands of architects, photographers, students and travelers share our passion and use m im oa . I juggle between the long-term proceedings in my profession as an architect versus the swift character of internet entrepreneurship. m im oa is all about finding and visiting architecture because a real life experience always beats the on-line equivalent. Globalization makes the world smaller, but cultural differences in preferences and styles will persist. And since we let our visitors judge, we can track talents, designs, creative flows and ideas.  The fact that m im oa is a user-generated website, and that the community has grown fast globally, brings on a great richness in architectural work of arts. What excites me the most is the wealth of new and yet to be discovered talent we’re hunting down and the architectural treasures that become unearthed. The all-too-familiar big names and big buildings are not that difficult to trace. I love to share with you those little gems that can only be found when accidentally stumbled upon.



Da Wang

Emotive Architect and Owner of DAMOTION Architecture Design Looking out of the window of a skyscraper, what do you see? I see Shanghai, New York, even Rotterdam. I see modernization and globalization planting straight lines into every building. I see hard lined urban landscape but no natural form. Walking in the original rainforest, what do you see? I see trees full of leaves, mushrooms growing in between some bushes. I see everything is connected organically and structured naturally together. I see no artificial but smooth curves and rich forms. What is homogenizing the building landscaping of this world, no matter what country or culture? It is not a lack of creativity from architects. It is not the similarity of building laws of all countries. It is not the choice of users but the limitation of building industry. The building industry is complex.  Simplify this system. Use non-standard design approach. Pass the boundary of regulations, laws and cultures. Use an information based internet solution and reduce limitation.  Offer a highway from design in computer to a building in reality. Replace world’s building landscape with non standard or organic architecture. It’s the time for building to be personal.



Marielle Wiegmans

Managing partner Emprin Capital Investments bv Just do it Who is Marielle Wiegmans? I’m driven by doing my work. Because of my perseverance, combined with my reliability and a high dose of energy, I have a hands-on mentality; just do it. My work area (from 1997 onwards), is Central European, mainly Slovakia, Romania and the Ukraine. It is 'not done' to speak with Central Europeans as if they were 'Eastern Europeans'. You need to always ensure that any western superiority is avoided. They have a strong sense of nationalism and love to talk about things that have made them proud. A misconception about these cultures is that Western people often think of the streets as filled with old cars, such as Trabants, gray communist apartment buildings etc, but in the big cities this isn’t the case at all. There the street has turned into a parade of the most luxurious cars, lots of cultural events are organized and you will find terraces and modern office buildings where many Western companies have already been established. An example of a remarkable event during my work that demonstrates a clear cultural difference was a visit to Kiev in the Ukraine. There was a strike going on and I found out that these are still very frequently organized: people from the countryside built a tent camp in the city for the duration and were even issued stones to throw. Witnessing that kind of cultural phenomenon reminds me that every country has its unique cultural identity.



Annemieke Witteveen

Project manager, Gibraltar Land Reclamation Company On completion of my architecture degree at the Technical University of Delft, I worked at several places in the Netherlands. However, my dream was to live in Andalucia. Our dream became a reality and today I live in Gibraltar with my Moroccan husband and 2 children.  Gibraltar is a unique and vibrant community with a blend of different cultures and religions, creating an international working environment.   I was first employed by Credo Gibraltar to assist in the development of a large office project.  The start of the project was delayed and I was re-tasked to work with Gibraltar Land Reclamation Company as a project manager on the team for the Gibraltar International Airport Terminal project. Whilst the lifestyle here is more relaxed, work is very demanding. I speak several languages, which I find very useful, and I achieve the best results when working and communicating with the different cultures. I am inspired by the whole process of Architecture, from design through to the physical completion of the building. I continually strive to find and maintain the right equilibrium between the day-to-day pressures we inevitably have to face at work and the sheer enjoyment of being actively involved in a creative industry such as ours, regardless of where I am in the world



Gosia Wolak Architect

‘The house, the stars, the desert – what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!' From: 'The Little Prince' by Antoine the Saint-Exupery Architecture means working with people and processes, materials and feelings. It is searching for connection between buildings and landscapes, existing and new structures, tradition and changes in the society. It is the uniting of conditions and technique with poetic ideas at the level of urban design, architecture and interior. My approach to architecture is determined by experiences and parti­cular places which are stored in my memory. I grew up in the Polish culture, in close contact with nature. In the past twenty years I have been studying, living and working in the Netherlands. In my work I try to unite the different ways of thinking and different cultures to create a space for people, who, no matter their origin, like to live in a balanced surrounding where technique and nature are complementary elements. The features of the location are a starting point for the design. I am convinced that this approach provides the quality of the particular place for the future users and the surrounding. I also consider using existing energy and involving natural elements in the project as important issues of the design concept. I try to limit resour­ces to create a space for people, who actually give meaning to a building environment. An architectural space exists only because of the events that happen there, conversations that take place, music that is carried out and dreams that arise there….



Vera Yanovshtchinsky

Architect owner Vera Yanovshtchinsky architects I want to make the world around me more beautiful. I love the smell of the building site, the touch of fabric, the feel of the tem足 perature of building materials. I actually consider these qualities when making a choice as to what materials to use in a design. The building site was my playground, the building materials were my toys, growing up in the emerging city of Jaffa in the very young state of Israel. I love the moment when things fit together, the excitement when an idea is born: this is a divine moment. For me intelligence is probably the most important value in a design, The ability to improvise is the most vital skill in the designing process. I despise fundamentalism in any field, thus also in architecture; I love fusion of cultures, of esthetics and of taste. I want my buildings to adapt to the context, yet to be special and unique. I want my buildings to contribute, to be welcoming and generous. I love this world of creative men and women, always changing, always challenging, always demanding sense and sensibility. I have the most beautiful profession in the world.




Cultural Intervention by Laura Stevens & Sjaak Fonville

Culture Shock, who are we and where are we from? You are experiencing culture shock when… …familiar cues are missing, your values seem not respected, you feel dis­ oriented, anxious, depressed or hostile, you feel dissatisfied with the new ways, social skills that used to work do not seem to work any longer and when you think, “this horrible, nagging culture shock will never pass!” Source: Hofstede, Pederson en Hofstede (working with cultural differences)

What are the stages we go through? We start off in a new country as if we’re on a honeymoon. Curiosity and excitement as a tourist is abundant because our basic identity is safely rooted back home. After a while, we begin to become a bit disorientated. Nothing is normal any longer. Possibly, we will blame ourselves or experience a sense of personal failure when life just doesn’t seem to fit right. That’s when irritation and hostility can set in because the new culture seems less adequate (than old familiar ways). As we finally begin to adapt and integrate, we accept new behavioral codes and can function properly. Finally we can see both the bad and the good sides of our cultures and we become bicultural or even multicultural, feeling fluently comfortable in the old and new cultures we have come to know. The workshop Cultural Intervention took the Building Passion women on a journey back through time to re-live the experiences they had while adjusting to the new cultures. The newly learned way of working has helped these women to become valuable sources of knowledge and skills, simply because they understand more about adapting while working in new territories and using foreign languages. For some, they are still on their honeymoon, while others have felt like world citizens since birth.




The desired image of the building sector – in ten years’ time by Dorothee Pape The key question within the scope of this theme was: 'How can your company distinguish itself from the rest and secure a better position in the market?' This question is all the more relevant considering companies often resemble one another and given the compelling need to stand out from the pack in today’s economy. Only those organizations with character are the future. Personality is the only stable factor at a time when we are surrounded by change. A clearly defined identity is essential to a company’s survival. The image reflects this identity, how people perceive you. Workshop results The workshop also focused on the existing identity versus the desired image: Conclusions and recommendations How do you move from the present situation to the desired image?  Society and community More than ever before, building is becoming a social affair. Hierarchy alone will not allow you to achieve your goal; instead, you need passion and steadfast direction as found within a communal context. This calls for flat project organizations where content alone is key. Redefine your position You now have a communal role. You claim your position, but not the process. You are present at different times at different places. When and how is up to you. Projects then become more organic. You don’t toss anything over the fence. You are an ally. New positioning Look at the previous points. Do you still need to present yourself as an architect, contractor or developer to the outside world? Do away with outdated stigmas and stereotypes. You have a new role, a new position. You could mean something to others, more than they may realize. Communicate this as well!




Sustainable urban planning in times of crisis by Katharina Hagg The ambition for more compact cities, the strengthening of multimodal infrastructure, a greater need for proactive design teams. All of the above asks for a more integrated planning from an early stage in the process. The crisis could turn out to be a great opportunity to revitalize our business. A lot of the women at the workshop shared my feeling, in an atmosphere of cautious optimism. The main focus of our discussion was the importance of quality in our work. Sustainable development is our target, so we should focus more on our creative role than on technical problems and financial goals. We can learn from abroad: for example, craftsmanship and detail in buildings and public spaces are much better developed in Scandinavia or Germany. Moreover, project development and the building business are organized differently, with more private initiative and smaller projects and therefore more commitment from all stakeholders. We need more committed interlocutors to nurture our projects and share our ambition, in order not to lose strength by compromising ideas. And designers shouldn’t wait for a client but create their own projects and study how to produce and sell them. Some declared that the Dutch don’t know what a real city is. Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague are simply too small. On the other hand, the Randstad is too dispersed. News polls say that the majority of the Dutch want to live in a house with a garden in a village-like setting, but isn’t that so because they don’t really have another choice?  A strategy could be to bring sustainability into the existing cities and turn the Randstad into a real international metropolis with better-connected public transport, more (eco-) diversity, specialization between the cores and a variety of urban and rural landscapes. Let’s not worry about the here and now, but think ahead on how we can develop and reuse spaces in the long term.




More room for experimentation by Aglaée Degros How should The Netherlands deal with the transformation of the legendary Dutch “entrepreneurial” mentality into a “managerial” mentality? For some decades now, we’ve been witnessing the Dutch entrepreneurial spirit, which was once so widely exported around the world, slowly transform into a more settled managerial spirit. More and more rules have been created, restricting the 'entrepreneurial' mentality. Now, the entrepreneurs from those earlier days are asked to manage by these rules. How can we react to this transformation?   It is striking that knowledge geared towards innovation in The Netherlands is difficult to bring to life in an environment which has moved outside established rules. The solution is simple for those of us who are used to working over the borders because we come in contact with other cultures. That which can’t be implemented here, can possibly be implemented elsewhere. Therefore the knowledge that is developed in The Netherlands is now being exported to Oman, South Africa or to Belgium…. But even if we choose to export our knowledge, in order to continue to be innovative, this knowledge needs to be continually updated in The Netherlands! On the slippery slope from entrepreneur to manager, we need to ensure there is still room for experimentation. There needs to be 'rule-free zones' where knowledge laboratories can be cultivated. We need people, especial­ ly within public authority, who are prepared to challenge the conventional rules of safety so that we can continue to develop innovative practices that go beyond both physical and non-physical boundaries.



Negotiation by Mariana Idiarte The workshop was not a lecture about negotiation, but instead it was a discussion, sharing the experiences on negotiation in the building sector. Points of discussion were: the position of the architect in negotiation: feeling small against big clients get the contract signed or start working: what goes first? architects and clients speaking a different “language” and not understanding one another? The importance of liste ning. Adding value: is it only about savings? The participation was as exciting as I had expected: the architects could largely recognize themselves in the statements and the ladies representing other disciplines (real estate, notary, developer) contributed to a balanced discussion that showed other sides of the stories. The conclusions in a nutshell: It is a fact that clients are often more trained in business and negotiation skills than architects, but there is no need to despair: everything can be learned. Long-term thinking is essential when making the decision to start working before signing an agreement: flexibility is often required, but evaluating the risks is critical. The creative language is indeed different from the commercial language. But like in any situation challenging communication, there are ways to bridge the differences and understand each other: the architect can create awareness from the beginning by taking the lead in introducing his client to the creative process. People think they listen, but this is usually ineffective. Active listening involves listening carefully and checking that what was said is what is understood. Asking questions that help understand the other party is as important as listening. Adding value is not always about savings. In fact, most frequently value is shown in subjective, rather emotional experiences. As an architect, understanding what moves the client and how to appeal to what value is for that client, is the key to a successful relationship and project. And last but not least: humor always works!


Where are we from, or where do we work? Whether we were born in The Netherlands or have come here to live and work, the differences in cultures are evident. The Building Passion women, who have experienced the differences first hand, tell us about their countries’ differences.








8 5




2 c


b e

North America a. United States of America Central America and the Caribbean b. Dutch Antilles c. Guatemala d. El Salvador South America e. Suriname f. Argentina g. Brazil




Europe A. Austria B. Belarus C. Belgium D. Denmark E. France F. Germany G. Gibraltar H. Ireland I. Italy J. The Netherlands K. Poland L. Portugal M. Russia N. Serbia O. Slovak Republic P. Spain Q. Sweden R. United Kingdom




Middel East and Asia 1. China 2. Dubai 3. India 4. Iran 5. Israel 6. Japan 7. Oman 8. Turkey Africa 9. South Africa


10.New Zealand


North America USA

The United States is a big country, and to explain any differences in how people interact professionally between the Netherlands and the United States would not do justice to the significant regional differences within this country. I have lived and worked in the central Florida area for the past 20 years, but cannot tell you for sure how business works outside of the southeast region, or even outside of central Florida. Many people from all over the United States, as well as the entire world, live and/or do business in Florida. Within the southeast region, Miami has been an important melting pot of cultures. The area where I work, Central Florida, has many residents from different parts of the country and the world, but it is much less cosmopolitan. Walt Disney World in Orlando, the continuous sunshine, the warm weather and the multitude of beaches attract many visitors, but these visits are motivated by amusement and nature (sun, water) and not based on buildings or urban spaces. Investment in the public space has, over the last decades, mostly been the effort of individual and corporate investors. Many beautiful buildings and places by outstanding architects have been established through the involvement of commercial organizations. Traveling to interesting cities does not lie very much in the national character. There is a great variety of natural beauty to be seen in this country, and the ‘wide open spaces’ are more attractive to most than buildings and cities. Because so many current residents in Florida originally came from ‘somewhere else’, local residents are often fearful of losing the local character and are not always very comfortable with a melting of cultures and ideas. When working with individual clients or groups, public opinion and public input are very important, sometimes to a point that design is conducted by a committee. The needs of a client (a worthwhile return of an investment) and the needs of a community (gracious and attractive public spaces) do not always coincide with each other, which can lead to stresses and sometimes unsuccessful compromises. One of the best things about working here though, is that society is always interested in making things better and that change can happen very fast when its benefits are seen by a majority of stakeholders. There is an receptiveness about doing things a different way that is very refreshing. Eline Ransom


Central America Guatemala

Located in northern Central America, Guatemala borders with Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. A designated biodiversity 'hotspot', Guatemala encompasses fourteen distinct eco-regions. Its natural beauty is punctuated by 34 volcanoes set amidst fertile lands, home to a largely impoverished agricultural economy. Guatemala is at the cultural crossroads of ancient Mayan and Spanish influences. Some facts: It’s the most populous Central American country. There are 13 million inhabitants, 60% of which have indigenous roots. Its main official language is Spanish, although there are 22 Mayan languages officially recognized by the state. 35.8% of the population lives in poverty (less than $2 per person per day) and 15.2% in extreme poverty (less than $1 per person per day). Guatemala’s poverty is rooted in many social, economic and political factors, manifested by their high illiteracy, poor health and extremely in­ adequate housing. According to a report from the cohre (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions) in 2003, more than half of the population lives in non-suitable ‘houses’, coupled with a shortage of approximately 1.5 million houses. These data are consistent with the results of research published by the Guatemalan government in 2005. In addition to the already existing shortage of houses, hurricanes and tropical storms cause great damage and turn large numbers of people house and homeless. Hurricane Stan caused a lot of damage in October 2005 and in late May 2010 tropical Storm Agatha hit Guatemala hard, destroying thousands of homes. Most of the population living in poverty resides in make-shift housing made of corn stalk walls, dirt floors and roof shelters comprised of garbage materials (cardboard and plastics) and corrugated iron or wood. It is common for a house to consist of only one room in which people live, cook and sleep. During the season of heavy rains, problems of poor drainage and mud further complicate the housing situation, compromising the health and chances of survival of families. Carolien van Heerde



Cultural differences Between Belgium and the Netherlands The Dutch sometimes confuse Belgian modesty, courtesy and formality with uncertainty. That teaches you to adapt.  Study workshops, debates and meetings of all kinds begin promptly on time in the Netherlands. This is quite different in Belgium! In Belgium, you wait for the majority of people to show up (especially the important people) before you begin. In Belgium, it’s quite normal to postpone a gathering for fifteen minutes to half an hour. The question and answer period in Belgium is rather a form of courtesy that gets either limited response or no response at all. At communication level, although we speak the same language, there are many Flemish words that are misinterpreted or even completely misunderstood in the Netherlands. Certain language that in Belgium would be considered too direct, too frank, is quite normal in the Netherlands. This makes communication in the Netherlands much easier.  I think that as a Belgian you work towards a compromise, making do with what you have. One begins from concrete possibilities and then reconciles them, reinforces them to the maximum. In the Netherlands people prefer to enter into conflict as a means of circumventing limitations. The structured approach of the Dutch process, its precision, is enjoyable to work in and easy to embrace. In the Netherlands people seem to need to bargain. It isn’t enough to recognize that a fee proposal is reasonable. Satisfaction is only possible when they are able to say “Let’s meet each other halfway” so that savings are demonstrable!  The formal “you” carries a different weight in the Netherlands. In Belgium it’s clear that you should address people you’ve just recently met with the formal “you”, especially if they’re older than you are. This evolves naturally over time. A Belgian thinks more individually. The Dutch think collectively. A Belgian sees the government as a necessary evil and doesn’t expect the government to do or to solve very much for him. A Dutchman has high expectations of his government. The Dutch government interferes much more in business as well. A Belgian architect dares, using common sense, to draw simple conclusions. Dutch architects like to make things complicated. Christine de Ruijter



Netherlands versus Germany In my view, the Dutch are very accommodating. You can just walk in and make yourself at home, say what you want and be very direct with each other. I think that this makes the Netherlands a land of opportunity. Its openness and enthusiasm have allowed me to discover my way in life. My life in the Netherlands has made me calmer and more able to enjoy myself. The Dutch love good company and, as they say themselves, ‘it’s crazy enough to behave normally’. But I think there’s also a pitfall in this culture. People are so enthusiastic and they love good company and being normal so much, that this often goes at the expense of speed, precision and being purposeful. Germans work to win, while the Dutch do it to have a ‘leuk’ (fun) time together. And actually there is no direct German translation for this particular word: ‘leuk’. That says it all.  Dorothee Pape



Tips for the top five situations to avoid when doing business in Italy 1 Avoid being rude, arrogant or superior as the offence caused can result in the deal or negotiation collapsing before you become cognizant of your blunder. 2 Never enter into partnerships with Italians before verifying their referen­ ces. Italians have adopted this approach as they prefer to do business with someone they know and trust.  This explains why Italian society is based on recommendations and why your Italian partner should, in turn, also possess good connections in this country; 3 Never try to negotiate a deal solely in a meeting room. Deals are often made at lunch or dinner as these are ideal settings to allow the parties to discover each other; 4 Appearances often matter.  Avoid wearing shabby or unfitting suits, loud ties or unpolished shoes when attending business meetings, as you may well be judged on the way you dress; 5 Never take an Italian message literally.  Interpret it within the context.  The word “no” is not often utilized and therefore an Italian 'yes' could mean 'maybe' and an Italian 'maybe' may have to be interpreted as a 'no' (please note that a definite Italian 'yes' has no other meaning than 'yes'). Finally, in respect of the Italian property sector, while Italy offers many interesting investment opportunities, in order to take advantage of them, a foreign investor would be well advised to have established strong Italian connections, to be swift and decisive and to possess the stamina required in order to deal with governmental authorities. Angela M.H. Mannaerts



Characteristic, possibilities Poland  –  the country of a balance between the natural landscape, the rural area and interesting cities with significant growth. The building developments in Poland have grown significantly for the past few decades. This transformation process was set in motion by the economical and social changes in the eighties, when the communist regime ended and the market economy carefully started. Poland joining the European Union in 2004 caused a rapid rise in investments. It is in particular the building-related activities that are booming in Poland, lately on a bigger scale than before, in all the parts of Polish life. The rapid transformations are visible on a bigger scale in the Polish urban growth poles, such as Warszawa, Krakow, Poznan, or Wroclaw, than in the countryside.   The strong division between the countryside and the cities is a characteristic feature of the Polish situation.  In Poland you can find a lot of hypermodern large scale projects with top quality of space and material in the cities, as well as less developed area in the countryside.  Yet, on the other hand, the same differences provide the feeling of open space and future possibilities for any developments you might provide there.   The combination of the interesting cities, with all the facilities and nature there, is certainly one of the most important qualities of Poland.  After a busy week in the city you can be in the open countryside in no time to enjoy the authentic Polish natural landscapes. Gosia Wolak



Structured Flexible Planning Building in The Netherlands and Spain are two drastically different experiences. These two countries differ from the very start of the building process to how architecture is understood and used. In the Netherlands everything is planned, even our personal life. Appointments with friends just for a cup of coffee or a dinner are usually arranged two or three weeks before they take place...This still surprises me. This system is very efficient but at the same time very rigid. In Spain everything is much more improvised; professional as well as personal life happens more spon­ taneously. We in Spain have a general planning that we more or less follow, with only the final deadlines fixed. All in between could be moved, which, one the hand, is not very efficient but on the other allows to rearrange things faster. For me the perfect situation will be the combination of both, like a 'structured flexible' planning Another relevant difference is how we build. In the Netherlands the use of prefabricated elements is very common while in Spain they are rarely used. Prefabrication increases the quality (and mainly the warranty) of the com­ ponents, but has also caused the disappearance of the craftsman workers. In Spain the situation is the opposite. We often think in customized solutions for each building because we know that a craftsman could make it without any problem. Again I believe in a combination of both systems. The last thing I would like to mention is actually not about the 'built' but about the 'unbuilt', the public space. In Spain we spend many more hours of the day outside compared to what people do here in the Netherlands. Every intersection of two streets is a potential square where social interaction could take place. Just a bench on a corner creates a room in the city. We look to every piece of the city as a given space for human relations and for us these spaces are even more important than our own house. In the city we have many spaces to “stay”, while in the Netherlands there are spaces to 'pass by'. Laura Alvarez



india through my eyes

Building in India is not like building in Holland Building in India is dominated by manual labor. Low cost of labor allows for intuition on site and makes it possible for a client or an architect to change things as they go. This is in complete contrast to the way things are done in Holland. Here labor expenses are really high in comparison to India. That is why in Holland everything is pre-planned. The design process is planned, the building process is planned; everything has to run efficiently if you want to stay within budget. Being innovative in Holland means that you have to be innovative in the design phase. Innovation has to be approved by all members of the building team and then realized within a certain system. Indian building allows for innovation out of the system. It doesn’t cost much more. Architects in India are more than just designers. Indian architects are generally responsible for the entire design and execution process. In Holland our roles are limited these days. Neelu Boparai


South Africa

Free information or a Power Tool? A lot is 'not done' in South Africa. Most important aspects are the fact that we Dutch are so direct in the questions and answers. Furthermore, in a second world country such as South Africa, if you act as openly as I did, it is regarded as rude. You should not lay all your plans on the table. Information there is seen as highly confidential. We in Holland share information, and don’t mind. It is the way you implement the information. This is how you make money. In South Africa knowledge is still seen as a power tool. They find it suspicious that we act so openly. You have to do more socializing in South Africa. You cannot expect that a meeting will take place if you have made the appointment two weeks in advance; you always have to check a day in advance. We Dutch people are too efficient and too direct. Saskia van Bohemen


New Zealand

Building Bridges in New Zealand Building abroad can sometimes be a very gentle experience compared to building in the Netherlands. My bridges in Pijnacker and Dalfsen, but also the design for NS trains, were accompanied by an unexpected difference of opinion and much solace. The Mermaid Bridge, located on the estate of businessman and art­enthusiast Alan Gibbs, near Auckland, New Zealand, was extremely well engineered by a very compassionate engineer. Unlike some engineers I have worked with in the Netherlands, the New Zealanders carefully listened to my needs in constructing the Mermaid Bridge in the best possible way. Worldwide, there are few producers who only produce artworks, so you often have to rely on steel companies. In the Netherlands it can happen that the resulting artwork is coarser than the plan you’ve drawn, if you do not pay enough attention. One week each month was enough for the producer in New Zealand to continue and half a word was enough to understand each other. And the result was striking. Maybe it helped that I loaded them with Dutch kitsch ...? When conversing with the client in New Zealand just one critical point was enough. At my request environmentally-friendly blue dye was added to the water of the pond (about 128 x 58 meters). Thus a beautiful bright blue lake completed the magnificent Mermaid Bridge. For me New Zealand stands for a kind, compassionate and charming dialogue. Marijke de Goey


Get inspired expert meeting!

The road from desire to reality A leap forward in the construction industry A conference for the top of the building and real estate industry. Be inspired to go for your passion! On the evening of April 21st 2010, we revealed how passion the success story is for better business. The location: Lijm&Cultuur in Delft, The Netherlands The Experts: Professor Mick Eekhout - Octatube, drs. Antoinette Wijffels - Improve, ir. Kees van Iwaarden - Construction Heddes, ir Hans Kuiper - DSO Den Haag, Mildred Hofkes - Reputation Monitor Led by the evening chairwoman, Serena Scholte from Uturnity and Baanbreakers, these influential leaders gave advice and inspired the participants to find new directions and ways of working together. Which changes are beneficiary to the future of the building industry in 2040? Where are we heading and are we on the right track? What kinds of new working cooperation’s will be formed and who will our new coalition partners be? How do external influences such as new and existing cultures affect our inspiration to innovate? How important will our reputation be? Trust and being trusted may become a huge part of our business. It may be time to start the paperless tenders with no definite drawings or specifications, just goals and performances. And of course, the factor of sustainable building in our everchanging market with our limited resources. It is no longer the question of, if we will choose for this, but how. The Experts told their personal stories about their passions in their work. Where do they get inspiration from?

Get Inspired Event volunteers from top to bottom: Sjaak Fonville, Laura Stevens, Carola Warnaar, Fergus Vennix, Samantha Vennix, Irene van der Kaaij, Sjoerd Arnold and Kim Morien.


How they bring their passions into practice? How do they deal with resistance? And with success? Powerful feedback was given about projects in building development where new ideas are needed, as well as educational failure moments.


New Building Reality Why do the hundreds of women who annually graduate in The Netherlands on an academic level in civil engineering seem to vanish into thin air? It is an extraordinary fact in the light of the commonly held knowledge that the competitive advantages when women are holding leading positions in companies are multiple. Professional and gender diversity in teams leads to better results and fewer faults. Everybody knows. Though this is crystal clear, evidence-based knowledge, the powers that be apparently couldn’t care less. In social psychological theory it is pointed out that when everyone publicly adheres to a norm that no one privately endorses, pluralistic ignorance is said to exist. So: everyone knows it isn’t right, let alone effective, to exclude women from crucial positions, but on an individual scale there is no need or urge to act upon this belief. This is not a phenomenon limited to the position of women in the building industry. It is most probably the main reason that innovations in the building industry are not being initiated on a wider scale than on a niche level. Of course, it is said that women should be more assertive and should demand - rather than ask for -the role they were educated to fill. And of course, men and women within organizations should ask themselves whether their company is attractive enough for women to join. But this shouldn’t happen behind closed doors. Therefore, this book - and even more so the social network behind it - provides an optimistic sight on a possible future for the building industry. Thanks to the courageous women portrayed in it. Vernieuwing Bouw, opvolger van PSIBouw

Pontecorvi Mannaerts & Triboldi Law Firm Pontecorvi Mannaerts & Triboldi is an Italian law firm established by qualified, multi-lingual lawyers from Italy, the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland. It provides comprehensive legal services to its international client base. Our firm has offices in Rome and Milan and maintains relationships with a network of lawyers in other Italian jurisdictions in order to provide clients with any kind of legal assistance during the entire Italian territory. What sets the firm’s lawyers apart is the awareness that clients operate in an increasingly international and multi-jurisdictional environment. Our knowledge and understanding of various legal systems, languages and cultures, makes us particularly adept at guiding our foreign clients operating in Italy through the nuances and intricacies of this complex legal world. We have also established alliances with highly regarded Italian law professors, facilitating the provision of sophisticated legal advice. Over the years, our firm has developed considerable expertise in real estate law.  Our clients range from private and institutional investors, developers and intermediaries to construction companies. We advise on both private and public tenders and deliver a full array of legal services, also including advice related to rental, administrative and environmental legal issues and Italian Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Angela Mannaerts, surrounded by some of her female colleagues, in front of Palazzo Banco di Santo Spirito, designed by Architect Francesco Borromini in 1660 upon commission of Pope Alexander vii as headquarters of the Papal bank and in which her law firm is located.



Marjet Rutten

Writer of 'Van Yab Yum naar Dim Sum

Sabine van den Boom

Director at Vandenneboom

Uitdagende visies op de bouw-, installatie- en vastgoedsector in 2025' It was love at first sight when I started working as an innovator in the construction and real estate market 14 years ago. The deep connection to this branch has grown since. Although I see huge possibilities for improvement, I still think that working in this market means adding to very special things. Living, working and leisure are meaningful parts of our life, that make our happiness very dependent on the real estate around us. For the past three years I have been working in Germany and I have seen that many of the challenges we are facing here in Holland are also important for the German market. Nevertheless, the Dutch are more powerful in trying new things out, taking risks as well as bringing different people together. Not only people of different companies but, even more importantly, people working at different levels. If we start using these capabilities better in our branches we will not only make more profit in the Netherlands, but we will also become a country of international meaning. So stop waiting and start innovating!


Passion, people and possibilities: my ultimate combination. Recently I became an entrepreneur, preferably working on projects with those ingredients. Concepting, business development, analyzing people, organizations and their needs. Motivating people, bringing individuals and teams to higher levels of performance and pleasure. I am passionate about online communication and more specifically the possibilities of social networks and social media. In my opinion the above mentioned activities and vision about change is something women are good at, because it is about empathy, efficiency and clear goals. The world is changing, very fast. Organizations need to adapt their strategies constantly. Female executives are more visible and have more opportunities than ever to share their valuable ideas. Diversity has become more common, with small steps. ‘Building Passion’ supports us on this journey. For me and my new company it means there is enough work to do. My biggest challenge is to choose. What do I want to learn? What is my biggest talent? Who needs my experience and expertise? I am sure that these questions or uncertainties will meet the answers soon. I am feeling lucky to be a woman in a male dominated business. Intelligence, a positive attitude and a big smile bring me more advantages, chances and opportunities.




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Index A Laura Alvarez 8 Janet André 10 Lydia Albinus 12 Julie Ascoop 14 Pnina Avidar 16 B Morag Beers 18 Willemijn Berenschot 20 Saskia Van Bohemen 22 Sabine van den Boom 219 Mohini Boparai 24 Neelu Boparai 26 Femke Borst 28 Heidi De Bruin 30 Marsha Van Buitenen 32 C Helena Casanova 34 Anjelica Cicilia 6 Lana du Croq 36 D Aglaée Degros 38 Jeannette Dijkman 40 Lilian Ter Doest 42 Marie-Anne van den Dool 44 Natascha Drabbe 46 Winka Dubbeldam 48 E Britta Van Egmond 50 Cherrelle Eid 52 Margriet Eugelink 54


G Marijke De Goey 56 Lorna Goulden 58 Nina Graziosi 60 H Katharina Hagg 62 Carolien Van Heerde 64 Marie-Laure Hoedemakers 66 Birgit Hopff 68 I Mariana Idiarte 70 J Nathalie Jager 72 K Bianca Kamp 74 Monique Van Kampen 76 Brenda Kamphuis 78 Moriko Kira 80 Angelique Kok 82 Dorte Kristensen 84 Aimée Krommenhoek 86 Joyce Kuiken 88 L Annemarie Leeuwen 90 M Angela Mannaerts 92 Anja Meerhoff 94 Juliette Van Der Meijden 96 Rosalie Merks 98 Lyanne Metz 100 Connie Moser 102

N Nadya Nilina 104 P Dorothee Pape 106 Yasmina Parodi 108 Manon Pattynama 110 Eva Pfannes 112 Danila Ploeger 114 Hiltrud Pötz 116 R Diana Ramaekers 118 Beatriz Ramo 120 Eline Van Staalduinen Ransom 122 Ana Rocha 124 Lovisa Rottier 126 Christine De Ruijter 128 Mariska Ruiter 130 Marjet Rutten Ayla Ryan 132 S Daniela Schelle 134 Jacqueline Schlangen 136 Marcia Schless 138 Mariet Schoenmakers 140 Serena Scholte 142 Femke Schrakamp 144 Corinne Schrauwen 146 Karin Sjaarde 148 Anastassia Smirnova 150 Marie-Anne Souloumiac 152 Michaela Stegerwald 154 Laura Stevens 156 Maike Van Stiphout 158

T Shu-Yan Tang 160 Tatjana Trzin 162 U Alena Ulasava V Olga Vázquez 164 Sara Veldhuizen 166 Monika Verhaaf 168 Carolien Vermaas 170 Willeke Vester 172 Emmie Vos 174 Demet Voute-Sert 176 Nadine Vrins 178 Mieke Vullings 180

PHOTOGRAHPY Walther Pehlemann Fred Tigelaar ( Guus J.Baks (editing: Walther Pehlemann) Lorraine Bodewes Jennifer Perez Marine Boivin Pierre Gielen Jansje Klazinga, jkf® Sanne Tiebie Karen L. Barnett Marlies- portretfotografie Self portrait

W Da Wang 182 Marielle Wiegmans 184 Annemieke Witteveen 186 Gosia Wolak 188 Y Vera Yanovshtchinsky 190


Credits and Copyright Idea and composition Laura Stevens, Creative Director Building Passion With contributions from Marcia Schless and all 100+1 Building Passion Women who took part in this edition. Managing Editor Sjaak Fonville Editor in Chief Laura Stevens Graphic Design Werkplaats Amsterdam Photography Walther Pehlemann, Fred Tigelaar, Guus J.Baks, Jansje Klazinga, Sanne Tiebie, Lorraine Bodewes, Jennifer Perez, Marine Boivin, Karen L. Barnett en Pierre Gielen. Cover photography Walther Pehlemann Key Makeup artist Anita Duijvestijn Makeup artist Joanne Bakker Assistants Samantha and Fergus Vennix, Michelle and Joanne Bakker, Carola Warnaar Print Indice, Spain Publisher Laura Stevens Š, Delft, 2010 Book orders All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Creative Director’s prior consent.

Photo shoot team (from left to right): Fred Tigelaar, Anita Duijvestijn, Fergus Vennix, Laura Stevens, Joanne Bakker, Walther Pehlemann, Samantha Vennix, Carola Warnaar and Michelle Bakker. Not pictured: Guus J.Baks,


Laura Stevens

Creator, author & Leading Lady Building Passion Balance A ‘balancist’ is someone who seeks balance in every facet of life. Creating and recreating balance can be a conscious choice. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding the right piece of the puzzle. It finally fits. There aren’t enough women in top positions in the building field. Anyone who says there already is a healthy balance, simply doesn’t have a clue. For those who believe it’s not a necessity, I dare you to read on. Mixed teams working side by side have better results and improve the strengths of these teams as balance is achieved.I’m not a feminist, I’m a balancist. Diversity is a means to survival and a healthy recipe towards success. The first book, Building Passion - Sterke vrouwen in de bouw was completed in December 2009. Women who have an extraordinary passion for their work in the building business told us about their drive to being successful. The energy they created touched each and every one of us connected to the book. ‘Building Passion’ was born from the goal to make the women working in the building and real estate field more visible. The top 2 level layers of decision makers are desperately in need of qualified women. The second book, ‘Building Passion – The International Edition’ elaborates on the cultural intervention we experience while working in countries other than where we were born. Finding a balance was more extreme for these ladies and that extra challenge of understanding each other was added. Working in different cultures has changed their lives. The greatest common deno­minator of these cultural changes is that we understand better the different interpretations of what we say and do. When we stop and really try to listen to what our building partners need, synergy of this cultural cooperation creates a brilliant result. We see here Dutch women working abroad in fields of architectural and urban design, construction and real estate, or foreign women building their careers in the Netherlands. How do they deal with cultural differences in business? What added value do these cultural differences offer? Our quest is – again – to ask the reader the following questions: “What will I do to help more women to our top? What am I going to do to enrich our company with the diversity of culture and new approaches? Do I believe in this better balance? And, indeed so, how will I make my influence be heard?” Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius

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Building Passion: Sterke Vrouwen in de Bouw (fullversion)  

Het boek Building Passion - Sterke vrouwen in de bouw is een verkorte weergave van de verschillende uitspraken van de 100 + 1 Building Passi...

Building Passion: Sterke Vrouwen in de Bouw (fullversion)  

Het boek Building Passion - Sterke vrouwen in de bouw is een verkorte weergave van de verschillende uitspraken van de 100 + 1 Building Passi...