Amsterdam calling

Things seem busier than ever at Terra Firma. Nevertheless, in an exceptional move we closed our office on the 12th June. Not without good reason… terra firma is 30 years old, and to celebrate the firm took off to Amsterdam!

We were joined there by our colleagues Ramune Sanderson from TF-LT (our office in Lithuania), and Henry Duck from Alshamsi terra firma (our office in Dubai). A fantastic time was had by all. The following is just a snapshot of our Amsterdam adventure.

Friday was a blisteringly hot day when we arrived in Amsterdam. We checked into the swanky Room Mate Aitana hotel, a modern building on a contemporary designed street close to the central station.

IJdoc in Amsterdam
IJdoc with our hotel on the left (the pointy building)

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll through the old town and took in some of the typical scenes.

The Oudezuds Voorburgwal, Amsterdam
The Oudezuds Voorburgwal

It’s notable that trees and vegetation are everywhere you look in Amsterdam (with the notable exception of the street where our hotel was (which gets away with it because the quality of the hard landscape materials and workmanship was something to behold).

Of course, you can’t move for bikes
Of course, you can’t move for bikes
Terra firma in Amsterdam
Ferrous termites dicing with death on ‘Abbey Road’ (with cyclists fast approaching just off camera to the left and right).
Terra firma on a bridge in Amsterdam
Ferrous termites taking it all in.

In the late afternoon we headed to the offices of Ruwan Aluvihare. Ruwan is a contemporary of Lionel’s, having graduated from Leeds Polytechnic around the same time. Whilst Lionel has led Terra Firma to near global domination, Ruwan has spent his whole career in Amsterdam, working for the city authority, climbing the ladder from intern to his current position as the city’s principle Landscape Architect.

Ruwan Aluvihare, Amsterdam City Landscape Architect
Ruwan Aluvihare

We spend a few hours at Ruwan’s offices where he showed us many examples of his work. Amsterdam’s investment in landscape, and wider appreciation of the sustainable benefits of landscape has come to be world renowned under Ruwan’s leadership. Much more could be said here, but that’s another blog entirely!

Ruwan joined us in the evening at the Café Restaurant Amsterdam, a converted pumping station in a recently re-developed part of the city, where we had a slap-up celebration dinner.

terra firma's 30th anniversary celebration meal, at the Café Restaurant Amsterdam
terra firma’s 30th anniversary celebration meal, at the Café Restaurant Amsterdam

Nobody was driving, and nobody needed to get home to put the kids to bed – so we had a unique opportunity to hit the town together in search of ‘refreshments’. We got back to the hotel a little later than most of us are used to!

After a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning we all had the opportunity to do our own thing. We spared Amsterdam of more exposure to Terra Firma en masse, and split into smaller groups. Several of us went to the recently re-developed Java Eiland part of the city (a series of 4 man-made, rectangular island, encircled by tightly packed apartment blocks, but with tranquil landscape spaces through its core), which Ruwan had recommended to us.

Java Eiland, Amsterdam
A contemporary twist on the traditional Architectural style of Amsterdam, found at Java Eiland.

Of course, our trip to Holland wouldn’t be complete if we hadn’t also seen…

Windmill shed in Amsterdam
… Windmills (actually a shed, serving a house-boat moored alongside), and…
A floating clog
… and clogs (of course!)

Here’s to the next 30 years!





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