Nicole Maarsen
director Maarsen Groep

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

I studied economics at the University of Groningen. My interest in construction was inherited at home. As a child I spent the weekends, often at construction sites and construction projects, where we swept the building sites clean and made them ready for delivery to the new tenants. At ING Real Estate I gained valuable knowledge of both real estate and development. For the last six years, together with my sister Monique, we have been responsible for the ‘developing portfolio’ at Maarsen Group.

2. Why are you fascinated with
architecture / urban development?

For me, architecture, is creating buildings that age well. In addition, we, together with the architects take on the challenge to strike a balance between environment, that it’s functional now and in the future, materialization, appearance and details with which the building can shine.

3. Best city

Amsterdam for the allround and friendly ‘human dimension’, New York for ‘the thrill’ and Barcelona for the 'pleasure'!

4. Most beautiful building

The First Open Air School for the healthy child in the Cliostraat in Amsterdam. Last year the building was restored. After the buildings archaeological survey, that we did before the restoration, many surprises came to light about the finer details of this beautiful building, therefore the building is much more significant to me now. Light and air are the main themes of this monument of Jan Duiker.

5. Most beautiful park or square

The Vondelpark is the best public park! Founded by private initiative, it is enjoyed by all 365 days a year and is the heart of the city. From paddling pool, playground, tennis club, open air theater, rose garden, and more: everything a city needs. Furthermore, in Amsterdam there are many surprising and beautiful courtyards hidden throughout the city. The Begijnhof on the Spui is perhaps the most famous, but also Amstelstad on the Lauriergracht is surprisingly beautiful, or the Raepenhofje on the Palmgracht. All of these courtyards are surrounded by beautiful old buildings that have aged well.

6. Best public facility / urban infill

HafenCity in Hamburg is a spectacular transformation from a harbour area to a perfect blend of old and new, living, working, culture and recreation. A fascinating example of how the city can be expanded organically and how urban, air and water beautifully intertwine.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

Internet, twitter, apps: all things that share knowledge and information and make this available to the world, has contributed to the almost revolutionary development of ‘knowledge is power’ to ’together we make it a better world’. These innovations help ensure that ‘best practices’ can be shared with the world quickly.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

By multitasking multimedia. It's very clear that the younger generation is able to do a lot at once. I suspect that we are thereby stimulated to innovate by what we have or could optimize.

9. About the future of cities

The city will belong to everyone again. It starts with privatized squares and then whole cities. The culture of greater self-awareness, sharing knowledge, social responsibility, sustainability and health will make an impact on our lifestyle in the city. The need to meet one another, green and quality of life will result in parks, plazas, multi-functional areas and buildings that are important in our cities.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

I really hope my longing for the combination of modern / contemporary together with beautiful age will be achieved in those areas where we materialize for the future generation (s). Remain close to yourself and produce something that is precious.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

Allotments, markets, subway and car parks ... a mix of then and now!