Interview with Frans-Anton Vermast Strategy Advisor & international Smart City Ambassador of the City of Amsterdam and one of the speakers of the V4- Slovakia towards Smart Cities conference organized by Ministry of Economy and Smart Cities klub on 5th of March 2019 in Bratislava.
You were in Amsterdam from the very beginning of creating Smart Cities strategy. Amsterdam now belongs on the top of that among world cities, is it tough to maintain status of a leader?
Together with other cities Amsterdam Smart City was one of the early adaptors. That Amsterdam Smart City is perceived as one of the leaders is an honor but not an objective on itself. We are convinced that the citizens who are the end users should have a central role in creating a more liveable place to live, work and play in. We embrace the competition from and with other cities as it will encourage us to constantly innovate to find solutions for the big transitions we face.
Does it help to have a cosmopolitan character of the city to innovate itself?
One of the reasons Amsterdam Smart City chooses a bottom up approach is that we don’t believe in a one size fits all solution when there is over 180 different nationalities in the Amsterdam region with all kind cultural, religious, social background. A cosmopolitan environment encourages to think in an innovative way.
Amsterdam is the city which will probably benefit the most from Brexit and moving of companies and organizations from UK to European Union countries. Do you think, Amsterdam activities in Smart Cities have helped somehow to attract entities from UK?
As one of our aims is to create a more liveable city it certainly is beneficial to attract organizations from abroad but this has to been seen in a broader perspective. The excellent infrastructure and public transport, affordable housing, largest internet exchange (AMSix) and last but not least our international orientation for centuries makes new organizations feel very welcome.
The interviewer: Juraj Kantorík