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InnovationNetwork (Ministry of Economic Affairs), together with two private innovation organizations in the greenhouse sector (SIGN) and the hospitality sector (STIRR), has taken the initiative for an icon project linking both sectors: GreenNest. GreenNest is a special green hotel combined with a horticultural experience. The hotel will contain about 200 rooms divided over an area of 8,300 m2. The entire experience will extend across about 10,000 m2. The municipality of Amsterdam supports the project and has made an excellent location available.


GreenNest delivers Green Happiness by offering a new way of experiencing the power and splendour of the world of plants and vegetation. Alongside innovative products such as green wall systems, the GreenNest brand also comprises a hotel and leisure concept as outlined in this document. In cooperation with the municipality of Amsterdam, the GreenNest hotel & experience concept has been elaborated for an attractive high-visibility location on the A9 motorway in the Amsterdam South-East area, directly next to Ikea. The location is easy to reach by car and public transport.

The concept is special in offering a unique green experience. The greenery forms the essence of the interactive experience, which is so distinctive that the hotel-plus-experience acquires place-to-be status. The word is spread via the social media, with everyone urging their friends to visit this unique venue. And if you’ve been once, you’ll certainly want to come back. The hotel will be popular among international visitors (both business and tourist travellers).

The horticulture experience attracts many visitors, who come to marvel at the extraordinary design and savour the unique experience. The 4D elevator ride to the top floor immerses the experience visitor in a virtual journey through a plant from the roots to the flower. Awaiting him at the top – at 60 metres height – is a spectacular panoramic view across Amsterdam.

Continuing his journey, the visitor proceeds from top to bottom through various theme-based floors highlighting diverse continents and biotopes of our planet. On the way he can sample a cup of tea in a Chinese tea garden, have a drink mixed in the Scandinavian ‘berry bar’, compile his own colour with the aid of a plant extract fan, test the construction quality of bamboo, etc. Arriving at the bottom, he can enjoy a meal or snack in the green-bathed restaurant. The largest green supermarket of the Netherlands forms part of the shopping section. A more detailed customer journey can be found later in this document.

After a busy day, the hotel visitor can relax in one of the hotel’s many green bars, or retire to his own floor or room. During the day he can visit the conference centre on the ground floor, have a meeting in the green surroundings, or go to the centre of Amsterdam to visit other tourist attractions.

The hotel and horticulture experience programmes are intertwined and form an integral whole with the high-rise building. The various biotopes are each given their own place in a stacked structure comprising six layers with a very ample storey height (11.20 m). The storeys are organized around a large atrium that widens out in the form of a funnel rising from the lobby through the higher storeys up to the roof. The lodges are suspended from the floor of the next storey, and thus find themselves in the middle of the tree crowns of the biotopes. Hotel guests have their own entrance and are kept separate from the experience visitor flows. Each lodge has a view of the biotopes and features a small balcony placed between the crowns of the high plants of the storey below.

The plinth course on the ground floor offers space for additional functions for both the hotel and the horticultural experience, such as conference facilities, food & beverage, retail and wellness.

Customer experience

We and the children are on our way to the GreenNest Experience in Amsterdam. Never been there before, but we’ve read, heard and seen lots about it. It’s a hotel and greenhouse in one, largely roofed-over. Green and organic and super cool all the same, and evidently there’s lots to do there. The greenery displays in the various areas are said to be particularly spectacular. We booked tickets online and installed the app on our smartphone to make sure we enjoy the Experience to the full. We can hardly wait!

arrival
Cruising along the motorway around Amsterdam, we already see GreenNest from afar. Wow! What an impressive building. You can’t miss it. We navigate our way to the hotel without any problem, excellent directions and signposting. The car park is under the hotel, so it’s entirely concealed and invisible. When we get out, our smartphone beeps. A message: “Welcome to GreenNest!” plus directions to reception.

reception
On arrival the place is buzzing but relaxed. “You must be the De Bruin family,” says a friendly hostess, “Welcome to the GreenNest experience.”

She hands us all a pair of glasses and asks us to put them on. They’re interactive glasses, and will provide us with a continuous stream of informative images and text during the Experience. “This is really cool!” one of the children exclaims with delight.

The hostess explains how the glasses work and ushers us into the elevator. “This is where your experience starts” she says. “Enjoy!” The elevator doors close and the experience starts straightaway: we instantly find ourselves in the middle of a plant and, as the elevator rises, it takes us on a kind of journey from root to flower. It’s exciting and overwhelming. You know it can’t be real, but it certainly feels real.

experience
When the elevator doors open, we step onto a rooftop park with an amazing view over the entire area. Simply breathtaking. After taking in the view, we continue our journey. Our glasses give us directions about the route we are to follow and continuously explain what we are observing.

The Experience is essentially a long journey from the top of the building down to the bottom. Surprisingly, the building doubles as a hotel. Hotel rooms are suspended from the ceiling of the various floors. It must be absolutely wonderful to be able to look directly into the biotopes from your hotel room.

We walk on, crossing through a kaleidoscope of different regions, from Africa to Scandinavia and from Asia to the Mediterranean. Sometimes you’re overwhelmed by what you see, other times by what you smell. The glasses point out all sorts of details we would have otherwise missed, and really help us to see and experience the surroundings much more intensively.

The bee colony in one of the areas is really impressive thanks to the explanation; without that information, I would simply have walked past it. Fascinating. Exotic plants suddenly manifest themselves as tasty food through the projections in our glasses. What’s so great about the experience is that it’s instructive and educational, but never dry or dull. There’s so much variety. In the

Mediterranean biotope we see people learning to make perfume with fresh flowers and plants. Elsewhere people are busy decorating immense green walls with all sorts of plants. One wall is all about the visual aspect and the colour of the plants. The other wall is all about scents and smells. By combining certain plants, you can create the most overpowering smell sensations. It’s all extremely instructive and impressive.

food outlets
Before entering the final section of the experience, we decide to have a quick bite to eat. We’re spoilt for choice! We can get our lunch wherever we like. All sorts of food outlets are spread around the ground floor. A huge variety is on offer: from salads to soups, from organic burgers to pasta dishes with regional vegetables. We all take something different and enjoy our lunch sitting amidst the greenery. After our meal, we continue to the final section of the experience.

supermarket
The experience ends below ground. We return our glasses to the hostess and walk past the experience shop where you can buy all sorts of merchandise, from books to souvenirs.

Next to the experience shop is the entrance to the largest green market in Europe. Inside we find an enormous selection of food, takeaway meals, fruit and veg, and also lots of products to use at home. Everything is green and sustainable. We get some shopping for this evening and buy a DIY package for growing our own mushrooms.

departure
Leaving the shop, we stroll back to the car, get in and drive off. Richer for the experience.

Team credits:
client: innovatienetwerk, SIGN, Peter Oei, STIRR, Hans Hillebrand
kelsey's o.o.m.: Peter Van Zantvoort
morePlatz: Caro Baumann, Johannes Schele, Bruno Pereira, Konstantina Karampini
WTCH: Mihaly Lazslo
Ingenieurbüro: Barthels&Vedder, Jelle Vedder

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