“My house is like a bird’s nest with an amazing view of the city”

Retired lawyer Oscar Hammerstein traded Amsterdam’s historic centre for a dazzling apartment in one of the brand-new Valley towers. With art on the walls, eccentric curios collected around the globe and bookcases piled high and wide with literature, he and his cat Taghi – named for you-know-who, because “she has a rather aggressive streak” – share a unique and stately interior in one of the city’s most cutting-edge residential complexes. How does he like living in Zuidas?


Could you tell us a bit about yourself? “I was a lawyer for forty years and worked at a beautiful office on Herengracht. Now I’m retired, meaning I’ve gone from working eight days a week to only six, haha. I enjoy exercising and we have a good gym and a nice swimming pool in the building, so that’s a treat. Actually, living here is like living in a hotel. I read a great deal, which I finally have time for now, and I like walking up the stairs in between the Valley towers or doing a loop around Beatrixpark.” 

After living along the canals for decades, you decided to exchange central Amsterdam for Zuidas. Why change? “The city centre was a marvellous place to live and there’s a reason I stayed for forty years, but it was getting too dirty and messy. There were occasions that I’d be walking around with a bin bag and litter picker and a person would drop something on the street right in front of me! Zuidas is brilliant in that respect: a whole lot tidier and very well maintained.” 

What makes Zuidas the ideal place to live, in your eyes? “Obviously, it’s ideal that everything is within easy reach here. And Valley is also an amazing residential tower; from my flat on the 18th floor I have a view that extends to the dunes of Zandvoort, the centre of Haarlem and the houses in Amstelveen. It’s like sitting in a bird’s nest, from which I can look out across the whole city and its surroundings. During the day it’s lovely, but at night it is downright spectacular. As the lights slowly come on around the city it’s as though I am looking at a living painting. Quite simply, only in Zuidas will you find a view like this.” 


Is there anything still missing in the area? “Not really, no. As I say, yeverything is at hand here. Gelderlandplein is around the corner and, to be fair, there are fantastic shops there, where you can find whatever you need. There are also nice places to eat and, surprisingly, plenty of spots to enjoy nature and relax. People always go on about Vondelpark, but if you ask me, Beatrixpark is even nicer. It’s a good deal quieter and there are very pretty little vegetable patches where I like to sit and read on days when it’s nice out.” 

Name Oscar Hammerstein
Job Retired lawyer
Building Valley
Hobbies Reading, fencing, cycling and polo
Favourite spots at home “In my living room I’ve got a chair in front of the window where I like to sit and read. That is also my cat Taghi’s favourite spot, so coming out of my office after working in the morning I have to chase her out of it, but then I can relax there for the rest of the afternoon.”
Favourite spots in Zuidas “Pizzabakkers. Not only do they have great food and good cocktails, but the staff are also lovely. And in summer you can catch the last rays of sunshine on their terrace.”