A voice for the animals: Corinne Kalisvaart

On a cold Tuesday afternoon, we are warmly welcomed by Corinne Kalisvaart at her residence located on the Schiphol Trade Park (STP) in the Haarlemmermeerpolder. Corinne is the founder and driving force behind the Fauna Haarlemmermeer foundation, which is dedicated to the animals in this area. Her mission? To give a voice to the rich diversity of flora and fauna that the polder houses, which are often overlooked. Armed with her binoculars and accompanied by her two dogs, she makes her daily rounds through the area to observe the wildlife and share updates on her website and social media platforms. In doing so, she creates a broader awareness of the life in the Haarlemmermeer and represents the animals during the many developments on the STP site.

Nature-inclusive logistical business park: Schiphol Trade Park

STP is praised as the most sustainable logistical business park in the world, with an impressive score of 87.67% on the BREEAM-NL Area v2018 assessment. This success is partly thanks to Corinne. When construction of the business park began, it was initially claimed that there were no animals living in the Haarlemmermeer. Corinne decided to actively advocate for the animals and proved otherwise. Her efforts drew the attention of the client SADC (Schiphol Area Development Company), allowing her to represent the interests of the animals in the process. PosadMaxwan is represented by our landscape designer Michelle de Roo, who had the pleasure of translating the ecological vision of the Schiphol Trade Park into a design for the public spaces in the area alongside Corinne’s house and throughout the rest of STP.

From passion to action

Corinne's love for animals runs deep. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and grew up in the vicinity of countless animals. Her passion for animals manifested early on through drawing them and later through photography. She began to acquire more knowledge about the animals she observed, and now she uses this to give a voice to the animals in the area where she has lived for thirty years.


Her contribution has made a significant difference for STP. Although some feared opposition, she acknowledges that her role is not to halt development but rather to ensure that it is executed in a nature-positive way.

In collaboration with SADC and Michelle, various measures have been implemented, such as sowing native flowers, creating natural banks, and providing shelter for vulnerable species. Thanks to the addition of flowers, rare animals such as the hummingbird hawk-moth have now been spotted on the premises.


Corinne has also proven helpful for the progress of construction. At one point work had to be paused due to the presence of sand martins ( a type of swallow). Based on her advice, a sand martin wall was created along a nearby waterway where many insects and food are found. This turned out to be a success! All the swallows in the area flocked to it, allowing construction to resume.

Education as the key to sustainability

In addition to concrete measures, Corinne recognizes the importance of education. There are many rare birds to be found on the premises, including kestrels, peregrine falcons, and buzzards. These birds mainly feed on mice, dragonflies, and birds. This means that the area must also provide a suitable habitat for these prey animals. Corinne therefore informs the companies about the consequences of using poison, as poisoned mice also endanger the birds of prey. She also points out that birds can see ultraviolet light while humans cannot. Applying UV coating to windows offers a good solution to prevent bird collisions. As she herself indicates, most often original plans for an area can simply proceed, but in a modified way that is more favorable to the local fauna.

At present, Corinne is fighting against the felling of the 393 poplars on the Geniedijk in the Haarlemmermeer. The municipality threatens to cut down these trees due to the possible danger of branches breaking off. She warns us of the impact that this felling will have on the ecosystem of the animals in the area. If the trees are removed, the birds that use these tall trees as safe nesting places will also disappear. The lack of birds of prey can lead to an increase in mouse populations, which in turn brings other disruptions. People often do not realize how ecosystems are interconnected and how relatively small actions can have significant consequences. That is why education is so crucial, and that is exactly what Corinne is trying to achieve with her efforts.

A new way of looking at nature

In our Western society, we usually think that nature and humans are separate, but they are indeed interconnected. Corinne is inspired by examples from non-Western cultures such as the Maoris and Native Americans, where the division between humans and nature is not so sharp. Dutch founder and author Jessica den Outer of ‘Rights for Nature' is a major inspiration for Corinne. She also advocates for giving a voice to nature and for giving rights to bodies of water such as the Meuse or the Wadden Sea, as is done in other societies. That shift from not against but with nature has yet to take hold in the Netherlands. It all begins with the question, as Corinne indicates: "How can we design an area so that the animals living here can stay?"

Give the animals a voice

To achieve this shift in all future urban planning, it is crucial to know what lives in that particular place. Corinne therefore recommends conducting a year-round baseline survey to see what is happening in the area. Or as she encourages us: "Look through the eyes of the animals and be amazed." This can then be incorporated into spatial designs, allowing decisions to be made where animals are also stakeholders. It is important to see animals not as a threat, but as an opportunity to create space for them. Humans and animals can coexist, and STP is proof of that.