After a really interesting few days in Delft at CAAD Futures 2023, on Friday morning my daughter and I headed to Amsterdam on our way to Munich.
The main goal of visiting Amsterdam was – of course – to visit the MX3D bridge, particularly as it’s due to be decommissioned later this year. (I know, I know: it doesn’t seem as though the bridge has been there long, but the permit was a limited one – appropriate for a temporary art installation – and there seems to have been some resistance to the project from a local heritage preservation group.)
So yes, it was a good opportunity to see it one last time (perhaps the only time for my daughter, as this was her first time in Amsterdam). It’s very likely the bridge will end up being installed somewhere else, of course, and hopefully it’ll be somewhere that’s easier to navigate with children than the red light district of Amsterdam.
After the relative craziness of Amsterdam in the summer, we hopped on a short flight to Munich.
This was always the core purpose for this trip – before I received the invitation to speak at CAAD Futures – to attend the Autodesk World Cup 2023.
I love the Autodesk football tournament: that said, it’s been a bit trickier to join the event since the Neuchatel office closed, so I was delighted when old friends from the Tandem organisation reached out and asked if I’d be interested in joining their team. Back then it was all very theoretical: there were far more teams signed up than there were slots to play, so I really didn’t expect it to work out. In any case I was quick to say yes.
When “The Tandemists” was drawn out of the hat during team selection – we were among the first to be selected – it all became a lot less abstract. After months of hard training (ahem), I ended up heading to Munich for Saturday’s tournament.
My daughter loves playing football, so we decided to go together (and therefore ended up going to the Netherlands first, too). She was signed up to participate in a special side tournament for teenagers.
We managed to find the Tandem team, some of whom had been there since early afternoon. They’d even started arm-wrestling. ;-)
Although they’re traditionally not from Bavaria, I went and bought myself a Fishbrötchen. It was pretty good!
There was a traditional Bavarian band playing in the Chinese Tower throughout the time we were there (although with beer-sized breaks between songs).
When we were ready to head off, a few of the team decided to freshen up with a traditional float down the fastmoving Eisbach river. I had only consumed a couple of beers so wasn’t especially up for it, but they seemed to have a blast. (You can do something similar in Switzerland – floating down the Aare in Bern, from as high up as Thun – so I guess I also felt less of a need to do it in Munich.)
The Eisbach goes so quickly through Munich that it even creates surf that people ride!
Walking back to Marienplatz – where we were taking the S-Bahn to Unterhaching, where our hotel and the tournament were hosted – we came across an incredible event. A live, classical concert with full orchestra and choir. It turned out to be a concert by the Münchner Philharmoniker.
We didn’t stay for long, but what we saw and heard was really moving.
Despite walking at different paces and getting more-or-less distracted by the concert, we somehow all converged on the platform to take our train to Unterhaching.
The next day we were up early to have a quick breakfast and then take the shuttlebus to the space where the event was being hosted. I believe there were 40 busloads of Autodeskers descending on the place – around 1,500 people. Wow.
We managed to take a team photo ahead of the games starting. From left to right: Manu, Iria, Aleks, Oleg, Simon, Kass, Ivan, Avo, Jan, Daniel, Kean.
I really liked the Tandemists’ strip!
We had four group games followed by the knockout stages.
We didn’t progress beyond the group stage, drawing a couple of games 0-0 and losing another couple 1-0.
It was a huge amount of fun, though.
We would have done a lot worse without Ivan, who used to play in goal properly (even professionally) while growing up in Serbia. He was absolutely amazing, but ended up being our only casualty, although luckily mostly with grazes and bruises. (The rest of us did what we could, but you apparently have to score goals to win in this game.)
The final was between Dublin and Barcelona – our two largest offices in Europe, perhaps unsurprisingly – and Barcelona came out victorious: with the heat in the afternoon I was just happy to be watching from the sidelines and drinking my beer before it warmed up.
It was really a great pleasure playing alongside so many of the Tandem team: they’re a great bunch of people who I believe are also doing really important work.
The evening event was at the Allianz Stadium, the home of Bayern Munich.
It was really cool to see Autodesk videos being shown at either end of this iconic stadium.
My daughter was thrilled to be able to share this with her friends, several of whom are Bayern fans.
I’m really grateful both to the Tandem team for inviting me to join them and to the tournament organisers for all their hard work. I’ve probably been to 15 or so of the tournaments that have been held since they started in 2003, and can honestly say they’re one of the greatest benefits of working at Autodesk: they’re an amazing opportunity to catch up with old friends – and to make new ones – from all over the world.