Our Story

Founded in 2012, Metabolic is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A few highlights from the archives tell a little about our early history and how the Metabolic ecosystem has evolved over the years.

Eva Gladek_Metabolic Founder
June 2012

Metabolic founded in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

In 2012, Eva Gladek founded an organization that she believed could tackle some of the most urgent and critical sustainability challenges facing society. An industrial ecologist by training, Eva’s work focused on what we can learn from natural systems, and the power of viewing cities, companies, and sectors through a ‘Metabolic’ lens. 

June 2012
Cleantech Playground_Development
September 2012

Taking action: The Cleantech Playground 

Core to Metabolic’s mission was an urge to get outside of the traditional ‘sustainability consulting’ model and start turning ideas, concepts, and dust-gathering reports into real, functioning models. With this, we began our first iconic project – The Cleantech Playground – a blueprint for new urban development in two locations in Amsterdam North: a former shipyard turned office park called De Ceuvel, and a floating residential development named Schoonschip. (Render: space&matter).

September 2012
Amsterdam-2-e1495543803777
January 2013

Setting up Metabolic HQ in Amsterdam

As the Metabolic team grew and more ambitious projects hit the launchpad, the team decided to move Metabolic HQ to Amsterdam – a global frontrunner on sustainability and the circular economy. 

January 2013
De Ceuvel was created by lifting old houseboats onto land and retrofitting them to become offices.
February 2013

Construction of De Ceuvel begins

Bringing the cleantech playground to life. To transform a derelict and polluted shipyard in Amsterdam North, the team got to work preparing the site and relocating the houseboats which would become sustainable workspaces for the future community.

February 2013
March 2013

A workshop at New Energy Docks

To put sustainable innovations into practice, we needed a workshop. So we rented a space at New Energy Docks – a community of green startups based in Amsterdam North – and got right to it.

March 2013
March 2014

Experimenting with energy systems

Seeing the necessity for mobile, decentralized solutions, the team started experimenting with  energy systems, building our first mobile solar energy station using an old horse trailer, recycled lead batteries, and solar panels.

March 2014
March 2014

Meanwhile, in Thailand…

Metabolic Foundation was created to help build resilient developing communities through democratization of knowledge and technology.  The team had already been working to bring open-source cleantech to riverside neighborhoods in Thailand for a year. 

March 2014
Micro utilities
May 2014

Piloting micro-utility services at festivals

After 3 months of building compost toilets and energy trailers, it was time to bring them into the real world. The summer of 2014 became our debut season for serving festivals with decentralized systems for energy, sanitation, and pop-up buildings. They were a great success, and laid the foundation for a new spin-off organization.

May 2014
June 2014

Metabolic Foundation sets sail to Aruba

After a military coup in Thailand, Metabolic Foundation moved its operations to Aruba to continue its work with local communities in the Caribbean. 

June 2014
De Ceuvel Aerial - Credit Niki Coutignu (1)
June 2014

De Ceuvel opens its doors!

The much-awaited opening of De Ceuvel arrived, showing the world how an abandoned, polluted shipyard can be transformed into an innovative office park and cleantech showcase for sustainability initiatives.

June 2014
Brenchie's Lab
August 2014

Metabolic Foundation creates Brenchie’s Lab

As part of continued work on the Caribbean island of Aruba, the Metabolic Foundation team set up Brenchie’s Lab, a publicly accessible makerspace equipped with digital design and fabrication tools for open collaboration and self-guided learning.

August 2014
Noordoogst_Metabolic team
February 2015

Metabolic moves to Noordoogst

The Metabolic offices were once again bursting at the seams. To house a growing team and have more outside space for experimentation, Metabolic HQ moved to Noordoogst, an urban agriculture project on the outskirts of Amsterdam North.

February 2015
In March 2015, over 25 local stakeholders committed to the vision and goals by signing a manifesto that will guide the development in Buiksloterham over the coming decades.
March 2015

Circular Buiksloterham launched

A roadmap and manifesto for Amsterdam’s first circular neighbourhood is developed. Over 25 local stakeholders committed to the pioneering manifesto’s vision and goals that would guide the area’s development over the coming decades.

March 2015
58595b
May 2015

Spectral founded to accelerate the energy transition

Following continued experimentation with decentralized energy and utilities, Metabolic created its first venture. Our first commercial spin-off, Spectral, was founded to accelerate the implementation of sustainable utility systems.

May 2015
Circularfriesland
June 2015

Metabolic partners with Circular Friesland

A strong partnership between Metabolic and Circular Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands, began as we together developed a vision and strategy for circular regional development.

June 2015
February 2016

WWF Global Food System Analysis published

After extensive research into food systems, Metabolic releases The Global Food System Analysis, commissioned by WWF. The landmark report informs WWF’s food strategy, marking the beginning of a close partnership between Metabolic and WWF.

February 2016
January 2017

Pioneering urban mining study released

The results of PUMA (Prospecting the Urban Mines of Amsterdam), our first project with AMS Institute, are released. The study formed the basis of much further research into the material banks to be found within Amsterdam’s urban mines.

January 2017
June 2017

Circular tendering guide developed for City of Amsterdam

Our guide to Circular Land Tendering is completed. It serves to help the City of Amsterdam shape its tendering procedures in order to stimulate sustainable urban development.

June 2017
October 2017

Strategic ‘Circular Cities’ partnership with AMS Institute launched

Metabolic and AMS Institute launch a joint research program to identify and build new smart solutions for sustainable urban development, using Amsterdam as a ‘living lab’ for circular city research.

October 2017
ChemDSS is an eco-design tool that simplifies the creation green chemicals by enabling real-time assessments of impact and toxicity during the design phase of a new formulated product.
January 2018

Metabolic’s third venture founded

Identifying a need for software that aids organizations in sustainable decision making, we launched Systemic, our third venture. As a decision-support software developer, its first output is ChemDSS, is an eco-design tool that simplifies the creation of green chemicals.

January 2018
Metabolic_UvA_Summer School
July 2018

Circular Cities Summer School launched 

Metabolic and University of Amsterdam launch the first ‘Circular Cities’ Summer School, a program that brings 35 students from 19 countries across the world to learn about designing sustainable urban ecosystems.

July 2018
Circular economy strategy_Charlotte
October 2018

First circular economy strategy for a US city  

Metabolic launches a strategy for ‘Circular Charlotte’. Charlotte, North Carolina, is the first city in the United States to make a definitive commitment to working towards a circular economy.

October 2018
December 2018

Metabolic Institute founded  

Metabolic Institute is a non-profit think tank working at the intersection of academic research and real-world experimentation. It was founded in 2018 to build, test, and share open datasets and tools that address global sustainability challenges.

December 2018

THE STORY CONTINUES...

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