June 21st

Happy Birthday to us – celebrations as we turn 5

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Written by Metabolic

Since our founding in 2012, Metabolic has completed more than 200 projects and built up a community of over 150 alumni. We recently marked the success of the past five years and shared some of our plans for the coming five years with partners and friends. Here we reflect (and share some photos) on two days of sunny celebrations that took place at De Ceuvel, the cleantech playground we established, and which was also celebrating its third birthday.


Birthday day 1 – Friday 16 June

We are proud of the network that has grown around us over the past five years and the partners that we have worked with in this time: organizations that share our vision for a fundamentally sustainable global economy. They have been instrumental to our success and we see closer collaboration with them as key to making much bigger impacts over the coming five years.

On Day 1 of our birthday celebrations, we welcomed friends from organizations such as Alliander, Schiphol, Space+Matter and Waternet to join us in looking back at 5 years of Metabolic. We also outlined our plans to 2022, which include a major push building software that translate our knowledge into decision support tools, a technology innovation center in the heart of Amsterdam, and focusing on how we can activate people through communication and education to take action. We’ll outline these plans in more detail and share them with you soon. In the meantime, make sure to read our Innovation Director Chris Monaghan’s look back at five years of Metabolic R&D and how this helped shape the culture of our company in the early years.

One of the key focuses of the afternoon with our partners was to discuss areas of commonality and opportunities for collaboration in the future. As well as identifying a range of areas for organic collaboration throughout our network, we had exciting discussions around the concept of an action-oriented changemaker network. We’ll leave it there for now, but we also hope to share more details of this soon. Thanks to all of those who were able to join us in marking this special occasion.

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Birthday day 2 – Saturday 17 June

Day 2 coincided with De Ceuvel celebrating its 3rd birthday. Metabolic is very proud of our role in helping to create and build De Ceuvel, which is now internationally regarded as a sustainable business park and cleantech playground, as well as a living example of how to create a new type of built environment. Our education and showcase facility, Metabolic Lab, is housed there and we continue to help shape De Ceuvel’s future.

We kicked off the morning by running two mini masterclasses. These sessions were offered as free tasters to members of the public before we launch a new suite of longer and more in-depth masterclasses this summer. Designed for businesses and individuals, the masterclasses look at key systemic challenges and outline how we can create a sustainable economy across sectors and action areas. Our consultants Oscar Sabag Munoz and Leonardo Verkoijen talked about how we can reimagine the global food system, and Gerard Roemers outlined ways we can create circular cities. Other future masterclasses will also look at economics and communications. More details coming soon.

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In the afternoon, we welcomed a small number of the more than 150 alumni – spread out across six continents – that have worked as employees or interns at Metabolic in the past five years. We heard how some of our former interns have since established successful enterprises of their own, such as Sustainer Homes and Watt-Now. And we discussed ways we can create an online network for all our alumni to allow quick knowledge sharing, to help new connections to be established, and to deliver and disseminate ideas and initiatives more rapidly around the world. We’ll finalise these plans and launch the new network after the summer. To read more about our alumni event, read our post here .

We concluded our alumni meet-up with a toast, and enjoyed a fresh batch of beers from one of our consultant’s new side projects, One Planet Brewing. It was great to see so many friendly faces and to reflect on how far and wide our ideas are now taking root.

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In the evening, De Ceuvel’s own birthday celebrations really got underway, with a packed programme of music, talks and workshops across the site. If you’ve never been to De Ceuvel then we suggest you make the journey soon. You’ll find inspirational architecture, swimming spots, and great food and drink. Metabolic has recently helped Cafe de Ceuvel incorporate a deeper understanding of the sustainable food system into its menu. And next door, you’ll find Metabolic Lab, which is not only our own creative and experimental space but is also increasingly being rented out by other organizations looking to host workshops and events in a creative setting.

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Thanks to everyone who joined us over the two days of celebrations. The work is now underway  to build on this success and accelerate the change we can make in the world. We hope you’ll join us. To learn more about where we have been, and where we plan to go, check out our five year reflection piece, and ensure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and sign up for our newsletter to never miss a story.