De Ceuvel: A cleantech playground

Closing loops at Amsterdam's circular living lab

De Ceuvel, a sustainable office park built on the site of a former shipyard in Amsterdam North, has become an internationally acclaimed circular economy case study. Home to 17 workspaces and a popular community cafe, the site was conceptualized as a ‘cleantech playground’ with numerous living examples of decentralized technologies and recycling of local resources. 

  • Client: Stichting DOEN, Waternet, City of Amsterdam, InnovatieNetwerk
  • Partners: space&matter, DELVA Landscape Architects, Jeroen Apers, Wouter Valkenier, smeele architectuur, Woodies at Berlin 
  • Date: Opened June 2014
The challenge

In an effort to transform the post-industrial neighbourhood of Buiksloterham into a mixed-use residential and commercial area, the City of Amsterdam awarded four plots of land to pioneering initiatives focusing on sustainability and circular urban development. In 2012, Metabolic and a group of organizations won a tender to turn the De Ceuvel site – formerly a derelict and polluted shipyard – into a ‘regenerative urban oasis’, with the aim of stimulating new ways of thinking about how we manage resources in our communities.

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Our approach

Metabolic provided the sustainability masterplan for the site, and worked with a large group of partners, entrepreneurs, and volunteers to transform the area. By upcycling 17 old houseboats into buildings, using specialized plants to clean the soil, and installing low-cost clean technologies to make the development’s resource management as circular as possible, we helped the City transition a dilapidated and polluted zone into what is now a sustainable community hub, workspace, and place for sustainability and circular economy education.

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The outcome

De Ceuvel is a blueprint for circular experimentation, showcasing urban, closed-loop thinking in action. The offices of around 30 companies, bustling Cafe De Ceuvel, aquaponics greenhouse, and Metabolic Lab – a learning hub for workshops and masterclasses – see over 35,000 visitors each year, and the site has won numerous awards for sustainability innovation.

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“De Ceuvel isn’t just the hippest office park in town. It’s considered a model of eco-design.”

- Wall Street Journal

“The project is an example of Amsterdam’s commitment to urban experimentation.”

- New York Times

Founder and CEO

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