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.

The challenge
Our approach

Metabolic provided the sustainability masterplan for the De Ceuvel 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.

Our approach
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.

The outcome

“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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