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Inspirational Sustainable Space De Ceuvel!

November, 2017

“De Ceuvel is an award-winning, sustainable planned workplace for creative and social enterprises on a former shipyard adjacent to the Johan van Hasselt kanaal off the river IJ in Amsterdam North.”

– De Ceuvel Website 

Is your impression about Amsterdam on s3x, drugs and rock n roll?  I will not guilt trip you, but let us get real: Amsterdam XXX has way more to offer! This old image has become more and more only an overrated stereotype for the tourists. From the city of cannels, to the hub of startups, from the harmony of nature and people, to the synergy of different innovation, it is truly a city that will inspire you by its multi-dimensional faces. Today, we dig into its sustainable scene, more specifically, a cleantech playground in Amsterdam, to show you one remarkable facet of the city. De CeuvelThis is the most unique and innovative urban experiments in Europe!


A sunny afternoon in de CEUVEL,

Beer POPPING music drifting;

Some WANDER on the boardwalk, embracing the SUNSET over the water

or absorbing the KNOWLEDGE at every corner;

Looking into the windows of the HOUSEBOATS,

some may be CAPTIVATED by the SOUL of the interior

or envy the ZEN of the atmosphere;

This is a COMMUNITY for the curious ones, a PLAYGROUND for the earthlings, a CELEBRATION for all.

Historical Pictures at De Ceuvel ^

Compost Toilet at De Ceuvel ^

Houseboats as Offices & Homes ^

De Ceuvel, a former ship wharf, is a self-sufficient economic eco-system for living and working, based in the North of Amsterdam. Abandoned, polluted with a history, the place was miraculously concluded as being potential by the urban developers.  With the motto of “waste is the new gold”, they are standing on the edge to show the world where the impossible is possible. Today, De Ceuvel is an award-winning sustainable workplace that is nowhere else to find in Europe. This time we will go more in detail regarding its eco-system of water, waste and soil management. 

Water Management:

Previously, de Ceuvel was a deeply polluted shipyard. Taking advantage of this unfavorable starting point, offices and homes are made of decrepit houseboats; disconnected to the sewer, it breaks through 75% decrease in water use than conventional offices. How do they achieve this amazing figure? Dry toilet are the magic here, with dry compost and water filter in decentralized biofiltration systems from kitchen sinks to offices. After purification, the water is discharged to the ground.

Helophyte filters play important roles in the purification process of the kitchen wastewater, placed between office houseboats.  In detail, the wand, gravel, shell reinforce the removal of solids while special plants process nitrogen and other organic matter.

The fact that the organization constantly seeks for new and smart methods to produce locally available drinking water has also contributed to their progress.

Waste Management:

Three practices used on the site for waste management are discussed here. One is the aforementioned compost toilet, which is in fact a leftover choice (the place is impossible to have a sewage system). With this, it does not demand water for flushing and its compost is solid. The ongoing researches are investigating to what extent the compost can be used as fertilizer or something useful.

Another practice is the implementation of struvite reactor, used to recover the phosphate in men’s urinoir from the restaurant. Phosphate crystals are combined with other materials to be used as fertilizer for local food production. Last but not least is the biogas boat on site, which is the world’s very first biogas boat, converting organic waste into biogas for the restaurant kitchen. This is also for the mission to “close the loop”.

Soil Management:

The earth was deeply polluted and the purification process was at stake before the renewal of the place. With both organic and inorganic pollutants, the conventional way of purification is not suitable in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. As a result, the technique of phytoremediation is applied, where plants are used to stabilize, absorb and transform the pollutants. The following graph is an illustration of the plants used on the site with specific functionality for soil purification. With a period of 10 years, the soil of the entire site has been drastically improved. Today the staff on site continuously carefully investigate and examine the quality of the soil and cultivate sowing other plants to absorb toxic pollutants such as metal.

De Ceuvel as Best Practice:

Ceuvel is an example for places as such (abandoned, polluted and contaminated) to be transformed to ecologically and economically friendly usable areas. Furthermore, it is also a place full of inspiration of sustainable practices from small details to conceptual ideas. Andddd, it gives you very relaxing vibes with great beer, terrace filled with music. Are you curious enough to visit this place and lucky enough to be around? Do not miss the chance to pay a visit! You can then understand more of their methodologies and concepts. They also provide (charged) workshops to teach you how to live a more sustainable life and/or to create a closed cycle environment.



Historical Photos:

Feeling inspired? Hit on their website: to know more. 😊

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