Use the canals of Leiden in our favor

Oude Singel 56, the place where I live, I got a window with sight on the “Oude Singel”, one of the many canals in Leiden. I live there with seven other students and next to my house are several other student houses. In those houses live up to 32 students. The canal houses in the centre of Leiden are way too expensive for normal citizens and they are almost all inhabited by students. Of the 400 houses located on the Oude Vest and the Oude Singel, more than 350 of them are student houses. This was the circumstance when I got an idea in my mind which I will explain in this blog.


You will wonder why I’m talking about the city centre and about the canals, and you will wonder about the link between all the tags? The common factors of these students living in those house are that they do not own a car, they live next to or near canals, they create bulky waste as all other citizens do, and they move house a lot. But they cannot bring their stuff by car to the second hand shop or the recycling centre. When I’m studying and looking trough my nice window.  I can sometimes see a boat cleaning the canals, and in the canal cleaning boat[1] I see a lot of applicants or bicycles or sometimes even furniture.


If the canals were not cleaned it would look like[2]:

As shown canals and waste have a strange link with each other. But what about using the canals in our advantage? Instead of taking out the bulky waste after it is damaged by the water and thus hard to repair. Give the citizens of the city centre a service for their bulky waste. Use a pram, see media 3. A pram can be electric and is easy navigable through the canals of Leiden. Citizens within the canals, most of the time without a car, can place there bulky waste and applicants next to the canal on a specific day for each canal another day for a time period, for instance, each second monday of the month.  The pram can then deliver the bulky waste to the recycling centre as shown in media 4.


Map leiden


This plan is in my opinion realisable, quite a lot people work for the different cruise companies in Leiden. However, those employees only can work there during the summer months, because the other months there is not enough demand for city cruises. Besides that, there is near to zero traffic on the canals out summer season so the prams can easy collect all the bulky waste.


To conclude, if this plan is realized the second hand shop “het warenhuis”[5] can expand one of the proposals of “Quickscan Duurzaamheid gemeente Leiden”[6] due to more applicants delivered. No traffic jams created by trucks collecting bulky waste, more jobs for shippers. A a low threshold service delivered to the inhabitants of the city centre. Which all lead to more recycling, more sustainable bulky waste collection and makes Leiden a nicer place to live!


10 thoughts on “Use the canals of Leiden in our favor”

  1. Hi Jaco! I’ve had this experience myself a lot of the time. It is astonishing how much of dirt they dig up out of the canals and how often this has to be done.
    I think it is a very good idea to use the canals for transport, because it will lighten the tension of the roads. It can be a good idea to invest in electric boats for transport, so it will also reduce the pollution in the city. Nevertheless I wonder if this transport service for furtniture and other bulky waste will really reduce the dirt in the canals. In my opinion, most of the dirt in the canals comes from small dirt like packaging materials and food waste from the market, not really bulky waste that is trowed into the water. If a solution is found for this problem an these will be combined, i think the canals will be a lot cleaner and can contribute to a green city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Benthe!, Yeah if it can be combined that would be great. However, the small waste which float on the water and will group up at certain spots in the canals. You can use the electirc prams to go to those spots and take all dirt from there. But that waste cannot go to the second hand shop ofcourse.
      Gr. Jaco


  2. Hi Jaco,

    I think your idea is very interesting and I believe it could really work. However, there already is a bulky waste pick up service in Leiden and I think in every municipality actually. I am not sure if you have thought about that, but I think that one service would suffice. One could argue that boats are the more sustainable version, but the waste could also be picked up by electric trucks.
    I do like the idea, I was just wondering what your thoughts on the existing service were.


  3. Hi Jaco!
    I really like your idea! When I saw the title and I knew it would be about waste and canals, I immediately thought about this project: They collect plastic waste from the canals of Amsterdam and even make their own boats of them! It is so cool, they already made three boats from the waste they have collected. Maybe they can integrate boths ideas?
    Love Pauline

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pauline! That would be awesome, however, are the boats strong enough? They have to be strong enough for all seasons. But it should be researched if we can link the projects.
      Gr. Jaco


  4. Hey Jaco,
    Seems you have written a popular blog, and because of our own interest in movement in the canals I decided to read yours as well. There are two things I think are worth contemplating, and haven’t been brought forth yet. First the bikes, isn’t a major reason for this that drunks through bicycles in the water? If the major part consists of those rather than because of the disposal of waste, they still won’t end up in the second hand shop. Concerning these shops, I also wondered if individuals could not be promoted to bring their stuff there themselves, mainly because there are a lot of them spread through the inner city. Still I love the idea of all bulky waste along the canals to be brought in by pram! There would be some crucial issues to deal with but because of the scale I believe Leiden could realize it.
    For more information about boats and problems, concerning distribution, pay attention this Friday with mobility!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will pay attention next friday!
      About the drunk canal cyclers,
      I think you live in the wrong circumstances to have an opinion about that =D


  5. Funny idea to use a boat to collect and transport waste. However, there are some problems. Considering that you want to use the boat in winter, how do you want to collect the waste in summer? In summer there is more waste (more visitors). Also, how do you want to prevent the canals from being polluted with a boat (picture 3)? I think that the trash that comes into the water is not intentionally dropped into the water. Always waste comes into the water, due to wind.
    Concluding, it’s a funny idea, but i have doubts about the practice.


    1. Ha Jesse,
      Thanks for your comment!
      I was well prepared for your ‘however’, however tourists do not take furniture or applicants to Leiden right? The aim is focused on Bulky waste, Grof vuil in Dutch. And those prams can handle alot of mass.
      Gr. Jaco


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