Sustainability in Leiden, yes we can!

If you are looking for innovative circular concepts in the Netherlands you cannot miss the industrial park ‘De Ceuvel’ in Amsterdam North. De Ceuvel is a circular office park located on a former shipyard. It is a platform for innovation and creativity, related to sustainability issues. The entrepreneurs and artist working on the Ceuvel have a heart for sustainability and all helped building their working place. At the shipyard old houseboats have been placed on heavily polluted soil, around these boats you can find phyoto-remediating plants working to clean the soil. All the workplaces in the park use clean technologies and are connected by a winding jetty. De Ceuvel can be called one of the most sustainable and renewing experiments in Europe.

A short movie about De Ceuvel:

Overview of circular office park ‘De Ceuvel’

One of the initiatives on De Ceuvel is called ‘Café de Ceuvel’. The people that founded Café de Ceuvel want to make a difference in the world and they do that by working as sustainable as possible in the café. This goes further then just using products with a label that says ‘organic’ or ‘biologic’. They want to make sure that every meal or drink has a positive impact somewhere else. To realize that they use their own made soda, grow their own vegetables and make bitterballen from coffee leftovers of LaPlace (restaurant). The people from Café de Ceuvel also take action with closing loops to become more circular, this happens in different ways. They win phosphate out of urine, have a hot-house on the roof and a floating garden with vegetables. Moreover, Café de Ceuvel is building world’s first biogasboat on which organic waste is fermented into methane which can be used to cook in the restaurant. In this way, the biogas boat closes the loop of organic matter.

The concept of this sustainable café illustrates that the founders are aware of the fact that the world’s food system is one of the biggest causes of climate change and that they really want to make a change in this system. A restaurant like Café de Ceuvel can help raising awareness for sustainability and circularity, it can change the food people eat and the way it is produced which helps in the battle against climate change.

Café de Ceuvel in Amsterdam

The city where I currently live in, Leiden, would be the perfect place to combine two of the initiatives from Café de Ceuvel; a sustainable café including a biogas boat. The reason why this would fit so well in Leiden is because Leiden is already known for it’s unique flooding terrace boats in the city centre. A sustainable café with a biogas boat, including a terrace on it, would therefore fit perfectly next to the other boats in the canal at the Nieuwe Rijn. The café would have a central location, which has several advantages. First, the central location would help attracting attention to the café and second, it could inspire the surrounding restaurants towards using more sustainable products. Furthermore, if the café has a biogas boat it has the possibility to occasionally move the boat around in the cannels of Leiden and locate it to spots with a lot of people. You can think of the big student associations (which are located by canals) in the annual student introduction week. On these locations organic waste can then be collected to transfer into gass and show the students what is possible with waste.

Terrace boats at Nieuwe Rijn, Leiden

To conclude, the concept of Café de Ceuvel in Amsterdam can function as an inspiration for Leiden to raise awareness for sustainability and circularity among inhabitants. Placing the sustainable café at de nieuwe Rijn with a biogas boat makes the concept even more attractive because it fits into the unique surroundings of floating terraces in the city centre and has the possibility to displace to different locations.



One thought on “Sustainability in Leiden, yes we can!”

  1. Nice post, but the problem with Leiden (as in every other city) is space. For visitors you want to make a clear connection between sustainability and the restaurant itself. But where can you visibly place a garden, solar cells, etc. Ánd the restaurant itself?
    And is a biogasboat legally possible? Because Leiden has a bit of a history with exploding boats…


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