Cleaning and Regreening – transforming a polluted industrial plot into a circular green hotspot

Publié: 17 novembre 2021
Dernière modification: 17 novembre 2021
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In 2012, a group of architects decided to transform a polluted and deserted shipyard in the North of Amsterdam into a creative co-working space called `De Ceuvel`. To restore the polluted soil of De Ceuvel, phytoremediation methods were implemented. The full area is cultivated with plants that absorb or stabilize soil pollution. Through community-driven development, the site opted for a sustainable building approach by investing in a solar-powered heating and airconditioning system and compost toilets. The system at De Ceuvel is fully circular, wastewater is purified through bio-filters, and nutrients are re-used for the production of food. Old houseboats were given a second life to provide 17 sustainable ateliers for entrepreneurs and artists. A wooden deck connects the ateliers to protect the restorative ecosystem, and limit the contact of visitors with the polluted soil. After 10 years of use, the site will be returned to the Amsterdam municipality, cleaner and richer than ever before.


Europe de l’Ouest et du Sud
Europe du Nord
Scale of implementation
Buildings and facilities
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Espaces verts (parcs, jardins, forêt urbaine)
Écosystème urbain
Accès et partage des avantages
Acteurs locaux
Aménagement urbain
Entretien des infrastructures
Gestion des déchets
Moyens d'existence durables
Santé et bien-être humain
Services écosystèmiques
Villes et infrastructures
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Perte de l'écosystème
Pollution (y compris eutrophisation et déchets)
Développement d’infrastructure
Sustainable development goals
ODD 3 - Bonne santé et bien-être
ODD 7 - Énergie propre et d'un coût abordable
ODD 8 - Travail décent er croissance économique
ODD 9 - Industrie, innovation et infrastructure
ODD 11 - Villes et communautés durables
ODD 12 - Consommation et production responsables
ODD 15 - Vie terrestre
Aichi targets
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 4: Production et consommation durables
Objectif 7: Agriculture, aquaculture et sylviculture durable
Objectif 8: Pollution réduite
Objectif 14: Services des écosystèmes
Objectif 15: Restauration et la résilience des écosystèmes
Objectif 19: Partage de l'information et de la connaissance


Korte Papaverweg 4, 1032 KB Amsterdam, Netherlands


De Ceuvel is a great example for cities dealing with limited space for sustainable development. Municipalities are often restricted by the financial or environmental cost of restoring polluted areas. With the implementation of phytoremediation, this project demonstrated that alternatives are available to replace costly and often unsustainable soil-purification methods (usually hiding or replacing the polluted soil).


The project has shown real potential for reducing the use of resources and building materials, waste, and emissions. De Ceuvel currently uses 75% less water compared to similar offices. Additionally, an estimation of 600 tonnes of construction material was conserved and over 200.000 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved during the build and 10-year use of the site.


The site has shown that community-driven urban development has the potential to transform seemingly 'useless' plots of land through creativity and innovation. De Ceuvel is visited by local residents, tourists and people interested in learning about the circular system, providing them with a green communal space. It provides a testing ground for clean technologies in former industrial areas and has set an example on how cities can transform from large-scale waste producers into sustainable circular hubs that improve their natural environment rather than harm it.

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Portrait de eline.vanremortel_41284

Eline van Remortel IUCN Urban Alliance