Amsterdam’s South Axis Green Route

October 9 was the Dutch Sustainability Day, and a perfect occasion to explore sustainability initiatives in Amsterdam’s South Axis – the city’s financial district.   This area is home to economic and educational institutions such as the World Trade Center (WTC) and Amsterdam’s VU University.  Anchored by Amsterdam’s second largest train station, the district is undergoing continued development with sustainability as a key element.  One of the most ambitious visions for the area is the placing of the nearby highway underground in order to improve connectivity among adjacent neighborhoods and reduce noise and air pollution.

Sustainable Amsterdam joined a tour organized by the Green Business Club showcasing sites and projects that are making the area more sustainable.  Starting at Old School – a former school converted into a trendy mixed-use space contained a restaurant and co-work spaces – participants were welcomed with a warm, organic cup of soup supplied by Soupalicious.   On the roof we visited the Polderdak – a new type of green rooftop solution in Amsterdam, with increased capacity for water retention.  In light of climate change, Amsterdam is preparing itself for more extreme downpours by replacing gray, impermeable surfaces, with green, water absorbing ones.

The Polderdak is a green roof with an increased capacity for water absorption

The Polderdak is a green roof with an increased capacity for water absorption

Then it was time to get on our bikes and enjoy a nice bike ride passing through Beatrixpark.  On the way, the group was pleasantly surprised to discover a “Mini-Rondeel“: a showcase for sustainable food in an urban setting.  Housing 200 chickens in an ecological way, the Mini-Rondeel allows residents to pick up eggs and reconnect to their food in one of Amsterdam’s busiest and densest districts.

Then we arrived at the Edge, Delloite’s headquarters and widely recognized as the most sustainable office building in the world!  It was awarded an “Outstanding” rating and the highest ever BREEAM score of 98.36 percent, based on assessment of the building’s energy and water use, transport links, materials, waste and management processes.  It is a high tech building, but above all it emphasizes flexibility and connectivity.

Next we visited the neaby Boeletuin – a temporary green oasis surrounded by offices where community members can come together.  It is also home to Containing Mushrooms, where coffee waste from nearby businesses is used to grow ooyster mushrooms.  From there, we were a short bike ride away to the VU’s Green Office launch: a student-led initiative to make the university a sustainability hub.  You can learn more about Europe’s Green Office Model here.

All around the Green Route was an excellent way to celebrate Sustainability Day and to be inspired by the amazing projects that are making the South Axis a green hotspot in Amsterdam.   If you are interested in exploring these and other sustainability initiatives in South Axis, email Cornelia to arrange a tour or request additional information about the area.

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