Amsterdam Smart City


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Amsterdam Smart City Demo Day #15: Open for Applications

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On 10 and 17 March the first Amsterdam Smart City Demo Days of 2022 will take place. This 15th edition will be online, and our themes are matched up again:

10 March: Circular & Energy

17 March: Digital & Mobility

What are the Amsterdam Smart City Demo Days?

Several times a year we host Demo Days. These days are part of our innovation process and intended to boost the progress of the various innovation projects, put requests for help on the table, share dilemmas and involve others in your projects or challenges. In small groups we work on concrete questions. We organize workshops with our partners to help them move forward in their process. All in a very positive, open and cheerful vibe. Invitations are sent to our partner network, but we're always open to adding a few new names to the list.

During these days, we also give the stage to community members to pitch projects and ask for input.

That’s where you come in!

Are you working on an innovative project that could use some input? Or are you preparing for an inspiring event that needs a spotlight?

If it fits within our themes, sent a message via or let us know in the comments. We would be happy to talk with you to find out if it's a match!

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You are invited to the Week of Circular Economy 2022

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Next week the seventh edition of the Week of Circular Economy will take place again! From 7 till 12 February 2022 entrepreneurs, universities, colleges, governments and all kinds of other organizations open their doors to take other professionals into the world of circular economy. Great examples are given a stage, pioneers get the chance to meet, success factors and challenges for circular business are discussed and starters are given tips to get started themselves. In short, it will be one week full of inspiring events for everyone who’s interested in the circular economy.

On the website of the organisation you will find an overview of all the events that will take place throughout the country. But instead of letting you browse all 267 events yourself, we have already done that for you. We’ve created a list with events in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area that we think you don’t want to miss out on.

7 February

13:00 - 14:00 Expedition: Upcycle Center

Almere is upcycling. This means reducing waste by reusing materials and making them valuable again. Join the digital walk through the Upcycle Center of Almere and find out more about what they have been working on these past 4 years. (also on 11 February 14:00 - 15:00)

8 February

13:30 – 15:00 There is nothing as durable as plastic

For Waternet and the AGV it’s become very normal to fish plastics out of the water. What smart things can we do with these plastics and how can we prevent it from entering the water? During this livestream the nuisance of plastic will be discussed. What floats in our waters? What are we doing about it? Who/what is needed? Upgrading or prevention? Or both?

13:30 - 14:30 Zero waste entrepreneurship

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to be more aware of the reduction and processing of your waste, then this online event is for you. Seenons, Zero Waste Nederland and YB will work with you to find out how industrial waste can be reduced and how they can help you on your way to zero waste business operations. Where do you start as an entrepreneur? How do you get your employees involved? Or your customers? Curious how your waste can have a second life, as a raw material for new products or services?

16:00 – 17:00 Talkshow: Circular Economy in Almere

During this interactive and informative online talk show you will be taken on a bird's-eye view of a number of important circular projects in Almere. The people behind these projects and who are committed to the circular economy are invited to the Upcycle Center to join the show!

16:00 – 17:00 Circular economy – is our tax system ready?

The SDG Academy event by the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute will dive deep into Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. VU researchers, together with consultancies EY and Royal HaskoningDHV, concluded that entrepreneurs and consumers need to be provided with a clear long-term policy on tax effects in greening, reducing emissions and introducing circular business models. How can changing the tax system at both the European and domestic level stimulate a circular economy?

20:00 A capital spin on the circular economy

Have you ever fantasized about a future that is both circular and more equitable? A future where property disappears and is exchanged for responsibility? And where financing is also circular? The Sustainable Finance Lab will take you on a journey to this dreamlike future during their live program at Pakhuis de Zwijger.

10 February

12:00 – 13:00 Circuloco: Co-creation Session

Circuloco will be a circular pavilion on the Floriade 2022. After the Floriade Expo, the building will be dismantled and rebuilt on Steiger 66. The design, construction, implementation, completion and reconstruction: everything is done by and with local creators. It will be a stage where circularity and creativity meet. It will be a place where you can learn, experience and meet. They are now working on the last details of this pavilion – do you want to join this process?

14:00 - 15:15 #NordicTalks2022 - Food for Good

The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and the Nordic Embassies in the Netherlands invite you to explore how the Nordic countries and the Netherlands are approaching the food system transition for good together with their experts. During this online event you will find out more about topics like the food system transition, sustainable food systems, preventing the waste and role of data.

16:00 Demo Day – No Waste Challenge 2021

What Design Can Do and Impact Hub Amsterdam invite you to the Demo Day of the No Waste Challenge 2021. After taking part in the half-year Development Programme, 16 winning teams of the No Waste Challenge will present their project, business case, their ambitions and their biggest needs moving forward, such as funding to scale-up, strategic partners, launching customers and specific expertise. You get to meet these amazing creative entrepreneurs during the online event and enter in conversations with them in different breakouts.

11 February

10:00 – 12:00 The Amsterdam Circular Monitor

We are increasingly talking about making material flows circular. But what are the numbers and types of materials involved? And what impact do they have on the environment and our society? The Municipality of Amsterdam will proudly present the first version of the Amsterdam Circular Monitor. A monitor – developed in collaboration with CBS and TNO – that shows how the various material flows move through the Greater Amsterdam region. From import and production to consumption, recycling and loss.

This is just a small selection of the huge range of events that are being hosted. Curious what else there is? Then check it out on the website of the Week of Circular Economy.

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The Amsterdam Smart City network is expanding again!

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The year 2022 has just begun and we already have some exciting news for our community. We are happy to announce that in the last half year we’ve expanded our partner network again. This time not with one, not two, but with no less than three new partners: the Province of Flevoland, Cenex Netherlands and Deloitte. We are very happy that these three parties have become partners of Amsterdam Smart City and want to give them a warm welcome!

The Province of Flevoland is the youngest province of The Netherlands. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area includes Flevoland’s cities Almere and Lelystad. The connection between these cities and regions is very important because smart city developments in cities and regions are inextricably linked. People move between cities, materials flow through regions and energy innovations in one area affect people in other areas. Cooperation is needed. That is why Flevoland is a wonderful addition to our network.

To accelerate transitions, we need to collaborate, share knowledge and inspire each other. Cenex NL specialises in zero-emission vehicle and energy infrastructure, smart mobility, and related circular economy applications. It is their mission to support others in making the world a better place to live and travel in. Cenex NL develops useful knowledge and therefore helps partners to get a step further.

Accelerating transitions means working on business models, especially new business models. This knowledge is very needed in our network, a valuable contribution Deloitte can make. With their insights, research and views, Deloitte helps partners to thrive in a changing world.

Let’s continue to work together and create better streets, neighbourhoods and cities!

Find the overview of all Amsterdam Smart City partners here:

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Some of the most inspiring projects of 2021 during our 14th Demoday!

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On December 14 2021, we had a very special demo day. Of course, it was the last of the year. As the Amsterdam Smart City core team, we are very proud of all the collaborations our partners and community started and that's why we wanted to highlight a few of them. To give the demoday a typical Christmas vibe, the pitchers had a 'gift' for the participants: their lessons learned that everyone could benefit from. And the participants had a gift in return: answers to the questions of the pitchers. In short, a demo day with new projects, questioning and sharing insights!

Responsible Sensing Lab and Drones
Hidde Kamst of the City of Amsterdam tells the participants about the Responsible Sensing Lab, a collaboration between the municipality and AMS Institute. This Lab works on the implementation of (social) values in technology in the city. Cameras and sensors in public space can put values such as privacy and anonymity under pressure. The Responsible Sensing Lab researches and designs alternatives. This also applies to the subject of Responsible Drones. A group of civil servants, companies and knowledge institutions worked on a vision on the responsible use of drones. The subjects 'proportionality', 'communications' and 'rules of the game' were discussed.

Hidde’s lessons learned: behind the scenes there are many parties working on drones, but the involvement of residents and civil society is low. It is important to change this because drones can have a big impact on our society. In addition, it is a complex topic where more research is needed. Hidde's request for help 'How do you convey the urgency of a subject that is important, but not yet urgent?' was very recognizable for the participants. A selection of their ideas: repeat the urgency over and over again, visualize the urgency, use storytelling and name the risks.

Shuttercam and Measuring Public Space
Pitch 2 had a big link with Hidde's story. Tom van Arman does various sensing projects on the Marineterrein, also covered by the Responsible Sensing Lab. An example is the Shuttercam, a camera that citizens can put on or off. In this way they can have an influence on the technology in the city. We start Tom's pitch with a question to the participants. Do they find it important that we measure a lot and collect data to improve the city or would they rather see more privacy for residents? A question that provokes discussion.

Tom has been engaged in measuring and testing in the public space for years, with an important role for public values. That's why he learned a lot of lessons: make sure you take the time to get legislation in order, take vandalism into account, do everything you can to make your work understandable for citizens. And a very nice one to remember: a hot camera attracts many insects. They block the image or get into the devices. One of the best tips he got from the participants: let passers-by write down what they see. That way you can get great feedback.

Braking energy and Pilot OV E-hub
André Simonse from Firan (Alliander) introduced us to the 'braking energy' issue, or as it is now is called: the OV E-hub pilot. This started as a search with partners such as AMS Institute, Arcadis, the City of Amsterdam, the
VRA and Alliander. Now the process evolved into a collaboration between Strukton Rail, Hedgehog Applications and Firan. Big cities can no longer cope with the increasing demand for sustainable energy. This makes it more difficult to access mobility hubs, such as stations, to provide electricity. It is therefore important to use existing energy smartly.

The lessons learned in this pitch were about taking action. Although talking is important for ideation and understanding and trusting each other, the art is to work together on a targeted plan for implementation. André's request for help was on how to organize political support. Willem from the City of Amsterdam wants to be part of the initiative and can help to achieve official support.

Social side of hubs
Willem van Heijningen of the City of Amsterdam took the floor to tell us more about its hub mission. A hub can organize mobility in an effective way. Together with others, he is looking how Q-park Europarking in the center of Amsterdam can be transformed to a hub. Think of shared mobility, charging cars and logistics, while preserving the monumental character of the city. Hearing the word ‘hub’, many people will think of a place to connect different forms of mobility. But it is also about energy. At some point, vehicles, vessels or even drones will come by. Since we want to get rid of fossil fuels, a hub will also become the place where these forms of mobility are charged. The success or failure of hubs is all in the hands of people. It depends on their behavior whether hubs will be useful. Until now, they have got too little attention. T

his is where Willem could use some help: What is needed to bring the social aspect of hubs further? How does the hub prove its effectiveness towards humans? A selection of the answers from the group: investigating the needs of the residents, connect with existing social initiatives in the city, involve local entrepreneurs.

ArenAPoort LIFE
Else Veldman and Hans Roeland Poolman from AMS Institute took us on a tour to their Southeast Energy Lab. This is a collaboration to accelerate sustainability in the southeast of Amsterdam through practical research, meetings and concrete projects. One of the current projects is the LIFE project, an open platform to plan energy supply and demand in a smarter, inclusive way. An enormous ambition that is driven by partners such as Johan Cruijff ArenA, Alliander, Spectral, CoForce and the Utrecht University. AMS Institute is committed to ensuring this platform is not only a technical contribution to the energy transition, but also provides social value to the inhabitants of South-East.

Hans and Else asked the network to think about the latter. The result was a tidal wave of tips to involve residents: co-develop communication strategies such as storytelling and visualization, pay attention to the result, the dream, show what it means to participate in the process, and above all, invest time.

New narrative for the energy transition
The last pitch was about the New Narrative where Kennisland and What Design Can Do on behalf of RES Noord-Holland have been working on. Dave van Loon from Kennisland told us that a new story about the energy transition is being developed to move away from the negative image, people's concerns and to give a new impulse to the energy transition. This narrative is based on a design thinking process. Subsequently, the organizations developed building blocks to focus on:

  1. a shared sense of urgency
  2. a positive future perspective
  3. inspiration by concrete and recognizable examples and success stories
  4. a sense of pride
  5. a way to take of action

Dave's request for help was for a reflection on this process. And the reactions were praising. On the one hand, the feedback focused on how to make the story as concrete as possible for the target groups and on the other hand on reaching the masses, while incorporating those who are left behind.

The next demoday will take in place in February or March. Do you have a nice story to tell or would you like to join as audience? You are more than welcome! Drop a line below to let us know!

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2021 – the top 5 best read articles of the year

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The year 2021 is coming to an end. Traditionally this is the time of the year to look back, reflect and think about what the next year has in store. This is usually also the moment in which you can read ‘the lists’: the highlights of 2021. Of course we couldn’t stay behind, so we have collected the highlights of this past year for you. We have welcomed a lot of great new community members, read inspiring news and learned more about projects that will make our cities better. Curious?

Here is the list of the posts that were mostly appreciated by you, our community members and visitors:

1. Circular Pavilion is ready for the Floriade!
Floriade is the international horticultural show that is organized in the Netherlands every ten years since 1960. In April 2022 it will take place in Almere. Since the official theme is Growing Green Cities, circularity will place a central role. Read how this evolves in the buildings.

2. Sustainable shirts and skirts
What if our clothes could have less impact on the environment? What we can contribute to a better world wearing them? Anne-Ro Klevant Groen has a goal, philosophy and some impressive activities within Fashion for Good. This month we started introducing community members and this interview immediately hits the top 5 of the year list!

3. Bitter and sweet decisions
Last week, the Netherlands was captivated by discussions, debates and decisions on datacenters. Important for storing the data that we use and need, a burden on the energy grid. How to make decisions? Learn from the experts in this Data Dilemmas webinar we hosted earlier this year.

4. Flexible travels with Amaze
MaaS, a concept talked about a lot. Instead of owning transport, you're just paying for the use of transport which makes streets less crowded and air cleaner. New MaaS initiatives appear in cities. It wouldn't be 2021 if they didn't come with an easy to use app. Amaze was launched this year, what does this look like?

5. Gaming for a better world
Serious gaming isn’t a new concept. It’s a way to show people and the way of working and impact of developments. Lowkey! To understand the need for the energy transition, serious gaming is used as well. But we can do better! There are a lot of possibilities, how do we make sure they have impact? Read the blog written by our colleague Melchior and leave behind your suggestions.

Of course, there is a lot more. You are more than welcome to browse through our website and find all the great initiatives, new projects and people that are part of Amsterdam Smart City. Let’s create better streets, neighbourhoods and cities together!

The Amsterdam Smart City wishes you happy holidays and a smart 2022.

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Meet the members of Amsterdam Smart City! Dirk Dekker: ‘There’s a connection between all of the individual elements that make a city what it is’

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Dirk Dekker is the co-founder and CEO of Being, a real estate developer that develops sustainable environments with the context of these environments in mind.

“Being part of something bigger: that’s our tagline. The work we do is not about us as a company but about the bigger picture. We are part of something bigger and want to positively influence the real estate market in the Netherlands. We also want to prove that you can do something good for society and make a profit.

We’re not content to simply discover a location to build on; there has to be a need for us to add a positive impact too. For us, this means adopting a holistic approach to projects based on four impact pillars: personal impact, public impact, ecological impact and economic impact. We research each site’s history and talk to various people: an environmental psychologist or city biologist, for example. We interview stakeholders: future users and local residents and organisations. As you might expect, we put together a business case as well.

As I see it, the different perspectives don’t result in concessions but in the creation of more value, which isn’t always possible to express in euros. One good example of this is YOTEL, a hotel we developed in the up-and-coming Buiksloterham urban district in Amsterdam. Interviews showed that neighbours wanted to see more public green spaces and accessible hospitality. We listened and made sure both were included in our design. The hotel has integrated into the neighbourhood well, from both a social and sustainable point of view. We also ‘greened’ the rear façade of The Pavilion office building in the Zuidas business district, because it faces a graveyard. It’s important for people, planet and profit to be in balance.”

Biophilic design
“I’m inspired by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) philosophy on architecture too. BIG does research to design well in extreme conditions—in the dessert or on the moon, for example. By carefully considering the context, it becomes possible to design something that complements the environment in question. Add nature into the equation and you have what is referred to in the industry as ‘biophilic design’. Mother Nature’s research department has far more experience than all the rest of us put together, so there’s a huge amount for us to learn from.

My ideal city is one with views that extend beyond the four years of a political term of office. It’s a place where residents are involved in decision-making, which is very achievable given the amazing digital resources at our disposal today in 2021. For example, I live in Amsterdam-West, where residents have been asked to vote on the € 300,000 our urban district has to spend on green and social initiatives suggested by citizens. That’s how you create a city together.”

“Green needs to be added not just next to buildings but on and in them too. And not just in stiff flowerbeds or like a green wallpaper of sorts; a far more natural approach is vital. Trees and plants communicate with and learn from each other via underground nature networks. Our job is to make sure this is possible in urbanised environments. The Fantastic Fungi Netflix documentary is a really useful programme to watch on this subject.

There’s a connection between all of the individual elements that make a city what it is. I would like to see politicians and the business sector immersing themselves in these networks far more and also looking very closely at everything happening on platforms like Amsterdam Smart City. Networks like this are essential for the future of our city and for connective growth.”

If you’d like to get in touch with Dirk, you can find him on this platform.

This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like to show up in the series? Drop us a message!

Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

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