Amsterdam Smart City


  • 374
  • 137
  • 70
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Lessons for Green Recovery from the Amsterdam region

Featured image

‘Collaborate, put technology to the benefit of the people and use this crisis to become more sustainable’, those were the three lessons vice-mayor of Haarlemmermeer Marja Ruigrok presented at the Mayors’ Summit of the EU’s Intelligent Cities Challenge. This initiative from the European Commission unites 126 cities, among which 20 mentors, to work towards green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the transition towards a sustainable digital society. Around 200 mayors and other representatives joined the Summit, where Ruigrok held a keynote speech.

You can read the full speech below.

EU 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge Mayors’ Summit

Speech by vice-mayor of Haarlemmermeer Marja Ruigrok on behalf of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

Honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen, It is a great pleasure and honor for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region region and to me personally, to be invited as mentor region to the Mayors’ Summit of the Intelligent Cities Challenge by the EU. I would like to express my gratitude to the European Commission for launching the Intelligent Cities Challenge. With this programme you have recognized the power of cities in the transformation of Europe to an intelligent, green and healthy continent, you see the need for support to cities to make this transition happen, and in this programme, you facilitate the network that cities can create.

Today I am proud to represent the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. This region consists of 32 municipalities and two provinces with 2.5 million inhabitants, an international hub covering 20% of the GDP. As vice-mayor, I am responsible for Economy, Innovation and Mobility in Haarlemmermeer, a municipality of 150.000 inhabitants in the center of the region, home to the international airport Schiphol.

As you can imagine, COVID19 has changed our regional economy rapidly with a decrease of 29%. But during the lockdown, we saw a lot of creativity. For example, logistics employees who suddenly had no work at the airport anymore could be connected to the supermarkets in our region, where there was an adaptation needed to a whole different logistics chain in order to keep supplying our citizens with food and other essentials. Another example is the accommodation of hotels in the region and creative thinking in attracting leisure stay due to the loss of business overnight stay.

But before I zoom in further on crisis and recovery, I’d like to emphasize one thing. As a region, we gladly accepted the invitation to become a so-called mentoring region in this programme, because we strongly believe in the power of sharing experiences and knowledge with other cities and regions - my personal motto is, if you are not able to share, you cannot multiply. Nevertheless, let me assure you that we may be called mentor here, but we also learn by seeing what other cities do. The success story of our region has likewise been established by knowledge and innovation coming from your cities, and from the cooperation between European cities and regions. These bridges between our cities and regions are crucial, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help strengthen them.

We all know the COVID19-crisis has hit cities the hardest. The density of the city population, and the social exchanges between our citizens make it so easy for a virus to spread. At the same time, cities are the stakeholders Europe needs to climb out of the crisis. In cities, we are creating the ideal circumstances for social distancing and by helping our citizens, our companies, our institutes, and our schools cope with the new situation. And in the longer term, cities are the places were intelligent and sustainable recovery measures are developed and implemented.

And that is also why we applaud the European Commission and the Intelligent Cities Challenge Team: they were actively helping cities in sharing their COVID19 related best practices, even before the Challenge officially started.

Now I would like to share what my region is doing right now. I will focus on three lessons we have learned.

First lesson: collaborate and be a facilitator to all your stakeholders

For a local or regional government, it can feel tempting because it obviously will be faster, to create an entire strategy for making the city smarter, and present that to the companies and research and educational institutes in your municipality. We have learned - and I hope you will follow us in this vision - to do it the other way around: we involve all relevant stakeholders in order to create the strategy together, because from their perspective, they know better than we governments do what is necessary for our region. You know the old saying: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. So, going far together, really going the distance, is at the core of our strategy.

In order to involve all the relevant stakeholders, we created an independent and neutral organisation, the Amsterdam Economic Board, and its programme Amsterdam Smart City. Here, local government, knowledge institutes and companies work together to establish the actions we need to become a future proof, intelligent, green, and healthy region that is inclusive for all citizens. Amsterdam Smart City is an active innovation platform that brings together all relevant stakeholders, including citizens, collaborating towards innovative solutions for the city. This platform is open to the international community, so I would like to invite all ICC cities to join our Amsterdam Smart City platform.

Second lesson: put technology to the benefit of people, not the other way around

In all our initiatives, we try to put our citizens in the center of developments. Of course, you cannot involve all your citizens in every decision, but in the end, it is the citizen that is the core. I will give an example to explain. When the schools had to close because of COVID19, we saw that the schools and most students and their parents easily adapted to online learning, but in the whole country, we realized we also lost a group of children. At home, they didn’t have easy access to a computer or internet, or their parents couldn’t help them because they were not able to work from home. This was a serious problem. Therefore, in various places in the country, actions were started to provide these children with second hand laptops to help them connect to their schools. Several companies sponsored this action.

Creating access to the internet is also a means of democratizing technology, and therefore creating an inclusive society. This is just one example, but as general rule: we should support the creation of new business models in the data economy, but we should also be aware who has access to data. My core message is: always be careful to put the citizen in the center of your ambitions. In other words: focus on people first, not (only) the technology.

And that brings me to the third lesson learned: never waste a good crisis

Just like the EU, our Amsterdam Metropolitan Region is aiming for a green and inclusive recovery. That is why we are working on our own regional Green Deal, together with the business and knowledge sector. While I cannot share the outcome of this process yet, as that is expected in December, I can provide you with some examples today. Together we will establish programmes in which we will reskill and upskill citizens who have lost their jobs due to the crisis towards green and tech jobs. This is a short-term measure, with initiatives that have already started and will be replicated and upscaled. We will also join forces to change the relevant curricula of all levels of education towards a greener economy, which is a measure for the longer term.

To reinforce economic development and sustainability, we will redefine building plans to accelerate towards fully energy neutral and circular new buildings. To take into consideration is the need for shorter food-chains ánd living, working and recreation within a short distance, so called the 20 minute-society. Relevant to mention as well are the agreements with organizations and employers to avoid rush hour, accelerated by the crisis and the fact that many more people use the bicycle (well at least in the Netherlands). And there is a lot more. So, to wrap up: even when times are hard, push your ambitions to create a better, more inclusive, economic sustainable world. See the energy transition as a job creator. See every crisis as an opportunity to get better.

In conclusion, I would like to affirm that this is just the start of the dialogue with you all on the issues that we as cities and regions are sharing together. I have not given you the recipe for the cities’ intelligent recovery from the crisis or the transition to a green sustainable society, because there is not one recipe for this. For now, I have given a glimpse of how we work in our region and what lessons we learned. Please feel free to follow us, to replicate the elements that would benefit you, but also do share your knowledge with us.

That way, my fellow mayors, we can walk together, on this path towards greener and more inclusive European cities.

Thank you.

Amsterdam Smart City's picture #Citizens&Living
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Amsterdam Smart City Ambassadors wanted!

For a big campaign we’re preparing, we’re looking for 40 members who want to act as ASC ambassadors in our next video! You don’t have to have any special skills and you can shoot it right out of the comfort of your own home (you’ll be done within a minute, we promise). If you want to contribute, you’ll be starred together with 39 other members in our next short community video! For more instructions, please let us know at or call +316 211 82 309

Amsterdam Smart City's picture #Citizens&Living
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

The innovations Amsterdam Smart City partners are currently working on

Featured image

This September, the 20 partners of Amsterdam Smart City came together to present the progress of innovation projects, ask for input, share dilemmas and involve other partners in their initiatives.

Following the thought that nobody wants to live in a smart city but in a nice, friendly, cosy city we work on challenges in which people play a central role. These gatherings are called Demo days and occur every 8-10 weeks. Get a quick overview of the topics and projects about to happen in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and let us know if you want to be involved!

Taskforce Circular Economy

The circular economy is a concept not understood by a lot of people, public and professionals. To make the circular economy better known and more accessible, Dimitri Bak of the City of Amsterdam, together with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Metabolic, the province of North-Holland and the Amsterdam Economic Board set up a ‘taskforce for the Circular Economy.’ They all communicated about the circular economy, but seperately. The new strategy is to strengthen each other with communications and show companies the new business opportunities of the circular economy. This joint effort should accelerate the region’s economy and stimulate circular behaviour. Soon you will find articles, webinars, podcasts, showcases and more. Which circular business in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area cannot be missed? Let us know!


An interesting circular product is Grassbloxxx. Joost de Waard from KplusV converts roadside grass into fibers for biobased building materials, such as the insulation material for housing. Their French/Swiss partner Gramitherm has similar (or better) properties for heat and sound insulation and moisture absorption than the materials used nowadays. There are agreements on delivering the grass with, among others, Rijkswaterstaat and the province of North-Holland and the production is planned in the Port of Amsterdam. Grassbloxxx is still looking for more launching customers of the building material.

Innovation Agenda Amsterdam Climateneutral

Last year the City of Amsterdam and AMS Institute came to the conclusion that we need to gain more insights into current and necessary innovations in the field of energy. The Innovation Agenda Amsterdam was born. The agenda focuses on the most important uncertainties to achieve the CO2 reduction of 55%. Now, the agenda is there, with ten important tasks. The partners are ready for the next step: operationalizing it. Where to start and with whom?

On the demoday, AMS Institute and the City of Amsterdam showed other partners the innovation questions and asked for input. The questions vary from: where to store energy in the city? How to make datacenters more sustainable? Where are insulation measures in housing most needed? Conclusions were that there is not one best project or best party; various approaches are required. And these questions cannot be solved on an Amsterdam scale, we have to involve the region.

Deep Retrofit

Amsterdam and EIT Climate KIC are looking for an integrated approach to make our homes fully sustainable. The aim is not only to lower the total energy costs, but above all increasing the social benefits: sustainability, liveability and affordability. The questions the City and EIT Climate KIC have:
• How do we reason from the perspective of the citizen and not from the project logic of the municipality?
• How do we speed up the renovation process and make it circular and scalable?
• What is the role of the municipality in the large-scale renovating homes?

One of the ideas was building a trial home so that people can experience a preserved home. How about linking this trial house to a competition? Then it is not only functionally deployable, but it will reach a large group of people. The importance of peer-to-peer communication was also mentioned: if your neighbour has a nice insulated house, you don't want to be in a cold one, right? Housing associations own around 41% of the total Amsterdam housing stock. Can they exert more power and speed up the renovation process? Is this something we can also use to make homes fully sustainable?

Project Scale-up

Project Scale-up is a cooperation between various authorities (municipality of Amsterdam and provinces of Flevoland and Noord-Holland) and knowledge partners (AMS, Floriade and Johan Cruijff ArenA) that want to buy innovative market solutions. These parties look for companies with one of the core competencies data aggregation, predicting or influencing behavior. After selection, the knowledge institutions will work with these parties, during which the products can be tested by the interested governments. This should ultimately lead to an end product that governments want to buy.

Verali von Meijenfeldt van Arcadis talked about a start-up from the United Kingdom that deals with automatic analyzing camera information: Their technology and algorithms are already used to identify and analyze traffic, but these can also be used for flows in public space. During covid-19 you can make heatmaps and dashboards to see to what extent visitors can keep a distance from each other. Then you can identify where interventions are needed. The privacy of the filmed persons is of course guaranteed. Verali looks for parties that are interested to test this technique. Possibilities our partners thought of were the Living Lab on the Marineterrein, the Johan Cruijff ArenA and the City’s Metro and Tram.

Smarter Procurement

Joris de Leeuw from the City is looking for an accessible way for (relatively) inexperienced and small innovative start-ups and SMEs to become aware of the tenders from governments. Therefore, a digital purchasing platform has been developed to bring the demand and supply of innovative, smaller companies together. It should be a kind of Tendernet lite, where young and small companies get an easy overview of funding, tenders, co-creations and test locations available to them.

On the demoday, the partners present saw great value in such a platform, however with some preconditions. For example, there must be no obstructive legislation surrounding this way of purchasing and this platform should become "the talk of the town". Because of the buzz, governments will be more inclined to publish their request and companies to offer their services.

Mobility during Covid-19

The longer the Covid-19 crisis takes, the more difficult we find it to stay a meter and a half away from each other. And although many of us already notice this in their everyday life, there are few places where this issue so clear as it is at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. In september, 15,000 visitors were allowed in the stadium. After the game they all have to go home at the same time. How can the largest football stadium in the Netherlands organize a Covid-19 proof departure of 15,000 people?

Maurits van Hövell is looking for creative, out of the box ideas. The experts in the session came with multiple ideas. From offering a beer in the third half, to making the sitting down a game ( “who can sit still the longest?”), the most creative ideas to get visitors to stay in their seats were discussed. People thought about the usage of technology to inform every visitor what time he has to leave to be exactly on time for the train, about combinations of color areas on the ground and quiet music on the air. On the big screens in the stadium you could show images of the current traffic at the station. Hopefully the Dutch football stays corona proof!

Master Applied AI

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is developing a master Applied AI. Katrien de Witte and Pascal Wiggers are looking for the expertise, qualities and skills that the graduate students should develop in order to get a job easily. The AUAS formulated five skills already:

  • AI techniques
  • Design thinking
  • Ethical awareness and value-driven design
  • Interprofessional working
  • Learning capacity

All the partners confirmed the high demand for this type of student. The conversation that followed emphasized how important the practice-oriented view of students is. The easier it is for students to work within an organization immediately, the more interesting this is for organizations. It is precisely the practice-oriented view that is the distinctive character of the future AAI students. Also the ability of the soft skills of students was touched upon: how to make the translation between the organizations needs and the technical aspects. Nice follow-up steps were taken: Dell, Deloitte and City of Amsterdam are looking for this type of students and would like to help shaping the Master AAI.

New ideas, new initiatives and projects, covid-19 doesn’t stop us from being creative and willing to make better streets, neighbourhoods and cities. Amsterdam Smart City strives for liveable cities in which technology might play a role. But technology is never a goal, it a means to achieve something. Tech is giving direction and determining our behaviour, therefore our underlying values are of great importance. Just as cooperation! Did you read about an interesting initiative and would you like to know more? Let us know by dropping a line below. We will be back in December!

Amsterdam Smart City's picture News
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

WeMakeThe.City RESET: Digital Rights

Featured image

After two successful editions, the WeMakeThe.City festival is heading for 2025 as a biennale: the 750th anniversary of Amsterdam. This year the uncertain future of our city and metropolitan region was discussed in a 12-hour livecast marathon on the 21st of September. The WeMakeThe.City theme ‘Reset’ brings together genius thinking, imagination and creativity to formulate alternative perspectives for action. How are we going to do things differently in the coming years? How do we work together to make our metropolis fairer, more inclusive, more sustainable, more climate-resilient, safer, more successful and happier? After all, together we make the city of, for and by everyone!

During last spring's lockdown, it became even clearer how much we depend on the digital world. We meet, chat and date in front of the screen. A solution to combat the spread of Covid-19 is also being sought in the digital domain. These developments have raised the privacy issue again: how can people's data rights be protected? Such as anonymity, transparency and control over data. Time for a good conversation about values and the importance of digital civil rights.

The session kicks off with Marleen Stikker, director of Waag and Ger Baron, Chief Technology Officer of the City of Amsterdam. Marleen explains what our digital human rights are. ‘These are the same rights just as in the analogue world. Where there is relatively much attention for analogue human rights, our civil rights in the digital domain have run wild, too little attention has been paid to this. Let's reclaim those rights! It is for example about the right to be forgotten, the right to be anonymous, but most important to me is digital sovereignty. Everyone should have the possibility to have insights in their own actions online.’

Ger agrees with Marleen. According to him, governments, and cities as well, collects too many data about residents and the public space without even knowing what they want to do with these data.’ The reason to collect them should be to learn something specific that you can improve or help people. Helping people with the collection of data also brings in new dilemmas. The city used to have a collaboration with energy providers for example. Once someone didn’t pay for the energy service, they sent out a message to the city administration. The City could then prevent someone get evicted from his/her home.

This example is not enough reason for Marleen to collect the data: ‘To me, this sounds as if we didn’t invest in our society. We could have helped these people as well if they had adequate supervision or guidance. In last years, we invested heavily in the digital domain and we made budget cuts on home care, debt counselling and community police officers. Digital solutions are not always the best solutions! Especially not when all kinds of companies have data without people knowing about this.’ Ger: ‘To a certain point I agree with this point. Digital rights also include rights to know about the data that is collected, why this is and what you can do about this. This is currenty not transparant at all, even though the City of Amsterdam is becoming more and more about about his.

Marleen: ‘I see the City of Amsterdam going in the right direction, by starting for example the Coalition for Digital Rights. However, the steps in this direction go really slow, especially in politics. This way, it remains unclear what rules companies dealing with personal data should obey. That’s why Marleen also calls on politicians in The Hague: guarantee digital human rights by imposing conditions on the market.’

Next up is Miram Rasch, researcher and teacher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and writer of the book ‘Friction. Ethics in times of dataism. Her book opens with a story about escaping the eyes of data collectors and algorithms. She states this is only possible at home. And even there, it becomes harder. ‘We have smart meters, smartphones, smart tvs. It is not clear why these devices need to collect data, with whom they share them. We don’t know now, but especially we don’t know in the future. Everybody has something to hide, because we don’t know yet what we should hide. Of course you have to inform yourself about the conditions you’re accepting. However, this is not easy at all. Try to read the Terms and Conditions of the services you use, the texts are too long and complicated. Unfortunately it can take a long before something changes. The few individuals who are conscious about the digital world, won’t change it. We need rules and regulations! But we know from the past, that maybe something heavy has to happen before people open their eyes.’

Jim Boevink, advisor Taskforce Digital Safety at the City of Amsterdam, starts an intermezzo about the right to be anonymous. Marleen Stikker: ‘People who want to abuse others, are free to hide themselves. This is because platforms are not responsible for the content their users post. They earn money with these users, they are their business models. But they they are not responsible for things happening on their platform. This is the first thing that has to change. The legal system is not in order. Make them responsible for the content on their platforms.’ M**arleen: ‘And good to emphasize: someone who is critical about the digital domain and the internet, is not necessarily against the digital world. We only have to make the internet safe and reliable!’**

Want to watch the livecast (in Dutch) yourself? Check <>.

Amsterdam Smart City's picture #DigitalCity
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

WeMakeThe.City 2020 Marathon

Featured image

Een 12-uur durende online marathon over de ongewisse toekomst van onze stad en Metropoolregio. Samen maken we de stad van de toekomst van, voor en door iedereen!

Na twee succesvolle edities gaat het WeMakeThe.City festival als biënnale op naar 2025: de 750e verjaardag van Amsterdam. In dit Corona-jaar gaan we in een 12-uur durende LIVECAST-marathon in gesprek over de ongewisse toekomst van onze stad en metropoolregio. Met als thema ‘Reset’, brengen geniaal denkvermogen, verbeeldingskracht en creativiteit samen om alternatieve visies en handelingsperspectieven te formuleren. Hoe gaan we het de komende jaren anders doen? Waar moeten we per direct mee stoppen en in welke zaken moeten we stevig gaan investeren? Welke nieuwe financiële modellen en allianties hebben we daarvoor nodig? Hoe maken we samen onze metropool rechtvaardiger, inclusiever, duurzamer, klimaatbestendiger, veiliger, succesvoller en gelukkiger? En bovenal, welke waarden zijn leidend in de beslissingen die we de komende tijd als samenleving moeten nemen?

Onze samenleving en economie is het afgelopen half jaar dramatisch veranderd. Van een onstuimig groeiende en welvarende regio, met een overhitte woningmarkt en toerismesector, naar een gehavende stad met snel toenemende werkloosheid en sterk teruglopend toerisme. Maar ook een stad waarvoor de leefbaarheid en het vestigingsklimaat cruciale sectoren als de horeca, kunst en cultuur, nachtleven en evenementenbranche zwaar onder druk staan. Met het gevolg dat de groeistuip inmiddels is omgeslagen naar krimp. De centrale vraag is hoe we met z’n allen uit deze crisis komen, hoe we de metropoolregio Amsterdam duurzaam en veerkrachtig herstellen en welke waarden daarbij leidend zijn? Want als COVID-19 een ding duidelijk heeft gemaakt, is dat de ongelijkheid in onze stad groter en dieper is dan wij dachten. Het afgelopen half jaar zijn de grote misstanden in de zorg, het onderwijs en huisvesting en de problemen rondom armoede en schulden blootgelegd en pijnlijk zichtbaar geworden. En de Black Lives Matter beweging heeft institutioneel racisme op onomkeerbare wijze aan de orde gesteld, met de eis tot structurele verandering.

Uitgangspunt bij deze WeMakeThe.City-marathon is dat de metropool Amsterdam van ons allemaal is; van Nieuw-West en Oud-West, van Almere en Amstelveen, van Zuidoost en Purmerend, van alle bewoners en ondernemers, van ambtenaren en activisten, van minderheden en meerderheden, van de politiek en de buurtcommunities, van jong en oud.
Samen maken we immers de stad van de toekomst van, voor en door iedereen!

Dit programma is ontwikkeld door WeMakeThe.City. In samenwerking met Pakhuis de Zwijger, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Circl, gemeente Amsterdam, AMS Institute, Waag, Oram én Amsterdam Smart City.

Amsterdam Smart City's picture Online event on Sep 21st
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Amsterdam Smart City Demoday Digital City x Mobility

Featured image

Demodays 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. Invitations are sent, but you can join!

Demo 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. We host them every 8-10 weeks. During Demo days, our partners put out concrete questions about projects they are currently working on. We organize workshops with them and other partners to get a step further in the process.

This time on the agenda:

- Applications for digital infrastructure

- Bridging the gap between AI students and the labor markt

- Innovative procurement

This event is invitation only, however we are happy to be joined by others! Do you feel like you should be there? Do you have knowledge or a network that could be useful for the session? Or do you want to learn more about one of the topics discussed? Please send an e-mail to and we might save you a seat!

Amsterdam Smart City's picture Online event on Sep 17th