Holland Circular Hotspot

BlueCity – Circular incubator

BlueCity in Rotterdam is a breeding ground for innovative companies that link their residual flows. Here pioneers of the circular economy are gathering together, leading the way and acting as an example to the world. Residual flows are interconnected and knowledge is shared. BlueCity offers production rooms, office space and event venues.


Blue Economy

The name BlueCity is used because the breeding ground is largely based on the principles of the blue economy: working with what is locally available, assuming cooperation instead of competition and generating various income streams. They cross the circles of the circular economy so that networks are created that they can connect to one another. All this is done by BlueCity with the same goal: continuous innovation, creating jobs, reducing the waste mountain by seeing ‘waste’ as a raw material and building social capital without depleting the environment.

For example, Aloha Bar-Restaurant’s coffee grounds form the substrate for rotterzwam’s oyster mushrooms. The CO2 released during this process is used by Spireaux in the production of the alga spirulina. This alga is used to develop packaging materials in the BlueCity Lab. And the oyster mushrooms are, of course, used in dishes on Aloha’s menu. A perfect circle.



From swimming paradise to model city

BlueCity is located in the former tropical swimming paradise Tropicana in Rotterdam. Innovative, sustainable and circular entrepreneurs are now establishing their businesses between the slides and hot tubs, giving the remaining 12,000-m2 space new functions, meaning and value. In 2017, the office wing was completed in an old disco and the renovation of the changing rooms and machine rooms began. These are being turned into additional production areas and are due to be ready during the course of 2018.

During the building of the office wing, the construction team — consisting of Superuse Studios, Coup, BIKbouw and Theo Mostert — used blue, circular principles: 90% of the materials were locally ‘harvested’ and reused. This saved a total of 60 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of driving eight times around the world and the amount which 2400 trees absorb in a year. A striking element in the former disco is the red cedar window frames. These frames, originating from a demolition site, form an impressive façade which is just right. For this transformation, the building was nominated for the Rotterdam Architecture Prize 2017 and received the ARC 17 Innovation Award.