New publication: ‘Circular Buildings: constructing a sustainable future’

July 08, 2022

The latest publication of Holland Circular Hotspot was first presented during the two-day Trade mission ‘Sustainable Infrastructure & Circular Construction’ in May 2022 and is now available to download digitally. 

The brochure explores how circular economy concepts can help tackle the building sector’s challenges, supporting the transition towards a more sustainable and futureproof sector. In addition, it showcases best practices from the Netherlands, a country where challenging terrains and very few natural resources are a driving force for groundbreaking circular innovations.  Director of Holland Circular Hotspot, Freek van Eijk handed the publication to Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher.

The publication is the result of a collaboration among Holland Circular Hotspot, the Transition Team Circular Construction Economy, Arcadis, Rijkswaterstaat, and the Netherlands’ Interior and Kingdom Relations and Infrastructure and Water Management ministries. 

Download the publication: ‘Circular Buildings: constructing a sustainable future’


“It is very important that the progress made in terms of circular construction in the Netherlands corresponds with developments in the rest of Europe (and vice-versa)”

Prof.dr. Vincent Gruis, Chair Circular Construction Economy Transition Team.

Building and construction: a key sector for reaching a circular Dutch Economy by 2050

In line with the ambitious goals by the Dutch government to become entirely circular by 2050, the focus is put on the building and construction industry, as it accounts for major material and water use, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The key to saving materials, cutting emissions and enhancing the financial and ecological resilience of construction lies in profound innovation toward a holistically circular system.

Leverage points are present throughout the whole building’s value chain, from circular design strategies and business models, material innovation, circular procurement, marketplace platforms and beyond.

In the report, a total of 25 Dutch best practices are introduced, aiming to inspire further development and innovation within and beyond the Netherlands, and create opportunities for frontrunners. Through the Dutch triple helix approach of collaboration among the public sector, private sector, and academia, circular innovations are continuously emerging. Circular initiatives such as the Global Sustainable Enterprise Systems that measures circularity and other sustainable indicators, a self-sufficient and future trial Holland Casino building by ARCADIS and Theo Pouw Group that produces high-quality secondary raw materials from waste. 

The Dutch pavilion that symbolizes the nose water and energy waste that itself was full of innovations such as those of Leadax and Signify.

Strengthening efforts to transition to circular buildings internationally is needed to secure sustainable supply and diversify materials. An Action Agenda is introduced in the concluding chapter, calling for international cooperation to manage a collective shift toward circularity across borders. Next to a strategic policy foundation to create incentives and penalties, it includes a framework of common standards, measuring tools and collaboration initiatives. To estimate the sustainability level of buildings and construction, two examples of tangible standards are the LEVELS framework as introduced by the European Commission, and the Environmental Cost Indicator (ECI) as used in the Netherlands today already.

By sharing fact & figures and insights from knowledge institutions, by exchanging lessons learned from governments and by inspiring others with best practices from companies, we can save time and scale faster. Climate change, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have made us even more aware of the urgency” Freek van Eijk, Director of Holland Circular Hotspot

‘Circular Buildings: constructing a sustainable future’ is the latest addition to a series of publications about circular challenges and opportunities in different sectors including infrastructure, plastics, manufacturing and textiles and apparel industries. All publications can be found here

Circular Buildings: constructing a sustainable future

Circular collaboration between the Netherlands and Belgium

A good step towards a united circular shift of the Netherlands and Belgium was the trade mission ‘Sustainable Infrastructure & Circular Construction’  by the end of May this year, which facilitated an exchange of over 80 Dutch and Belgian companies, entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions (including TNO and Vito), cities (including Amsterdam, Mechelen and Leuven) and sector organizations (including Bouwend Nederland, Flemish Construction Confederation) around circular buildings and construction.

The importance of progress coordinated and aligned across countries was highlighted, in order to ensure a sustainable move towards circularity, in which financial, ecological and social values are increased hand in hand.