The BlueCity business park is one of Rotterdam's unique landmarks: formerly a water park resort, the complex is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future. It is now an international icon of circular economy, a national platform for circular entrepreneurs, and a very visible local accelerator that empowers circular entrepreneurs and inspires citizens.
For years, the former Tropicana water resort in Rotterdam's riverside boulevard lay abandoned. When local entrepreneurs sought a premise for innovative companies experimenting with sustainability, they found inspiration in the complex and began work on a a circular ecosystem. Superuse Studios and COUP transformed the building as circular as possible, re-using old elements and materials both from within the swimming pool as from other abandoned buildings, using Oogstkaart.
Wanting to keep the memories and building in place, there are now a mix of sustainable and circular entrepreneurs innovating across 12,000 m2 between the flumes and hot tubs. The goal of BlueCity is to provide start-ups and scale-ups with access to circular resources, knowledge and talent, to turn ideas into action and ultimately: to help sustainable entrepreneurs to grow from intention to impact.
BlueCity is distinctly set up to bring the circular economy to practice, attempting to bring the concept from consultancy reports to businesses selling products and services. This shows in the links companies set up between each other, where every resource possible is made use of elsewhere.
Main activity field:
BlueCity revitalises a Rotterdam landmark into a clear symbol of leadership in circular knowledge & expertise.
More than 30 businesses have set up shop in BlueCity already, setting up industrial symbiosis between their respective material flows as well:
- Rotterzwam grows mushrooms on coffeegrinds from Rotterdam based cafes and restaurants. They still have HQ at BlueCity as they used to grow their mushrooms in the basement, but have recently upscaled to a premise nearby. Their new plantation is both mobile and modular and aiming to be CO2-negative when it comes to environmental impact https://www.bluecity.nl/blog/rotterzwam-over-de-neweconomy/
- OKKEHOUT uses the local beekeeper's wax for its furniture
- Community Plastics recycles local waste into products for the neighbourhood
- The Crickery develops and serves food made from insects https://www.bluecity.nl/blog/interview-sander-peltenburg-de-krekerij/
- Fruitleather transforms leftover fruits into durable, leather-like material https://www.bluecity.nl/blog/fruitleather-rotterdam-over-de-new-economy/.
Fast-track incubator programmes connect potential business innovations with clients looking to improve their waste management.
Public workshops and debates on circular and wider green economy widen awareness of the circular transition among businesses and the general public.