BlueCity revitalises abandoned Rotterdam water park into circular laboratory

Start/End date
Type of funding
Diana van Ewijk

Formerly a water park resort, the BlueCity business park is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future, 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.

When local entrepreneurs sought a premise for innovative companies experimenting with sustainability, they found inspiration in the former Tropicana water resort in Rotterdam's riverside boulevard 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.

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.

Main results

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
  • 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
  • Fruitleather transforms leftover fruits into durable, leather-like material.

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.