7 sustainable and inspiring initiatives in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is growing certainly, but sustainably!

Willem de Kam

7 sustainable and inspiring initiatives in Rotterdam

With an ever-present drive for action and limitless ambition, the leading position of Rotterdam entrepreneurs in sustainability is no surprise. This is the city with the biggest rooftop vegetable garden, the city where large, industrial hangars transform into new bold and brave breweries. These sustainable initiatives inspire and provide fertile ground for new innovations.

Sponge Garden

The climate is changing, with heavier rain and flooding as a result. This is a problem in Stone Cities, whereas in Green Cities this water is very welcome. Urban greenery functions like a sponge: it absorbs water quickly, holds it temporarily and gradually returns the water to the subsoil. In the West of Rotterdam you can visit the city’s first Sponge Garden, where new concepts for collecting, retaining and returning rainwater are being tested. Besides, it’s a beautiful garden for you to experience and enjoy.


Urban Rooftop Farming

A 1000m2 urban farm on a rooftop?! Hell yes! DakAkker (meaning Rooftop Farm in Dutch) is one of the largest rooftop farms in Europe and located on the rooftop of community building Schieblock. Here, vegetables, fruit and edible flowers grow amidst Rotterdam skyscrapers. Honeybees – the inhabitants of the roof – provide pollination. Hungry? Bistro Teds provides breakfast or lunch, made with ‘rooftop ingredients’. This must literally be one of the highlights of your visit.

City plantation De Kas

City plantation De Kas is an initiative of two ladies with a heart for nature and people. They transformed an old greenhouse complex in the Blijdorp district of Rotterdam, with the aim of cultivating more biodiversity and social connection. Here, you’ll find a lush garden, more information about ecological greenery and small-scale water management. But also a nice chat and the opportunity to go for an afternoon of ‘stadsjutten’: collectively searching for treasures in the streets of Rotterdam.


Good food, great feeling

Falafval (‘afval’ means garbage in Dutch) focuses on the use of residual flows, by turning them into delicious vegetable falafel: zero waste, maximum taste! Do you want to eat out? Go to restaurant Spirit, where good food – 100% fresh, organic and veggie – is prepared. It feels good and tastes even better. Bio vegan Bistro Gare du Nord has the same mission and is located in an old train carriage in the trendy ZOHO district. A lunch or dinner at Gare du Nord means an organic, veggie and sustainable dish, with local and seasonal ingredients. And that tastes as good as its mission is. Eat yourself around the globe while enjoying different world cuisines and the typical ‘aire Parisienne’.

Floating Farm

Rotterdam has lots of water and the Floating Farm is an innovative example of how to make good use of this. The farm – the first floating one in the world – produces food in an innovative and circular way, close to its urban consumers. The cows are fed residual flows from Rotterdam breweries and Schiedam windmills. Fresh yogurt and milk never tasted this good.

Stadshaven Brouwerij

Fruity beers in Rotterdams Fruit Harbor

Taste your fruity beers in the former Fruit Harbor of Rotterdam. Here, the 100-year-old fruit hangar was reused and transformed into the home base for Stadshaven Brewery, a new ‘maker’ in the Rotterdam Makers District. This craft beer brewery on the Merwehaven offers enough space for lots of beer, its own restaurant, a menu with sustainable (and regional) dishes and… lots of fun.

New city parks coming up!

With the Blaak Park, the Westblaak, Blaak and Burgemeester van Walsumweg get transformed into the largest Dutch downtown city park between 2024 and 2027. Just outside the city center, the Hofbogen Park offers an extraordinary walk in a few years’ time. This two-kilometer-long and climate-adaptive park is situated on the roof of the former Hofbogen railway viaduct. With its length, route and views, this will be the longest nature-inclusive and accessible public roof in the Netherlands and the perfect park for long walks. Literally! You want to enjoy some Rotterdam nature now? Fortunately, the city already has lots of green space to enjoy. Visit the highest park (Dakpark), the park with the oldest trees (Het Park and the Schoonoord garden adjacent to it), the trendiest park (Vroesenpark, with pavilion), the largest city park in the Netherlands (Zuiderpark) or stroll through Rotterdams famous forrest (Kralingse Bos).

Tips for a mindful and sustainable stay in Rotterdam

Tips for a mindful and sustainable stay in Rotterdam

A day, weekend or week in Rotterdam can be enjoyed mindfully in every possible way, right up to the last minute. Although you will be making big steps exploring the city, your footprint will remain small. Your arrival is ‘green’, your stay is mindful and your recreation sustainable. You will dine locally and – inspired by the forward-thinking of the city on the Meuse and its initiatives for sustainability – you will return home even more mindful. We wish you a vibrant and mindful stay!

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