About BlueCity

foto: Simon Trel

BlueCity is an incubator for circular entrepreneurs in and around Rotterdam. At this moment our hub (situated in a deserted swimming pool) and dynamic community (of entrepreneurs, researchers, neighbours, the government and education) serve as a breeding ground for 16 innovative, circular companies linking their waste-streams. This way we create a much needed tangible and inspiring example for the circular economy, close the loops and build the city and economy of the future. 

Our goal? 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.

About our building

We are situated in former subtropical swimming oasis Tropicana, a well known iconic building that has sadly lost its function and grandness. To tear it down would be a shame, not only for the building itself but also for all the memories it entails. That is why innovative, sustainable and circular entrepreneurs are now settling down between slides and hot tubs to give new meaning, function and value to 12.000 square meters of deserted  swimming pool. Superuse Studios and COUP are transforming 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.

BlueCity: Surfing the new EconomyStart-Up-Academy

BlueCity is a pool of possibilities. In this playground for circular entrepreneurs brains, guts, vision and fun go together. We serve our coffee with a dose of radical disruption while we head towards an economy in which waste does not exist. BlueCity serves as a breeding ground for innovative companies linking their waste-streams. Inside our ecosystem of social entrepreneurs and radical disruptors waste streams are valuable building blocks; the output of one is the input for the other. This way we create a much needed and inspiring example for the circular economy.

BlueCity: Vision

The linear economy has had its day. At the beginning of the chain we are running out of resources while at the end of the chain we are having serious problems with the piling up of waste. Our system of producing, consuming and discarding goods is no longer sustainable. If the 10 billion of us want to keep living together pleasantly we will have to look for new solutions to our problems. These new solutions lie in the closing of the loops.

Start-ups and small initiatives show us how it’s done, but circular entrepreneuring does not go by itself. In BlueCity we offer (starting) circular entrepreneurs the space, guidance, support, and a dynamic network they need to make sure that their achievable and scalable plans will get the chance to scale up into businesses that create impact. Together with entrepreneurs, researchers, neighbours, the government and education we create a circular economy, close the loops and build the city of the future.

Circular programming

Hub for entrepreneurs

Start ups and scale ups

Challenging students and corporates alike

How blue is BlueCity

Blue, circular, or new economy? BlueCity is not easily defined. We are building at a world without waste. BlueCity is named BlueCity because we base our activities mostly on the principles of the blue economy: we work with local products, believe in cooperation instead of competition and we create endless circles of value. We learn from nature. In nature there is no waste. Output for one is input for the other. We don’t only link networks, we also lay these networks over each other. This way we create an interwoven and unbreakable ecosystem. In everything we do we keep our goals in mind: to continually innovate, create jobs, reduce waste by seeing waste as a valuable resource and building social capital without exhausting the environment. That’s what really is the new economy.

The blue reality

Is the new economy an illusion? No, it isn’t. The new economy is happening as we speak. The entrepreneurs located in BlueCity all connect their waste-streams in different ways.  The coffee-waste that is produced by Aloha Bar-Restaurant serves as nutritious soil for the mushrooms of RotterZwam. The carbon dioxide that is released in the process is used by Spireaux for the creation of Spirulina, and in BlueCity Lab mycelium is used to develop packaging materials. Of course, to complete this perfect circle, you will ultimately find the mushrooms that grew on the coffee waste of Aloha on the menu of the same restaurant.

And there are more examples! The beeswax of urban beekeeper Stadsimker Abderrahim Bouna is used by furniture maker OKKEHOUT, Community Plastics recycles plastic neighbourhood waste into products the neighbourhood can use like for instance egg shaped birdsnest cabinets. Fruit waste from the market is collected by Fruitleather and turned into strong leather like material that can be used for bags and books. Slow fashion label KEES recycles car- and bicycle tires into unique accessories and does this together with people who have a distance to the labour market. Verdraaid Goed turns corporate waste streams into consumer products. These people can then move onto a paid job in or outside BlueCity. The worms in the basement process paper and natural waste and the aquaponics system provides BlueCity with fresh air. And this is only the beginning…

Want to know more about the blue economy?

Learn more about the principles of the Blue Economy:

  • Read the book
    A book? That’s right, an entire book about the Blue Economy, the basic principles and a hundred innovative, sustainable production methods, written by Gunther Pauli.
  • Read the fables
    A fable? Yes, if we want to educate the future generations about the challenges of our society we have to start as early as possible. This initiative aims to educate and introduces a series of fables that resemble fairy tales but at the same time show all that has already been realised.

Want to learn more about BlueCity?

Our English website will be up as soon as possible, promised.