Looking for ways to collaborate with nature – the first offline edition of SYMBIOSIS symposium in the books!

BlueCity Symbiosis Lowres-Jacqueline Fuijkschot-62

On the 13th of May 2022, the SYMBIOSIS symposium imagined a society in which the interdependence of humans and nature is recognized and made visible in every aspect of our lives: from the products we buy, to how we live, work and organize ourselves. 

More than 300 people joined in BlueCity to meet and mingle with fellow bioneers (pioneers in biosolutions) and supporters of bioneership from a variety of disciplines. They made plans, tested knowledge and shared their questions and needs with investors, each other and potential partners. We welcomed algae, fungi, bacteria, plants, animals and even humans 😉.


Collaborations between organisms, algae, fungi and bacteria, plants and animals can lead to regenerative products and services such as biobased homes with a green roof, algae farms on wet peat soils and bacterial wall paint that you can use to charge your phone. Symbiosis aims to be the place for encounters between bioniers, their partners and their customers.

At SYMBIOSIS, BlueCity stages bio solutions from her entire ecosystem which use wet and dry processes, such as fermenting, 3d printing and extractions to make circular solutions. The ecosystem meets up during talks, workshops, matchmaking events for funding and collaborations, storytelling, sharing research methods and opportunities for projects. Let’s stimulate some great crossovers between biotechnology, art, design and entrepreneurship!


12.00 Start of the day with moderator Yophi Ignacia, founder of The Future Mode and fashion futures designer, introducing various highlights from BlueCity Lab
12.30 – 15.00 Deepdives: conversations on collaborations with nature
15.00 – 15.30: Keynote by Biobased Creations: Lucas de Man, Pascal Lebouqu and Diana van Bokhoven
15.30 – 18.30: Bioneers exhibition, marketplace, workshops, matchmaking, Pecha Kucha.
18.30 – 20.00: Drinks

12.30 – 15.00: Deepdives 

Symbiotic relations emerge in good conversations. That is why we organize 6 deepdives during SYMBIOSIS, connected to themes that entrepreneurs, partners and designers in and around BlueCity work on. You are invited to be part of these conversations.

  • Regenerative seaweed: how to organize this
  • Using invasive species as resource
  • The Hemp Project: looking for new textiles
  • Products from the wetlands: duckweed
  • Tomato Leather: a circular supply ecosystem
  • Phytoremediation: cleaning our soils with plants

15:00 – 15:30 KeyNote By Biobased Creations

Biobased Creations by New Heroes are experimental projects that model existing and future possibilities and celebrate the wonderful beauty and impact of biobased materials in a circular society. Their storytelling, installations, exhibitions, lectures and programs function as ongoing research and discussion pieces, also exhibiting the unknowns, the sticking points, the question marks. With their creations they want to redirect the sustainability conversation from “is this possible?” towards “how are we going to do this together?”

15.30 – 18.30: Bioneers exhibition

Enter the world of biosolutions and check out more than 15 projects by entrepreneurs, designers and scientists from BlueCity Lab and the BlueCity community. Expect collaborations with nature in all kinds of forms and shapes, in an exhibition in our former wild water canal in the swimming pool. With Flip the CityBlueBlocksFabulous FungiTomato leatherHollands Wol CollectiefVan HierWaterwegVibersFruitLeather and The Growcast.

15.30 – 18.30: Marketplace

Meet the partners of this festival and discuss with them questions like these regarding designing for biodiversity or collaborating with nature!

  • The Circulair Loket is present to help you move through juridical thresholds (and to warn you for potential hazardous situations) regarding working with waste streams,
  • LabMakelaar helps you with where to find top notch second hand lab equipment,
  • Greenport West-Holland shares the possibilities for bioeers to collaborate with horticultural entrepreneurs and organisations, unlocking wicked problems, design questions and showing some examples. Also, the Inhoudsstoffen Bibliotheek from the University of Leiden is ready to be further investigated or used by entrepreneurs or students.
  • The GENE COOP by Waag helps you store your genetic data in such a way the big biotech companies will never be able to make money with your genes, inviting you to think about what kind of relationship you have with the organism you work with,
  • HAN Biocentre is present to answer your questions regarding scaling your jampot experiments towards bigger bioreactors.
  • Learn how the model works from the creators of the Zoöp, and get hands-on information on how to apply the principles in your own organisation or business.
  • Deltaplan Biodiversiteitsherstel is looking for collaborations of all kind. Lets combine forces to create a biodiverse circular economy!

15.30 – 18.30: Matchmaking & networking

Did you only start bioneering, yet you want to move as fast as light? Do you have a brilliant idea on how to collaborate with nature, but are you looking for money and partners to make it real? Do you have skills that you like to connect to a bioneer? During our matchmaking & networking event, collaborations come into existence, projects emerge, you can meet the organism of your dream and the co-founder that will help you thrive.

15.30 – 18.30: Workshops 

  • From plastic-eating mealworms to bioplastic

During this workshop you can get to know the many circular talents of the mealworm, and go home with your own piece of insect-plastic.  Willem Flinterman will teach about the life-cycle and biology of the mealworm, offering a peek into the practice of circular mealworm farming. After this, the participants have the chance to make their own small piece of bioplastic from chitine yielded from defunct mealworm-beetles.

  • Creative with dredge with Wies van Lieshout & Eva Aarts from Waterweg

During this workshop you will learn about dredge, the circular economy and doing business with it.  We do this by making molds with household waste (such as plastic and cardboard) into which we pour a mixture of dredging and binder. At the end of the workshop, you take home a homemade dredged concrete product, like holding a candle, bookend, planter or soap dish.

15:30- 18:30 Pecha Kucha 

10 speakers tell about their unexpected fascination, bizarre hobby, inspiring journey, special research or unique collection in 20 photos x 20 seconds. Are you ready for some inspiring examples on fresh, out-of-the-box collaborating with nature?

  • Nitrogen trade, the currency for regeneration of oyster coral reefs – by George Birch, Oyster Heaven
  • 100% biobased neighborhood – by Yvette Govaert, BigPicture
  • Fabulous Fungi: colors from the soil by Ilse Kremer, Fabulous Fungi
  • Design for Bio-Inclusive Cities by Pierre Oskam and Max Latour, Urban Reef
  • The 10 from 010 by Joni Reijven, Municipality of Rotterdam
  • Thyrza – Krullen en Kruiden
  • Biobased construction materials, grown in region Rotterdam by Ton Bontekoe and Johannes Regelink, Squarewise
  • Polyfenoles: finding diamonds in foodwaste by Ahmer and Sarah Ashraf

15:30- 18:30 BlueCity Tours 

Dive into the world of BlueCity and get a tour in the former subtropical swimming paradise, take a look at the BlueCity Lab, the first circular biolab in the world and meet a circular entrepreneur.

18.00 – 20.00: Food & Drinks

BlueCity hosts a set of great food entrepreneurs. Together, they form the foodcourt in which you can get a delicious meal that fits within the planetary boundary. With Falafval, smoothies by Spireaux, The Botanical Milk Bar and the BlueCity Rainwater bar.