Amsterdam's Sustainable Architecture: City's Eco-Buildings Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. What is sustainable architecture?
  2. Amsterdam and sustainability
  3. Eye Film Institute, Netherlands
  4. De Ceuvel
  5. The Edge
  6. Funenpark
  7. WoZoCo Apartments
  8. Blijburg
  9. Amsterdam City Hall and Opera House
  10. Why sustainable architecture matters

Amsterdam, a city known for its picturesque canals and vibrant culture, has been making waves in the world of sustainable architecture. This blog post is your guide to understanding and exploring the greenest structures in this Dutch city. So, if you're interested in amsterdam's sustainable architecture, you're in the right place. Let's dive right in!

What is sustainable architecture?

Let's start with the basics. Sustainable architecture is the design of buildings that aim to minimize the negative environmental impact. This is achieved by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and the building space itself. Sustainable architecture takes into consideration the environment, the inhabitants, and the overall impact on the community. Now, let's check out how Amsterdam is putting these principles into action.

One of the key elements of sustainable architecture is the efficient use of resources. This means using materials that are renewable or have low environmental impact. For example, the WoZoCo Apartments in Amsterdam used a steel frame construction method, significantly reducing the amount of material needed.

Next, sustainable architecture focuses on energy efficiency. Buildings designed with this in mind use less energy for heating, cooling, and lighting. They often incorporate renewable energy sources, like solar panels. The Edge, a stunning example of amsterdam's sustainable architecture, uses solar power and collects rainwater for reuse.

Lastly, sustainable architecture aims to create healthier environments. This involves using natural light, improving air quality, and designing in a way that promotes physical activity. Funenpark, a residential complex in Amsterdam, is a great example of this. It features large windows for natural light, and its layout encourages residents to walk or cycle.

So, whether it's a skyscraper that uses rainwater, an apartment complex designed to encourage walking, or a building constructed from renewable materials, sustainable architecture is all about being kind to our planet. And Amsterdam, with its commitment to sustainability, is leading the way.

Amsterdam and sustainability

Amsterdam is not just famous for its tulips and windmills. In the heart of the city, you'll find a commitment to sustainability that's as deep as the canals that wind through its streets. In the realm of sustainable design, Amsterdam has become a beacon of innovation, pioneering new ways to build and live that respect both the environment and the wellbeing of its residents.

Amsterdam's sustainable architecture is a testament to the city's green vision. The city is home to some of the most innovative eco-buildings in the world. These buildings are not just structures; they're living, breathing entities that interact with their environment in a positive way. They conserve energy, recycle water, and even generate their own power.

Take the example of De Ceuvel, a sustainable planned workplace for creative and social enterprises on a former shipyard. It is a shining example of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture, with its buildings made from old houseboats, a system for purifying the soil, and an energy supply that is fully self-sufficient.

Or consider Blijburg, Amsterdam's city beach, where sustainable pavilions are made from recycled materials and serve organic food. Even the Amsterdam City Hall and Opera House has a green roof covered in sedum plants, which absorb rainwater and provide insulation.

These are just a few examples of how Amsterdam is integrating sustainability into the very fabric of the city. And the best part? This is just the beginning. With every new building and renovation, Amsterdam is continually pushing the boundaries of what's possible in sustainable architecture.

Eye Film Institute, Netherlands

You might not expect a film institute to be a standout example of sustainable architecture, but Amsterdam's Eye Film Institute is full of surprises. This unique building, which sits on the north bank of the IJ, is a shining example of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture. It's a landmark that goes beyond aesthetics; it's a beacon of sustainability.

First, let's talk about the building's design. The Eye Film Institute's roof, which resembles a bird in flight, is not just an artistic statement. It's also a functional part of the building's energy strategy. The roof is made from a lightweight steel structure, which helps to reduce the overall weight of the building and thus save on materials.

But the true magic of the Eye Film Institute lies in its use of natural light. The building's large glass facade allows a generous amount of daylight to filter into the interior, reducing the need for artificial lighting. And don't worry about overheating—the building also features a natural ventilation system to keep temperatures in check.

And let's not forget about the building's heat and cold storage system, which uses the temperature of the ground water to provide heating and cooling. This way, the Eye Film Institute can maintain a comfortable indoor climate all year round, while also reducing its energy consumption.

So, next time you're in Amsterdam, don't just watch a movie at the Eye Film Institute. Take a moment to appreciate the building itself, a gem of sustainable design that embodies Amsterdam's commitment to a greener future.

De Ceuvel

Next up on our tour of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture is De Ceuvel, an inspiring urban playground for innovation and creativity. This unique eco-hub, located in the north of the city, was once a shipyard. Instead of letting it turn into a wasteland, a group of architects and artists transformed it into a thriving community of sustainable workplaces.

What sets De Ceuvel apart is its circular approach to sustainability. The site is home to a cluster of refurbished houseboats, all elevated on recycled materials. Each boat serves as a workspace for creative and social enterprises, fostering a community that's as diverse as it is vibrant.

But the sustainability credentials of De Ceuvel don't stop there. The site also features a purification garden. This is not your average green space: it's a clever system designed to cleanse the heavily polluted soil. The plants in the garden absorb and break down the pollutants, naturally restoring the ground beneath.

De Ceuvel even generates its own energy. The site is equipped with an array of solar panels and a bio-digester that converts organic waste into biogas. This means the site can function off-grid, reducing its impact on the environment.

So, if you're keen to see Amsterdam's sustainable architecture in action, make sure to pay a visit to De Ceuvel. It's a place that makes sustainability not just practical, but also fun and community-driven.

The Edge

If you've ever wondered what the office of the future might look like, take a virtual tour of The Edge in Amsterdam. This pioneering building is hailed as the greenest office building in the world, and it certainly lives up to its reputation.

Designed by PLP Architecture, this building is a showcase of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture at its finest. The Edge utilizes a variety of innovative technologies to minimize its environmental footprint. From a massive network of solar panels on the roof and the sides of the building to a geothermal energy system that heats in the winter and cools in the summer, this building is at the forefront of sustainable design.

This building is not just about energy efficiency, though. It also prioritizes the well-being of its occupants. Natural light is maximized throughout the building, and CO2 sensors monitor air quality, adjusting ventilation as needed. This not only makes for a healthier working environment, but also contributes to increased productivity and happiness among its occupants.

But what makes The Edge a true game-changer in Amsterdam's sustainable architecture scene is its use of technology. The building uses a smartphone app that monitors and adapts to how the building is used. It can guide you to an open workspace, adjust the lighting and temperature to your preference, and even help you find a parking spot. Now, that's what we call a smart building!

With buildings like The Edge leading the way, the future of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture looks bright indeed.


Picture this: You're in the heart of a bustling city, but all around you there's lush greenery, kids playing, and a sense of peace that's hard to find in a city center. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, welcome to Funenpark—an urban oasis that showcases Amsterdam's sustainable architecture in a unique way.

Funenpark isn't your typical city park. It's a residential complex designed by the Dutch architecture firm de Architekten Cie. But what makes Funenpark stand out is its seamless blend of green spaces and modern living. It's a place where nature and architecture coexist in harmony.

The residential blocks here are arranged in such a way that they create a peaceful, car-free park in the middle. The buildings are cleverly designed, too. They are all different shapes and sizes, but they share a common theme: the use of sustainable materials and technologies. For instance, the buildings have green roofs that not only look great but also help insulate the homes and absorb rainwater.

Funenpark is a brilliant example of how Amsterdam's sustainable architecture can transform urban living. It's a place where families can live in the heart of the city without giving up on the joys of nature and community life. It's a testament to how thoughtful design and sustainability can go hand in hand, creating spaces that are not only environmentally friendly but also lovely to live in.

So next time you're in Amsterdam, make sure to take a stroll through Funenpark. It's a little slice of sustainable paradise in the heart of the city, and a shining example of Amsterdam's commitment to sustainable architecture.

WoZoCo Apartments

When you think of a retirement home, what comes to mind? Probably not a striking, modern building that seems to defy gravity. But that's exactly what you'll find at WoZoCo Apartments, a standout in Amsterdam's sustainable architecture scene.

WoZoCo Apartments, designed by MVRDV, is a housing complex for the elderly. But it's not what you'd expect. The building's most noticeable feature is a series of apartments that seem to be hanging in mid-air. It's a sight that makes you stop and wonder: how did they do that? And more importantly: why?

The answer to both questions lies in sustainability. The architects at MVRDV faced a challenge: they needed to build a certain number of apartments, but they also wanted to preserve the green space around the building. Their solution? Build upwards. By "hanging" some apartments off the side of the building, they were able to meet both goals.

But the innovations don't stop there. WoZoCo Apartments also features large glass walls that let in plenty of natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The building also has a high-quality insulation system, which helps keep the apartments warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

What makes WoZoCo Apartments a prime example of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture isn't just its unique design, but the way it meets the needs of its residents while respecting the environment. It's a building that challenges our expectations and shows us that sustainable architecture can be surprising, innovative, and beautiful.


Right in the bustling heart of Amsterdam, an unexpected oasis of calm and greenery awaits you. Welcome to Blijburg, a perfect illustration of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture, where community spirit meets eco-friendliness. But what makes Blijburg so special?

Blijburg isn't just a neighborhood; it's a lifeline of eco-conscious living. Originally built as a temporary neighborhood on artificial land, it was so loved by its residents that it became a permanent fixture. The buildings here are made from light, eco-friendly materials and can be easily dismantled, moved, and reassembled elsewhere if needed. It's architecture designed with the future in mind.

But it's not all about the buildings. Blijburg is also home to one of Amsterdam's few city beaches where residents can enjoy the sun, the sand, and the water without leaving the city. The beach is naturally maintained, which means no harmful chemicals are used to clean it. But the sustainable practices don't stop at the shoreline. The local cafe operates on a zero-waste policy, serving organic food and drinks, and the entire neighborhood is powered by renewable energy.

So, next time you're in Amsterdam and want a taste of sustainable living, make sure to visit Blijburg. It's a living, breathing example of how Amsterdam's sustainable architecture is not just about buildings, but about creating communities that care for the environment and for each other.

Amsterdam City Hall and Opera House

In the heart of Amsterdam stands a monument to the city's commitment to sustainability. The Amsterdam City Hall and Opera House, known as the Stopera, is a prime example of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture.

This civic and cultural hub isn't just a feast for the eyes; it's also a model of efficiency. The building's design takes full advantage of natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. What's more, the Stopera is equipped with a heat and cold storage system—a kind of natural air conditioning—that uses the water from the nearby Amstel River to help regulate the building's temperature. This system significantly cuts down on the building's energy consumption.

But sustainability at the Stopera isn't just about energy efficiency. The building also incorporates water-saving features such as rainwater collection and low-flow fixtures. Even the building materials were chosen with sustainability in mind, prioritising recycled and locally sourced materials wherever possible.

So, when you visit the Stopera, you're not just seeing a landmark of Amsterdam's arts scene; you're also experiencing a masterclass in sustainable building design. It's a building that truly embodies the spirit of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture.

Why sustainable architecture matters

Sustainable architecture isn't just about creating buildings that are eco-friendly. It's about designing spaces that enhance our lives while also respecting the environment. And as you've seen from the examples of Amsterdam's sustainable architecture, it's entirely possible to achieve both.

Think about it: when a building uses less energy, it reduces its carbon footprint and helps fight climate change. But it also means lower utility bills. And who wouldn't appreciate that?

When a building is designed to make the most of natural light, it's not just saving electricity—it's also creating a brighter, more pleasant space for people to spend their time. And let's not forget about the health benefits of natural light: studies have shown that exposure to natural light can improve mood, boost productivity, and even help you sleep better at night.

And when a building incorporates water-saving features, it's doing its part to conserve a precious resource. But it's also reducing its water bills. Plus, in cases like the Stopera, where rainwater is repurposed, it's managing stormwater runoff, which can help to prevent flooding—a big deal in a city like Amsterdam, which is known for its canals.

So, you see, sustainable architecture isn't just good for the planet—it's good for us, too. And with cities like Amsterdam leading the way, we can all look forward to a future where sustainable design is just part of the scenery.

If you enjoyed exploring Amsterdam's sustainable architecture and want to learn more about incorporating sustainability into your own career, check out the workshop 'How to Create a Sustainable Career' by Chase Coy. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and strategies to help you build a career that is environmentally friendly and economically viable.