Sustainability in Amsterdam

By Davor, Civil Engineering Major; Sophomore

            After two extremely short weeks, our time in the Netherlands has finally come to an end, as we conclude our travels in Amsterdam. We spent our final day together biking around the city that we started in, learning about what the city does to minimize its impact on the environment. Our tour guide for the last day Cornelia, did a fantastic job showing us as much as she possibly could around Amsterdam in the limited amount of time that we had. She took us through a few gorgeous green places, like down an old street that only allowed bikes and through the old industrial area that was being transformed into a creative hub (learn more about the Ceuvel here). Unfortunately, we did suffer some delays throughout the day, but I can say for sure that we all still had a great time.

The Ceuvel. Photo by Davor.

            Throughout the tour Cornelia talked about how sustainable the city of Amsterdam actually is, one of the sustainability endeavors has the city subsidizing blue and green roofs, to encourage the implementation and reduce the ecological footprint of these buildings. She also talked about how all the buildings were constructed with a communal heating system, which ran water through pipes to cool the building and heat up the water, and in the winter, in order to warm up the building they would run the hot water back through. This could never be done on a small scale because of the huge infrastructure needed to set this up, and the only reason that Amsterdam was able to this is because they own upwards of 90% of the land. That is an extremely high percent, even for Dutch municipalities, but that one aspect emphasizes the communal aspect of the county.

At the Ceuvel. Photo by Davor.

             As fair as I was able to tell, throughout this entire trip, the one aspect of that connected all of these sustainable communities was that they worked together. If there was anything from this trip that I learned and wanted to bring back to the United States would be that sense of the communities working together. 

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