Ecodam - young people help build the circular economy

At Ecodam, visitors are busy, hands-on, in various labs with aspects of the circular economy (materials, energy, food). A visit to Ecodam is not educational or patronising, but offers a playful insight into how the new economy works and what young people can contribute to it.

Stage of the project




Starting Up





Why was this project started?

The project emerged from our ambition and vision to help children and young citizens better understand the circulair economy.

Our future must be a circular one, products are no longer made, used and thrown away, waste is becoming valuable raw material for making new products and use or lease replaces ownership.

At Ecodam we are convinced of the need to involve children in these issues.
On the one hand, because children themselves also make daily decisions that affect our world.
On the other hand, because children can also set a good example to their parents and environment in order to make the right decisions.
Children are the leaders of tomorrow. By involving children as early as possible, the seed is planted at a young age.

The results of the project so far

We started validating the concept with stakeholders and the audience. We had meetings with school administrators, circular economy experts and relevant people within the Amsterdam municipality.
We tried out our concept with a test group and applied the feedback.
In 2020 we did a pilot with the primary school Laterna Magica. We started with a circular economy festival with workshops and activities facilitating 500 pupils. The second phase was a circular design and build challenge with 100 pupils.
We also worked on developing a business plan and economic models, how much money we need to set up Ecodam and what are the possible incomes and expenses once we are up and running.
In 2021 we were proposed a possible lot by the municipality. We are currently developing the plan for the pilot plastic lab and aiming at realisation this year.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

What makes Ecodam unique is having a physical location. We believe that creating a great visitors experience can contribute to greater impact and longer lasting understanding of what the circulair economy is and what can I (the visitor) contribute.
Ecodam can also become a hub of circulair research and knowledge. We envision working together with the municipality, academies and companies and helping in achieving their circular ambition.
Ecodam in its form and function will promote the circular economy and will be a call for action.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

Ecodam is not yet built, we really hope 2021 will be the year out vision will become a reality, nevertheless we already learned some lessons during our process.
Be patient and have persistence, it takes time and effort to create something new, don't give up and don't get discouraged if it takes longer than you have expected or wished for.
Be focused and realistic, try and define your goals and stick to them. Work in small and achievable steps and try not to get sidetracked.
Work together, corporate, share and make coalitions. If we want to achieve change we need to act and think differently. Competition and beating the opponents is something belonging to the classic capitalistic economy. The circular circulair economy is based on sharing, copying and open source solutions. We are open to discussion and collaboration with everyone who help us achieve our goal and has the same values and ambition.

Can you tell us how valuable this project was for you?

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3. Could this project be shared to - and implemented in - your own city?
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