Dutch sustainable solutions|

BlueCity: swimming pool turned circular hub

BlueCity aims to create jobs, reduce waste, grow social capital and innovate without exhausting the environment. It has transformed a discarded building into a hub for circular economy ideas and innovators.

In Rotterdam’s iconic former swimming pool Tropicana, BlueCity hosts 12,000 square metres of working space, event locations and business development support for circular innovators. The Tropicana building had lost its function, but BlueCity gave it a new purpose.

Vision and philosophy

The occupants of BlueCity are social entrepreneurs and circular companies. To close the loop, startups and small initiatives are given the chance, a space, support and a network to build their idea into a bigger movement. The philosophy is to learn from nature, where the output of one thing is the input for another. The aim is to continually innovate, create jobs, handle waste as a valuable resource, and build social capital without exhausting the environment.

Circular and social hub

In BlueCity itself, worms process cardboard and VGF waste, and the aquaponics system provides fresh air. People with poor job prospects are given assistance in finding a paid job at BlueCity or beyond. BlueCity connects government bodies, research institutes and universities, local residents, companies and social organisations to boost innovation.


Startups can participate in 1- to 3-day circular tracks and 4- to 6-month living labs where ideas are strengthened, tested and scaled up. By connecting over 30 innovative entrepreneurs to big corporations and working with corporate partners in living labs, BlueCity shows on a local level that change is possible. Generating knowledge on the legal and fiscal counterforces and on large-scale change, BlueCity accelerates the international transition through local entrepreneurship.

Contact information

info@bluecity.nl, +31 (0)10 307 2247

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