Speaking to Chris Monaghan from Metabolic, Amsterdam


Past June marked the opening of De Ceuvel, a unique sustainable urban development on a former ship wharf in the North of Amsterdam. Last summer I spent some time at De Ceuvel to explore this exciting creative sustainable initiative. Other then enjoying incredible food and drinks at De Ceuvel cafe, lounging in used boats, and loving the sun, I wanted to find out more behind this project… 

A Short History

The so called Cleantech Playground here has arisen from a polluted brownfield, which the Municipality of Amsterdam offered up for a 10 year lease after a group of initiators won a tender. Because of the polluted land, as a creative solution recycled houseboats were placed on land. Each of the upgraded boats house offices, ateliers, or workshops for creative and social enterprises. A winding walkway connects the boats, and soil-cleaning plants help the polluted area recover naturally. The area is, impressively, largely self-sufficient for energy, sanitation, water, and nutrient recovery. Other then this being a great sustainable building initiative, the community of creative and other entrepreneurs, feels like a fun and promising hub of activity.

Meeting Metabolic

Not long after my first visit I found myself talking to Chris Monaghan, COO of Metabolic, an inspiring cleantech development and systems consulting firm based in Amsterdam North, formed as a cooperative of multi-disciplinary entrepreneurs, and one of the important partners in the creation of this project. Inspired by the work of Metabolic, I ended up spending some time preparing and joining the Metabolic team on a brainstorm for the Metabolic Lab, soon to be opened at De Ceuvel. Metabolic Lab will represent them in the form of an experience center and urban garden, a place for people to understand and experience first hand the systems at work at De Ceuvel. Amongst many great ideas is that of an aeroponics garden (plants grown in an air or mist environment instead of soil) that receives its nitrogen nutrients from the toilet in the building.

So keep an eye on Metabolic and the upcoming Lab if you want to expand your knowledge on in cleantech, sustainable building, symbioculture and other solutions that contribute to a more sustainable and resilient world!

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