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CITY-ZEN Site Amsterdam

Country & City

  • The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam


Contact Information

Marjolein Bot
Amsterdam Economic Board

The city of Amsterdam has 825 000 residents from 180 different countries, who own over 600 000 bicycles. The wider Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has 2.1 million inhabitants. The city has a strong commitment to encourage green research, development and investment in sustainable initiatives. As a result, the area is enjoying a rapid uptake of electric transportation and a growing number of companies are developing sustainable products that influence global business. Amsterdam is exceptionally well connected, both physically and digitally.

The city is acting in line with the EU’s 20-20-20 climate targets and has the ambitious goal to reduce CO2 by 40 % compared to 1990 by the year 2025. The City-zen project is one of the major projects in which the city is working with its partners to scale up innovative energy solutions and open networks.

The demonstration objectives of City-zen in Amsterdam are focused on retrofitting existing housing, making the e-grid smarter, and improving and expanding the heat grid.

*Information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The total CO2 emission savings amount to 7 500 tonnes per year.

Best Practices

Best Practices


The Netherlands

Although the City-zen demonstration projects take place in the frontrunner smart cities of Amsterdam and Grenoble, the project’s focus is sharing its knowledge and experience with other European cities, not only by demonstrating to others how it can be done in the Netherlands and France but by going ‘glocal’ – combining specialist global expertise with local stakeholder energy and knowledge of the context and lifestyle on location. This is achieved by a unique methodology called the City-zen Roadshow. Over a 4-year period, the City-zen Roadshow team will visit 10 cities that are seeking expert guidance on how to become more sustainable and move towards energy neutrality. The team will help these cities and their neighbourhoods to develop a sustainable agenda or, in other words, a sustainable City Vision.

The roadshow spends 5 days in each hosting city to deliver energy and urban design workshops in which all local stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to join and to take ownership of the final outcomes. These outcomes will allow each city’s resources, people, knowledge and renewable energy potential to be directed effectively over a realisable timescale that will meet their energy transition. The process starts by identifying a neighbourhood’s urban lifestyle and energy challenges. Then, on the final day of the event model, a definitive sustainable City Vision is presented to the city that responds to all levels of their built and natural environment.

The City-zen Roadshow team has so far visited Belfast (United Kingdom), Izmir (Turkey), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Menorca (Spain). The team is currently in preparation talks with Seville (Spain), Roeselare (Belgium) and Klaipeda (Lithuania).


*Further information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The interventions being implemented in Amsterdam within City-zen project are:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • 700-900 dwellings are to be retrofitted to ensure affordable total living costs (rent and energy) for tenants now and in the future, while at the same time establishing better comfort
    • Empowering tenants and home-owners to save energy and involving them in the co-design with other stakeholders of innovative approaches for energy-efficient retrofitting
    • A lab home demonstrating hybrid heat pump

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
    • Sustainable heat network: the waste-to-energy plant is to be optimised and new heat sources are to be connected to the district heating network, such as innovative daylight collectors. Existing multi-family buildings will be connected to the heat grid.
    • Cooling with water: a cold network will be installed in a large business area, which makes conventional air conditioning systems redundant. Next to that, 300 newly built homes will get comfortable cooling from surface water. This solution has not been applied before on this scale in the Netherlands.
  • Waste-to-energy:
    • Recovery of waste heat at bio refinery
    • Increase of overall efficiency of waste to energy plant by redesign of turbine set-up
  • Large scale storage
    • Off-grid heat from the sewer system will be added to an underground storage.
    • Cooling with water: before raw water is transported to the dunes for purification, the cold will be extracted and stored underground.
Mobility & transport: 
  • Clean fuels and fuelling infrastructure
    • Batteries in houses and cars will ensure that energy can be stored and used at a later time. Owners of these batteries can trade their energy and their storage capacity on the energy market.
  • Electric, hybrid and clean vehicles
    • Demonstrate vehicle to grid (V2G) applications and technology on the Amsterdam New West smart grid
  • Demand response
    • Current and voltage are monitored continuously to provide more accurate monitoring and control functions
    • The residents will gain more control over their energy use. If, for instance, a citizen wants to sell the energy of his solar panels to a neighbour, this becomes technically possible.
    • Batteries in houses will ensure that energy can be stored and used at a later time.
  • Smart electricity grid
    • 10 000 dwellings connected to a smart grid
    • Intelligent electricity network equipped with computer and sensor technology at key nodes
    • The existing network power has been increased in key areas and the network structure has been improved. In the future, slumbering power outages will be visible on the smart grid and thus can be prevented.