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CITY-ZEN Site Amsterdam

Country & City

  • The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam


The city of Amsterdam has over 850,000 residents from 180 different countries, who own more than 600,000 bicycles. The wider Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has close to 2.5 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 has acted in line with the EU’s 20-20-20 climate targets and has the ambitious goal to reduce CO2 with 40 % compared to 1990 by the year 2025. The City-zen project was one of the major projects in which the city worked with its partners to scale up innovative energy solutions and open networks.

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


Lessons Learned:

In 5 years of City-zen, the 20 projects yielded many lessons learned.

Top 3 lessons learned overall:

1. Connect
Although it is far from easy, it is also highly advisable to organize peer meetings and exchange ideas between teams from different cities as the meetings will lead to deeper levels of understanding

2. Plan time
Even when fully involved in the implementation of solutions it is important to devote time for experience sharing and dissemination

3. Empower citizens
Involve citizens/inhabitants and truly put them at the heart of the solutions' implementation

More overall learnings can be found in this document:

Learnings per project (for example, smart grid projects, retrofitting projects, etc) can be found in the project reports on this page:

*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).


The technologies used in the various projects that were developed during the 5 years of City-zen are plentiful. Examples are:

- the development of a methodology, resulting in a Roadmap
- various smart grid technologies such as Virtual Power Plants, Vehicle-to-Grid applications, End-to-End smartification
- innovative heating and cooling technologies such as using drinking water for pharmaceutical cooling and using river water for sustainable comfort cooling
- transforming building stock to Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, using insulation, PV and PV-T panels, smart meters and energy storage in tertiary buildings among others

You can read the technical details in the project reports on this page:

SRT data