Never has our home been so important as during the pandemic when we’re unable to go on trips. Painting walls, a new sofa, a garden balcony - these impulses have become second nature… Why not extend our sense of rediscovery and homeliness to our city - and even the planet? “Now is the time to reconnect with the earth, to think about our lifestyle choices and gradually become a bit more sustainable. That way we also feel at home in the world”, says Anouschka Trauschke of Tours that Matter, a travel company focusing on tourism with a positive impact.
For a new tour, Trauschke went in search of the pioneers of sustainability in Amsterdam: city gardens, picking forests, cafes, museums that help you shop, consume and live more sustainably. “I visited for work, but then I immediately started looking for initiatives in my own neighborhood: where was the compost site, where could I separate my waste? Together with my neighbours I made a nice neighbourhood route along planted tree beds on the streets. So let yourself get inspired by what’s around you and see what you can add to your neighborhood. Is there a better place to begin improving the world than in your own city?” For a start, Anouschka Trauschke will bring you along to ten green spots. Watch for our expert tips for a greener home (eco-friendly home)!
1. Oost Indisch Groen and the Flevopark
During the Oost Indisch Groen (East Indian Green) Walk & Talks you will learn everything about communal gardens, urban agriculture and the limitless potential of green cities. Continue to the Flevopark - both city park and nature reserve. Bring your kids along into the nature playground Jeugdland and relax with a nice liqueur at ‘t Nieuwe Diep distillery.
Sustainability home tip from João from Oost Indisch Groen: you can preserve food with fermentation. It is possible with almost every vegetable. Take the leftovers from your fridge and check YouTube for a tutorial. Start with something simple, like sauerkraut, then move on to more demanding recipes such as kombucha or sourdough.
Kramatweg 51, Flevopark
2. Anna’s Tuin & Ruigte
You will find Anna's Tuin & Ruigte permaculture project on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It is filled with wildlife, a communal vegetable and a forest garden. Walk around or join a workshop, and don’t miss out on the pizza-activities: top your pizza with herbs and veggies and share them with others.
Science Park 904
Discover this workplace in the middle of nature. Chop some wood, plant trees and regain your tranquility before returning to the concrete jungle.
Nico Broekhuysenweg 22
4. Green Light Experience
Rediscover de Wallen with the Green Light Experience: visit green hotspots and experience sustainable gems from locally brewed beer to fair-trade chocolate. Receive the neighborhood map by mail and do the 1,5 hour tour at your own pace.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136
The Cacaomuseum is the result of combining two interests: great taste and the preservation of rainforests. The museum promotes ‘bean to bar’-chocolate that doesn’t only taste good, but is also sustainable, fair, artisanal, spiritual and healthy. There are tastings, workshops, dinners, exhibitions, tours and lectures in non-corona times.
Czaar Peterstraat 175
6. De Ceuvel
Cultural location, sustainable cafe and a floating bed & breakfast. Café de Ceuvel has a greenhouse where they grow their own vegetables and herbs and recycle nutrients. Everything on the menu makes a positive impact somewhere.
Korte Papaverweg 4
7. De Moestuinschool (Kitchen Garden School)
Welcome to this outdoor school for adults where you can learn all that you need to know about creating and maintaining your own kitchen garden. There is a lesson every two weeks, and as a bonus, you can bring your own harvest home.
Sustainability home tip from Nancy from the Kitchen Garden School: feeling nervous? Start small with herb jars. Belgian kitchen gardens look completely different from the ones in Amsterdam, so be sure to consult local experts. Also, by keeping a close eye on your plants you can learn all about their behavior and use that knowledge in your future projects.
Mediamatic organizes lectures, workshops and art projects about nature, biotechnology, art and science. Learn to make your own perfume, grow oyster mushrooms or join the Friday lab tour. Includes a multisensory cafe.
9. My City Garden
My City Garden is a four-hectare DIY farm in West. You can rent a piece of land and get to work on your own or, if you need help, together with the City Garden team. You can also hire a garden “butler” to take care of your garden.
Nico Broekhuysenweg 22
10. Zorgboerderij De Marsen (De Marsen Farm)
You will find the Marsen farm among the green scenery of the Twiske park. Surrounded by the green scenery of the Twiske park, the Marsen farm works completely biodynamically (when it comes to sustainability, they are stricter than the norm). You can harvest vegetables straight from the garden, as well as enjoy an array of educational, cultural and social activities.
Pikpotweg 1, Landsmeer
- The elm is an iconic Amsterdam tree. This tree is celebrated yearly during the Lentesneeuw festival, as well as a perfume (Eau d’Amsterdam) and a walking route. You can find the oldest elm, which is around 130 years old, at de Nieuwe Herengracht 5.
- The greenest Amsterdam neighbourhood is Noord and the least green neighborhood is Oud-West.
- The widest trees of the city are a pair of plane trees at the Leidsebosje.
- You can spot surprising wildlife all over Amsterdam. There are foxes in the Vondelpark, seals in the IJ, and kingfishers in Frankendael Park.
Bonus home tips from Dieuwke from Trash Hero
Strive towards zero waste, but start small. Look for zero-waste alternatives for the contents of your trash bin. Make it a habit to have sustainable packaging in your house: a paper back for your bread, pots with jam and sauces that are usable in different stores, fabric bags for your shopping, and so on.
Challenge yourself to pick up and throw away at least one piece of trash every time you go out. It’s a small gesture but a good example. You can also start a clean-up activity in your neighborhood or join Trash Hero.
Tours that Matter
Anouschka Trauschke (31) is at the helm of Tours that Matter together with Berber Hiddema and Katjalisa Reiter. Their mission: reinventing the tourism industry. Their tours inspire people to find a new perspective / outlook on social issues. During Corona, Tours that Matter developed interactive walks & talks with unique routes created for experiencing individually. Follow Tours that Matter on instagram: tours_that_matter
The ‘Nature in the City’ guide is available for download on gemtracktravel.com
The map was created by illustrator Barbara van den Berg.