Amsterdam is leading the way with the circular economy

Amsterdam’s economy is undergoing some exciting changes. From large corporations to tiny startups, businesses are putting more emphasis than ever before on sustainability and maximising resources. If you’re about to enter the workforce, or simply exploring your study options, you will find yourself at an advantage if your knowledge and skills are able to benefit the circular economy.

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is a new way of doing business that moves away from the current ‘take-make-dispose’ model that not only poses severe environmental risks but is unsustainable in the long term. By contrast, the circular economy takes a more innovative and collaborative approach. It is an economy that is regenerative and waste-free by design and Amsterdam is leading the way. Read about the city's recent circular initiatives. 

Opportunities for graduates

The great news for students is that the move towards a circular economy has opened up a wealth of opportunities for enthusiastic creative minds. Shyaam Ramkumar of Amsterdam-based enterprise Circle Economy says the circular economy is something that is beneficial across industries.

"There are a lot of interesting opportunities that are created from a job perspective and an entrepreneurial perspective."

Skills and knowledge in a circular economy

He explains that having skills that benefit the circular economy will equip graduates for making smarter business decisions that reduce our environmental impact. Creative thinkers who can challenge traditional design concepts, collaborators who can facilitate the sharing of resources, investors who understand forward-thinking business models and digital specialists who can enable the process are just some of the roles that are hugely valuable in the circular economy. 

"In the next five, or even two years or so, it will be significantly important for [students] to have those kinds of skill sets in order to contribute to the circular economy", Ramkumar says.

Leading industries

More specifically, systems thinking is a crucial skill in the circular economy: the ability to assess links and interactions between businesses, or between business and government. Design skills are at a premium, as product designers need to rethink the end result of their products and how to keep them in use for as long as possible. Expertise in the digital sphere is also advantageous in helping the circular economy to flow, as new technology is required to connect industries. 

Circle Economy is currently working on a research project with Erasmus University Rotterdam on the topic of circular jobs. The goal is to have a better indication of what kinds of jobs the circular economy has created, how many opportunities exist in the Netherlands and what kinds of skill sets they require. 

What you have to offer

Want to get in on it? You would be wise to. Several universities in the Amsterdam Area offer specific studies that will set you up for a career in the circular economy. In addition to these courses, a collaborative mind set and broad business perspective will benefit you. Recognising the value of team work and transparency, along with a willingness to experiment with ways of making ideas financially feasible will go a long way in the circular economy.

Get the qualifications 

So what are you waiting for? Apply for these study programmes in Amsterdam and get set for a challenging, fulfilling and environmentally-friendly future.

Bachelor Science, Business and Innovation Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Master  Chemistry Science for Energy and Sustainability University of Amsterdam
Master Business Administration: Entrepreneurship and Innovation University of Amsterdam
Master Future Planet Studies University of Amsterdam
Master (research) Business in Society University of Amsterdam / Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Master Chemistry: Science for Energy and Sustainability University of Amsterdam / Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Master Physics and Astronomy: Science for Energy and Sustainability   University of Amsterdam / Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Master Chemistry: Science, Business and Innovation University of Amsterdam / Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Master Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Read more about the circular economy