UNLOCKED CASE STUDY: Amsterdam City Doughnut- a roadmap for a thriving City in a thriving planet (2020–2025)


Overall description

Main features or highlights

  • Encouraging healthy, sustainable and plant-based food consumption by all citizens
  • Preventing over-consumption and minimising the use of fast-moving consumer goods
  • Circular area development through flexible zoning and regenerative urban design
  • -creating a plant-based diet for Amsterdam residents
  • bringing food closer to the city
  • enabling direct connections between producers and consumers
  • bringing food back to land as nutrients

Why is this revolutionary?

  • It offers a compass to navigate circular and sustainable initiatives in a city
  • The Amsterdam city doughnut is setting a great example ​of urban innovation and co-creation
  • It is a more realistic and down to Earth model ​for describing the cities we are living in and their future development
  • It incites collaboration like no other strategy used so far in city development
  • It is participatory, based on workshops with city residents (to make the doughnut ​rooted in and enriched by the character and culture of the city)
  • Applies eco-design principles ​(designing out waste)
  • It encompasses both social and economic challenges and objectives, while connecting the two to the environmental limits (health, work, climate, energy targets)
  • It can already be replicated by city officials internationally
  • It is based on local vision and owned global responsibility

Concrete examples

  • 17 policy initiatives or directions belonging to the 3 key themes: construction, food and consumer goods. All 17 directions are available in the report called ​Building blocks Amsterdam Circular 2019.
  • Each circular direction is ​the work of 50 representatives from the municipality of Amsterdam. They were then v​alidated by over 100 external stakeholders​, including businesses, experts and knowledge institutions.
  • Relevant enabling elements (for circular actors) and policy instruments (municipality) are presented next to each direction. The list of the enabling elements: smart sensors and technologies to collect and monitor data for mapping resources, true pricing including environmental costs (local administration in particular), innovative platforms to support partnerships, holistic thinking, living labs projects, city-wide reverse logistics, trainings and education for the labour market.
  • For each direction, the following was taken into account:
  1. Description of the circular economy direction and itsrelevance for the city
  2. Main key themes in the doughnut impacted by the selected direction
  3. Baseline and current projects existing in Amsterdam
  4. Who to be involved and what to do on each part

Links, related resources, people behind




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NELIS(Next Leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability)is a local2global platform of and for young sustainability leaders

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