ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat


Member in the spotlight

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Copyright: Flickr Mor BCNAmsterdam is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands and has a population of 783,364. The city's unique character was discovered on a large scale after 1950, when international tourism began to increase and Amsterdam is now one of Europe's top ten tourist cities. The city is also dedicated to protecting the environment and does so in a number of ways.

Amsterdam is home to the Waste and Energy Company, Afval Energie Bedrijf (AEB). AEB is a leader in the sustainable conversion of waste into energy in the form of electricity and heating and obtains precious metals and other raw materials from process residues. AEB processes 1,4 million tons of waste every year, a value topping all other individual waste treatment plants across the globe.

In addition Amsterdam is also focusing on sustainable urban mobility. Trams and trains in the city already use the green electricity generated by the AEB and there is a plentiful supply of other sustainable types of energy, wind power, which is even disposable at night. A special project promoting electric transport will see 15 million EUR used for new acquisitions, charging stations and subsidising free electricity.

Sustainability focus: A cyclist's paradise

It should come as no surprise that Amsterdam is seen as a bicycle paradise. The city supports the eco-friendly mode of public transport in a variety of ways, including secure bicycle lanes, storage facilities and efficient theft protection. It’s no surprise that 75 percent of the city’s inhabitants travel by bike.

The primary cycling network, Hoofdnet Fiets is made up of 400km of bike paths and the network is constantly growing. Favorable traffic lights create a “green wave” of lights to ensure cyclists are not stuck in traffic for long. Furthermore, the Amsterdam bike-handling centre, Fietsdepot, offers services for ownerless and/or stolen bikes and educational programmes help non-cyclers take to their saddles. Thanks to Fietsdepot everyone can register their bike with an engraved code, making it easy to classify in case of theft. Thus far, 135,000 Amsterdam bikes have been found this way.

Fast facts:
  • Roughly three-quarters of all inhabitants over the age of 12 have a bike; half of them use it daily
  • Only 25% of all routes less than 5 km are made by car
  • By 2040, all routes within the Dutch capital are expected to be covered free of fossil fuels
  • The residents of the Dutch capital use only 53 cubic meters of water per capita – a third of the European average
  • Citizens separate and recycle 43% of their waste
  • Amsterdam is a cofounder of Connected Urban Development (CUD), together with Cisco and the cities of Seoul and San Francisco. The aim of CUD is to contribute to CO2 reduction with ICT


ICLEI and Amsterdam:
Amsterdam has been an ICLEI member since 2008. The city is heavily involved in ICLEI's Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Initiative. Amsterdam is also a member of ICLEI’s European Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) campaign. The city has also just begun its involvement in the Sustainable Construction and Innovation through Procurement (SCI) Network.

www.amsterdam.nl [In Dutch], www.amsterdamsmartcity.com/#/en [In English], www.amsterdam.nl/energie [in Dutch], www.amsterdam.nl/elektrisch [in Dutch], www.amsterdam.nl/fiets [In Dutch], www.aebamsterdam.com, www.amsterdam.nl/electric [in English].