06 Nov 2017


On Monday the 6th of November, you have the unique opportunity to visit an inspiring town in The Netherlands, named Boxtel. In 1972 the Club of Rome raised worldwide public attention for the necessity of sustainable development with its report “The Limits to Growth”.

In Boxtel, 1972 marked the start of an unique initiative that would also raise worldwide attention, called “De Kleine Aarde” (Small Earth). It was the first sustainability center in the Netherlands and soon became a leader in this new way of sustainable thinking. How? By showing everyone how easily they could lead a sustainable life, simply by putting sustainable ideas into practice. This mentality of experimenting is still to be found with the citizens, entrepreneurs and public organizations in Boxtel. And it is in co-operation with each other, that we have succeeded in carrying out many extraordinary projects ever since.

It is this co-operative mindset of our citizens and organizations that makes Boxtel into the vibrant place in which we can pleasantly work, recreate and live. The municipality of Boxtel plays a pivotal part in that. They actively work together with their citizens and entrepreneurs. The town successfully hosts over 300 events and activities every year. Various stakeholders join forces in organizing these activities and even better: the activities are accessible for everyone. With our sustainable history it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of communal sustainability initiatives can be found in Boxtel.

Start growing
A shining example of our sustainable communal spirit is the community based farm “Herenboeren”. Established by a group of local citizens, the Herenboeren brings an answer to the concern of local citizens about the origins of their food. 200 households can become a shareholder of this farm, in order to provide for their own food. The Herenboeren Boxtel is a small-scale, mixed farm, where pure and reliable food is produced: vegetables, potatoes, fruits, eggs and meat. Over 60% of all day-to-day groceries can be provided by the farm! All food is produced with respect to the farmer, animals and environment.

There are many challenges to overcome, both socially and economically. In order to face these challenges a national foundation has been established, in which highly regarded research institutes, universities and governmental organizations co-operate. Recently the Herenboeren and the local, provincial and national government have agreed upon a “green deal”, in which it’s ensured that no regulations will restrict the innovations that are carried out on this farm.

Multiple international groups have visited this farm already and we can’t wait to inspire you! A small video in English can be found on:

Stop wasting
Another world leading programme is Greentech. The goal of this programme is to develop and display a wide variety of bio based solutions in order to work towards a truly circular economy. Within the programme many projects take place such as the development of an educational pilot in which biomass products are used to generate sustainable energy, whilst the residual waste after production can still provide raw materials to be used for other processes such as the production of bioplastics. Another project is the development of a sustainable heating network for housing, using rest warmth of the sewage treatment facility combined with other options such as warmth from local water resources and thermal heat from a biomass plant. The provincial and municipal government are working together with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and educational institutes in order to turn this into a success. Because in Boxtel, we know, a sustainable future is built together.

Greentech also received international attention. We have welcomed groups from all around the world! From China to Denmark to Canada. Be sure to also check our introduction video:

Start making our world a better place
These are just two examples that are unrivalled in the world and have its’ origin in Boxtel. With these projects we contribute to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. A few goals we are contributing to are:
#2. Zero Hunger;
#7. Affordable and clean energy;
#8. Decent work and economic growth;
#9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure;
#11. Sustainable cities and communities;
#12. Responsible consumption and production;
#13. Climate action.

And join us!
At nine o’clock you will leave by bus from Amsterdam to Boxtel. In Boxtel we believe in a bottom-up approach so instead of introductory presentations, we will start the day showing you our projects in practice! At two stops, you will meet with the locals that are working on Herenboeren and Greentech, visit the sites and experience yourself how inspiring and successful these initiatives are.
After lunch, the Mayor of Boxtel will give you an insight on the community of Boxtel and the way the municipal government stimulates societal commitment. The municipality builds the community with its citizens. For example, policies are not a product of civil servants or politics, but are developed with the community and in some cases adopted by that same community. From there we zoom out to the regional level and its ambitions through Bert Pauli, the Provincal Executive. How do they strengthen these local ambitions? Dennis Kerkhoven, business breakthrough enabler for new circular and human economy, will close the day by reflecting on the day from a total overview. And of course, we would love to hear your ideas!

This is your chance to visit a small but very active town, in which the people are enabled to be in charge of their own, sustainable future.