This year we created 2 semesters for the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge 2017 programme in order to cover an extended growing season and to give more students the opportunity to take part.

It’s now possible to sign up for our autumn semester, beginning on Friday 8 September with a worm hotel workshop by Le Compostier so you can experiment with recycling your organic waste at home. 

Spring Action: Our spring semester included 5 sessions with experts on themes including germination and growing plants at home for food,  sowing seeds in the city for people, plants & pollinators, permaculture, biophilic design & integrating nature with urban planning, tiny homes, a creative cooking action with rescued “ugly veggies”,  and lots of time was spent learning to observe natural patterns and processes in our organic garden. With help from spring semester students our organic garden is now packed full of veggies and we look set to enjoy a bumper harvest when making vegetarian food for the students’ graduation party on 6 October.

Summer Challenge: Green Student Bootcamp Challenge students have been given several challenges to complete over the summer months that can be completed wherever they are. One of our summer challenges is a collaboration with the crowd acting platform CollAction, where students are tasked with organising their very own crowd action project, to be completed in September. We’re looking forward to seeing what the students decide to do in order to effect positive social action.

Autumn: Our autumn programme includes sessions with experts on composting, life in the soil, growing mushrooms at home, how to take initiative, textile recycling, the circular economy, smart use of urban natural resources including rainwater, a tour of an innovative green roof & The Co-creation Challenge, where students will work together to create functional beauty at the Green Living Lab location.

The autumn semester has 5 sessions on Friday afternoons (14.00 – 17.00) on 8, 15, 22, 29 September & the graduation day takes place on 6th October.

Applications: All university students are welcome to apply, from all study disciplines.

Cost:  €35 per student for 5 sessions (the entire autumn semester) or €9,50 per student for individual sessions.

If you’d like to participate we’d love to hear from you! Just email us at for info on how you can join the Bootcamp party!

#GreenHealthyStudents #GreenLivingLab

Lees hier 5 tips van Professor Erik Scherder, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, om gezond te blijven op kantoor.

Prachtige foto’s in dit artikel gemaakt door Freek van den Bergh:

Kom langs naar het Groene Leven Lab in de lunchpauze en wandel in onze biologische onderwijstuin. Ontdek onze experimenten op locatie om een gezonde stedelijke leven te creëren in balans met de natuur. Informatieborden in Nederlands & Engels zijn op locatie te vinden.

Onze vergaderplek (dome & tuin) is beschikbaar voor fotoshoots en privé-evenementen. Neem contact met ons op om de mogelijkheden te bespreken:

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On Sunday the 3rd of December we’re hosting the third Green Fashion Fair at the Green Living Lab. If you’ve been at the previous ones, you’ll know how fun it is to find that an old sweater from someone’s grandpa is actually a perfect addition to your hipster look, or that someone is happily taking home your bad buys. But the reason we started Clothes Swaps at the Green Living Lab has more to it. Time to share the story of how we got inspired to contribute to the fashion revolution.

Each year in April on social media, thousands of people showed their labels and asked the brands #whomademyclothes. Farmers, producers, and factory workers responded with pictures of their working process, proudly holding the #imadeyourclothes-sign. Each year this Fashion Revolution Week sparks up many conversations about  human rights and the environmental aspects of the fashion industry.

This ‘Fashion Revolution‘, as the organisation is called, was born on April 24, 2013. This was the day that the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. This tragedy was only part of a growing dissatisfaction about the treatment of the people and the planet in all layers of the clothing industry. But the tremendous anger and despair of Rana Plaza set the true revolution on fire and people all over the world joined forces to demand change.

Now, slowly the world is starting to realise that, however complicated the issue is, something’s off with the way we produce, sell, and buy our clothes. Simply put, change is necessary for:

1. The People. Human rights are being abused in the garment industry. Minimum wage is rarely enough to live off. Workers are being mistreated for demanding better conditions. Buildings have often collapsed or caught fire.

2. The Planet. To grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes, we use chemicals that end up polluting rivers. Also, a huge amount of water is used to produce clothing by growing cotton and wet processing, such as dyeing and laundering. Not only the clothes we produce, also the enormous amounts of clothes we throw away pollute the environment. Charities cannot keep up with all the donated clothes and only a small part of it is being resold in developing countries. All the others end up in landfills, releasing toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil.

3. The Mindset. Fashion used to have four seasons, each bringing in new lines. Now, fashion has 52 seasons, and 150 billion items of clothing are delivered out of factories annually. Fashion is fast, cheap, and we like it. As we buy more and more of them, we lose our love for the quality of clothes and all the people and resources that brought them to us. Appreciation of our clothes is the first step towards a more humane and fair situation.

Without depressing you any further, I’ll refer those interested in the full story to the documentary The True Cost (to be found on Netflix & beyond). Honestly, I watch a lot of documentaries, but this is one of the two that have changed the way I think (the other is Cowspiracy, which made me go vegan in a day).

Now, on to the action! What can we do?15128819_1635957166704015_2505552897505938247_o

1. Swap! Knock yourself out at the Green Fashion Fair on Sunday or at the ones to come (keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next event). Will all this swapping have any effect? Yes! The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, in terms of carbon emissions, the amount of textiles recycled each year is equivalent to taking one million cars off the road.

2. Shop – Be a critical consumer. Every time we buy clothes that cost less than we think it should, we are implicitly imposing the cost on someone or something else. Avoid bad buys. Myself, I’m lucky to have very stylish sisters who’ve been my personal shoppers since I can remember. But I’m sure you have some friends to ask for advice as well.


3. Join the Fashion Revolution! See what you can do on the Fashion Revolution website. Ask your brands #whomademyclothes and mingle in the conversation on social media.

Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? Let us know what you think about the issue, and see you at the swap!

Please read English below.

Mooie beeld van de sfeer van ons Green Student Bootcamp Challenge onderwijsprogramma vorige jaar, gemaakt met liefde door deelnemende VU student Lea Grosse.

Ons 2017 programma wordt gelanceerd op vrijdag 12 mei & wij nodigen universiteitsstudenten uit om hen plekjes nu te reserveren.

Inspirerende partners in 2017 zijn inclusief Youth Food Movement Nederland,  Le Compostier & meer!

Voor info, neem contact met ons snel op:



Lovely impression of the vibe during our ‘Green Student Bootcamp Challenge education programme last year, made with love by participating VU student Lea Grosse.

Our 2017 programme will be launched on Friday 12 May & we are now welcoming university students to get in touch to reserve their places.

Inspiring partners in 2017 include Youth Food Movement Nederland, Le Compostier & more!

For info, get in touch with us at:

#groenegezondestudenten #greenhealthystudents #healthyurbanliving


As the world is losing hope about the US taking any kind of leading role on the world’s most pressing global issues like environmental protection and climate change, students of America’s top universities spread a strong positive message last weekend by hosting the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Harvard University. And no, it wasn’t a bunch of rich students telling each other how awesome they are being a vegan. It also wasn’t a group of skinny, pale, sandal-wearing hippies. This conference was characterised by the large diversity of people attending, as well as the number of topics and open discussions that took place. Some speakers were even so brave to admit to an audience full of plant-eaters that they enjoy eating meat from time to time!

Location of the conference: Harvard Museum of Natural History. Photo with permission from @humanelemaguebos@Instagram.

Location of the conference: Harvard Museum of Natural History. Photo with permission from humanelemaguebos@Instagram

For me, this event was perfectly timed as I have just moved to Boston for a neuroimaging internship at the Martinos center for my MSc. Neuroscience at the Vrije Universiteit (VU). I’ll be studying the effects of meditation on the brain, so if you’re interested in this subject, stay tuned for future blog posts. Last spring, I got involved with the Green Living Lab when I followed their Green Student Bootcamp Challenge programme. I loved the experience so much that I joined the GLL team, where I’ve since helped to organise events and give tours of the location.

Now that I’m an ocean away from the GLL itself, I’ve taken up the role of reporting as the GLL foreign correspondent in the US! Volunteering with the GLL allows me to express my interest in how lifestyle choices impact global issues like sustainability and inequality.

A full audience. Photo with permission from @humanelemaguebos@Instagram.

A full audience. Photo with permission from @humanelemaguebos@Instagram


After making these connections perhaps it is not surprising to learn that I am vegan. So by getting the chance to attend this conference just after my arrival in the US, as the Dutch would say, ‘I fell with my nose in the butter’ (= super lucky). Or, in this case, I fell in the vegan margarine.

Organised by the Harvard Vegan Society, the conference was part of a series of vegan conferences of peer organisations from other universities. The purpose of the conference is nicely summarised by the Vegan Society’s president Nina Gheihman, a PhD candidate and affiliate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs:

“The conference explores a truly fascinating question: could a plant-based diet be a single, elegant solution to the pressing global issues caused by an increasing population with diminishing natural resources?”  

A fully-packed program included talks and discussion panels on a wide range of topics concerning humans, animals, and the earth. Perspectives came from scientists, engineers, investors, and activists. In the breaks, delicious meals were served by various local chefs and caterers. And this was gratefully received, since there is little that can make a vegan happier than getting to eat everything in the buffet.

A lovely lunch provided by WholeFoods. Photo with permission from plantsforchange@Instagram©

A lovely lunch provided by WholeFoods. Photo with permission from plantsforchange@Instagram©

One of the goals of the conference was to serve as a networking platform for all people seeking to learn how they can live healthy and conscious lives. During Saturday night’s reception, environmentalists and animal rights advocates mixed with some fit and healthy people to chat about their common values and passions. This mix of perspectives sometimes led to funny conversations. I saw a girl handing a flyer about animal rights to a co-attendant, who responded: “could I just take a picture of it? I’d rather not use any unnecessary paper”. Myself? I ended up in an all-vegetarian (can-be-made-vegan) typical American diner with my new plant-eating friends.

On Sunday afternoon I left the venue feeling inspired, complete with a long list of places to visit, initiatives to look up, and new friends to connect with. Thank you to the Harvard Vegan Society for this fruitful (pun intended) event!


Green Living Lab March


It was lovely to see students from the VU, UvA, TU Delft & AUC studying in the dome at the 4th edition of the Green Living Library!

Students tell us that their study time inside the dome is more productive that studying in a library. The view of the surrounding garden from inside the dome and the generally grounding atmosphere of our natural environment encourages concentration to help students get work done faster, and with less stress.

If you are a university student and would like to experience the effects of studying in nature for yourself you are welcome to join our next Green Living Library day on Thursday 30th March, 10am – 6pm.

We are now leading short group study breaks where we work in the garden together, aimed at helping students take time out from the mental focus of their studies and to relax by grounding in nature.

To reserve your study place in the dome, please email your name & a copy of a valid student card before Tuesday 28th March to:

Suddenly November brought much colder weather and with it the challenge of heating our dome sufficiently to enable our activities to continue in the dome during winter. We wanted to find a heating solution high in energy efficiency, that could be easily fitted with the interior of the dome, and that provided multiple functions, in line with the permaculture design principles of all of the Green Living Lab facilities.

In early 2016 we built the Green Living Lab biomeiler as an experiment, with the objective of heating the floor of our dome. A biomeiler is a large heap of wood chips with water pipe laid in the middle. As the wood chips break down, the water inside the pipe is heated by the heat of the natural composting process and this warm water is then transported under the floor of the dome via a pump. Our biomeiler is much smaller than other biomeilers due to limited space on location. Although our biomeiler reached a temperature of up to 70 degrees Celsius and could heat the floor of the dome, we needed additional heat to make the dome warm enough for our guests to feel comfortable.

We now have this additional heat solution in the form of an efficient Rocket Stove from the Rocket Stove Store, with a mass heating system built around the rocket stove.


The Rocket Stove: the Wood Burning Stove with Optimum Efficiency
Laureano Boerman from Rocket Stove Store has been an pioneer of rocket stoves for home heating solutions for several years. He now imports the first professionally built, ready-to-use rocket stoves to the Netherlands, that come ready to be installed for use as stoves in private homes. A rocket stove is an efficient mass heater that uses small diameter wood fuel and works via the principle of double combustion. What’s that exactly? First of all wood is burned in a combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney. As the wood burns steam is released and C02 gas is trapped in the vertical chamber. This gas is then also burned, increasing the overall heat efficiency of the rocket stove. This means almost complete combustion, using up to 35% less fuel than conventional stoves, as well as significantly reducing emissions.

For detailed info and illustrations on the workings of a Rocket Stove check out this link

Rocket Stove as a Mass Heater
Laureano brought us a beautiful Ramepa Rocket Stove that not only looks elegant, it is also odour free, giving the pleasure of having a fire in the home without emissions. He advised us to consider using the rocket stove in combination with a heat absorbing mass: a Rocket Mass Heater. Building a Rocket Mass Heater around the stove, where the stove exhaust pipes are installed in some form of heat absorbing mass, would trap heat and keep it inside the dome for longer. The mass heater would also continue to heat the dome after the fire has stopped, significantly reducing the amount of wood needed for fuel.

Laureano introduced us to Jason Learned of Nomad Farmers. Jason is a sustainable living systems expert experienced in installing rocket mass heaters worldwide. He is currently installing the new rocket stove at the beautiful KasKantine urban farm and restaurant in Amsterdam. Jason advised us on the best way to integrate the rocket stove with the dome and told us how the stove’s exhaust pipe could be laid horizontally along the interior wall of the dome, in order to extract more heat, before the smoke inside the pipe leaves the pipe via the chimney. He also advised us to think about how we could trap more heat inside the dome using a heat absorbing mass.

Creative Installation to Harness Heat
Our creative building wizard Rowin Snijder then began to develop a design to capture heat from the rocket stove pipe. We were really lucky that the talented master builder Ed Koevoet was available to install the rocket stove and did a beautiful job welding the stove exhaust pipe.

Rowin built a wooden bench around the stove exhaust pipe that transports smoke from the rocket stove, through the wall of the green slope on the outside of the dome, and into the chimney. The exhaust pipe inside the bench was encased with pebbles, as the combined surface area of these small stones provide a natural mass to transfer and store heat from the exhaust pipe. Rowin’s bench fits perfectly with the interior of the dome and provides a comfortable warm place for guests to sit and enjoy extra warmth while attending activities inside the dome.

Tips for Optimum Use
Laureano advised us on the correct way to make the fire inside the rocket stove, to ensure it heats up in the optimum way. It is important to make a vertical fire in the chamber with small, dry pieces of wood. To heat up quickly and evenly the small pieces of wood should be of a similar size. Instead of having to chop wood outside the dome with an axe in the cold weather Laureano came up with a solution, the Kindling Cracker. This handy device was invented by New Zealander Ayla Hutchinson for a school science project at the age of 13! It enables everyone, including kids, to break larger pieces of wood into the ideal size needed to fuel the rocket stove with minimum effort. Laureano is just beginning to import the Kindling Cracker to the Netherlands and they are now available to pre-order at the Rocket Stove Store.

The Heat Proof
Rocket Mass Heaters provide a highly efficient, clean and cheap heating solutions for homes. As the heat is absorbed into the mass (small pebbles in our case), as much heat from the exhaust pipe is extracted and captured as possible before it leaves the dome.

Another big advantage of using a mass heater is the type of heat emitted via conduction and radiation feels more pleasant than the convection heat of standard heating systems. The air inside the space is not dried out with a Rocket Mass Heater and the heat feels more natural and comfortable.

Laureano tested the temperature on several occasions with a digital laser thermometer, to ensure all was working in an optimum way. So far the temperature on top of the rocket stove has been recorded at over 350 degrees Celsius. At the point where the exhaust pipe exits the dome, the temperature of the pipe inside the bench is around 40 degrees Celsius. This tells us that most of the heat is successfully staying inside the dome. About 1 inch of pebbles heat up every hour, so the whole bench is warm to sit on by the end of a day’s use.

Just 1 hour after lighting the rocket stove the entire space inside the dome is heated nicely and the pebbles at the end of the bench closest to the rocket stove start to feel warm. We can heat a large kettle of water to make tea, make soup or pancakes on top of the rocket stove. Our guests can enjoy the heat anywhere inside the dome and also gather around the stove itself to enjoy the feeling of being close to around a fire and get a nice view of the flames.

The perfect recipe for cosiness!

So a big warm thank you to Laureano, Ann-Kee, Ed, Antony and Rowin for creating such a perfect solution for heating the dome and for making it possible for us to stay warm inside!

For information on rocket stoves and to contact Laureano for advice on models and installation, please see:

Please mention that you heard about rocket stoves via the Green Living Lab!

We loved hosting Gemeente Velsen’s Urban Development team at the Green Living Lab for a team building day!

Not knowing what to expect on arrival at this little piece of green in the middle of the Zuidas, the team from Velsen soon made themselves at home in the dome, rolled up their sleeves & got started with activities led by the Green Living Lab team.

First, Green Living Lab project manager Aveen Colgan led the group in making colourful pots of zuurkool using produce from the GLL garden. Our co-ordinator Roos van der Deijl then led the group on a tour of the GLL, explaining the story behind our project & the multiple functions of each element of our facilities. Afterwards the group were introduced to their new worm pets by Rowin Snijder from the GLL team, who designs & builds beautiful worm hotels as Le Compostier, which make community composting in the city possible. Rowin explained that vermicomposting with worm hotels provide a solution for turning organic urban waste into valuable compost in a fast, odourless & fun way. The group then made their own worm hotels to bring home & start composting.

The afternoon was brought to a close with drinks & vegetarian snacks in the dome, served by GLL facilities co-ordinator Lea Grosse (who is also a whizz in the kitchen!) It was a joy to see all of the Gemeente Velsen team having fun being creative & working together!

The Green Living Lab offers diverse seasonal workshops that involve working together & are always lots of fun! We also design our team building experiences according to the specific interests of the group.

If you would like to organise a team building day with your colleagues at the Green Living Lab in 2017 we’d love to hear from you here: