How can a barrel cactus inspire innovation to minimise evaporation in hot weather? What design strategies can we learn from the Mimic octopus, who protects itself by mimicking deadly predators including a deadly sea snake or a poisonous flat fish? How can termite mounds inspire a heating and cooling system for a building? The answers to these questions are revealed by biomimicry!

Lydia Fraaije from Biomimicry Nederland challenged students to explore how nature’s principles and design strategies could be used to enhance their hobbies sustainably. Some exciting ideas flowed, including making waterproof clothing based on the design of water repellent fur of otters, generating energy from the kinetic energy of falling on a Jujitsu mat, designing a meet-up platform for yoga students based on the efficient pathway-building strategies of slime moulds, and designing a sports field that can generate different lines depending on the particular sport being played, inspired by the reflective nanostructure design of the Morpho butterfly’s wings.

Lydia and her multi-disciplinary team of colleagues from Biomimicry Nederland offer workshops to stimulate sustainable innovation with all professions – from engineers, to HR, to marketing and sales, everyone in the workplace can enhance their work by learning how to innovate sustainably from nature. For info on upcoming workshops (in Dutch & English) or to book your own workshop with colleagues, see:

Dr. Ingrid de Pauw teaches in the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft. During her Ph.D she researched the approaches of 3 different nature-inspired design strategies: Cradle to Cradle, EcoDesign and Biomimicry, by giving groups of industrial design students the task of redesigning the university canteen’s cutlery. The EcoDesign teams reduced the size of the trays and replaced plates with an in-built plate inside the tray and the Cradle to Cradle teams redesigned the cutlery using more sustainable and recyclable plastics. The Biomimicry team looked to nature for design solutions for cutlery and found that animals don’t use cutlery, so their design eliminated all cutlery by serving wraps in biodegradable material and proposing bell peppers as soup bowls!

Dr Bertus Beaumont of the Department of Bionanoscience TU Delft, developed and teaches the ‘BioLogic’ elective course for TU Delft master students who want to learn how to extract the logic behind biological phenomena and apply it for technological innovation. We discussed innovations inspired by living systems developed at TU Delft, and discussed visions for future innovations including nano robots travelling inside our bodies fighting viruses and cancer cells.

BioLogic and Mechanical Engineering student Siddharth Kalra told us about his team’s invention that will compete for the upcoming global Biodesign Challenge in New York. We know that plastics are devastating for our earth and about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and solutions to clean it up. However, what about the microplastics that we can’t see, which come in great part from washing synthetic textiles? Siddharth and his colleagues looked to nature to devise a solution on how to filter small microplastics particles from water and their solution has been inspired by the design strategies of salps and the Manta ray.

The BioLogic course seeks to unlock the potential of the natural world for innovation. It is now possible to enrol for the next course in November, and you can find info here:…/biologic-learning-living-sys…

Thank you Green Office TU Delft for helping to organise and host this inspiring and informative event! 💚

Our Green Student Bootcamp Challenge tour of the Netherlands ends next Friday 14 June with a special extended session in Amsterdam’s forest, completely dedicated to our connection with nature. If you’d like to join us, please check the event link for info:


Netherlands Tour 2019

This year’s Green Student Bootcamp Challenge is going nationwide, as participants set off on an inspirational tour of the Netherlands in May and June.

This is the 4th year of our experiential learning programme for higher education students in the Netherlands. We are both delighted and proud that our graduates from previous years are helping to organise this year’s programme and will lead some of our workshops!

On Friday afternoons, 14.00 – 17.30, in May and June, sessions will take place at diverse locations in the Netherlands in partnership with educational organisations, experts, entrepreneurs and innovators all working to create solutions for a healthier and greener world.

Inspiration from Nature

The Bootcamp Challenge brings students from diverse universities in the Netherlands together for one semester to learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices in balance with the natural world. Our immersive green learning experience takes a holistic approach to student health and wellbeing, as students are encouraged to relax in nature, feel connected to the natural world by acquiring both knowledge and experience, and reignite the joy and wonder of the natural world that we all shared when children.

A Rich Learning Experience

Just as in nature, we see that increased diversity in the group of participants leads to a richer learning experience for the group as a whole. We invite students from all study backgrounds to take part, and no prior knowledge of the course content required. Students learn from experts, entrepreneurs and each other as debate and sharing knowledge and experience is actively encouraged throughout.

Applied Learning 

We introduce students to diverse themes with a focus on exploring the links between our health and wellbeing, with that of our environment and our world. Students are given weekly challenges to be completed at home or as a group, and based on knowledge from previous sessions. In this way, students are asked to apply knowledge in a practical sense immediately. Students share their learning experiences in an online forum, so they also can learn directly from each other.

Partners 2019

This year sessions will take place in Groningen, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Amsterdam, where we will welcome new partners and meet some amazing partners from previous programmes. We’ll learn about the interconnectivity in nature from IVN ,  Tiny Forest and Fungi Factory, hear from De Stadsgroenteboer about the role of CSAs in urban food production and how to cook healthy plant-based meals, learn of innovative solutions inspired by nature from Biomimicry Nederland and TU Delft, about trees and their role in a healthy city from City of Amsterdam ecologists, and visualise the healthy city of the future with tactical urban planning experts Hannah Wright and Humankind.  Other partners include Green Office Groningen, Green Office Utrecht, Green Office Delft, De DakAkker, Studio Tjeerd van Veenhoven, Commonland, and Duurzame Student.

A big thank you to LemonAid and ChariTea for sponsoring the programme!

Monday 29 April

There are have limited spaces available, and a short application is required. Applications are to be received by Monday 29 April. To request an application, please email us:

A Sustainable World Already Exists & Holds the Secrets to Our Survival

Throughout the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge 2018, students have been encouraged to observe and interact with nature. From sowing seeds & brightening grey urban environments with seed balls for people and pollinators, learning how to grow vegetables and oyster mushrooms at home, composting their organic waste, foraging and cooking with wild plants, looking with Green Office VU at the issues caused locally and worldwide when humans do not work in harmony with nature at the Whole Earth? photography exhibition, (also on the campus of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ), and hearing how natural processes can be integrated into cities to create a healthier environment for all, our class of 2018 has been on quite a journey!

No better way to spend the penultimate session of this year’s programme than learning about Biomimicry. Biomimicry is a strategic design approach to innovation, where nature’s 3.8 billion years of research and development is a source of sustainable solutions. If we view nature as a teacher, we see that everything that nature does is already circular and sustainable. Animals, plants, and microbes are skilful engineers. By emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies we can create products, processes, and policies that are well-adapted to life on earth in the long-term. In this way we can solve massive sustainability problems we have created for ourselves and future generations.

Jamaica Den Heijer, is a consultant with Biomimicry Nederland and Innovation Manager with Heijmans, a large Dutch construction company, that is looking to nature to develop sustainable innovations for construction. Thankfully more and more progressive businesses & organisations in The Netherlands are looking to natural ecosystems to learn from them how to innovate in order to operate sustainably.

Jamaica inspired students to go out into The Green Living Lab ‘s organic garden to observe nature’s patterns and design strategies, and students began to see the garden, which they had already spent a lot of time in, from a completely different perspective. With a new curiosity, respect and understanding of the design genius in the natural world around them, this group of students from the Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamUniversity of Amsterdam / Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University CollegeHvA – Hogeschool van AmsterdamUtrecht University & TU Delft are ready to graduate!

For more information on Biomimicry & for info trainings & courses in The Netherlands, see:


We are excited to announce the 2018 Green Student Bootcamp Challenge programme!

GSBC Flyer Front

We’ve included more hands-on workshops this year than ever before; from foraging & cooking with wild plants, learning to grow veggies at home, urban composting with worms, growing mushrooms, fermentation, to learning to design from nature’s patterns. It is going to be a lot of fun learning together in nature!

We are delighted to announce educating partners including BiomimicryNL, Mamotok , The School of Nature, Green Office VU, Pangea Amsterdam University College, Le Compostier & HvA – Hogeschool van Amsterdam

There are 10 sessions, always on Friday afternoons from 14.00 – 17.00. The first session is on Friday 6 April, & the programme ends with a graduation party created by participating students on Friday 15 June.

Cost: €65 per student (with valid student card) for 10 sessions, including all workshop materials & vegan snacks and drinks.

Applications to be received before Monday 2 April. All students (18 years + ) are welcome.

For information and an application form, please email :

#gsbc208 #greenhealthystudents #healthyurbanliving #natureisaclassroom