Amsterdam is known for its rich history. And thanks to the numerous canals and bridges in the city, it is also known as the “Venice of the North.”. According to the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, about one-quarter of Amsterdam’s surface is covered by water and is used intensively during summer.
A lot of startups are in the process of obtaining knowledge about water quality, educating and empowering citizens, and mapping the findings on a map. Here’s the list of startups that are using Amsterdam canals and water for the greater good.
The Great Bubble Barrier
Founders: Francis Zoet, Saskia Studer, Anne Marieke Eveleens
The Great Bubble Barrier is on a mission to remove tonnes of plastics from the rivers globally. The Bubble Barrier is a curtain of air bubbles created by pumping compressed air through a perforated tube that is placed in the bottom of the canal. The rising bubbles form an upwards current, which brings the plastic to the surface of the water. The Bubble Barrier works 24×7 and does not interfere with shipping or the passage of wildlife.
Roboat is a research project and collaboration between the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It allows for creating dynamic infrastructures (floating bridges and stages), transportation of goods and people, and environmental sensing on Amsterdam’s canals. Roboat units are autonomous, electric, and modular boats that can alleviate pressure from Amsterdam’s inner city in numerous ways. Beyond Amsterdam, the Roboat has the potential to provide infrastructural improvements in other water-based cities as well.
Founder/s: Dennis Van Kappen, Floris Van Hoogenhuyze, Thijs Janssen
Barqo is a P2P boat-sharing platform. The platform connects captains who have a boat to sailors who want to explore the seas. The company aims to make sailing accessible, sustainable, and lucrative.
In June, the company inked a deal with Samboat, a Bordeaux-based online marketplace for P2P boat rentals and yacht charters, to create the most active and largest range of boats in Europe.
Together, the platforms have more than 60,000 boats available and they serve a community of no fewer than 400,000 boating enthusiasts.
Founder/s: Marnix Stokvis and Marc van Zuylen
Aquablu aims to eliminate the need for plastic waste, wastewater, and carbon dioxide emissions. The Amsterdam startup is on a mission to provide safe and clean drinking water for everyone – without using PET bottles. The company has built a smart purification system for the consumer market, which can guarantee the quality of drinking water.
Earlier this year, the company launched Aquablu Refill, a smart product that can turn tap water into pure and natural mineral water.
Amsterdam startup Zuen&Co is on a mission to save tap water consumption with a simple nozzle. The founders Simeon ter Velde and Maarten ter Velde came across a Swedish Kickstarter project by Altered, a Swedish company that developed a water-saving nozzle that can easily be retrofitted in existing tap water faucets.
According to the company, a normal faucet will use around 12 litres of water per minute but Altered’s nozzle reduces that to a mere 1.2 litres per minute.
Impressed with the product, the Dutch company adapted the Swedish invention for the Dutch market to create this awareness. It is currently running a pilot for the City of Leeuwarden as part of the Startup in Residence Northern Netherlands program.
Founder/s: Jesse de Bont and Max Dijkstra
The Dutch startup design and develop environmentally friendly solutions for the marine environment. The company’s systems stimulate biodiversity growth by providing food, shelter, and a safe space to reproduce for life below water.
With reef, the company aims to create a natural habitat, to stimulate the growth of local marine life.
In the product development phase, ReefSystems closely collaborates with research institutes, ecologists, and other organisations within the same sector to solve problems, resulting in broader implementation and an increased positive impact on the environment.
Villagepump develops and sells off-grid water purification devices at the community level. The company is on a mission to bring safe water to communities that have no access to water for drinking, cooking, washing, and other applications that save and improve lives.
The company has developed a unique hand-powered Villagepump 500 Standard and an electrified Villagepump 500 Electrified. Each device provides up to 500 liters of safe drinking water, based on ultrafiltration combined with a unique back-wash system.