Green-roofed bus shelter in Utrecht

Join us to solve urban challenges together

As cities worldwide attract more and more people, public space is coming increasingly under pressure. Climate change and rapid urbanisation are intensifying the problems faced by people living in urban areas. Such a global problem requires a global cooperation. That’s why the Netherlands invites national and international experts active in solving urban challenges to join the Closer Cities platform, where they can share ideas and success stories. This way, cities worldwide can learn from each other and replicate what works.

Join a global network for futureproof cities

During the pandemic, connectivity played a vital role in stabilising society and the economy. As city, regional and national governments around the world look to build back better, we want to help them by sharing great ideas online via the closer cities website.

The Netherlands is keen to share our knowledge and expertise with our international partners and learn from others. Via our embassies, NBSOs and Innovation Attachés across the world, we hope to accelerate the spread of initiatives which address the sustainable development goals, climate change or just make cities better places to live.

Online event 14 February

On 14 February 2022, we will share best practices worldwide during an interactive online event. At this event, we hear from urban experts on vital cities, citizens' initiatives, inclusive innovation and the importance of sharing. We share with you the lessons learned by the Closer City platform. We give the floor to project initiators who tell about their experiences with setting up projects and sharing information with others. We also dive into how projects can be shared and adapted to be implemented elsewhere in the world. During the event prizes will be awarded to the best urban solutions. Register now: Home | Solving Urban Challenges Together (momice.events).


Who can join?

The Netherlands invites actors active in developing or implementing urban solutions, including:

  • Municipalities (civil servants, city planners, mayors)
  • Private sectors (tech startups, scaleups, businesses)
  • Researchers,
  • (citizen) Inventors, technology makers

There is no need for Dutch involvement to participate. If you have a good idea we want to hear from you!

How to submit your idea

If you have an inspiring idea, it is easy to submit a project. Simply follow the steps and fill in the form (takes approximately 30 minutes).

Step 1. Go to the Closer Cities website

Step 2. Click on Share a project

Step 3. Fill in the questionnaire (project form) and share!

What's in it for you?

Closer Cities will analyse the data it receives to research the best ways to share ideas. Which factors make sharing successful and which act as barriers to successful sharing. Participants will become members of a community which benefit from the learnings on boosts and barriers to urban knowledge transfer. The initiatives do not have involve a Dutch organisation/ partner. We are just as keen to learn from you as we are to share our knowledge on how to keep cities liveable now and in the future.


Success story from Utrecht

One of the inspiring ideas on the Closer Cities website is Utrecht’s green-roofed bus shelters. The idea has also been implemented in other Dutch cities and in cities in the UK, Germany and Sweden. The effect of green-roofed bus shelters is to:

  1. Cool the cities
  2. Increase biodiversity
  3. Capture water

Advertising on the bus shelters invites citizens to apply for a subsidy for a green roof on their own property, thus inspiring cooling measures across the whole of the city. By introducing more greenery into streets, the bus shelters also make the cities more pleasant places to live.

Watch Maurice Prijs civil servant in the City of Utrecht tells about the living roofs on the city's bus stops and how his idea has spread across the world.

Or download it from NL's Youtube channel.


Inspiring story: Horticulture in Ghana for a brighter future

The Horticulture in Ghana for a brighter future project is a Ghanaian-Dutch cooperation to bring about sustainable growth in the Ghanaian horticulture sector. The TU Delft together with the Kwadaso Agricultural College (KAC) and Holland Green Tech Ghana (HGT) developed a 4-month vocational training programme to equip the youth to find a job or become an entrepreneur in the horticulture sector.

About Closer Cities

Closer Cities is a non-profit initiative founded by:

  • Erasmus Initiative 'Vital Cities and Citizens’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies
  • Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities
  • Nesselaar Urban Consultancy

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.