Netherlands Archives - Earth Charter

10-week Youth Online Training Course: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics to Start 19 June, Deadline to Apply 17 May!

Don’t miss the deadline to sign up for our next 10-week youth online training programme in Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics. The course will begin on 19 June and participants will need to apply by programaWednesday 17 May! This course is designed to train young people around the world, from the ages of 18-30, on how to become active leaders in their community towards a more just, sustainable, and ethical world.

The course will offer you an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills on certain themes such as leadership, ethics, sustainability, Earth Charter principles, Eco literacy, Systems Thinking, and how to successfully design and implement a workshop in your community.

Our goal at the end of the course is to successfully strengthen your knowledge and skills on leadership in sustainability, enhance your consciousness to contribute to the greater good, inspire like-minded individuals to collaborate across borders and to carry out your work in your communities, and develop the confidence to use your voice as a leader!

Alumni of this course have the opportunity to become an Earth Charter Young Leader (ECYL). This programme is a year-long leadership opportunity to serve as a focal point in the Earth Charter Youth Network to mobilize and engage other young people around the Earth Charter vision and principles.

Register now by visiting our site:


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Carbon6: From space to place – bringing the Earth Charter into practice

Nadine Huids is a member of the Earth Charter Young Leaders Programme, a year-long leadership programme where members serve as focal points of the Earth Charter Youth Network.  Nadine studied Built Environment and Architecture with a focus in cities and cultural heritage and works in the Netherlands as a Program Manager with the Walas team to develop vital and lively places for people to live. Below, find her reflection on how the project and place where she works, Carbon6, embodies Earth Charter principles.

Let me take you with me to work. Deep in the south of Holland, in the town of Heerlen, I enter the area of Carbon6. The early morning sun awakens and starts to lighten up the big vibrant complex. People walking, talking, rushing into their morning rituals as they start their day. The parking attendant guides all visitors to a parking spot. Passing by, the smiley gardener waves good morning while taking care of the fresh growing vegetables in the inner garden. Together with the greenery team they are cleaning the outdoor space. Inside, I am welcomed by the people at the service desk. They offer me my daily mail. I walk through the corridors. The creative entrepreneurs are starting up their workshops, business meetings are getting started, the smell of fresh coffee comes towards me. I’m ready to start my day. The technical service is getting ready to upgrade my office, housekeeping swarms through the building, the Urban Farmer feeds the trout on the other side building, the Popschool is setting up their drums to give music lessons. For some, this might sound like an extraordinary day. For me, it is a pleasure to walk through this building every day to work.


City Farming. Photo Ton Toemen

What is the story behind this ordinary day? Heerlen had a flourishing coal mining industry until the sixties. After closing the monocultural industry, Heerlen faced challenges with decades of economic decline. The National Statistics Office came instead in 1965, to bring some employment to the region and built a 500,000 sq. ft complex. Eventually, after 44 years, when one of the largest employers decided to move to a new centre, the complex became vacant. The city had two options; demolish the old building or find a new meaning for the complex. Luckily it decided the second option.

Carbon6, the new name of the building, has been making big changes in Heerlen since 2012. It facilitates a great opportunity for the region, developing an ambitious vision to revitalize the vacant building and its site. The complex is now home to the largest creative cluster in Holland, including the region’s largest pop music school and artists in painting, glassworks and digital media. Arts and culture, start-up companies and social enterprises now have a place in the building. The Dutch National Mining Museum, also located at Carbon6, honours the proud history of the region. This museum is located in an 1897 mineshaft building, and is classified as one of UNESCO’s top-100 monuments.

The community has developed many successful initiatives. A total of 1200 people are currently employed and bring new dynamics to the area. But what does this story have to do with the Earth Charter? The vision of Carbon6 is guided by the Earth Charter, with two technical core elements as driver for the concept: Economy and ecology. Innovations for circular economy, green energy and urban farming are prototyped and implemented in the buildings to improve the sustainability of the complex and to incubate new businesses. By improving the building bit by bit, it is on its way to being carbon neutral. The project fosters a vital society and sustainable practices, and the financial situation has completely turned around.


By using the Earth Charter as an inspiration and a guideline, we can bring its principals into practice and offer a practical example to inspire others. Interested in more details? Have a look at and

Gerben van Straaten Founder and CEO of World of Walas is the visionary behind the concept EcoGrowth – Carbon6. Carbon6 in Heerlen is one initial project. Since 2012, Gerben leads international platforms for change in North America, Europe, China and Latin America.

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Summerlabb: Bringing together art, music and sustainable cities in the Netherlands

earth-charter-stand-summerlabbWhat better place to share values and stories than at a festival? During the Summer of 2016, the Earth Charter Cities team partnered with Summerlabb, a traveling festival bringing together art, music, research institutes, polytechnic universities and sustainability companies. The festival explored our use of energy, water, light, architecture and food, and showcased inspiring innovations and solutions for communities driven to become more sustainable. Hundreds of children, adults, business professionals and music lovers from all over Holland gathered together to celebrate and learn. Surrounded by music, culture and art, participants explored sustainable innovations and their stories in Rotterdam, Groningen and several other cities in the Netherlands.

Earth Charter Cities is a collaborative movement that brings together passionate amateurs, experts, and organizations from across the world to inspire improvements in principle areas of the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto. This manifesto is a call to action developed by Gerben van Straaten of World of Walas to help communities realize the Earth Charter vision. After an almost two-year drafting process with key stakeholders of the Earth Charter, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto was launched in The Hague in 2010.

waste-watchers-art-barrelGuided by the Earth Charter, Earth Charter Cities shared with festival goers on the importance of bringing ethics back into our lives and understanding the value and importance of sustainability. They encouraged visitors to tell their stories of connection to nature and our Earth, and were inspired by the story of the West Coast First Nations peoples who impart indigenous teachings for a more sustainable way of life in Canada. Artist James Jetlag translated the story of Earth Charter Cities into a beautiful work of art, one oil drum to represent each chapter of the Earth Charter/Earth Charter Cities Manifesto.

At Summerlabb, Earth Charter Cities raised awareness of the Earth Charter and promoted the understanding of its inclusive ethical vision through starting conversations about ethics with curious visitors and passersby. They invited others to heed the call to action to transition to sustainable ways of living on the planet and to envision future cities taking care of mother Earth and the community of life. They asked, beyond technical innovations, what are economic and social-cultural aspects of this transition? They shared the Earth Charter as a tool, an ethical guideline, for our daily and professional lives.

For more information on Gerben van Straaten and the story of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, please go to For more information on Summerlabb, visit


one-earth-communityAuthor: Nadine Huids, Earth Charter Young Leader

Nadine studied Built Environment and Architecture with a focus in cities and cultural heritage. During her studies she learned a lot about technical innovations and sustainability to redevelop industrial buildings. Taught and inspired by Gerben van Straaten, Walas Concepts CEO, she learned how to create truly healthy, inclusive, and sustainable communities. She believes in the need to enhance economic, social, and cultural values within urban settings. Driven by the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, Nadine works in the Netherlands as a Program Manager with the Walas team to develop vital and lively places for people to live.

Editor: Josephine Schrott, Earth Charter Young Leader

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Dudoc Vancouver—A business model for sustainable design based on Earth Charter ethics


In the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, the Dutch Urban Design Centre (Dudoc) has Earth Charter Principle 7c at the core of its business model. Since opening its doors in October 2014, Dudoc Vancouver has been promoting the development, adoption and equitable transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Specifically, the centre showcases Dutch and other European companies’ environmentally sustainable products and services to the North American market. Dudoc Vancouver also serves as a forum for exchanging ideas among designers, urban planners, developers and architects across disciplines and continents.

Dudoc Vancouver’s goals, founded on the Earth Charter vision, are to:

  • Protect the environment and vital resources while creating positive outcomes for the communities in which we live.
  • Embrace creativity, innovation and change through diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Build enduring and reliable relationships through collaboration and engagement of citizens in our transition to a healthier world.
  • Induce change of current unsustainable practices by providing rational applications of our innovative techniques.
  • Provide visionary leadership and interactive management in the creation of healthy, resilient and diverse cities.


CEO Gerben van Straaten is part of the global Earth Charter movement. He was working as an urban designer in both the Netherlands and Canada and realized that there is a huge breadth and depth of technological and design innovation in the Netherlands. Meanwhile in Canada, demand for such innovations is growing rapidly. Van Straaten founded Dudoc to bridge the gap between these two places. North American city builders interested in making their projects more environmentally sustainable can now look to Dudoc for the latest European innovations.

An example of the partners exhibiting their products at Dudoc Vancouver is Jaga, a manufacturer of hydronic heaters. Jaga’s guiding values include respect for nature, as well as a passion for creativity, innovation and collaboration. Their energy-efficient systems help reduce the energy demand of buildings. They have also developed eco-design radiators made from 100% recycled materials, an example of applying Earth Charter principle 7a (reduction, reuse and recycling of materials). Dudoc Vancouver helps companies such as Jaga by providing a shared showroom space to exhibit products, international business development advice, market research, local connections and customer service.


In addition to the showroom, Dudoc facilitates the exchange of ideas that make our cities and buildings better places for all people. In the spirit of Earth Charter principle 14 on life-long learning, the centre enables a variety of activities in its space: panel discussions, educational talks, upcycling competitions, sustainable product showcases, art displays, exhibitions of Dutch Design, professional development workshops and more. Part of the space is used for flexible co-working for visiting partners as well as local freelancers and researchers. It also houses the City Hub Initiative – a space for young change-makers to meet, learn, and collaborate in order to make their projects a reality.

Through this combination of international business development, education and co-operation, Dudoc Vancouver strives to encourage sustainability in the built and social environment and aims to be a successful example of the Earth Charter in action.


To learn more about Dudoc Vancouver, visit or find Dudoc on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Author: Josephine Schrott, Earth Charter Young Leader

Originally from Germany, but now calling Vancouver, Canada her home, Josephine Schrott is helping establish a Canadian Earth Charter network, with a focus on youth & community engagement. She studied International Relations and is passionate about building sustainable communities and inspired by the Earth Charter’s holistic approach addressing humanity’s most pressing problems. As part of World of Walas, she works at Dudoc Vancouver, a centre enabling European businesses to transfer their innovations to North America. In her time off, she does local activist and volunteer work and enjoys the beautiful Canadian outdoors.


jschrott[at], 604.681.2971
100-1445 West Georgia St; Vancouver, BC


  • “dudoc-vancouver-showroom” View of Dudoc Vancouver showroom. PC: Edward Lai
  • “dudoc-vancouver-roundtable” We Are Cities Roundtable. PC: Paula Leyton
  • “dudoc-vancouver-dutch-design-exhibition” Dutch Design Supermodels exhibition. PC: Anna Brayko
  • “dudoc-vancouver-upcycled-fashion” Upcycled Fashion Show. PC: Anna Brayko
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Global Goals Accelerator Meetings: Achieving the SDGs in the Netherlands


Global Goals Accelerator is an initiative to speed up consciousness and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Netherlands and beyond. The initiative was co-created by Sustainability Dialogue (Veronique Swinkels) and Earth Charter Netherlands (Alide Roerink) and carried out from June 7-July 5, 2016 with the support of various partners.


The collaborators organized a series of events, bringing together 30-40 diverse actors from different fields to focus in on a couple select SDGs per meeting. Each meeting began and ended with a young artist singing and playing a work related to the day’s theme, and was followed by presentations from top academics and practitioners who established the national and global context. Participants then had dinner together as they delved into conversations in small groups to discuss targeted solutions. Through this process, the Global Goals Accelerator engaged people across governmental and organizational sectors, both students and professionals, to take on the challenge of the SDGs in the Netherlands.


In addition to a greater awareness, urgency, and action directed toward the SDGs, the meetings have sparked new relationships and conversations, as participants continue their conversations on LinkedIn and plan to reconnect in August 2016.


More information is available in Dutch on the Global Goals Accelerator website:  Photo credits to Barry Jonas at GEOMAN photography.

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Earth Charter Day Dinner – Sowing a culture of peace through building relationships

earth-charter-day-dinner-holland (2)On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 friends and colleagues dined and dialogued together to celebrate International Earth Charter Day at the SBI Estate Zonheuvel in Holland. June 29, 2016 also marks the 16th anniversary of the day the Earth Charter which was historically launched in The Hague in the year 2000.

In addition to bringing people together to celebrate Earth Charter Day, the event aimed to stimulate dialogue and raise awareness of the Earth Charter principles and how they relate to the Sustainable Development Goals. Conversations built upon the fundamental question: ´How do we want to treat our Earth and each other, and how can we achieve that? ´ Specific topics of conversation included inclusive economic growth and employment, sustainable consumption and production of food, and the strength of Africa.

ceremony-memorial-treeThe event began with a visit to a 16-year old memorial tree which had been planted on a past Earth Charter Day. Participants performed a small ceremony and shared a few words about the Earth Charter, future generations, and our collective opportunity and responsibility to care for the community of life.

Moving inside to share a meal, Economist Professor Johan Witteveen kicked off a series of conversations planned for the evening. He spoke about the impact of Brexit (UK´s exit from the European Union) on Europe and indicated that Brexit offers the EU an opportunity to revise its unrealistic target for budget deficits. This would give more room for countries that are doing well economically to invest in health care and education and to help countries with less economic resources. Among varying perspectives, there was a common underlying current: we need an economy that takes account of future generations.

michael-savage-and-joszi-smeets-sustainable-foodJoszi Smeets, Director of the Youth Food Movement (YMF) and Michael Savage of EOSTA both stressed the importance of the true cost of Food. Reflecting the true cost of food is the only way to establish a fair comparison between organic and traditional products. The Youth Food Movement has launched a new initiative to call for food education in schools since many children are disconnected from their food and have limited knowledge about what they eat and where it comes from. YFM, with the support of EOSTA, has launched a campaign to convince parliament to discuss including food education in schools. They´re circulating a petition with the aim of 40,000 signatures for food education in schools:

Bas Maassen and Neville Mchina brought the topic ‘the strength of Africa’ to the discussion. Bas runs a project in Mali, the Dogon Project, which helps women begin small businesses through training, education, and micro-credit loans. So far, 5,000 women have started their own businesses through the project, and they hope that number will double by 2020.

Neville Mchina, a young African man currently living and working in Holland, pointed to the trauma that residents of Africa have endured and how that has in many cases created a victim mentality. He is committed to the empowerment of other young Africans, and is working to support other young people in realizing that they themselves can solve the problems they face. To do this work, Neville founded the initiative Rise Together for Africa which seeks to support African students in Europe in discovering their responsibility and leadership to use their new knowledge and networks to strengthen their home continent.

The evening concluded with the exchange of contacts and a commitment to support the initiatives put forward. Participants extend their recognition and gratitude to the event sponsors: Foundation SBI, Inner Sense, and Earth Charter Netherlands. Organizers plan to continue the tradition of gathering together for dinner and dialogues each year to celebrate the International Earth Charter Day.

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Earth Charter Netherlands organizes Journey of the Universe youth event

journey-of-the-universe-netherlands-december-2015-youth At the end of 2015, the Earth Charter Netherlands network organized a youth event entitled “Journey of the Universe Cinema” to showcase the Journey of the Universe film and guide participants in interactive workshop exercises and discussion. The project received financial support from The Valley Foundation and the Thomas Berry Foundation. A special Journey of the Universe Cinema was organized in A Lab in Amsterdam and welcomed 55 participants plus another several organizers and special guests.

The goals of the project were as follows:

1.    Organize an intimate and enticing screening of the film “Journey of the Universe” for strategically selected young people in The Netherlands

2.    Harvest insights on how viewers are moved by this film, towards new perspectives and action.

3.    Stimulate guests to replicate similar screenings in their networks.journey-of-the-universe-netherlands-december-2015-youth-1

4.    Generate a toolbox that will facilitate the organization of further screenings of the film.

The organizers were very happy with the outcome as the project turned out to be very inspiring, dynamic, and potentially very effective. Based on the experiences and insights, the organizers designed the Toolkit as one of the concrete outcomes of the project.

Here are a few statements from participants:

“I now know where I stand in the midst of this enormous universe.”

journey-of-the-universe-netherlands-december-2015-youth“It was so nice to inspire each other, I will go home with a warm and satisfied feeling.”

“I am very grateful for being part of this evening.”

“The combination of film and workshops was very appealing, I discussed it with many people.”

Earth Charter Netherlands encourages others to also organize a Journey of the Universe Cinema with friends or other members of your network. The Toolkit can help (Download here: JotU Toolkit), but in case you have further questions, please write to [email protected] or visit the facebook page.

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Earth Charter Affiliate in the Netherlands publishes book in English

Brigitte van Baren, Earth Charter Affiliate with InnerSense of the Netherlands, and Johannes Witteveen, former Dutch Finance Minister and former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, have collaborated on a book called “Heart for the Earth, Heart for Yourself”. Professor Witteveen is a scholar of Sufism and is still engaged in the Sufi movement. Brigitte van Baren is a Zen teacher, coach, and author. The book was launched in Dutch in September and the electronic English version is available after November 23rd, in advance of the Paris COP21 Climate Conference.

Find more information in the attached press release.
Press release Heart for the earth

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ECI hosts fifth EC+15 webinar of 2015

On November 5th, 2015, Earth Charter International held its fifth webinar in a series of online events to celebrate the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary. ECI held the event in the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica on the University for Peace campus. The event was attended by more than 50 people from the UPEACE community with another dozen joining in online.

The special guest speaker was Mr. Jan Pronk, former Dutch Development Cooperation Minister and Former Minster for Environment, a hands-on leader in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Mr. Pronk was also the Chairman of the 6th Conference of Parties UN Convention on Climate Change (2000-2001) and Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2001-2003). He is now a Special Advisor to the Earth Charter International.

Mr. Pronk took about 30 minutes to talk about his experience and observations of climate policy over the last 20-plus years. He described the history of climate negotiations, stressing the importance of achievements in policies developed in the 1990s, especially the articulation of five major terms or principles: 1) The Precautionary Principle; 2) Common but Differentiated Responsibilities; 3) Responsibilities beyond national borders; 4) Sustainability; and, 5) Fair and equitable solutions. He also emphasized the importance that the Kyoto Protocol negotiations managed to agree on a binding treaty and the fact that we cannot rely on voluntary agreements only. He continued to describe the deficits in the current process and measures to be taken at the COP21 in Paris starting at the end of November. Mr. Pronk highlighted the drawbacks to the voluntary carbon reduction strategy, the necessity of questioning the right to comfort lifestyles by the wealthy countries, and he lamented what he observes to be an inadequate response to the climate challenge by states in the current negotiations.

The observations and explanations by Mr. Pronk were followed by more than 45 minutes of questions and answers by both the audience in the room and the online participants. The back and forth was lively and informative. Mostly, Mr. Pronk offers a pessimistic opinion of the prospects for a good climate deal and, although he doesn’t spell out consequences, he cited Darfur and Syria as being examples of climate change exacerbated tragedies. While he also didn’t explicitly state it, his talk implies his thinking that more of these occurrences will take place in the future. Speaking about the Earth Charter +15 slogan, “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny”, Mr. Pronk shared the feeling that on one hand this notion is a dream and on the other it is a fact. He expressed concern about who is to decide global society’s common destiny, and that present-day consequences might not affect the whole world community in the same way. He also placed an emphasis on the predominance of globalization as a market phenomenon, and lamented that the market paradigm frames the global mindset, making the “Earth Community” more of an Earth marketplace than a community. He also stated that while the idea of the Earth Community is a vision, it is also a reality, only one that has not embraced the values of the Earth Charter.
You can see and hear the recording of the session here.

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Earth Charter Affiliate in the Netherlands tests new game with Earth Charter values

Earth Charter Affiliate from the Netherlands Inner Sense’s Brigitte van Baren has modified a game she created, called “Show Your True Colours” by including Earth Charter values. This past week, she offered a workshop at the Avans Business College in Breda, the Netherlands, where she was able to use the modified version of her game that includes the Earth Charter. This workshop was organized during the Avans College Week of Sustainability in October 2015, a week of events related to sustainability.

The Earth Charter Show Your True Colors workshop was an interactive session during which participants played the Show Your True Colors game that Brigitte had modified with Earth Charter values. The session allowed the participants to look at different situations from a variety of perspectives derived from the principles of the Earth Charter and related to concrete examples. An assessment of personal qualities of individual participants led to them identifying specific principles of the Earth Charter and enabled both the teachers and students to define follow-up actions through dialogue. In general, the personal insights from participants encouraged them to think about actions they could take regarding environmental conservation and increased and improved communication with other people, communities, and the Earth itself.

The workshop was a success and participants came away with new knowledge, perspectives, and inspiration. Here are a few statements by participants:

“The exercise is a very nice way to learn more about yourself and others.”
“The workshop has given me more insight about society and how important your own actions in it are.”
“The session will make me think twice about the environmental aspects of everyday things.”

For those who are interested in working with the Show Your True Colours Method – Earth Charter version, you can contact Brigitte van Baren: [email protected] 

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