About Schoonschip

A floating neighbourhood in the Johan van Hasseltkanaal, situated in the North of Amsterdam. In this ecologically and socially sustainable neighbourhood we live with 46 households, on 30 arks. 15 arks contain two households each, in a semidetached way. And we also realised a shared meetingspace on one of the arks.

For over ten years the residents worked really hard in order to design, develop and realise Schoonschip. Would you like to know more about the realisation of our project? Do visit our Greenprint.

Schoonschip lies in Buiksloterham, an area in the north of Amsterdam that used to contain mostly industrial activity, and now is transformed into a sustainable residential area.


“Dream turns into reality”

Het Parool, 2013


Schoonschip 360′

Experience our neighbourhood as if you walk through it in this virtual 360′ tour. Schoonschipper Joan tells you more about our floating neighbourhood! Pay attention: this is a 360 degrees [...]

Schoonschip bee hotel

Schoonschip gets a bee hotel! It is offered to us by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Applied University of Amsterdam), Lectoraat Management van cultuurverandering and is made by students under the [...]

European Solar Award

Schoonschip has won the European Solar Award! An initiative by the European Association for Renewable Energy. In Luxembourg we receved a cup and a certificate, as the only Dutch project. An [...]

Travelling with your smart phone

  Next Urban Mobility opens a mobility hub with sustainable cars for the residents of Schoonschip The 46 households of the floating residential area Schoonschip in Amsterdam-North are the first [...]

“Many people in Amsterdam dream of living on the water.”

Wall Street Journal, 14th of march 2013


  • The houses are very well isolated (EPC = maximally 0) and are not connected to the gas system.
  • We heat the houses with heat pumps. The pumps extract warmth from the water in the canal (aquathermie) und we use passive solar energy as much as possible.
  • The tap water is heated by solar water heaters and heatpumps. All showers are equipped with a heat recovery system.
  • We generate our own electricity with photovoltaic solar panels. Each house has a big battery that stores temporary surpluses.
  • All the houses are connected to our smartgrid. This grid enables us to exchange electricity in a smart way. With 46 households we have only one connection to the national energy grid.
  • We have separate streams for the disposal of grey water (from the shower, washing machine and so on) and black water (from the toilets). In a pilot in cooperation with Waternet in the nearby future the black water will be transposed to a floating processor (a digester), where it will be digested and turned into energy. Waternet will also extract phosphate from the waste water.
  • All houses have a green roof that covers up at least one third of the roof surface.
  • We share electrical cars, cargo bikes and e-bikes.
  • We have used sustainable materials and sustainable installations wherever we could. For more information check out our Greenprint.
  • For Schoonschip living together means: sharing forces. Cooperating with and inspiring others to live more sustainably are important starting points.
  • In order to keep the houses affordable, half of the arks at Schoonschip are developed as semidetached houses. On these arks two households live on one ark: it’s unique for the Netherlands.
  • Schoonschip started as a foundation. We now form an owners association. Besides Schoonschip founded the foundation Pioneer Vessel, that helps us unroll our ideas. In workgroups the residents take care of issues like smart grid & energy, sanitation, shared mobility, ecology, water quality and communication. Besides we have a party committee that facilitates all the meetings we organise.
  • Together with the surrounding neighbourhood we want to explore how we can contribute to an attractive living environment.
Open Source
  • Schoonschip aspires to be a frontrunner and pioneer: a breeding pond for the newest sustainable techniques and solutions. In order to achieve this we cooperate with innovative companies and governements and share our experiences. We participate in innovative projects on local, national and European level. And we share experiences on our Greenprint. For advice you can also contact Schoonschip, see our contact page.
  • We think it is important to share our sustainable and social ideas with others and to contribute with our knowledge and experience. We like to learn from others and anyone can learn from us.
  • We formulated ambitions and starting points, but at the same time provided freedom to residents and architects. This resulted in a very diverse, creative residential area.


Now that we live here, we have lots of ideas and ambitions.
To name a few:

The shared purchase of food, to realise a reduction of waste and mobility, while offering biological farmers a sales channel. To achieve this we have contact with farms in the surroundings.

We have floating gardens, where birds can brood. We want to experiment further with water purifying plants.

We want to make our shared mobility hub accessible to other local residents. We cooperate with the township and the neighbourhood, hoping to realise more shared mobility hubs.

Our shared meeting space is finished. We will use this space for meetings, yoga, movie nights, clothes swaps and more. We have more nice plans, think about a floating market or a sustainable film festival.

Helping unroll our Smart Grid. We cooperate with our energy partners and several governments, so that other projects can learn from – or even hook up to – our smart grid.

Excursions for anyone interested in living sustainably on the water, in real life and virtually. For more information visit our page on guided tours.


In the year 2020 all floating houses at Schoonschip were finalised.

Read more about the preceding process.



The last batch of arks will arrive in January 2020. We are complete!

December 2018

December 2018

The first arks are being dragged in! From March 2019, the first Schoonschippers will live there.

July 2016

July 2016

The applications for the environmental permit for the construction of the floating homes and the joint jetty have been submitted! The municipality checks whether the designs comply with the urban development plan and whether all requirements in the field of fire safety and construction are met.

May 2016

May 2016

GridFriends, a Dutch/German consortium including the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Amsterdam, the Fraunhofer Institute and the Dutch company Spectral Utilities, has been awarded a European grant for a research project that sets a new standard in smart grid technology. GridFriends wants to simultaneously implement advanced smart grid platforms in Schoonschip and a CO2-neutral residential complex in Cologne, with which local cooperatives can maximize their self-sufficiency. Smart devices and other up-to-date technology support the joint generation, storage and mutual exchange of energy.

October 2013

October 2013

Schoonschip wins Amsterdam-North tender! Maarten van Poelgeest, Amsterdam alderman at the time: “Buiksloterham in Amsterdam North is changing into an area with a lot of attention for sustainability and individual initiative. Schoonschip's self-build initiative fits in perfectly with this. In a few years, under their leadership, a unique Amsterdam neighborhood will arise with floating homes, built with people and the environment in mind.” Program manager Joost Reus of InnovationNetwork. “Schoonschip is an initiative that does everything possible to close cycles, to be economical with energy and to produce sustainable energy, heat and food. Schoonschip goes further than any other project in the field of sustainable construction and urban agriculture that I know of.”



Space&matter and Waterloft.nl are starting a feasibility study into the location. Phase 1 consists of forming a feasible plan that matches the wishes and goals of the group. During this phase, the participants commit themselves by signing a manifesto, completing an extensive questionnaire and paying a financial contribution. In Phase 2, the plans from Phase 1 have been made more concrete and adapted to the Johan van Hasselt Canal and the tender requirements set by Amsterdam-North. Metabolic is separately conducting a feasibility study in the field of sustainability: a total solution for both Schoonschip and the neighboring Broedplaats De Ceuvel.



After a two-year search for a suitable location, Schoonschip is aiming all arrows at the Johan van Hasselt Canal in Buiksloterham, the ideal location for pioneering and making dreams come true.



Foundation Schoonschip gets a subsidy by the Stuurgroep Experimenten Volkshuisvesting. It enables us to hire consultancy firm De Regie. They help us to bring our plan on paper. With this plan the foundation gets a loan by the Provincie Noord-Holland. Marjan: ‘That night, after working on it for one and a half year, we drank our first bottle of champagne.’



Marjan de Blok interviews Pauline Westendorp, then manager of the autarkic GeWoonboot, and is greatly inspired by this form of self-sufficient life on the water. This is how her idea to start a collective citizens' initiative was born. That same evening, Thomas Sykora joined as co-initiator. Marjan and Thomas put their plan on an A4 sheet and soon know how to make kindred spirits enthusiastic.

“I notice that the interest for floating houses is growing. A nice example: the sustainable floating houses of Schoonschip.”

Volkskrant, 7th of oktobre 2016

The residents

Schoonschip offers a place of residence for 46 households and a bit more than 100 residents, in all ages.

Developing, designing and building Schoonschip was a tremendously long and laborious process. For a long periode it remained unsure if the neighbourhood would be realised and whether the ambitions we had set were feasible. Schoonschip is proud of the fact that the group of residents remained so enthusiastic, putting in substantial investments in time and finance, without having the guarantee that in the end it would be succesful. Because of this development process and the close collaboration throughout the years, the residents became a close group.

Lot 21, fltr: Theo, Ferrie, Paul and Thomas

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Thomas Sykora (filmmaker, photographer, sustainable entrepreneur):

I asked my mother and her friend Paul to join me, and than my uncle Theo. Partly due to financeability, but also thinking forward: if I were to have children, my family can sometimes take care of them. And reversed I can help them when things grow tough for them.

Lot 17, fltr: Timo, Yvonne, Markus and Emil

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Markus Schmid (campaign leader WISE):

We chose to build with straw bales. You literally put straw bales in the wall of your house. As far as we know this has not been applied before on a floating house. But it definitely won’t be a hobbitstee. Our architect Hans Kuijpers was inspired by modern Japanese architecture.

Lot 30, fltr: Joshua, Matthijs, Miro, Milan and Nienke

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Matthijs Bourdrez (sustainable engineer):

I really look forward to all the possibilities that living at Schoonschip will provide. I promise: to live sustainably is a great kick. Think about driving electric cars or taking a shower knowing that the water is recycled. En no monthly energy bill!

Lot 22, fltr: Marjolein, Thijmen, Lucas and Sjoerd

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Marjolein Smeele (architect):

Being an architect I feel the urgency to set a sustainable example. If I don’t do it, who will? Besides in raising my children, I want to show them that sustainability is evident. We still have to think about it, hopefully they won’t.

Lot 10, fltr: Mijke, Linne, Froukje and Wouter

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Mijke de Kok (architect):

To us it is a dream to become self-sufficient, and to build our own sustainable house and surroundings. These two dream get together here at Schoonschip. It is truely special to be a part of this group enthusiastic residents.

Lot 7, fltr: Lieve Sue, Mike and Marius

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Lieve Sue de Blok (producer/director) & Marius Gottlieb (creative/cook/presentator):

Both of us wanted to live on a houseboat. Now it is even a sustainable houseboat. Because iniatiator Marjan is Lieve’s sister, she knew the project from the very start. It was always a dream to participate in it.

Lot 24, fltr: Siti, Bart, Boet, Marijke and Martijn

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Bart Mol (scrum master)

We hebben het hele ontwikkeltraject in goede harmonie afgelegd, met vele sessies bij kozijn-, deuren-, trappenleveranciers en diverse leuke eettentjes. Ook zakelijk hebben we elkaar inmiddels gevonden. Siti & Martijn hebben bijvoorbeeld de organisatie gedaan van het symposium ter ere van de lancering van ons eerste boek ‘Eet als een expert’.

Lot 9, fltr: Sascha, Olga, Zoja

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Olga Bednarz (artist)

Designing our house was a long process. After several years and up to five different designs, we have reached our goal: a simple yet functional space with some great twists. It was often difficult to go for sustainable materials and stay within our budget, yet we have always find ways to succeed. Now we are busy choosing the right materials for the interior design. And we really look forward to the moment when we can decorate our house with plants, inside and outside!

Lot 8, fltr: Corinne & Petr

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Corinne van Egeraat (documentary filmmaker)

It has always been Petr’s dream to live on the water. He is an aquatic animal. He practices several water sports and is simply happy on the water. Corinne found his fantasy to live on a house boat, when he had just arrived at Amsterdam, rather a touristic cliché. Houseboats often are not very practical, the ceilings are low (Petr is 2 meters), they are expensive, small and not energy efficient. So to say: for tourists. But then in 2013 we heard of Schoonschip. We both were super enthusiastic: we applied and got accepted. We felt so lucky!

Lot 11, fltr: Peer, Hanneke, Manon, Dylan, Brian and Bo

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Peer de Rijk (director environmental ngo WISE)


‘My first years in Amsterdam I lived in a location called “The end of the world”. It was situated on a deserted island with water on all sides. I love special spots and I like to be surrounded by water. When I read something about Schoonschip I said to myself, knowing that they worked on it for years: ‘I must and will be a part of this.’

Lot13, fltr: Harm Jan, Jan Peter, Nicole and Sander

(Picture: Manon van der Zwaal)

Harm Jan Kinkhorst (tv producer) and Jan Peter Pellemans (tv producer and trainer)


‘We hope that Schoonschip will be a chearful and imaginative floating village, where we all help each other.’

Guided tours

Schoonschip offers guided tours. We are very proud of our project. We worked on it for years and are happy to share our knowledge and experiences!

In the Media

Amsterdam Donought city

Amsterdam wants to be a flourishing, innovating and inclusive city for all its residents, respecting planetary boundaries. Using the concept of [...]

Tight Ship

‘A group of like-minded residents turn an uninviting stretch of canal in Amsterdam into an energy-independent floating community.’ [...]

Floating on the water

An item of the German Deutsche Welle featuring Schoonschip, for Eco India: Dutch architects have created a floating neighborhood named [...]

Besser geht immer

In this German report Astrid Frohloff is looking for new attractive and affordable ways of living. She passed by at Schoonschip and spoke with [...]

In the streets of

AT5, our local tv station made a visit They took a look at the house of Schoonschippers Wouter, Bart and Matthijs. You can watch the item (in [...]

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