Europese samenwerkingen en European Network of Living Labs

What is a Living Lab?

Unfortunately, there's no common definition for a living lab. For us, being a living lab means doing real life experiments that have intersectional impact while working together with every part of society: students, citizens, business and governments. We are one of the few Dutch Living Labs that are part of the European Network of Living Labs. Next year, we are scaling up our living lab by contributing to a food forest at a pre vocational school. The food forest provides our living lab to conduct more practical research on water and soil. 


Our story

Our living lab is a legacy from a public private collaboration and an initiative from the biggest blue green school in Europe, Yuverta. Our living lab is located at a VET school Dordrecht, The Netherlands. Our playground is a urban area, while being surrounded by sweet water, wetlands and a lot of agriculture on both clay and peat soil.

Flash forward to 2023. We’re aspiring to develop a lively community. Our growing network currently consists of:

  • A head of practical research on the topics water and soil.
  • Teachers on both VET and practical research level in the field of water.
  • A growing network of public and private parties, such as municipalities, waterboards and innovative entrepreneurs in the field of climate adaptation.

Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal

The right amount of water, with the right quality, at the right time. That’s our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). By bringing together all parts of society, we want to contribute to  making this goal reality.

Our why

We are reaching the limits of our water systems. It’s 2023 and we are heading towards water shortages within seven years. With alarming forecasts like these, our BHAG seems far away.

In our home country, The Netherlands, we have been taught efficient ways of water management with a focus on getting the water out. We have focussed on our delta works, flushing water away as soon as possible and pumping the groundwater to keep our lands dry.  

However, the times are changing. Climate is changing. Or should we say: climate has changed?

It is time to work with our waters instead of against. As with every sustainability related topic, a holistic and systemic approach is necessary. Thus, when we address our water we of course need to address our soil as well.

We believe that by enabling collaboration between education, business, governments and citizens, we can create awareness, build intersectional partnerships and empower the future professionals with the right green skills and know how to conduct practical research in the field of water and soil.

Who we are

De Blauwe Hotspot (the blue hub) is a hub for students and professionals in the field of water, soil and climate adaptation. We origin from a VET school, Yuverta. Our living lab is situated on a campus in Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Our values

In our living lab, our experiments are diverse but all share some common values

  • We are inclusive. Triple or Quadruple helix… inclusivity is important!
  • We love curiosity. We aspire to spark curiosity among our students and contribute to green skills among youngsters and empower teachers to do the same with our practical research toolbox.
  • The future is blue green.

Our methods

We are here to kickstart collaboration between students, business, government and society to test, monitor and learn about blue green innovations, related to water, soil or climate adaptation.


Field work! Our head of practical research shows how to gather data on soil quality by identifying and counting worms 

Regional projects

We have learned that in order to maintain a positive learning culture, regional and practical projects work best. All projects can be found on our website, in Dutch. Some examples are:

  • Our collaborations with the municipality of Dordrecht on water quality.
  • Our research on sustainable, nature based and local alternatives for the substrate layer in green roofs.
  • A field research on climate adaptive cities.

European projects

As a living lab, we are part of the European Network of Living Labs. Additionally, we are proud members of the Platform of Vocational Excellence – Water scale up project. Within this project, we contribute to an European collaboration in order to develop innovative education material on water and to work on making the water sector more attractive to work in.

Let’s meet!

We are always open to (virtually) meet and explore opportunities to work together. We think our Living Lab can be of value for you, when you are looking for:

  • A connection with (vocational) education.
  • Tools for practical research, such as field research, monitoring, data collecting when it’s water, soil or climate adaptation related,
  • Sharing experiences in building a regional, SME or governmental network related to water, soil or climate adaptation.

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