Four beautiful circular bridges adorn Floriade Expo 2022. But how do we ensure the upscaling in a replacement order for 85,000 bridges and viaducts in the Netherlands? During the Smart, Old & New materials symposium, the participants laid a solid foundation for clients and contractors.

Speaker and panel participant Professor of Sustainable Innovation Jacqueline Cramer will in any case get to work on the further development of the National Environmental Database. This was one of the concrete action points that participants identified in the brainstorming session to boost the construction of circular bridges. In particular, making information about recycled materials more accessible and transparent for clients and contractors helps in this regard. Data and digitisation are necessary. That also contributes to a bit of ‘leadership’, said the former minister of VROM.

Professor – Frontrunners determine the future Cramer argued that it is important that frontrunners and the peloton take each other along. In addition, the established order must be convinced of these transitions without compromise. And that is complex, because circular construction is not just a concrete project or product innovation. With regard to bridges, governments do not easily take risks with often uncertified materials for an expensive construction. Then it becomes apparent that frontrunners yet again get things moving by simply developing them. Bottom-up, according to Cramer, because “the frontrunners determine the innovation of the future.” Together with the Amsterdam Economic Board, she has developed a ten-step plan for scaling up, ‘The power of network management; Ten Building Blocks for a Smart, Green and Healthy Amsterdam Metropolitan Area’.

Excursion – Building back in the city This was also apparent during the morning programme, in which participants visited CIRWINN (Circular and Extraction of Raw Materials). This Almere company – together with local partners Reimert and Pouw – has broken, washed and treated concrete rubble from Almere in its sustainable installations for high-quality reuse, with which two of the four Floriade bridges were built. So truly circular. The Beverbrug and Brug Rondje Weerwater are both constructed with this cementless geopolymer concrete. Director Erik Kijlstra of the recycling company and Tjibbe Winkler of the Raw Materials Collective Almere hope that regional parties like this will find each other everywhere and that the Netherlands will become a little more sustainable every day.

Symposium – 25% technology, 75% social innovation
The trajectories presented around the Smart Circular Bridge and Second Life bridge also illustrated that there are areas for improvement when scaling up. Although everyone is enthusiastic about the realization of a circular structure, the continued development depends on affordability. This also requires a healthy dose of empathy from the starting position of a client. Be a partner, not a customer, is the moral. Listen to the client and show him what is possible. Or as up scaling expert Esther Stapper concluded: “25% of the success is in technology, 75% is in social innovation.” This concerns the process in which clients and contractors must learn to work together in order to successfully implement the necessary urgencies.


  • Chairman of the day: Lucas de Man
  • Martijn Veltkamp, ​​Fibercore – Smart materials (Smart Circular Bridge)
  • Erik van Doorn, Dura Vermeer – Old materials (Second Life Bridge)
  • Alexander Pouw, De Theo Pouw group and on behalf of Reimert – New materials (Beverbrug and Rondje Weerwater Brug)
  • Esther Stapper, upscaling expert – Partner in the Natural Fiber Application Center
  • dr. Jacqueline Cramer – University lecturer in sustainable innovation, chair of the concrete agreement and former minister of VROM

Action points Clients

  1. Work together without obligation and potentially purchase together
  2. More insight into innovations through knowledge sharing or databases
  3. Circular sourcing toolbox that offers clarity and unambiguity
  4. COpricing for savings, in combination with factors such as transport and distance
  5. Better enforcement of circular sourcing (which will become mandatory as of 2023)

Action points Contractors

  1. Better collaboration inside and outside the chain
  2. Arranging the sales market to better sell the product
  3. Circular sourcing requirements of the client
  4. Better highlighting of innovations to the client
  5. Listen better to the wishes and dilemmas of clients

3 more events to goIn five thematic meetings on ‘Building Bridges: a new way’, the Bridges campus theme takes on a deeper meaning:
– May 9th talk show The Floriade Bridges
– May 30th symposium Smart, old and new materials
– June 9th symposium 5D Collaboration: data and digitisation
– September 14th symposium The climate-friendly business case
– October 4th symposium Connecting circular infrastructure