3. Visitor

The sustainable world starts here, or does it?

Jaap Tielbeke
Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time. Many people understand that it’s our behaviour that causes climate change and that action is needed to combat climate change. But are people prepared to play their part by reducing their use of fossil fuels, for example, and by eating less meat and dairy products? And what kind of policies effectively stimulate sustainable behaviour?  

Museums can play a major part in nudging the public forward. Through exhibitions and events of course, but also by making the ecological consequences of particular choices transparent during or prior to a museum visit (for example by promoting sustainable transport options or offering vegetarian menus etc). Let visitors see the advantages of sustainable choices and keep it simple!   

This dossier contains various examples of ways to stimulate behavioural change in visitors. There’s NEMO’s Energy Junkies exhibition, in which the science museum allows visitors to select the extent to which they’ll be confronted by the climate consequences of their choices, there’s the Culture Ferry that brings visitors to various cultural venues using eco-neutral transport, and we share sources linked to behaviour influence and change.

Lizzy Bakker (NEMO Studio)
In Energy Junkies visitors make choices for the future: How to transform fossil fuel addiction into healthier habits? Select a CO2 option, choose solutions at the climate chemist and imagine a world in which we’re cured of our addiction to fossil fuels. 
Lizzy Bakker (NEMO Studio)
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Best practices
VriendenLoterij Cultuurferry  

In the summer of 2023, the National Maritime Museum and a group of cultural venues in Amsterdam and the VriendenLoterij will launch the Culture Ferry: an eco-neutral boat linking various locations in the east and centre of Amsterdam around Oosterdok and the Plantage aimed at a wide and diverse public. One of the main aims of the project is to encourage people to visit the participating venues using sustainable and eco-neutral modes of transport. Each Culture Ferry stop is connected to a cultural venue. On board the ferry visitors discover amazing rarely-told stories about the city. 

Partners include: Buurtnetwerk De Plantage, Expeditie Oosterdok, Port of Amsterdam, Amsterdam & Partners, Waternet, Amsterdam Municipality   

Cultural partners include: ARTIS, Micropia and Het Groote Museum, Carré, Amsterdam Museum on the Amstel, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, Jewish Cultural Quarter, Museum van de Geest | Outsider Art, Luther Museum, Muziekgebouw on the IJ, National Opera & Ballet, Nemo Science Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, KIT & Tropenmuseum, Stadsherstel (NACO house) and the Resistance Museum.    


1. Urgency: sustainable tourism  

As a city, Amsterdam will face a major challenge in the coming years: how to create a new balance between liveability and hospitality. Between tourists and residents. This requires a re-examination of the way we manage tourism and recreation. And that has to be done in a responsible way. On an ecological level it means directing flows of people into and within the city in ways that impact nature and the environment as little as possible. Another goal is to direct tourists to less crowded areas. The need to make Amsterdam more sustainable and liveable makes the Culture Ferry an urgent necessity. There is a big demand among cultural venues, businesses and residents of the city for a coordinated policy for a sustainable tourist economy which will stand the test of time. One answer is the Culture Ferry. 

2. Spreading tourism   

The new ferry raises the visibility of familiar and less well-known venues in these areas for the public. It offers an attractive alternative to a visit to the Museumplein and groups who visit the Plantage and Oosterdok areas by coach or public transport.  

3. Sustainability  

Participators are conscious of their environmental footprint and are constantly examining new ways to increase the sustainability of their organisations. Cultural venues are eager to encourage visitors to think about sustainable and creative solutions which will reduce our impact on the environment and the climate. With their educational skills, museums have a huge potential to create awareness of sustainability issues and to lead the way. The new ferry is a realisation of that potential. The Culture Ferry offers an extra, additional transport alternative to the car and public transport.   

Envisaged results:  

  • Reduction of CO2 emissions and contribution to the city’s sustainability goals: encouraging visitors to leave their car at home and make a sustainable choice by using public transport.
  • Cultural venues in the Plantage and Oosterdok areas lead the way in sustainable and innovative business practices as catalysts involved in society. The goal is to get as many visitors to use the connection as possible.  
  • Promotion of liveability in the city; by spreading the flow of tourists further.
  • The ferry should increase the number of visitors to individual venues by 8%.   

Do you have an initiative related to this file that you would like to add? Email us at