WHEN: 13-14 June 2024

VENUE: Het Timmerhuis, Halvemaanpassage 90, Ground floor – conference room. Rotterdam



For more than a decade, Rotterdam is stimulating schools to transform their schoolyard into nature-based climate shelters, i.e. green-blue school environments. At the same time, substantial investments are dedicated to making public spaces greener and more climate-proof. This has resulted in more than 40 nature-based schoolyards and several water squares and extensive green areas within the city of Rotterdam to date.  

As part of the conference the COOLSCHOOLs project and practice partners open up for exchange and collaboration between the case study cities of the project (Rotterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Paris) and other cities in Europe and beyond investing in green-blue schoolyards as climate shelters and urban transition places as well as between the scientists working in the project and external practice partners and policy makers.

The conference will be a mix of scientific presentations, field trips and interactive sessions to exchange ideas and knowledge. See the outline of the program below.


Practitioners (e.g., urban planners, landscape architects), policy makers, scientists, educators working in the field of spatial planning, urban design, education and sustainability


12:00 Walk-in and registration
Infomarket: different European cities present their schoolyard greening actions, with a focus on neighborhood transitions.

13:00 Welcome and introduction
13:15 Presentations and speakers:

Coolschools research highlights
Isabel Ruiz Mallén – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Francesc Baró – Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Green agenda, climate and biodiversity in the city of Rotterdam
Miranda Nauta – City of Rotterdam

Schoolyards as community bonding space
Jolanda Maas – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

15:15 Guided city walking tour: the city walking tour will be entirely on foot (appr. 5 km). If you are unable to participate, it is possible to join at the Speeldernis again at 6 p.m.

9:00 Welcome with coffee
9:15 Presentations and speakers:

Kidwise research: Rising Water Safer Shores, and Children citizen geo-science project;
Javier Martinez and Funda Atun, University of Twente

Topic and speaker to be confirmed

10:30 Workshop: setting up an European Network on nature-based schoolyards

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Field trip and workshop Bospolder-Tussendijken

  • Community design
  • Neighborhood safari
  • Outdoor on-site education

17.00 Closing session with drinks and snacks


A nature-based climate shelter (we call them green-blue schoolyards in Rotterdam) is a climate-proof and natural playing and learning environment on schoolgrounds. It is an active playground for kids, provides cooling and shade, ensuring that children spend more time outdoors, train motoric skills, and learn about the environment. It is a green meeting place for the neighbororhood, ensures better collection and drainage of rainwater, provides food and a habitat for birds, small mammals, butterflies and bees, and is a place for learning about nature, exercising, and exploring.  This makes the square a nice place close to home, where children, teachers, parents and local residents can come into contact. This is good for mental and physical health and initiates a sustainable transition of the neighborhood towards more resilient, sustainable, and healthy urban living.  

For more information please visit the Rotterdam webpage


General transportation information

Rotterdam can be reached easily from across the country and abroad. Whether you come by train, bus, car, plane, boat or possibly even by bike, Rotterdam offers excellent connections in and around the city.

For more information please visit  https://en.rotterdam.info/visitors-info/to-rotterdam/

Locations and how to get there:

The starting location for both days is:

  • Het Timmerhuis, Halvemaanpassage 90, ground floor- conference room (Rotterdam)
  • Speeldernis (first day buffet diner)
  • Roel Langerakweg 25 (navigate to naar, Mevlanaplein, 3041 JK Rotterdam
  • Brewdog (Closing session)
  • Halvemaanpassage 1, 3011 DL Rotterdam (next door Timmerhuis)

Hope to see you in Rotterdam!

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