Fishing nets and garbage bags for Canal Parade visitors

The annual Gay Pride in Amsterdam attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. For many the festive event, with the Canal Parade on the water as its climax, is a reason to really go to town. A party like this generates a lot of litter and that is why we attended the Canal Parade 2017 to encourage visitors to fish plastic out of the canals and put it in garbage bags.

On the 5th of August we filled three canal boats with Plastic Soup Foundation volunteers and sailed out ahead of the parade. The boats were equipped with fishing nets and garbage bags which were handed out to houseboat owners and Canal Parade visitors. Bearing a large Amsterdam Clean Water banner we showed as many people as possible that everyone can help keep water clean. On the way we also fished litter out of the canal. Through this activity we contributed to the three-year Amsterdam Clean Water project for cleaner water in and around Amsterdam’s canals and the River IJ.

Amsterdam Clean Water publishes film about clean canals in the city

Every year, a substantial amount of litter ends up in the Amsterdam canals, shores and IJ River. Amsterdam hosts around one million visitors per month. Considering the fact that this number is growing rapidly, it becomes increasingly important to keep our city clean. For this reason, Amsterdam Clean Water launched a promotional video about the importance of clean waters in Amsterdam.

The film follows a number of inhabitants who are actively and passionately involved in cleaning our canals. The purpose of the film is to make tourists, residents and shopkeepers aware of the large amount of litter that easily ends up in the water. The film is suitable to be shown in trams, buses and trains. Contact us if you are interested in screening the video for free.


Amsterdam Clean Water has been founded in September 2016 by the municipality of Amsterdam, Waternet, Port of Amsterdam, Plastic Soup Foundation, PlasticsEurope Nederland, NRK and Berenschot, as part of a large central ‘clean city’ project from the municipality of Amsterdam. It is a long-term program of 3 years targeted to bring structural change in waste management concerning the waters of Amsterdam. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of litter that ends up in canals and the IJ River each year. Within the program, several activities and projects are organized each year to raise awareness and create structural solutions.

A sustainable message with confronting Christmas installation

Today, on the 6th of December 2016, the City Council of Amsterdam will open the remarkable exposition ‘Winter Wonder Wasteland’ at the Stopera in Amsterdam. The goal of the exposition is to gain attention and create awareness about trash floating around Amsterdam, on land, in the canals and in the IJ River. The playful but confronting Christmas installation is part of the project ‘Amsterdam Schoon’ (Amsterdam Clean Water) that was established last year.

With this project, the City Council of Amsterdam started a new method to manage trash during busy events, like Kingsday and the Europride. By handling a more flexible and successful approach this year, the city of Amsterdam was almost completely clean within 24 hours after the event. To celebrate the year’s end in a special way, the city reached out to the Plastic Soup Foundation, in collaboration with the English artist duo Dirty Beach, to build Winter Wonder Wasteland with trash collected from Amsterdam’s canals and IJ river.

From Tuesday the 6th of December until Friday the 6th of January 2017 the public of Amsterdam can witness what kind of trash is floating around the city’s waters. Dirty Beach and the Plastic Soup Foundation use all kinds of visual tricks to make us aware of our behavior: a prestigious lay out, enticing jingles and a remarkable illumination. All collected waste has been cleaned and relabeled with well-known brands, like Lays Chips, Red Bull, Spa, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Heineken. In addition, some typical Amsterdam products like bicycle saddles, have been converted to festive Christmas decorations.

The Christmas tree is an ironical parody of the pollution of our world. The artist duo McCurdy and Hansky are asking themselves: “All the plastic packaging we throw away immediately just after one-time use, aren’t they really just the emperor’s new clothes?” They continue: “Are we sacrificing our fossil fuels way too easy, without considering the far-reaching consequences of all that plastic to marine life, the food chain and even our own planet? What is the true cost of packaging? What damage does it really cause?”

Emiel de Booij, urban project leader of ‘Amsterdam Schoon’ adds: “We are very happy with this unique attraction in the Stopera, but of course also with the results we achieved in 2016. Part of the success lies in the cooperation with external parties working towards the same goal to create more general support. During the EuroPride for example, we have been working closely together with the covenant ‘Clean Waters in and around Amsterdam’ (Schone wateren in en rond Amsterdam), where forces have joined within the plastic chain to achieve cleaner waters in and around the city.”

Working together for a clean Canal Parade

The “Amsterdam Schoon” – Clean Amsterdam – project was started this year as part of a larger “Schone Stad” (Clean City) project. It is a three-year project intended to bring change to the amount of rubbish dumped during and after events. This year, several projects were organised to raise awareness about the huge mountain of rubbish that events generate and how everyone can help to keep the city clean. The help of various companies is brought in for each event to help raise awareness.

This year, the goal is that the area is visibly clean again within 24 hours. During the Euro Pride’s Canal Parade on 6 August 2016, the Amsterdam Schoon boat will sail in the procession to make visitors aware that they should not leave rubbish behind on the streets. In collaboration with Wasted and the Plastic Soup Foundation, the ‘WASTED Soldiers’ will collect rubbish from the party-goers. For every full bag of rubbish that members of the public hand over, they will get a WASTED Coin, a special plastic token that they can use to buy drinks or visit the public toilets.

The Plastic Whale will sail in a fleet of launches made of recycled plastic fished from Amsterdam’s canals. Plastic Whale volunteers will hand out hundreds of nets and rubbish bags to members of the public and houseboat residents along the Canal Parade’s route. The public and houseboat residents will be invited to help make and keep Amsterdam’s canals plastic free.

One thousand extra rubbish bins will be placed around the city centre on 6 August 2016, and more than 200 girls and boys from the Greenteam will do their best to keep the city clean.

After the boat procession, the city cleaning service will do the post event clean while the Plastic Whale will hold its annual Pride Plastic Fishing on Sunday 7 August 2016. During this event, two hundred volunteers on 16 launches will fish for plastic, following the route taken by the Canal Parade.

NB. This message is from the Canal Parade 2016.