Lab Vlieland (LV) is a living lab for sustainable innovations . Goal is to increase the number of sustainable innovations on islands or other places in Europe.
Vlieland is one of smallest islands of the 5 Dutch Wadden Islands. The economy of the island depends, as on the other islands, heavily on tourism. With large fluctuations of the number of visitors during the year.
Lab Vlieland is closely related to a festival called Into the Great Wide Open (IGWO). LV presents itself as “The Workplace for renewal & imagination; a place where do-ers and thinkers develop skills and knowledge and put this into practice.” LV originated under the auspices of ITGWO, with limited access (max ca. 5.000 visitors). By restricting itself in the quantity of visitors, the festival is able to function as a testbed for smart use of sustainable energy and resources and to give the festival's participants plenty of space, protecting the islands 'special' nature. LV invites students and enterprising producers to provide and experiment with sustainable solultion, with minor impact for the inhabitans and nature. In close connection, Lab Vlieland's goal and purpose is to share its’ knowledge and experience developed on and near the island with its surroundings; with the rest of the island, stakeholders on the mainland and with related festivals. Particularly, the lab is specializing today in smart power management systems for festivals, the re-use of (waste)water, design for the circular economy and new production technologies, such as 3D printing. LV is a living lab for sustainable innovations and invite visitors to co-create new products and services.

Resources needed

Lab Vlieland has a budget of about € 150.000/yearly which is obtained from assignments of different parties (among others the municipalities of different islands and festivals)

Evidence of success

ITGWO/LV has become an example for both inside as outside The Netherlands of a circular festival. All kinds of new products and services related to circular economy are developed and applied on and off the festival. IGWO/LV are initiators of Innofest which has become the winner of the European Enterprise Awards (EEPA). They received seed money (€25.000) to develop a project Vliehouse which is about temporary buildings and cicular economy in the so-called open innovation call of EFRO in North NL.

Difficulties encountered

LV is a foundation and financial dependent on mainly assigments from several partners. The continuity is under constant threat. And mostly they jump from project to project. It is also hard to obtain money for new ideas (the so-called seed money).

Potential for learning or transfer

Financial wise: Longer term funding could provide more capitalisation and will have a bigger impact on speeding up to process of the transition towards a circular economy.

This particular initiative is interesting for others in several ways:
Content wise: They make the island more interesting for another segment of the tourist market. The foundation is able to (temporarily) attrack students and teachers from different universities. Also SME’s and start-ups are invited to visit the island and participate in different events.
This year they disseminated the knowledge by organising a climate neutral trade mission to the Dutch Waddeneiland last spring. More than 10 start-ups were involved in this project. Probably this trade mission will be extended to the German Wadden islands next year. All the projects are related to transition to a circular economy

Process wise: They involve the visitors in the co-creating process (Quadruple Helix)

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Main institution
Province of Fryslân
Friesland (NL), Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
November 2013
End Date


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