Replacing concrete with greenery can be the key to making our cities more resilient to climate change, Source: NK Tegelwippen

Dutch cities fight climate change in an unusual competition

Dutch cities fight climate change in an unusual competition

The derby between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is highly anticipated

From 30 March to 30 September, the Netherlands is once again hosting the NK Tegelwippen competition. Its goal is to replace as many pavement tiles with greenery as possible, and thereby – make the urban environment more liveable and resilient to climate change.

The competition is between teams, which raises the bar even more. 2021 will see important derbies take place between municipalities.

Replacing concrete with greenery

This year, over 40 Dutch municipalities will compete in the second edition of NK Tegelwippen. All over the country, enthusiastic city councillors will remove the first tile of their municipality and call on residents to do the same.

To become part of a team, everyone can register at and contribute to his municipality’s success. They will then have to upload an image showing before and after photos of their façade gardens where the number of tiles removed can be tracked.

Among the most exciting competitions are those between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Leeuwarden and Groningen, Breda and Tilburg, Deventer and Zwolle and Leiden and Haarlem. The pairs have challenged each other prior to the contest.

However, those who live in a municipality that has not joined the contest, also have the chance to participate. Their result will automatically be added to the Tile Balance and count towards the National Tile Counter.

In the end, the municipality that gets rid of the most tiles per inhabitant wins the prestigious Golden Shovel. The most active residents also have a chance to win a prize at the beginning of October.

The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, among others. Its first edition led to the removal of some 95,000 paving stones.

The organisers remind that beyond the team rivalry, there is also a shared goal - when tiles make way for grass and flowers, cities and villages become more climate-resilient and biodiverse. Increased greenery prevents flooding, provides coolness in times of heat, retains water in times of drought and increases the living space for plants and animals.

Finally, a green living environment is good for the state of mind.



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