January 27th 2016, TivoliVredenburg

Guido Braam – Establishing a Circular Hotspot

Guido Braam – Establishing a Circular Hotspot

September 17th, 2016


Six months ago, when having my Tedx talk in Utrecht, The Netherlands started to position itself as a circular hotspot. During the EU-presidency Dutch corporations, SME’s, NGO’s, knowledge institutions and local governments shared their latest innovations, best practices and iconic projects with the rest of the world.

Our team spent months preparing, and the first weeks of April turned out to be the grand finale of our shared efforts. The festivities started on April 1st, with the opening of the Circular EXPO by Mrs Dijksma, State secretary for the Environment. Less than two weeks later we welcomed the Incoming Trade Mission with more than 140 guests from 18 different countries to see the circular hotspot with their own eyes. The 3 day programme was filled with multiple site-visits, inspiring and informative talks and a circular trade-fair to connect leading circular businesses with their foreign counterparts. The results of this first circular trade mission exceeded my expectations. It has been 3 months since the trade mission, and already more than half of the participating organisations reported being in extensive talks with the foreign delegations, setting up circular projects abroad.
On April 14th His Royal Highness Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme and Roelof Joosten, CEO at Friesland Campina, presented Netherlands Circular Hotspot at the Innovation EXPO. Our vision document and magazine, which showcased iconic circular projects, were made public and handed over to Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

His Royal Highness Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Roelof Joosten CEO Friesland Campina

With a circular vision and a circular export platform in place, I was ready to put the lessons learned at Circle Economy into practice. The coming years I will be doing what I love most: I’ve returned to Powered by Meaning to realise the circular economy as an entrepreneur. I’ve joined a team with Delta Development Group, VolkerWessels, Reggeborgh and SADC to develop Valley. This first worldwide circular hub will arise in the Haarlemmermeer, just around the corner from our capital and Schiphol Airport.


Valley operates on three levels: Valley Habitat, Valley Services and Valley Creators. Valley Habitat is the physical cradle-to-cradle inspired workplace which constantly adopts and effectuates the most recent insights in sustainable design. It offers the complete range of facilities needed to start circular projects; workplaces, open areas to mingle, makerspaces, fab labs and pilot plants. Valley Habitat adopts human centric design principles and thereby optimises the working experience and maximises the productivity of all its members.
Valley Services is the integrated offering of facilities and hospitality that unburdens Valley members and allows them to concentrate primarily on their circular business. It covers the full range of operational requirements, from office materials to circular catering, to mobility. Furthermore, it creates space and time for leisure, inspiration, contemplation and reflection.
Valley Creators is what makes Valley really distinctive, because it adds an intelligent layer to the concept. Valley Creators offers the overriding packages of smart services, including access to education, project support, methods, technologies, data, investment capital, collaborative partners and launching customers. It encompasses the physical Valley as well as the Digital Valley and acts as a serendipity engine.

Construction of Valley will start in Q1 2017. However, the Circular EXPO is the first physical place of Valley and marks the beginning of our journey. The Circular EXPO is transforming to function as a beta version where we can test ideas and innovations which can be implemented in Valley. It is already used as a multipurpose location, hosting circular events, workshops, conferences and functioning as a flex-office for the Valley team and various start-ups. If you are curious and have circular ambitions, feel free to join!