In the summer of 2018, over 250 Amsterdammers actively researched the surface water of canals, ditches, ponds and vessels in the city. The research project “Het Schone Waterexperiment” (The clean water experiment) was open to the public where everyone could sign up, pick up a testing kit at designated locations and take an active role in monitoring their chosen water spots during the summer months.

About one quarter of Amsterdam’s surface is covered by water and it is used intensively during summer. With a growing population, also the use of surface water will increase, such as by swimming in designated and non-designated areas.

Het Schone Waterexperiment - project video with English subtitles

The experiment consisted of several phases broken down as follows: a development phase, a live phase/analysis and a reporting phase. During the live phase, over 1,000 measurements were taken and participants shared their favorite water spots in the city. A final map on the quality of Amsterdam’s water was created.

On October 6th, 2018, participants shared about their first experiences during the closing event at the Waternet headquarter.

The goal of obtaining knowledge about water quality, educating and empowering citizens and mapping the findings on a map was accomplished. In addition, this experiment offers data to inform future projects on water quality.

The clean water experiment also represents another milestone in empowering citizens through methodology and hands-on experiences. Citizen engagement is essential for cultivating an adaptive and resilient city to solve urban problems. Also, the needs of the city and of citizens were matched, and citizens experienced what positive social impact they can have.

Testing the water quality of the Amsterdam canals

With help of the youngest Amsterdammers.

During the kick-off of the project

Informing people about the project and showing how they can inspect the waters.


Thanks to the Amsterdammers participating in the research, it was possible to perform over 1000 measurements and map the quality of the water.

This project was developed in collaboration with Artis Pavèel van Houten, Deltares, Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht, and KWR.

  • August 2016- December 2017
The Schone Waterexperiment:


KWR - Watercycle Research Institute
Waterschap Amstel, Gooi & Vecht