Cultuur voor Klimaat, open call, fonds voor cultuurparticipatie

From repair cafés to upcycled playgrounds, many social designers around the world are using the power of creativity to fundamentally change how we live and relate to nature. By reducing environmental damage, protecting natural ecosystems, encouraging behaviour change and making sure no-one is left behind, there’s hope in the combined impact of smaller, community-led projects.

That’s why the Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, in collaboration with What Design Can Do, is launching an open call called ‘Cultuur voor Klimaat’ — or  ‘Culture for Climate’ translated to English — on 8th April. 

Seeking sociocultural ideas in the Netherlands, designers and creatives are invited to submit new and innovative creative projects engaging people with climate challenges with elements of community engagement, co-creation and cultural participation. With this competition, we aim to award 20 Netherlands-based professionals, community groups and cultural foundations with a grant of up to €25,000 to invest in their ideas. And to create greater impact, collaboration with international partners is very welcome.

Fonds voor Cultuurpartipatie says, ‘we recognize the necessity of direct action and the importance of creating space for new, experimental forms of cultural expression that enhance climate awareness. This emphasises strengthening the connection between culture and nature, and cultivating positive cultural values that contribute to a sustainable future.’

To spark your imagination, here are some social enterprise projects that raise awareness, encourage behaviour change, improve material circularity, reduce ecocide and bring people together and help them act. Take a look at these inspiring projects where social design and climate justice meet.



The Gomi Zero Game by Zero Waste Japan is a board game designed to prompt players to rethink their daily habits and find ways to divert items from ending up in landfills. Despite the challenge of achieving zero waste in society, this game offers accessible strategies for waste reduction. Suitable for all ages, playing Gomi Zero provides practical insights for leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

Gomi Zero, Photo: Zero Waste Japan


REPARAR, repair expert finding app and workshops

Club de Reparadores is an Argentinian social enterprise that aims to improve repair skills in urban communities. Their platform V2.0 is an online repair directory making it easy to find local repairers while promoting a culture of care across Latin America. This innovative platform not only reduces environmental waste but also creates job opportunities and fosters collaborative communities, making it a triple-threat in terms of impact.

Club de Repadores

Workshop, Photo: Club de Reparadores. 


Lúdica Teia, fallen tree furniture and workshops 

Atelier Hugo França has a community project that creates sustainable public furniture and climbing parks from trees that have fallen over, often because of rain and natural disasters. Led by designer Hugo França, the studio adopts an artistic approach to production, drawing directly on wood, following natural patterns. In addition to creating furniture for sale, they also created a school to train tree-carving experts, fostering sustainable expertise and environmental consciousness within the community.

Atelier Hugo França, Lúdica Teia

Public furniture installed at one of São Paulo’s city parks. Photo: André Godoy.


Jutters Geluk’s beachcombing waste clean-up, community workshops and circular products 

Set on the Zandvoort coast in the Netherlands, Jutter’s Geluk teaches people to find waste, especially washed up plastic like fishing line, on beaches, encouraging everyone to collect and sort the waste. They also host workshops to make circular products from the rubbish including soap dishes, ‘plastic-free’ awareness keychains and more.

The What Design Can Do team at Jutter’s Geluk.


Héroes de la Tierra, an educational kit for vermicomposting 

From Mexico City, Héroes de la Tierra by Scarlet AH is an educational kit to teach people how to vermicompost organic waste. This environmental educational project is tailored for children, young adults, and adults eager to learn composting skills and reduce waste. Perfect for personal or family use, this kit seamlessly integrates into your kitchen, offering a convenient alternative to bulky traditional composting methods.

heroes de la tierra

Educational kit, Photo: Héroes de la Tierra by Scarlet AH


Beehotel billboard, a pollination station

Made by people at a distance from the labour market, the bee hotel is an energy-efficient recycled steel billboard tower in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Set in 2km2 wildflower meadow by a road, it consists of over 200 nesting boxes for wild bees and butterflies to harvest pollen and nectar, with sand and hills for bees that nest in the ground. Rejuvenating the ecosystem with insect pollination is a priority to ensure natural populations of flora and fauna thrive.

Beehotel Utrecht

Beehotel Photo: City of Utrecht


Hottest place in town, a warming igloo 

In the project ‘Hottest Place in town’, theater maker Heleen van Doremalen used an igloo to discuss how their neighborhood can cool down. However, the conversation was not only about the warmth of the sun, but also about the hot temperament of the residents in the Fellenoord district of Breda in the Netherlands.

Hottest Place in Town (c) Maria Reniers

Hottest place in town, Photo: © Marja Reniers 


Are you curious where designers could make a difference in the Netherlands?

Looking at research on climate challenges facing the Netherlands can help identify a focus area. Check out some findings about climate challenges from our other design challenges:

  • With a critical shortage of housing in the Netherlands — being a country mostly below sea level — the “lowlands” need innovative solutions for building homes and water management. 
  • Summers are becoming hotter and hotter, contributing to an increase in droughts in the countryside and unbearable heat waves in cities like Amsterdam that aren’t built for hot temperatures. Meanwhile, the country is experiencing increased weather volatility, with more intense rain and storms and plastic pollution washing up on beaches. As examples for creative ideas, designers could work on sustainable cooling systems, or explore a way to encourage behaviour change around water consumption.
  • Fast fashion is also a leading culprit for social and climate impact and European countries have been called out for contributing to waste colonialism. Ideas around reducing consumption, circularity, sustainable alternatives to clothing and more biodegradable material innovations are needed.
  • Farmers across the country are contesting with the government about the amount of nitrogen pollution from cattle feed and fertiliser because of its impact on nature reserves and greenhouse gas emissions. Meat and dairy consumption is high in the Netherlands. Design could promote alternatives, connect people more to the food they eat, and explore more regenerative methods of farming.

We need creative ideas! If you’re a culture-loving creative or group passionate about climate action and community engagement, we invite you to submit your new idea from 8th April 2024.