Blue Gate District

Location: Antwerp, Flanders (Belgium)

Population: 1,200,000 [metropolitan area]

Climate: Oceanic

Duration: 2001 – ongoing

Sector: Cross-cutting

Funding sources: Public-private

City networks: Flemish Smart Energy Cities network

Savings: N/A

Solutions: Through the implementation of a public-private partnership (PPP), different actions will be carried out for the district development project in the Blue Gate District.

Multiple benefits: This project will create 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs.

Blue Gate Antwerp is one of the seven sub-areas of the Scheldt quays . Petroleum Zuid was once a busy business park where innovative petroleum companies were active. From the 1960s, the companies left and Petroleum South remained largely abandoned and polluted. The site is now being cleaned up and redeveloped into Blue Gate Antwerp, an innovative and eco-effective business park, in collaboration with the Flemish Region [source].

Objective – To develop the country´s most sustainable business park. Therefore, to make Blue Gate Antwerp the home to sustainable logistics, production, research and development structures, placing a high priority on renewable energy and the reuse of raw materials [source].

Solutions – Blue Gate Antwerp involved the creation of a PPP between the public administration of Antwerp and Flanders, together with DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC) and Bopro.

The project will provide support with the development of the site and also with the construction process of the individual buildings. Looking for businesses willing to commit to circular flows at the micro and macro levels, guaranteeing cost-efficient and environmentally friendly collaborations both on and off-site.

A whole series of concrete projects are already running: 1) collaborative work is focusing on drafting an integrated district eco-charter [source], 2) in order to boost innovation, two incubators will be settled in spring 2020: BlueChem is an incubator for sustainable chemistry, while Blue_App is a university pre-incubator for research projects in the field of sustainable chemistry, 3) Furthermore, a pilot project for urban distribution has been launched and a joint study on a district heating network is underway.

Funding – The first basic investment in the building amounted to € 6.1 Mln. The share of investment between public and private partners is 49% and 51% respectively and is being spent mostly on sanitation and development [source].

Innovation – Blue Gate Antwerp is the country’s first circular, eco-effective, water-bound business park. Sustainable, innovative businesses in chemicals, clean-tech and logistics will find the breeding ground for their future growth here.

Success factors – The public-private partnership brings together a lot of relevant expertise, political support and financial strength. These are the strong shoulders that support Blue Gate Antwerp.

Similarly, collaboration is the keyword for the Blue Gate development. Collaborations in between businesses and between businesses and academia have synergistic effects. Sharing research efforts and expertise accelerates innovation. Setting up complementary processes improves efficiency, while group purchases reduce costs.

Besides, the site’s location along the river Scheldt offers significant strategic, economic and environmental advantages. The inland waterways provide a sound alternative to road transport, with the opportunity to reduce air pollution, noise and traffic gridlock. In short, all occupiers will benefit from the water-bound character of the site.

Significant outcomes:

All businesses located at Blue Gate Antwerp commit to:

  • The construction of BREEAM certificated buildings;
  • CO2-neutral energy and heating consumption;
  • The modal shift in terms of mobility;
  • Closed processes through partnerships;
  • The annual publication of a Sustainability report following the GRI Standards.

Synergies with local policies:

  • Vision 2050 sets a new strategic outlook for the future of Flanders, intending to accelerate some of the essential societal transitions for an inclusive, open, resilient and internationally connected region. The strategy focuses on seven transition priorities, where circular economy and a shift towards a low carbon, sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system play an important role.
  • Circular Flanders is another notable circular economy strategy. It is a space for networking and building public-private partnerships in the circular economy. It also serves as a policy lab, supporting partners in the circular economy and sharing knowledge among participants supported by a centre for policy research.
  • On 20 July 2018, the Flemish Government approved the draft Flemish Energy Plan 2021-2030 and the draft Flemish Climate Policy Plan 2021-2030. Together the two coordinated plans represent the Flemish contribution to Belgium’s draft National Energy Climate Plan (NECP).

In adopting the Flemish Energy plan 2021-2030, the Flemish government defined its contribution to the EU´S energy efficiency and renewable energy targets by 2030. It also formulated proposals to make energy infrastructures smarter and more flexible.

Political alignment:

  • Climate and Energy Plan 2021-2030 sets that Belgium will generate 18.3% of its gross final energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2030. It also aims to a contribution of 22% in primary savings and 17% in final energy savings by 2030, compared with 2007 levels.
  • The first National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS), approved in 2017, provides the umbrella for the main governmental actors at both federal and federated levels to combine their efforts to achieve the SDGs in a Belgian context. Among the priority themes it is included, sustainable housing and building.


  • N/A

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Sector: Cross cutting

Country / Region: Belgium

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: City of Antwerp