The Utrecht Community (UCo) is a national center for sustainable entrepreneurship in the city of Utrecht. UCo brings together over 150 pioneering sustainable entrepreneurs and SMB's, and facilitates them in an exemplary sustainable and inspiring building. UCo is a place to develop, discover, and accelerate together, 5 minutes biking from central station. Except developed UCo independently, and opened its doors in 2017.

Except developed UCo as a continuation of the success of RoCo, the community for social entrepreneurs in Rotterdam. UCo is a working community where MKB's and experienced entrepreneurs are building the foundations of a sustainable society. UCo's monumental train depot building  offers 1800m2 in working, meeting, and demonstration space, is energy neutral, is focused on an exemplary healthy place of work, and its interior is as circular as possible. This makes UCo a uniquely sustainable building in Europe.

The concept

UCo is born from the vision that through long term cooperation between pioneering organizations and individuals the development of sustainability is accelerated. This is empowered with an environment which supports and demonstrates the values and capacities of the community. UCo aims to become the foremost center for sustainable entrepreneurship in the Netherlands and the region of Utrecht.

UCo offers working and office space for its community members, aimed at experienced SMB's with sustainability at their core, and a content and a community program. UCo develops partnership programs, workshops, links partners, and actively engages external partners. 

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The building

We found an empty monumental train deport of the Dutch Railways in 2012, which had served its time in the last decades as a warehouse space.  We developed a challenging concept for an energy neutral, water neutral, toxin free and waste free building, supported by a strong business model, and engaged the Dutch Railways with the plan. In the following years, Except worked with the Dutch Railways and several partners to make this vision a reality.

While not all of our starting goals will be realized, we've managed to achieve a higher performance than ever before realized in the Netherlands, and likely Western Europe. The main hall is filled with plants and trees in an inspiring, healthy toxin-free environment, for which all materials have been carefully selected. The building is renovated to be energy neutral, unique for a listed monument. The interior has been developed as circular as possible. All workspaces are fully lit with natural light, during the day no artificial light is necessary. UCo is a true example of sustainable inspiration. All of this, wherever possible, developed with the community, and proven to be affordable and feasible.

Visit the UCo website for more information about UCo, visiting address, partners and updates.

June 29, 2017

Project team

  • Tom Bosschaert

    Director

  • Michiel van der Vight

    Senior Associate
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Mirjam Schmüll

    Urban strategist, process manager
    Transformeer

  • Merel Stolker

    Architect
    Transformeer

  • Maaike Stevens

    Designer & Artist
    M.A. Stevens