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Life Cool Square

* het LIFE COOL SQUARE project ontvangt subsidie van het LIFE Programma van de Europese Unie

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Damsterplein: Life Cool Square


The risk of flooding and heat stress is increasing in urban areas all over the world, including Groningen. Spatial measures are needed to make the city cooler and to limit flooding. But how do you do that in a city where public space is already limited? And where other developments, such as urban densification and mobility, also appeal on this limited space at the same time?

This is a difficult task. Difficult, but not impossible! For Damsterplein we created the LIFE COOL SQUARE project. This project looks at solutions and ideas to transform the stony public space into a green and liveable environment. With trees, benches and fun elements for young and old. The impression above shows what Damsterplein could look like in the future.


The city of Groningen will receive € 1 million from the European Commission for a greening plan for Damsterplein. An application for this was submitted to the European LIFE Fund in 2020. With the LIFE program the European Commission wants to stimulate projects that fit within the European policy of nature, climate and the environment. The application for the Damsterplein has now been definitively approved. This is good news for the city as it means that the plan can be worked out. When the work is finished, Damsterplein will be the ‘coolest’ square in Groningen.


The LIFE COOL SQUARE project is not the only project looking for climate adaptive solutions. There is a whole family of LIFE projects. Below you will find a number of examples

    The RE-PLAN CITY LIFE project aims to promote Circular Economy opportunities for Materials, Products and applications obtained from tyre recycling. Recycled Tyre Materials (RTMs) offer new materials like rubber, steel fibers, and textile fibers used in diverse applications, ranging from roads and buildings to sports surfaces. While significant efforts by European SMEs, supported by research projects and environmental policies, have been made, the market has not grown as expected.
    The project focuses on expanding RTM use in Transport Infrastructures, Concrete and Building materials, and Sports and Leisure products and applications. Key objectives include raising awareness among stakeholders, expanding visibility for RTMs, promoting Green Public Procurement, and implementing Circular Economy principles.
    See for more information on

Summary of the plan

The plan for Damsterplein consists of the following components:

- Part of the pavement will be replaced by green islands with plants and trees that can withstand both dry and humid periods. The different planting ensures more biodiversity. In addition, the trees provide shade on hot days.

- Part of the paving will be replaced by light-reflecting paving, which means that the square does not heat up as quickly in summer.

- Places will be created to filter and drain rainwater. There will also be a water storage facility to store water. In dry times, the water from the water storage can be used, for example, to water the plants and trees.

- The options for adapting the road structure around the square are still being looked into, so that fewer cars drive past the square. The road itself is also being adapted to climate change. In this way we want to ensure lower noise emissions and lower emissions of nox and particulate matter in the future.

- The square will be designed as a pleasant place to stay with benches next to and under the trees. In the design, the accessibility of the square is carefully considered. We think it is important that it becomes a square for everyone.

- We are working together with residents, entrepreneurs and educational institutions on a green and pleasant square.

Ultimately, Damsterplein will become (literally and figuratively) the coolest square in the city.

What are the goals for Damsterplein?


  • 2019

    Sketch design as part of the design manifestation

  • 2020

    Subsidy application submitted to the LIFE program EU

  • 2021

    Subsidy application approved and zero measurement of the location

  • 2023/2024

    Compose final design

  • 2024/2025

    Preparation and implementation of the work

  • 2025/2026

    Grand opening of the square

Impressions Damsterplein


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