Explore New Heights At Amsterdam’s Rooftop Festival

With a growing pressure on urban space, it’s time to seriously explore the next urban frontier — our rooftop landscape. With 98% of the roofs in Amsterdam still unused, roofs offer a unique and yet unlocked potential of high quality spaces. The city needs explorers to discover the endless range of rooftop possibilities, from park to swimming pool and from night club to greenhouse.

On the 22nd of June, roofs across Amsterdam will partake in ROEF, a rooftop festival that highlights the boundless potential of the roofscape. The city-wide event will feature unique programming on 20 different rooftops to inspire others to join the green roof evolution. Urbanites are encouraged to think beyond the top level limitations to create an alternative use to an otherwise unused space. In the recent past, the potential of urban rooftops has been shown by various rooftop pioneers. They have proven that rooftops are the ideal place to turn rainwater into beer, facilitate trendy alternative accommodations and create accessible social space that is also inclusive to those with disabilities. ROEF wants to take these unique ideas and make the use of rooftop space in Amsterdam more widespread.

A greenhouse on the rooftop of QO Amsterdam hotel

ROEF is based on 3 principles: Show, Grow and Connect. To show others the conceivable opportunities rooftops have to offer, the festival will feature unique event experiences such as guided tours, live music, dining, camping and even rollerskating on rooftops across Amsterdam. ROEF will provide in-depth discussions and insight events such as a Rooftop Symposium to teach participants how they can grow their own green roof. Lastly, ROEF envisions the Netherlands’ largest rooftop park — a network of green rooftops across Amsterdam connected by air bridges to get roof-to-roof access.

ROEF rooftop dinner

The team behind the festival is ROEF Collective, an organization on a mission to make rooftops greener and more accessible. They promote the value that green roofs can bring to a city in an effort to support climate change adaption, sustainable use of space and creating community. Currently, only 2% of Amsterdam rooftops are in use, which leaves 98% of rooftops available for use. ROEF Collective plans for 10% of rooftops in Amsterdam to be in use by 2025.

Last week we attended a Three Rooftop Dinner, organized by the ROEF. The aim of the dinner was to showcase the potential of the rooftop landscape in practice by visiting three iconic roofs in the Dutch capital. The first course was served at hotel QO Amsterdam that has built a complete aquaponic farm on top of their 21-story building. For the main course we cycled to the nearby roof of Zuidpark, an open air rooftop farm growing fresh vegetables all year round. The dessert was served at the roof of Circl, a circular pavilion in the hart of Amsterdam’s central business district. The rooftop dinner has proven that rooftops have a great potential as social spaces, while also contributing to urban food production. Check out the ROEF website for more inspiration!