Organic crowd control


Grass strips: controlling crowds and increasing biodiversity

In the summer months, the Marineterrein transforms from an oasis of calm into a buzzing hotspot. The water and the grassy area in front of the naval yard attract a lot of people, who, all at the same time, come to enjoy the weather and the space.

This experiment investigates how to manage and direct large groups of people and crowds through nature. Simultaneously, the project stimulates the biodiversity of the area and conserves drinking water.

Flowers every day

In late 2022, 4 natural shapes, inspired by seaweed, were cut out of the grass on the front part of the naval yard. On these strips of land, each 15 m to 30 m long, plants and bulbs were planted and a mixture of seeds was sown. The mixture will ensure the growth of flowers throughout the whole year. This will all make the grassy area more diverse and create a natural, relaxing space with comfortable spots.

Spontaneous behavioural change

The new landscape is expected to naturally encourage visitors to change their behaviour.

But we do not know exactly what will happen yet. Will people use the Voorwerf differently? Will they change the way they get from A to B? Will they still flock to this spot when the weather is warm?

This experiment will help us learn how to optimise the way we use limited spaces and manage busy crowds.

Clever use of water

More than half a million litres of drinking water were used to water the grass during summer 2022. That is so wasteful.

The water in the inner harbour is a mix of fresh and salt water. This brackish water could become an excellent source for watering grass and vegetation on the Marineterrein.

The Marineterrein is working with Mediamatic to research how the grass and new plants react to this water. For that reason, plants that can tolerate salt water were selected for two sites.

Organic testing

This organic experiment is just beginning. First, an observation phase will demonstrate how the plants are faring and how people respond to that. The design team will pick it up from there. Different vegetation or additional furniture may further influence the results.

We hope to create an ideal, relaxing environment for people, plants and animals with this project.

Want to help the Green Team?

Would you like to help out with green experiments at the Marineterrein and learn more about biodiversity? Sign up to join the Green Team by sending a mail to