Person dancing at a festival

Sustainability festivals & events


Sustainability of activities in the cultural sector is increasingly on the agendas of institutions and organizations. With the ban on (free) disposable cups and trays, effective July 1, 2023, the events sector must break new ground. On this theme page you can read all about the regulations in Arnhem and Nijmegen and be inspired by organizations that are already one step ahead. Do you miss any information on this page? Please let us know so we can keep this page up to date and informative.

Ban on disposable plastic

By 2024, disposable plastic cups and food containers are basically not allowed when eating or drinking on site at a catering establishment, festival or office. Reusable plates and cups will then be the norm to prevent environmental pollution and plastic soup.

From July 1, 2023, there will be a ban on the free provision of single-use plastic disposable cups and food containers. This means a fee must be paid on top of the retail price. It is also possible to offer a reusable alternative.

The measures aim to reduce the huge numbers of plastic products thrown away after single use.

Want to know more about disposable cups and trays regulations?

Download fact sheet

Towards zero-emission events in Arnhem

Arnhem is often referred to as the energy capital, and for good reason. The region has a robust energy network and is also a breeding ground for countless new energy innovations being developed, tested and marketed. Living up to this title requires a proactive policy from the municipality. In cooperation with Connectr, the municipality of Arnhem is taking an important step in making temporary activities in the city center, such as events and construction sites, more sustainable. These activities require a local energy system consisting of various components, including storage technology and smart control.

The first step has a specific focus on events. To achieve zero-emission events, it is essential to better understand the energy needs of such events. Once this understanding is increased, collaborations can be made with local innovators to see how their technologies can provide a solution for these festivals. Currently, the first step is being taken by conducting an energy measurement at the Free Your Mind festival. By combining the data obtained with an analysis of power plans for festivals such as Bridge to Liberation and ASM Festival, the next steps can be defined.

Source: "Towards zero-emission events in Arnhem" -

Nijmegen encourages events to become more sustainable

Although Nijmegen is already known as a green city, the need and urgency to make it more sustainable and social awareness has increased significantly in recent years. Events are part of this transition and are pre-eminently a place to innovate and experiment.

Many visitors come into contact with innovation and other behaviors in a temporary setting to reduce resource losses and contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

The goal is clear: events must become as sustainable as possible, with the smallest possible environmental footprint. If we want to achieve that goal, we must be prepared to invest in this.

If we want Nijmegen events to become more sustainable, we must act together in this. Organizers cannot do it without the authorities and the authorities need the commitment of organizers. Experiments are also part of this. Great examples of projects are the sustainable events covenant (2018), the circular cup project of the Four Days Marches (2022), the circular toilets (2022), MOJO's ambition to be emission-free by 2030 (2023) and the collaboration of recyclable cups between the events of Doornroosje, Studio Linksvoor, Vasim Events and Music Meeting.

Examples from the region

In October 2022, 3 festivals from the region were nominated for the Gelderse Pauwenveer 2022: Drift Festival (Nijmegen), Het Nest Festival (Nijmegen) and Hoogte80 Festival (Arnhem). The award revolved around the theme of sustainability within festivals. The eventual winner was Drift Festival.

Read the article about the nominees here.

Since 2022, the largest event in the Netherlands - the Vierdaagsefeesten - has a circular cup system. Every cup that visitors bring back to the bar is collected separately, which is used to make new cups for the following year. With the first cup, the visitor pays an extra 50 cents, which pays for the system. The Four Day Festivities are doing much more in the area of sustainability. Read more here.

Interesting websites for inspiration

Example events nationwide

In June 2023, the Council for Culture published the advisory report"Culture Naturally. Sustainability and culture can reinforce each other, but a strong impulse is needed to accelerate the sustainability of the cultural sector. The advice is addressed to the cultural sector as well as to municipalities, provinces, state cultural funds and the most involved departments. The council advocates more cooperation on this issue.

Read the full opinion here.

More information?, Administrative Advisor Events, Municipality of Arnhem, Advisor Events, Municipality of Nijmegen