The three Ms: Milieu, Mens & Materie

About Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen – the three Ms: Milieu, Mens & Materie

In 2009 we really began to increase our ongoing efforts to limit our impact on the environment. At the time we called this ‘sustainability’ and our campaign ‘We Care’. We found this to be a sensibility that suited Noorderzon– and still do so! It is in keeping with the attempt that Noorderzon makes to widen horizons and to provide insight into the world that surrounds us. We made a flying start, replacing our ribbon lighting system with LED lights, serving organic wine, using smart generators which are quieter and cleaner, and ending up as the first public event to receive Green Key Gold sustainability certification.

By now it’s quite a few years down the line. Have we managed to make headway? We like to think so. We have come to realise that we can run awash in a sea of terminology, that Green Key is a means to an end and that attention for the climate is finally high on the agenda. We have also come to realise that we want to focus more on what a festival can and cannot do, and what it can be. The aims still are raising awareness, accountability and innovation, and reducing and improving impact.

This means we will be adopting an approach along three main lines in 2017–2020 (and for as long as required!):

Environment: for us this (Milieu) relates to actions and measures which have a direct positive effect on the environment. This concerns such things as biodegradable disposables, creating drinks tokens from recycled PLA, using seasonal and local ingredients, serving organic wine and using renewable biofuel.

People: Noorderzon is a festival by and for people (Mens), you yourself are the key! We want to create consciousness, inform people and activate them, ensure that everyone feels welcome and secure, and as a festival to be accessible in every sense of the word. We adhere to an inclusive policy and like to provide opportunities for various social movements, subjects and initiatives. We have care coaches for our volunteers and work together with organisations like the local food bank, the Voedselbank.

Material: we require both the deployment of (other) material to achieve our goals, as well as food for thought – material (Materiaal). This concerns choices we have made and ones we have yet to make – from selecting another type of paper for this magazine to printing less of them, but also programming lectures that nourish, question and inspire.

So what can you do? Just like it's impossible to organise a festival on your own, the only way to do it is together. Help recycle waste properly, help spread the word, telling about what you have heard, seen or experienced, follow us, nourish us and question us. Tips and remarks are always welcome at