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Circular Economy (EN)

What is needed to boost the transition towards a circular economy? Will plastic continue to play a role? Is it energetically even possible to be completely without ‘waste’?

Many resources are becoming increasingly scarce, some of them important for technology, for example. The circular economy is a proposed solution and is finally starting to become more important on the political agenda.

The Dutch government has set the goal of having a circular economy in the Netherlands in 2050, but there are no goals in between. Meanwhile, many start-ups are showing the world what needs to be done, while the major players are following slowly.

We will reflect on these developments and form our vision about the ‘next big transition’. 

During this course we will start by observing the current (linear) economy and the current state of it. We will try to identify the effects and externalities of this economy that influence the world around us. After looking at the status quo, we will study a proposed solution to the linear economy: the circular economy. We will study this solution, its benefits and its flaws in detail. We will also study other proposed solutions (such as doughnut economics and the biobased economy) and will identify the differences between them. After that we will look at the steps that different stakeholders can take to go towards a more sustainable or circular economy. As a student in this course you will analyse specific cases individually as well as in a group assignment.


Mr. Tim Bulters

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Describe the difference between linear and circular economy, as well as between circular economy and other models such as biobased economy, blue economy and doughnut economy.
  • Come up with real-life or fictional examples of circular practices.
  • Apply the transition theory to the transition to a circular economy.
  • Measure the extent to which an intervention is circular.
  • Recognise and come up with government interventions that can lead to a circular economy.
  • Come up with real-life or fictional examples of circular practices.
  • Apply the theory of the circular economy to a case assignment.

Teaching Format

  • Lecture
  • Seminar
  • Presentation
  • Self-study
  • Work independently on a project
  • Guidance / feedback moment


Type of examination


Is Resit possible?

Minimum grade

Homework assignments








Group assignment




Entry requirements

This elective course is part of the minor Sustainability and Economics. This course is also accessible for second-year and third-year Bachelor’s students and other interested parties.

Study material

Literature will be available on Canvas.


You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Number of participants



UvA students can register from 7 June 2021 (look for code 5512CIEC6Y in SIS) until one week prior to the start of the course. If you have any trouble while registering, please contact us at Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl

Other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions, can register from 7 June 2021 until one week prior to the start of the course by completing the registration form.

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 prevention measures, only UvA students and ‘bijvak’ students (students from another university or higher education institution) can attend this course on-campus.
Contract students can attend the lectures online, but cannot participate in the tutorials or exam(s). Contract students therefore pay the lower fee for this course, which can be found on the website.


Check the website.


All important information will be shared on the course Canvas page.

SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes, and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website.

Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission
Starts in September