Kennis en innovatie Ecocraft

Playing with the energy transition

Involving children in the energy transition through play. That’s Ecocraft’s goal. In a special Minecraft world, young participants adapt their own living environment with sustainability and energy generation measures, letting them experience the consequences of their improvements and learn to take into account the interests of different parties.


Digital copy of the Netherlands

Throughout the world, countless children (and adults) entertain themselves with the virtual worlds of Minecraft on a daily basis. With cube-shaped blocks, they create complete fantasy cities from the ground up. Geodan is happy to hook into this world to make children aware of issues that are at play regarding the energy transition. In collaboration with the VU University Amsterdam and the GeoFort interactive museum, Geodan developed a special closed Minecraft world for serious gaming: Ecocraft. This is a digital copy of the Netherlands that is based on real data from all kinds of registries, including information about terrains, buildings and trees.

Annita Vijverberg

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Annita Vijverberg

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Make your own environment more sustainable

Thanks to all this data, children in the Ecocraft world can get started with future developments in their own living environment. They can explore various ideas for sustainable energy use, for instance, by covering roofs in solar panels, replacing single with double glazing or putting a wind turbine in their backyard. Thanks to all the data we have in our Minecraft Netherlands and the data we have about the effectiveness of measures, Ecocraft is super-realistic. For example: houses have energy labels and you get to see exactly how much a wind turbine costs and how much energy it produces, but you also see how large an area around it will be affected by noise and whether it’s even legally permitted to install a wind turbine at that location. Generally speaking, your own backyard is often quickly crossed off the list.

Solving complex issues

Pupils from the Zaanlands Lyceum were instructed to form teams and produce as much sustainable energy as possible with as little money as possible in Ecocraft’s virtual Zaandam. By playing around with the different options, the children get insight into the consequences of the measures they pick. Moreover, they notice that it matters from which perspective you approach such a problem. Do you look at low costs for the consumer, for the energy supplier, or for the government? And what are the possible drawbacks of a relatively cheap option? This lets participants experience which factors and data play a role in energy issues and shows them how you can tackle such complex matters in a team.

Participants experience which factors play a role in energy issues

Kennis en innovatie ecocraft betrekt kinderen

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the UN organization dealing with environmental issues, is enthusiastic about Ecocraft as an educational tool and is even considering using this concept throughout Europe.