Cyrcle of life

preserving dutch biodiversity

NS representatives admitted that soil pollution is a serious problem of NS.

- The acid NS uses to keep the green areas “short and tidy” doesn’t burn just the plants. It also kills a significant amount of insects.

- A lot of soil pollution happens through rail-track friction and oil leaking from trains. Various heavy metals are being released in the soil.

We researched the relationship between railways and different animals including ones from the Red List of Netherlands.

A surprisingly high amount of animals of the list are insectivorous (their main source of

food are insects), for example, salamanders, frogs and 7 kinds of bat species. We became fascinated about abandoned and empty stations were nature took over man made structures thus becoming architecture itself. As a result we started to investigate on the empty and unused spaces within functioning railway stations, such as the ends of platforms. We want to recreate the destroyed ecosystem around the stations and railways.

First, we would create a model of a system that could be integrated within the small railway stations. Later on these models could be applied to bigger stations and cities.

Circle of Life includes:

-Intercity Spread-Train: Soil cleaning through phytoremediation. Certain plants can absorb heavy metals from the soil. New grown plants create a suitable environment for insects to come and repopulate. The

train becomes a spreader of “seed confetti”. Now passengers can observe the seed rain from the train.

- Bat Shelter: Bat houses that can be integrated within the empty space of stations, such as the end of platform. Bat activity will not interfere with the station activity and vice versa due to the opposite schedule of humans and bats. Travelers during their waiting time can learn about different species of bats and their role in nature. The project gives an opportunity to change the negative relationship between people and bats

A project by:


Vicky Katrin Kuhlmann

Sarmite Polakova

Sarah Daher


in collaboration with:


NS - and



studio vickykatrin