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Acting Locally: Cleaning up Amsterdam’s Canals

Giving Back
Workiva Sustainability Header
2 min read
Johanna Rickle
Client Services Specialist
Published: July 9, 2020
Last Updated: August 30, 2020

“Think globally, act locally” is an important phrase – especially when it comes to taking care of the planet. The Workiva office in Amsterdam is located near one of the many canals in the city, so every day we see the damage that plastics and trash from tourists are doing to the environment. As a team building activity, we wanted to take action in our own community, so we partnered with local organization, Plastic Whale, a group that focuses on cleaning up Amsterdam’s waterways and repurposing the once-trash into handcrafted furniture.


On the last sunny summer day of September 2019, we took to the canals of Amsterdam with a clear goal: to help clean our beautiful city’s waterways of plastics and other trash. It wasn’t just Workiva employees out there fishing for plastic materials, other local organizations joined in to do their part to keep Amsterdam beautiful! Using a wide variety of fishing nets, we scooped and swatted at any and all trash we could find as we ventured down the canals in our recycled-plastic boats. 

Fishing for trash in Amsterdam

After an hour and a half of fishing, we headed back to our starting point to show off all the trash we had collected in a make-shift show and tell. It was a tremendous time! There were so many items pulled out of the water: all kinds of plastic along with shoes, electronics, food, balloons, and more! 

It was a fantastic and humbling opportunity to be a part of such a positive initiative. While on the water we were not just cleaning up our community, but were strengthening our teamwork and bond across all the different teams in our office. Just as we all work collectively toward goals for our customers, we worked together to improve our community. 


To commemorate the day, we purchased chairs by Plastic Whale made out of the recycled materials pulled from the canal. Every time we use them in the office, we think about the fun day we spent on the canals enjoying each other’s company and bettering our local environment. They are a permanent reminder of the impact you can have when you think globally, and act locally.

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About the Author
Johanna Rickle

Client Services Specialist

Johanna has been working at Workiva since 2019 in the Amsterdam office. Originally from Sweden, she moved to the Netherlands 2 years ago but has also spent time in the US, UK and Australia. She comes from a big family and loves to cook and bake in her free time!

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