Cows arrive aboard ‘world’s first’ floating farm in Dutch city

A total of 32 cows have taken up residence in “the world’s first” floating farm in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The cows arrived in their new home yesterday, Monday, May 13.

The cows’ floating shed features: a milk robot; a slurry robot; an automatic belt feeder; and a rubber floor. There is also space ‘on board’ for education and presentations.

Cows also have the option to cross a ramp to dry land where a paddock is available for them to lie in.

According to a statement from the management of the floating farm, bringing urban dwellers as close as possible to the origin and preparation of their daily food is the overall aim of the project.

The farm is said to be “transparent, educational, recreational and healthy”.

Image source: Floating Farm Rotterdam Facebook page

The city-based farm has been transparently designed, so that visitors can see what goes on.

The milk is processed into dairy products, the manure is separated and in future will be re-used as organic nutrients for the city’s plants, gardens and parks.

The Floating Farm aims to contribute to the creation of a ‘circular city’ by the recycling and upcycling of biomass from Rotterdam into valuable dairy products for the residents of Rotterdam.

Wherever possible, the Floating Farm is self-sufficient. Floating solar panels will provide for all the energy needs and rainwater will be captured on the roof and then purified.

Most of the cattle feed comes from the city. The cows’ diet will consists of brewers’ grains; bran; potato scrapings; and grass from playing fields and golf courses in the city.

The cows process these ‘waste products’ into healthy dairy for local residents.

Image source: Floating Farm Rotterdam Facebook page

Upgrading waste products like grass into edible nutrients (proteins) is generally considered a very efficient condition for sustainable food production, according to the Floating Farm’s management.

The dairy products are for sale at Floating Farm and will soon be available in Lidl stores around Rotterdam.


The initiators of the Floating Farm call the current transformation a ‘Transfarmation’.

This refers to the change which they believe needs to take place in sustainable and healthy cities, and that producing healthy food must be a permanent feature of and in the city.

Plans are now on the table for a floating chicken farm and a floating greenhouse where vegetables and herbs can be produced, all aimed at producing fresh food in a transparent way close to the consumer.

After an adjustment period for the cows, visitors are welcome. For more information, click here.