Foto: Iris van den Broek


We are proud of some of the results we have achieved in shaping society that is inclusive and sustainable, creating an economy that attracts innovators and pioneers and building a future for all.

In 2019 the city and 100 companies and social organizations signed The Rotterdam Klimaatakkoord, together with Jeremy Rifkin’s Roadmap Next Economy and UP!Rotterdam it provides the central framework for a systematic long term approach to innovation. Rotterdam is steadily gaining the attention of innovators, businesses and investors alike.

By empowering and educating citizens to participate, be productive and innovate we are laying the foundations for inclusive, shared prosperity. By investing in sustainable solutions that transform our economy, we ensure future generations reap the benefits of our work as well.

Boosting economic growth

The Rotterdam innovation ecosystem is gaining attention from international students and innovators and business alike. Over the past 10 years, the number of start-ups has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 11.4% while the number of scaleups has increased by only 2.7%. The city is now home over 500 tech start-ups, many of which are focused on the digital economy. These add to the diversity of Rotterdam’s tech ecosystem. Rotterdam is also home to a wide range of hubs that support our innovation ecosystem. Total capital invested per capita is still relatively low, but a valuation of companies present in Rotterdam points to recent rapid increases.

Generating prosperity for the many

The contrasts between those who lack education and those who are highly educated are still stark and correlate with similar discrepancies in income, gender and social background. Prosperity should be inclusive, and the city has made a huge effort in ensuring the fruits of its labour are shared fairly. Education is key to ensure as many citizens are active, productive participants of society.

Between 2015 and 2020 we have increased the number of active participants in our workforce from 639,000 to 701,000, employment rate rose from 67.9% to 69.7% while unemployment decreased from 9,4% to 4,5%. Innovative start-ups and scaleups account for 11,000 of those jobs. There are over 88,000 students enrolled in Rotterdam, 11% of which are in a STEM course (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Powering a sustainable future

The future of our economy is climate neutral and circular. The city and its partners are committed to reducing CO2 emissions to 0% in 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The Port of Rotterdam is at the forefront of the global energy transition. In 2018, the port already met its goal to reduce its CO2-output by 20%, compared to 2016. This reduction was achieved by stimulating the use of cleaner fuels as well as a modal shift towards cleaner modes of transportation. By 2030 this should lead to a reduction of 16 Mt reduction in the port and 1.5 Mt in the city. To this end the city will invest an addition 68.2 million Euros in the coming years.

60.000 households (almost 19% of the total) are heated by residual heat instead of gas. This results into a 70-75% CO2 reduction. The city continues to invest in enabling more homes to use alternatives for gas heating. In 2019 a total of 144.604 solar panels were installed on 10.900 homes. This is an increase of 43% compared to the previous year. The port area saw an even larger increase of 286% to 28.376 panels in the same period. The city currently has 72 operational wind turbines that generate a total of 217MW. Their output serves the energy needs of around 130,000 households. The city continues also to invest in local circular collaborations between citizens, the public sector and businesses. No less than 50 new initiatives have sprung up in several hotspots across the city. By 2030, we project these initiatives will reduce our waste output by 50% and create up to 7,000 jobs. Of course, the city keeps investing in its green rooftops. They look fantastic, capture CO2 and help manage excessive water flows after heavy rainfall. Between 2016 and 2019 the total green roof area nearly doubled from 220,000m2 to 400,000m2.