Foto: Guido Pijpers


The challenges: A pocket sized world city.

Attracting talented people and investors can be an uphill struggle at times. By focusing our attention on our core strengths such as logistics, maritime, food, energy, and architecture we've built up the city's international profile and with promising results. Because of their global impact and relevance of these strengths Rotterdam is steadily gaining the attention of visitors, students, businesses and investors alike.

Developing local strengths

Local small and mid-sized companies offer enormous potential to the city. They generate between 60% and 70% of all jobs in Rotterdam and are crucial to transition to an economy that is digital, sustainable, circular and inclusive. They often have a difficult time attracting funding, new workers or access markets. UP!Rotterdam is a city-wide initiative that helps start-up companies grow into scale ups by providing them with access to knowledge, funding, training programs and more.

Being a port city, anything port related is part of our root strengths. PortXL is a collaboration of the municipality, the port authority, PortXL offers a complete ecosystem for start-ups and scale-ups from all over the world. Port XL also expanded its activities two other major port cities: Antwerp and Singapore. One of the companies selected for 2019 is Planys. The start-up company from India develops underwater inspection and survey solutions using ROVS.

Rotterdam is one of the largest logistic hubs in the world and has the ambition to be the frontrunner in smart mobility. The Mobility City Campus is a global concept that brings together all major players in the field of mobility. The aim is to experiment, inspire, create, experience and market new mobility concepts on land, at sea and in the air.

Building international partnerships

Other cities around us are facing similar challenges and are seeking to capture similar opportunities. Together with our national government and other major cities in Europe and the world we are putting in place new forms of cooperation and instruments that can be applied beyond the city limits. Successful local experiments done in Rotterdam are scaled up across the city and shared with other cities globally through many of the networks Rotterdam is an active member of:

  • C40 mobilises 96 world cities to take bold climate action.
  • GRCN is a city-led organization driving urban resilience action.
  • ICLEI is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.
  • EUROCITIES brings together local governments of over 140 European cities to share knowledge and ideas.

Rotterdam is one of the founders of RUGGEDISED. This network prepares European cities for a future that is circular, climate proof and sustainable. Rotterdam-Zuid refers to southern half of the city. Traditionally this part of Rotterdam has been economically challenged and it is dominated by low income households. The city has chosen this area as a launching pad for positive initiatives that shape our future. ‘Zuid’ will be the first part of the city to have electric public transportation working on a smart timetable aided by machine learning, intelligent sensor-based street lighting and many other innovations.  

Becoming a global role model

Rotterdam is an active member of the Global Resilient Cities Network. This alliance helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges in the nearby future. Rotterdam has an excellent track record for water management – which comes in very useful in combating the effects of climate change. Successful experiments that start locally and are often partially run by residents are scaled up across the city and shared with cities such as Paris, Jakarta (Indonesia), and Surat (India). Rotterdam’s leading role in climate resilience has attracted to GCA to choose Rotterdam for its spectacular floating office.