Reflecting on 2023 and looking ahead to 2024

Approaching the turn of the year we honour the tradition of looking back to 2023 and forward to 2024. 2023 has been an eventful year for Rotterdam and for Rotterdam Partners. A year in which we attracted new international companies and congresses, started new collaborations and projects, welcomed new partners into our Connect to Rotterdam & Partners network, and a year of increased focus on important transitional challenges (energy, circularity).

Welcoming and supporting international companies 

A longstanding tradition of the city of Rotterdam and of Rotterdam Partners is welcoming international companies who arrived during the last 12 months with the support of Rotterdam Partners with a special event, the Red Carpet Dinner. Rotterdam’s business climate and entrepreneurial ecosystem is constantly evolving, the arrival of new international companies and entrepreneurs is testament to its relevance and appeal. With the Red Carpet dinner we express our sincere appreciation to the companies for choosing Rotterdam as a business location and being the heartbeat of Rotterdam’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The new arrivals who were welcomed at this year’s Red Carpet event in October are active in various industries including maritime, energy, IT&Tech. One of these companies is Paebbl, who chose Rotterdam as home base where they are developing their innovative solution combining capturing carbon with abundant minerals to create a carbon-negative industrial raw materials. Other new international arrivals in 2023 included Q8, PTP Group and Vissionav Robotics Europe. Besides welcoming new companies to our city, via the Rotterdam Expat Centre we supported international companies, expats and their families through the services of the Rotterdam Expat Centre.

International congresses leave legacy in Rotterdam 

Besides being a city that attracts businesses and investments from all over the world, Rotterdam also continues to attract international congresses and business events, standing out in European rankings. The World Hydrogen Summit, the World Library & Information Congress (IFLIA), the International Congress of the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS), the 16th European symposium on pediatric cochlear implantation (ESPCI) and the Immersive Tech Week are just some of the top events that took place in our city in 2023 and that contributed to knowledge sharing and reinforcing our ecosystem.

Several congresses participated in the new Rotterdam Collaboration for Change framework, designed to support congress organisers in their aim to create real impact and bring their legacy ideas to life. ILTS engaged students on the topic of organ donation via guest lecture and a debate contest; ESPCI chose to offset CO2 emissions and improving the lives of deaf children in our city through a special greening project in school playgrounds; while the WLIC launched a social awareness and education project within the Dutch library system. 

Launch of Green Ports Partnership

Rotterdam Partners facilitates global trade and international expansion of companies located in our urban region. We do this in close collaboration with the municipality of Rotterdam and our extensive network of partners within and beyond our city’s borders. In 2023 we initiated and launched the Green Ports Partnership (GPP), together with the government of the Netherlands, several Dutch and Brazilian public and private parties. The objective of the GPP is to enhance bilateral cooperation and knowledge sharing and jointly promote public and private initiatives in the field of sustainable and innovative port development, port logistics, hinterland connections and port-related energy projects, including near and offshore wind and the production of (green) hydrogen.

Another new multi-annual trade programs Rotterdam Partners actively got involved in this year is NLHortiRoad2India, aimed at creating sustainable food systems in India.   

Rotterdam in rankings

This year’s international media accolades have further solidified Rotterdam’s position as a sustainable, innovative and resilient future-city.  

  • European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/2023 by fDi: Rotterdam is the number 1 best-connected European city, 5th overall future-focused city, 7th in economic potential and 8th in business friendliness.
  • Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2023: Rotterdam ranks 2nd worldwide, with high factors like healthcare, safety and climate – external source.
  • The 2023 City Index by KAYAK states that Rotterdam is the ideal destination for sustainable traveling. With a total score of 100/100, factors like connectivity, eco-friendly transportation in the city, experiences and competitive stay options make Rotterdam stand out.
  • Aquatech recognised Rotterdam as a global leader in water resilience alongside top cities like New York, Tokyo, Wuhan, and Cape Town. From its innovative “sponge city” concept to floating buildings and flood-resilient roofscape infrastructure, Rotterdam is paving the way for sustainable water management.


Connect to Rotterdam & Partners network expanded

As the partner and networking organisation of Rotterdam, we connect our 150 partners to one another and to the city. Every year we organise various networking events, such as the annual New Year’s drinks and inspiring knowledge sessions. This year we proudy welcomed many new partners, including Annabel, Aqualiner, BlueCity, The Bears, FG Foodlabs, H2otel, House of Gassan, Hulstkamp building, Ibis Styles Hotel Rotterdam Ahoy Rotterdam, Markthal Rotterdam, Meet Tuesday, Motto by Hilton, Stadion Feijenoord N.V. De Kuip Conference & Event Center, Vlaardingen Partners. For a complete overview of our partners, check our website (Dutch page). 


Successful knowledge sessions

In 2023 we introduced several new services to optimise collaboration, such as a network app to share news, information, events and contact details. We also started organising interactive, strategic Knowledge Sessions on specific topics, to share data, business intelligence and insights, discuss experiences and overall help each other improve our understanding of market developments, tools and technologies. These knowledge sessions proved to be very popular and successful, and we are happy to announce that we will again be organising them again in 2024.

Looking ahead to 2024

With the turn of the year around the corner, we are already looking forward to 2024. A year that we hope and trust will be characterized by the continuation and strengthening of existing collaborations and partnerships, and the creation of new ones. A year in which will continue focussing on the important transitions and challenges our modern day society is facing. In addition to welcoming international delegates for significant international conferences and events, such as the World Energy Congress (22-25 April), the World Hydrogen Summit (13-15 May) and Urban Future (5-7 June), Rotterdam is taking bold strides in its urban development projects, shaping a green and climate-adaptive city. The city is undergoing transformative changes with a series of sustainable city projects, the construction of the FENIX museum on Katendrecht, and the eagerly anticipated opening of RiF010, an innercity surf haven with a wave pool. Adding to the excitement are the highly popular Rotterdam Art Week and Rotterdam Architecture Month and the opening of Portlantis, the port’s cutting-edge experience center set to replace FutureLand. As we look ahead, there are also noteworthy milestones to celebrate, including the 10th anniversaries of Rotterdam Central Station, the Markthal and Rotterdam Partners!

For Rotterdam Partners as organisation, 2024 will be the year in which we are welcoming a new director and are moving to a new office. 

Warm wishes from Team Rotterdam Partners!

This page of course can only offer a brief overview of some of the most important developments. If you have questions, or if you want to explore possbilities in Rotterdam, we would gladly connect with you! For now: we hope you will enjoy the holiday season and wish you all the best for a wonderful 2024! 



Photos and images on this page: Iris van den Broek, Guido Pijper, ILTS, ESPCI, nustyR, Tom Knol, Rotterdam Partners, Finally an Agency

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