Year in review 2021 Invest - Business as unusual

2021 hasn’t been about doing business as usual. The continuing pandemic has affected industries, sectors and companies across the board. Starting or growing your business in Covid-times was challenging, to put it mildly. Rotterdam isn’t the city to simply accept conditions to be tough and roll with the punches. Rather, we come together and explore creative ideas and solutions. We share, innovate, collaborate, and that's exactly what we did together with many companies, entrepreneurs and partners this year. For Rotterdam, 2021 was ‘business as unusual’.

Rotterdam is a city of frontrunners and pioneers with the courage and will to drive change. Our outlook is always towards improving our future and our policies, programs and actions are based on moving towards a sustainable urban future. In Rotterdam, we like to co-create and think and act outside the box. This year these ‘character traits’ have proved to be more important than ever, especially when it comes to helping entrepreneurs and companies establish or grow their business, and for Rotterdam based companies to expand abroad.

Highlights from Rotterdam

We happily present you some of 2021’s highlights and important developments in Rotterdam:

Resilient city focusing on sustainability, innovation and inclusivity

Rotterdam aims to be a resilient city, promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth. This is an achievable future, towards which Rotterdam accelerates with an actionable plan. The Rotterdam climate agreement signed in 2019 by the city’s government, together with over one hundred companies and organisations, is a good example of how this city is progressing towards a sustainable, circular and climate neutral city. Rotterdam has strong ambitions to be a frontrunner in the transition to a digitalised, sustainable, and resilient world. The developments, projects and innovations presented on this page all contribute to Rotterdam’s goals in their specific ways.

Hybrid & online events

In a year with practically no travel possible and with lockdowns in various forms and at different times over the world, we had to find creative solutions to come together for events. And this we did. Throughout the year Rotterdam Partners organised and participated in hybrid and online events, often together with partners in and around our city. Rotterdam Maritime Capital of Europe hosted a series of webinars on various topics, including Autonomous Shipping. We co-organised special Globaliser programmes on SaaS and Sustainable Urban Development together with City of Rotterdam and DutchBasecamp. And we organised webinars and seminars for companies looking to expand their businesses to international markets in Asia, Europe and South America. If you want to stay up to date on future events, please let us know.

Red Carpet Dinner 2021

One of the main events that actually took place ‘live’ this year was our Red Carpet Dinner 2021 at  Theater Zuidplein. The Red Carpet Dinner is the prestigious annual event of the city of Rotterdam, organised by Rotterdam Partners, welcoming newly arrived international companies to our city and introducing them to relevant business networks. The event provides unique opportunities to meet large national and international enterprises, innovative SME’s, (foreign) startups, ambassadors, (honorary) consuls, aldermen of local authorities and new international arrivals. The theme for this year’s event was Resilience.


International Trade

For Rotterdam based companies with ambitions to expand operations and find new markets abroad, our Trade team made the most of the challenging and changing circumstances and combined traditional services with new format hybrid and online events. In collaboration with RVO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in line with the efforts of our mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb as Expo Champion, a mission program was organised at Expo 2020 Dubai. Fifty participating companies participated in this mission on the Energy-Water-Food nexus and made contacts with local parties. In addition to the Dubai World Expo 2020, Rotterdam Partners organised various webinars and seminars on markets in Asia, Europe and South America. Finally, we look back with pride on online trade missions, and other activities that have been organised together with the TINL network, such as the Globaliser program and activities.

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Connecting expats to Rotterdam

Even in a year marked by a pandemic, helping internationals find their way in our city must never stop. The Rotterdam Expat Centre continued welcoming expats and their families to Rotterdam and servicing them in our one-stop-shop in the heart of Rotterdam. Besides guiding them through formal procedures, answering questions about housing and utilities, schools, taxes and much more, the experts of the Rotterdam Expat Centre also started monthly online meetings this year together with Venture Café Rotterdam, the so-called Expat Café, with a special topic per month. Want to find out more? Check the Rotterdam Expat Centre website.


 ✨ Best wishes for 2022! ✨

All in all, 2021 has been an eventful year in other ways than we had envisioned beforehand. We are looking forward to (re)connecting with you and hopefully meeting you in person in the coming year. We wish you health, joy and all the best for 2022!

Photos and illustrations: Rotterdam Branding Toolkit, Rotterdam Make It Happen, City of Rotterdam, InnovationQuarter, Rotterdam Maritime Capital of Europe, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, CIC, Ossip van Duivenbode, Guido Pijper, Chris Gorzeman, Iris van den Broek, De Doelen ICC, Powerhouse Company, Pixabay, Rotterdam The Hage Airport / Stichting RHIA, Neste, IBIS Power, Flower Turbines, Future Mobility Park

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