Growing number of jobs thanks to foreign companies


In 2018, Rotterdam reported a growing number of new jobs following the arrival of foreign companies like Cogoport, Webhelp, Airlift Systems and GE Healthcare. Together, the 36 international companies provided over 1430 new jobs and invested 199 million euros into the city’s economy. More and more international companies are attracted by Rotterdam’s ambitions to help build the new economy and the related innovative climate in the city.

These international companies were brought in by Rotterdam Partners, which is responsible for the city marketing and acquisition of international companies in the city. Jeroen Kuyper, director of Rotterdam Partners: “The figures for 2018 show that Rotterdam’s position remained stable in an international playing field that was very turbulent last year. Companies continue to show an interest in settling in Rotterdam. Companies are attracted by our innovative climate, the opportunities for experiment offered by Rotterdam, the presence of suitable talent and our strategic position in Europe. Our ambition for Rotterdam is to maintain our growth and bring it further in line with the city’s ambitions to achieve a next economy that is sustainable, digital and circular. In our acquisition, we are therefore focusing even more on international companies leading the field in circularity, sustainability, innovation, digitisation and inclusiveness.”

In 2018, Rotterdam’s ambitions to be an economy of the future brought many foreign companies to the city. For example, the International Solid Waste Association announced that it was relocating its head office to Rotterdam because of ‘the city’s sustainable ambitions’. The Qatar-based Airlift Systems chose Rotterdam and the Netherlands for its innovation climate with – also in government – ‘opportunities for experiment’. Other companies like Cogoport, Raise 3D, GE Healthcare and the UN climate centre also based themselves in the city.

Barbara Kathmann, alderman for Economy, Districts and small centres: “We want to be an attractive city for companies which are part of the economy in transition. The arrival of these companies confirms the appeal of this policy. International start-ups and scale-ups are important for Rotterdam. With the knowledge and daring attitude they bring, as well as their international network and allure, they make an important contribution to the economic infrastructure required for the transition to an economy that is digital, sustainable and circular.”

In 2018, a total of 70 new foreign companies settled in Rotterdam, a slight rise compared with the previous year. Rotterdam Partners played a leading role in attracting 36 of these companies. Together, these 36 companies provided 1439 jobs, 300 jobs more than the previous year. The majority of these companies are from Asia, Europe and North America. Most companies were marketing & sales offices, head offices and distribution centres.

Attractive city

In 2018, the popularity of Rotterdam also translated into a growth in the number of expats who received support from the Rotterdam Expat Centre. In total, 2212 new expats were registered, nearly double the number in 2017 (1362). Many of the expats who came to Rotterdam last year work in the IT sector. Most expats came from India, the United States and Brazil.

Rotterdam also gained popularity as a tourist destination in 2018. The number of hotel rooms booked rose by 15 percent to 1.3 million hotel guests. The city also does well as a business destination. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), nearly half the hotel bookings in 2018 were for business travellers. Furthermore, in 2018 Rotterdam Partners was involved in attracting 24 congresses to the city. These congresses, which are still to take place, will provide an expected economic boost of over 28 million euros.

Open/download the 2018 Facts & Figures factsheet for more information.

Header photo: Nick Staal

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