Rotterdam rises 5 places in the worldwide ranking of congress cities

City on the Maas second congress city of the Netherlands for the 10th time in a row

Rotterdam continues to rise in the worldwide ranking of congress cities. The continued growth of congresses to the city ensures that Rotterdam now holds the 52nd place worldwide, five places higher than the previous year as shown by the annual statistics of the ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association). Rotterdam also climbed three places in the European ranking to the 32nd position. In 2016 the city hosted 49 international association congresses (congresses organised by the scientific and association branches). Because of this, Rotterdam managed to hold its position as the second congress city of the Netherlands, after capital city Amsterdam, for the tenth consecutive year.

Rotterdam has managed to improve on its reputation as an international congress destination in recent years. The number of international association congresses that Rotterdam has managed to attract has grown enormously in this time. From 11 congresses in 2006 to no less than 49 in 2016. The increasing popularity of Rotterdam as a congress destination fits into the trend of the city’s increased positive international profiling. In addition, the city is also better equipped to attract larger congresses. For example, the number of hotel rooms has risen in the last few years, and the number of congress venues has also increased. The arrival of the new Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre in 2020 will offer Rotterdam the opportunity to attract more and bigger congresses in the future.

The presence of world-renowned institutions like the Erasmus MC and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the port, the accessibility and compactness of the city and the competitive international price-quality ratio are also important reasons for congress organisers to arrange a congress in Rotterdam.

Economic value
The economic value of congresses is high. Business visitors spend more on average than leisure tourists. Especially the international congress visitor, who with an average daily budget of 384 euros has a high expenditure pattern. The arrival of congresses to Rotterdam also contributes to the image of Rotterdam as an advanced knowledge city. When attracting congresses the focus is specifically on congresses within the sectors important to the city such as Medical & Life Sciences, Food, Transport & Logistics, Maritime and Cleantech.

Business tourism is therefore an important growth market for Rotterdam. To bring international congresses to the city; the municipality, entrepreneurs in the congress industry, knowledge institutes and Rotterdam Partners are working together more intensively.

Anton Vliegenthart, director of ICC de Doelen: “We are proud of this Rotterdam result. The dedication, focus and energy in the collaboration between Rotterdam Partners, the congress venues and hotels has paid out in a solid second place for Rotterdam.”

Karin van den Berg, general manager at the Hilton Rotterdam: “Hilton Rotterdam is delighted with this recognition for the city of Rotterdam as a high-quality congress destination for the 10th year running. The development of the city in recent years has strengthened this position which is measurable by the increase in the annual number of congresses in the city. This is not only important for the hotels, but also for other sectors including restaurants, transport providers and retail. The average expenditure of a congress visitor is higher than many other visitors and contributes to the economic development of the city. Many parties in the city actively work together to attract this segment, and they can all be proud of this recognition."

Fred Balvert, manager at congress bureau Erasmus MC and Rotterdam Knowledge Partner: “We see that more scientific and medical associations consciously choose to organise their congresses in Rotterdam. Doctors and researchers are eager to receive their guests in the city. This is due to the excellent range of venues and hotels, the favourable price-quality ratio and Rotterdam's reputation as a hip metropolis.”

National development
The Netherlands is also doing well as an international player in the congress market. The Netherlands achieved the 9th place in the worldwide ranking with 368 international association congresses. The national list is led by Amsterdam which has the most physical capacity in the Netherlands to facilitate congresses. The capital city shares the 7th place on the worldwide ranking with Madrid, with 144 congresses. The ICCA ranking does not include all congresses. The ICCA only processes association congresses with a minimum of 50 delegates. These congresses must also take place on a regular basis in at least three different countries. For more information, visit:

Rotterdam Partners: promoter of the Rotterdam economy
Rotterdam Partners is proud of Rotterdam and is dedicated to moving the city forward. We focus on Rotterdam’s image and promote the Rotterdam region nationally and internationally. We open Rotterdam’s doors to future visitors, companies, residents and students and show them around our city. We enthuse and inspire them. We also convince them to visit, do business, locate their companies and hold their congresses in Rotterdam. And we encourage them to come here to live or study. Rotterdam Partners is consequently responsible for city marketing, acquisition marketing and works to developing a better business climate. This is how we strengthen the Rotterdam economy in the broadest sense of the term.