Rotterdam: resilient city

Rotterdam is known for its resilience in the face of challenges, epitomizing the spirit of human ingenuity and adaptation. Situated largely below sea level, the city has long been at the forefront of climate change adaptation solutions, implementing innovative strategies to combat rising waters and extreme weather. From advanced water management solutions to visionary urban planning, Rotterdam showcases commitment to safeguarding its future against the threats of a changing climate.

Triple helix drives forward innovation

Central to Rotterdam’s resilience and sustainability is a spirit of innovation and experimentation, propelling it to the forefront of sustainable urban development. The city’s triple helix model, fostering collaboration between government, academia, and industry, has created a fertile ground for innovation, driving forward initiatives in climate change adaptation, renewable energy, circular economy, and digitalization (examples of which can be found aplenty on this website). Rotterdam thanks its resilient nature in part also to its diverse and multicultural populace, a rich mix of cultures and backgrounds that infuses the city with a future-focused can-do spirit and dynamism.

Throughout the city one can find many visible and tangible examples of Rotterdam’s progressive and innovative approach to aforementioned challenges. Such as its water squares, which double public space in normal times and as storm water storage in times of heavy rainfall. But also the innovative and multifunctional green roofs of office buildings, hotels, congress and event venues, public buildings and (in the near future) a former railway viaduct. And of course Rotterdam’s floating solutions, like the sustainable floating houses at Nassau Harbour, the Floating Farm in the M4H district the Floating Office (HQ of the UN Global Center on Adaptation) at Rijnhaven. These and other examples are oftentimes the result of public private partnership and are driven by the typical Rotterdam way rolling up the sleeves, finding new ways of moving forward and just getting things done.

Through proactive measures and a commitment to designing, developing and delivering local solutions to global challenges, Rotterdam not only mitigates the impacts of climate change but also emerges as a leading city in sustainable urban development.


Photos (c) Guido Pijper (header photo), ESPCI, Iris van den Broek. The header photo shows Annigje Jacobs and Sherif Soubra of the startup company Springtail, located at BlueCity. Springtail helps set up value chains around ingredients and materials that restore the soil.

My favourite venues (0)