Get inspired in Rotterdam

City of Rotterdam invited the particpants of Europe let's cooperate to eight inspiring field visits from local organisations.  This was a great occasion to discover good practices from Rotterdam linked to Interreg Europe topics. The visits took place on 22 March 2016 between 9:30 and 12:30.

Please find here below presentations and photos of the different field visits


Visit 1: RDM Makerspace: the place where tomorrow’s innovations are applied today

You might have already heard about Rotterdam Drydock Company (RDM) at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. In case you have not, RDM Rotterdam is the innovation showcase of the Rotterdam port area, where applied science is visualised in an attractive way. Right in the center of the port, surprisingly close to the city, the former shipyard of the RDM accommodates businesses, education and research. Together they are shaping the new manufacturing industry for both the port and the city. RDM Rotterdam accommodates businesses of all sizes, from a small carpentry company to maritime and offshore multinationals. Start-ups and existing businesses can rent space to develop, test and demonstrate prototypes and products. Modern machinery including a hydrologic laboratory, various robots and 3D-printers as well as knowledge and expertise from educational institutions are at their disposal. A variety of business and cultural events complement this and make for a dynamic and energetic RDM, a place you must see! We offer a tour of the project guided by one of the business developers. There will be time for questions during the tour and afterwards. 

Contact person: Martin Aarts T: +31 (0)610372455



Visit 2: The Rotterdam Innovation District – See the Next Economy in practice!

In cooperation with private companies, the City of Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Port Authority create special, innovative living and working areas in the city port area in the coming 20 to 40 years, thus reinforcing the economic structure of the city and the port.

The main point for Merwehaven and the Vierhavens area will be the transformation of this harbor area into a national and international site of innovative business in the fields of clean tech, medical and food.

Within this area the SuGu club got settled. SuGu is at the forefront of a new revolution in Europe. A revolution in which advanced sustainable products are made at the same production costs level as large scale production in Asia. This is known as the next economy. Key drivers are new technologies, such as additive manufacturing, 3D printing and robotics, new materials: biobased and recycled plastics, composites and raw materials, not to mention the societal challenges as sustainability and unemployment. Currently the market is still at a starting point, but already offers great opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders. 

The SuGU club develops and manufactures products and services for new markets to accelerate the transition to the next economy. They do this by creating a next economy cluster of companies with various competencies in one space with focus on biobased and recycled.

During this Field visit you will get inspired by the SuGu vision, and get in contact with innovative companies and their products.

Contact person:  Anthony Polychronakis T: +31 (0) 610036983



Visit 3: Venture café: Connecting innovators to make things happen

The Venture café creates impact by letting the right minds meet. Venture café create matches between like-minded and extraordinary souls. People who are completely themselves, who love what they do, and who want open up to creative souls that seek the same. There’s no acquisition here. Venture Café is about meeting the unexpected.

Venture café is not an incubator, or an accelerator, but a connector with our esteemed colleagues, the entrepreneurs that reside with them and at Cambridge Innovation Centre and the knowledge and financial world necessary for growth. They each are strong, unique and powerful in their own field. The question is: where is the glue that creates the climate for each individual business to make a difference in the complete ecosystem? To create jobs. To make, grow and export business. To find and make connections. And: to find the euros to grow rapidly.

Learn more about the Venture café during this visit and find out how they create an innovative and successful environment.

Contact person: Gerdine van Leeuwen-van Klaveren

T:+31 (0) 651562131


Visit 4: Climate proof city quarter ZOHO – the water city of the future

As a delta city, Rotterdam is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Therefore the city council aims to ensure Rotterdam remains a pleasant living environment, where the impact of climate change on its residents is kept to a minimum. The measures that guarantee this help make it an attractive and liveable city. 


In the Zomerhofkwartier area, also called ZOHO in short, climate change resilience and area development are tackled in tandem. This is also one of the basic principles of the 2013 Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy. In this respect, we are particularly looking to combine these efforts with measures to improve the quality and enhance the green appearance of external public spaces. The simultaneous application of both a top-down and a bottom-up approach in improving the district opens up opportunities for innovations, creates support for new ideas, and enables us to expedite the processes by combining them with sewer maintenance work, for example. As a result, Zomerhofkwartier is a laboratory for spatial adaptation where new applications and concepts will be tested and demonstrated. This field trip takes you by foot through the ZoHo district, the urban laboratory in Rotterdam where promising climate measures are combined with the urban transition and its local initiatives.

Local experts will explain innovative projects like water square Benthemplein, raingarden, rain(a)way garden and Europe's biggest urban rooftop farm. Because of the innovative approach a LIFE/Climate change subsidy was awarded to support the development in the ZOHO area.

Contact person: Murat Altunbas T:+31 (0) 62290929

Additional information : Presentation


Visit 5: The blue economy: from waste to raw material 

BlueCity010 is an ecosystem where entrepreneurs in circular production combine their business cases to connect to each other and to operate entirely demonstrably. BlueCity010 focuses on the “blue economy”: a system whereby the waste of one person is a raw material for another. 

RotterZwam grows mushrooms on coffee waste and algae grow on residual heat and residual CO2 of these mushrooms. Alpha Enzymes sees opportunities to make bio plastics from coffee grounds. There will be a town bee-keeper who supplies the furniture maker of beeswax. In addition, there will be a vertical herb and vegetable garden which is provided with the worm compost and organic waste from the building and the neighbourhood.

BlueCity010 focuses its sights currently on location at the Tropicana. This former subtropical pool in Rotterdam is ideally suited to show how an existing building, which has lost its function, need not be demolished, but can be reused by entrepreneurs. That means 12000 m2 concrete innovation, demonstration, sustainability and production. 

Contact person: Cleo Pouw T:+31 (0) 651360892




Visit 6: Do It Yourself houses  

The skyline of Rotterdam is the city’s defining signature and a calling card for our architectural drive for innovation. As a city where people love to live, a city of architecture, Rotterdam builds and invests in innovative urban development. From fixer-uppers at just €1 to the sustainable redevelopment of the former Leonidas sports centre in the Esch area. In Rotterdam you can build your dream house with your own chosen team of architects and builders in a vacant lot, in a badly maintained house or an old school building. 

In 2004 Rotterdam started the DIY house project. The city of Rotterdam bought several hundred badly maintained houses and apartments to renovate. The idea was to sell it to top owner occupiers, but this was a challenge, so the city launched ‘do-it-yourself houses’. The city sold the houses at a bargain price to people committed to renovate it. The goal of the project is not just to turn out beautiful houses, but to bring about change in neighbourhoods. As part of the contract buyers commit to live in the property for at least the first three years, with no letting or selling permitted in that period. This innovative way of building creates houses with a personal touch. 

Nowadays, the focus is shifted from the renovation of badly maintained houses to change empty public buildings into apartments with a group of people. Furthermore empty lots are sold to individuals and groups to design and build their own dream house.

What is the role of the municipality, what are the challenges and what’s next? You will learn more about DIY houses during the presentation and walking tour through the neighbourhood Katendrecht. You will not only see the outside of the houses but you will get the chance to look inside.

Contact person: Joep Boute T:+31 (0)651211529

Additional information : Presentation available on request




Visit 7: Innovations with impact in the Rotterdam Science Tower

The Rotterdam Science Tower houses a unique mix of parties with a focus on innovative activity and fast-growing enterprise. It is a place where knowledge is converted into new innovations. The Erasmus Medical Centre and Erasmus University can be found here with their incubators. 

The tower offers young medical companies the opportunity to rent a lab and office space for short periods over the LabHotel. An additional advantage is the presence of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE). ECE supports the activities and knowledge transfer by scientists from various disciplines (alpha, beta and gamma), enterprising students, experienced entrepreneurs, investors and business physically together to arrive at the ECE Campus. On the first seven floors of the tower gives Zadkine education.

Erasmus MC Incubator is a combined laboratory and office facility at Erasmus MC . Here , young , start-up companies the opportunity to develop a number of years at high speed in a business friendly environment. During this stretch , the starters are supported in various ways in order to maximize the probability of success of their company. Visit the Science tower, one of the landmarks of the city of Rotterdam and learn more about new medical innovations.




Visit 8: The Rotterdam Market Hall Quarter, the new heart of the old town

The new icons are piling up in Rotterdam. Upon completion legendary work as Rotterdam (OMA), the new Rotterdam Central Station and the Market Hall (MVRDV) are quickly added to the city. The Market Hall is so strong presence in the historic city - as well as building concept - you can speak now of the Market Hall Quarter instead of Laurenskwartier.

The area vibrates with excitement because Binnenrotte will soon be transformed alongside a new world famous building, a green oasis. With the spectacular transformation of the Gelder Square, the Old Port seems to also provide new impetus to have.

In a tour of 1.5 hours takes an architecture guide Urban Guides you first join the Market Hall; the market floor, the roof terraces of the market pavilions, the impressive artwork by Arno Coenen and the time stage of the Rotterdam archaeological department. Simultaneously, the guide takes you into the mind of architect Winy Maas (MVRDV) on urban areas. Then the guide will also explain the other redevelopment projects of the Market Hall Quarter.

Contact person: Iris Willems T: +31 (0)613029437



The organiser

Field visits are organised by the City of Rotterdam. Discover Rotterdam!



Research and innovation SME competitiveness Low-carbon economy Environment and resource efficiency