Make City Port spaces hubs for innovation

In addition to the symbolic value of transforming previously abandoned areas into the City Port’s most innovative places, transitional spaces between the city and port are good locations for creative districts and innovation hubs in a world where responsiveness, forward-thinking, and flexibility are increasingly necessary.

Good practice

In 2015, the City and Port launched Rotterdam Innovation District in the old port sectors of former shipyard RDM and Merwe-Vierhavens. The RDM sector is dedicated to sustainable solutions in the areas of energy, mobility and construction, such as the floating home tested at Aqua Dock. There are also three education and research institutes with capacity for 1200 students at RDM: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Albeda College, and Zadkine College (the latter are both dedicated to secondary level teaching and professional training). Start-ups, SMEs and global players from the maritime and offshore industries are based there. The project was also an opportunity to give a new lease of life to the industrial heritage in the area, such as the vast hall of the submarine base, which hosted part of the programme of AIVP’s 15th World Conference in 2016, and is also home to the offshore manufacturer Ampelmann, as well as the workshops where Holland America Line’s iconic ship Rotterdam was built. The aforementioned three academic institutions were installed in the former machine room of the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company. On the other bank of the Meuse at Merwe-Vierhavens (M4H), an area previously used for fruit exports, a number of innovative businesses have gradually taken up residence. These operate in sectors ranging from the food industry, medical technology, clean tech, and creative industries, and include PortXL, an innovation hub and startup accelerator in the maritime, logistics and energy fields. In 2018, a total of 14 new startups were selected to take part in the Port XL 2018 business acceleration programme. The City and Port have continued their collaboration to develop this approach, and in January 2018 launched the Makers District, to consolidate these two complementary zones.

More information: RDM Rotterdam ; PortXL ; Rotterdam Makers District

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