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  European Commission > Regional Policy > Urban


Rotterdam is a major industrial centre in the Netherlands with a population of 590,000. The Rotterdam region, known as the Rijnmond, which is the Wider Territorial Unit for the Urban Audit, is located at the centre of the southern part of a major urban agglomeration called Randstad. Nearly half of the region's 1.2 million inhabitants live in Rotterdam itself. Its favourable position relative to the Rhein river on the North Sea has made it the largest seaport in the world.

The City Maps

Rotterdam Infrastructure
Rotterdam Population Density
Rotterdam CORINE Landuse

In 1998, Rotterdam and its region provided employment for 442,000 people, around 284,000 of whom were based in the city itself. The port, chemical industry, transport and distribution sectors are major employers in Rotterdam, which is home to 23,000 companies, including many foreign companies. Major Dutch companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Nedlloyd and insurance companies such as Nationale Nederlanden and Stad Rotterdam, are based in the city.

Culture has become a growth sector in Rotterdam and the selection of the city, together with Oporto, as a European cultural capital in 2002, confirms this development. Major cultural institutions include the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, the Kunsthal, the Dutch Architectural Institute (NAI), the Dutch Photo Institute (NFI), the Concert Hall De Doelen and the Maritime Museum. Major international cultural events include the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the traditional World Port Festival.

Rotterdam is not only the largest port in the world, it is also the main gateway to the European Union and a strategic entry point into Eastern Europe. Antwerp and the Ruhr-area constitute major markets. Approximately 60% of the added value of the port of Rotterdam is generated outside the Rotterdam region.

The population of Rotterdam has only increased slightly over the last few years. This is mainly due to the continuing departure of families with children. An increasing proportion of the city's population now consists of non-nationals, particularly in some districts. This has created ethnic and cultural diversity. One-person households are strongly represented throughout the city, whilst single-parent households have also increased.

Local authorities in the Netherlands have extensive responsibilities. The main responsibilities concern water, rail, road and public transport infrastructure, as well as social and community services. The City of Rotterdam is divided into 13 sub-city districts each with their own administration. The 'deelgemeenten' have responsibilities mainly in the fields of administrative duties, local spatial planning and maintenance of public areas. In addition to transfers from national government, the main sources of income for the municipality are derived from property and waste collection taxes.

The city is governed by the City Council, which is lead by the Mayor and Aldermen. The Mayor is not democratically chosen, but is appointed by the Queen. The Aldermen are chosen among the 45 councillors. In 1998 around half of the citizens voted in the local elections.


Results at the WTU and City Levels

Sub-city Analysis

Summary and City Relative Position

Links to City Websites

Rotterdam Statistical Office
Rotterdam City Development Corporation
Rotterdam Port Statistics
Netherlands Statistical Office (CBS)
Statistical Yearbook Rotterdam
Municipality of Rotterdam
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Mediaport Rotterdam (Regional)
Local information Online
Rotterdam Festivals online
Rotterdam Congress Agency
Province of Zuid-Holland


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