Rotterdam's Resilience Journey

The city of Rotterdam released its Resilience Strategy on April 1, 2016. Explore the strategy here.

Rotterdam's Resilience Story

With nearly 80% of the city below sea level and one of the largest ports in the world, Rotterdam has built up centuries of experience when it comes to resilience, particularly on the topics of integrated water management and innovative climate adaptation. 

Rotterdam’s efforts are still being undertaken with an eye towards the flood of 1953, which killed almost 2,000 people and caused widespread property damage. It was an event that underscored the destructive power of the sea, and spurred the modern flood management industry in the country. In 2007, this Dutch city announced its ambition to become 100% climate-proof by 2025 -- able to continue functioning economically and socially with minimal disturbance under any extreme weather situation.

Resilience Challenges

  • Coastal Flooding
  • Drought
  • Hazardous Materials Accident
  • Heat Wave
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Refugees

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Arnoud Molenaar is the Chief Resilience Officer of the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After graduating with a degree in Physical Geography from the University of Utrecht, Molenaar started his career with several ambitious trainee posts and jobs in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. As deputy head of the Rotterdam Water Management Department, he was responsible for Rotterdam’s urban water management and the Waterplan2Rotterdam. In 2008, he was appointed Manager of the ambitious Rotterdam Climate Proof program. In this role, he initiated the international Connecting Delta Cities network, became regional coordinator within the Dutch research program Knowledge for Climate, and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy.

Molenaar successfully led the City of Rotterdam towards a leading position on innovative urban water management and climate adaptation, which resulted in 2013 in an European Peer City status. Arnoud is first editor of the third Connecting Delta Cities book “Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies” which was launched early 2014, he also was member of the Steering Committee of the international conference “Deltas in times of Climate Change 2014”. 

Snapshot of Rotterdam

  • 610,386

    Population as of 2011

Around the World

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  • Coastal Flooding
  • Drought
  • Hazardous Materials Accident
  • Heat Wave
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Refugees
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