Rotterdam eNews - November 2020

Moving ahead in a new world

Dear all, It has been six months since I wrote my previous blog.

In March COVID-19 ensured the country, like much of the world, came to a grinding halt. Since then, time has passed by and at the same time it can feel like someone has put the movie on hold.

In Rotterdam we’ve been influenced too and have devoted resources to designing the final phase of RUGGEDISED and looking at different scenarios about to what extent we could execute the last four solutions in the Hart van Zuid. Some were still feasible, some not, but currently it looks like the project will have an extra year to realize the remaining smart solutions, which will allow us to move forward and help create the impact we always planned to.

Even in these COVID-times we also have some good news. Our close partner, Ahoy, is having a tough time with them being a part of the leisure industry, but the Eurovision Song Contest has been confirmed to take place in the Ahoy Arena in 2021. It’s something we are all looking forward to! We have also received the good news that a planned cinema and hotel, to be built next to Ahoy, will be completed, which is good news for the RUGGEDISED smart thermal grid as we envision those buildings to be connected to the smart grid.

We are also very happy about the progress of extracting energy from surface water, which was put on hold earlier in RUGGEDISED. “It’s back” if we are successful in extending the project by a year. For a long time it seemed that the plan to extract heat from surface water would be unaffordable, but by forging a smart alliance with another initiative working with the energy transition, and changing the location we found a solution that has the sought after potential. Ahoy also plays a leading role in this plan, as the heat will be extracted from ponds in a park behind Ahoy, and the installation itself will be installed on their premises (parking lot).

I don't know about you, but I'd love to see everything back to normal as soon as possible. But the past six months made it perfectly clear that what is coming will be a ‘new normal’ regardless of what happens. I personally am pleased to work with all the local partners in Rotterdam, and the international network in RUGGEDISED, to make a virtue of necessity and take the steps now that will make our lives healthier, greener and more sustainable in the future.

I am also happy to be sharing examples with other cities, practitioners, citizens and experts in what’s quickly becoming a virtual community of people committed to a sustainable transformation. Recently I shared the work we are doing in RUGGEDISED at the 9th Conference of Sustainable Cities and Towns, alongside the Cities of Barcelona and London and with the European Smart Cities Marketplace moderating. You can watch the video below this blog.

Stay strong and keep faith. Better times are coming!

 Katelien van den Berge, RUGGEDISED project manager, City of Rotterdam

Month 49 / 60


Strong partnerships are being established in Rotterdam helping to make the city more sustainable.


The current crisis related to corona continues to pose a challenge.