Rotterdam, in the south of the Netherlands, is the country’s second largest city and one of the largest ports in the world. It is a young and diverse city with about 620,000 inhabitants, including over 170 nationalities. It is an entrepreneurial city, making it attractive for national and international business. Mainly thanks to its seaport, Rotterdam is a cornerstone of the Dutch economy.
Rotterdam is also a centre of education with excellent universities, including the Erasmus, a renowned university hospital and the Willem de Kooning Academy art school. The city suffered considerable damage during Wold War II, resulting in the rebuilding of most of the centre, and has developed a reputation for using cutting-edge, high-rise architecture both for residential and commercial buildings. This is continuing today in a wealth of new projects. Rotterdam still has a historic harbour area in its port. The city has a rich cultural life of museums and performing arts that reflect the ethnic diversity of its inhabitants.
Like many cities, Rotterdam is shifting from an industrial to a service-based economy. Strong sectors are logistics, finance, health, chemicals, architecture and culture. The city currently has a higher unemployment rate than the national level and it is trying to promote a more knowledge-based local economy. The aim is to attract and retain more skilled and highly-educated workers to strengthen its social structure and develop a durable economic basis. There is a need to revitalise the reconstructed city centre and former working-class neighbourhoods in the suburbs.