Rotterdam is changing. The city is always on the move, and that is something you can see, hear and feel – also when it comes to sustainability. Although we still have a long way to go, ‘the sustainable city’ is bursting with more activity than ever before. As well as all kinds of climate-adaptive measures – ranging from green roofs and water squares for harvesting rainwater during heavy showers to alternative energy sources and sustainability-enhanced houses – Rotterdam also stimulates mindful, local and Corporate Social Responsibility entrepreneurship. As a resident or visitor you are bound to spot the results, as well as experiencing them every day, because the city makes sure everyone is engaged in this transition. We tackle the challenges together and we also enjoy the benefits together. Everybody – including every sub-culture and kitchen – can pull their weight in enhancing the sustainability of the city. Put on your mindful glasses and spot the sites and initiatives that underpin the mission aimed at sustainability and health all around you. Would you like to experience Rotterdam in a mindful and sustainable way? Here are some tips and places that are worth a visit.
Tips for a mindful and sustainable stay in Rotterdam
A day, weekend or week in Rotterdam can be enjoyed mindfully in every possible way, right up to the last minute. Although you will be making big steps exploring the city, your footprint will remain small. Your arrival is ‘green’, your stay is mindful and your recreation sustainable. You will dine locally and – inspired by the forward-thinking of the city on the Meuse and its initiatives for sustainability – you will return home even more mindful. We wish you a vibrant and mindful stay!
Sustainable travel: from e-bike to electric water cab
To start your visit with a sustainable journey, you will of course arrive by train.
On arrival, you will notice that this is an ideal city to explore on foot, by bike or using public transport. Above all, there is plenty of EV shared mobility on offer. With the Rotterdam Welcome Card you will not only profit from discounts with many local businesses, but also have the benefit of an RET transport pass for one or more days. Something you mustn’t miss is the Rotterdam water cab – the ultimate in Rotterdam water-bound transport – which now includes an electric variant. As well as having a larger capacity (maximum of 50 passengers), the electric water cab is less polluting and quieter. The aim of the RET (Rotterdam’s public transport company) is to be energy-positive by 2030. All in all, the mindful traveller can easily get from A to B in Rotterdam in a sustainable, effective and attractive manner.
A sustainable stay: the key to the greenest hotels in Rotterdam
As a mindful traveller, you will obviously be staying in a hotel that takes its green responsibilities seriously.
For example, these hotels make their guests aware of water consumption, urge the repeat use of towels and take dedicated action to reduce waste, as well as providing local, organically and/or sustainably made products and dishes. The Green Key certificate is a guide to selecting a hotel that will ensure a sustainable stay. All businesses carrying a Green Key quality label are making an extra effort to spare the environment without compromising comfort and quality. Rotterdam hotels carrying the Gold Green Key can be found all across the city and include:
Westcord Hotel New York, Kop van Zuid: the former head office of the Holland America Line.
ss Rotterdam, Katendrecht: overnight stay on a Holland America Line vessel.
Suite Hotel Pincoffs, Noordereiland: a listed building with a wonderful view in an enchanting environment.
NHOW Rotterdam, Kop van Zuid: metropolitan sleeping on the iconic De Rotterdam.
NH Atlanta Rotterdam, city centre: sleep near the Coolsingel in the heart of the city’s shopping centre.
Bliderberg Parkhotel, city centre: on the Westersingel, next to the city’s cultural heart and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot.
Tip: take a look at other hotels and book ‘mindfully’ (i.e. stress-free, fair and without any additional costs) through Moonback.
Explore sustainably: boating while collecting waste and other progressive pursuits
Wake up with a clear conscience and prepare yourself for interesting and sustainable activities.
Explore the city in a responsible manner from the water with the prize-winning iKapitein, the world’s first pleasure craft with an integrated waste-collector. Water in the city can be both a curse and a blessing, but by deploying initiatives like a floating office and a floating farm, we utilise the water to its full potential. We also know how to handle rain water, for example, stimulating water retention by laying out water squares. This is how we make the city more future-proof and resilient in the face of climate change. Moved by that same motivation, many projects have been started which will enhance the city’s sustainability, for example, the projects of Resilient Rotterdam, which include among other things, more green roofs and parks and floating houses. And while we are on the subject of water and resilience, the Maeslantkering definitely deserves a mention. This flood barrier is situated in the New Waterway near Hoek van Holland and features the largest movable parts in the world; it should even be capable of withstanding a tidal wave of 5 metres above NAP (normal Amsterdam water level).
That height does not compare, however, to the roofs of Rotterdam; Skyline City of the Netherlands. It occurred to Rotterdammers that you could do so much more with such an astounding roof surface. Going green was the obvious choice, but the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, which evolved from the annual Rotterdamse Dakendagen (roof days) allows you to discover the city from a height. If you want to find out how ‘real Rotterdammers’ handle sustainability in their daily lives, special city tours allow you to discover hidden sites in the city, as well as its residents and entrepreneurs. Arrange a city guide from Around010, Bike & Bite, De Rotterdam Tours or Inside Rotterdam, for example, and you are sure to discover much more of the greenest city in the Netherlands.
Sustainable dining and drinking: tasty and local, so double the satisfaction
Rotterdam’s dining culture is a perfect reflection of the city’s sustainability mission.
You will find many friendly restaurants, run by ambitious entrepreneurs with great passion. Restaurant Rotonde for example; this progressive restaurant is committed to an awareness of many food issues ranging from origin to waste handling, making the restaurant every bit as circular as its name suggests. Or restaurant Aloha, where the mission boils down to a radically different approach producing a bare minimum of waste, but obviously without any compromising on taste. The restaurant menu is changed every four weeks according to the season and the local produce on offer. And when it comes to sustainability, even the venue of bio-vegan bistro Gare du Nord, where you can enjoy dishes made from organically produced ingredients sitting in an authentic German railway carriage from 1982, has been re-used! Read more about the innovative and responsible dining culture of Rotterdam and try the options yourself.
The future of Rotterdam is sustainable
As illustrated by the above-mentioned sites and projects, Rotterdam is working and changing, also when it comes to sustainability. And it’s not just the municipality, but also important players such as the RET transport company and the Port of Rotterdam who are contributing to that objective; sustainability enhancement and change can only be achieved jointly. The Rotterdam city projects also demonstrate this focus, providing space for residents and visitors alike to meet one another, move and play within a healthy and green environment. At the same time, they provide solutions for the reduction of heat stress and the harvesting of water. Ranging from the port to the Hofbogenpark, roofs and parks, going green and enhancing sustainability are key to the city on the Meuse. Discover it for yourself and pull your weight!