Rotterdam is part of the Randstad; a horseshoe shaped metropolis, covering the Netherlands’ four largest cit- ies. The city has 610,000 inhabitants, a slight increase from the 2005 level of 592,500, and is the second largest city in the Netherlands. It has one of the young- est populations in Europe; approximately 35% of the population is under the age of 25. Approximately half of Rotterdam’s population originates from outside of the Netherlands or are born of parents of foreign origin. In total there are 170 different nationalities living in the city.
Rotterdam is a modern international city with wide boulevards, parks and waterways, covering an area of 320km2 and situated on the river Maas. On the edges of the city, new residential districts have been developed. Entertainment venues, restaurants and festivals have helped to make Rotterdam an attractive place for young people.
The city’s port is Europe’s largest. Its petroleum re- fineries provide oil products across Western Europe. Additional sectors are also prominent in the port area, including the gas, chemical and metal industries. The city has strong banking, insurance and commercial sec- tors as well as a bustling food and drink industry which all benefit from international transport and shipping links.
Rotterdam’s light rail Metro system has five lines and 62 stations. In 2006, a fifth of these lines were connected to a new regional light rail service called Randstad Rail. The city has a tram network, waterbuses, taxis and an extensive cycle route network.
Since 2007, the City of Rotterdam, the Port of Rot- terdam NV, DCMR Environmental Protection Agency Rijnmond and Deltalinqs have been working together under ‘The Rotterdam Climate Initiative’ (RCI)1, to re- duce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for the potential impacts of climate change. The RCI aims to half the CO2 emissions of the built environment, trans- port, and industry in the city and port area, and focuses on the port and industry, because they constitute the majority of emissions.
The RCI intends to make the city 100% ‘climate proof’ by 2025. It is expected that new developments in the city and port should contribute to achieving both these targets, and that these targets will create new economic opportunities. The RCI’s ultimate ambition is to make Rotterdam a CO2-free city with a sustainable energy port and the most energy-efficient industrial cluster in the world. The RCI avoids taking action locally that could have the effect of raising CO2 emissions elsewhere in the world. The RCI participates in the C40 Climate Leadership Group, the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Connecting Delta Cities Programme.