Renovation of Central Library moves ahead in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 22 June 2023 – A significant milestone has been reached in the renovation of Rotterdam's Central Library, as the city council grants approval to the preliminary designs and funding for the upcoming refurbishment. The planned start date for the renovation is autumn 2025, during which the library will be temporarily relocated for three years. The improved Central Library is expected to reopen at the end of 2028.

Preliminary designs approved

On Thursday, preliminary designs for the refurbishment and temporary housing of the Central Library (Centrale Bibliotheek) were approved by the city council, marking the official commencement of the renovation process. The designs are now to be finalised.

Maarten Struijvenberg, the Alderman for Finance, Organisation, Service and Major Projects, has expressed satisfaction with the council's decision to allocate the required investment for the Central Library's renovation. He noted the importance of maintaining momentum in the process of transforming the library into a 'city's living room', envisioning a future-proof library in a lush green environment.

Future-proof library in a green environment

The design team, comprised of Powerhouse Company, Atelier Oslo, and Lundhagem, envisages the library as a city's living room. While the building is to be preserved as a cultural-historical icon, the interior will be made lighter and more suitable for social interaction. Iconic features such as the yellow pipes, glass waterfall, and blue warehouse will be retained and enhanced.

With entrances on all sides, the building will feature a basement bicycle parking with space for approximately 1,500 bikes. The exterior space will also be reconfigured.

Theo Kemperman, the Director and Board member of Rotterdam Library, is positive about the city council's decision. He envisages a library with dynamic spaces for a diverse community of Rotterdam citizens. He also praised the plan's focus on sustainability and integration with the city and its visitors.

Revamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealedRevamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealed
Revamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealedRevamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealed
Revamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealedRevamp of Rotterdam Central Library: Provisional design revealed

Rotterdam citizens express their views

During a recent information meeting, Rotterdam citizens were invited to share their views on the preliminary design of the new Central Library and the temporary location. Regular visitor, Harro, praised the impressive design and described the library as a meeting place with a lot of activity. Another frequent visitor, Bart, admired the planned greenery surrounding the library.

Renovation planning

The renovation of the Central Library is expected to run from autumn 2025 to autumn 2028. During this period, the library will be relocated to a municipal office building at Librijesteeg 4, approximately 200 metres away from the current location. This building will undergo renovations starting next summer to be able to function as a library. In the autumn of 2028, the library will reopen its doors at Hoogstraat.

For more information, please visit Drop-in consultation hours are available from 29 June to 20 July, every Thursday from 11:00 to 12:00 at the Central Library (Renovation Workshop, ground floor).

Temporary housing on Librijesteeg

During the library's renovation phase, from autumn 2025 to autumn 2028, the library will be housed in the municipal office building on Librijesteeg 4.

The new location: Librijesteeg 4

Librijesteeg 4, the library's temporary home, is situated about 200 meters from the current location. This area is rich with culture and history, providing an inviting environment for library-goers. The library's future home on Hoogstraat is located in a vibrant neighbourhood, bustling with shops and cafés.


New government-funded refugee housing in Rotterdam

New government-funded refugee housing in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 22 June 2023 – Amidst escalating pressure on Rotterdam's housing market, the Dutch government has teamed up with city officials to unveil an innovative solution for its residents. This initiative focuses on creating transitional housing for recognised refugees (statushouders in Dutch), subsidised by the government.

Innovative solution to housing crisis

Rotterdam's real estate market is under considerable strain. Limited availability of social housing and extended waiting periods have intensified the crisis. The housing demand from recognised refugees further fuels the stress on the housing sector. As a response, Rotterdam has reached an agreement with the government to establish a transitional location for these recognised refugees, the cost of which will be borne by the government.

The government's annual assignment for housing recognised refugees had been manageable for Rotterdam until it recently doubled. Meeting this increased assignment would strain the city's resources and impact vulnerable groups and new market entrants needing housing.

A call for alternative measures

"This situation calls for alternative solutions. As a result of our quest for alternative methods, we have reached certain agreements with the government. These agreements help to ease pressure on both the housing market in Rotterdam and the nationwide challenge in the asylum process," stated alderman Faouzi Achbar (Welfare, Community, Sport and Digital Inclusion).

Agreements with the government and South Holland Province

As of 1 July, a temporary transitional location in the form of a ferry will be stationed in Rotterdam's Merwehaven. The ferry will provide temporary accommodation to recognised refugees assigned to Rotterdam, as well as those assigned to other municipalities in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region.

This step helps not just the local home seekers but also the government and, where possible, the regional municipalities. Each regional municipality will be asked to account for the number of recognised refugees assigned to them in the Rotterdam commitment to asylum seeker reception if the dispersion law comes into force. Additionally, an agreement with South Holland Province ensured no asylum seeker center would be built on Barendrecht's territory bordering the vulnerable Lombardijen district of Rotterdam in the coming years.

Adherence to the coalition agreement

The agreements in the coalition agreement concerning asylum seekers and recognised refugees' reception in Rotterdam will remain unchanged, and the city council will continue to adhere to them.

Transition location and its role

The recognised refugees will commence their integration process at the transition location. The ones living on the ferry are part of the housing assignment. In the face of the housing shortage, these individuals currently reside in Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) locations across the country. This provision contributes to the national asylum process's fluidity.

Funding for flexible housing

Rotterdam will receive government funding for the construction of extra flexible dwellings for local first-time buyers, urgent seekers, and recognised refugees. Additional funds will be allocated for converting vacant healthcare and office buildings into residential spaces in Rotterdam. These efforts, along with the transitional location, are designed to ease housing market pressure and balance various groups' accommodation needs. Meanwhile, Rotterdam continues to build permanent homes for its residents.

Getting to the transitional housing location

The transitional housing location is situated at Merwehaven in Rotterdam. It is a bustling commercial area with good connections to public transport. Surrounded by numerous shops and eateries, Merwehaven provides an urban setting for the residents.


Funding boost accelerates De Kaai housing project in Rotterdam

Funding boost accelerates De Kaai housing project in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 20 June 2023 – Substantial funding from the National Government is set to accelerate a housing project in Rotterdam, creating affordable housing and enhancing green spaces in the De Kaai area.

Accelerated housing project funded by National Government

A significant financial boost of €3.6 million for Rotterdam's De Kaai housing project (Woningbouwimpuls) has been provided by the National Government. This funding aims to expedite the construction of 1,000 homes, with sixty percent belonging to the affordable category. These homes, a mix of rental and purchase properties, will occupy the site of the former Unilever land.

Chantal Zeegers, the Alderman for Climate, Building and Living, stated: “Rotterdam has previously received support from the National Government for Feyenoord City, M4H and Codrico. Now, we can add De Kaai to this list. I am grateful for the trust in our plans for this area. This national contribution allows us to create a green, vibrant, and accessible waterfront at De Kaai, in addition to building more affordable homes. This is excellent news for the entire neighbourhood.”

Private site transitioning to public space

The site, held privately for 130 years, will be transformed into a public space abundant with greenery and activity. It will include room for hospitality, cultural facilities, and creative entrepreneurs. The waterfront will also be revamped, adding walking and cycling paths, enhancing the area's accessibility from the city centre.

Inclusive residential area in development

Located on the banks of the Maas River, Kop van Feijenoord has become part of the city centre, characterized as a residential neighbourhood in the heart of Rotterdam. The municipality of Rotterdam and developers VORM and Amvest, the site owners, have collaborated on the plans for this area. De Kaai is set to provide approximately 1,000 homes, both rental and for sale, across various price ranges. The development is expected to offer opportunities for residents in Kop van Feijenoord looking to transition to suitable, affordable housing, as well as many other house-hunters. The first homes are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2026.

Directions to De Kaai

De Kaai is located on the Kop van Feijenoord, a bustling area on the banks of the Maas River, with easy access to the city centre. The district is easily reachable by both public transport and by bike.

Rotterdam launches live chat for entrepreneurs on

Rotterdam launches live chat for entrepreneurs on

ROTTERDAM, 19 June 2023 – In a move intended to enhance its digital service for Rotterdam's business community, the city's government has launched a live chat feature on its platform (Enterprise010). Now, Rotterdam entrepreneurs can engage with the local government in real-time, facilitating smoother communication and quicker resolution of inquiries.

Introduction of Live Chat on

From today, the live chat will be operational from Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 20:00, and on Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:00. This feature provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to raise their queries directly to a city representative. The launch of the live chat is part of the government's commitment to enhance its service to entrepreneurs, as promised in the mkb-actieprogramma (SME Action Programme) announced in March.

Alderman Robert Simons, in charge of Economy among other duties, commented on the new initiative: “When we developed the SME Action Programme, we frequently asked entrepreneurs about their needs. Personal and accessible contact with the government was a consistent request. The chat is a nice supplement to the existing personal contact channels such as the business desk, colleagues visiting entrepreneurs in the districts, and 14 010.”

The Platform is a municipal platform offering information to entrepreneurs. Besides providing necessary information, the platform also inspires and facilitates swift contact with the right person within the government. With the chat feature available on all pages of the site, entrepreneurs who find this contact option useful can now efficiently conduct digital business with the city.

The SME Action Programme

The SME Action Programme prioritises the needs of entrepreneurs. The strategy aims at improving services, providing clear offline and online information, tackling bureaucratic hurdles, and implementing a single-point-of-entry principle. Rotterdam aims to reduce red tape, ensure entrepreneurs receive swift assistance, and support future-proof business practices, as energy transition and resource scarcity present significant challenges to entrepreneurs.

Balancing Rotterdam's power grid: Stedin's campaign

Balancing Rotterdam's power grid: Stedin's campaign

ROTTERDAM, 19 June 2023 – As solar energy becomes increasingly popular, the balance of the power grid in Rotterdam is shifting. Stedin, the grid operator, is launching a campaign this week to educate the public about efficient energy use, starting with the 'Zonwassen' initiative (Solar washing).

Raising awareness on energy balance

The campaign aims to encourage the public to use electricity following the rhythm of nature, i.e., during daylight hours. With over 2 million households equipped with solar panels, energy production during sunny periods is plentiful. However, if this energy is not immediately used, it is largely wasted as it cannot be stored efficiently. Excessive energy use during peak hours could also cause disruptions in the power grid.

Zonnerette: a concept laundry powered by solar energy

Research conducted by Stedin showed that over 90% of people without solar panels are unaware that they could also utilise solar energy produced by others, thus reducing their energy consumption. High energy consumption during peak hours can cause overloads and potential disruptions. To launch the campaign and demonstrate the concept, Stedin is opening the 'Zonnerette' (Solar Laundromat), a pop-up laundromat in Rotterdam, where people can do their laundry for free, provided there is enough solar energy.

Changing energy consumption habits

The misconception that electricity is necessarily cheaper at night still exists among a third of the Dutch people. Stedin's campaign seeks to rectify this by enlightening people, both with and without solar panels, about the benefits of using high-consumption electrical appliances during sunny periods.

David Peters, Chief Transition Officer at Stedin, stated, “We have been used to using electricity with off-peak tariffs for devices that require a lot of power. However, with sustainably generated power via solar panels or wind turbines, this is no longer applicable. This energy should be used when it is widely available. The rhythm of nature assists in this regard.”

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