Recap: Comic Film & Manga Fest's triumphant return to Rotterdam

Recap: Comic Film & Manga Fest's triumphant return to Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 26 March 2024 – After a hiatus of four years, the much-anticipated comic con event of the Netherlands made its grand return to Rotterdam, marking a memorable weekend filled with highlights at the Ahoy venue.

After being absent for four years, the Comic Film & Manga Fest made its comeback last weekend at the Rotterdam Ahoy, bringing together fans for a highly anticipated event. The festival, now rebranded and expanded, offered attendees an extensive programme featuring renowned international actors such as Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame, Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future, and Jeff Ward known for his role in One Piece. With 6,500 visitors, the event successfully captivated a large audience.

A rich and varied programme

On the 23rd and 24th of March, the Ahoy venue was transformed into a paradise for enthusiasts of comic books, manga, anime, cosplay, board games, films, and TV series. The festival commenced with a celebratory opening on the main stage, where film stars and professional cosplayers were introduced. Highlights included photo opportunities with favourite artists, autograph sessions, meet & greets, and cosplay. Photoshoot booths, especially those themed around Stranger Things, Beauty & The Beast, and The Last of Us, were particularly popular, as was the opportunity to take photos with the DeLorean DMC-12, the iconic car from Back to the Future. The festival concluded on Sunday with a concert by Tom Felton.

Recap: Comic Film & Manga Fest's triumphant return to RotterdamRecap: Comic Film & Manga Fest's triumphant return to Rotterdam

Tattoos, graffiti, cosplay competitions, and more

The event offered a plethora of activities for dedicated cosplayers and pop culture fans alike, including photoshoots, panel talks with favourite actors, comic artists, and cosplayers, as well as live draw & graffiti workshops. Attendees also had the chance to purchase action figures, posters, various merchandise, comic books, unique Asian food, and even get tattoos on site. In the artist alley, guests could meet various comic artists, including Robert van der Kroft, known for Sjors & Sjimmie.

A successful edition

The Comic Film & Manga Fest 2024 welcomed 6,500 visitors, providing an array of activities and experiences. The event was deemed a success, creating lasting memories for attendees and setting the stage for next year's edition, scheduled for 15 & 16 March 2025. Tickets are already available online.

Rotterdam schools offer free menstrual products

Rotterdam schools offer free menstrual products

ROTTERDAM, 25 March 2024 – In a pioneering move, Rotterdam has become the first city in the Netherlands to offer free menstrual products in schools, a significant effort aimed at combating poverty and enhancing equality of opportunity for students.

Free menstrual products introduced in schools

In collaboration with the Poverty Fund (Armoedefonds), Rotterdam is setting an example nationwide by making menstrual products freely available across 215 primary schools and 80 secondary schools. This initiative ensures that no student misses out on education due to the lack of menstrual products at home.

The impact of menstrual poverty

It has been identified that one in ten young women, aged between 12 and 25, faces menstrual poverty, translating to approximately 2,100 students in Rotterdam's educational institutions. The lack of access to menstrual products has led to some students missing school, adversely affecting their academic performance. To address this issue, the city of Rotterdam and the Poverty Fund have joined forces to combat menstrual poverty.

Beyond availability – breaking the taboo

Making menstrual products a standard feature in school toilets serves multiple purposes. It not only prevents students from missing lessons but also avoids the use of harmful alternatives. Additionally, this initiative aims to break the menstrual taboo by normalizing the presence of these products as a basic necessity, similar to soap and toilet paper.

Educational resources and advice

Schools have the opportunity to request 'The Menstruation Information Booklet' from the Poverty Fund, targeting students in the last years of primary education and the first year of secondary education. The booklet, developed by Menstrucation in collaboration with the Poverty Fund and supported by CityLab010, is part of an effort to destigmatize conversations about menstruation and poverty, empowering students to seek help and use products safely.

Strategic availability

The programme advises schools to make menstrual products discreetly available in female toilets without necessitating a request, emphasizing that they are also for home use. This approach aims to ensure accessibility while maintaining dignity.

A city's commitment

This initiative follows a widely supported city council motion from 2022, with an annual budget of €82,000. Penny van Laarhoven from the Poverty Fund expressed gratitude for the collaboration with Rotterdam, highlighting the significance of providing free menstrual products in schools to address menstrual poverty and promote fairness.

Historic recognition for Rotterdam's modern lighthouse

Historic recognition for Rotterdam's modern lighthouse

ROTTERDAM, 20 March 2024 – A significant landmark within the port area of Rotterdam, the Maasvlakte lighthouse on Europaweg 925, has recently been declared a municipal monument by the City Council. This decision underscores the lighthouse's cultural, historical, and architectural importance, marking it as a key symbol of the port's expansion.

Rotterdam's youngest lighthouse gains monumental status

The City's Executive Board has resolved to designate the coastal light (kustlicht) at the First Maasvlakte as a municipal monument. Recognized for its significant role as a navigational beacon within the port's domain, the lighthouse reflects the scale of the harbour's evolution, encapsulating the narrative of its development.

Architectural and historical significance

Designed by engineer W. Colenbrander, this octagonal tower stands 64 meters tall, embodying a modern chapter in the tale of harbour expansion. The lighthouse, operational since 1974 following the relocation of the Hoek van Holland's High Light, has been a pivotal part of the First Maasvlakte, a region developed during the 1960s. With the subsequent construction of the Second Maasvlakte, the lighthouse found itself centrally positioned within the harbour, leading to the cessation of its navigational role in 2008, supplanted by radar technology.

Transition from beacon to monument

Following its decommission, the Cuypers Society petitioned for the lighthouse's recognition as a municipal monument, a testament to Rotterdam's enduring legacy as a global port continually under development. This designation highlights the lighthouse not merely as an architectural relic but as a milestone in the evolution of harbour architecture and lighthouse design.

Alderman Said Kasmi (Education, Culture, and Events) reflected on the significance of such designations, stating, "When thinking of monuments, many envision buildings, yet a lighthouse too can embody monumental status. This underlines the diversity and richness of monuments. I am pleased that this lighthouse is receiving the monumental recognition it merits."

Ownership of the lighthouse has since transferred from the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management to the Central Government Real Estate Agency, which supports the monument designation and remains in dialogue with the city regarding its future.

Bolt's third anniversary in Rotterdam

Bolt's third anniversary in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 21 March 2024 – On the occasion of its third anniversary in Rotterdam, Bolt has reported a substantial increase in user engagement. This growth indicates a shift towards shared mobility solutions in the city.


A tripling of growth showcases a shift in urban travel.

Upon the third anniversary of its operations in Rotterdam, Bolt has reported a three-fold increase in usage since its inception in March 2021. This growth reflects a rising trend towards shared mobility in the city, resonating with Rotterdam's ambition to reduce reliance on private vehicles in favour of public transport, cycling, and shared mobility solutions.

This surge is not just a quantitative metric but signifies the citizens' embrace of environmentally friendly travel options. Monthly users in the tens of thousands signify that Bolt has grown beyond a service—it has become a staple in the city's mobility.

Bolt as a sustainable mobility integrator

Bolt has become synonymous with convenient and sustainable travel in Rotterdam, offering a wide array of services that cater to a diverse user base. This integration into the city’s transport ecosystem is evident as residents and visitors increasingly rely on Bolt for their daily commuting needs, thereby supporting the city's environmental and traffic decongestion goals.


Safety innovations for a secure commute

Innovation in safety has been a cornerstone of Bolt's strategy. The introduction of an in-app safety toolkit, which includes an SOS button to alert local emergency services, audio recording of rides, and monitoring for deviations from the planned route, has enhanced the safety for passengers and drivers alike.

These tools are not merely reactive, but proactive measures in fostering a safer travel environment. The real-time monitoring system is particularly groundbreaking, automatically detecting anomalies in the trip and ensuring immediate assistance is available if necessary.


Challenges ahead: Taxi shortages and the quest for convenience

Despite these positive strides, challenges remain, such as the shortage of taxi drivers in Rotterdam, which continues to affect the ease with which residents can book rides. This shortage highlights the delicate balance between supply and demand in urban mobility and the need for sustainable solutions to meet the city's growing transportation needs.


Rotterdam tackles homelessness with innovative approach

Rotterdam tackles homelessness with innovative approach

ROTTERDAM, 6 March 2024 – A distinctive initiative has been launched by the city of Rotterdam to confront the growing issue of homelessness and associated public nuisance. The city has observed a rise in the presence of homeless individuals in public spaces, leading to an unorthodox approach to mitigate the situation.

Unconventional strategy against homelessness

The city administration has committed to addressing the escalated nuisance caused by homeless individuals. Residents have reported finding homeless individuals sleeping in entryways, witnessing drug use in public, and other disruptive behaviours. To counter this, Rotterdam has opened a shelter intended for homeless individuals who do not qualify for traditional support services. This facility will operate on a voluntary basis, yet with mandatory participation in its programs.

Alderman Ronald Buijt, responsible for Health, Senior Citizens, and Youth Care, expressed his concerns over the reports from citizens in the Oude Westen neighborhood and around Mauritsweg. “The images I've been shown of the nuisance caused by homeless individuals are appalling. We intend to assist these individuals in getting their lives back on track, which includes overcoming addiction and seeking employment. Those who continue to cause trouble will face repatriation,” he stated.

Additional shelter

The temporary shelter will accommodate 60 non-eligible homeless EU migrants, offering stays ranging from six to eight weeks. The shelter operates round-the-clock, providing opportunities for detoxification and job search assistance. It also aims to address exploitation by unscrupulous employment agencies, which has led to homelessness among some EU labor migrants. The initiative includes the possibility of aiding with repatriation. Persistent troublemakers will be subjected to a formal process that could lead to their expulsion. Enhanced surveillance by police and municipal enforcers will focus on known offenders.

Responsibility and collaboration

Healthcare institutions housing homeless individuals or those with mental health issues or addictions will be held accountable for any local disturbances. The “action plan for outdoor sleepers” (actieplan buitenslapers) involves collaboration with various city and national partners, including the police, public prosecution service, immigration services, national railway company, and anti-immigration team, alongside healthcare organizations. The plan, set to run for a year, aims to reduce street nuisance and curb the influx of new homeless individuals.

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