“Thinking about technology there have been less exciting periods.” I hear myself saying this during a tour of the RDM site. “With developments in 3D printing, robotisation, drones and the Internet of Things, this is nothing short of a revolution!” Can you speak of a revolution if you don’t know history? If I remember rightly, the adage in every history lesson is: You have to know the past to understand the present.
In the Rotterdam Droogdok Maatschappij’s (shipbuilding company) heyday in the 1930s, thousands of employees built the SS Rotterdam; something that would never have been possible without craftsmanship and innovation. There was also a technological revolution at the start of the last century (the second industrial revolution); car, consumer society and welfare for everyone. The great depression started ten years later, one of the darkest periods in history and, you could say, the breeding ground for a world war.
To me this illustrates that technology, however promising, is just a part of the puzzle.
Government, education and the business community need to cooperate to ensure that revolutions are not derailed.
In working towards the future, you don’t only need to know the past, you need to understand it.
Many of the things we’re struggling with have already happened in the past or are, in any event, very similar. We need to learn from this and keep this in mind.
Under the name RDM Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and many partners are working on area development in a special way. This situation is not so much about hardware, although the brick sheds are stunning, but about software. RDM Rotterdam is bringing business start-ups, students and school pupils together to devise new solutions for our port’s technological challenges. Craftsmanship and innovative thinking are crucial in this. A marine propeller is currently being produced again in the former machine hall (now Innovation Dock). It actually looks like a competition between Jules Dock (composite marine propeller) and RAMLAB (3D metal printing). And one plot further on, a group of students is developing and testing aquatic drones in the Aqualab. All working towards the future of a smart port!
At RDM Rotterdam, we’re looking forwards together, while building on the innovative foundations of the past. And that is already bearing fruit. Come and visit RDM to experience its rich history, together with the dynamics of working towards the future!
Jouke Goslinga, RDM Rotterdam Programme Manager
We are committed to ensuring that the port and its environs are safe, healthy and appealing. We aim to counter climate change while ensuring that the port area makes a significant contribution to Dutch prosperity and employment.