On Tuesday, 23 January, Alderman Adriaan Visser (Finance, Organisation, Port, City Centre and Sport) launched the Rotterdam Makers District. The Makers District comprises the areas M4H Rotterdam and RDM Rotterdam and together, these areas form the place in the region for the innovative manufacturing industry.
The innovative manufacturing industry, which focuses on new technologies, such as additive manufacturing (including 3D printing), robotisation and material science, requires smaller and medium-sized business space, shared facilities such as labs, cleanrooms and data centres and a flexible and open environment. Such an environment enables the new generation of developers, co-developers, producers and co-producers to move quickly with the rapidly developing technology and economics. The Rotterdam Makers District offers excellent conditions for this and the two areas on both sides of the Maas supplement each other well: they are in different stages of development and are different in character, atmosphere and possibilities, enabling them to strengthen each other.
RDM is a proven success: it offers space to companies, education and research. RDM is a partnership between the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and focuses primarily on the port-related manufacturing industry and education and research related to this. Three educational institutions are established there, together accommodating 1,200 students: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (higher professional education), Albeda College (senior secondary vocational education and training) and Zadkine College (senior secondary vocational education and training). There are also companies: start-ups and SME companies as well as global players in the maritime and offshore sectors. The area has expanded to become a showroom of innovation in the port. Companies and knowledge institutes work together here on projects such as the RAMLAB, which offers 3D steel printing for the maritime industry. The RDM location has now been almost completely leased while demand continues to increase.
On the other side of the Maas, the M4H has a lot of space available. For many years this area was used for fruit throughput. The juice industry in Vierhavens is still very much alive, but fruit throughput in the Merwehaven has largely disappeared as a consequence of containerisation. Many developments are taking place in the available buildings, particularly in the core area. The former Oranjelijn departure hall has been a source of creative activity for some time. Pioneering and traditional manufacturing companies have found accommodation in the Keilewerf or use the Fair Design Plein facilities. Creative businesses such as Studio Roosegaarde and Atelier Van Lieshout feel completely at home in the area, as do companies in the circular manufacturing industry such as Rainmaker Holland. The Rotterdam Science Tower houses organisations including the head office of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE), as well as PortXL.
The Municipality of Rotterdam and Port of Rotterdam Authority will be continuing to develop the M4H together. As well as physical investments, the municipality and the Port Authority also aim to invest in attracting and facilitating entrepreneurs.
Rotterdam aims to be the world's smartest port. To maintain our leading position, we need to keep on innovating. Innovation is a crucial means of realising the envisaged changes in energy transition and digitisation in the port of Rotterdam.
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