Next Generation Waterfronts

Research: 2015-2017

The development of a hybrid port area requires joint management and action of stakeholders with divergent interests. How to organize this governance?



The ports of Schiedam are part of the Rotterdam port complex. In order to promote the potential vitality, employment, innovation and sustainability in this hybrid area in the long term, a joint approach is needed for the various stakeholders: the municipalities of Schiedam and Rotterdam, the companies in the port area and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

What are the activities of the local businesses? Is there room for continued development? Should Schiedam, apart from Rotterdam, also profile itself independently? What about the accessibility of the area? Based on the answers to these questions, an implementation agenda for the Schiedam port area is made with the stakeholders.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the municipality want a role beyond the landlord. The long-term task is to make the port area deliver more added value thanks to economic transition, to improve the quality of life, to ensure a better environment and to stimulate (local) employment.

The research mainly focusses at Schiedam, but Next Generation Waterfronts is also a case study on how to develop similar areas. The integral approach in Schiedam might serve as a template for developments elsewhere.


  • Innovative environment.
  • Schiedam’s DNA – Use and maintain Schiedam’s economic DNA, think of shipbuilding and offshore activities.
  • Revitalization with the commitment of ‘ triple helix’ – Enhancing the quality of life, improving environment and safeguarding (local) employment with active commitment of business, government and education.
  • Fit for purpose governance – The overarching, integrated management of the developments is always tailored to what is needed. Work is being done on the basis of trust and clear agreements about goals and the use of resources.


  • Partnership – the interests of the various stakeholders rarely run in parallel. How do you get a partnership and shared vision? Stakeholders need time to bring their constituencies into the new vision.
  • Global focus versus local action – Companies operate in many locations globally. Internally, they must be able to indicate why a lot of effort is put into this specific location.
  • Uncertainty about external developments – The effects of external future developments, such as digitalization and energy transition, are hard to predict, rapidly changing and perhaps even inherently conflicting with fixed, long-term development.


  • Added value – From mere exploitation to more added value (‘beyond the landlord’).
  • Contributing community – The research project leads to a developing community that proactively contributes to developments of the area.
  • Model – The first results are already visible. Investments are being made in the area and as a sign of the renewal, a stop for the water taxi has already been realized in the area. Promoting joint ownership and steering together produces stronger developments.The NGW project results in a model for area development that can also be used elsewhere.
  • Concrete result – February 2018: signing a cooperation agreement between the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the municipality of Schiedam on sustainable development of the Schiedam port area.


Port of Rotterdam Authority, the municipality of Schiedam, the municipality of Rotterdam, TU Delft, the Vijfsluizen entrepreneurs association (Ondernemersvereniging Vijfsluizen), the Wiltonhaven users association (Vereniging Wiltonhavengebruikers, VWG).

‘The Technical University of Delft has helped us to find common ground, develop goals and discuss dilemma’s. Their knowledge and experience about governance in the development of port area was the input for the Cooperative Agreement between the Municipality of Schiedam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority’

Bart Heinz & Peter Vervoorn

municipality of Schiedam & Port of Rotterdam Authority

This project is part of the Smart Strategy roadmap. For more information about this project or this roadmap, please contact portfolio manager Dirk Koppenol.