Circular economy in the smart city of Rotterdam

The circular economy is a new concept for building an economy that’s regenerated by design: nothing is lost, everything is transformed. This means moving away from a linear transformation process, based on the notion of “take-make-dispose” to a circular process where waste becomes input. So what is the relationship between the circular economy and the city of Rotterdam? This blog post introduces a case for the circular economy vision using the city of Rotterdam. It is also a call for discussion and sharing ideas around this topic with readers and Networked Society ecosystem members.


Rotterdam is a charming, young, dynamic and international city. It is also the home of internationally acclaimed Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus, who has given his name to a popular European education program. Rotterdam is a metropolis and a major international port, where more than 30 percent of Europe’s import and export goods transits through.

The port of Rotterdam is the most important industrial cluster and the largest logistics hub in Europe. It hosts the headquarters of many big companies and regional hubs. At the same time Rotterdam is a smart city, where fiber, broadband and LTE networks are widely deployed. Anyone can enjoy free Wi-Fi access across the city and a variety of services are offered on mobile devices.

Many initiatives for building a smarter Rotterdam have been launched from the public and private sectors and are supported by the city council. Innovations in healthcare and transportation, empowered by ICT, are surging and are encouraged to make city life in Rotterdam easier.

Because of the fragile geological state of the Netherlands (situated below sea level and permanently under the threat of flooding) the Dutch people have become aware – earlier than others – on the workings of nature and its ecosystem. They have embraced sustainable technologies and practices, and now use ICT to reduce carbon emissions and industrial waste.

One the most ambitious and groundbreaking initiatives driven by the port of Rotterdam to date, (the heartbeat of the city), has been implementing the circular economy framework to this gigantic industrial cluster by 2030.

This strategy calls for all ICT players and the Networked Society ecosystem to take part in this activity and spot the opportunities; by providing innovative ICT solutions and business models across all industry domains; fleet management, smart grids for electricity and bio-based industry. Many consulting companies are already in the starting blocks to offer their expertise and services to make this happen.

Ericsson, with its global professional services organization, its worldwide network of consultants, its cutting-edge sustainable portfolio and global footprint within ICT solutions, could become a strong partner to help the port of Rotterdam achieve its vision for 2030.

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