Living with Water
With 26% of the land surface below sea level, the Dutch are used to living with water. The Dutch expertise in water managment started with the creation of man-made hills in the 9th century, where people could retreat when floods occurred. It did not stopped there, in the 11th century, the first dikes were build leading to the creation of the famous Dutch polder system. Wind mills where used to pump the water out the lower polders in the Middle Ages, to ensure dry feet. After the devestating flood in 1953 the Delta Works Programme started (a series of construction project, incluing storm surge barries to protecht the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta form the sea). Since 2007 the pogramme Room for the River, creates additional space for rivers to discharge large volumes of water and simultaniously add more social economic value.

Integral Solutions
Even with these efforts, safeguarding the Dutch agianst water is never finished; it requiers an ongoing strategy. Sea water levels and extreme weather events – e.g. heavy rain, storm surges and heat – will increase in frequency and intensity over the upcoming years. Combined with an accelerated rate of urbanisation in delta cities, the need for integral solutions to develop susatinable and economically viable cities with a high quality of life becomes urgent.

Delta City Rotterdam

Innovative Hub of Dutch Delta Design, Expertise and Knowledge
Located where the river Meuse meets the sea, the city and port of Rotterdam are a living lab for sustainable solutions tailored to the city level. An extensive track record of successfully implemented projects over the past decades emphasises Rotterdam’s expertise in adaptation and mitigation solutions. For example: new land extensions in the Port of Rotterdam (Maasvlakte 1 & 2), coastal protection (Maeslantkering), greening of embankments and roofs and smart urban design in the inner city, like water squares, urban floodplains or parking garages with water storage capacity. All these projects have been realised here and are open for visits from other delta city organisations that face similar challenges. The city of Rotterdam is internationally acknowledged as a resiliency and adaptation leader in international networks like C40 , Connecting Delta Cities and the 100 Resilient Cities initiative from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy
In the Rotterdam Climate Proof programme, climate change is seen as an opportunity instead of a threat. The goal is to make the city climate proof by the year 2025. Together with renowned partners, Rotterdam will develop the most sustainable port city of the world and an inspiration to other delta cities. Opportunities are created to make the city more attractive for living, recreating, working and investing. As a result of this programme, the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy sets the course for this mission: vision, goals and an action plan have been developed. Read more in the Rotterdam Climate Adaptation Strategy.

About RDC

Rotterdam Centre for Resilient Delta Cities (RDC) is a public-private netwerok organisation consisting of leading companies, knowledge institutions, design firms and the Municipality of Rotterdam. They joined forces to accelerate the transition towards safe and susatinable delta cities worldwide. With a ton of expierence in both knowledge and realization of innovative concepts RDC members can help cities and organisations in raising awareness and expertise on climate change adaptation strategies.

Supporting and catalysing the development of resilient delta cities by creating innovative, sustainable and attractive solutions to enhance the safety and quality of life in delta cities of the world.

Rotterdam Centre for Resilient Delta Cities brings together knowledge, design and development partners to transform delta cities worldwide in great places to live, work and recreate.

Resilient and Economically Viable Cities
In delta cities water safety, ecological resiliency and a sustainable economic development are inseparably intertwined. To face these challenges of the 21st century, delta cities need to find sustainable solutions to enhance water safety and supply, but alos to add value in terms of spatial and ecological quality, social outcomes and economic potential. The huge economic disparities between and within cities worldwide, and the impact of the recent economic crisis, stresses the need for appropriate and affordable solutions on a local level. Technology, design and process innovation in terms of government, stakeholder inclusion and public-private partnerships are key factors to develop adaptive and attractive delta cities. Visit our portfolio to find inspiring examples of integral solutions in Rotterdam and other delta cities.


The RDC members are actively engaged in national and international networks in the field of climate adaptation and resiliency. With this participation, Rotterdam is connected to state-of-the-art research, knowledge and development partners worldwide. Collaborating with RDC members on local issues enables your delta city to benefit from this globally connected expertise.

The parties of RDC closely work together with different networks and parties. A small glance of the networks RDC is involved in:
Topsector Water
Netherlands Water Partnership
Dutch Water Sector
Partners for Water
100 Resilient Cities
C40 Cities
Connecting Delta Cities
Port of Rotterdam
Rotterdam Climate Initiative
World Expo Rotterdam 2025
Knowledge for Climate
Clean Tech Delta
Climate KIC
Delta Alliance



Click down below for our downloads:

Our latest brochure
RDC brochure

The interactive Delta Magazine of the city of Rotterdam
Delta Rotterdam Connecting Water with Opportunities

Auqa Dock
Brochure Aqua Dock