Introduction Mayor Aboutaleb

Ahmed Aboutaleb

Citizens, companies and research institutes worldwide have to find action perspectives concerning two major trends: urbanization and climate change. On a global level, the Netherlands play a leading role in the areas of food, water technology and energy. Through international entrepreneurship, an open and innovative economy and the natural position as ‘gateway to Europe’, the Netherlands have been able to maintain and improve this position.

Smart cities like Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam, are setting future standards for excellence, in close collaboration and sharing knowledge with citizens, inventors, artists, developers, research and knowledge institutions and companies. Hotbeds of innovative businesses are springing up across these cities, turning old industrial areas or abandoned office buildings into places to live and work, with attractive surroundings and proper public transport. Closed loop recycling and green energy are rapidly becoming the norm.

The search for solutions to global challenges also requires international collaboration, sharing knowledge and natural resources. We have to do it together. For this reason the City of Amsterdam, the City of Rotterdam and Brainport Eindhoven, joined in the recently formed public partnership Trade & Innovate NL. At this conference we represent The Netherlands, together with the national government and a large number of Dutch businesses. The Netherlands are aiming to be Circular and Accessible. These are pressing issues in our densely populated nation. After all, air, water, traffic and waste flows don’t respect municipal boundaries, and people rarely live, work and play in the same area.

Smart and secure use of big data and efficient public transport connections within and between our major cities are tools we can use to make the economy and society future-proof.

In the coming years, Dutch cities will redevelop with proven technology into totally different cityscapes with new forms of local energy and food production, lighting, water use. And most importantly, our neighborhoods will be safe, enjoyable and creative living and working environments. We have to keep in mind that it is not about selling smart technology, but about developing concepts that bring about a change in human behavior.

The economy as we know it will shift into new models, structures and meaningfulness. This shift requires a sufficient and clear public governance, involved entrepreneurship and commitment of our citizens. As leader of this delegation I wish all participants every success!

Ahmed Aboutaleb,

Mayor of the city of Rotterdam