Partners Cities: Rotterdam

Background information about the city

The city of Rotterdam is located in the Southwest of The Netherlands, at the heart of the Rijnmond region. The Rijnmond region is made up of 18 municipalities with more than 1.2 million inhabitants. The city of Rotterdam, with 0.6 million inhabitants, is the economic, social and cultural centre of this metropolitan area and the industrial heart of The Netherlands.

Rotterdam is a major traffic and transport node. Being the world’s largest port, often described as the gateway to Europe, the city generates a lot of traffic.

Environmental situation/problems

Traffic and transport management are important issues for Rotterdam. Due to the dense population, traffic flows in and off peak hours are very large. Furthermore, freight transport is considerable since a large percentage of goods entering the port is distributed further inland by freight trucks (e.g.. 40% of all containers are distributed using trucks).

In the Rijnmond area air quality indicators for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide hover around the limits set in the EU directives on air quality Benzene is generally not a problem. Industrial emissions have steadily decreased over recent decades and previous modelling exercises show that management of transport related emissions may be a key factor in achieving compliance with the EU directives.

Institutional context

The main actors where air quality is concerned are:

  • DCMR, the regional authority that carries out air quality monitoring for municipalities, including Rotterdam, and the Province Zuid Holland. Part of DCMR is also responsible for the Rotterdam environmental policy.
  • Stadsregio Rotterdam, a co-operative body of municipalities in the Rotterdam region (including the city of Rotterdam).
  • Province Zuid-Holland, responsible for the air quality along provincial roads. In practice the province has also taken up the task to describe the air quality along the national highways in the Rotterdam region.

The main actor where health is concerned is:

  • GGD, the Rotterdam city department for Health and Health Care. The GGD also has regional tasks.

At the moment there are no mechanisms that generate (short-term) traffic measures based on air quality measurements. At present the so-called smog alarm only has consequences for industry in the region.


DCMR, the regional environmental agency operates several air quality monitoring sites in the larger Rotterdam area (Rijnmond). Traditionally they were located to the west of Rotterdam and sulphur dioxide was the main concern. As the importance of industrial pollution has diminished, the network has been adapted. RIVM (the national environment institute) also operates 2 sites in the area that are used for the national air quality monitoring network.

Planned activities and expected results

Expected results are answering two central questions:

  • How do I inform my citizens in the best possible way about air quality?
  • How best to handle the obliged air quality reporting and what kind of measures can be introduced/are interesting.



Municipality of Rotterdam

DCMR Environment Protection Agency Rijnmond




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