Rotterdam’s resilience journey

With nearly 80% of the city below sea level and one of the largest ports in the world, Rotterdam has built up centuries of experience when it comes to resilience, particularly in the areas of integrated water management and innovative climate adaptation.

Rotterdam’s efforts are still being made with an eye toward the flood of 1953, which killed almost 2,000 people and caused widespread property damage. It was an event that underscored the destructive power of the sea, and spurred the modern flood management industry in the country. 

In 2007, the city announced its ambition to become 100% climate-proof by 2025 – able to continue functioning economically and socially with minimal disturbance under any extreme weather situation.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Arnoud Molenaar

Chief Resilience Officer

Arnoud Molenaar is Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

After graduating with a degree in Physical Geography from the University of Utrecht, Molenaar started his career with several trainee posts and jobs in France, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. As Deputy Head of the Rotterdam Water Management Department, he was responsible for Rotterdam’s urban water management and the Waterplan2Rotterdam. In 2008, he was appointed Manager of the ambitious Rotterdam Climate Proof program. In this role, he initiated the international Connecting Delta Cities network, became regional coordinator within the Dutch research program Knowledge for Climate, and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy.

Arnoud successfully led the City of Rotterdam toward a leading position on innovative urban water management and climate adaptation, which in 2013 resulted in European Peer City status. Arnoud was a member of the Steering Committee of the international conference “Deltas in times of Climate Change 2014.” He is first editor of the third Connecting Delta Cities book Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies, published in 2014.

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