A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Rotterdam as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
History & Geography
As its name implies, Rotterdam began as a dam on the Rotte River, but the city is actually located on the banks of the Nieuwe Maas River. Located in the southwest of the Netherlands on the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, the city is Europe’s largest port and the country’s second city. Rotterdam’s city centre is located on the northern bank of the river and from inland the city reaches the North Sea. Most of Rotterdam lies beneath sea level, protected by dikes, which were first constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries when the area was initially settled. Count Willem IV granted Rotterdam city rights in 1340 but even more important to the city’s future was the construction of the Rotterdamse Schie shipping canal. The canal connected Rotterdam to the Netherlands’ larger northern towns, which let the city become a transshipment centre between the Netherlands and England and Germany. Stemming from this Rotterdam quickly grew in size and importance. Eventually the city became a major base of the Dutch East India Company, the vastly powerful and wealthy Dutch corporation in charge of all trade with Asia. Then came the Nieuwe Waterweg, a canal made to keep the port of Rotterdam accessible to seafaring vessels as the natural Meuse-Rhine channels silted up. This was completed in 1872 and allowed the city gain even more success as a commercial hub. Rotterdam’s population swelled even more, as did the city’s importance and wealth. During WWII centre of Rotterdam was completely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe and it was not until the 1970s that the city was completely rebuilt. Now Rotterdam lies at the centre of a massive waterborne distribution network, which has led it to be called the Gateway to Europe.
Rotterdam’s harbour is the second busiest in the world and the city is a major transit point for bulk materials and general cargo handling. Rotterdam port is also very important for the petrochemical industry. The recent completion of a new fast freight railway between Rotterdam and Germany has ensured this success will continue. As well as being Europe’s busiest port, Rotterdam is the centre of the shipping industry in the Netherlands. The third largest merchant shipping company in the world, P&O Nedlloyd, is headquartered in the city, and Maersk also have a presence. The Dutch side of the massive anglo-Dutch corporation Unilever is based in the city and the Mittal Steel Co has a major operation in Rotterdam, along with Robeco, Fortis and ABN AMRO. Higher education plays an important role in the city through the Erasmus University Rotterdam, one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. The university is particularly well known for its Masters in Management.
In terms of tourism Rotterdam comes a very distant second to its Dutch counterpart Amsterdam, famed for its cafes and culture. There is even a saying among the Dutch: ‘Amsterdam to party, the Hague to live, Rotterdam to work.’ But for those who do decide to visit the Netherlands’ second city, there are a surprising amount of things to do and sites to see. For many years Rotterdam had the reputation of a grimy industrial port town, and to a point it still retains this aura, but lately has been going through something of a cultural renaissance. Rotterdam’s Summer Carnival routinely attracts over a million visitors to the city for consecutive days, and features a street parade, brass bands and professional dance troupes. The city is also gaining a reputation for its nightlife with venues like the famous WORM featuring experimental and subcultural music. The North Sea Jazz Festival in July is also a popular event, as is the International Film Festival in January. Rotterdam also boasts the Boijmans-van Beunigen Museum, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the Volkenkundig Museum (foreign peoples and cultures), the Kunsthal and the center for Witte de With, the contemporary art museum.
Rotterdam the Hague Airport is the third largest in the Netherlands though nowhere near the size of Schipol. However the airport has grown in size recently off the back of the budget airline market. Rotterdam is well connected to the Dutch motorway system, which is extensive, and the railway system. Rotterdam Centraal, the city’s main station has good connections with the rest of Europe and the city itself. The city also has a heavily used subway and light rail system, as well as a tram. Rotterdam has an extensive bus system as well as a water bus system which is popular with residents and tourists alike.
Rotterdam is home to the tallest office building in the Netherlands, Maastoren, which houses the Dutch operation of accountancy giant Deloitte. Over 30 new high-rise projects are in development at the moment in Rotterdam, some designated for office space, others for residential purposes. Currently the city has approximately 3.3 million square meters of office space in the centre and over four million square meters in the surrounding conurbation. With its dependence on the world economy Rotterdam was hit harder than most by the recent economic crisis. Office take up declined by about 50 percent in 2009, according to figures from CBRE. However supply in the city centre area is still fairly low however currently supply in the Kop van Zuid area of the city is quite high due to 30,000 square meters of office space in the building De Rotterdam being available. There are also offices available in the Brainpark, Caeppe aan den Ussel and a few other business parks. Generally rents for offices in Rotterdam vary between EUR 100 to EUR 200 per sq m per annum. There is a variety of office locations, however, and all are quite different. The highest rents are being paid for high-quality office space at the prime office locations of Rotterdam, for instance the centre area and Kop van Zuid.