Rotterdam, the young sports city with ambition

If you play sports, you will have to push boundaries to get ahead. And what better place to do so than Rotterdam, a great city that is always on the move and has proved again and again that a clear objective is all you need to attain your goal. This characteristic drive and ambition make Rotterdam a popular host city for major elite sporting events. Every year more than a million visitors visit the 36 sporting events that take place in the city. These numbers say a lot about the attractive force sports have in Rotterdam, a sportscity with ambition.



How it started

A pier in the middle of the Port of Rotterdam was once the location of a prestigious Davis Cup tenniscourt; on the gangways in front of the monumental cruise ship the SS Rotterdam rose a beachvolleybal-stadium. Both were unexpected spots to experience sports, but it were locations that were enthusiastically received by both athlete and visitor alike. Out of the stadium and into the city has been Rotterdam’s philosophy for years. This tradition of placing the sports arenas in the city center and involving the public with the event has been wildly successful in the city on the banks of the Meuse. These events come with great practical challenges, but those challenges are faced head-on in Rotterdam. Take the Rotterdam Marathon for example: the center is locked-down for an entire day, but every single person in the city sees it not as a disruption, but as cause for celebration. On such days every resident is inspired by sports. It should be clear: Rotterdam and sports go hand in hand.  This is a city where three clubs play in the Dutch premier league: Feyenoord, Sparta, and Excelsior. A city with three football stadiums, a hockey stadium, an internationally acclaimed rowing course, a baseball stadium and a large indoor events arena (Ahoy Rotterdam). Rotterdam offers elite athletes a world-class stage.

Rotterdam Topsport

In the Netherlands and abroad, Rotterdam Topsport is known as a facilitator and organiser of top-level sporting events. In addition to always guiding the events, Rotterdam Topsport has occasionally acted as initiator and organiser. Rotterdam has also on numerous occasions acted as host city for a range of national and international championships and events. In addition to organising, guiding and supporting new top-level sporting events, Rotterdam Topsport also provides logistic and financial support.

Every year the city aims to attract one or two EC’s or WC’s, but for the following two years we have already added a third to the agenda. Rotterdam is exceptionally happy with such a packed agenda, with events that yield benefits for both the city and her residents. These positive benefits resonate through the results of the (economic) impact research done after each major event. Who visited? How much was spent? The city uses these results to learn, grow, and become better with each event.

Engaging events do not stand alone. In the months leading up to the “main event” the city gets a taste of what is to come through various side-events. This way, everyone is abuzz when the next event hits the city. Posters, flags, even massive billboards brighten up the streets and bring attention to the event: city dressing is key. Elite sports inspire the city to get up and be active. With different activities in each neighborhood the local residents are inspired to exercise. Recreational sports teams flourish, as do the professional ones; special attention is paid to young talents with great potential. Rotterdam is a very young city, and the sports on offer highlight that. Next to more conventional sports such as football, basketball, and hockey increasing attention is being paid to urban sports like skateboarding and BMX. These spectacular sports can always count on much attention from the public. Behind the scenes the city is already planning for urban sport’s inevitable rise.


Highlights Rotterdam Trackrecord

Highlights Rotterdam Trackrecord:

  • IJF World Championships Judo (2009)
  • Grand Départ Tour de France (2010)
  • FIG World Artistic Gymnastic Championships (2010)
  • FEI European Dressage Championships (2011)
  • CEB European Championships Baseball (2012)
  • FIH Hockey World League (2013)
  • UCI BMX World Championships (2014)
  • FIVB World Championships Beachvolleyball (2015)
  • CEV European Championships Volleyball Women (2015)
  • FISA World Rowing Championships - Senior, Junior U23 (2016)
  • ITU Paratriathlon World Championships (2016)
  • ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships (2017)
  • UEFA Women’s EURO (2017)

To come:

  • CEV Beach Volleyball European Championships (2018)
  • WPV Sitting Volleyball World Championships (2018)
  • FEI European Championships 2019 (Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage)
  • World Police & Fire Games (2021)


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