Rotterdam, Den Haag and Delft get together to market the region internationally – as one big metropolis.
How do you describe Delft? Do you call it a little European village? Does Den Haag seem like a small city and Rotterdam a scaled down Manhattan? Or do you, perhaps, group them all together and imagine yourself living in a hip, happening, and surprisingly safe metropolis?
Questions like these opened the floor at the International Student Board Meeting held at TU Delft on November 29, 2012. Organised by Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area, a government body aimed at strengthening the region’s identity as a world metropolis, the event was attended by members of Gemeente Delft, Gemeente Rotterdam and students from TU Delft, Den Haag and Rotterdam.
“During different sessions throughout the year, we have been interacting with students, expats, companies, artists and other communities of international people who reside in this region. The purpose of this meeting is to understand whether students in Delft feel connected with Rotterdam and if students in Leiden see Den Haag as part of the same scene,” says Dr.Ir. Gwendolyn Kolfschoten of TU Delft, who conducted the main program of the event.
The aim of the organisation is to bring in more international footprints – in terms of trade, students, companies and cultural exchange. At the moment they have a three-pronged system – strengthening the daily urban system, strengthening the potential of the economy, knowledge and innovation and strengthening the standard of amenities. According to the brochure handed out by the organisation, the region has 24 municipalities, 2,200,000 inhabitants, 80,000 expats and 12,000 foreign students.
“We want all these people to see this region as a composite whole, offering the best environment- in terms of professional opportunities, quality of life, exposure to culture, leisure time activities and the aim is to understand how best to do that,” says Richard van der Horst, Secretaris Procesorganisatie Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag (MRDH), Gemeente Rotterdam.
An Israeli law student pointed out that housing is difficult for students in all these regions as the number of houses under DUWO are limited and the number of international students is growing. A Dutch student from Den Haag brought up the issue of language, pointing out that all official paperwork is in Dutch, making it very difficult for international students to manage on their own. After a heated discussion on the topic, one of the suggestions offered was having an international office dedicated to translation.
If you have problems (and suggestions) you’d like to put forth to the organisation, you can be part of the next session in February-March. Though the date is undecided, you can keep track of the organisation on mrdh.nl.
First published in TU Delta