Located in the West of the Netherlands, Dordrecht is home to nearly 120,000 inhabitants. Dordrecht is the bustling center of the Smart Delta Drechtsteden, the industrial engine of the Rotterdam region and is closely associated with university cities such as Delft and Leiden. The Drechtsteden, with a total of almost 300,000 inhabitants, together form a recognizable urban waterfront area, containing industry-leading companies and institutions with their own character and the maritime manufacturing industry as a common denominator.

Dordrecht is an old Dutch city with a rich history, which till this day is still clearly visible in the city centre. The city already grew in the Middle Ages and developed itself into the trade and administrative heart of Holland, experiencing its own Golden Age in the 14th century. Today, the city centre features more than 1000 monuments and a historic harbour area. The oldest city in Holland is also characterized by a unique natural landscape with the Biesbosch as its green backyard, which serves as a home to endless varieties of wildlife. De Biesbosch National Park offers a unique nature experience as one of the few freshwater tidal areas in Europe.

Dordrecht owes its existence to its favourable location on the water. This has resulted in prosperity, but also in a constant battle against the water. For years, Dordrecht has been the driving force behind international knowledge trajectories and projects that focus on flood risk management and measures to control climate change.

The city sees opportunities and challenges that are inextricably linked to its geographical location: situated around a junction of roads, railways and rivers it forms, together with Rotterdam, the Maritime Capital of Europe. Globally operating companies such as Boskalis and Damen Shipyards and their supply companies operate from its banks. These companies are very good at practically shaping and marketing technical innovations. In the coming years, sustainability will be at the core of  Dordrecht’s efforts.

As a regional centre city, Dordrecht is ambitiously working on further strengthening its attractiveness for both residents and visitors. With 25,000 extra quality homes in the region, a high-frequency light train connection with Rotterdam and The Hague and more higher education. The seven municipalities work closely together with the business community and educational institutions in the region.

An important obstacle in the development of the city of Dordrecht is freight transport by rail on the international corridor Rotterdam-Antwerp, which currently runs right through the city. This creates a dangerous and heavily taxing situation, also in view of the many hazardous substances that are transported. Dordrecht is working together with the neighbouring municipality of Zwijndrecht and the province of South Holland on plans for an alternative, sustainable solution. It is also looking for the help of Europe on this issue.

Wouter Kolff Mayor
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