Our projects

The development of the RDM Campus is a fundamental part of creating a new use for the historic RDM dry dock complex in Rotterdam’s inner harbour area. It brings vocational education, research and innovative industry together under one roof and has created a unique opportunity to improve the economic environment of the city, by regenerating the abandoned docklands infrastructure and supporting the neighbouring village of Heijplaat – a community which formerly relied on the dock for employment.

Executive summary

The RDM Campus is located in the City Ports area of Rotterdam on the site of a former and historically important shipyard. The initials RDM, which used to mean Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (Rotterdam Dry Dock Company), now stand for Research, Design and Manufacturing. Shipbuilding virtually collapsed in the 1980s with the loss of 1 370 jobs. The site was finally abandoned in 2002 – a major setback for the neighbouring community of Heijplaat.

There was a major risk of the wharves becoming a no-go area. In 2004 the Port of Rotterdam (owner), Albeda College (regional vocational training centre) and the Rotterdam University of Applied Science (Hogeschool Rotterdam) came together to explore the potential to redevelop the site. While the city was interested in improving its economic profile by regenerating the dockland environment, the educational institutions were looking for more space to house their research, learning and training activities, and also wanted to make links with the business community.

The result of this partnership was the creation of the RDM Campus as a primary component in a process of revival of the city ports area. The campus occupies the former ‘Dokhaven’ (Dock Harbour) complex, notably the former machinery hall and the ‘Droogdok’ building which was originally the head office of the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company. The monumental 23 000m² machinery hall now houses the ‘Innovation Dock’, divided into two parts: the ‘education hall’ for the two colleges, and a ‘business hall’ – supported by the ERDF – of 12 000m². This provides space for small innovative companies in the construction, mobility and power sectors – forming a dedicated knowledge alliance with the educational institutes. The former head office building houses administrative offices, a restaurant and event and meeting space.

The project, supported by a crucial but modest ERDF input, has turned a problematic brownfield area into an important city location where traditional and new approaches to education and enterprise can support each other and the wider business community.

Download the case studyDownload the analytical fiche

Technical information


Docking with the future

Member State and Region

Netherlands - Province of South Holland - Rotterdam

Duration of project

28 months (09.2008 – 12.2010)


Total budget: 7 760 000 € - ERDF contribution: 2 150 000 €

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

College van B&W Gemeente Rotterdam

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CCI nr of OP

2007NL162PO002 OP ‘West Netherlands’ (Kansen voor West)


Cor van Asch, Project leader

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


www.rotterdam.nl (NL, EN)

www.rdmcampus.nl (NL, EN)


Clusters and business networks, Innovation awareness-raising, Education and training, Science parks