Sport and Urban Development
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This archived article was published 13 March 2005
Conference on sport and urban development
climax to Rotterdam’s Capital of Sport line-up

13 March 2005: Rotterdam is European Capital of Sport, 2005, the first time a Dutch city has been chosen. Previous title holders were follows Madrid (2001), Stockholm (2002), Glasgow (2003), and Alicante (2004). Nominated by Glasgow, Rotterdam convinced the jury with a programme emphasising, strong cooperation between the city, sports institutions, and business.

The title European Capital of Sport was established in 1999 by the Movimiento Deportivo Popular Internacional, along with the Movimento Populare Europeo (MSP Européen) and the Movimento Sport Azurro Italia (MSP Italia), in collaboration with the European Parliament.

The award is an annual title awarded to a city, which over a period of five years has achieved an outstanding record of attention to sport and deriving social benefits from it. Factors taken into consideration include the presence of modern sports facilities, improvement to health through sport and the integration into sport of socially disadvantaged groups of society. Cities wishing to be considered as candidates must be part of the European Union and have a population of more than 500,000.

The city of Rotterdam has underlined its commitment to the European Capital of Sport ideals by hosting the first European Capital of Sport Conference. The conference ‘Sport and urban development’ aims to encourage networking, information exchange and knowledge transfer. The conference will take place 9-11 November 2005 and will include invited keynote speakers supplemented by individual sessions. The review committee is now inviting submissions of papers dealing with theory and offering practical solutions.

Possible topics include:
• Education through sport
• City sports and the sports economy
• Local sports participation and urban diversity
• Sport and urban planning
• Best practices in local sports policy
• Sport and local identity

Rotterdam has planned a packed sports schedule for its Year of Sports 2005. Among the events are the World Championship Baseball, the European Judo Championship, Student Soccer, and the Six-Day Cycling Race in Ahoy as well as many local sports events and activities. During the its Year of Sports, Rotterdam plans to invest heavily in sports facilities. In addition to sports activities already scheduled for 2005, large national and international professional events with mass-audience appeal as well as small-scale, local activities are being planned.

Every year, Rotterdam organises some 15 regular professional sports events. The Fortis Marathon, the CHIO, and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament are well-known annual events. In 2005, this list is complemented with at least 12 new professional sporting events. In January, the Year of Sports started with the popular Six-Day Cycling Race in Ahoy', which returned after a few years' absence. A great number of other professional sports events, including the WC Baseball, the EC Judo, the WC Boarding, the Rotterdam Road Races, the WC Catamaran Sailing (Hook of Holland) take place in and around Rotterdam.

Although professional sporting events attract thousands of visitors to the city of Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Year of Sports is especially concerned with the people of Rotterdam. Thus, in addition to large events, many local activities are organised in Rotterdam. The sports schedule includes 54 new events in addition to the 15 regular ones organised in Rotterdam every year. Furthermore, each Rotterdam municipal district has its own Year of Sports Schedule, with local activities for the local population.

Sport requires open spaces or purpose-built facilities. As in any large city, space in Rotterdam is at a premium. In 2005 therefore, Rotterdam will be investing heavily in its sports infrastructure. A number of existing sports venues and facilities will be receiving a major facelift in 2005. For example, gymnastics locations will be refurbished. This will allow not only better use of existing facilities but also to hire them out to sports clubs. The city also plans to create a number of new local playgrounds among them a table-tennis centre for FVT and a new skating route through the Kralingse Bos.

In addition to sporting  activities and events Rotterdam will host 29 special projects. These vary from an International Sports Congress to individual debates concerning various sports-related subjects. To be discussed are a promotional campaign for Rotterdam sports clubs and the possible development of an advisory centre for food and exercise.

The Rotterdam World Trade Center where the the 2005 conference on sport and urban delopment will be held

Rotterdam’s World Trade Center
Beurs-World Trade Center is a modern building with an historical past. A past that dates back to 1598, the year in which the first Rotterdam Beurs (exchange) was founded. The Beurs proved a great success. Lack of space meant that larger Beurs buildings had to be constructed. In 1941, the Beurs on the Coolsingel was opened. This building, with its many functions, not only housed a lot of exchanges, but also shops, conference halls, a bar and offices. During the 70s and 80s, demand for offices and conference space increased dramatically.

In 1984, the construction of a new office tower in the midst of the already existing low-rise buildings started. The green elliptical tower was completed in 1987. It was named the Beurs-World Trade Center. The Beurs-WTC is managed and operated by Beurs Rotterdam, which also owns the building.