Walk21 to Rotterdam

Over the last ten years Rotterdam has transformed the centre into a “City Lounge” in order to encourage people to meet, stay and enjoy Rotterdam – by reallocating road and parking space, slowing traffic speeds and investing in quality public space at an impressive scale.

The results are transformative, well worth seeing, and have delivered measurable increases in footfall, dwell time, happiness and health. They are an inspiration to anyone aspiring to similar benefits.


As the city continues to grow, public space is coming under increasing pressure, creating both an opportunity and a sense of urgency to translate the ambition of a walkable neighbourhood network. Challenging traditional car mobility, repurposing existing infrastructure and integrating walking with cycling and public transport is helping translate the vision into citywide gains.

Rotterdam’s vision, supported by a new National Walking Agenda, and the parallel achievements in other Dutch cities make a compelling package for politicians and professionals from around the world to experience the practical and visionary ways walking can be used as an accelerator for more equitable, healthy and smarter places.

Themes: Smart, Healthy and For Everyone

  1. Putting Pedestrians First delivers; city for everyone
    Everybody is a pedestrian! Creating safe and attractive streets for children, women and elderly people first, deliver a public benefit for everyone.  We are looking forward to receiving examples of plans, designs and schemes that have embraced diversity, engaged communities and supported the creation of walkable cities.
    Key words: inclusivity, social cohesion, accessible, diversity, gender, ethnicity, all ages, happiness, sustainable safety, vision zero, civic engagement.
  2. Putting Pedestrians First delivers a healthy city
    There is a changing focus on active mobility (including access to public transport) and outdoor spaces that are inviting to walk or exercise in, which can improve people’s health and well-being. ‘Clean air, dry feet and lower energy bills’ are Climate Change promises at the centre of a pact between politicians and citizens in Rotterdam. We are looking forward to examples of integrated, people focused approaches that have embraced climate change, improved health and well-being, reduced carbon or changed behaviour by putting pedestrians first.
    Key words: exercise, sports, recreation, green, nature, physical well-being, mental well-being, active mobility, cycling, public transport, sustainability, climate adaptation, clean air, resilience.
  3. Putting Pedestrians First delivers a smart city on a human scale 
    The future city needs to be able to adapt to transitions with smart urban design and new mobility solutions. Measuring walking and walkability and integrating walking into traffic /transport management tools (e.g. modelling) and decision making, can assure a smart city will always be designed on a human level. We are looking forward to examples of evidence, tools, measures and systems that have delivered more walking or better walkability.
    Key words: smart, human, data, data driven urban design, measuring walking, future, mobility lab, business case for walking, traffic management, modelling, urban mobility indicators.

National Voetgangerscongres

On Wednesday, October 9th 2019, in parallel with Walk21, a National congress – in Dutch – will also take place. This aims to build on the momentum gained over the last two years through the National Voetgangerscongres, for walking in the Netherlands.