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Rotterdam has made it to the final round of the competition between European cities to become the Innovation Capital of Europe. The organization announced this last week.

The competition was launched by the European Commission with the aim of stimulating innovation in European cities. An annual sum of 1 million euros has been earmarked to reward the winner. The five cities with the highest scores behind the winner will receive a reward of €100,000.

Amsterdam, Paris and Athens have all previously won the title. This is the last year that the competition will take place in this form because it is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 investment program. That is to be followed up with the Horizon 2021-2027 program. It is not yet known whether this program will include a new competition.

Antwerp, Bilbao and Hamburg

A total of 28 European cities had applied for the 2019 competition. The European Commission has nominated twelve of them to advance to the final. Besides Rotterdam, these are Antwerp, Bilbao, Bologna, Bristol, Dortmund, Espoo, Glasgow, Hamburg, London, Lyon and Nantes.

Only cities with a population of over 100,000 were eligible to participate. They must also be located in an EU Member State which is participating in Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program.

Whether Rotterdam wins or not will be revealed during the European Research & Innovation Days in Brussels at the end of September.


Coming up tomorrow, our interview with Innovation Project Manager Dave Geensen from the Municipality of Rotterdam about Rotterdam’s nomination to become the innovation capital of Europe.