Currently, I am Chief Resilience Officer of the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After graduating with a degree in Physical Geography from the University of Utrecht, I started my career with several ambitious trainee posts and jobs in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands. As deputy head of the Rotterdam Water Management Department, I was responsible for Rotterdam’s urban water management and the Waterplan2Rotterdam. In 2008, I started as Manager of the ambitious Rotterdam Climate Proof program. In this role, I was able to initiate the international Connecting Delta Cities network. I also became regional coordinator within the Dutch research program Knowledge for Climate and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy (2013).
Together with a great team and several partners we successfully led the City of Rotterdam towards a leading position on innovative urban water management and climate resilience, which resulted in an European Peer City status, a C40 Innovation Award and the EU-Icapital award.
I am first editor of the third Connecting Delta Cities book “Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies” (2014). In that year, we also organized the second international conference “Deltas in times of Climate Change 2014”, and I was officially appointed as the first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) at the city of Rotterdam. In 2015, I became member of the AIWW advisory board (Amsterdam International Water Week). As CRO, I was responsible for developing and launching Rotterdam’s first ever Resilience Strategy (2016). In 2018, I joined the Global Centre on Adaptation as affiliate Cities Expert. And in 2019, we proudly hosted the Global Urban Resilience Summit in Rotterdam. Recently, I joined the interim Global Steering Committee at the Global Resilient Cities Network (former 100RC).
During the Rotterdam Resilience Day in 2018, the city of Rotterdam (represented by the maintenance dept.) signed an MoU together with the 4TU Centre for Resilient Engineering. A very important cooperation for both partners. One of the important pillars of the Rotterdam Resilience Strategy is called “Infrastructure ready for the 21st century”. With this new 4TU-centre, the city of Rotterdam has found an important partner to address crucial challenges and research topics related to resilient infrastructure, which is the basis of a resilient city. Systems are getting more complex and increasing dependencies on IT and energy create new vulnerabilities. As a city, we therefore need to work together with the best knowledge institutes in order to increase the resilience of our city.