INS Seminar Jakarta-Rotterdam: Water-smart Cities

28 Apr 2015


The landmark message of the INS seminars is deepening personal contacts between our two nations, embedded in a topical subject.

The 2015 seminar on water-smart cities was organized on 28 April with courteous support of the City of Rotterdam and held at the Rotterdam City Hall. The interpreter of the INS message was Dr. Arifin Siregar, the laureate of the ‘Linggadjati Award 2015’, and the topic was Jakarta and Rotterdam: water-smart cities. The audience of the seminar united former Dutch Ministers and officials with whom Dr. Siregar worked closely together, and a number of young and elderly professionals. INS chairman Jesse Kuijper welcomed them all.


Comprehensive policy needed

In his opening address Mr. Siebe Riedstra, Secretary-general of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, recalled the international journal The New Economist awarding Rotterdam the title of Smart City 2014 ‘for its efforts to protect itself against climate change and bolster its image as the most sustainable port city in the world’. Riedstra’s message is: ‘water challenges require a comprehensive urban policy’ and ‘the key to resilience is the willingness of countries and cities to working together’.

Then Mr. Ate Oostra, vice-chairman of the Indonesia Nederland Society, facilitated a dialogue session between professor Alexander Rinnooy Kan and architect Gijs van den Boomen on smart-city and urban development. Both speakers underlined that the indispensable initiatives of professional think tanks have to be accompanied and supported by the citizens.

Alexander Rinnooy Kan drew lessons from successful urban-planning projects in the US and leadership with the qualities of inspiration and perseverance. Bold, sometimes radical long-term goals are to be translated in short-term objectives and quick results. A core group is to generate a positive spiral of motivation and synergy, the surrounding region included. To mobilize ‘dormant urban capital’, with the lead questions not being ‘how much will this cost?’ but ‘what value will this generate and for whom?’ A bottom up approach accompanied by professional support is the main process principle. Sustainability as core principle always has to be kept in mind.


Great Garuda Giant Sea Wall

Architect and urban planner Gijs van den Boomen is designer of the Great Garuda concept of the NCICD Master plan. Jakarta is sinking at an alarming rate of 7,5 centimetres per year. A Government-to-Government initiative gave the impulse to conceive a joint Master plan for the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) on the integration of water management and urban development.

The Master plan proposes a Giant Sea Wall that will protect Jakarta against floods from the sea. Inside this Giant Sea Wall large lagoons are to take up and buffer the outflow from Jakarta’s rivers. A newly reclaimed landmass will resemble the Great Garuda, Indonesia’s national symbol. It will accommodate a waterfront city, Van den Boomen explains, that should be water resilient and will house 1.5 to 2 million people. Metropolis type of infrastructure such as toll roads, light rail and freight trains is integrated in the design. The integrated development will alleviate the urban pressure (traffic, building, economic, etc.) on the existing city, thereby significantly increasing the quality of life in Jakarta.

Mr. Ibnu Wahyutomo, Chargé d’Affairs a.i. of the Indonesian Embassy presented the Indonesian perspective on the bilateral cooperation.

A short break in the seminar allowed for images of the festive launching of the Indonesian chapter of Indonesia Nederland Youth Society (INYS), chaired by Mr. Rennie Roos, April 4, 2015, Erasmushuis, Jakarta.


Rotterdam Port: a sustainable harbour

After the conceptual first part of the INS seminar the second part was close to real life. Rotterdam Port CEO Mr Allard Castelein stressed the harbour’s international dynamics and national importance. Sustainability is a precondition for its license to operate and license to grow. Major sustainability initiatives include the port’s contribution to the World Port Climate Conference, the Rotterdam Climate Initiative, the sustainability index and its CO2 footprint. Of crucial importance is consensus building and cooperation between the harbour, its companies and the knowledge centres and NGO’s involved. It is the resulting synergy that allows Rotterdam to be a Sustainable Harbour . The development of ‘Maasvlakte Two’ gives room to the change of harbour dynamics by the bigger containerships.


Indonesian students present sustainable solutions for Jakarta

A hallmark of INS is its inter-generational mix. Young and active professionals, following a postgraduate course at UNESCO-IHE, presented their ideas on sustainable solutions to Living with the River (Ayu Diyah Setiyani), Peak Discharge Reduction in the Semarang District (Fajar Baskoro Wicaksono), Decentralized Waste Water Management (Gita Prima Ramadanthi) and Converting Innovative Ideas into Real Action (Reza Pratama). The student-panel was moderated by Unesco-IHE, Mr. Jan Luijendijk.


Mr. Ronald Schneider, Alderman of Rotterdam, welcomed the participants on behalf of Mayor Aboutaleb and thanked all for their contribution to the twinning relationship with Jakarta.