independent school for the city

Restart Ukraine X Rotterdam


Public event organised by Platform Wederopbouw Rotterdam, Architecture Institute Rotterdam (AIR) and Independent School for the City, together with Oleksandra Tkachenko and Hedwig van der Linden. Friday 20 May from 16:00 to 18:00. The proceeds of this event were donated to the Stand with Ukraine campaign by Canactions (Kyiv, UA)

At the end of March, President Zelensky of Ukraine addressed the Dutch parliament with a speech in which he asked the Netherlands for more support: “I invite you to participate in this project to REbuild Ukraine. I call on you to choose a city and region to rebuild with the skills you are good at.”

While Ukrainians fight for their freedom, they are already thinking about REconstruction plans. And these dreams are supported by international organizations, architecture offices and governments by announcing the creation of REconstruction funds and aid.

When you talk about REconstruction in the Netherlands, you think of Rotterdam. How can Rotterdam help Ukraine REconstruct its cities – given Rotterdam’s own postwar experience? But to answer this, first we should know what Ukraine needs and what its REconstruction potential is. Meanwhile, the mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb reacted to Zelensky’s call by suggesting that Rotterdam as a maritime city could help Ukrainian port cities with the REbuilding. What could this practically mean? 

Between the 18th and 21st of May, Rotterdam will celebrate its REconstruction. And whereas we are having an extra festive edition of Opbouwdag* which is this year celebrating its 75th birthday, we are also dealing with a war in Europe causing unforgettable loss, grief and destruction. When we talk about Opbouwen in these times, we are therefore not only looking back at Rotterdam’s past, but also ahead into the future in which many Ukrainian cities will need to be REbuilt.

In this public event, we open this discussion with experts from the Netherlands and Ukraine and dive into questions like what was already happening in the Rotterdam’ urban field before and during the Second World War that influenced its REconstruction. Who was involved, and what were their approaches? And now, more than 80 years later, what trends and developments are relevant for the future of Ukrainian cities? And what do’s and don’t can be learned from the approach in Rotterdam. This public event is a starting point for a series of events around this topic.


15u45 Doors open

16u00 Welcome and introduction

16u05 Opening by Tim de Haan, council member D66 Rotterdam

16u15 Videos by Ukrainian urban professionals

16u30 Session 1: Urban development in Ukraine – with Nazar DutkoAlexandra NikitenkoOleksandra Tkachenko and Sergii Rodionov.

17u00 Session 2: Rotterdam’s experience and its actualization for Ukraine – with Wijnand GalemaMichelle ProvoostFulco Treffers and Bogdan Seredyak.

17u30 Discussion

18u00 Wrap up and drinks!

The event will be livestreamed for those who cannot make it to Rotterdam. Link to livestream

REstart Ukraine X Rotterdam is part of Opbouwdagen and organised by Platform Wederopbouw Rotterdam, Architecture Institute Rotterdam (AIR) and Independent School for the City, together with Oleksandra Tkachenko and Hedwig van der Linden. The event will be held in English and is moderated by Chris Luth.

*Opbouwdag is an archetypal Rotterdam event to celebrate the (re)construction of the city on and around 18 May. Characteristic of the early editions of Opbouwdag was the outlook towards the future. An incredible amount had to be built, the housing shortage was high. The old city was not rebuilt, but a modern new city was constructed. Rotterdam became a breeding ground for experimentation, élan and energy. This view of the future has never disappeared. Therefore, this year Opbouwdag is dedicated to the ‘Future as Tradition’!