ROTTERDAM - Rotterdammers have made it clear that they do not see anything in a special "City Province". In a referendum 86 percent of voters send the plan to the trash. It was predetermined that there 170.000 votes were needed to count the referendum. That number is with 193.000 votes amply achieved. Amsterdammers previously voted out a similar plan.

“Our modesty suits this result”, let alderman regional formation Hans Kombrink know. It is not clear what the consequences will be for the current councilor team and coalition in the city council.


Rotterdam is divided into ten or eleven municipalities in the plan. The City Province of Rotterdam must then be formed together with eighteen municipalities around the city.

Places like Vlaardingen, Schiedam, Brielle and Hellevoetsluis are added to the regional province.

City province of Rotterdam – Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

If the plan comes out in January of this year, there is immediately a fuss. The city council knows nothing about it. Despite the fact that the content of the plan is largely kept secret, the signature of Mayor Peper is already under the piece.

Partly thanks to coalition party D66, it has been decided to hold a plebiscite. There are some requirements. Van de ruim 470.000 Rotterdammers with voting rights must have at least one 170.000 go to the polls. That comes down to 36 percent of voters.

This creates a special situation. People in Rotterdam are allowed to vote, while in the other municipalities there is no referendum. That puts bad blood in other municipalities. “More than half of the inhabitants of the City Province to be formed are completely excluded from this story”, let Mayor Vleggeert van Spijkenisse know.

Action to hold a referendum., Alderman Kombrink himself took his place on the market to encourage the population of Rotterdam to vote in a referendum. Foto: You have a heart, Stadsarchief Rotterdam


Despite the rain, there is already quite a rise in the morning, despite the bad weather. A few hours after the opening of the ballot boxes is already ample 10 percent of Rotterdammers vote. “Het is nu aan de Rotterdammers om hun stem te laten horen”, let Mayor Peper know to Radio Rijnmond. Peper is not in favor of the referendum. And it doesn't look good, because a poll by Rijnmond clearly shows that 70 percent of the people of Rotterdam do not like the division of their city.

It is also fairly busy at the polling station in Hoogvliet. “Ik heb de hele folder een paar keer doorgelezen”, let the voter know. “En ik snap eigenlijk niet wat er nu van me wordt gevraagd. Tsja, then it becomes a "no." Another voter is afraid of the consequences for the city. “Rotterdam moet gewoon Rotterdam blijven”, she explains.

And the City Party of Manuel Kneepkens also focused on that sentiment. The fairly new party, with two seats in the Rotterdam city council, mainly aims at the Rotterdam feeling. The party has distributed posters with the photos of Mayor Peper with the text "I want to close Rotterdam".

 “Ze hebben zeker weer een zootje scharrelaars gevonden die een vetgevreten baantje nodig hebben”, let a man know in Rotterdam tone at the polling station in Hoogvliet. "I say no".


Later in the evening, the City Party holds a real result in a café on the Witte de With street(en)evening. When the result becomes known, then there is a loud cheer.

Manuel Kneepkens of the City Party (links). Foto: Wim Vlieghaar, Stadsarchief Rotterdam

"I realize I won a battle for the first time in my life", he beams at the AD.

In a short time, blocking the City Province became the main program item of the small party. "And therefore cancel the party? It is only now beginning!”, he promises in the AD.

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For the city council it is licking the wounds. "A gigantic problem has now been created", says Mayor Peper. “We will have to deliberate how to get out of here. The management of Rotterdam and the cooperation with the regional municipalities has now been taxed that cannot be underestimated. ”

The Hague is already urging that the plans be postponed. The municipal council is obliged by the corrective referendum to adhere to the results. But according to the AD, there are already alternative plans ready. This would include the formation of an urban region and a less drastic division of the city of Rotterdam.

Hoe ging het verder?

In the end, there will indeed be some sort of interim solution. A second plan is brought to the table, in which Rotterdam is split into five parts.

The plan will be adjusted in the House of Representatives on the recommendation of PvdA MP Peter van Heemst. In addition, the division of Rotterdam is completely over.

But one Rotterdam would again have far too much to say in the formation of a City Province. State Secretary Van Vondervoort subsequently withdrew the entire plan for a new province.

There will eventually be a City Region. The Rotterdam City Region will be in 2015 merged into the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam-The Hague.

Referenda in Rotterdam

The referendum in Rotterdam is the last municipal referendum held in Rotterdam that was legally valid. It still followed 2016 a referendum on housing policy in the city. But the turnout was on 16,9 percent, while the threshold is on 30 percent team.

Residents of Rotterdam were asked whether they were for or against the construction of better, more expensive rental homes. According to opponents of the "Housing Vision’ the urge to innovate was mainly at the expense of affordable, social rental housing.

Vergeten Verhalen – The Rotterdam "no’ tegen de Stadsprovincie

Algemeen Dagblad – 08-06-1995 – Rotterdam says No.