‘Eurostar has an added bonus, which we’re very happy about’
TEXT: IRIS VAN DER SPOEL | PHOTOGRAPHY: ANTIM
‘DAM TRAIN TOOK THREE HOURS reads the headline of The Sun on 6 April 2018. “While many foodies go by Eurostar to sample the gastronomical delights of Paris and wider France, I was on its new route to the Netherlands (...)”.
Nothing but love from this Sun journalist who “got off at Rotterdam after a three-hour journey, ready to explore”. She found the Markthal to be “impressive” and just couldn’t choose from the overwhelming selection of “seriously cool bars” and “reasonably-priced” places to eat.
The direct three-hour train connection between London and Rotterdam, a new service by the Eurostar since April, has opened a new door to our city. Jannelieke Aalstein, deputy director of Rotterdam Partners, and her colleagues ensure that this door remains open, whether it’s for business or pleasure.
What role does Rotterdam Partners play in the story in The Sun?
Jannelieke: “In this case, a direct one. Our press team invests continuously in the relationships with journalists. Our press officer, for example, was on the very first Eurostar train from London to Rotterdam so that she could tell the reporters – including that of The Sun – all about our city. Once in Rotterdam, we showed the journalists the city’s icons and its hidden treasures. Everything we do is aimed at gaining free publicity. So, while we informed them as well as possible, we don’t have any control over the final story.”
How do you make the most out of a new tra in connection like this one?
“The placement of good, appealing information is not a coincidence. A year ago, we welcomed the Eurostar management to Rotterdam for the first time, to help them find their way around and fall in love with the city. We were involved early on with the developments for the city and, together with many great partners, we are building the image of Rotterdam. This leads to the best possible information about the city, such as on the Eurostar’s on-board magazine.”
“Where possible, we let the Rotterdammers tell the story themselves. During Art Rotterdam in February, for example, we invite journalists to join us for a visit to Groos, where one of the owners tells about their concept and the Rotterdam design pieces they sell. When we take the journalists to visit the Venture Café in CIC, Melissa Ablett or Anoesjka Imambaks share their story. Journalists really appreciate this authenticity.”
What does improved connectivity mean for the city?
“The more the Rotterdam economy flourishes, the more parties there are who are eager to start something here. A three-hour train connection is an added bonus, which we’re very happy about. And, if the train connection proves to be profitable, I don’t exclude the possibility that the city will look into establishing connections with other cities. With Berlin, for example. And, also, Scandinavia is interesting. In the end, this decision will be taken by commercial parties, but we do our best to show all that the city has to offer once you exit the station.”
What does Rotterdam Partners do?
Rotterdam Partners promotes and stimulates the Rotterdam economy. The organisation, situated in the historic Schielandshuis, is the result of a merger of various Rotterdam organisations with deep roots in city marketing, international acquisition of investors and urban economic development. Rotterdam Tourist Information is also part of this, under the same roof. ‘In the Schielandshuis, for example, we’ve built the Rotterdam Discovery,’ says Jannelieke, ‘a mini-museum where we tell the story of the city. Good to know when you receive a delegation from abroad, because you can start by visiting us for a free initial introduction to Rotterdam.’