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This first debate from the series Letters to the Mayor focussed on the inclusive city. In this second debate, we will take a closer look at Rotterdam’s green and healthy side. How can we keep the city safe for pedestrians and cyclists? Does it have enough parks and open spaces? Where do clean air and the port come in? With Cees van der Veeken (LOLA Landscape Architects), Willemijn Lofvers (Bureau Lofvers), Froukje van de Klundert (Posad Spatial Strategies), Cesare Peeren (Superuse Studios) and Catherine Visser (DaF Architecten). Moderation by Daan Roovers.

19:30 – 21:00
also this evening

18:00 - 19:30 Thursday Bite

19:30 - 21:30 Workshop: Amenti Movemeant – Dancing Through Layers

19:30 - 21:30 Online Urban Heritage

20:00 - 22:00 Landscape of Gardens

Museum open until 21:00


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7,50
Students, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Thursday Bite€ 7,50

In early 2018, in partnership with Storefront for Art and Architecture, Het Nieuwe Instituut exhibited Letters tot the Mayor: Rotterdaman installation of open letters to Rotterdam’s Mayor Aboutaleb written by architects with links to the city. Several questions came clearly to the fore: How can Rotterdam again become an accessible city where diversity reigns? How can the city restore its relationship to nature and the water and become a healthier and more sustainable place? And how can urban co-creation take place on the basis of self-organisation?

The project attracted considerable attention, and the mayor has expressed a wish to continue the conversation with the architects this summer. In advance of this, Het Nieuwe Instituut will host two Socratic debates* with the architects and engaged Rotterdammers, a group of people who would not ordinarily meet. In the conversations – which will be explicitly public and recorded in written reports – the values and ideas underlying the first two questions will be investigated in greater detail and depth. The results of the discussions will be presented to the mayor.

The debates will be led by the philosopher Daan Roovers, a lecturer in public philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and an events programmer at De Rode Hoed. With the Harvard University philosopher Michael Sandel, she developed the moral discussion show What’s the Right Thing to Do? for the Human broadcasting company. A frequent leader of debates, Roovers lectures and writes about philosophy, parenting, education, politics and media. She is currently working on a dissertation about the formation of public opinion.

Letters to the Mayor

Letters to the Mayor is a presentation series comprising a set of personal letters written by architects to their city mayors. For the edition in Rotterdam, a group of architects who have had a relation with the city were invited to deliver their thoughts directly to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb as a means of bringing innovative ideas and visions of the city closer to its decision-makers, and vice versa. The presentation comes as a result of a year-long collaboration between Het Nieuwe Instituut and Storefront for Art and Architecture around the theme of City Forces. On Friday 12 January 2018, the Letters to the Mayor: Rotterdam opened in the presence of Rotterdam's Mayor. The presentation was on show until 11 February.

Thursday Bite

Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:30 Het Nieuwe Café will serve soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for € 7.50 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link.

This event is part of the Rotterdam Architecture Month 2018 programme.


Letters to the Mayor was made possible thanks to the generous support of:

Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Michiel Raats
Eva Franch, Carlos Mínguez Carrasco
Arna Mačkić & Lorien Beijarts, Studio L A
Rudy Guedj
Arif Kornweitz
Sophia Seawell, Malique Mohamud
Yev Kravt
Rogier Goetze