During the Ruimteconferentie 2o11 organised by the Planbureau, David Dooghe presented the first results of the research ‘Defining the Metropolis, Randstad’.

What are the urban functions that support the future economic development of Randstad Holland?

Defining the Metropolis researches the influence of global top urban facilities in the development of urban agglomerations in the world. The research is based on the Index of Metropolitan Functions developed by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development. The Index of Metropolitan Functions defines five areas: politics, economy, science, transport and culture. The five areas of metropolitan functions are supported by specific urban programs. As far as allowed by available data, the global top list of these different urban programs is used.


Comparing Randstad Holland with other urban agglomerations in the world on the presence of urban functions it can be concluded that Randstad Holland, although having a low number of inhabitants, rates high. Randstad Holland scores the best on the areas: science, infrastructure and culture.




However, when comparing Randstad Holland with the nearby urban agglomerations, London ( 8,6 million inhabitants) and Paris (10,4 million inhabitants), we see that Randstad Holland ( 8 million inhabitants) is ‘the middling brother of a rich family’.

Politics, economy, science, transport and culture in Northwest Europe:



Randstad Holland is clearly not a political centre in Europe. Brussels and Geneva are leading in the northwest of Europe, followed by Vienna. The Hague has a limited international political power, but is unique as the Capital of Justice. 



Map: international head offices political organisations and economic and monetairy organisations.



The merging in 2ooo of the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange to form Euronext Amsterdam, gave the Randstad Holland a more important economical role in the world. Still Randstad Holland is not very popular among the world’s largest corporations, London: 22 head offices, Paris: 38 head offices, Randstad Holland: 11 head offices.



Map: top 50 world largest corporations (2010, revenues), source: CNN, money and top 20 stock exchange (2009, Market Capitalization, USD billions), source: World Federation of Exchanges.



Randstad Holland has 6 universities in the leading top 2oo universities of the world and Amsterdam is an important international congress city. Looking more closely to which universities are leading by subjects (Engineering and Technology, Life Science, Pre-Clinical and Health, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities) only 3 of Randstad Holland’s universities, each with just one specific subject, are in the top 5o of the world by subject. Most of the universities in Paris and London perform at toplevel in different subjects.



Map: top 200 universities in the world (2010, overall score), source: Times Higher Education and top 50 universities in the owrld (2010, Engineering and Technology _ Life Science _ Pre-Clinical and Health _ Physical Sciences _ Social Sciences _ Arts and Humanities), source: Times Higher Education.



The geographical position of Randstad Holland in the Eurodelta is flavourable for its infrastructural importance as a cargo gateway for Europe. Next to the Port of Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport plays an important role as cargo airport as well as passenger airport. For passengers by rail, Randstad is well connected with Brussels, Paris and London, but badly with cities in the east or north. The Netherlands and especially Randstad Holland is well equipped with less visible infrastructure, like Internet.



Map: Top 30 ports (2008, containter traffic (TEUs- Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) , source: american Association of Port Authorities, European water streets,  (UN/ECE- class IV-VII) source: via Donau 2005, airports in Europa by passengers (2010) source wikipedia and full high speed intercity railways, (avarage speed ubove 200 km/h) and extended service by high speed (2006-11) source: Johomaps.



Amsterdam is a well-visited city by international visitors. It has some world-class museums. The main cultural clusters in northwest Europe, however, are London and Paris.



Map: top 50 most visited museums in the world, source: The Art Newspaper Annual Reports and top 20 most visited cities by estimated number of international visitors, 2007-2008, source Wikipedia.