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Co-author (s)

Diana Businge
Séphora Audhasse

MMATM trip to Rotterdam

Students & Alumni

After a successful, thrilling, and educative excursion to Rotterdam, we decided to jot down the escapades, the highlights, and the profound knowledge that we shall keep reminiscing from the first to the last day about this trip. Overwhelmingly enthusiastic to tag you along with us on this trip.

Day One – all together

Prime yourselves …hurray!! It's the 28th – of March, clear the decks for the long-awaited trip, time check 10:00 am. It’s a nice sunny morning all gathered at Theater Square, waiting to board bus Verhoeven and at the edge of our seats to start the excursion.

Manifest confirmation for passengers on board, C-MAT class 2021-2022, Programme Manager, and of course our dedicated driver that played a pivotal part. Noontime, affirmation of arrival at Hotel SS Rotterdam, a laid-back hotel and a former cruise ship to New York for Holland America Line that used to sail from the Netherlands to the United States. We grab a quick lunch at Lido Grill Restaurant and a quick check-in into our hotel rooms. 2:00 pm, time to gather under the scorching sun at the front of Hotel SS Rotterdam for a brief introduction to the first education tour by Prof. dr. Paul van de Laar from Erasmus School of History, Culture, and Communication.

Getting to know the underlying history behind the growth of Rotterdam port, its strategic location, and the rationale behind the separation of ports from cities with Rotterdam as our case study, and a town that was notorious for crimes. Thanks to the familiar face of our tour guide that was recognized by the coordinator of the famous BELVEDERE Rotterdam city stories center, we were permitted to get in and learn about the underlying history of world war 2 where jazz was secretly played to avoid being attacked by the Germans because it was prohibited and the various cultures that gather to share their stories, wine and dine together.



Exterior view of Hotel SS Rotterdam



Interior view of Hotel SS Rotterdam



Not just thrilling but also warming up for lunch at SS Rotterdam - Lido Grill Restaurant




After a long walk tour and finding our feet around Rotterdam, it's time to make hay while the sun shines!!


Day Two - Maritime students:

It’s a cold chilly morning, up in the air whether this cold will allow the biking. But thumbs up to Professor Bart Kuipers and the team for their resilience and bounced off the walls for the bike trip to RDM (ROTTERDAMSCHE DROOGDOK MAATSCHAPPIJ) for a brief lecture on real estate around the port of Rotterdam. We then proceed to the innovation center to check out the latest start-up tech companies in the maritime industry that later grow into big firms. Some inspiration to take with us is the spirit of tenacity embodied in starting small. In the company of this tour we had Professor Thierry Vanelslander and the C-MAT Programme Manager, Thomas.


The team is ready for the bike tour to RDM … the cold weather shouldn’t be a shortcoming!



No better way to relax than grab some lunch at Courzand after a two-hour bike trip in the cold.



Day Two - Air students:

For the aviation lovers, we also had our share of coverage. We kicked off the day as early as 08:0 am in the direction of Amsterdam airport. Got the guess to visit the engineering & maintenance department of KLM. A detailed presentation from the host was received to understand how the KLM Engineering & Maintenance structure is organized and all the intricacies involved, time to head to the hangar, the exact place where aircrafts are maintained.

Fortune to spot the different aircraft types, for example a Boeing 787 and an Airbus 330 and thrilling to see the synergy among teams to have aircrafts ready to fly a few hours later the same day, several days later or even several months later and also appreciate the unsung heroes in the background that ensure our safety while in the sky and the integrity of our flight schedules … a big thanks to the KLM team.

A short lunch break to recharge for the next activity of the day that we look forward! You can’t talk about passengers and exclude cargo in the invitation industry, that’s right! Thus, the afternoon finds us at the dedicated KLM cargo section. Following the protocol set, begins with checking the trucks loaded with the consignment before proceeding to the warehouses. The coordination of the subsequent activities was elaborated by our tour guide. Their elaboration further entailed the prerequisites for the transportation of different types of products for example the pharmaceuticals, perishables items, and several others with a glance of the live animals’ hotel.

At the end of the journey, it was so impressive to see how much one can learn from these different visits, and this was possible thanks to the organization of Prof. Wouter Dewulf and Mr. Nico Van der Linden.


One of the hangars of KLM Engineering and Maintenance site .

Day Three - Maritime students:

The nice usual breakfast at Lido Grill Restaurant .. oops! Remember the bus leaves at 09:00 am .. be on time says the Programme Manager. Off we leave for a 40-minute drive from SS Rotterdam to TU Delft. As usual, the groups (Air and Maritime) split with the Maritime team received by Professor Edwin van Hassel for a first tour around the campus, we then proceed for lectures from Jeroen Pruyn and visit the towing tank where the different vessel designs, and prototyping are executed.



TU Delft Campus

Day Three - Air students:

The day was purely skewed towards academics, with two interesting lectures from Allessandro Bombelli and Nick Eleftheroglou about linear programming applied air cargo and sustainable artificial intelligence in the aeronautics field, respectively. We also had a tour where we saw a simulator used to perform different tests to understand pilots’ behaviors under certain conditions.

After that, we visited a facility that houses various laboratories with highly sophisticated equipment that is not only tailored for PhD researchers, but also for other students with specialties in engineering topics related for example aeronautics or mechanical subjects. Among the projects already in testing is the design of the Flying-V aircraft powered by hydrogen.



A free afternoon to ourselves allowed us to tour the center of Delft city and grabbed some snacks, then headed back to SS Rotterdam.



Day Four - Maritime students:

It’s another extremely cold chilly morning. Joining us on board the bus are Professor Thierry Vanelslander and Professor Patrick Verhoeven, en route to Maasvlakte 2 (FutureLand). To usher us into this tour is Mr. Maarten van Oosten, the Communication and Information officer of Futureland Rotterdam. We had a very insightful presentation from him about the objective for constructing Maasvlakte 2 and how significant it is to the port of Rotterdam with the increasing volumes of containers and increase in vessel sizes, the right time for terminal expansion … On board for the tour around Prinses Margriethaven, Prinses Arianehaven, Yangtzekanaal, Beerkanaal, Boord-overslag, Rotterdam worldgateway and Prinses Amaliahaven with the Futureland ferry.


As he mentioned, the 31st of March was indeed our good luck day, we got a chance to see Evergreen shipping lines (Ever ACE), the biggest vessel from their fleet with a carrying capacity 24, 000 (Twenty Equivalent Units ). Watched it live while in the comfort of a boat tour all around. Another lucky moment to see the gigantic installation vessel for wind turbines on future land.


Day Four Air class:

Departure time morning at 6h30 sharp, waking up was tough especially because it was really cold that day, but the hot tea or coffee was always proposed by our hosts to warm us up for the fantastic morning visit to Maastricht Airport. The morning kicked off with the first presentation from Mrs. Hella Hendricks who gave information about the history of the airport, the business model, and general information about activities they are focusing on. Then, a guided tour by bus was done on the aerodrome of the airport to see the facilities present where some tasks like maintenance and painting of aircraft are executed.




Ooos! The day hasn’t ended. another activity awaits us .. nice but the weather is persistently getting colder with some drops of snow. Time check, it's 07:00 pm the team gathers at the reception of SS Rotterdam. Now joined by Dr. Valentin Carlan and Professor Roel and set off on a stroll for a marvelous dinner at the NY Basement hotel, a preserved rich history of pre-war Manhattan well known for its stylish ornaments and colorful patterns attached to its decorations. The hotel is also a former head office of the Holland America line, meanwhile, the basement is well known for its nostalgic and unique building and its proximity to the Erasmus bridge. No doubt, we enjoyed the different food courses that were served, … just as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words;




Day Five for the whole team.

The morning hangover, exhausted from the dinner, morning rush for breakfast, last-minute packing, stuffing our luggage into the bus boot, checking out from the hotel, ooh man! quite a lot to juggle in a short time … by the way, don’t forget we have a last water taxi tour to catch at 11:00 am, we have to gather too …. Dr.Valentin is joining us .. got it. Not all of us will fit in one boat, we could but there are capacity limitations so the group is split, thanks to the planners that made it all possible. Took us around the skyline of Rotterdam, the cold weather didn’t deter us from enjoying the ride … 12:30 .. lunch is served and at 1:30 .. onboard Verhoeven and en route to Antwerp.


Rotterdam Water Taxi