Ahmed Aboutaleb is one of Europe’s longest serving mayors


The Dutch city of Rotterdam is known to be one of Europe’s most dynamic, diverse and multicultural cities. This buzzing metropolis has been led by mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb since 2009. The Morocco-born politician has been successfully leading the city for more than 13 years and has worked hard on a number of issues the Dutch city was faced with. Thanks to him, Rotterdam has grown to be an open and progressive city with a strong emphasis on circularity, sustainability and innovations.

Ahmed Aboutaleb received the 2021 World Mayor Prize for his commitment to treating all people as ‘Rotterdammers,’ regardless of their origins or backgrounds. Together with Philippe Rio, the mayor of the French city of Grigny, Aboutaleb was named the world’s best mayor by the London-based City Mayors Foundation. This proved his reputation as one of the world’s most respected and appreciated mayors. Aboutaleb was particularly praised for leading the city in a brave and courageous way and ensuring equal opportunities for all residents of Rotterdam.

Mayor Aboutaleb was born in the Moroccan village Beni Sidel and grew up in the Nador Province. He immigrated to the Netherlands when he was 15 years old. Aboutaleb then went on to study electrical engineering with a focus on telecommunication, eventually earning a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the Hogere Technische School. After spending a period of time working as a reporter, Aboutaleb became the director of the Forum organization in 1998, an institute dealing with the issues of multiculturalism in the Netherlands. Aboutaleb was the first-ever mayor of a large Dutch city with a migration background and of Muslim faith, marking an important milestone for the city of Rotterdam which has a long history of diversity and openness.

He is currently one of the longest-serving mayors in Europe. In Rotterdam, regeneration has become a collaborative and creative endeavor, and the city’s modern architecture has served as a foundation for creativity as the city has grown. In an interview with The World Mayor, Aboutaleb stated that his main priorities for the city of Rotterdam were safety and public order in the city, as well as tackling the issues of homelessness and subversive drug crime in the port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port. Furthermore, mayor Aboutaleb always emphasized the need of an inclusive approach to ensure that people of more than 175 different nationalities can live together in harmony. He has also been making significant efforts to make the city greener and more sustainable, as well as more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly.