City of Rotterdam

How the city will more rapidly show Rotterdammers the way to the right counter.

The City of Rotterdam Renews

Rotterdam is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands and the modern government is moving along with the energy of the city. Of all the cities, Rotterdam has the largest ICT department and works with the most advanced technologies, striving to push forward Rotterdam’s innovation. Managing, securing, and further developing ICT initiatives, both within the organization and in the city, are the daily challenges of the IT department. In order to promote the demand for acceleration and cooperation from ICT with all parts of the municipality, Rapid Application Development (RAD) was started in January 2018 using Mendix’s low-code platform.

Creating Clarity for the Rotterdammer
In 2016, the City of Rotterdam began a digitization program. An analysis of the current situation regarding the service provision for the Rotterdammers brought to light some important points for improvement, including in the areas of ​​care and assistance.

Henry Rutten, project success director within the municipality, observed that “It was often unclear to the Rotterdam citizen where he should be with his request for help.”

For example, there are 4 primary municipal counters within the Social Development cluster that offer services in the context of care and assistance, each with its own system and its own process. These counters each serve specific target groups and problems. The multitude of texts on the website signifies that, for low-literate citizens of Rotterdam, the necessary information is not easily found and furthermore, is difficult to understand quickly. There were many Rotterdammers who had to first visit the open walk-in office at one of the counters to have help finding which office they actually needed to visit.

The municipality strives for ‘one way of working’ for all counters and wants Rotterdam citizens to reach the right people to help them within the municipality as fast as possible. Therefore, it must immediately be clear which counter the Rotterdam citizen needs the first time around.

The First App for Rotterdam Citizens with Mendix

In addition to a chat function, being able to make online appointments for counters, and animated films on subjects that are difficult to understand, a project was started for the first app for the Rotterdam citizen to improve their service. The main objectives of this application include helping Rotterdammers locate the correct counter for a care request and increase their self-sufficiency.

To achieve these goals, a question tree was built with the Mendix App Platform. By means of the question tree, the Rotterdammer is led to the right counter at the municipality for his or her request for help. The app also allows users to schedule their own appointment online or chat with someone from the municipality. Rutten, the Project Success Director, is pleased with the results, saying: “The question tree fits well within the platform. A lot of changes in the counters, so the back of the question tree has to be adaptable, that is possible with Mendix.”

Fast, Visible Results and Agile Work
The Mendix platform is very suitable for an Agile process and thus after 1 sprint, it was visible what could be achieved. Due to the ample amount of information already available, the app was built in 3 sprints of 2 weeks.

For the app to go live, the target audience looked at the use of the app to make sure key factors were present:

  • Is it understandable?
  • Is it intuitive?
  • Is it easy to navigate?

The fast nature of working with a low-code platform also comes in handy when making adjustments. A lot of changes can be made within the counters,  therefore the back has to be adjustable to suit ever-evolving needs. The question tree has also been built so that it can be used for other clusters and target groups within the municipality, such as an app for the business counter or an energy saving app.

Henry Rutten believes that Mansystems had the right Mendix consultants for the project along with the right knowledge and personal characteristics.

Mansystems & City of Rotterdam: A Parallel Collaboration
The City of Rotterdam has been working with Mendix since January of 2018; with Mendix and Mansystems, the app was launched within 2 months and has been live since November 15th, 2018. The Rapid Application Development team consisted of:

  • Product owner: Henry Rutten
  • UX / UI specialist
  • Mendix Developer from Mansystems
  • Mendix Developer from the city of Rotterdam
  • Business analyst
  • Functional manager


“What is special about the development process is that the UI / UX specialist and the Mendix developers worked in parallel, instead of first designing and then development. The Mendix developer from Mansystems started at the back and worked forward, while the UI / UX specialist worked the other way around and worked towards each other.”

– Henry Rutten, Product Owner

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