Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 28, 2015 - Beach volleyball is more than a couple of young people playing with a ball on the beach. That is what mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb realized when he visited the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“This was the first time I recognized this was a big sport”, he said after the opening ceremony Saturday evening in Rotterdam. “This is really a tough sport, it’s really a big event.”
That’s why he did not hesitate when asked to be one of the host cities for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands.
Rotterdam chose to build the beach volleyball stadium on the Katendrecht peninsula, right in front of the cruise liner ss Rotterdam.
“This is a magnificent location”, he said. “This is the place where you can see Rotterdam as it is. The waterway which is connected with the North Sea. You can see the vessels coming in and out. This is a new big economy for Rotterdam.”
“And of course this historic vessel that has been serving as a connection between Rotterdam and the United States for many years. All the logistics are available on board of this ship. People can sleep here, there is a restaurant, a swimming pool.”
The mayor ended the interview with a message for the people who did not buy tickets yet: “I will try to organize good weather. So please come and join us. This is a wonderful event.”
Ahmed Aboutaleb has been mayor of Rotterdam since 2009. He is the first mayor of Moroccan descent in the Netherlands.