This article approaches the spatial development of the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands from a coevolutionary point of view. We use two main concepts within coevolutionary framework; bounded instability and punctuated equilibrium, to understand the relationship between Dutch spatial policies and actual developments in the port of Rotterdam. We observe that the actual port system is generally more diverse than the public policy that governs it, and that the policy appears to simply follow and codify port developments. This result negates the assumption that spatial developments in the port of Rotterdam are steered and planned through public policy and raises several questions on the role of such policy initiatives.

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Edelenbos, J., Gerrits, L.M., & van Gils, M.K.A.. (2008). The coevolutionary relation between Dutch mainport policies and the development of the seaport Rotterdam. Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 10(2), 49–60. Retrieved from