Since 2001, ROOTS & ROUTES has developed from a local project in Rotterdam/Netherlands to a big European network, recently starting collaborations with cultural organisations on other continents.
In 2001, Rotterdam/Netherlands was the European Capital of Culture. In that context, ROOTS & ROUTES was founded as an initiative to give young artists from diverse backgrounds the chance to actively get involved in the Culture Capital activities.

Three years later the first international ROOTS & ROUTES edition was organized as part of the Dutch presidency of the European Union: Young artists from 7 European countries jointly performed at the big opening event “Europa op de Dam – Thinking Forward” on July 4th, 2004.

The shared goals and objectives of the participating organisations proved fruitful and led to many more transnational projects and involvement of new partners. In 2008, the collaboration was formalised with the establishment of the ROOTS & ROUTES International Association (RRIA).

The international network has since implemented 12 multiannual transnational projects funded by programmes such as ERASMUS+, Culture, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig.


  • May 2001: First edition of ROOTS & ROUTES in Rotterdam (NL), European Capital of Culture in 2001
  • July 2004: First international ROOTS & ROUTES project with partners from 7 countries, final performance at the “Europa op de Dam – Thinking Forward” concert
  • May 2005: Start of a three year ROOTS & ROUTES project with partners from 8 countries, funded by the EU CULTURE programme
  • July 2006: International ROOTS & ROUTES project in Cologne (DE) with final performance at the main stage of Summerjam festival
  • October 2007: International ROOTS & ROUTES masterclass with De la Soul in Rotterdam (NL), leading to performance at Meet the Streets festival
  • September 2008: International ROOTS & ROUTES Conference in Stockholm – founding of the ROOTS & ROUTES International Association
  • Spring 2009: The first ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academies are running in 5 European countries
  • May and August 2011: Final performances of the Art’n’Go project at Fabbrica Europa festival Florence (IT) and Sziget festival Budapest (HU)
  • April 2013: Final performance of the EUtropia project with young artists from 9 countries at Tivoli Utrecht (NL), in the context of the 300th anniversary of the Utrecht Peace Treaty
  • September 2014: International ROOTS & ROUTES conference in Rotterdam (NL) finalising the transnational projects U-CARE – Urban Culture Against Racism in Europe and Steps Ahead – Professionalisation of Junior Coaches in Performing Arts and Media
  • August 2015: The first edition of 24Hz festival is organised by ROOTS & ROUTES Cologne e. V. in Germany, in cooperation with international ROOTS & ROUTES partners
  • January 2016: ROOTS & ROUTES partners RRNL (Netherlands) and Brouhaha International (UK) start international spoken word / poetry project The Next Generation Speaks with partners from Johannesburg (South Africa) and San Francisco (USA)