Arnhem has opted to take a (partially) hands-off approach to the management of district development in the eastern part of the Coehoorn area. On 25 March 2013 Arnhem’s municipal council voted with an overwhelming majority of 32 votes (out of 37) in favour of a motion by the parties GroenLinks, VVD, SP and D66 to release the Coehoorn area for alternative development as a ‘creative’ district.
The project in a nutshell
Arnhem shares second place with Groningen in the list of cities that employ the most people in the creative sector. There is a real buzz about the city in all areas and a new generation has emerged that is keen to shape Arnhem in a dynamic way. The city is increasingly recognising that these creators need to be given the freedom to do what can no longer be achieved through policy documents and major investments alone.
Coehoorn gives the city an opportunity to demonstrate its creative diversity, to engage in mutual interaction and to be more than the sum of its parts. No other city in the Netherlands has an academy offering so many creative disciplines. There is a wide range of creative courses available at senior secondary vocational education (MBO) level. Arnhem also boasts a university of applied sciences offering a broad range of study programmes. A productive ‘ecosystem’ will help the city to translate this wealth of skills into new, innovative, creative activity. Ultimately, this will create a stronger economic base for the city as a whole.
In Coehoorn new knowledge is being gathered on new forms of district regeneration within an urban environment. ‘Filling’ vacant properties is a secondary objective here. The primary objective is to breathe new life into districts. Residents should feel that they not only live in a district, but are also involved in shaping it – step by step. Coehoorn also demonstrates that a district in which a number of different urban functions strengthen each other is a more attractive urban environment. In a vibrant district life, work and recreation go hand in hand.
Creative entrepreneurial climate
Coehoorn must attract creatives from the area and beyond. A daring creative and entrepreneurial climate should encourage graduates from Arnhem’s educational institutions to stay in the city for a longer period of time. Coehoorn – and therefore Arnhem – is a place that gives them the freedom they are looking for. Many creatives are aware that ‘Arnhem’ is already a ‘brand’ outside the Netherlands in creative circles. Coehoorn must further reinforce this by giving this ‘brand’ a permanent platform. ‘A golden future lies in store for Arnhem’, according to Herman Kaiser, the city’s mayor.
Randstad and Ruhr regions
The nearby ICE high-speed rail service linking the city to the Randstad region in the west of the Netherlands and Germany’s Ruhr region, the capital of which is the thriving, art-and-design-loving city of Düsseldorf, offers Arnhem – with Coehoorn as its creative springboard – an opportunity to convert its creativity into economic value. From Coehoorn the city will be able to establish links with its German neighbours, but also with comparable citizens’ initiatives in other parts of the world. Coehoorn will therefore become trilingual.
Coehoorn gives you freedom
In Coehoorn the business community, public servants and young creatives come together in an informal setting and engage in open forms of collaboration. You can try things out in Coehoorn. In Arnhem you can create your product – and you can sell it from here too.