The visit to The Netherlands of representatives of four Romanian cities, organized by Eurodite, was finalized with success. The mission was part of DISC – Dutch Initiative Sustainable Cities. In the period 7-10 October 2012 a Romanian delegation visited The Netherlands with the objective to be informed and inspired on the possibilities of integrated urban development, to visit cities and urban sites in The Netherlands and to exchange knowledge on best practices.
Among members of the Romanian delegation were representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Vice Mayors of Bucharest, Constanta and Timisoara and Chief Architects of Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. During a three-day programme the participants met with Dutch counterparts from the Ministry and the cities of Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Utrecht. The delegation was taken on several tours at interesting urban development areas. Central questions during the mission were: Which urban policies are in place and how are they put in practice? What practical measures can local politicians and policy makers take to improve their city? How to develop partnerships and implement projects? How to access and manage urban funds? What are the EU funding possibilities for urban development in the next EU programming period (2014-2020).
The programme was based on the urban themes that DISC has dealt with in the four cities in the past one and a half year: urban regeneration: policies and tools for deprived areas, science parks and university campuses, urban mobility, water as an urban quality, cultural programming, urban management, funding and partnerships.
Among the visited sites were the old areas of the Port of Rotterdam. The port of Rotterdam is one of the main ports of Europe and a central point in the transportation of goods and persons. Due to its increasing size, the port moved more to the sea and left behind unused industrial areas. Two of these areas (Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht) are, today, characteristic examples of Rotterdam’s urban development and of integrating industrial areas into the city. These areas became modern entertainment districts now offering cafes, restaurants, hotels, a theatre and also residential areas.
In the city of Utrecht, the delegation was guided through the preparations that are being made for European Capital of Culture 2018. Also the Utrecht Centrum project was shown as an example of integrated urban development of the central station quarter and where the water will return in the canal after 50 years. During a boat tour, the participants had the opportunity to observe the navigable canals, the integration of the canals into the city which serves as a very good example of water as an urban quality.
In Eindhoven, the town of Philips, the former industrial area Strijp S was visited which has been converted into a mixed-use area and a hub for creativity. Also, the high tech campus was visited and presentations were held on some examples of the most recent innovations. Due to all the knowledge initiatives Eindhoven was named by Intelligent Community Forum, the Intelligent Community of the Year 2011.
Considering the upcoming programming period (2014 – 2020), the visit to the Netherlands offered the participants examples of best practice projects that can be transposed into Romanian context. The mission offered many opportunities for both Romanian and Dutch partners to set the bases for knowledge and experience exchange and for possible future joint projects.