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Gemeente Heerlen (Municipality of Heerlen) (The Netherlands)

Heerlen was a very prosperous city until the 70’s of the 20th century. Families had a good quality of life at that time, because everyone was related to the economic activity that gave a coal mine in the city. In 1976 the Dutch government decided to close the mine and the city went into a deep crisis (unemployment, groups at risk of social exclusion, etc.). Heerlen is currently trying to find other types of economic opportunities that help revitalize the city. Innovative companies have arrived that have adapted to abandoned buildings and structures from the mining era. Innovative economic initiatives related to services or to the plastics industry have also emerged. Heerlen wants to create the methodological and working bases to revitalize the city and adapt to the new needs of society and the

economy. Heerlen wants to be able to achieve a sustainable economic development that prepares him for future changes.

Heerlen is a relatively young city. In the last century, Heerlen experienced a growth spurt from a village with an agricultural economy to a prosperous city with an industrial economy. After the closing of the main employer, the mines, the city experienced a downward spiral economically, with all the socioeconomic side effects that are related to this.

Heerlen has a greater civic participation from the different neighbourhoods. It aims to create an inclusive city centre where everybody feel welcome. Due to the history of our city Heerlen need to change the bad image that the city has. Branding, hospitality and city marketing are key instruments to tell its story.