After Amsterdam, Enschede is home to the largest and most diverse range of educational and knowledge institutions. The city is also young in the sense of resilience, creativity and entrepreneurship. Here, more than anywhere else in the Netherlands, theoretical knowledge is converted into practical solutions. The harvest is overwhelming; more than 600 spin-off companies have their roots here. Moreover, the Council for Culture recently recommended allocating extra money to young and accessible art initiatives such as GOGBOT, Tetem and Theater Sonnevanck, the best score outside the capital.
WeLoveTheCity helps the municipality, housing corporations and developers in Enschede to score on the aspect of living. This is necessary: ‘Enschede is lagging behind as a residential city. The city must not only keep talent, but also attract and bring it back. This means not only focusing on recent graduates, but also on students who are starting their careers and older talent, with or without children, who are further along in their professional and residential path’ (BPD Research, 2019).
Just outside the Enschede Singelring that spans the inner city are Cromhoff and Twekkelerveld located, two areas with their own character that have the potential to keep, attract and bring back talent.
Cromhoff is a wild nature reserve in the middle of the city containing a number of abandoned industrial units.
“In the past, a developer would have said: ‘We’ll cut down the forest and build houses’. We deliberately chose not to, because of the groundwater that seeps to the surface here. And a forest, of course, also offers unique opportunities.”Dennis Laing, Bouwfonds Property Development
What Twente is in the big picture, Cromhoff will become in a nutshell: a welcoming community around cultural history, nature and more balance in your life by thinking and acting differently. We do this on the basis of five development principles: (I) Heritage as a driving force, (II) Living with water and nature, (III) Embedding in the city, (IV) En-countering, dis-charging and re-charging and (V) Everyone on a bike.
Twekkelerveld is a former working-class neighbourhood situated between the city centre and the Knowledge Park. It is sometimes called a problem neighbourhood but nothing could be further from the truth. WeLoveTheCity has awarded 15 stars, which are social, economic and spatial highlights that are more than worth a visit.
The Twekkeler Stars form the basis for a hyper-varied living environment where students, recent graduates and starting entrepreneurs nestle among the original inhabitants from Twekkelerveld. The traditionally exuberant club life with its own carnival acts as a social binding agent to give newcomers in the neighbourhood a sense of belonging.
The purchase of the Roberineterrein in Rigtersbleek has freed up one of these Twekkeler stars for redevelopment. This historic treasure trove of the city’s textile history offers an opportunity to develop a mixed urban working and living environment. A place that revolves around entrepreneurship, innovation and education. The place where craftsmen and craftswomen want to live and develop against the backdrop of sturdy factories.
Just south lies Het Volkspark, the beautifully designed English landscape styled park that Hendrik Jan van Heek donated to the workers and their families of his factories. That the park was appreciated is shown by the turnover figures of the café. In the first eight months of 1874, thirty thousand litres of Beyers beer were tapped and visitors puffed away eight thousand cigars.
Now, 150 years after its existence, we set to work on making Het Volkspark a jewel of the city again, inspired by the original design but also looking ahead to the next 150 years.