In 1998, Andries Geerse drew up the structural plan for the historic centre of Woerden, which was proclaimed the best city centre in the Netherlands in 2020. This illustrates the patience you need to turn a run-down area back into the heart of a community. Because that is what we do: we look beyond shopping and focus on a mix of culture, heritage, meeting places, local and international retail, hospitality, experiment, housing, care and entrepreneurship.
For some time now, WeLoveTheCity has been working on making the Winterswijk city centre even better. The city centre annually attracts 5.8 million visitors who spend 164 million Euros. And although Winterswijk has relatively many shops, the vacancy rate is less than 4%. That is less than in Amsterdam!
WeLoveTheCity has developed two revitalisation programmes: The Winterswijk Approach and Urban Land Swaps. The first programme was straightforward. During three-day ‘charrettes’ with entrepreneurs, residents, owners and municipality, they came up with 18 small and medium-sized pinpricks to provide the weakest spots in the inner city with a new perspective. All of these projects have now been implemented.
Other tasks were more complicated, especially because of the fragmented ownership in the city centre. WeLoveTheCity therefore organised a ‘real estate carrousel’. The result: some 30 urban land swap deals which enabled structural renewal projects in the fields of heritage, hospitality, climate adaptation, housing and parking to be carried out.