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Hoogeveen goes Europe!

08 August 2016

What's the right way to increase the number of consumers that visit the city centre of Hoogeveen? And what's the right way to fight the vacancy in our city centre? The answers to these and other questions need to be found in the coming period, together with 9 other cities from 9 different countries. We are doing this in close cooperation with our city-centre management organization within the European project RetaiLink. "The goal is to exchange knowledge and to learn from each other" states alderman Anno Wietze Hiemstra. "To keep our city centre alive and attractive to the region we want to boost retail. The RetaiLink project can help us to achieve this goal".

By: Berdine Harke-Breider

The city of Hoogeveen is, together with Hengelo, one of the Dutch cities participating in this innovative project. Issues such as vacancy in retail and a decrease in visitor numbers are known in all of the participating European medium-sized cities.

Where is Hoogeveen situated?

Hoogeveen is situated in the south-west of Drenthe, in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands. Hoogeveen fulfils an important function as a regional centre for retail and industry and education and care, and has a large catchment area in all of these sectors. The actions of the municipal authority are directed on all fronts at maintaining the level of amenities and retaining and strengthening the city's regional function.

Global issue

More and more people are buying their clothes, shoes, electronics and household articles online. This causes a decrease in visitor numbers, in turnover-figures, and an increase in the number of shops that are vacant. This issue doesn’t only exist in Hoogeveen but also in other cities in the province of Drenthe, and other medium-sized cities in Holland as well as Europe.


The RetaiLink project was started on the 3d of May 2016 and will last 2 years. Within this timeframe, the municipality and stakeholders within the city centre (such as the city centre management organization which holds shopkeepers, the hospitality industry, the leisure and tourism sector and cultural organizations) are working together in close cooperation on a European level to create an integrated action plan for Hoogeveen and the other participating cities. To announce the participation of Hoogeveen we organized a large press-meeting in the beginning of May 2016. Local as well as regional press were informed about the RetaiLink project by the Urban Local Group (ULG), formed by entrepreneurs and officials of the municipality. In the spring of 2018, all participating European cities will present their Integrated Action Plan during the final meeting in Hoogeveen. "We’re very proud that the RetaiLink- journey along all participating cities ends in Hoogeveen" states alderman Anno Wietze Hiemstra.

The first steps : Igualada

Kees Raven, chairman of the City Centre foundation of Hoogeveen: "The preparation of the project showed that all participating medium-sized cities are dealing with more or less the same issues, such as vacancy and a decrease in visitor numbers. Our first visit to work on our integrated action plan on a European level took place in Igualada. Here, we -together with entrepreneurs and experts form the participating cities- took significant steps in creating an integrated action plan for Hoogeveen. The action plan should, among other things, answer the question how to get more consumers to our city centre".