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Alphen aan den Rijn

Alphen aan den Rijn is a municipality with 111.000 inhabitants in the western Dutch province of South-Holland. The municipality consists of the eponymous town of Alphen aan den Rijn and 7 smaller villages and occupies an area of 132,5 km2.

The municipality is located in the so called ‘Green Heart’, a protected green area surrounded by the ‘Randstad’. The Randstad is a large conurbation in the west of The Netherlands consisting of large cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, together housing more than 8 million people. Our central location in the protected Green Heart provides both unique opportunities and challenges. Amsterdam and Rotterdam airport are within easy reach, as is the major train station of Utrecht. A network of roads and waterways link us to the rest of the country. Unemployment is low: 3,2 percent (in 2018).

A border town in Roman times, Alphen aan den Rijn is a modern city with ancient roots. In the 19th and 20th century, Alphen was an industrial town, but nowadays, service industries are more prominent. The town provides secondary schooling and cultural facilities, such as a theatre, for the surrounding area. The historical theme park Archeon and the avian zoo Avifauna attract many tourists.

The outlying area and its villages are characterized by agricultural activity. The village of Boskoop is particularly significant.  Its 600 tree and plant nurseries and related businesses provide an important economic impetus for the region under the name ‘Greenport Boskoop’. Thirty percent of all Dutch tree nursery products are traded via Boskoop. To put that number in perspective: the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of nursery products in the world.

Alphen aan den Rijn is crossed by two important waterways. The Gouwe Canal is the commercial shipping connection with the port of Rotterdam. All export beers from the well-known Heineken brewery are shipped from the inland port of Alphen aan den Rijn to all parts of the world. The river Oude Rijn is mainly used for recreational purposes and offers opportunities for generating energy.

Alphen aan den Rijn aims to integrate more greenery, climate adaptation and other healthy objectives in local urban planning. Sharing knowledge with other cities on a European scale about tools and methods that can be used for healthy urban planning, will accelerate the local consciousness about the importance of healthy cities.

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