The Düren district’s 300,000+ growth campaign is coordinated by the support unit for innovation and change in the district administration in Düren. In this interview, head of the unit Jens Bröker talks about the objectives and opportunities of the growth.
What goals is the district of Düren aiming for with its 300,000+ growth campaign?
Jens Bröker: A good 270,000 people live in the Düren district at the moment. We want to increase this by around ten per cent to over 300,000 in the next few years. That’s certainly ambitious, but an expert report has shown that the district potentially still has space for up to 60,000 people.
What do you expect from having more residents?
Jens Bröker: Let me put it this way: those who don’t want to grow will contract. Contrary to earlier forecasts which presumed a decline in the number of residents, we’ve now been recording slight growth for several years. The positive consequences of this development can already be felt in many places.
What are these positive effects?
Jens Bröker: Firstly, a region that’s growing has a more positive image. The people in the district benefit from growth. Children and young families bring new life and purchasing power into the villages and towns, and that’s associated with growth effects such as higher tax revenues and key allocations. Public facilities are utilised more efficiently. Model calculations indicate that with a population increase of ten per cent, the municipalities then achieve an increase in income of a good 30,000 euros per additional person.
How do you want to achieve the growth targets you’ve set?
Jens Bröker: The 300,000+ growth campaign is made up of various measures that build on existing regional strengths. Here we offer living close to nature with good connections to the surrounding urban sites – people can be in Aachen, Cologne or Düsseldorf in less than an hour. Many towns and municipalities want to make the most of this opportunity and are developing attractive residential areas. Industrial estates are being established as well that’ll also bring new companies and jobs to the region.
Which people would find the district of Düren particularly interesting?
Jens Bröker: Fundamentally, for anyone looking for an affordable apartment in an attractive location not far from where they work. That applies particularly to young families, for whom in many cases adequate housing in urban centres has often become unaffordable. But young working people and retired people can also find interesting housing options in the district of Düren – whether well connected close to the motorway and railway station or quiet and rural.
The 300,000+ growth campaign is also aimed at companies and investors. What can you offer them?
Jens Bröker: The district of Düren has been a sought-after industrial and commercial location for a long time, and that’s not only because of the favourable collection rates. Many companies appreciate the nearness to the A4 and A44 motorways, two of the most important west-east transport routes between the Benelux region and the Rhine. The Aachen-Cologne railway line is also a locational advantage. As an entrepreneur that gives me two advantages: firstly my products reach the customers faster, and secondly, my employees commute between work and home without losing time.
Where can I get information about living and working in the Düren district?
Jens Bröker: The district’s Welcome Center in Düren is the first port of call. They have friendly staff to advise those interested and put them in touch with the right contacts in the district or with the local authority. Whether you’re a family, single person, self-employed or investor, our aim is to always find the best solution – quickly, in a simple way and personally.