Since 2008 the five BrabantStad municipalities of Den Bosch, Helmond, Eindhoven, Tilburg and Breda as well as the Province have been rolling up sleeves to make the joint nomination as “Cultural Capital of Europe 2018” into a success. The ambitious programme pays much attention to literally and figuratively connecting people and organisations, through art and culture, among other things. This means that railzones play an important role as highly dynamic areas. With its key project of Via Breda/HSL and its focus on visual culture and heritage, Breda has an excellent opportunity to give itself an extra international profile as an “attractive and connecting city”.
Late 2007 Breda finalizes its ambitious “Expedition Breda” strategy programme for external relations and international cooperation. It is an outline of how the city maps its potency and will to have more interaction with the world around it in order to arrive at a sustainable improvement of its socio-economic performance. Trumps are its link with the international HSL-grid, its extremely favourable geographic location including its strong logistic opportunities, its pleasant, green living and recreational climate, its high-profile events, institutes for Logistics & Maintenance Management, Visual culture and its attractive historic heritage.
The expedition aims for a continuous development of Breda together with social partners. Focusing on the future and boasting a rich history, Breda is a city where inhabitants feel at home, international business thrives and visitors like to return.
In the year 2010 this ambition appears to be a splendid foundation for the City of Breda to run for nomination as the Cultural Capital of Europe 2018, as one of the members of Brabantstad
An inspiring foundation is the “C Factor”, which profiles Breda as a networking city with an emphatic focus on Visual Culture and Heritage. The international programme of the Chassé Theatre, the renown of St Joost Academy for Art and Design, the establishment of the unique Graphic Design Museum, the cross-border success of Breda Photo, Breda International Film Festival and the Graphic Design Festival, the development of Electron/Creative economics and the Audio-Visual (Games) Industry render Breda into a prominent “Centre for Visual Culture”. All of this takes place within the setting of Breda’s delightful historic inner city.
The local council strives to profile the city in 2014 as “Capital of Visual Design & Heritage”, bearing the motto: “New Visual Culture in a historic setting”.
Meanwhile, Breda has widened its focus by entering into an alliance with the City of Antwerp because of their common historic cradle, the Duchy of Brabant. Physically, but also mentally recreationally and economically there have been natural ties between the two cities for a long time. They easily find and understand each other. From this connection it is a logical step to Rotterdam, which is a city consciously looking for a partnership with West-Brabant as an attractive place of business for its many workers. For some years now Breda has felt quite at home in the triangle with the two world ports. Not only socio-economically and logistically, but also culturally it provides a potential reinforcement of municipal ambitions.
The ingredients discussed before tie in perfectly with the course of the Brabant2018 programme, Cultural Capital of Europe. A big role is played by cultural industrial heritage, which is a model for Brabant’s versatile industry. Besides, this is often found in unorthodox locations which can now be made accessible for contemporary cultural and creative gatherings. This will stir authentic innovation and connection. Breda may find an attractive opportunity in the “Brabant-Vlaanderen squared” programme. With Antwerp as its partner city, Breda plans to jointly prepare an internationally attractive exhibition and/or cultural event of old and new visual culture which will be on view in both cities simultaneously. Experience in previous cultural capitals of Europe reveals that this kind of internationally imposing projects raises a dream audience.
The “expedition” idea presupposes adventure, perception, unfamiliar places. Especially the railzones in the Brabant cities are terra incognita to many. The idea is to make them accessible to a broad public by making them into a platform for performances, exhibitions and cultural events, thus creating a mix of industrial heritage, art, culture and projects involving youth, talent and development. It is a perfect example of authentic innovation and connection. Here, too, Breda has a wide range of opportunities. The large transformation area of Via Breda is rich in heritage and uncommon locations where many innovative and creative meetings have been held in the past few years e.g. Elektron, Kop, Podium Bloos and The Loads.
A lively city is never finished. There is always a dynamic urge for progress, innovation and development in the field of urban development, infrastructure, socio-economics and culture. For the Bidbook 2018Brabant there a search has been made for locations that will be thoroughly restructured in the next few years: the railzones.
They are the highly dynamic areas around major hubs of public transport. They are literally and figuratively the front porches to an expedition to a nearby (historic) centre or other towns in the region, the country or beyond. At these points of arrival and departure there are many new meetings and connections each day. In Breda, “Via Breda” is the national HSL key project comprising an area of 160 hectares.
The new station and transport terminal and some residential areas are currently being developed. At the same time plans are being developed in this former industrial area for maintaining, repairing and changing the function of the three national monuments and the fourteen industrial heritage sites. There is an important role here for the synergy between culture and economic enterprise. This area already hosts several platforms, cultural institutes and festivals.
With its “Breda Bidbook”, Breda, together with the other municipalities of BrabantStad, has set the right course for a serious nomination as Cultural Capital of Europe 2018. Should this end in a success, the award will have an enormous impact on Brabant and Breda. For visitors and entrepreneurs across the Netherlands, but also for people from many corners of Europe it will be a reason to explore our city, the region of West-Brabant and BrabantStad. It fully legitimizes the efforts prior to the final decision about which Dutch city will become Cultural Capital 2018. Even without the European award we will benefit for a long time from our mutual investment. In finding each other, cooperating, recognizing and using opportunities. And in the development and accommodation of cultural talent, opening up terrae incognita. In short, innovating and connecting what belongs to the authentic character of Brabant.
Posted on 18-11-2010