A strong village centre with no shop vacancies ensures a vibrant Voorschoten. In the fight against empty properties, the Voorschoten district benefits from the knowledge that is present within the Economie071 partnership. That is why Councillor Sjoerd van den Dool (economic affairs) is enthusiastic about this partnership. “Knowledge sharing throughout the region is already bearing fruit.”
“Economic activities cannot be described in one sentence. Voorschoten is a residential community, so we are dependent upon our relationship with others for our economic development. Approximately forty percent of our residents work in The Hague, the rest in Leiden or the Amsterdam region.
We have seen that the metropolis Rotterdam-The Hague has developed forcefully. Minister Kamp announced several years ago that this metropolis would spearhead economic policy. The Leiden region should conform to this in order to attract national and international business. But for this, the region must first combine its forces.
Thanks to Economie071, a good chemistry has developed in the region, which further boosts cooperation. We have shared our interests because we all have to ensure that fewer people are living on benefits and that there is more work available. The less that social services need to spend, the more money the districts will have for other matters.”
“I grew up in an entrepreneurial family in Voorschoten. Later I returned with my young family from living overseas and sought a safe place to live where our children could grow up. The choice was my own home town. There are good schools here and the village has a strong unity and also the city with its facilities is close by.
My mission as councillor is to ensure that Voorschoten becomes an even more attractive district in which to be based, to work and to live. For this you must invest in strengthening the local and regional economy because employment is closely linked to the welfare and prosperity of the people. Voorschoten cannot lobby alone, therefore cooperation is crucial.”
Linking the Region
“I know this village like the back of my hand. For example, the restaurants Allemansgeest and De Knip are lovely places to visit. Both restaurants lie on the Vliet, which links Voorschoten to The Hague and Leiden. People from businesses and expats living in the region enjoy coming here to eat. And rightly so, given the reports in the Lekker magazine and the Michelin Guide. Having top level hospitality in our village makes us a link for the entire area.
Voorschoten fulfils this role in other areas as well. The Leiden University is continuing to increase its work in The Hague. We are situated at the axis of this knowledge and also on the Medical Delta which runs from Leiden to Rotterdam. By having its own railway station, accessibility by rail also becomes very strategic. That provides us with opportunities.”
“One of these opportunities was the new Expat Centre: a milestone that has come about through the Economie071 project. We have a rather large international community and the British School is now established here. Foreign investors like coming to this region but also want the correct education for their children. They also want good housing and a green, safe living environment. Together, we can offer this because it is precisely the mix of everything that makes this region so strong.”
Vitality of People
“The vitality theme is also interesting to us. We have a satellite office of the LUMC, an eye clinic and a medical diagnostic centre. The head offices of MS research and the national Thrombosis foundation are also situated in Voorschoten. Our care homes lead the way in the implementation of home automation (smart home robotics). That provides a productive business climate for care related activities where we can work together with entrepreneurs and education.”
“Several councillors in the Economie071 partnership are entering their second term in office. We know each other’s priorities and policies. That helps us to rise above local interests.
The retail vision is an example of this, although the decision process by the committees itself was exciting. As leaders we would have had to return to the discussion table if just one of the district councillors had not approved the vision. That signifies mutual trust. The crowning jewel was that I could sign the retail agreement as the representative of Economie071 with Minister Kamp.”
“Together with the Wassenaar district, we share one common agreement which houses both of our civil servants: the Duivenvoorde employment organisation. Wassenaar is connected to the metropolis The Hague- Rotterdam, Voorschoten is part of Economie071. That means that we always coordinate our economic policies with each other. This works well.
At Voorschoten we focus on a number of subjects and look for the appropriate network partners. We like to work with others on content-based projects. That Economie071 is a network organisation suits us very well. By being involved in education, business organisations and districts, we are able to share much knowledge.”