With its large rural area and agricultural activities, Zoeterwoude has a profile different from the other districts in the Economie071 partnership. Councillor Ton de Gans from Economic Affairs views this diversity as an asset. “It is precisely the mix of green and urban that makes the Leiden region as a whole so attractive.”
Regional Yield is Greater
“Here in Zoeterwoude we make much use of the facilities available in the Leiden city centre, while there are many from the region who visit the Rijneke Boulevard. The use of (business) areas and consumer behaviour do not end at the district borders.
In fact, due to this intertwining it is logical for us to work with other districts, entrepreneurs’ organisations and education. A joint approach makes our economic attractiveness much greater than when we work as individual districts. Furthermore, we are taken seriously as a partner by other parties, such as at province level.”
“Within Economie071, we view issues from the perspective of our own districts, but more particularly we do this from a regional point of view. Some of the residents from this region work at the Leiden Bio Science Park, which has an international standing. The University of Leiden regularly scores high and delivers qualified employees. The park and other knowledge centres ensure excellent employment opportunities in the region.
I consider it valuable that Katwijk is also a partner of this Economic Agenda. That provides a further broadening and strengthening of the economic engine in the region.”
Groene Cirkels (Green Circles)
“In Zoeterwoude we have the Heineken location and a beautiful business park the Grote Polder, which has functioned well as a Business Investment Zone (BIZ) for a number of years. It is important to us that this business park continues its good appearance, so that the economic value is maintained.
Under the name Groene Cirkels, Heineken together with a number of partners has been working to achieve a climate neutral brewery, a sustainable economy and a pleasant living environment. They have already formed a network for achieving their objectives; the network includes governmental agencies, Rijkswaterstaat, the Hoogheemraadschap and others. Not only are these objectives commendable, but also the manner of cooperation within Groene Cirkels is worthy of note.”
“Not all of the entrepreneurs in Zoeterwoude feel involved with the activities of Economie071. For example some entrepreneurs from the business park wonder what their connection is to the Bio Science Park. A number of businesses have more of a link to the TU Delft because of their technical background.
It is a challenge for us as a district to involve these entrepreneurs in Economie071. For example, by putting specific issues to HUBspot, the new centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Internships and starters days are also of interest to entrepreneurs.”
Culture of Small Scale
“Zoeterwoude is the gateway between the city and the countryside. Just 15 minutes cycling takes you to the heart of Leiden, but you could just as easily enjoy the Green Heart. It is precisely this combination which makes the region so attractive.
We are small in terms of population, but not in terms of area or economic activity. We have a good reputation with our business park and Rijneke Boulevard. We do have a smaller district allowing us to hear each other better and have quicker communication. A culture of easy accessibility and small scale and we want to keep it that way. We cherish our individuality and independence, but only as long as we can continue to work well for citizens and businesses. I think the motto “The next big thing will be a lot of small things” is particularly appropriate.”
“Zoeterwoude has a profile that is different from the other districts in the Leiden region. We are less focussed on knowledge and vitality. And this is not an urban area, although we do need to take advantage of the facilities in Leiden.
Economie071 is a network organisation. This offers us the opportunity to search for partners in various areas, partners who have similar objectives to our own. We feel a connection to the Leiden Region, but also to the Green Heart because of our agricultural activities and local produce. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Through Economie071, governmental agencies, knowledge institutions and entrepreneurs come to know each other’s interests. We understand each other better and are able to connect and support each other. I think that is enriching.”
“The core values of Zoeterwoude are: Green, Extensive, Entrepreneurial and Social. To strengthen these qualities and to maintain a balance, unambiguous agreements about activities in the region are needed. In addition to a knowledge economy, the creation of a manufacturing economy in this region must continue to be active. Through this we not only have employment for highly educated people, but also for a wide economic basis. We at Zoeterwoude are in favour of this.”