48 Rhine-Waal Euregion

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Since the beginning of the Middle Ages Nijmegen has had daily contact with neighbouring Germany. The founding of the Rhine-Waal Euregion in the second half of the twentieth century has formalised and intensified this contact.

The plans for the Euregion were first developed when the A15 motorway was designed to run between the west of the Netherlands and the Ruhr. In 1963 administrators from the Netherlands and Germany met at Doornenburg castle to discuss the economic potential of this new connection. The meeting was positive and all parties acknowledged the importance of working together. This led to the foundation of the Rhine-Waal Euregion on April 27, 1978.

Over the past thirty years the activities of the Euregion have expanded. The organisation endeavours to promote the European Union within the German-Dutch border area under the motto ‘Borderless cooperation’. They are doing this is by subsidising cross-border economic, cultural and tourism projects. The Euregion also stimulates disaster response and nature conservation cooperation. Social contacts between Dutch and Germans are promoted through exchange programs for students and sports events. Furthermore it represents the interests of the border area and its residents at national and European governmental levels.

The Rhine-Waal Euregion is able to do all this thanks to the support of about fifty Dutch and German members: Dutch and German councils, German Districts , the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, and the Landschaftsverband Rheinland. The Euregion has been chaired by the Nijmegen council since 2004. Mayor Guusje ter Horst was the first chairperson followed by her successor Thom de Graaf on March 1, 2007. Because of this Nijmegen has a strong links with the Rhine-Waal Euregion. This is evident from the number of Nijmegen institutions that participate in cross-border projects. The UMC St. Radboud hospital is closely involved with ‘Cross-border Healthcare’, in which Dutch and German healthcare institutions exchange expertise. The ROC Nij_megen (Regional Teaching Centre) is one of the initiators of ‘Cross-border Education’ and ‘EU-Zubi’, in which students have the opportunity to learn about teaching methods in their neighbouring country. In 2005, at the celebrations of 2000 years of Nijmegen, the Rhine-Waal Euregion helped realise several cultural projects, for example ‘Literary Beacons’, a route along famous points in Nijmegen using quotes from Nijmegen authors and poets.

A new European motivational program (Interreg IV A) for border areas was launched in 2007 – another step towards cross-border cooperation between companies, institutions, clubs and residents. Nijmegen is also actively involved in this program.
Borderless cooperation
since 1978
Border crossing between the Netherlands and Germany at Beek, 1910 RAN)

Source: Mariska van der Giessen, in: De Canon van Nijmegen, Uitgeverij Vantilt (Nijmegen 2009)