At the invitation of the European Centre for Creative Economy
(ECCE) representatives from DG Enterprise & Industry visited the Ruhrgebiet to discuss the role of creative industries in reshaping the economy. Fritz Pleitgen, the chief coordinator of the RUHR-2010 Initiative,
highlighted the importance of culture as a catalyst for economic change. “Since we became the Cultural Capital of Europe, we feel much more as one region in the Ruhrgebiet”, Mr Pleitgen said. “We need more positive images that communicate Europe’s creative potential to the rest of the world but also more political commitment to shape our future economies based on our cultural strengths”, he added. U Dortmund
is such a cultural lighthouse project in the Ruhrgebiet that shall change the image of the region and stimulate urban development. Adolf Winkelmann
, a prestigious German filmmaker who is responsible for three innovative film installations at this new centre for art and creativity that will open its doors in October 2010, said that “U Dortmund is for this city what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris
.” He is confident that this new centre will attract interest far beyond Dortmund and stimulate the development of creative industries in the city.
The visit also offered the possibility to discuss with regional initiatives and projects the role creative industries could play to rejuvenate the Ruhrgebiet. The Zeche Zollverein was mentioned as a positive example developing new competences in the field of creativity and bringing them under the slogan “Creative industries – Made by Design” also to traditional industries. The main idea is to map creative professions in the city and to bring them together with local enterprises from other business sectors. In this context, Vito Orazem from the Red Dot Design Centre in Essen stated that there was strong empirical evidence of the economic benefits of design. “Companies using design in a strategic manner are more innovative and also more profitable than others”, he said. He offered the Commission’s representatives a book “The Design Value” that resulted from the former PRO INNO Europe® project ADMIRE.
Mette Quinn from DG Enterprise & Industry encouraged the creative industries initiatives in the Ruhrgebiet to participate actively in the forthcoming “European Creative Industries Alliance” that will bring together the most interested regions and stakeholders in support of creative industries in Europe. “We are not necessarily looking for the strongest regions in creative industries as our partners in this initiative but for those who believe strongest in creative industries as our economic future”, she said.
According to Mr Pleitgen, the Ruhrgebiet suffers from an ageing population and a lack of attractiveness for young people. Bringing the “Love Parade” from Berlin to the Ruhrgebiet was considered an important step towards rejuvenating the region. “Nobody could have imagined, at this stage, the fatal accident that happened last Saturday and I sincerely hope that this tragic event will not put into question the role of culture in changing the image of the Ruhrgebiet”, says Reinhard Büscher from DG Enterprise and Industry.