Decline of coalmines in the Ruhr

Bernd Fesel

The development of creative industries started in 2007 with a detailed research of the presence of creative industries in 53 cities of the Ruhr region. The research discovered that there are 30,000 firms working in these industries in the region, employing 70,000 people. Consequently, specialised commissions were set up to support inidivdual branches of the industry, focussing in particular on design as the research showed there are 3,000 designers working in the region and they need support with international marketing to be able to reach new markets. The Ruhr region has one of the largest club scenes in Europe, which comprises more that 250 clubs, but they haven’t cooperated with one another before. On the basis of the results of the research they joined together and everybody gained. It was clear already from the research of the Federal government conducted in 2006 that creative industries are a key motor.

The idea of supporting the creative industries came about in the 1990s, after the last coal mines were closed down. While the mining industry employed 20,000 people, the creative industries employed three times as much. The Ministries thus said to themselves that this is a large and growing sector of the economy – why don’t we use it in the regeneration of our cities, why focus only on the car industry, chemical industry or other industry dependent on infrastrucure? The Ministries of Economy thus decided for a holistic approach. The 1990s brought about the realisation that creative industries can stimulate the regeneration of cities.

The creative industries grow by themselves and exist in most cities. It was present in all the cities where we conducted research, even there where no political support existed – it exists simply because artists and creative people want to do their thing.

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Bernd Fesel

Bernd Fesel

Founder of European Centre for Creative Economy

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