Two Dutch cities win Best City Centre 2017-2019
After deliberation by a specialist jury, two Dutch cities have received the title of Best City Centre 2017-2019. The title is given to the winner of either the large city centre category or the medium-sized city centre category.
Best Dutch city centre election
In order to select the best city centre in the Netherlands, Platform Binnenstadsmanagement, an independent Dutch city centre management organisation, organises an election every two years and has done so since 2003. It crowns a winner for both the large city centre and medium-sized city centre category.
The title is awarded to cities centres that have shown the most improvement in terms of dynamism and renovation in the last two years or those which have the most effective plans for the future. In the last edition, 2015-2017, Rotterdam won the title of Best City Centre in the large city centre category and Gouda won in the medium-sized city centre category.
Whether a city centre is large or medium depends upon the number of shops, restaurants and other leisure activities available. To qualify as a large city centre, the centre in question must have 550 different shops, restaurants and other leisure activities available, whereas a medium-sized city centre must have 250 to 550.
Steps to choosing a winner
Before crowing the winning cities, several steps were taken. The first step involved pre-selecting city centres based on the number of visitors and the number of shops and shop floor surface area in the last two years. Other factors included the number of empty buildings and developments to said buildings in the last two years, as well as the degree of diversity and development of jobs.
In addition to the previously mentioned aspects, a questionnaire regarding policy and collaboration in the city centre was completed. Those with a positive assessment were invited to take part in the election. Five large city centres and 10 medium-sized city centres were selected.
Once the pre-selection was complete, other cities were invited to enter their city centres into the competition before the jury decided upon the five city centres they had chosen as nominees for the titles.
To compete for the title, the five nominated city centres in each category had to write a letter, using a fixed format, detailing why they should be chosen. Based on the letters, the jury then chose two definitive finalists, which were visited by the whole jury. Additionally, research was conducted into the customer experience in each city centre.
Taking all previous steps and research into consideration, a winner was chosen. Jury members each had one vote.
Best Dutch City Centre 2017-2019
This year, Breda won the title of Best City Centre in the large city centre category and Almere won the medium-sized city centre category.
According to the jury, Breda allows visitors to feel welcome in the city centre and there is something for everyone. The city centre is Breda is also easily accessible via different transport types and distinguishes itself from other cities by its use of digital innovation, such as its city app.
Almere scored highly on its maintenance of public space and environment and the programming of events. The city centre is a lively shopping, accommodation and living environment. Runners-up to Breda and Almere were Arnhem and Hoofddorp respectively.
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