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Regional branding as a catalyst of regional development

Challenges for regions

Rural regions across Europe are facing enormous challenges. Traditionally, agriculture was the cornerstone of the rural economy. However, the countryside and its communities are changing. In urban areas housing, employment and leisure have become of greater economic importance than farming. In other areas (demographic) decline is affecting the quality of life, employment and the local economy. Market forces, urbanisation, social and demographic trends and cause shifts in the economy and confront regions with major challenges. How can a region develop in a sustainable way? And how can it improve its competitiveness and thus its economic position? Can ecology and economy complement each other? What interests are at stake and how can they be reconciled? Can community initiatives take over the tasks of a retreating government? Where is the consistency secured?

Change process

Branding Het Groene WoudA region can strengthen its economic potential by building a distinctive image. The basis of a regional brand is formed by the identifiable nature and cultural heritage. In addition, new business models, innovation, a strategic focus, collaboration and integration of business sectors are very important. Regional branding is more than promotion of a region; practice has shown that creating a shared vision, building cooperation, mobilising community initiatives and good leadership (four aspects of the so-called 'inner brand') are time-consuming and complex processes.

Project Regional Branding of the Groene Woud area

In the Dutch Groene Woud area such a process has been initiated in response to the designation as a National Landscape. The Groene Woud is located in a peri-urban area between Tilburg, Den Bosch and Eindhoven - a catchment area of ​​1,5 million people - and is characterised by a landscape with small-scale nature, villages, agriculture and cultural heritage.

In 2005 representatives from local businesses and communities started to explore the possibilities to develop a new, sustainable future through regional branding. One of the activities was the co-organising an international conference on regional branding. Prior to and as a follow up to the conference, many meetings and activities were organised to mobilise people and get them involved in the development process.

More information


Innovative approach to regional development encourages regional economy


Procesevaluatie Regional Branding van Het Groene Woud (in Dutch only)

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