Gregor Berghausen, algemeen directeur van de IHK (Industrie- und Handelskammer) in Düsseldorf
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There will be a direct rail link between Düsseldorf and Eindhoven from 2025. “Eindhoven and Düsseldorf can move even closer together,” is how Gregor Berghausen, Chief Executive of Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce, sums up this future improvement in mobility between major cities in Germany and the Netherlands. The importance and necessity of the expansion of international rail transport is a constantly recurring issue for Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce.

Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 85,000 companies in trade, industry and services located in Düsseldorf and the Mettmann district. Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce has a distinctly international profile: Every seventh member company or its equity is in foreign ownership. The close partnership between the Dutch and Germans is particularly evident: With 581 companies, the Netherlands has the largest group of foreign companies registered in the Commercial Register.

“The universities in Eindhoven and Düsseldorf will be able to cooperate better in future if the students can simply commute between the two locations.”

“Our two cities are already closely connected economically today, but can move even closer together thanks to the direct rail link.” Gregor Berghausen sees the main tangible advantages as improved opportunities to acquire customers and skilled workers. But the CEO is not only thinking about work, he is also considering future consumer opportunities: “Shopping in both cities will become a more mutually attractive option.” His particular focus is on the opportunities for education and research: “The universities in Eindhoven and Düsseldorf will be able to cooperate better in future if the students can simply commute between the two locations.”

The CEO emphasises how essential it is to have transport links between the two countries. For the business community in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Netherlands is number one on the list of export and import markets. Against this background, transport links are a major prerequisite for future economic development on both sides of the border. Gregor Berghausen addresses the link between the Rhineland and Dutch seaports, which is of central importance and requires good conditions for all modes of transport. “Any expansion between the Dutch border and the Rhineland and the creation of new capacity for passenger and freight transport would be more than welcome. The Dutch member companies of Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce, but ultimately all internationally oriented companies, need a close connection to the ZARA ports – Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam.”

In this context, the CEO sees missed opportunities on the German side. The Betuwe line, the railway line for freight traffic extended to the German border from the port of Rotterdam, has still not been completed on the German side: “Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia must also do their homework here.”

station Eindhoven foto Wouter Roosenboom
station Eindhoven – (c) photo Wouter Roosenboom

Gregor Berghausen doesn’t just concern Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce with international transport links. Mobility in future city-centre traffic is also one of his key issues. The Chamber of Commerce has founded “Mobility Partnership Düsseldorf” with various partner institutions – including the Chamber of Trade and Düsseldorf City Council. “In this way, we are setting an example by working out a viable mix of modes of transport. This means fast and attractive local public transport for commuters and customers as well as sustainable and efficient goods transport in the city”. The signatories of the mobility partnership are committed to these objectives and use various instruments to achieve them: Companies purchase “job tickets” for their employees – route-specific or timed network-wide tickets at a special rate – in order to motivate them to use public transport. Or they purchase company bicycles for their staff and equip their vehicle fleet with electric cars.

Getting around Düsseldorf city centre with bike sharing or “Eddy”, the electric lease scooter
In connection with future mobility in the cities, the CEO again refers to the importance of rail transport: “Rail plays a key role as a mode of passenger transport.” That’s why we need efficient rail links with the towns in the surrounding area and high-speed rail links between the centres.”

Gregor Berghausen does not miss the opportunity to address the subject of his own mobility. Apparently, his habits are in a state of flux:
“My mobility is already changing. The car still dominates, but this is increasingly mixed with public transport, bike sharing and “Eddy” the electric lease scooter in Düsseldorf city centre.” However, he still sees obstacles in combining public passenger transport services on long distances between cities with subsequent city-centre routes, e.g. due to the lack of integration of billing systems: “Sometimes rail travel fails because of ticket machines and the opaque fare system.”

Photos Wouter Roosenboom

This story was first published at Eurekarail