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Europe’s largest real estate fair, EXPO REAL in Munich, was the ideal stage to showcase Limburg’s DNA to the world. This was done with its own pavilion, but also with separate sessions on specific themes such as sustainability and urban development. A strong delegation of Limburg municipalities, the province and the Brightlands campuses took the opportunity to show the fair’s visitors and each other what the province is capable of.

With a focus on sustainability, Eric Geurts, Commissioner of the Province of Limburg, kicked off the morning session on Tuesday. “We must develop Limburg sustainably and we cannot do this alone, but only together. As a province, we have to offer cities a helping hand in order to make a future solid economy. Especially in the field of sustainability, we need to take the lead and get on with it.”

The province invited a number of speakers to intellectually nourish those present during breakfast. Friso de Zeeuw, emeritus professor of area design at Delft University of Technology, gave a lecture on what Limburg cities have to do to remain attractive: “The cities are in a very good shape, including the inner cities. Especially in the cities of Limburg, it is necessary that they have their own profile, and that they propagate it. With the presence of the Brightlands campuses in the four largest cities, there really is high-quality work and there are high-quality urban facilities that fit in with that.” At the same time, according to him, these facilities still need to be invested in. De Zeeuw also stressed the importance of area development instead of a project-based approach. “This creates cohesion in a city.”

Mayor Emiel Roemer of Heerlen also confirmed that the Brightlands campuses are important for the province: “The new DNA of Limburg is largely shaped by the Brightlands campuses.” According to Roemer, it is very important that the province makes itself heard and presents itself at the fair: “Few people realise that the economic area of Limburg is as big as that of the Randstad. The only problem is that there are boundaries between them. In Limburg, we have all the ingredients together to create a beautiful innovative landscape. The rest of the world should know that!”