Street name for former mayor on green Brainport Industries Campus
Rein Welschen, former mayor of Eindhoven (1992-2003), gets a street name on Brainport Industries Campus (BIC). Former alderman Mary Fiers started an online campaign in 2014 to name a street in Eindhoven after him because of his merits for the city and region. In consultation with Mary Fiers and Anneke Welschen-van Alphen, a street name was chosen at this location. The Rein Welschenlaan will be the access road to the new to be constructed business campus BIC in Eindhoven Nort West. Welschen died on 17 September 2013 at the age of 72.
According to Alderman Yasin Torunoglu, who is responsible for the street names committee, Brainport Park is a very suitable location to honour the former mayor with a street name. “Rein Welschen was one of the founders of the Brainport philosophy, mayor for many Eindhoven citizens and a great lover of green nature. These elements come together in Brainport Park. In this new area, business activity, employment and greenery merge into one another. In the future, a beautiful public space will be created here for people of different ages, backgrounds and nationalities to meet each other.”
In 1992, Welschen (PvdA) took office as mayor of Eindhoven, at a time when the region was in dire economic straits with mass redundancies at companies such as Philips and DAF. Led by Rein Welschen, Henk de Wilt, (TU/e) and Theo Hurks (CoC), 21 municipalities in the Southeast Brabant region decided in response to these setbacks to cooperate with each other and the business community and knowledge institutions. With help from Brussels, they created a fund for economic structural strengthening – the Stimulus programme – which proved successful. The collaboration, known as the ‘triple helix’, laid the foundation for the successful ‘innovation ecosystem’ Brainport.
Welschen was also a true mayor to all Eindhoven residents, says Mary Fiers. “He often visited sports clubs, marksmen’s guilds and neighbourhood clubs. Rein was sincerely interested in people and very easily and warmly made contact with young and old, immigrant and native, in good and bad times.” Hundreds of people responded positively to Mary Fiers’ online campaign, with expressions of support and reminders of their former mayor. More than 600 people co-signed the letter to the city council.
Anneke Welschen-van Alphen, widow of Rein Welschen, is happy with this street name as a tribute to her husband. “Mary’s action has produced many moving and heartwarming reactions. Rein loved Eindhoven and the people of Eindhoven. It is beautiful that the city shows in this way that this love is mutual and still present. The children, grandchildren and I are already looking forward to the special moment that we can set foot on the Rein Welschenlaan for the first time.”
On the future Brainport Industries Campus, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing industry will be established. In addition to this joint campus, the companies will also collaborate intensively. For example, facilities such as cleanrooms will be shared, there will be the possibility to deal with spaces flexibly, and they will work together to be one ‘shop window’ to their (inter)national customers. The first companies will establish themselves on this campus in 2018. There will be an atrium that will provide space for educational and other social partners. The campus will provide new jobs in the near future, from low to highly skilled employees. In addition, the campus will become a place where residents, holidaymakers, tourists and employees like to stay, because the quality of ‘green’ will be given an important impulse.