On this page you will find information about the
realization of a mega-project in the Oldambt, concerning housing tourism and recreation,
called The Blue City (Dutch: De Blauwe Stad). The realization of
this project has started on the 10th of November 2001 and has to be finished in the year
2016. The plan will
cost about 785 million euro and it will improve the employment in the Oldambt both
temporarily and in the long run.
On April 21st 1997, deputy Gerard
Beukema finally spoke the historical words "'t Gait deur", (It will happen)
during a press conference in the town hall of Winschoten. He was referring
realization of The Blue City, the plan by Wim Haasken, civil servant at the
ministry of agriculture in Groningen, and his friend architect J. Timmer from Scheemda.
The project, which is seen as a miracle cure to stop the negative development in the
Oldambt, will be executed for 35%. This historical day will be noted in the history
books as the day on which a start was made with the strengthening of the economical and
tourist situation in this economically weak area. The
result will be a substantial increase in employment rates and the negative image of the
area will be affected in a positive way.
Environments Het Dorp and De Wei
The developers of the plan,
deputy Gerard Beukema and Roel Vos, the director of the Foundation Blue City
(Stichting Blauwe Stad), have crossed the country for years to raise enough money for the
realization of the project. The municipalities of Scheemda, Reiderland and Winschoten are
very pleased with the execution of the project. The municipalities now have to give shape
to the project unanimously and start the realization of this immense development for the
Oldambt. The tourist aspects of the project are very well linked to other projects which
have already been started , like the improvement of the channels in East-Groningen.
Bounded by the villages Midwolda, Oostwold,
Beerta, Finsterwolde and Winschoten, a big 2,000 acre lake will be constructed. The average water depth of the lake will be around four feet. Surrounding the lake,
500 acres has been reserved for infrastructure, 1,480 houses of modern architecture and for recreation
areas. Another 875 acres has been reserved for nature development. The mainly agricultural
function of the area will be turned into a more tourist like character. The stronger qualities of the Oldambt, like peace and quiet,
space, fresh air, relatively inexpensive housing and land and finally good transportation
to the rest of the country, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, will be used.
execution of the mega-project was started on the10th of November, 2001, by the planting of the
first area of forrest on the south-side of the Blue City area. This forest
at the waterfront will become 67 acres big and will be used for recreation and housing development.
Map of the Blue City
The entire project
will cost around 785 million euro. Of this amount, 31.8 million will be
covered by the government, of which 3.27 million will be covered by the local
authorities. A consortium of building companies,
consisting of Ballast Nedam Bouwborg BV, BAM Vastgoed en Geveke Bouw BV will cover the remaining sum. The consortium will take care of the building of
The purchase of land and the cost of infrastructure has to be financed by the
sale of building-parcels and the amount the authorities supply. The remaining
sum is to cover the building costs of housing. There is already a lot of
interest in the houses, the cheapest of which will cost about 300,000 euro's
and the most expensive around 750,000 euro's. The first show houses will be
ready in 2006. In 2005 the sale of houses will commence. The aim
is the highest section of the regional market.
Government and industry
On November 7th, 2001, the provincial
government of Groningen has approved of the plans for the Blue City. Earlier the local
governments of the three municipalities had already approved of the plans.
The plans for the
Blue City are therefore permanent now. The three municipalities that are
involved, Scheemda, Reiderland
en Winschoten have founded a new
organisation: "the Communal Arrangement Blue City". In this way the inhabitants of the area have to deal with a single organization
to apply for planning permits and subsidies. The consortium
has formed the development company Blauwe Stad CV. In the execution
of the project the municipalities work together with the province and
the district water board. For this purpose the Blauwe Stad BV is started. This company
new office on the Jaarfkelaan 1 in Winschoten. This
centre consist of offices and an educational centre with, among others,
a permanent exhibition, a large model and a video space. It is a
place where people, who are interested in the project Blue City and the
Oldambt, can meet and get information about all the possibilities the
project has to offer.
Office the Bleu City
On January 14th 2004, the groundworks were officially started, as well as the construction of dikes and roads, etcetera. This work, which has been put to tender for € 13,290,000, has in the mean time been completed. In an 18 month period, the building contractors Martens/Van Oord and Oosterhout/Holman dug off 4.5 cubic metres of soil and reused this soil to make islands and dikes. The dikes and shores are protected by stones, and/or embankments. The idea is that at the end of 2006 the lake will be finished. The construction of the access roads to the Blauwe Stad and the roads within the area has now commenced. The building of the housing in the area is thought to take about 8 years.
The project Blauwe Stad has started
After years of talking, finally an
important moment in the history of the Oldambt has occurred. On Saturday November 10th, 2001, at 12:00h the
mega project The Blauwe Stad has started officially. The first tree was planted for the development of a
67 acre forest at the south-end of the Blauwe stad area. Farmer Steentjes
from Oostwold, as a representative of all the farmers, together with deputy Marc Calon
and provincial governor Hans Alders were the
lucky ones who initiated the metamorphosis of the Oldambt. After this event,
many inhabitants from the Blauwe Stad area, who were all invited, together
with politics started planting the first area of forest.
Start of the project
resistance to the project seemed to have disappeared almost completely. Only
three pamphlets against the project were attached to the trees. The construction of the lake was put out to tender in August 2003.
It is expected that the whole
project will be finished by the year 2014. We hope and
expect that the project will give the population what it has been waiting for, for such a
long time, which is more employment and a positive image of this beautiful area
that has characteristics that are slowly becoming scarce in the Netherlands.
The battle against the water
In the Oldambt, where people fought a furious battle
against the ever returning Dollard Sea a couple of hundreds years ago, many acres of
agricultural land will be flooded again.
Economically weak area
In the Oldambt in 1997, there were 6,000
people unemployed on a total working population of 26,000 people.
population was very sceptical at first, the plans won wider support as time
farmers, who will have to sacrifice their land and farms completely or partially,
very happy with the plans. They were afraid that the money, for which their farms will be
bought, would not provide enough means to start new farms elsewhere.
project will yield 4,000 man years of work during the construction phase. After this, a
structural employment of minimal 400 working places will be left.
The housing will be situated in five
different environments: Het Dorp (centre of the village), De Wei (village at the lake),
Het Wold (South-East corner), Het Riet
(islands with reed), and Het Park (park landscape).
The project-developers have decided to
offer two-third of the 1,500 houses all-finished for sale. In addition 400
building-sites will be delivered for sale.
Water Board Hunze en Aa's
The district water board Hunze en Aa's
will take care of the control of the water. It will finance the
maintenance of dikes and campsheeting.
At extreme higher water levels, the lake of the Blauwe stad will be used
as a buffer.
The first tree
The proud deputy Marc Calon whilst planting the first tree for the Blauwe Stad project.
9685 ED Blauwestad
Phone. +31 597 471010
Fax. +31 597 471019