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BELT topics

One belt.

One region. 

Plenty of local potential.

The BELT Topics are issues that arise during the course of the project and are identified and classified as cross-cutting or implementation topics. Cross-cutting topics (C-Topics) are those that affect more than one place in the Belt region - for example, substantive issues of conversion or the rural-urban fabric. Implementation topics (I-topics) are those that discuss practical approaches to actually implementing measures or dealing with specific challenges.

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The topics

Exploring Regional Perspectives: A Chilly Expedition




February 2024 marked a chilly yet intriguing expedition for researchers from the BELT project as they delved into the winter bathing networks of Guldborg, Nysted, and Nakskov. Despite the frosty air, the journey offered a profound insight into the region through focus group interviews.

Viewed through the lens of regional development, the impending Fehmarnbelt link presents a remarkable opportunity to reimagine the entire region on either side of the Fehmarnbelt. The BELT initiative embarks on this journey with a decentralized perspective, diverging from the common portrayal of the Fehmarnbelt link merely as a high-speed route between Hamburg and Copenhagen. Instead, the initiative endeavors to unveil the full potential of the region, meticulously charting local capacities and sustainable development avenues.

Adopting a network-centric and stakeholder-driven approach, the BELT initiative aims to cultivate a shared and locally rooted planning vision for the Fehmarnbelt region. This vision is crafted through an intricate tapestry of local initiatives and regional perspectives, reflecting a planning ethos deeply embedded within the region itself, spotlighting its inherent capacities.

Central to the project's ethos is the exploration of existing life and vibrancy within numerous areas around the region. Notably, harbor towns emerge as poignant examples, often boasting rich identities steeped in history and heritage. Building upon this foundation, our focus has turned towards mapping winter swimming initiatives in the region. These locally anchored endeavors shine a spotlight on existing activities that thrive beyond the traditional summer months.

At its core, this project resonates with the recognition of how lived experiences profoundly shape our understanding of regional (uneven) development. Drawing inspiration from the burgeoning field of geographies of embodiment and encounters, our study delves into the intricate interplay between individuals and their impact on regional development, all through the prism of their lived experiences.

Our preliminary findings affirm the region's resolute dedication to fostering associations and grassroots initiatives from the ground up. With eager anticipation, we look ahead to expanding this endeavor to encompass a broader spectrum of areas, weaving a richer narrative of the region's vibrant tapestry.

Authored by Anders Lund Hansen, Lasse Koefoed & Astrid Laura Dam Jensen

During a joint town walk through the Neustadt development area of the harbour and the area around the railway station, as well as during an exchange at the building department of the town of Neustadt in Holstein, both the opportunities of the hinterland connection through the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt and questions of land use and land sales as well as the development of commercial areas and logistics parks were discussed. Possibilities for avoiding transit areas and networking formats were also raised.

A town walk through Neustadt


Notes from field trip

In the public debate about the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt, the focus is mainly on the necessary hinterland connections and rail infrastructure. Although construction work has already begun on Fehmarn and in Rødby, there are still a number of uncertainties and a lack of transparent communication in the so-called hinterland regions.

Open questions include the necessary land use for the railway infrastructure, which requires land. Conversely, this requires farmers to sell their land, which is not only a question of land but also of livelihoods. The same applies to the treatment of the open landscape when industrial and logistics parks are planned and developed along the motorway. There seems to be a lack of forward-looking and constructive approaches, as well as a lack of transparency.

The hinterland connection also leads to the abandonment of regionally important rail networks - such as the Bäderbahn in Ostholstein. This will affect not only tourists but also commuters in the region. At the same time, the Ostholstein resorts will lose their fast and environmentally friendly public transport links. These uncertainties make it clear that the regions and towns of Ostholstein must not become mere transit destinations. Instead, the qualities of the places should be included in the planning of the overall development and handled with care.

Despite the uncertainties and perhaps the lack of transparency, it is already clear to some cities that they will benefit from the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt and the link to the hinterland because they will be better connected, more accessible and better networked, without having to worry about increased noise emissions.

In general, it should be stressed that there is still a lack of spatial understanding of the region and its development opportunities, as the focus is primarily on the urgency and negative consequences of the hinterland connection, as well as on the possibilities of avoiding it. It is therefore necessary to create transparency, to bring people and spaces together and to network them. To achieve such networking, suitable formats are needed in which people come together informally and cities, municipalities and places come together through professional networks, such as a joint port network.

Written by Anika Slawski & Anna Sofie Hvid 

Exploring Regional Perspectives: A Chilly Expedition




Exploring Regional Perspectives: A Chilly Expedition




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