How Heerlen's Citizens Bob-a-Job in a Digital Age

Presented By: Pieter Bonnema and Harald Wouters

During this session you will learn more about a showcase innovation project in the city of Heerlen, the Netherlands. This former mining city faces challenges due to its declining population and has been struggling with substantial socio-economic disadvantages for decades. To counter the high cost of public space maintenance, low civic engagement and high vacancy rate of retail in Heerlen, the Municipality of Heerlen and its partners created the platform Heerlens Heitje. Within the European Commission’s Urban Innovative Actions’ initiative, the city developed a digital platform by applying blockchain technology for delegating city maintenance tasks to its citizens. Via the Heerlens Heitje smartphone app, citizens of Heerlen can apply for easy public space maintenance tasks assigned by the municipality. Completed and approved tasks are rewarded with a local digital currency: Heerlens Heitje (1 Heitje = 1 euro). These Heitjes can be spent at local shops, bars and cultural facilities within the city. The goals of the project are (1) to increase civic engagement, (2) to improve the quality of the public space and (3) to stimulate the local economy.

Click here to stream!

Download slides!


Who Should Attend?

  • Academia, public professionals and entrepreneurs who are interested in digital services, digital platforms, blockchain technology and means of stimulating civicengagement.

About the Speakers

ProfilePieter Bonnema successfully completed his Management Studies at the University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Larenstein, and started as a Project Leader within the consulting industry. Pieter is an experienced Sr. Project Manager working for the City of Heerlen and he is specialised in implementing digital innovation projects within public institutions. He currently owns Bonnema Consulting, an consultancy specialised in implementing digitalisation projects. Around 2012 Pieter became interested in blockchain technology and concluded that this technology was 'here to stay'. For Heerlen he started looking for ways to incorporate blockchain into their digital public services. As a Project Manager Pieter is responsible for the EU’s Urban Innovative Actions project We.Service.Heerlen (WESH), which introduced the first government supported local digital currency: Heerlens Heitje.

ProfileHarald Wouters graduated with honours from Utrecht University in Geography & Communication. Harald is an experienced strategic advisor on the impact of digital technology on our economy and society. He is the owner of WHY Consulting, an agency specialised in the digital transformation of the urban sphere. For the EU’s Digital Agenda, Harald reported on IT labour mobility (2015) and organised the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) conference (2016). Harald co-authored the NL Smart City Strategy (2017) and the international Smart City proposition of the Dutch high-tech industry (2018). Currently, he works for the European Commission’s Urban Innovative Actions initiative as a Digital Transition Expert and for the Netherlands Association of Municipalities (VNG) as an Innovation Broker. His agency co-developed the successful European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) application for the Dutch public sector.

Tags & Topics for This Webinar:

  • Civic-engagement; participation; blockchain; platform