Senior consultant Eric van Vliet advises the province of Groningen on reaching agreement with German state and municipal governments, such as Lower Saxony and Bremen, about the socio-economic strengthening of the northern border region. The Wunderline is the larger framework for major investments in a fast rail connection between Groningen and Bremen.
The development of infrastructure projects often involves many different issues and a large number of stakeholders. The complexity increases if this development happens in a border region with considerable differences in political decision-making, government structure, and culture. The province of Groningen wants to invest in the quality of the rail connection to Bremen, but also needs investment decisions from German governments such as the state of Lower Saxony and Hanseatic City of Bremen. This is the type of situation that is particularly suitable for an SSE approach, which considers the task and the context in which it must be realized. For the Wunderline project, the interest analysis conducted led to the conclusion that there is insufficient support for merely investing in a rail project. In turn, this resulted in a strategy aimed at increasing the size of pie, as it were.
Socio-economic strengthening of the northern border region and broadening the project scope are central to this approach. To this end, the improvement of chain mobility in the municipalities along the Wunderline and cross-border cooperation have been implemented to remove labor market barriers. Examples include mutually recognizing diplomas and qualifications and capitalizing on opportunities in the field of tourism and education. Thanks to this approach, the project's added value is increasing, and support from the German partners, the Dutch government and the European Commission is growing. The investment decision has now been made based on a bid book.