Going from an urban agglomeration to cycling along one of the countless bicycle trails or travelling by public transport to the untouched nature – the grand and rural nature and landscape regions – all within a matter of minutes. Numerous cultural and sporting activities are available just as is simply leaving all your worries behind. And what can be more enjoyable than winding up the day at one of the countless country pubs, taverns or wine bars.
The romantic Neckar valley, Rheinaue wetlands and lakes, the enchanting Bergstraße with its medieval castles, the traditional landscapes of the Kraichgau and Odenwald with their charming villages and hamlets, orchards, wine growing and cultivation of asparagus or hops – these are all shining examples of the strong character traits of the Rhine-Neckar region with its 54 cities and municipalities. The 525,000 inhabitants of the district and its visitors appreciate this excellent cultural and family-friendly offer.
At the same time, the silhouettes of successful industry and service companies characterise the image of Baden-Wuerttemberg’s most populous district with its excellent transport infrastructure, which has successfully mastered the structural changes in business and society taking place in the last third of the 20th century. World-renowned companies such as Freudenberg in Weinheim, SAP in Walldorf, GELITA in Eberbach, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen in Wiesloch, Betty Barclay in Nussloch or Wild in Eppelheim all operate from here and underscore the district’s attractiveness of what has become known as the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region with its cross-border network with Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg and neighbouring Palatinate, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hessen cities and districts and which is regarded as one of Germany’s most important economic and industrial regions. The strength of the region is the excellent cooperation between local companies and research and administration, which can be measured, among other things, based on the success of the leading clusters located here. To further expand the economic strengths, the staff unit for Economic Development and Europe proposed an economic development strategy in cooperation and coordination with regional and transregional business development partners, cities and municipalities as well as political decision-makers. This group defines the future objectives, areas of activity and measures for the district’s economic development.
Together with the owner-operated municipal enterprise Bau und Vermögen and the AVR GmbH, the district administration, in cooperation with municipalities, has created climate protection guidelines and a climate protection concept, which the municipal council has since passed. According to these guidelines, climate protection in the Rhine-Neckar district is to function by reducing climate-damaging emissions and by using renewable energy sources with the goal of developing energy self-sufficiency for the district when it comes to providing electricity and heating to private households. It is furthermore planned to describe specific measures on the basis of a CO2 footprint and heating atlas, to outline the scale of energy savings potentials and to monitor reaching the objectives with the help of a controlling or evaluation tool. The district is thus on its way to becoming Germany’s first district to implement a comprehensive CO2 footprint at district level.
Together with other fellow campaigners, the Rhine-Neckar district was the driving force behind the expansion of the urban railway system, which links and brings closer together the work, shopping, culture and leisure time offerings in the metropolitan region. With this, the region makes an additional successful contribution to climate protection. Particularly the additional electrification and inclusion of the Elsenztalbahn (Elsenz valley railway) and the Schwarzbachtalbahn (Schwarzbach valley railway) contributes to an even greater and positive economic development in rural regions. It also links the Krebsbachtalbahn (Krebsbach valley railway) as a highlight for tourism promotion to the transregional railway network.
In addition to a region-wide service offering in the area of medical care with four hospitals, two care facilities, two senior citizen centres and three hospitals for geriatric rehabilitation, the 525,000 inhabitants in 54 cities and municipalities at the same time can enjoy a wide range of leisure time and recreational options, which all sustainably improve the quality of life. To this end, more than 40 per cent of the district’s area along the Badische Bergstraße, Kraichgau, Odenwald and the Rheinaue wetlands is a nature preserve.
The offer is rounded out by modern education facilities including 13 vocational schools, four special schools and two special nursery schools operated by the district. In December 2011, the municipal council commissioned the creation of a regional school development programme in order to further develop the district’s vocational schools. The vocational schools are to be prepared for the future together with the cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim. Nonetheless, the region-wide vocational training system is to remain differentiated and permeable. A consensus is to be established between the needs by businesses for qualified trainees for the dual education system on the one hand, which stands in competition with the increasing desire by parents and students for higher school-leaving qualifications on the other hand. It is equally a goal to retain a dual-system schooling which is as close to business and home as possible.