The Heer locals can meet up with European guest speakers on three Fridays in September. These speakers are ‘local heroes’: experts, officials and active citizens working on Europe (for example at the European Commission), but whose roots can be found in Heer, Maastricht or the Euregion. People who therefore know precisely what’s going on in Heer in terms of security, open borders and sustainability and who can bridge the gap between Heer and Europe.
Bitter ball debates
The heading says it all: these debates demand an informal setting followed by drinks and that all-time favourite Dutch pub treat: bitterballen. After our online and onsite studies in Heer have been completed, we’ll therefore be debating the theme of: Is Europe an issue in Heer (or not)? to round off the ‘Here in Europe’ project.
Europe’s coming to Heer!
In these low-key and friendly debates, local residents can learn more about Europe, exchange ideas, put questions to the guest speakers and join in the debate. We’re inviting all the residents from in and around Heer!
Admission is free, sponsored as it is by the Aen de Wan social centre and the Heer community platform. But do let us know you’re coming so that we know how many bitterballen we need to have ready!
the residents of Heer live in the Euregion, that is: close to the Belgian and German borders. How do they feel about Europe's open border policy? Do they cross the border frequently? And are there residents in Heer because of the ease with which they can travel in and out of the Netherlands? How do they feel about those borders? Open borders have lots of advantages, but what do they do with our sense of security? Why is Zuid-Limburg seen as the Netherlands' unsafest province? (Although there are statistics which suggest that more and more Limburgers feel safer than in past years.) How has European collaboration improved this situation? The guest speakers will debate this, a subject which will be high on the political agenda in coming years, with the new and long-standing residents of Heer and Maastricht. Put your questions to the guest speakers!
The green transition is high on Brussel's agenda. Frans Timmermans had already described the corona crisis - which has made the air so much cleaner and shut down mass production - as a foretaste of a climate-neutral way of life. The European Union would like to spearhead this transition and set a good example, but will it succeed in getting everyone on board? How does Heer feel about this theme? Are the residents installing solar panels en masse and are they switching to locally-produced, seasonal products or is sustainability not a real issue? We'll be discussing these and other questions with local representatives of sustainable initiatives from Heer and with European experts and officials from further afield. Put your questions to the guest speakers!
With its many shops, small businesses and cafés, Heer is a bustling neighbourhood with a range of small and medium-sized businesses, run by and frequented by local residents. But many operate across the borders: take the kitchen fitter which imports parts from Germany or the oddjobber living in Belgium but frequently working in Heer. And yet we see an increasing number of businesses closing down. After decades, Heer's key-cutting business recently stopped trading. Will it be replaced by another business or is it a sign that the local shopkeepers are having a hard time? And how are they keeping their heads above water in the corona crisis - a problem also faced by retailers in other parts of Europe. What is the future of the high street after corona'? What can Brussels do and what is the EU already doing (take the European Regional Development Fund)? What do the residents of Heer think about this? How does it affect them?