Rural development


The DERREG ‘Good Practice Database’ was launched at the project’s final conference in Murska Sobota, Slovenia, in October 2011, and is available on the website:

The identification of ‘good practice’ examples within the different case study regions has been a central part of the DERREG methodology across the four thematic work packages (WP1-4).

These are examples of rural development initiatives, projects or enterprises that have worked well within the particu

Rural development

News & Events | DERREG

The research completed by DERREG during the three-year project period (Jan’09-Dec’11) has shown that rural regions across Europe are proactively engaging with globalization…

A special issue of the European Countryside (Volume 3, Number 3 / 2011) guest edited by Michael Woods and John McDonagh is now avaliable online and…

A series of short films about the DERREG case study regions are now available to view on YouTube:

The DERREG ‘Good Practice Database’ was launched at the project’s final conference in Murska Sobota, Slovenia, in October 2011, and is available on the website:…

31 March, European Parliament, Brussels: ‘Rural Development and Globalisation in Europe’

 This seminar…

29-30 June 2011, Aberystwyth University.
This two-day workshop will allow project members to draw together and discuss the results and conclusions from each of the work…

Globalization and Rural Regions in Europe: Impacts, Challenges and Lessons…

Rural development

Work Packages | DERREG

WP1: Global Engagement and Local Embeddedness of Rural Businesses

The promotion of entrepreneurship is a common element in rural regional development strategies and globalization potentially offers opportunities for rural businesses to develop international markets. This WP aims to assess the importance of international links for rural SMEs, and to examine the factors that enable or limit their involvement in transnational networks.WP1 Leader: Nordregio (Andrew Copus)WP1 Participants: MENDELU, UL, WU, NeVork

Case study regions: Alytus county, Goriška, Jihomoravský kraj, Övre Norrland and Westerwartier

WP2: International mobility and migration of rural population

Although immigration is commonly associated with urban areas, rural regions are increasingly destinations for migrant workers, amenity migrants and cross-border commuters, as well as return migrants. This WP has sought to investigate how regions have managed the social integration of migrant communities, and whether international migration is contributing to economic development.WP2 Leader: USAAR (Birte Nienaber)WP2 Participants: IFL, NUIG, Nordregio, UL, NeVork

Case study regions: Alytus county, County Roscommon, Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Övre Norrland, Pomurska and Saarland

WP3: Environmental Capital and Sustainable Rural Development

Sustainable development is a guiding principle for contemporary rural development, with many regions emphasizing renewable energy production or sustainable tourism as economic drivers. WP3 explores whether global environmental concerns and pressure from transnational campaign groups and international treaties has influenced regional sustainable development strategies, and whether international markets are important in the exploitation of regional environmental capital.WP 3 Leader: IFL (Michael Kriszan)WP3 Participants: MENDELU, NUIG, USAAR, UL

Case study regions: County Roscommon, Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Jihomoravský kraj, Pomurska and Saarland

WP4: Capacity building, governance and knowledge systems

The aim of WP4 is to explore and analyze the embeddedness of rural regions in knowledge systems and the processes of learning and innovation that are facilitated. Drawing on the concept of the ‘learning region’, research for WP4 is studying institutional structures and initiatives to support rural regional development, in order to understand how regions build capacity to engage effectively with globalization.WP 4 Leader: WU (Dirk Roep)WP4 Participants: IFL, NUIG, USAAR, NeVork

Case study regions: Alytus county, Comarca de Verin, County Roscommon, Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Saarland and Westerkwartier  

Rural development

About the DERREG project | DERREG

*Read about the DERREG project in German. Versions of the DERREG project leaflet in Slovenian, Spanish or Lithuanian can be downloaded at the foot of this page.

Project Objectives 

DERREG seeks to develop understanding of rural development in the era of globalization by examining globalization processes, local effects and experiences, and regional development responses in ten case study regions. The specific project objectives are to:

  1. Enrich the scientific evidence base for understanding globalization-led restructuring in rural regions by developing an integrated analysis of multiple forms of global engagement;
  2. Promote best practice in regional development responses to challenges associated with globalization-led restructuring;
  3. Provide new insights into the challenges associated with particular processes of change, including the global engagement of rural enterprises, international migration, and the globalization of environmental discourses;
  4. Develop understanding of the different challenges facing different types of rural regions; and
  5. Establish a web-based resource centre to facilitate and coordinate the dissemination and accessibility of information to researchers and regional development agents.

The intended final outcome of the project is the development of an interpretative model that will identify challenges and opportunities associated with globalization for different types of rural region with different degrees of exposure to globalization processes. This will be accessible via this web-site and linked to a database of best practice examples, assembled from our case study research.

Project Structure
The DERREG research is organized into four empirical work packages, focused on a specific aspect of globalization or regional development:

  • WP1: Global engagement and local embeddedness of rural businesses
  • WP2: International mobility and migration of rural populations   
  • WP3: Environmental capital and sustainable rural development 
  • WP4: Capacity building, governance and knowledge systems

There is also a synoptic work package that will integrate the findings from WP1-WP4 in a holistic analysis, and work packages for dissemination (WP6) and project management (WP7). DERREG has employed a mixed methods approach to this research, combining qualitative and quantitative data. 

Research has been focused on ten case study regions in eight EU countries, which were selected to illustrate a range of socioeconomic and political contexts and geographical settings, from remote and peripheral regions to peri-urban locations.

These are: Övre Norrland, Sweden; County Roscommon, Ireland; Alytus county, Lithuania; Comarca de Verin, Spain; Goriška, Slovenia; Pomurska, Slovenia; Jihomoravskỳ kraj, Czech Republic; Westerkwartier, the Netherlands; Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Germany; and Saarland, Germany.

Who Will Benefit from DERREG?
The DERREG team are working with national and local stakeholders and other social scientists to advance existing scientific knowledge and produce practical recommendations for regional development strategies. Findings from DERREG will be disseminated to academic and non-academic audiences through a number of means including:

  • Project Website
  • Annual Newsletter
  • Film
  • Journal Articles
  • Conference presentations
  • Guest lectures
  • Regional workshops and excursions
  • Web-based resource centre
  • Final dissemination event
Rural development

Greece: the risks of leaving the euro | DERREG

Jill Treanor, The Guardian, 21/06/11
When the blueprint for the euro was drawn up, leaving was not an option: there were no circumstances under which any member would ever want to leave and therefore no exit route. But the once unthinkable now looks entirely possible.

Any plan to enable Greece to pull out of the eurozone would need to include a way to nationalise its banks, new restrictions to stop money and assets leaving the country – which could include limits on cash withdrawals from hole-in-the-wall machines – and a restructuring of the vast Greek debt pile.

According to Raoul Ruparel, economic analyst at Open Europe, a thinktank which calls for reform of the European Union, no consideration is being given by politicians to such an eventuality, but he believes a plan should be set out to allow an orderly exit.

« One of the only ways to exit would be through a disorderly default on the debt where the country couldn’t make a payment, » said Ruparel. « The banking sector would have to be nationalised as the banks would go under if Greece were to leave to the eurozone. »

Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economists, said that one key advantage of withdrawing from the single currency would be to allow a new currency, which would need a name and have to be printed, to devalue and give the country a fresh competitive impetus.

However, it would then be essential to restructure all debts denominated in foreign currencies or those borrowers – individuals and businesses – would face a huge explosion in the scale of their debt.

Suggestions in early May that the Greeks were threatening to leave the euro unless they were allowed to restructure their debt sparked a rout on the foreign exchange markets.

« There’s no doubt there would be a lot of disruption, » said Loynes. « The major objection that people raise about a country leaving the eurozone is that there is likely to be a major run on domestic banks. One way to stop that would be put to be a freeze on deposits or use capital controls to stop money flowing out of the country ».

An additional risk could be that a blackmarket in euros and dollars might develop while the new currency was created.

While there are no exact precedents, currency unions have fallen apart in the past – in the 1990s when the Soviet Union broke up and before the first world war when the Sweden-Denmark monetary union ended. These countries, however, had time to abandon their ties and devise an appropriate exit strategy, a luxury which might not be the case with a Greek departure from the eurozone.

Read the original article at

Rural development

Final Conference of the DERREG Project, 12-13 October 2011, Slovenia | DERREG

Event Date: 

Globalization and Rural Regions in Europe: Impacts, Challenges and Lessons
Hotel Diana, Murska Sobota, Slovenia, 12th and 13th October 2011

The conference programme is available to download below

This two-day conference presents results from the DERREG project, funded by the European Commission’s Framework Programme 7, to examine the ways in which rural regions have been affected by different dimensions of globalization, and to discuss the responses that have been adopted by regional governments, businesses and community groups.

The first day of the conference will focus on the presentation and discussion of results from DERREG concerning the engagement of rural businesses with the global economy; the dynamics and implications of international migration to and from rural regions; and the influence of global concerns in shaping regional environmental policies and opportunities for sustainable development. The second day of the conference will present findings from DERREG about building regional capacity to respond to globalization and discuss the implications of the research for policy and practice, including highlighting examples of good practice in rural development responses to the challenges of globalization.The conference is aimed at anyone interested in the development of rural regions and the challenges presented by globalization. Potential participants include researchers studying rural change and regional development; European, national, regional and local policy-makers and government officials; and practitioners involved in rural and regional development agencies, initiatives and community groups.

Registration for the conference is free (participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs). The conference language is English.

Enquires and conference registrations should be sent to Laura Jones,

The conference programme is available to download below

Attachment Size
DERREG Final conference programme_Sept2011.doc 853.5 KB
Rural development

Case Study Regions

DERREG Case Study Regions

Click on the hotspots on the map or scroll below for more information about the regions:

1.    Oevre Norrland, Sweden          

Övre Norrland or Upper Norrland is a National Area of Sweden, part of the NUTS classification, composed by the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten. It has limits with Norway (west), Finland (north and east), Middle Norrland (south) and the Gulf of Bothnia (east), having an overall area of more than 154,000 km² which corresponds to one third of the total national territory of Sweden. To the west, the Scandinavian Mountain chain in Upper Norrland is home to Sweden’s highest point, Mount Kebnekaise at 2,107 meters above sea level, and Sweden’s deepest lake, Hornavan, 232 m. Upper Norrland has contrasting landscapes including plains bordering the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia (where the biggest urban centres are located), sand archipelagos in front of the coasts, rocks, mires and hills in the interior (covered extensively by coniferous forests), and high and steep mountain areas in the west with a number of glaciers, low-vegetation patterns and harsh climate conditions. Upper Norrland is also home to a considerable number of natural reserves, bird sanctuaries and national parks from which is worth highlighting the Laponian World Heritage Site (close to Kiruna and Gällivare) composed by the National Parks Sarek, Padjelanta, Stora Sjöfallet and Muddus, together with the nature reserves Sjaunja and Stubba. Major important rivers in Upper Norrland include the Torne, Lule, Kalix and Pite in Norrboten and Skellefte and Ume in Västerbotten, all flowing from the mountains (north-west) to the Baltic Sea (east). Social and economic history
Upper Norrland is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual area, and apart from Swedish, national minority languages such as Finnish, Meänkieli and Saami are spoken here. The Sami People have been living in Upper Norrland and others parts of Fennoscandia for at least 2500 years ago constituting today one of the largest indigenous group of Europe. The area was also inhabited by the Kven People and other smaller tribes until the Middle-Ages when the Swedish kings began the Christianization of Upper Norrland founding small parishes and towns in the region. Umeå, first mentioned during the 13th century, as well as Luleå and Piteå founded in 1621 remained as the main agglomerations in Upper Norrland until today. Economic activities have been always related to natural resources. Woods, fish, pastures for reindeer and other husbandry were the starting point. Later value was added through work to produce timber and food. But mining and production of metals -which can be even traced back to the 15th century- brought to the region after industrialization processes the biggest possibility for massive expansion, jobs and the growth of permanent population. Harsh climate conditions and lack of transportation means avoided major economic activities until the end of the 19th century. It was only after the improvement of communications’ infrastructure to the area (after the construction of railways to Norway and southern Sweden and other roads) that massive expansion of the iron-ore industry took place in the area.

Upper Norrland is additionally home of numerous research and innovation institutions focussed in a diversity of key themes (IT and high-tech, biomedicine and medical sciences, earth sciences among others) and other alternative activities such as winter car testing, the ESTRACK Kiruna Station of ESA (European Space Agency) and the North European Aerospace Test range.

2.    West Region, Ireland         

3.    Alytus county, Lithuania       

4.    Comarca de Verín, Spain      

The Comarca de Verín is situated in the South-West of the Galician region (Spain) in the province of Ourense. It comprehends 8 municipalities: Castrelo do Val, Cualedro, Laza, Monterrei, Oímbra, Riós, Verín and Villardevós.

The Comarca is situated in the high basin of Támega river and it is formed by the Monterrei Valley, and surrounded by the mountain systems of San Mamede (1618 m) and Fial das Corzas at North; Sierra Seca and Penas Libres (1083 m) at East; Sierra de Larouco (1525 m) at West, and the Portuguese Valley of Amarante at South. Most of the population settlements are located in the valley, and Vilardevos is the most mountainous municipality. The origin of the valley and the mountains is due to the alpine blending, that was later modelled by erosion.

The climate in the Comarca varies between the valley and mountainous municipalities, between Atlantic and continental. The weather in the Verin hollow has a dry climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Rainfall is around 690 mm per year, and average temperature is of 12.9ºC (20.4ºC for the hottest month and 5,2ºC for the coldest, thus with a high thermical oscillation of around 15ºC. In the peripheral mountains the climate is more humid and temperatures are fresher. Rainfall are more abundant, around 1810 mm per year, and snow are frequent in winter. Average temperature is of 9.1ºC, varying from 16.3 to 2.6ºC in average, in the warmest and coldest month respectively. Thus there are strong seasonal variations and also differences between the Verin hollow and the peripheral mountains; in the firs case the climate is oceanic-continental and in the second case, oceanic of mountain.

Landscape in the Comarca is very diverse. However, there are two big features to be distinguished: the hollow or the valley and the mountains around. The hollow is characterised by a soft and flat topography. The Tamega River crosses the valley where most of land is for agricultural purposes. Monterrei valley and specially the area close to the river are of sedimentary origin, deep and very fertile, therefore good for cropping. Big part of the area is occupied by vegetable gardens with a high variety of crops, but very often potatoes and forage. One of the main productions with a long historical tradition is wine –nowadays the Origin Designation of Monterrei. The river gives place to fertile lowlands and wetlands with high biologic diversity of Mediterranean influence. Here a point of major visual interest is the Monterrei castle from where the whole valley can be seen.

The mountainous areas that surround the valley is characterised by periglacial shapes, and peaks covered by different species of heather. There also are big wooded areas with significant reservoirs of chestnut trees and pines. Although there also are crops the productivity is lower. The monte, formed by forest and brushes is one of the main economic, ecological and landscape riches of the Comarca. Linked to the forest there has been a quite important wooden industry that is declining in the last years as a consequence of forest fire as well as of the high time of immobilisation to use the resources. Another important feature of the Comarca is the existence of numerous mineral water springs originated in the fault that crosses part of the valley. Many underground waters give place to springs with important mineral-medicinal properties, which resulted in spas in the past, and nowadays in three important industries to bottle water: Fontenova, Sousas and Cabreiroá.

The most important natural resources of the Comarca are: the alluvial complex  of Támega wetlands that belongs to Red Natura 2000 Río Támega and which are very rich as regards fauna and flora; the above mentioned different mineral springs; the forest and bush areas in the mountainous areas; the general landscape of the Comarca; and last but not least, the natural park of O Invernadoiro which belonging to Vilariño de Conso (out of the Comarca) verges on the municipalities of Laza and Castrelo do Val. This park is a typical Galician monte landscape with rounded hills covered by endemic species: oak forests, holly trees (Illex aquifolium), yew trees (Taxus baccata), sloes (Prunus spinosa). As regards the fauna, in the park there are wolves, roe deers, wild boars, and different species of birds. The park belongs to the Red Natura 2000 Macizo Central that includes a small part of Laza municipality.

Social and economic history
In the valley there is trace of civilisation since Neolithic times (1000 b.c.) as well as from the Celtic and Roman times where different tribes such as the tamagani, aobrigenses and bíbalos gave name to rivers (Támega and Bubal) and other place names (Tamaguelos, Oimbra). From this time there are many signals in the valley such as the road that linked the Roman pave roads Antonino Pío 17 and 18, as well as buildings remains, graves, etc. In the Middle Age the Comarca appears with the name of Baroncelli Valley (year 921 a.D). Arabic occupation was short and only last until Alfonso I expulsion. In 1155 Celanova protects Verin village and in 1183 the Celanova abbot gives freedom to inhabit Verín along with the rest of the valley. Later in the 15th century, the first Monterrei count Don Sancho Sánchez de Ulloa takes possession of the valley and the castle-fortress that had been constructed in the 12th century by Alfonso Henríquez, grandchild of King Alfonso VI. Over those centuries (12th to 15th) there is an important religious and cultural development. Three convents settle up in Monterrei (Franciscans, Mercedarias, and Jesuits); and the first printing press is installed round 1480.In the 18th century there is process of growth and economic development in the valley thanks to the improvement of farms, the increase of mining production in 1786 and specially the construction of the road between Benavente (Zamora) and Vigo (Pontevedra). In the 19th century the Independence War started: General Soult invades the province to assault Portugal, taking control of the Castle of Monterrei and Comarca. In 1834 the disentailment or confiscation of all the Franciscan and Mercedarian goods takes place –the jesuits had dissapeared during Carlos III kingdom in 1767.

Around 1925 emigration to Latin America started, changing in the 60’s to Europe, mainly France, Germany and Swiss, as well as to other Spanish industrial areas and making an impact on population still visible nowadays, although the trends are changing in the last years. Population reached its top in 1960 with 43,285 inhabitants. In 2007 there were 28.548 inhabitants, which represent 8.49% of the total population of Ourense, 1.02% of Galician population and 0.06% of Spanish population (INE 2009). The intensive migration process started because of bad economic conditions. The lost of young people in this rural area, as it happens in the rest of Galician rural areas, has been accompanied nowadays by a process of ageing and a negative vegetative growth.

5.    Goriška region, Slovenia        

6.    Pomurska region, Slovenia   

7.    Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic   
From the geological viewpoint, the region is divided between older Bohemian massif and younger Carpathian system. The landscape and topography of the region consists of a good accessible landscape of lowlands and uplands in the South with intensive agriculture and a controversial Nové Mlýny water work and limestone Pavlovské vrchy hills as a dominant, from the agricultural viewpoint less favourable areas of northern highlands (mainly Č

eskomoravská vrchovina Highland and Drahanská vrchovina Highland with Moravian karst), landscape of White Carpathians with valuable grasslands in the east and urbanized and sub-urbanized landscape of the Brno agglomeration in the contact zone between flat and undulating landscape in the middle. Social and economic history
South Moravia was mainly important for its agriculture in the past. It was known as the Czech granary and the most important viniferous region. In fact, it concerns mainly its southern part. Southern Moravia was always a transit country between European north and south and also between northwest and southeast. It led to very early railway connection (1839) which evoked the industrialization in spite of insufficient local row materials. The main industry was situated in Brno (textile, later machinery) and also in some middle and small towns. The ethnic system of pre-war South Moravia was created by Czech, German, Jewish and in some cases also Croatian population. The events connected with the WWII caused the disappearance of the mixed cultural milieu and ethnically based population exchange in the southern part of the region. Closing the border with Austria meant peripherisation of the southern borderland. The industry was supported also by the socialist regime which resulted in localization of industry in all towns. Such industrial structure was based on huge factories (with thousands of jobs) which led often to unilateral economic structure in individual towns. The industry elaborating local products was marginal. The fall of socialism brought substantial changes: fall of the main industrial plants and more or less successful transformation to the diversified structure of SMEs and service sector including tourism, opening the border with Austria and exposing of the south Moravian agriculture to the international competition.

8.    Westerkwartier, the Netherlands   

Physical description, Social & economic history:

The “Westerwartier” is a predominantly rural area situated in the West of Groningen province in the North of the Netherlands. It comprises an area of 345 km² -of which 80 % is agricultural land- and includes the municipalities Grootegast, Marum, Leek and Zuidhorn. It is part of the administration unit “Overige Groningen” (NUTS level 3). The landscape of the “Westerkwartier” is nationally acknowledged for its small fields and diversity. The region possesses a good infrastructure, including train and bus services as well as a motorway connecting the “Westerkwartier” with the provincial capital Groningen. Accordingly, the “Westerkwartier” is an attractive residential area for young families, leading to a younger age average than in the rest of the province.

Traditional economic sectors in the “Westerkwartier” are agriculture (mainly dairy farming) and industry. In fact, one quarter of all agricultural businesses in Groningen province are situated in the “Westerkwartier” (e.g. 2.65 farms per km²). In recent years, however, agriculture has lost its significance and the economic structure is changing slowly. For example in Grootegast and Zuidhorn, agriculture is still given high importance in maintaining the regional landscape. However, since the motorway crosses Leek and Marum, these municipalities are transforming into residential areas for commuters and providing spaces for industrial parks. Accordingly, non-agricultural economic activities such as transport and logistics, services, tourism and leisure are becoming more and more important for the economy of the “Westerkwartier”.

As the economy in the “Westerkwartier” is changing so are future visions for the region. There is still great interest in retaining agriculture as an economic carrier within the region but farmers will be faced with new tasks. For example, ideas exist to create care farms and to engage farmers in nature and landscape management. Furthermore, the “Westerkwartier” wants to create more room for industrial areas, for enterprises and wants to offer more employment opportunities. In this course, the “Westerkwartier” aims to stimulate a diversification of economic activities (e.g. LEADER) and an increase in tourism and leisure activities.

9.    Regierungsbezirk Dresden, Germany    Physical description:

The CS region is characterized by the typical North-South sequence of the Saxon landscape. Relief features are ascending in a characteristic way from North to South. The northern part of the CS region is affected by heath and pond landscapes followed southwards by hilly landscapes and subdued mountains. This characteristic sequence is just interrupted by the Elbe valley of Dresden. The main river Elbe traverses the landscape from the South to the North-west and carved deep valleys in the sandstone (Elbe Sandstone Mountains) of the lower mountain range of the Saxon Switzerland. Other important rivers are the Neisse river and the Spree river. The mentioned increasing altitude from the North to the South of the region determines the main flow direction of the rivers. In CS region altitudes differ from below 100 m (Lusatian Lakeland) to 900 m (Eastern Ore Mountains) above sea level. The highest mountains are Hochwald (749 m) and Lausche (791 m) in the Zittau Mountains and the Kahleberg (905 m) in the Eastern Ore mountains. Social and economic history:
The social and economic history of the CS region is closely connected to its topographic situation and the occurrence of natural resources. First settlements are traceable to the Linear Pottery culture near the rivers Elbe, Spree and Mulde at about 5,500 BC. The dominance of the Thuringians until the 6th century AC was replaced by Slavic settlers from eastern regions. Slavic as well as former German settlements can be localized preferentially in open landscapes close to rivers or plains. Moreover, they can be found on fertile soils. First dense settlement structures developed in the Elbe valley of Dresden, the Lommatzscher Pflege and in the landscapes near Bautzen and Goerlitz. The medieval eastward migration and settlements of Germans from “Old-Germany” and the Flemish Netherlands in 11th and 12th century raised the population density and reshaped the former Slavic settlements. Caused by these migration processes the Germans held the majority of the population and the Slavic population was assimilated. But especially in Lusatia a Slavic tribe – the Sorbs – has preserved its ethnical identity, culture and speech until today. Currently, there are living 65,000 Sorbs in the East of Saxony and in the South of Brandenburg. Beside the soil fertility also the occurrence of natural resources played an important role concerning the foundation of settlements and towns in the region. Especially in the Ore Mountains findings of silver and tin ores entailed city foundings in 15th century (Altenberg, Schmiedeberg, Glashuette), the so-called “Mountain Cities”. At that time the Ore Mountains became one of the leading regions regarding science and technological progress. The commercial relevance of mining declined in the middle of the 16th century, while the production of textiles developed to a second economic pillar. In addition, manufactures for the production of porcelain and glass were established in 18th century (e.g. in Meißen).

In contrast to the inhabitants of the Ore Mountains the Lusatians were very active in the agricultural sector. Due to the rich deposits of lakes fishery became an important regional sector as well. An extension of agricultural production was absolutely essential as population density increased and caused higher demand of food in the period of colonisation, starting at the end of 12th century. Moreover, the proceeding Christianization of the Sorbs increased the production of fish as ritual food. To meet the raised demand of fish Lusatian people started to build artificial ponds at favourable hydrological places. A wide spread pond system occurred in Upper Lusatia due to the construction of canals, the favourable natural conditions and ownership structures. Pond fishery kept its economical attractiveness during the past centuries until today.

Trade and commerce concentrated in the major cities of the region. Based on economical cooperation and the location near to long-distance trade routes (i.e. Via Regia) prosperity increased especially in the Upper Lusatian “six-city-league” (founded in 1346) including Lauban, Goerlitz, Zittau, Loebau, Bautzen and Kamenz. Other tradition-rich economic sectors in the CS region were (and still are) watchmaking industry in Glashuette as well as winegrowing in the Elbe valley (Meißen, Radebeul).

The period of industrialization started in Saxony in the year 1835. Especially the textile industry in the Ore Mountains and Upper Lusatia was characterised by a rapid economic growth during the 19th century. Another important industrial sector was mechanical engineering (Bautzen, Neukirch). The economic growth was supported by an increasing number of population during the period of industrialization. For Upper Lusatia it is documented that the population rose by 56.5 percent between 1830 and 1867. Moreover, the construction of transport infrastructure was initialised. In addition to the main railway track from Leipzig to Dresden (1839) a wide spread railroad system was constructed in the region and also connections to Silesia and Bohemia existed.

During the period of industrialization the increase of population as well as commercial and industrial production led to an enormous energy consumption which could not be satisfied by traditional energy sources like wood. For that reason the State of Saxony began to look for other energy sources like coal. At that time, the era of brown coal mining started in the northern part of Upper Lusatia. Later on – in the 1970s during the regime of the GDR – open-cast mining was intensified. Thus the landscape of this region changed in a dramatic way.

During the last two decades exhausted mine areas have been renaturated and now form a significant potential for recreation and tourism (lakes etc.). Today one open-cast mining in Nochten/Reichwalde and one coal power station in Boxberg are still operated. Caused by the losses of German territory after WW II eastern parts of the CS region became border areas. Belonging to the Soviet occupation zone agriculture, handicraft and industry were reorganised in a collective way. Energy production, textile and clothing industries as well as engineering remained the most important industries in the CS region, also in Socialist era. Besides, new mining activities were started by the Soviets in the 1960s in the Eastern Ore Mountains (Königstein in Saxon Switzerland). Uranium ore was exploited and used for nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. Uranium mining was stopped in the year 1990.

After German reunification in 1990 a transformation process started which affected the economy as well as the whole society. On the one hand, a lot of manufacturing companies were not competitive anymore and broke down. On the other hand, an intensive migration process to former West German regions started because of high unemployment rates and bad economical conditions (amongst other things). Especially rural regions are affected by this development in a fatal way. The demographic change featured by a decrease of population and an

increase in the percentage of old people is currently one of the main issues in the CS region.
Besides, there are some positive economic developments. A developing sector is the production of High-Technologies for renewable energies (i.e. photo-voltaic) around Dresden and in the former mining areas in Upper Lusatia. In addition to this tourism is a still growing business for a lot of people in the rural areas.

10.    Saarland, Germany   
Physical description

The different topography within a confined space is a typical characteristic of the Saarland. It ranges from the lime soil of the Bliesgau, the sandy soil around Homburg, the coal mountains near Neunkirchen and Friedrichsthal with thick deciduous forests and the primeval forest which is only a few kilometres away from Saarbrucken to the scenic plateaus of the Saargau with its green hills. One third of the surface of the Saarland is covered with deciduous mixed forest. For this reason, the Saarland belongs to the federal states with the highest percentage of forest areas in Germany, next to Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. The two highest peaks, the Dollberg and the Schimmelkopf, each about 695 metres above sea level, are both only partly located in Saarland. The highest mountains in Saarland are the Füsselberg (595m), the Weiselberg (571m) and the Schaumberg (569m). The areas of the Bliesgau and the Saargau are particularly important to the Saarland because they are very fertile due to chalky rocks. The longest river is the Saar which has its middle and lower reaches in the Saarland and which gave the region its name. Other important rivers are the Blies, Prims, Nied and Nahe. The Saarland is coined by a moderate oceanic climate with average amounts of precipitation of 800 millimetres a year. Furthermore, the Saarland belongs to the warmest regions of Germany. Sources:
Landesamt für Kataster-, Vermessungs- und Kartenwesen (State Office for surveying and mapping, land registration, cartography )(Hrsg.) (o.J.): Geografie. Available on: [Last access: 03/08/2009].
O. A. (o.J.): Wandern, die touristische Trumpfkarte. Available on: [Last access: 03/08/2009].
O. A. (2009): Saarland. Available on:,geographie_kontinente_europa_staaten_deutschland_bundesl%E4nder,saarland [Last access: 03/08/2009]. Social & economic history
The integration of the Saarland into the Federal Republic of Germany took place on January 1st, 1957. In many respects, the Saarland has experienced a fundamental change of economic, social and spatial structures during the last 50 years. The border location, repeated military conflicts and destructions, as well as the affiliation to different territories caused numerous discontinuities and contributed substantially to the region’s changeful history.

Since the coming into force of the Treaty of Versailles on January 10th, 1920, it is possible to talk about a proper history of the Saarland. Before, the state was split up into several territories. Due to the regulations of the peace treaty of World War I, a new administrative unit was created which included the coal and steel area and the bordering workers’ residential area. It was named “Saargebiet” (Saar region) or rather “Territoire de la Sarre”. By means of the Treaty of Versailles, the Saar region was assigned to a government commission, which was appointed by the League of Nations, for 15 years. With effect from March 1st, 1935, the Saar region was reintegrated into the German Reich, after about 90 percent of the population declared themselves in favour of the reintegration in the course of the referendum on January 13th, 1935. Thereafter, the official name was changed into “Saarland” by the National Socialist government.

After World War II, the Saarland took again a special position. Under French patronage, a semi-autonomous state was created with its own legislative parliament and its own constitution, which came into force in an economic and monetary union with France on December 17th, 1947. Before that, in 1946 and 1947, the borders of the Saarland were extended. In 1949, another changing of the borders took place.

On October 23rd, 1954, the “Saar conflict” was solved by the signing of the agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and France. However, the planned “European Statute” (“Saar Statute”) was rejected by the population on October 23rd, 1955. This decision made the political reorientation possible which came along with the Saar Treaty (Luxembourg, October 27th, 1956). This treaty decided about the political integration of the Saarland – as a proper federal state – into the Federal Republic on January 1st, 1957. The high degree of territorial-political development, marked by unsteadiness and inconsistency, lead to serious economic consequences. Furthermore, economy itself contributed significantly to the structural change in the region, especially since the first half of the nineteenth century.

Due to innovation in coal mining, in iron and steel industry and development of new means of transport, economic, social and residential structures changed fundamentally. These developments are mirrored in the growth of industrial cities, the emergence of the densely-populated space of the Saarland, as well as a comparatively early suburbanisation of the rural areas. Further characteristics are represented by the population growth, the formation of significant commuter traffic and the peasantry of workers and miners, which is typical for the region. The result of the numerous discontinuities and the diverse processes of change and adjustment in the border region of Lorraine and Saarland are historical and scenic singularities which give the landscape its unique appeal. After the integration of the Saarland into the Federal Republic of Germany, the structural change, caused by socio-economic factors such as the coal and steel industry crisis, the economic globalisation and the demographic change, continues. But also the Franco-German reconciliation and the European integration have their impacts on the border region. In terms of demography, Saarland takes a special position between the new and the West German federal states. In no other federal state, economic changes interact with the demographic development of a state in such a close and immediate way. A consequence of this interaction is the vanguard role of the Saarland in comparison to the other West German federal states. The Saarland has already carried out, either earlier or partly more distinctive, parts of the demographic change, which are still in store especially for the other West German federal states. The special position concerning demography of the Saarland becomes clear by the comparison of the population development of the Saarland with that of the West German federal states. Whereas the residential population in West Germany has grown in the period of 1961 to 2004 by more than 20 percent, the population in Saarland stayed approximately the same during this period. Also during the past decade, the gap between West Germany altogether and the Saarland has been widening even faster and is by no means closed. In terms of demography, Saarland is not a West German but an “East German” federal state, because it is the only West German state which has reported a decrease in population for the period of 1990 to 2004, just like the East German states (Hohnhorst 2007, p. 69 et seqq.). Firstly, the cause of this is an increasing birth deficit. Since 2004, migration losses increased the fall in population. In the year of 2007, 16700 people, who moved to the Saarland, were registered. However, migration losses were reported that year because almost 188000 people left the state. Hence, the population development is characterised, on the one hand, by the decline in the birth rate and, on the other hand, by migration losses which additionally coin the process of ageing and the decrease in the population of the Saarland (Ertl 2007, p. 21 et seqq.).

The central keyword, which has coined the economic development of the Saarland over the last decades, is the term of “structural change”. This describes massive job losses in the once predominating coal and steel industry, as well as the efforts of regional actors to provide new jobs in other business sectors. However, for the people living in Saarland, there is much more hidden behind this term of “structural change” of the last three and a half decades. This is the case especially for the quality of jobs. Structural change is often linked to the changed sector weightings. Thus, the manufacturing industry in Saarland has lost its once predominating role as a job provider. This is especially the case for the coal and steel industry, which has been coining the Saarland since the nineteenth century, and which directly provided with 80000 jobs almost every fifth employment in Saarland in 1970 (Lerch 2007, p. 121 et seqq.). Due to the reduction of the hard coal extraction from 16.3 million tons in 1957 to 3.7 million tons in 2006, the number of employees was reduced from approximately 64000 to only 6400. Likewise, the number of collieries went down from 18 to one single location in the same period of time (Dörrenbächer 2007, p. 101). Till 2012, the extraction of coal in the mine on the river Saar will cease definitely. Today, only 7 percent of the employees in Saarland work in the coal and steel industry. But also in the industry, there are winners in the long term: the automotive industry alone provides 24000 jobs today. Together with the supplying industry, the automotive sector offers work to roughly 42000 employees. Presently, 71 percent of all gainfully employed persons in Saarland work in the service sector. In 1972, only 46 percent were employed in this line of business. This development was caused by primarily private and business service providers (Lerch 2007, p. 122 et seqq.). Particular significance must be attached to the establishments during the eighties whose initial ideas came from the institutions of higher education in the Saarland. Among these are the IT and consulting company IDS Scheer AG, Orbis AG and the SAP branch office in St. Ingbert who provide together more than 3000 jobs today. The insurance company CosmosDirekt also plays an important role as an employer with more than 1000 employees (Giersch 2007, p. 137). In addition, there is the central European location with its traditionally close trade relations to France and cross-border interconnections to the “European region Saar-Lor-Lux”.

Brockhaus Enzyklopädie Online (Hrsg.) (2009): Das Saarland – Porträt des „jüngsten der altern Bundesländer“. Available on: [Last access: 03/08/2009].
Dörrenbächer, P., Kühne, O. & Wagner, J. M. (Hrsg.) (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland im Wandel (S. 6-9). Saarbrücken: Institut für Landeskunde im Saarland. Dörrenbächer, P. (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland – 50 Jahre Kohlekrise. Die Entwicklung des saarländischen Steinkohlenbergbaus. In: Dörrenbächer, P., Kühne, O. & Wagner, J. M. (Hrsg.) (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland im Wandel (p. 101-113). Saarbrücken: Institut für Landeskunde im Saarland.

Ertl, D. (2007): Bevölkerungsentwicklung 2006. Stärkster Bevölkerungsrückgang seit 1978. In: Statistisches Amt Saarland (Saarland Statistical State Office) (Hrsg.) (2007): Statistisches Quartalsheft Saarland, Heft 3, S. 21-29.

Giersch, V.(2007): Erfolgreiche Industrieansiedlung – tragfähige Basis für Wachstum, Beschäftigung und Strukturwandel im Saarland. In: Dörrenbächer, P., Kühne, O. & Wagner, J. M. (Hrsg.) (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland im Wandel (p. 133-139). Saarbrücken: Institut für Landeskunde im Saarland. Hohnhorst, M. von (2007): Die Bevölkerungsentwicklung im Saarland. In: Dörrenbächer, P., Kühne, O. & Wagner, J. M. (Hrsg.) (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland im Wandel (S. 69-82). Saarbrücken: Institut für Landeskunde im Saarland. Lerch, W. (2007): Strukturwandel und regionale Wirtschaftspolitik im saarland von 1970 bis heute. In: Dörrenbächer, P., Kühne, O. & Wagner, J. M. (Hrsg.) (2007): 50 Jahre Saarland im Wandel (p. 121-133). Saarbrücken: Institut für Landeskunde im Saarland.

Otto, A. & Schanne, N. (2005): Vergleichende Analyse von Länderarbeitsmärkten.

Available on: [Last access: 03/08/2009].
Saarland Landesregierung (Saaraland State Government) (Hrsg.) (2007): Der Saarland-Wegweiser. Saarbrücken
Saarland Staatskanzlei (Saarland State Chancellery) (Hrsg.) (o. J.): Wie das Saarland entstanden ist. Vom Montanrevier zum Bundesland.

Rural development



Europas ländliche Regionen im Zeitalter der Globalisierung – Ein interpretatives Modell für ein besseres Verständnis und Reagieren der Regionalentwicklung auf globale Herausforderungen.

Die Globalisierung stellt für die ländlichen Regionen Europas eine der wesentlichen Herausforderungen dar und führt zu einschneidenden sozialen, wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen und politischen Veränderungen. Gegenwärtig vorliegende Studien über die Auswirkungen der Globalisierung auf ländliche Regionen fokussieren einzelne Sektoren, Prozesse oder Orte. Das Fehlen einer übergreifenden, integrativen Untersuchung hatte bisher zur Folge, dass regionale Entwicklungsstrategien den neuen Herausforderungen nicht in vollem Umfang gerecht werden konnten.

Das Ziel des DERREG-Projektes ist die Entwicklung eines interpretativen Modells. Dieses Modell soll Wissenschaftler und Akteure aus dem Bereich Regionalentwicklung dazu befähigen, die wesentlichen Herausforderungen der Globalisierung für ländliche Regionen besser verstehen und entsprechend reagieren zu können. Das Forschungsvorhaben
Im Rahmen des DERREG-Projektes werden empirische Untersuchungen zu vier Themenschwerpunkten durchgeführt:

  • Globale Einbindung und lokale Verankerung ländlicher Unternehmen

  • Internationale Mobilität und Migration der ländlichen Bevölkerung

  • Umweltkapital und nachhaltige ländliche Entwicklung

  • Wissensvermittlung, Lernende Region und Governance

In einem weiteren Arbeitsschritt werden die Ergebnisse dieser Untersuchungen in Form einer integrierten Analyse zusammengefasst.

  • Oevre Norrland, Schweden

  • West Region, Irland

  • Alytus, Litauen

  • Comarca de Verín, Spanien

  • Region Goriška, Slowenien

  • Region Pomurska, Slowenien

  • Jihomoravský kraj, Tschechische Republik

  • Westerkwartier, Niederlande

  • Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Deutschland

  • Saarland, Deutschland

Das DERREG Projektteam arbeitet eng mit Sozialwissenschaftlern sowie nationalen und lokalen Entscheidungsträgern zusammen, um den derzeitigen Forschungsstand zu erweitern und praxisrelevante Empfehlungen für regionale Entwicklungsstrategien zu erarbeiten.

  • Wissenschaftliche Literatur & Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft

  • Politische Entscheidungsträger und regionale Akteure

  • Frühere Projekte gefördert im 5./6. FRP

  • Parallel laufende Projekte im 7. FRP

  • Themenverwandte Forschungstätigkeiten der Projektpartner

Verbreitung der Projektergebnisse
Die DERREG Ergebnisse werden auf vielfältige Weise an ein wissenschaftliches und nicht-wissenschaftliches Publikum weitergegeben, u.a. durch…

  • eine projekteigene Webseite,

  • einen jährlich erscheinenden Rundbrief,

  • einen Film,

  • Artikel in Fachzeitschriften,

  • Präsentationen auf Konferenzen,

  • Gastvorlesungen,

  • regionale Workshops und Exkursionen,

  • eine internetgestützte Datenbank und

  • eine Abschlussveranstaltung.