Women's Think Tank

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Women’s Think Tank

Fifteen residents exchanged thoughts and ideas about the possible future of Arnemuiden. Remarkably, the majority of the people present were women. The women were from all different backgrounds, but all with a strong sense of connection to Arnemuiden and a will to participate in making plans and developing their ideas. Together the women founded the ‘Women’s Think Tank’. The Women’s Think Tank is symbolised by women dressed in traditional folkloristic costume. Arnemuiden is one of the very few cities in the province of Zeeland and the Netherlands where a few women still dress up every day in their folkloristic costume. The symbolic value of this traditional dress and, therefore, the Women’s Think Tank is very high and they form the base of community decision-making.

The women started thinking about their future by looking back into the history of Arnemuiden. They created plans to strengthen the economic position of Arnemuiden and devised new economic activities with added value that created an increased sense of pride. They developed a range of ideas to give Arnemuiden a sense of place that reminded the residents and future visitors of the town’s rich history. Their cultural heritage was an important source of inspiration for the design of items such as fashion/clothing, household objects, the style and design of architecture, art and culture. But above all, they wanted to enrich the town with plans, ideas and activities that were fish-related. One of the products they developed is plan with walking routes in Arnemuiden. Fish was at the heart of the community, and they wanted to strengthen this through fish-inspired street refurbishment, fishing-related events, developing a fishy image for Arnemuiden and promotion of the town’s fishing past. In essence, the people of Arnemuiden were involved in the process of place branding and place making.

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Figure: The Women’s Think Tank in Arnemuiden (Source: © Ruben Oreel)