European metropoles share experience of creative clusters

Delegates from 11 European cities met in Stockholm’ s Culture House for the second exchange of experience in the frame of Creative Metropoles project, an EU Interreg IV C project. The conference aimed to raise awareness about the impact and role of creative industries on economic development of cities and show best examples of cooperation between governments, municipalities and creative industries in European cities.

The Stockholm Experience Exchange event was mainly devoted to the results of research carried out as one of the central activities for the EU funded project CREATIVE METROPOLES: Public Policies and Instruments in Support of Creative Industries. The reseach was based on analysis of the urban situation and creative industry practices and initiatives realized in 11 European metropoles – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw.   

Professor, Dr. Dieter Haselbach - member of the project Research team, commenting conclusions and findings: “Research of approaches for support of creative industries in 11 European metropoles highlighted that there are so many different understandings of creative industries as well as very different experiences and approaches. We cannot say which one is better or more progressive – it depends what cities are eager to achieve, which  approaches they use and which  industries they support. The main conclusion is – we all should learn from the experience of others”.

Professor in Economic Geography   of Uppsala University, Dominic Power analysing the role of the city stressed that it is important to distinguish which type of creative industry the city is targeting,  as each sub-sector has different needs and that will determine the direction of further activities. .  He encouraged the support of small businesses and not to loose sight of creativity over commercial concerns. 

Cases of best practice strengthening the creative industries were presented by the cities of Stockholm, Tallinn, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vilnius and  Aberystwyth & Three Mills Island in UK.

“KreaNord” project presented by the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise  was a good example  of intergovernmental cooperation in Scandinavia focusing on how to link business and culture on regional level. The project was started by the Nordic Council of Ministers and implemented in Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Faroe Islands. 

The city of Tallin presented its Business Incubator which opened in 2009 to support creative industry development by strengthening its capacity, providing business consultancy and  premises. Tallinn’ s Business Incubator has already provided about 50 workspaces for talented people to develop their skills and start business. 46 companies are in incubation process now and the first success stories are already developing. 

The conference participants  were impressed by the results of “Design Reactor” in Berlin.  Already six  registered  patents are the real outcome of brainstorms done by creatives of different profiles that met at “Design Reactor”. The project has the potential to expand into “Campus Reactor” and  unite the creativity of both  art and technology  students. 

Business enhancement through cluster promotion and internationalization was the topic presented as best practice of Catalunya region, Barcelona

The city can  support creative industries and benefit! That was the conclusion of more than 10 years‘ experience of Broedplaatsen in Amsterdam considered to be  the most remarkable creative industry project developed and supported by the city of Amsterdam. 1440 working spaces, 2500 places of employment created as a  result of this initiative. The idea is based on  regeneration of old city districts by young talented with support of city. 

“When we think about creative economies maybe we should be thinking of creative ecologies?” – meaning Aberystwyth and Three Mills Island in UK as a great example of response to place and culture. 17 design teams in cooperation with the local community have started a regeneration project of brownfield territory turning it into an astonishing and ecological residential and study area.

Past and future could be united by creatives:  suburban area could be turned into a unique living space and innovative community of artists – that is the story of Uzupio Res Publika, in Vilnius, Lithuania. . Regeneration of one brownfield territory created rebirth of the whole area and turned it into an attractive living space by power of creative people and support of local municipality. The story is not ended – city is open to investors and ideas. 

Participants of Stockholm Experience exchange were invited for reception at the City Hall, with Bo Bladholm Lord Mayor, President of the City Council Stockholm as the host.- 

In parallel with the conference, a creative networking meeting -  “Blender” took place at Telefonplan, Stockholm and was attended by 25 companies from different creative industry sectors. .

More insight and best practice presentations please find at: www.creativemetropoles.eu 


The cREATIVE METROPOLES project was initiated in 2007 by the Baltic Metropoles Networkand now involves  11 European metropolitan cities. The project also strongly supports the direction taken by the newly launched EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region that puts fostering of innovation support at its heart. 

“CREATIVE METROPOLES: Public Policies in Support of Creative Industries” has received 2.44 MEUR funding from the INTERREG IVC programme in an effort to make public support systems and instruments more focused, effective and better tailored to the actual needs of the creative industries. It will run until September 2011.

The project is spearheaded by the culture and business development professionals of local governments of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw – cities that play a central role in the economies of their countries. The City of Riga is the project initiator and lead partner of the consortium. This is currently one of the widest pan-European projects addressing this field.