Paying with heitjes
With the heitjes they earned, residents can pay in affiliated Heerlen shops. Bookshop van der Velden van Dam, Welpie Toys, Pat’s Tostibar, Jansen and Janssen Coffee & More and Stadswijnkelder Berns are the first enthusiastic shops to participate. “It's a great initiative. Our customers use the app to pay in heitjes. It takes some getting used to, but it's very contemporary,” Jolanda Pasveer, owner of Welpie Toys, laughs. More shops are expected to join in the coming weeks. Interested shop owners can contact city center organisation Heerlen Mijn Stad.
Neighborhood organization GMS (Grasbroek – Musschemig – Schandelen) is guiding the first residents. “Exciting, but great fun”, chairman Patrick Noortman says. “Here in GMS, we'll start with a group of 15 local residents. We paint benches and stone posts, refurbish waste bins and apply street markings. The participants are all highly motivated.” During the pilot, anything that -despite meticulous preparation- doesn't yet work as it should, will be improved. After that, the project will also start in other neighborhoods. City councilor Charles Claessens: “I am very pleased with all the enthusiastic reactions to 't Heerlens Heitje. This can be a very positive thing for our neighborhoods, residents and local entrepreneurs.” Residents from GMS who want to participate in the pilot can find more information on the website: www.heerlen.nl/heitje.
With 't Heerlens Heitje, Heerlen is the first European city to start a pilot with a digital currency for neighborhood jobs. The partners stimulate activity, involvement, contacts, quality of life and the local economy in the neighborhoods and ultimately the entire city. It is no surprise that this idea was born, developed and started in Heerlen. Heerlen is a city that is open to experimentation and offers room for creativity and innovation. The city where project partner Smart Services Campus stimulates smart digital services. Participation technology developer CoTown, who created the app, also originated here.
‘T Heerlens Heitje is an initiative of the city of Heerlen, in collaboration with city center organization Heerlen Mijn Stad, CoTown, Brightlands Smart Services Campus, neighborhood organization GMS, CBS and the Association of Dutch Municipalities. During the pilot, any limitations due to the corona virus are taken into account.