Marketing a City is Students' First Project Week Assignment

Students Must Create Website, Advising City of Apeldoorn How to Attract Businesses

More than 150 students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences participated in the kick-off of its first Project Week for the new academic year, which requires students to create a feasible website for the city of Apeldoorn, marketing itself as an attractive location for companies to settle in.


To get them started, students were treated to an energetic lecture from Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, and CEO, Maggie Feng, on how different cities tackled their marketing initiatives and why it is important. The group consisted of both first-year and second-year students. 

Birdsall told students some cities – like Amsterdam and Venice – have been “too successful” in their marketing campaign to tourists and now find it hard to cope with the huge numbers of visitors, including complaints from residents. But while Amsterdam has a population of more than 800,000, there are smaller Dutch cities, like Apeldoorn with its 160,000 residents, that are trying to attract more visitors and investors.

Birdsall said one of the key reasons for marketing a city is economics. He cited the example of Wittenborg, which since 2010 is estimated to have contributed about 88 million to the Dutch economy - mainly via its international students. Most of it would have been spent in Apeldoorn, where its headquarters are located. The Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB) calculates that non-EU students spend up to €82,400 each during and after their studies in the Netherlands. For European students it is between €5,000 - €17,000. “It validates what we are doing here,” Birdsall said.

 Students heard that other economic reasons for marketing a city would be to secure government funding, attract businesses, tourism and events like sport events. “Marketing helps with the reputation of the city which in turn is good for economic growth.”

Birdsall also gave students examples of how cities like Las Vegas, Jerusalem, Johannesburg and Eastbourne in the UK market themselves and how targeted they are in appealing to the market segment they want to attract.  

After the assignment, students must present their work in groups.  

WUP 18/9/2019
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content