Rødby, a small town at the southern Danish island Lolland, does not seem like very much today with its remaining 16 active shops in the main street, but a new innovation project aims to inject it with new life.
There is a beautiful market-town hotel in Rødby and an equally beautiful warehouse. Today, Rødby does not seem like very much with its remaining 16 active shops in the main street, but the historical buildings bear witness to the once greatness of the market town. It is here that the founder of Magasin du Nord was born and from here that Cirkeline, the popular children's book character came.
Researchers from Roskilde University and Invio are in process of establishing a research project in Rødby, in which the old buildings and especially the market-town hotel will form the basis for injecting new life into the now empty business premises and homes. The project is in its start-up phase, bringing together The Warehouse Association, Knuthenlund, Lalandia, Norrøn Architects, UCSJ and a range of other local players.
Rødby today is a sleeping town in the south of the island of Lolland. Almost a third of the local shops are deserted while Rødby's fantastically beautiful main street with its magnificent buildings bears witness to its once vibrant business life. It is that duality that makes Rødby so interesting as one wanders through the town on a bright, sunny day early in June. And it is precisely that duality that is the basis for the project. Can new life be injected into Rødby, and can the town be renewed, with tourism as the generator for local business?
In Italy, various hotels have been able to expand as a result of, among other things, experiments aimed at meeting regional geographical challenges. A "diffused" hotel is a concept, in which otherwise empty buildings within the town are mobilized with a functional market-town hotel at the center, but with the hotel's guestrooms spread throughout the entire town. The hotel's guestrooms are placed in the empty buildings. Today, the main street in Rødby consists of several empty buildings, including the historic warehouse -where the founder of Magasin du Nord is reputed to have developed his talent for trading, the Town Hall - with its beautifully conserved council chamber -, and the old grocery store that triggers memories of "Matador" as you enter it.
A group of local enthusiasts, including the local cultural association, has worked since 2016 to develop Rødby's main street and, since the spring of 2016 Roskilde University has studied the innovative development work at Norrøn Architects.
In addition to building up the culture House inside the old warehouse, work is also in progress to open a market-town hotel with guestrooms in different buildings in and around the main street and with reception in the old Town Hall. Work is also going on to re-open the old grocery store and to bring together various local players to collaborate with strong, local tourism partners to develop alternative business models; e.g. Knuthenlund and Lalandia. The project is also investigating several perspectives in the coming Fehmern Belt connection, with the objective of creating and developing experience designs with attractions that can benefit the regional economy.
The project will test and develop new types of bottom-up innovative development, including the development of an innovation platform for new types of players; players that often operate on the fringe of the value chain, so as to be able to generate large achievements with small investments, and a little extra input from many players.
For example, The Camøno, an innovation project that established a hiking trail on the island of Møn, which is inspired by the famous Spanish Camino; Santiago de la Compostella. The innovation project involved more than 140 local players and generated a turnover of around DKK 12 million within just three months of its opening. And it is hoped that the innovation project in Rødby can achieve similar success. The Camino is an example of how tourism can develop in new ways, bring many different players together and inject Denmark's outlying areas with new energy. With a long, hard hike and careful study of new approaches to experience-economical town development, it is hoped that Rødby will be yet another success.