Gelsenkirchen is a large city with 265,000 inhabitants embedded in a dense urban network: the city of Gelsenkirchen is located in the heart of the Ruhr area, Germany's largest metropolitan area with over five million inhabitants. In Gelsenkirchen, all digitization steps take place under the guiding principle of a “connected city“.
Gelsenkirchen is located in the heart of the Ruhr region, which is Germany's largest metropolitan area with over five million inhabitants. The city was strongly influenced by mining, which made it a major industrial city and at times even the most important coal city in Europe. Since the 1960s, however, a structural change has been taking place from the coal and steel industry to the knowledge and service economy. Gelsenkirchen has gained particular fame, among other things, through the soccer club FC Schalke 04, which can not only boast some successes in terms of playing, but is also the sixth largest sports club in the world with approximately 164,000 club members. Since soccer culture is highly valued, the city is particularly pleased to be one of the host cities of the 2024 European Soccer Championships.
In addition, the "Future Garden" will be one of the three main sites of the international garden exhibition IGA 2027 Metropole Ruhr. In the field of digitalization, Gelsenkirchen is very active and occupies a pioneering position. In 2018, for example, the "Connected City" staff unit was established, which is responsible for all digitization topics. In 2020, the integrated digital strategy was adopted. In addition, the city of Gelsenkirchen has already developed a variety of digital applications, from a municipal infrastructure database to a geodata service, mobile group management, edutainment offerings at the municipal zoo, and the introduction of an open data platform.
In the smart city sector, the city was able to qualify for several funding programs and thus became a lead municipality for the "Digital Model Regions NRW" and part of the "Model Projects Smart Cities" funding program. Gelsenkirchen is among the leaders in the state-wide smart city rankings and stands out in particular due to the advanced expansion of the fiber optic network and the development of the Open Innovation Lab in Gelsenkirchen's ARENA PARK.
In the coming years, the city will continue to work on the "Smart Cities Model Projects" and other inner-city projects. In addition, the digital strategy will be further developed and an urban data platform will be launched. Another planned measure is to use various information and participation processes to create more transparency for residents and give them more opportunities to have their say.