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Florian Janik: It's our tradition to be open minded

Florian Janik: It's our tradition to be open minded

Interview with the mayor of Erlangen, Germany

Mayor Janik, how would you describe the city of Erlangen?

Erlangen has adopted the city motto “Offen aus Tradition” which means: It’s our tradition to be open-minded. The motto alludes to our city's history when Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution, were settled in the 17th century.

This Huguenot heritage shapes our city to this day and is seen in the centre, which was laid out as a planned baroque city. But the motto is also true in present days. Thanks to the local university, top research institutes and large companies such as Siemens and Framatome, people from almost 150 nations live and work together in Erlangen. “Offen aus Tradition” is our claim for a diverse, colourful coexistence.

Our landmarks are the planned baroque city mentioned before, numerous striking Siemens buildings, and once a year, the famous Bergkirchweih with its Ferris wheel. For twelve days in spring, this well-known beer festival brings together people from many different countries... And last but not least: Erlangen is also a bike-friendly city.

What are the main projects or initiatives that you are most proud of since the beginning of your term?

Erlangen is currently experiencing an extensive urban transformation. Siemens is developing a new campus in the south of the city, bringing together units of the company that were previously spread across different parts of the city centre.

The university’s humanities centre will move into buildings in the centre of the city where Siemens was previously located. We are creating the infrastructure and the framework for sustainable urban transformation, for example with a new tram project or comprehensive promotion of cycling as a modern and green way of urban mobility.

Climate change is a major challenge. Far-reaching decisions are to be made to achieve climate neutrality in Erlangen before 2030.

Would you share some good practices and sustainable projects that the city of Erlangen has introduced?

The exchange with other cities is already part of our daily practice. Erlangen maintains 14 city partnerships and actively cooperates within international networks such as Intercultural Cities. Together, we discuss how to protect and strengthen democracy, how to best achieve integration and life in diversity and, of course, also how to protect our climate.

Were you able to implement any local initiatives to help the population and businesses get through the difficult health and economic situation?

We have launched numerous initiatives for local retailers, restaurants, the cultural sector and socially disadvantaged people. But it is also clear that the situation for all these people remains tense due to the pandemic.

Lastly, what projects or initiatives remain to be completed?

Creating more affordable housing remains a major challenge. We have succeeded in building many new units in recent years. But it is still difficult to find an apartment in Erlangen, especially for people with low income.

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