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Local traditions and pride - Mettmann

Local traditions and pride - Mettmann
Source: Otto Filgers

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Citizens! Man the barricades!

Local government consolidation is the order of the day, but locals are opposed to incorporation of their communities. Citizens want to cultivate local pride - and bulletancient rivalries. The campaign against the new law culminates in a referendum, but defeat comes on 13 February 1974.

bulletPlanning is the buzzword of the 1970s as politicians tackle the infrastructural roots of the crisis.

For the bulletHeinz Kühn-led government in North Rhine-Westphalia, planning includes territorial reform - not only to improve administrative efficiency but also to stimulate the economy.

Historical, religious and other emotional factors must take a back seat to the imperatives of strong and efficient local government. The CDU, SPD and FDP are generally united on this - but the local communities affected by incorporation just won't accept it.

In the end, they have no choice. A referendum fails to stop the legislation, and by 1975 the reform has been completed: 2,327 communities within district authorities are reduced to just 373; of the 57 districts only 31 survive; and the (non-district) metropolitan authorities are pared down from 38 to 23.

Only "GlaBotKi", the planned consolidation of Gladbeck, Bottrop and Kirchhellen, is successfully prevented by Gladbeck's citizens - they go to the Constitutional Court and get the town's independent status upheld.

Dirk Bitzer

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