Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Altena
Altena is a small industrial town in the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
The city has experienced a significant decline in its population in recent decades
and further substantial decreases are predicted through 2030. In this context, the
municipality has come to approach migrant integration as a chance to revive the city,
counteract demographic change and fill existing labour force demands. In 2015, the
city took on 100 more asylum seekers and refugees than required by federal allocation.
In 2017, migrants made up 11.3% of the total population of Altena and the majority
(54%) have lived there for longer than ten years. This report presents the way Altena
and its state and non-state partners are addressing migrant integration issues and
opportunities. In particular, the report sheds light on how refugees and asylum seekers
have benefited from housing and civic participation programmes as well as the local
responses to the peak in refugee and asylum seeker arrivals since 2015. In such a
context, when migrant integration is part of the local development strategy, one key
question is “How to encourage migrants stay in Altena?”.