Write the best thesis or dissertation
on regional socio-economic restructuring

win 5,000 Euros!

Sometimes, a region faces the challenge of reinventing itself. This might happen when an important industry disappears or the population shrinks, for example.

South Limburg was such a region. After the mines closed, 75,000 jobs vanished, and this had consequences for employment but also naturally impacted the economy. The closing of the mines also left its mark on society. This was visible in the statistics on crime, but also in the number of divorces. In spite of these setbacks, the region rose again. New jobs were created and problems were overcome. This was an interesting process that continues to this very day.

Are you conducting research on how a region can reinvent itself after major change? If so, submit your thesis or dissertation and compete to win the Kremers Award. The Kremers Award is a prize for the best thesis or dissertation on socio-economic restructuring.

5,000 EUROS
for the best bachelor’s or master’s thesis
5,000 EUROS
for the best HBO-level (higher professional education) thesis
5,000 EUROS
for the best dissertation
1,500 EUROS
win one of two incentive awards

Get inspired and see who won the Kremers Awards in 2017!

the kremers

By creating the Kremers Award, Stichting Behoud Mijnhistorie (Foundation for the Preservation of Mining History) aims to encourage students and PhD candidates to study socio-economic innovation in regions and to write their thesis or dissertation on this topic.

Closing of the mines

In 1965, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs at the time, Joop den Uyl, announced that the mines in South Limburg would be closing. This decision meant that the region would have to reinvent itself, socially and economically, a process that was characterised by ups and downs.

Thesis award

The Foundation for the Preservation of Mining History wants to draw permanent attention to the lessons learned during this restructuring process. The foundation had previously commissioned a study on the long-term effects of the redevelopment that followed the mine closures. This resulted in the 2013 publication, Na de mijnsluiting (After the mine closures). Since 2016, the Foundation for the Preservation of Mining History has been challenging students and PhD candidates to conduct research on the restructuring and the socio-economic innovation of regions. It has formalised this challenge in the form of a thesis prize;
the Kremers Award.
The Kremers Award is a thesis prize that is awarded every two years. The first Kremers Award was presented on 15 February 2017.

Sjeng Kremers

The Kremers Award is named after Dr. J. (Sjeng) Kremers, former Governor of the Province of Limburg and the first chairman of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy. The son of a miner, Sjeng Kremers played a vital role in the restructuring of South Limburg.


winners of the 2017 Kremers Award

2017 was the year of the woman. The Kremers Award was no exception; the winners were all women that same year. Not only did they appear to be extremely capable of identifying and analysing socio-economic developments in regions, they also offered concrete and innovative solutions to social and economic problems which they also succeeded in implementing.

from left to right: Lucy Gray (stand-in for Anika de la Flor), Katja Sillen, Anke van Helmond and Merel Donkers. (photographer: Pascal Moors)

HBO (higher professional education)

Merel Donkers, Anke van Helmond and Carolien Kloosterman – HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch

Their thesis entitled Gebiedsanalyse Agro As de Peel (Regional Analysis for the De Peel Agricultural Axis), was commissioned by AgriFood Capital, a consortium of government agencies, businesses and educational institutions. The jury was immediately struck by how applicable the results were. Five previous studies that had been performed for municipalities in the Peel region were combined, expanded upon and presented in a cohesive fashion. The thesis describes an interesting shift occurring in the chain and offers good suggestions for increasing collaboration between companies in the entire agro chain, from producer to processor and reseller. Economic, spatial and social problems may be tackled through innovative partnerships and by marketing the region to the target audience. The proposals to set up a testing ground for the agro sector in De Peel were considered to be creative and very promising.

Anika de la Flor – Maastricht University

Water-related Ecosystem Services in the Environmental Impact Assessments in the Peruvian Mining Industry studies two methods (the broad and innovative Environmental Impact Assessment and the Ecosystem Services) for evaluating the impact of keeping mines operational (or starting new mines) in the Conga District in Peru. This case study takes a look at research in the region, interviews, analysis of media communications and the available literature. Anika applied clear evaluation criteria and compared conclusions from both proponents and opponents. Also striking was her strong substantiation for her chosen research design. The jury was impressed by the high degree of applicability which was formulated so clearly and practically in the final chapter of the thesis.
WO (university) - incentive award

Heleen Coenen – Maastricht University

Zero Waste Strategy – Exploring the dynamics that introduce the zero waste strategy to Capannori is a qualitative study that analyses a citizens’ initiative opposing the construction of a new waste incinerator in the Italian city of Capannori. The citizens mobilised to ensure of that the waste management in their city was handled in a more sustainable manner. Not only did they manage to stop the construction of the incinerator, but also succeeded in obtaining approval for an alternative method of waste management.

Katja Sillen – Maastricht University

A Place Called Home – The role of identification in the post-dissolution phase of a customer relationship with a place brand is a study addressing the degree to which the identification with a city or region plays a role during or after a move. The study also focuses on an innovative approach to regional or city branding that goes far beyond the usual marketing mix.


Theses or dissertations which are submitted for the Kremers Award must satisfy the following criteria:

• The central theme is the socio-economic innovation of a region. What happens when a dominant economic sector disappears from a region?
What kinds of educational and cultural demands does a restructuring place on a region? What role do mergers, innovation, labour mobility, sustainability and so on play in this process?
• In evaluating submissions, the theoretical basis and feasibility of the practical implementation of the research will be considered
• Theses and dissertations must be submitted in Dutch and in English
• Theses and dissertations must be assessed and approved by the educational institution at which the student or PhD candidate studies or has studied
• The papers must have been written after 31 August 2016
• There are no requirements in terms of the length or number of words


• Theses and dissertations must be submitted before 1 September 2019

• Submit theses to: thesis@kremersaward.nl

• A team led by Prof. Dr. Hans Kasper will screen and evaluate the submissions

• A short list will be provided to the jury on 1 October

• The jury will decide the ultimate winner in each category

• The Kremers Awards will be presented in November 2019 (date and location to be announced)


Dr. J. Kremers – Chairman

J.M.G.M. Gelissen – CEO Gelissen Group

Drs. P.J.J.M. Swinkels – former CEO of Bavaria

Ir. J. Zuidam – former member of the Managing Board DSM

Mevrouw I. Gutterswijk-Luiten – President Executive Board Van der Valk Groep

Recommending committee

Drs. Th.J.H.M. Bovens – King’s Commissioner for the Province of Limburg

Prof. Dr. W.B.H.J van de Donk – King’s Commissioner for the Province of Noord-Brabant

Mr. Arent van der Feltz – President of the Executive Board of Open University

Drs. E.C. Meijer – President of the Executive Board of Fontys Universities of Applied Science

Ir. J.H.J. Mengelers – President of the Executive Board of the Technical University Eindhoven

Prof. Dr. M. Paul – President of Maastricht University

Drs. D.J. Pouwels – President of the Executive Board of HAS University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Luc Verburgh – President of the Executive Board of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences


Kremers Award – Stichting Behoud Mijnhistorie

Postbus 203
6040 AE Roermond, Netherlands


your thesis

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