Detmold (Germany)

Detmold is the capital of culture in the Teutoburg Forest area. The municipality is home to 75,000 inhabitants from around 120 nations. Detmold is the economic centre of Lippe, housing several medium-sized businesses, including national and global companies in the electrical  and chemical industry, service providers, Europe’s biggest producer of shoes and many more.

It is no wonder that Detmold holds this "capital of culture" title, given its broad cultural programme spanning a European Streets Theatre Festival and European Market, as well as a theatre culture, regional museum, open air museum, and Academy of Music.  Detmold is part of national and international networks and organises meetings, conferences and  exchanges with its five twin towns and other European cities.

Detmold adopted a sustainable development strategy in 2021, which focuses on six central topics relating to all three pillars of sustainability; the strategy will be reviewed and updated every two years. The first updating process started in March 2023, where the strategy will be completed by more areas of focus.

Sustainability focus: transparent and smart planning

Detmold is in the process of implementing its sustainability strategy, and transparent and smart planning are at the centre of it. In order to raise awareness and to implement sustainable thinking within the administration and the political decision-taking process, Detmold introduced two instruments for more transparency: the Sustainability check for decision-taking and Sustainability budget.

By means of these instruments, Detmold can really integrate the SDGs and their individual sustainability goals into their daily work. The sustainability check makes the impact of an envisaged decision making visible and transparent. Each proposal for a decision-taking needs to be checked with regard to its impact (positive, negative or neutral) on Detmold’s sustainability goals.  The Detmold sustainability budget makes it more visible for politicians and citizens how much and what for public money is spent. The first complete and interactive sustainability budget was set up for 2023 by linking the central topics of the sustainability strategy with the products of the municipal budget. In the context of the project  « Administration 2.030 » Detmold started to further develop the sustainability budget in a new structure  by forming « global budgets » for each central topic of the sustainability strategy.

Becoming a "Smart City" is a clear priority for Detmold, whose aim is to use digitalisation as a tool to help reach sustainability goals. Their priority is including all locals in the process of dco-eveloping the city's Smart City agenda together.  Citizen input into the Sustainability Strategy showed that the population want access to open data on climate and the environment. The Detmold sustainability strategy addresses this point by committing that by 2025 "available environmental data will be collected and made available in a low-threshold and digital form".  Open access to sustainability data should enable citizens to better track progress and developments in the field of sustainability, and allow the city to better respond to citizens’ needs.

The need to knows


  • FAIR-TRADE-Town 2018
  • Active member of Eurotowns and its task teams (TT Sustainable Industries, TT SDG, TT  Culture)
  • Title “Community active in Europe"
  • Award of the University of Administrative Sciences for innovative administration - active member of network “Agile Management"
  • Title “Global Sustainable City" 2021
  • Detmold is part of the Federal funding program “Smart Cities"

What the city has to say

Every day we talk about finance, education, culture, environment, social, and many other topics and  everywhere, there is a lot to do. But there is a common goal above all of this: As the city of Detmold let's  use our resources to treat our planet gently and cautiously. Sustainability succeeds only if small actions  are taken to achieve something big. This is not possible for one person or organisation alone, but only  together.

- Frank Hilker, Mayor of Detmold

ICLEI and Detmold

The city joined ICLEI in early 2022. By getting involved in the ICLEI network, Detmold would like to learn from and get in touch with fellow ICLEI Members on sustainable development policy, to drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. For Detmold, global exchange is always helpful and it is already in itself a measure towards sustainability.

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