Three Countries Park stems from a cross-border spatial planning initiative of
the BeNeLux states around the cities of Maastricht, Hasselt, Aachen and Liège (which
today, together with Heerlen, form the MAHHL network of cities). Back in 1993, the
green heart at the centre of this urban ring was already highlighted as a
‘communal garden’ and attractive landscape park by the spatial perspective of
MHAL as it was then. This was when it was given the name "THREE COUNTRIES
PARK". The aim of the initiative was to ensure that this open space without
borders is sustainably reinforced. A further objective was to develop the urban
structures such that they do not coalesce, but allow the green intervening
spaces and cross-border connections to be preserved.
Almost 10 years later, an Interreg project is emerging from this initiative. Numerous involved parties from the three countries engaged in regional and cross-border workshops between 2001 and 2003 to come up with a development perspective for the Three Countries Park. The partners decided to collaborate on a permanent basis in order to realize this perspective. The Three Countries Park cooperation was born. The Dutch province of Limburg took on the role of project management. It was supported by the general secretariat of the Benelux countries. Projects such as AQUADRA, HABITAT Euregio and the LP3LP project were launched according to the guidelines on collaboration formulated in the development perspective.
In 2011, the Three Countries Park celebrated its 10th anniversary. Following a structural reorientation with the study on “The Future of the Three Countries Parks”, the Euregio Meuse-Rhine took over the project management of 3LP in 2013. Since 2016, a cooperation agreement has formed the basis of the collaboration in four-year phases. Today the Three Countries Park is recognized as a platform for space, nature and landscape in the Euroregion. But the original spatial visions and guiding principles now also determine the cohesion and the activities of the 3LP.
Yet the issues have by no means become obsolete. On the contrary, in times of climate change and European crisis, this kind of cross-border cooperation is more important than ever.
ESPON project LP3LP
Study on space for green infrastructure