Last updated: October 22, 2019

RCE Oldenburger Münsterland

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Rce details
Date of RCE acknowledgement:
December, 2009
Description of RCE and Geographic Region:

RCE Oldenburger Münsterland is a registered association lead by a board of four equitable members. RCE Oldenburger Münsterland understand its role as a networking institution. Therefore the RCE realize network meetings regularly. As a legal organization RCE OM support and foster the network partners to apply for funds or to run projects.

The districts Cloppenburg  and Vechta are located in the northern part of Germany. Both districts belong to Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and together comprise the “Oldenburger Münsterland”.

The region Oldenburger Münsterland has evolved from the districts of Cloppenburg and Vechta over six hundred years of shared culture and history. The religious links to the Westphalian centre of Münster, coupled with the political and administrative links to Oldenburg has not only given the region its name but has also shaped its identity. This strong regional identity is to be preserved and supported.


The Bishop of Münster acquired the former county of Ravensberg/Vechta as early as 1252. At the end of the 14th century, the Münster lord conquered the Tecklenburg Office of Cloppenburg and annexed it to the Münster bishopric. This coupled the two offices, which belonged to “Niederstift Münster” from that time.

The term Oldenburger Münsterland thus describes the shared history of the districts of Cloppenburg and Vechta in the Münster bishopric, dating from 1400, belonging to the state of Oldenburg after the power change of 1803.

The Oldenburger Münsterland represents a “unity in partnership” of the two districts Cloppenburg und Vechta. Maintaining such a unity in a rapidly changing Europe can be seen as a considerable challenge. It involves acknowledging historically determined relations, as well as the unique way of life of the region’s citizens. It demands a consideration of the values of a dignified life, but also of local resources, of environmental change, and of public welfare. Precisely such considerations lead to a resistance to developments which alienate the local citizens in their own surroundings.

The Oldenburger Münsterland in the centre of North-Western Germany became a boom-region in Lower Saxony in the 1990s. Since 1994, the intensive livestock farming has increased by 62%, and the service sector by 63%. The industrial turnover has grown by 48% to more than 6.5 billion euros since 1997, the export quota by 137%. The main lines of industry are food and luxury foodstuffs with a share of 49% of the industrial turnover, followed by plastic processing with a share of 14%. Further key industries are mechanical engineering and plant manufacturing in the sector of agriculture and the construction. Dominating company structures are medium-sized businesses with a high performance flexibility and staff identification. These main lines of industry offer “complete solutions” from one region for the world market. 

The population figures have risen sharply in the predominantly Catholic-shaped administrative districts Cloppenburg and Vechta during past years. More than 290,000 citizens currently live in the Oldenburger Münsterland. In the administrative district Cloppenburg the population has increased by about approximately 30% since 1990, in the administrative district Vechta by approximately 26%. This rapid increase is primarily due to two trends: immigration from Eastern Europe of people with German roots, and a steadily increasing birth rate. Cloppenburg is the administrative district with the lowest average age in Germany, according to official statistics. 35% of the population is younger than 26 years. The number of migrants from the former Soviet Union is not officially known, but estimated as between 13% and 20% of the population. This population surge can arguably be put down to a healthy employment market. The current unemployment rate is below 3%, compared to 20% during the 1970s when the region was informally known as the “poorhouse of Germany”.

The districts of Vechta and Cloppenburg are predominantly agricultural. 70% of the area is used by agriculture including much live-stock farming. On average 274 million fowl, 795 million pigs and 277000 bovine animals are reared every year in the administrative districts. Such intensive agriculture is not without environmental protection issues.

Goals and Objectives:


The vision of RCE “Oldenburger Münsterland” is to build a regional network for public and private institutions in the field of education and youth work to cooperate, research, discuss, support and develop Sustainable Development activities together so that the groundwork will be laid for an educational region Oldenburger Münsterland towards Sustainable Development. We wish to encourage the citizens and political representatives of the Oldenburger Münsterland region to think globally, and to coordinate their activities at a regional level according to the 17 SDGs.

The RCE vision is to form Oldenburger Münsterland to an ESD Region with following issues:

  • Responsible citizenship and civil courage
  • The region’s identification with the ideas of the RCE Oldenburger Münsterland
  • Young people’s identification with the ideas of the RCE Oldenburger Münsterland
  • Social, ecological, economic and cultural awareness of ESD

Goals and objectives:

“Although many Sustainable Development initiatives have been undertaken in our region, there remains a lack of awareness of the global impact of local activities. This represents a huge challenge for rural areas such as the Oldenburger Münsterland, because activities in such areas are often not the focus of international discourses or national projects. Improving Sustainable Development in the Oldenburger Münsterland is not a question of establishing new ESD projects, but rather consolidating existing capacities: networking resources, evaluating projects, and consciousness-raising amongst citizens, to strengthen the commitment to Sustainable Development.”

Long-term objectives – local activities in global responsibility (2015-2025)

  • Lowering traffic accident rates
  • Developing support structures for young families
  • Decrease of youth offending rates
  • Improving integration of young people from migration families
  • Decreasing of the number of young people dropping out of school
  • Publishing regular regional annual youth reports
  • Improving youth employment and the transition from school to work
  • Developing school programs in accordance with ESD
  • Focussing the discount concept of Schutzengel project in line with ideas of sustainable consumption patterns and Sustainable Development

These long-term objectives are planned for the next decade and focussing the awareness of 17 SDGs.

Organisation Hosting RCE Secretariat:

RCE Oldenburger Münsterland – Kompetenzzentrum für Bildung zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung e.V.

Key Partners:

University of Vechta
Role: Research project partner
Main Contact:

Oldenburgische Landesbank
Role: Member of the board
Main Contact:

District of Vechta
Role: Founding member
Main Contact:

District of Cloppenburg
Role: Founding member
Main Contact:

Current Activities:
Upcoming Activities:
  • RCE OM is a registered association: Our activities on becoming a legal institution are finished, we are now an registered association
  • RCE Oldenburger Münsterland is acknowledged as a stakeholder for ESD in Germany by the German Commission of UNESCO
  • We finished the ERASMUS-Project "ACEWild" on outdoor learning curriculum successfully
  • We started an ERASMUS-project "MetESD" on TVET curriculum development
  • We are part of the ERASMUS-Project "CASE" on developing a curricula on ESD for higher education
  • Our youth report project (we got the RCE Award in 2014) now published the results in a book edited by Prof. Dr. Margit Stein, University of Vechta
  • We further support regional projects on the issues: sustainable and healthy food production, SoLawi Donstorf
Communication Channels
Facebook page:
Twitter handle:
YouTube page:
Contact Details
Main RCE Contact:
Detlev Lindau-Bank
Secondary RCE Contact:
Lukas Scherak
RCE Youth Coordinator(s):
General RCE email:
RCE mailing address for correspondence: