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Wilhelmshaven-Siebethsburg „Garden town“

(Lower Saxony)

Target group-orientated development of a cooperative residential neighbourhood

In the listed garden town settlement of Siebethsburg in Wilhelmshaven, which is close to the inner-city, the housing cooperative as owner of the residential buildings has undertaken extensive upgrading measures to the buildings and the living environment. Part of this investment is concentrated on the housing situation of older people with the aim of helping the residents to live in the apartments for as long as possible. Apartments suitable for the elderly, a day care centre for dementia patients, an out-patient nursing facility and a meeting centre with a variety of offers for older people all belong to the diverse opportunities in the neighbourhood.

This project has been put into the archive. The project details will not be updated anymore.


Blick auf ein Gebäude zur TagespflegeSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

The North Sea city of Wilhelmshaven (population 82,000) has recorded falls in the number of inhabitants since the 1970s because of the economic structural change and the withdrawal of the military, which totalled more than 8 % in the last two decades. These falls in population numbers have been felt in three residential neighbourhoods in the form of inner-city losses of functions. One of these residential neighbourhoods is the listed settlement of Siebethsburg, which was built between 1904 and 1939 on the northern fringe of the inner-city as a garden town. The settlement, described as an inner-city jewel, with approx. 3,000 residential units, is owned by a housing cooperative – Bauverein Rüstringen e.G. – and faces the challenge of existing with small apartments, unfavourable floor plans and deficits in fittings and fixtures in a weakened rented housing market.

Project description

Luftbildaufnahme des Stadtteils vor der SanierungSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

The listed garden town settlement Siebethsburg in Wilhelmshaven with approx. 3,000 residential units is characterised by a very high proportion, 40 %, of people older than 65. The owner of the apartments, Bauverein Rüstringen e.G., has identified this user group as potential in a weakened rented housing market. The company's aim is to create the structural and infrastructural requirements for allowing elderly people to remain in their apartments for as long as possible.

One important investment was the redevelopment of a collection of buildings to the requirements of a day care centre with associated welfare centre and apartments suitable for the elderly. The welfare centre could be integrated into the building complex through the redevelopment of a former janitor apartment. The Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB) provides expert advice in the area of nursing, care, offers support and coordinates its inpatient care services here.

A day care centre as a partial inpatient facility for looking after Alzheimer and dementia patients completes the inpatient service. The day care centre represents an alternative to a nursing home and allows older people to remain in their own apartment and their own living environment for longer. The day patients are collected by ambulance and at the end of the day are driven back to their apartments. In addition, fifteen 60m² apartments have been renovated with disabled-appropriate and disabled-friendly designs in the main building of the complex. Additional services in the medical, nursing and budgetary area in the form of "Sheltered housing", can also be selected freely. In addition, there is a close connection to the welfare centre.

Typische Bebauung mit Garten im StadtteilSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

Furthermore, apartments are available here for short-term or night care, i.e. people can be looked after here who, for example, are not yet able to return to their own apartment after a stay in hospital. In addition, the building's outdoor facilities have been redesigned and high quality shelter has been created. The entire project has been implemented as a partnership between the housing cooperative Bauverein Rüstringen eG and Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB). The housing company is responsible for the redevelopment and letting, and ASB is responsible for running and technical management of the welfare facilities. Six jobs were created within the framework of the day care centre, and the welfare centre employs 15 people.

Another important addition to the range on offer to older people was the expansion of the meeting place, which provides many varied leisure opportunities for this target group.

Project chronology

2001Preparatory inspections
2002Inclusion of Wilhelmshaven in the ExWoSt research project Stadtumbau West
2003Redevelopment of a group of buildings into a day care centre and a welfare centre
2004Gradual conversion of 15 apartments into disabled-appropriate and disabled-friendly apartments
2005Completion of the "Treff auf Siebethsburg" meeting place


Betreutes Wohnen - junger Mann im Gespräch mit einer älteren DameSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

  • To involve older people in their residential neighbourhood
  • To extend the period older people are able to remain in their apartments
  • To increase the housing satisfaction of older people
  • To improve the outpatient care and support services in the neighbourhood
  • To promote encounters between older people in the neighbourhood
  • To strengthen the cooperation between housing companies and elderly care facilities

Types of measures

Neu gestaltete FreiflächeSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

  • Redevelopment of parts of a building previously used as common facilities into a day care centre
  • Disabled-appropriate and disabled-friendly conversion of apartments
  • Adjustment of the living environment to the needs of older people
  • Expansion of a meeting place


Blick aus der Vogelperspektive auf sanierte GebäudeSource: Bauverein Rüstringen e.G.

In a housing market characterised by falling demand, the housing cooperative Bauverein Rüstringen e.G. is pursuing a consistent strategy of orienting itself towards older people as target groups. By expanding the housing supply and services offered to older people, the cooperative has succeeded in developing the neighbourhood into a "Full-Service" location for older people. The close cooperation between the housing company and elderly care organisations has been shown to be a requirement for this service approach and for the enhanced quality of life in this urban district. By means of tailored selections of one-off redevelopment measures and permanent housing and services measures, the older residents are helped to remain living in their apartments for as long as possible.


Blick auf sanierte GebäudeSource: Stadt Wilhelmshaven

  • City of Wilhelmshaven: Final report of the ExWoSt research project Stadtumbau West 2002 – 2007 (unpublished)
  • ExWoSt Research Project Stadtumbau West: Locally based health services. Wilhelmshaven-Siebethsburg: Day care centre for Alzheimer and dementia patients, welfare centre, short-term care, PDF, 1.4 MB: Pilotstadt Wilhelmshaven

Further information

  • Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (Hrsg.) (published by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning): Stadtumbau West. Stadtumbau in 16 Pilotstädten – Bilanz im ExWoSt-Forschungsfeld Stadtumbau West (Urban Regeneration West. Urban Regeneration in 16 pilot cities) ed. 2008. Berlin/Oldenburg 2008.

Poject site on Google-Maps: Wilhelmshaven - Siebethsburg "Gartenstadt"

The projekt site ist to be found at postal code: 26386 - town: Wilhelmshaven - street: Papingastraße.

Last update: 05.03.2018

Additional Information


  • Frank Menzel, Bauverein Rüstringen eG, Störtebeker Strasse 1, 26386 Wilhelmshaven, Tel.: 04421/3692-0, Email:
  • Bundestransferstelle Stadtumbau West, FORUM Huebner, Karsten & Partner, Erste Schlachtpforte / Schlachte 1, 28195 Bremen, Tel.: 0421 / 696 777-0, Email:

Record inserted on 17.07.2009 by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).

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