A Cultural Pearl and a Great Place to Live
This central city of over 200,000 people, once known primarily for its large industrial zone, has reinvented itself as a culture and design center and children’s paradise, offering its residents a high quality of life. In 2010, its long-time Mayor Moti Sasson was named by Britain’s Monocle magazine as one of the 10 “freshest movers and shakers in urban politics worldwide.”
Upon being elected in 1993, Sasson vowed to turn the gritty city into a great place to live, and he has kept his word. The city’s infrastructure has been upgraded, educational institutions were renovated and modernized, neighborhood leisure facilities were improved and several new and modern neighborhoods were built.
Holon has also rebranded itself as the Children’s City, a plan that has spurred numerous developments in the city in the realms of education, culture and leisure that have benefited all Holon residents, families in particular.
Despite its advanced age of 75 years, the City of Holon has proven that with vision and commitment, renewal and innovation is possible at any age.
Area and Borders
Holon’s area: 19,200 sq km (4,744 acres).
Holon is on the southeastern border of Tel Aviv. Bat Yam is to its west, Rishon Lezion to its south and Azur to its east.
The main roads leading to Holon are Ayalon Highway (Route 20) and Geha Highway (Route 4).
Aesthetics = Quality of Life
As part of its efforts to improve residents’ quality of life, special attention has been given to cultivating the city’s appearance. Holon abounds with dozens of environmental sculptures by Israel's leading artists scattered across they city's squares, junctions, public institutes, streets and gardens. To visitors, the city may look like a huge outdoor museum. A designated municipal unit deals with planning, designing and installing streetlights, street signs, benches, and announcement boards. The city uses innovative cleaning equipment and sponsors activities for residents to help keep Holon neat and attractive.
Sculptures from leading artists dot the entire city, adding an artistic dimension to Holon’s parks and streets. One of the city’s outstanding attractions is the Story Gardens, a unique sculpture project in which works inspired by beloved Hebrew children's stories were commissioned from top Israeli artists and then placed in green spaces throughout the city.
This ongoing venture - the most recent story garden was opened in 2014 – is a huge hit with both local families and visitors. Holon is one of the greenest cities in Israel; it has over 350 acres of green spaces, with more green areas to be cultivated in the coming years. Some 7,400 trees line the city’s boulevards and streets, and each year 150,000 seasonal flowers are planted. A plan is in the works to turn 100 acres of the sand dunes in the city’s southern regions into a park that will preserve the area’s natural flora and fauna. All these efforts have earned Holon the Council for a Beautiful Israel’s top five-star beauty rating every year for over a decade.
Culture and Design
Holon’s pride is its emergence as a national culture and design center that attracts visitors from all over the country. The wide variety of cultural events and institutions are focused on children and families, aiming to turn the younger generation into a curious, educated, and sophisticated citizenry.
The latest gem, opened in 2010, is Design Museum Holon, which has already been dubbed by the American magazine Conde Nast Traveler as “one of the new wonders of the world.” The museum is a major milestone in the journey to put the discussion and exploration of design on the public agenda, and to incorporate design into the fabric of Holon’s urban life. Design is expected to be one of Israel’s main export industries in the coming years, which is why Holon believes that promoting this field should be a national priority.
Holon’s pride is its emergence as a national culture and design center that attracts visitors from all over the country. The wide variety of cultural events and institutions are focused on children and families, aiming to turn the younger generation into a curious, educated, and sophisticated citizenry. The latest gem, opened in 2010, is Design Museum Holon, which has already been dubbed by the American magazine Conde Nast Traveler as “one of the new wonders of the world.” The museum is a major milestone in the journey to put the discussion and exploration of design on the public agenda, and to incorporate design into the fabric of Holon’s urban life. Design is expected to be one of Israel’s main export industries in the coming years, which is why Holon believes that promoting this field should be a national priority.
Other cultural highlights include the Israel Children’s Museum complex, the Mediatheque Cultural Center, Holon Theatre, the Israeli Cartoon Museum, The Israel Puppet Center, which preserves and promotes an ancient art and is one of the few such institutions in the world; the Steinberg Music Center (a music school for both children and adults) and a cinematheque. The city is home to numerous art galleries, a history museum, sports centers, and one of Israel’s largest and most impressive water parks. In addition, Holon's Digital Art Center operates the unique community-based fabrication laboratory Fab Lab.
Holon also hosts several annual festivals – among them the Adloyada Purim Parade, the Days of Song Festival, the International Puppet Theater Festival, the Women’s Festival and the Sounds of Childhood Festival - that attract participants from all over Israel and around the world.
Quality Education for All Age
Holon believes in the next generation and sees nurturing it as the ultimate investment. The city has thus made education one of its highest priorities, recognizing its importance to both the individual and the community.
Belief in the potential inherent in every person; the need to nurture both the pupils and the educators, scholastic achievement alongside ethical and moral development are some of Holon’s fundamental educational principles.
To achieve these aims, the city operates an advanced and organized educational system led by experienced personnel, and makes a broad investment in pedagogic programs. The city aims to minimize drop-outs, maximize the number of high school graduates and increase the number of youths who matriculate and pursue higher education.
Holon has some 36,000 pupils, aged 2-18, attending nursery and kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and high school in the state, state-religious, and independent streams, as well as in special education frameworks.
The city aspires to meet the educational needs of all its populations, from toddlers to the elderly. A unique center for parents and toddlers, Tip Taf, has been established recently, offering enriching and educative activities for babies and toddlers. The city offers special programs in the school framework and beyond it, while constantly innovating in response to the changing circumstances and population profiles. Local options for higher and continuing education include the Hankin Campus, Beit Ha'akedema’i, Talpiot College and the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT).
A Healthy, Sustainable City
Holon is a signatory to the Treaty for Urban Air Pollution Reduction and Global Climate Protection and is recognized as a healthy, sustainable city.
The city has five "green" educational institutions encouraging children and youth to become involved in environmental activities and care for the environment.
Among the activities initiated by the municipality are waste recycling, public campaigns on how to save water and electricity, promoting green building plans throughout the city, planting trees, paving bicycle paths, setting up municipal fitness corners and more. Much of the city’s newer housing stock has been constructed in accordance with the principles of green building, enabling the inhabitants to save water and electricity and minimize their home heating and cooling outlays. Homes in the planning pipeline will be equipped with additional means for saving electricity costs and preserving natural resources.
The municipality’s Recreation and Entertainment Company has invested heavily in enabling every resident, young and old, to keep fit. The city boasts over 160 sports facilities, including several in residential neighborhoods that put a fun workout, fitness classes and individual or competitive sports in everybody’s reach.
The city even has a therapeutic sports center, which offers the disabled a wide range of specially designed physical training programs to enhance their fitness. A new sports arena, Holon Toto Hall, was opened in Peres Park in 2015, spacious enough to accommodate 5,300 spectators. Holon Toto Hall will host international leagues and tournaments in different types of sports, and will introduce Holon residents to a new concept of sports and leisure.
Business and Employment
The Holon Municipality is committed to a vision of economic prosperity and is actively pursuing development opportunities that will attract businesses and investors and create jobs for its residents.
The Commerce and Industry Administration was established to realize this vision. Its office sits in the Holon Business and Industrial Zone, and it is working to convince commercial and industrial firms that Holon, situated in the middle of the Dan Region, is a great place to do business. Holon’s Business and Industrial Zone, one of Israel's largest industrial areas, already houses a variety of companies, businesses and manufacturers. It is adjacent to several major national arteries, and in the future, the light rail from Tel Aviv to Rishon Lezion will pass through this area.
The Commerce and Industry Administration is renovating and revamping much of the industrial zone, to further improve transportation access, and to build and improve internal roads and sidewalks, green areas, parking areas, signposts and lighting.
A spectacular new recreational center, La Park, is currently under construction and is due to open in spring 2015