Evaluation of the vitality of the Dutch countryside and its small settlements

The vitality of the Dutch countryside is considered to be at stake by many. This is one of the reasons that the relatively strict spatial planning regulations regarding urban developments in the Dutch countryside are relieved in the new National Spatial Strategy (Nota Ruimte). As part of the evaluation of this strategy a quantitative analysis was made of the vitality of the Dutch countryside and its small settlements.

This study made use of detailed socio-economic geographical data and advanced spatial analysis methods in GIS and delivered::

  • a working definition of small settlements as (a cluster) of built-up areas with less than 2.000 houses.
  • a selection of relevant socio-economic indicators that capture part of the essence of rural vitality in 1996 and 2000.
  • a comparison of these vitality-measures for different sizes of settlements, different periods (1996-2000) and different regions (5 case study areas).

In our evaluation we conclude that:

  • The amount of houses in small settlements on average increased faster than for the Netherlands as a whole.
  • The selected socio-economic indicators (jobs, demography, facilities like shops, bank, etc.) show that small settlements developed similar to the national trend in the 1996-2000 period.
  • The negative exceptions to this rule are especially observed in the smallest settlements.
  • The decline in agricultural employment is generally compensated by growth in other sectors.

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Publications related to Rural Vitality
full paper available from ESB website Slaakweg, A., Daalhuizen, F., Koomen, E., De economische vitaliteit van kleine kernen, Economisch Statistische Berichten (ESB), 100 (4701), pp.20-23, 2015.
Remarks: A Dutch national newspaper summarised part of the results almost correctly in a short article
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Kennedy, E., Comparing valuation methods for ecosystem services in Amstelland; Applying ecosystem service valuation methods to evaluate land-use changes, Bachelor thesis Earth and Economics, VU University Amsterdam, 2014.
Remarks: Evaluated: 1 July 2014
– Supervisor: Koomen, E.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Slaakweg, A., Vitaliteit van het Nederlandse platteland; Een Kwantitatieve analyse van de verandering in vitaliteit op het Platteland tussen 2000 en 2010, Bachelor thesis Earth and Economics, VU University Amsterdam, 2014.
Remarks: Evaluated: 1 July 2014
– Supervisor: Koomen, E.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Turcanu, Laura, Rural Vitality in the Netherlands, Master thesis Spatial Economics, VU University, Amsterdam, 2012.
Remarks: Supervisor: Koomen, E.
FEWEB Research Memorandum Koomen, E., Indicators of rural vitality: a GIS-based quantitative analysis of socio-economic development of the rural Netherlands, Research Memorandum 2011-50, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 2011.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Walda, H., De invloed van ruimtelijke factoren op krimpregio’s, Bachelor thesis Earth & Economics, VU University, Amsterdam, 2011.
Remarks: Supervisor: Koomen, E.
TESG Van Rij, E., Koomen, E., Analysing the rural vitality argument for residential development: linking discourses and actual spatial developments, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 101 (5), pp.583-595, 2010.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Koomen, E., van Wilgenburg, R., Platteland en kleine kernen verrassend vitaal; kwantitatieve analyse van de sociaal-economische veranderingen van ruraal Nederland, in: Schrijnen, P.M. (eds.), Nieuwe economie nieuwe ruimte, nieuwe ruimte nieuwe economie; bijdragen aan de PlanDag 2006, 2006.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Smaal, P., van den Heuvel, J., Koomen, E., van Wilgenburg, R., Vitaal platteland, vitale kleine kernen; evaluatie in het kader van de Nota Ruimte – hoofdrapport, Echt, 2005.
apppdf.gif (189 bytes) Smaal, P., van den Heuvel, J., Koomen, E., van Wilgenburg, R., Vitaal platteland, vitale kleine kernen Achtergrondrapport bij de evaluatie in het kader van de Nota Ruimte, Echt, 2005.