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Rural Areas in the Netherlands

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According to the OECD standard, there are no rural areas in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, debate continues about the future of the Dutch countryside. In order to explore how Dutch inhabitants think about rural areas a survey was conducted by the authors, focusing on two topics: the kind of associations respondents to the survey have with respect to rural areas; and where they think rural areas are located in the Netherlands. The analysis shows that respondents’ representations of rurality are mainly formed along visual–figurative dimensions. It was also found that such representations of the rural differ by age of the respondents. Whereas seniors in general have more socio–cultural representations, young people see the countryside mainly as an agricultural production zone.

With regard to the location of rural areas, respondents indicated that ‘genuine’ rural areas are to be found in the periphery of the country: the North. Opinions regarding the location of attractive and unattractive rural areas seem to differ between age groups.
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Keywords: Rural areas; representations; the Netherlands

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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