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Culture is a key concept in contemporary cultural and economic geography, but geographical research on culture is thus far mainly limited to case studies. To supplement this qualitative approach with a quantitative analysis of cultural causes and effects of geographic phenomena a data set is needed that somehow measures culture. This paper presents an attempt at such a measurement at the spatial scale of Dutch municipalities. Culture as a ‘map for behaviour’ is measured here indirectly, by means of factor analysis. Five dimensions of Dutch regional culture were found in this way: (1) post-materialism; (2) Protestant conservatism; (3) classical individualism; (4) egalitarian anti-conservatism; and (5) dissatisfaction. Although the regional differences in these dimensions are to a considerable extent related to differences in urbanisation, income and education rather than to some historical cultural geography, the measurement is shown to be empirically relevant and can be used in further research on culture in geography.

Keywords: Regional culture; factor analysis; individualism; measurement; post-materialism; the Netherlands

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies (AMIDSt), University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands. s:, Email: l.l.brons@uva.nlorlajos

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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