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The origins of Dutch rural planning: a study of the early history of land consolidation in the Netherlands

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This article explores the institutional and organizational foundations of rural planning in the Netherlands. The key objective of the study was to understand the background to and determining factors in the development of land consolidation (ruilverkaveling) as an instrument of rural planning. Dutch rural planning, as a constituent part of spatial planning in the Netherlands, developed quite separately from urban planning. This article traces the roots of this separate development back to the period 1890-1940. At the end of the nineteenth century, reformist liberals argued for a legislative framework for the rational reallocation of land parcels to consolidate fragmented land holdings. The early initiatives came to nothing because of the prevailing rigid distinction between public and private interests. The First World War changed this situation. The decline in world trade forced the government to make the national economy more self-sufficient. Land consolidation was embraced as a means for supporting the agricultural sector by improving land drainage and bringing land into cultivation. From the beginning of the 1930s agricultural politics and rural planning grew closer together, and took off rapidly in the post-war decades.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Land Use Planning Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, Netherlands

Publication date: 01 October 2008

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