Dealing with the loss of the village supermarket: The perceived effects two years after closure

Tialda Haartsen*, Joost Gieling

*Corresponding author for this work

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In 2015, the local supermarket of the depopulating village of Ulrum closed its doors. After a first survey around the closure, a second survey was conducted two years later, to investigate changes in the different meanings of the local supermarket and the perceived effects of its closure over time. The results show that respondents state that the liveability and status of the village have decreased because of the loss of the supermarket. This strongly relates to the symbolic and village level meanings of the supermarket: A village ‘needs’ a supermarket for the villages’ status and as a place to do groceries, and people feel that a village without a supermarket is a village without a heart. The article concludes by alleging that the symbolic meaning of facilities plays an important role in explaining the perceived effects of the loss of the local supermarket.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-577
Number of pages17
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2021


  • liveability
  • nostalgia
  • place change
  • rural services and facilities
  • senses of loss

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