Who is afraid of population decline? The Struggle of Keeping Rural Depopulation on the Dutch Agenda

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The Netherlands is a small, highly urbanised and densely populated country. The distances are short and levels of welfare high. Throughout the 80s and 90s, people were generally satisfied with service levels in rural areas and experienced the rural areas’ quality of life as high. Around 2006, however, the population started to decline in several rural regions. The government responded with the development of two national Action Plans for Population Decline. This paper analyses the national action plans, their content and implementation. It looks into the problem definition and assignment of responsibility, their success in addressing population decline problems, and in keeping depopulation on the political agenda. The paper concludes with some reflections on what we can learn about population decline and related policies based on the experiences in a highly urbanised country like the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-56
Number of pages22
JournalAGER: ournal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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