There were 2,026 residential nuclei in the Netherlands in 2001. The Groot-Amsterdam agglomeration was the largest, with more than 975 thousand inhabitants, Terhofstede was the smallest, counting only 32 inhabitants.
Ninety percent of the Dutch population lives in these residential nuclei. They account for 10 percent of the land area of the Netherlands.
More than one nucleus in most municipalities
As a result of the many - often large-scale - municipal redivisions, most municipalities in the Netherlands have more than one residential nucleus. The municipality Schouwen-Duiveland even has as many as 21.
Residential nuclei may extend to more than one municipality. The largest nucleus is the built-up area in and around Amsterdam. The other two large nuclei are Groot-Rotterdam with 794 thousand inhabitants and Groot-Den Haag with 720 thousand inhabitants.
Residential nuclei in the Randstad by number of inhabitants
One sixth of the population live in large agglomerations
64 percent of the nuclei are small, i.e. they have fewer than 2 thousand inhabitants. There are 1,782 rural nuclei (fewer than 10 thousand inhabitants), accounting for 22 percent of the population, while 17 percent of the population live in the three large agglomerations around Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
Smaller households in larger agglomerations
Households living in the smaller residential nuclei are larger on average than those in the large urban centres ((10 thousand inhabitants or more) and the largest agglomerations. The number of one-person households rises from nearly a quarter in nuclei with fewer than 20 thousand inhabitants to nearly half in the three largest agglomerations.
Household size by category of residential nucleus, 2001
Services sector dominant in larger nuclei
The proportion of workers in manufacturing and in the services sector also differs with the size of the residential nucleus. In the three large agglomerations 87 percent of the employed labour force work in the services sector. In rural residential nuclei with fewer than 2 thousand inhabitants this is only 70 percent. Agriculture is a relatively large sector in these small nuclei.
Employed labour force by economic sector by category of residential nucleus, 2001
Niek van Leeuwen