Ongoing expansion of urban environment

19/04/2006 14:00

The number of people living in an urban area rose from almost 6.3 million in 1998 to more than 6.8 million (41.7 percent of last year’s population) in 2005. Over that same period, the number of people living in rural areas, on the other hand, fell from 6.6 to 6.5 million (40.3 percent last year’s population). In 2005, people living in urban areas outnumbered those living in rural areas.

Inhabitants of urban and rural areas

Inhabitants of urban and rural areas

Rapid growth in areas outside the Randstad

The fastest population growth between 1998 and 2005 was recorded in urban areas in the provinces of Flevoland, North Brabant and Gelderland. With 66 and 63 percent respectively, the largest urban populations in 2005 are found in the provinces of South and North Holland. In the province of Drenthe, by contrast, only 7 in every 100 people are living in an urban environment. In Drenthe, but also in the province of Overijssel, the largest population growth is recorded in areas which are neither urban, nor rural. These so-called transitional areas are mostly found on the edges of towns or larger villages.

Population growth in urban and rural areas, 1998–2005, by province

Population growth in urban and rural areas, 1998–2005, by province

High share of urban population in suburbs surrounding Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague

In urban areas, the population did not change much between 1998 and 2005. In some municipalities, the urban population even diminished. The increase of the urban population is mainly due to expansion of the urban areas on the outskirts of towns. Consequently, areas which fell in the category ‘transitional’ in 1998, like the outskirts of The Hague/Wateringen, Almere and Nieuw-Vennep, were included in the category ‘urban’ in 2005.

Expansion of urban and transitional areas, 1998–2005

Expansion of urban and transitional areas, 1998–2005

Niek van Leeuwen