Cities eating up farms

04/07/2006 14:00

The number of agricultural businesses in the Netherlands fell by 16 thousand in the period 2000–2005, to just over 81 thousand. The number of farms has dropped particularly sharply around the large cities. Suburbanisation is a main cause of this. In less urban areas, the number of agricultural businesses is diminishing mainly because small farmers stop farming.

Suburbanisation continues

Cities are expanding around their edges, at the expense of green buffer zones. As a result many farms are disappearing in neighbourhoods near the cities in particular. These neighbourhoods are mainly in the outer areas of urban municipalities. In suburban municipalities the number of farms halved between 2000 and 2005.

Neighbourhoods with strong fall in agricultural businesses

Neighbourhoods with strong fall in agricultural businesses

Fewer farms in urban neighbourhoods

The number of farms decreased in half of the 500 urban neighbourhoods with agriculture, while it increased in only 5 percent of these neighbourhoods. In non-urban neighbourhoods with agriculture the number of farms fell by much less. The more urban a neighbourhood is, the larger the decrease in the number of farms.

Six municipalities now have no farms at all

All the remaining farms in municipalities Krimpen a/d IJssel and Rozenburg disappeared in 2005. This had already happened in Rozendaal, Zandvoort, Bennebroek and on the island Vlieland. The number of farms in The Hague and Utrecht fell by one third, in Rotterdam by 27 percent. In 2000 every municipality in the Netherlands had at least one farm within its borders.

Number of agri-/horticultural businesses in Westland per neighbourhood

Number of agri-/horticultural businesses in Westland per neighbourhood

Largest fall in Westland

Westland is the municipality with the most agricultural and horticultural businesses in the Netherlands. The fall was largest in this municipality: by 400 businesses. There are neighbourhoods in Westland where the number of businesses is still growing, such as De Lier. These are mostly glasshouse horticulture businesses. The neighbourhoods are in rural areas, near Midden-Delfland municipality. 

Bert Raets