In 2006, the total area covered by allotment garden plots in the Netherlands was 3,906 hectares, more than 200 hectares less than in 1996. The number of allotment garden areas and visits to these areas also declined.
Total area 5 percent down
Between 1996 and 2006, nearly 600 hectares of allotment garden area got a new destination. More than half were converted into new residential areas and building lots. At the same time, nearly 400 hectares of new allotment area was added, for the most part farmland. The total area covered by allotment garden parcels shrank by more than 200 hectares (5 percent).
Most substantial decline in North and South Holland
In nearly all provinces, more allotment garden sites were liquidated than added, except in the province of Zeeland.
In North and South Holland, the largest area of allotment gardens got a new destination. In the past decades, a lot of new houses were built in and around the big cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Allotment areas, often situated on the outskirts of town, were converted into residential areas.
New allotment garden sites were laid out after urban development had taken place. The total allotment garden area added in the provinces of North and South Holland is vaster than in other provinces.
Liquidations and new areas by province, 1996-2006
Fewer but larger allotment gardens
Between 1996 and 2006, allotment garden areas were reduced in size and number. In 1996, there were nearly 2,250 allotment garden sites, as against 1,984 ten years later.
The average size per site increased from 1.8 hectares in 1996 to 2.0 hectares in 2006. The new allotment sites are often larger and many smaller areas have been liquidated.
More allotment gardens in urbanised areas
In 2006, allotment gardens covered 0.12 percent of the total land area of the Netherlands. They were not evenly spread across the country. Many residents of urbanised areas have no garden of their own and are keener to have an allotment garden than people living in rural areas. North and South Holland, predominantly urban provinces, indeed had the largest area of allotment gardens (more than 0.4 percent).
Share allotment garden sites by province, 2006
Fewer day trips
In addition to the number of allotment gardens the number of visits to allotment gardens has also dropped considerably. The number of day trips to allotment gardens was reduced by half in a decade from 4.1 million in 1996 to 1.9 million in 2006.