Population growth high in regions attractive for Dutch as well as foreigners

In the period 2005–2010, the Dutch population grew by 269 thousand, i.e. 1.6 percent. The population growth mainly occurred in the northern Randstad region and in regions around the cities of Zwolle, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Amersfoort, Assen and Groningen. In various border regions, population growth is stagnating or even declining.

Population growth, 2005-2010

Population growth, 2005- 2010

Population growth in northern Randstad region

In recent years, there was considerable population growth in the northern part of the Randstad and in regions in the provinces of Overijssel, Drenthe and Gelderland including cities like Assen, Zwolle, Deventer, Arnhem and Nijmegen. In the northern part of the Randstad, the population increased in the cities as well as in the surrounding areas. The population in the city of Utrecht has grown by more than 30 thousand since 2005, but the population also increased noticeably in smaller towns like Bunnik, Houten and Amersfoort. Amsterdam’s population grew by 25 thousand, but in the Amsterdam region, the population also increased substantially in Amstelveen, Haarlemmermeer and Aalsmeer.

Attractive for immigrants and domestic migrants

Growth areas attract foreign immigrants as well as people from other parts of the Netherlands. Growth areas attracting foreigners and people from other parts of the Netherlands have a so-called double attractiveness <<3263k1.doc>> and, with 3.5 percent, had by far the largest population growth. This also applied to regions in the northern part of the Randstad, for The Hague and surrounding areas and for Groningen and surrounding areas.

Population growth in growth areas in Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland is solely due to domestic migration. These areas were obviously not attractive to foreign immigrants.

Attractiveness by net migration 2005-2010

Attractiveness by net migration 2005-2010

Areas of population decline have no magnetic effect

In border areas with population decline, residents move to growth areas elsewhere in the Netherlands and abroad. This applies in particular to regions like Oost-Groningen, Twente, the Achterhoek and the southern part of Limburg. Apparently, the area enclosed by the Rijnmond (with Rotterdam) through the Betuwe to the north of North Brabant also is not an attractive region to settle. The population in these regions is shrinking as the number of people leaving these regions to settle elsewhere in the Netherlands or abroad is larger than the number of immigrants.

Jan Latten, Niels Kooiman