Population in rural Netherlands shrinks, university cities grow

The population of Laren went down the most. Photo: M.Minderhoud via Wikimedia Commons

The population of Flevoland province and Dutch university cities grew most last year but shrank in 86 of the 342 local authority areas in the Netherlands, according to figures from national statistics agency CBS.

Flevoland has been growing for years, as people move from Amsterdam and other cities to Almere and Lelystad but the birth rate also increased in the Netherlands’ newest province, the CBS figures show.

While the population of Noord and Zuid-Holland, Groningen and Utrecht also rose by more than the average, in Overijssel, Drenthe and Friesland the number of residents rose by a much smaller amount as youngsters left more rural areas and the death rate outstripped live births.

The population went down by the biggest percentage – 19 people per 1,000 – in Laren in Noord Holland, a popular town near Utrecht where the locals are older than average. The picture was similar in nearby Huizen but in the neighbouring municipalities of Blaricum and Eemnes, the population grew because of new housing developments.

Most of the areas where the population shrank are in the Belgian and German border areas.

The CBS said earlier that the total population of the Netherlands had risen by 140,000 people to 17.9 million by the end of December 2023.

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