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Northern Netherlands continue to invest in scientific knowledge about the consequences of population decline

30 June 2020
Prof Bettina Bock (image: Carla Kogelman)
Prof Bettina Bock (image: Carla Kogelman)

Over the next five years, endowed professor Bettina Bock will continue to investigate the opportunities and possibilities for liveability in depopulating areas in the North. The provinces of Groningen, Fryslân and Drenthe make the extension of her chair financially possible. The special chair of Population Decline and Quality of Life for the Northern Netherlands at the University of Groningen was established in 2015 by the Foundation for the Promotion of Spatial Sciences at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences.

The University of Groningen is investigating the differences between regions in terms of prosperity and happiness. In addition, initiatives such as innovations in healthcare with which shrinking areas can be strengthened are being looked at. According to the province of Groningen, professor by special appointment Bettina Bock has helped bring attention to the problem of population decline and quality of life in the past five years, both in the media and in politics. She has also taken the initiative for scientific research in this area.

Population decline

In the Northern Netherlands, the population is decreasing because the inhabitants are getting older and fewer young people are joining. In Groningen there are three declining regions: Eastern Groningen, Eemsdelta and Het Hogeland. In Friesland, the Northeast Fryslân region is a declining region. There are also anticipation regions in Drenthe and Fryslân. These are regions where population decline is expected. This means that the presence of facilities, the housing market, employment and quality of life must be considered.

Cooperation

The three northern provinces have been working together for years to map out the consequences of population decline for the quality of life. They also share knowledge about successful projects with each other. The three provinces are doing this together with the University of Groningen and Hanze University Groningen in the KKNN.

Background information

Prof. ir. Bettina Bock (1960) has since 2015 been the first professor by special appointment in the Netherlands in the field of Population Decline and Quality of Life to put the consequences of population decline on the quality of life on the agenda. She has been a rural sociologist at Wageningen University & Research since 1996, where she was appointed personal professor of inclusive rural development in 2018. Her research focuses on the influence of urbanization on rural development, focusing on marginalized regions and groups. Important themes in her research are citizen participation, entrepreneurship, governance and social and spatial inequality.

Last modified:02 July 2020 09.25 a.m.
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