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ResearchUrban and Regional Studies InstituteResearch projects

Primary schools and population decline

Principal Researcher

dr. T. Haartsen


During the past few years, the Dutch education system has been confronted with a sharp decline in the number of pupils. Especially in rural villages, inhabitants fear for the closure of their local primary school, which is perceived as a very negative development for local village life. The relative decrease in pupils will almost be as strong in future depopulating (Anticipeer) regions as in present day declining (Topkrimp) regions. Inhabitants, but especially local policymakers, are afraid that the disappearance of primary schools will have negative impact on the communities and on the liveability of villages. I state that long term effects of school closures on local society are not as devastating as often perceived. Local and regional policymakers, and school boards, should look beyond the temporary emotions of disappearing facilities and deal more efficiently with school closures.


Last modified:01 November 2019 10.19 a.m.