Does regional decline trigger discontent? Unravelling regional development in the Netherlands

Bram van Vulpen*, Bettina B. Bock, Caspar F. van den Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A new geography of regional decline is signalled as a prominent source of discontent. This study considers regional divides in the Netherlands, and examines what trajectories can be detected in regional development and how these relate to recent regional discontent. Based on quantitative analyses of longitudinal data at the NUTS-3 level, we found a persistence of social and economic inequalities over the last decade(s). Our main result is that evidence for economic decline at the regional scale is limited, and unlikely to account for regional discontent in the Netherlands. Pathways of regional divergence and decline were mostly found in demographic change. Anti-establishment attitudes across Dutch regions were strongly associated with lower income, lower population change and ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-951
JournalRegional studies
Issue number5
Early online date8 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • centre–periphery
  • geography of discontent
  • peripheralisation
  • R1
  • regional development
  • regional inequality
  • urban–rural divide


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