Matching rural policy and practice has become increasingly difficult. Despite a shift from government to governance, a void is often perceived to exist between policy and practice. This article discusses two hypotheses on the emergence of such a void. The first argues that the void is a result of a process of value differentiation. The second explains the void as a result of a process of depoliticisation. This article examines whether these hypotheses hold true for Dutch rural policy. The analysis shows that though both hypotheses are true for a limited extent, neither succeeds in explaining the changes in Dutch (rural) policy on its own. Instead, it is argued that both are needed for a comprehensive analysis.