Race/Ethnicity in Visual Imagery of Dutch Nature Conservation Organizations

M.E. Kloek*, B.H.M. Elands, M.G.C. Schouten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nature conservation organizations in various Western countries, including the Netherlands, have noted that racial/ethnic minorities compared to Whites are “underparticipating” in recreation in natural areas and in nature conservation practices. Previous research trying to explain (under-)participation by racial/ethnic minorities in outdoor recreation and nature conservation mainly focused on characteristics of racial/ethnic groups. This study argues that nature conservation organizations themselves—although in all likelihood unintentionally—may play a role in participation of racial/ethnic minorities as well, through their promotional material. A content analysis of 22,974 pictures in magazines and on websites of four large Dutch nature conservation organizations shows that only 3.8% of the depicted people were non-White. Our results indicate that visual imagery of nature conservation organizations, at least in the Netherlands, (re)produces an image of outdoor recreation and nature conservation as being activities almost exclusively performed by Whites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1048
JournalSociety & Natural Resources
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • content analysis
  • immigrants
  • people of color
  • promotional material
  • representations
  • the Netherlands

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