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Promoting Swedish countryside in the Netherlands: International rural place marketing to attract new residents
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2015 (English)In: European Urban and Regional Studies, ISSN 0969-7764, E-ISSN 1461-7145, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 398-415Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Urban-to-rural consumption-led mobility contributes to restructuring stagnating rural areas in Europe. Against this background, this article explores international rural place-marketing efforts by Swedish municipalities towards affluent western European migrants, exemplified by campaigns in the Netherlands. The analysis is based on the concepts of rural place marketing and lifestyle migration. Research methods employed in this article are observation and a survey during migration information meetings, followed by interviews with both stakeholders and migrants. The results suggest that rural municipalities with less favourable or unfavourable geographic conditions are the most actively engaged in international place-marketing efforts. Participation in migration information meetings and the Internet are the most commonly used communication strategies. The engaged municipalities are selective in their consideration of target groups. Attracting even a few of the ‘right type’ of migrants (i.e. families and entrepreneurs from affluent countries) over the course of some years contributes considerably to maintaining a small municipality’s population and economic viability. However, although stakeholders claim that the marketing efforts have been effective and statistics point out that the number of Dutch migrants has increased, it is hard to distinguish the effect of rural place-marketing campaigns from the myriad possibilities for migrants to gather information about potential destination areas. Therefore, regional policy makers may consider shifting their focus to actively receiving potential migrants who are in the final stage of their decision process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 22, no 4, p. 398-415
Keywords [en]
Demographic shrinkage, interviews, rural idyll, rural place marketing, Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-29074DOI: 10.1177/0969776413481370ISI: 000362330300005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84942795313OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-29074DiVA, id: diva2:622098
Note

Funding Agency:

Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG)

Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. There and back again?: Dutch lifestyle migrants moving to rural Sweden in the early 21st century.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>There and back again?: Dutch lifestyle migrants moving to rural Sweden in the early 21st century.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis has a twofold aim. First, it studies motivations and decision processes of Dutch families moving to rural Sweden, with a focus on Hällefors municipality in the Bergslagen area. Second, it explores how this migration flow can be conceptualised within migration theory. The results of the study are presented in four papers.

The migrants’ characteristics are explored using variables from the Bergslagen Database. This is complemented with data from interviews with municipality officials, project leaders and Dutch families in rural Sweden.The theoretical framework consists of literature on counterurbanisation, the creative class thesis and lifestyle migration. The creative class thesis has inspired many rural place marketing projects and efforts to attract the ‘right type’ of people to stimulate rural development. Based on the interview study, I argue that lifestyle migration research offers most apt insights into the act of migration within the wider life trajectories of these Dutch families.

The thesis offers new empirical data that suggest amendments to be made to the academic definition of lifestyle migration. Additional contributions consider the novel geographic direction of the migration flow (northwards), the destination (a deprived area) and the structure framing the decision process; a local authority and its deliberate attempts to attract new residents from abroad. The findings suggest transcending four binaries. First, in the context of an integrating EU, the thesis adds international dimensions to the initial story of internal counterurbanisation. Second, these flexibly mobile families transcend and combine issues of urbanity and rurality through access- facilitating technology and cheap means of long distance transport. Third, this study reiterates the importance of production as a complement to consumption in lifestyle migration research. Finally, the thesis adds dynamic issues of transience to the static permanent-temporary binary of migration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2013. p. 101
Series
Örebro Studies in Human Geography ; 8
Keywords
lifestyle migration, international counterurbanisation, creative class, place marketing, Emigration Expo, Bergslagen Database, interview study, Dutch families, rural Sweden, 21st century
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30756 (URN)978-91-7668-968-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-11-08, Hörsal M, Musikhögskolan, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, 701 82 Örebro, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-09-09 Created: 2013-09-09 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Eimermann, Marco

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