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Promoting Swedish countryside in the Netherlands: International rural place marketing to attract new residents
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography. (Arcum)
2015 (English)In: European Urban and Regional Studies, ISSN 0969-7764, E-ISSN 1461-7145, Vol. 22, no 4, 398-415 p.Article 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
2015. Vol. 22, no 4, 398-415 p.
Keyword [en]
Demographic shrinkage, interviews, rural idyll, rural place marketing, Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125410DOI: 10.1177/0969776413481370OAI: diva2:967889
Available from: 2016-09-09 Created: 2016-09-09 Last updated: 2016-09-20

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