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There and back again?: Dutch lifestyle migrants moving to rural Sweden in the early 21st century.
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
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. , 101 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Human Geography, 8
Keyword [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30756ISBN: 978-91-7668-968-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-30756DiVA: diva2:646603
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: 2016-08-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring Dutch migration to rural Sweden: international counterurbanisation in the EU
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Dutch migration to rural Sweden: international counterurbanisation in the EU
2012 (English)In: Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, ISSN 0040-747X, E-ISSN 1467-9663, Vol. 103, no 3, 330-346 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores whether the concept of counterurbanisation, expanded with an international dimension, offers a valuable framework for understanding recent migration flows from the Netherlands to Sweden. Using a geo-referenced database comprising demographic and socio-economic variables, the post-migration employment status, employment sector and settlement location of Dutch migrants in Central Sweden are analysed. In addition, results from observation, interviews and a survey during emigration fairs are employed to describe the motives for migration from the Netherlands to Central Sweden. We argue that counterurbanisation is not an exhausted research topic, when international political, economic and socio-cultural factors are added to the study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012
Keyword
international counterurbanisation, Central Sweden, database, interviews, Dutch migration
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-24185 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9663.2011.00696.x (DOI)000305124000005 ()
Available from: 2012-08-01 Created: 2012-08-01 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved
2. Promoting Swedish countryside in the Netherlands: International rural place marketing to attract new residents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting Swedish countryside in the Netherlands: International rural place marketing to attract new residents
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
Sage Publications, 2015
Keyword
Demographic shrinkage, interviews, rural idyll, rural place marketing, Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-29074 (URN)10.1177/0969776413481370 (DOI)000362330300005 ()2-s2.0-84942795313 (ScopusID)
Note

Funding Agency:

Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG)

Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved
3. Lifestyle migration to the North: Dutch families and the decision to move to rural Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lifestyle migration to the North: Dutch families and the decision to move to rural Sweden
2015 (English)In: Population, Space and Place, ISSN 1544-8452, E-ISSN 1544-8452, Vol. 21, no 1, 68-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lifestyle migration is part of an ongoing quest for a better way of life. More or less affluent migrants moving to a destination with a perceived better climate are studied in the context of social rather than economic motivations. This paper focuses on Dutch families and their decision to move to the rural municipality of Hällefors in the Bergslagen area, Sweden. Such a Nordic destination, actively attracting migrants, has not previously been investigated in the context of lifestyle migration. The purpose of the paper is to examine what factors contribute to the decision to move. The research questions are the following: what are the socio-demographic characteristics of the migrating families? What meanings do the migrants attach to their work environments and places of residence prior to moving? What motivations and expectations have shaped the decision to move? These questions are addressed through an interview study. Results show that the adult family members were mainly born in the late 1950s or in the 1960s. The children were born in the 1990s and early 21st century. According to most respondents, effects of overpopulation and rapid urbanisation, both felt on the work floor and in the living environment, became a serious trigger to leave the Netherlands. Differences between the families consider the character of occupations (within or outside the creative industries) and the length of the decision process. In contrast to some other lifestyle migrant populations, families in this study considered returning as part of their ongoing quest.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
Keyword
lifestyle migration; Dutch migration; rural Sweden; interview study; decision process
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30168 (URN)10.1002/psp.1807 (DOI)000347706100005 ()
Available from: 2013-08-12 Created: 2013-08-12 Last updated: 2015-02-13Bibliographically approved
4. “I Felt Confined”: narratives of ambivalence among Dutch lifestyle migrants in rural Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“I Felt Confined”: narratives of ambivalence among Dutch lifestyle migrants in rural Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Within the context of lifestyle migration, this chapter describes and analyses the motives of a group of affluent Western migrants in the rural Swedish municipality of Hällefors...

...The Dutch seem to prefer rural and sparsely populated areas over urban areas (Eimermann et al. 2012).Against this background, the study at hand focuses in particular on one rural Swedish municipality: Hällefors. The aim of this chapter is to examine the migration process of Dutch lifestyle migrants in Hällefors and their ambivalent attitudes towards returning, and thereby to give voice to the hope, pain, nostalgia, and triumph of lives lived in other places (King et al.1995). Consequently, the empirical question is as follows: “After migrating to Hällefors, what influences the Dutch households’ attitude towards returning?” This question is addressed through narratives of Dutch migrant households, gathered during fieldwork in 2011.

National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32231 (URN)
Note

This paper is published http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100686

The fieldwork for this study was funded by the Swedish Society forAnthropology and Geography (SSAG; Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi). Iam grateful for the hospitality and enthusiasm of the migrants who participated in this study.Many thanks go to commentators on previous drafts, especially to Associate Professor IreneMolina (Uppsala University).

Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2013-11-04 Last updated: 2015-03-06Bibliographically approved

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