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Research Projects

The Orange Wave. Dutch migrants in rural Sweden in the early 21st Century; examples from the Bergslagen Area

About this project

About this project

Project information

Projekt Status

Started in 2007


Mats Lundmark

Research Subject

Research environments

The purpose of the project is to explore migration from the Netherlands to rural Sweden in the early 21st century.

The research area is Bergslagen, where forestry, iron and steel industry prevailed until the end of the 20th century. Located rather centrally in Sweden but consisting of small industrial towns in sparsely populated areas, population is decreasing and employment opportunities are few.

Based on descriptive statistics available from the Bergslagen Database (BeDa), some characteristics of 696 Dutch living in the area can be identified. We divided this group into cohorts depending on latest year of settlement in Bergslagen. Most focus lies on the latest cohort, which arrived after the turn of the century. This cohort is compared to German migrants and the local population. Basically, Dutch movers who settled from the year 2000 onwards are families composed of adults aged 26-45 years with children under 18 living at home. The adults have a high and (to a lesser extent) medium level of education and relatively many of them are self-employed after migration. Finally, the families chose to settle outside towns in rural areas.

A survey conducted among 100 visitors of the Sweden Pavilion during Emigration Expos of 2008 and 2011, reveals that almost half of the respondents live in strongly or extremely urbanised areas before the move. 30% of the prospective movers aim at starting their own enterprise after migration, which may indicate lifestyle-related motives (Benson & O´Reilly 2009, Hoey 2010). Furthermore, almost two thirds of the respondents mention tranquillity, space, nature and nature-related issues as motives for moving to rural Sweden. Economic motives are rarely mentioned.

One of the conclusions of the first paper published for this project concerns linking characteristics to motivations. Households of rather highly educated adults aged 26-45 years and their children under 18 (i.e. demographic and socio-economic characteristics) have purchased properties in sparsely populated surroundings in Sweden (i.e. spatial, political and socio-cultural motives).

Work in progress consists of an interview study of a number of Dutch families in one municipality in the Bergslagen area.



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