Oosterbeek near Arnhem rated most livable small town
Oosterbeek near Arnhem is the most liveable smaller town in the Netherlands. Laren near Hilversum and Bergen in Noord-Holland also scored well in a study by Atlas Research commissioned by RegioBank. Vaals in Limburg is at the bottom of the list. Delfzijl in Groningen is also not well appreciated.
Smaller towns score lower on quality of life than larger cities. “This is mainly due to less accessible facilities,” said RegioBank. That includes the availability of culture, education, and healthcare. Vaals is at the bottom of the list mainly because it lacks these facilities. On the other hand, smaller places score particularly strongly in things like social cohesion, housing stock, low nuisance, and high safety. Oosterbeek excels in these areas.
Residents can play a part in ensuring that facilities remain available. “Very often, I see that residents are successfully able to take tasks over from the government,” said Bettina Bock, the “rural professor” at the University of Wageningen. “Based on their connection to the countryside, the love for life in a small community, and the pleasure of organizing activities for the village together.”
The coffee corner in the neighborhood supermarket, for example, is also “a sustainable improvement,” according to RegioBank director Rein Wispelweij.
All in all, smaller towns also generally scored a “good” quality of life. But according to the bank, “essential facilities have gradually disappeared or are on the verge of disappearing” there. And that would have a negative impact on the quality of life.
In the study, the researchers scored 300 residential areas in the Netherlands with between 7,000 and 23,000 residents on the quality of life.
Reporting by ANP