ANWB: less nationwide, but more leisure space in Drenthe

Leisure space in the Netherlands is under pressure, according to the ANWB. A study commissioned by the service shows that the amount of green space per inhabitant has drastically decreased. In many provinces, green space will continue to decline until 2050 due to population growth. However, Drenthe is an exception in the forecasts.

The Netherlands currently has 308 square meters of leisure space per inhabitant. In 1900, it was 1700 square meters of green space per person. Due to population growth and increased tourism, green space for the Dutch will shrink by 32 square meters until 2050 if nothing is done, according to the ANWB.

But according to forecasts from Statistics Netherlands, Drenthe will soon be home to fewer people. If the forecasts come true, the number of inhabitants will decrease by 3.5%, from nearly 500,000 to more than 480,000. The number of square meters of greenery per inhabitant will then increase from 972 in 2023 to 1008 in 2050. This makes Drenthe by far the leader in the Netherlands.

But as far as Drenthe is concerned, the ANWB does not think this is a reason to fly the flag. “The shrinking population does not mean that there are no challenges in these provinces with regard to recreational space,” writes the ANWB in the research report. “The dynamics can vary within a province. Also, the challenge does not stop at the provincial border and provinces may be able to support each other.

The ANWB is of the opinion that 2 to 5 percent of the total area of ​​the Netherlands should be recreation areas. Recreational space is “of great importance for physical and mental health and for the quality of life in the country”.

The union notes that the need for recreational spaces is greatest around cities. But at the same time, there is the least amount of space there. The department believes that municipalities and provinces should pay much more attention to green spaces needed by people in their nature reserve and green space projects. This can be done by linking future plans for redevelopment of space to recreational goals. For example, a water storage area may be suitable for fishing, boating, and swimming. In the countryside, cycling and walking routes could be an opportunity.

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