The edges of the Netherlands, just as a lot of other rural areas in the World, deal with problems of shrinkage of the population and the economy. The Dutch peat colonies (Veenkoloniën) are located in the North of the Netherlands.

Shrinkage: everything happens simultaneously
The effects are most tangible for the inhabitants of the region. A day in the life of a family in 2025 will look very different from a day in that same family now. Many people will have to spend more time and money on their school, groceries, work, travelling, and in some cases even have to buy a second car to do the things they do now. There is no single solution; many elements require a custom made solutions.

What will happen to the Dutch peat colonies if we don’t do anything? Is doing nothing necessarily a bad thing? And who are ‘we’? The heart of Posads argument is: change must come from the region’s inhabitants themselves. The challenge is to discover, direct and enable local initiatives. The national government will enable the local initiators to be in the driver’s seat.

Purpose: vital and resilient region
The environment and the daily routine of many individuals will change by the effects of shrinkage. The counter-strategy is: make sure that people can keep up with the changes (move with shrinkage) or better yet to benefit from these changes. It is necessary to prevent permanent scarring resulting from the shrinkage: a store that disappears from a village never comes back.

Peatnet is a proposition for an investment programme. A cooperative of inhabitants, entrepreneurs and local and national authorities, connected in an interwoven network of initiatives which all have one common goal: to create a vital, sustainable and robust region.

More information

Location: Peat colonies, North-Netherlands
Client: Eo Wijers Stichting, Provincie Drenthe
Collaborators: Posad Spatial Strategied, Machiel Bakx, Michiel Brouwer
Year: 2011 – 2013