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Contributing to a Vibrant Countryside? The Impact of Side Activities on Rural Development

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the side activities of non-farmers in rural areas in the Netherlands and more specifically on their impact on rural development. Empirical evidence from 36 Dutch municipalities on three key aspects was examined: economy, social and physical environment. The findings indicate that although side activities do not have a large direct impact on the local economy and employment, their contribution in terms of local collaboration and promoting rural tourism is highly valued. Furthermore, side activities have an important role in building and strengthening social capital in rural communities. Where their impacts on physical environment is concerned, side activities are not perceived to damage or alter rural morphology but are considered a reinforcement of the character of rural areas.

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