The Sense of the Achterhoek. Explaining the influences on choosing a place of residence among young graduates from this region

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All over the world people are moving from rural areas to the city and the young population is an important part of the group that leaves their area. The Achterhoek region is experiencing this. The options for higher education in the area are limited, so a lot of young people leave the area to do that elsewhere. After finishing this, people start to settle down somewhere. A part of this group chooses to return, the other part settles down somewhere else. In the case of returning, previous research shows that this could be influenced by the bond they feel with their place of origin which can be describes as place attachment. This research is about the role of place attachment to the region of origin in the residential location choice of young graduates (24 to 29 years old) originally from the Achterhoek. This is researched by a review of existing literature and qualitative data collection and analysis. The literature created a framework around two relevant concepts: the residential location choice and place attachment. The data is gathered through semi structured interviews with the group of interest; 8 returnees and 10 non-returnees. Following the research, in most of the cases people based their location on several influencing factors. In these situations, the ‘level’ of attachment seems to be reflected in their choice on whether or not to return. The returnees had especially in terms of relations, behaviour and sense of community a more present attachment to the region then the non-returnees. In terms of experiences, emotions and identification this was more or less the same in both groups. Yet not all preferences are reflected in the outcome of this residential location choice. The situations in which people had one or two decisive factors limiting their options, the effect of place attachment is similar on the preferences, but very different on the outcome. The ‘level’ of place attachment matches in these cases not with the decision on whether or not to return. This was because the other (more practical) influences turned out to be decisive.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen