Distance to amenities in the Netherlands

Ingeborg Deerenberg, Statistics Netherlands
Chantal Melser, Statistics Netherlands

The availability of amenities such as schools and supermarkets is one main determinant for people in their choice of residence. This is especially important today when amenities disappear in some areas due to population decline. In 2009 Statistics Netherlands has started to publish new statistics on the average distances to the nearest amenities for all residents in a local area and the number of amenities that were reachable within a fixed distance. The statistics include information on all kinds of amenities that are important for everyday life such as schools, shops and hospitals. Method: The statistics are based on individual information. For each inhabitant of the Netherlands the distance to amenities are calculated. These distances are calculated along paved roads for use by cars. The statistics show results at the level of neighbourhoods and other regional areas. The Netherlands has 11.7 thousand neighbourhoods, ranging from 0 to 27150 inhabitants. In addition to the average distance the statistics also include information on the number of amenities in three different fixed distances. The length of the distance varies per amenity and are selected from a set of 6: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 and 50 km. For primary schools the distances 1, 3 and 5 km were used, for hospitals 5, 10 and 20 km. Results: Some results for one of the amenities: the average distance for residents to the nearest secondary school is 2.4 km. Average distances vary widely per province. Pupils in the province of Zeeland have to cover the longest distance to the nearest school: 5.3 km. In the province of South Holland, with the shortest distance, they travel only 1.8 km. At Statistics Netherlands the microdata are available for further research under strict conditions. For example: the relationship between population decline and distance to and availability of amenities.

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Presented in Poster Session 1