Cities and the Urban Land Premium

Cities and the Urban Land Premium

Henri L.F. de Groot, Gerard Marlet, Coen Teulings and Wouter Vermeulen

After a long period of suburbanisation, cities have been in vogue again since the 1980s. But why are people prepared to spend far more money on a small house in the city than on a large house in the countryside – and why doesn't this apply to all cities? This book shows that the appeal of the city in the 21st century is not only determined by the production side of the economy, but also by the consumption side: its array of shops, cultural activities and, for example, an historic city centre. All these factors not only translate into land prices that are worlds apart but, in terms of production, into different wages for urban and rural citizens. This book maps out these differences.

Chapter 3: The dynamics of the Dutch system of cities

Henri L.F. de Groot, Gerard Marlet, Coen Teulings and Wouter Vermeulen

Subjects: economics and finance, urban economics, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics


Urbanization is a process of population concentration. It proceeds in two ways: the multiplication of points of concentration and the increase in size of individual concentrations. Hope Eldridge Tisdale, 1942. When you look at a seventeenth-century map of the Netherlands, you will be able to recognise a lot of its current urban structure: it will take no effort to find Leyden, Dort, Gouda, Breda, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Gorcum and Delft. The smaller cities of, for example, Bodegraven, Nieuwcoop, Boscoop, Diemen and Duivendrecht are also outlined. The river-based cities of Bommel, Montfoort, Ysselsteyn, Willemstat, Geertrudenberch, Duierstede Wijck and Culemborch even had serious fortifications in those days. However, if you are trying to find Zoetermeer and Amstelveen, you will not be able to find them. Nor is there any trace of Almere, Haarlemmermeer, or Emmeloord – where the sea was wet as wet could be. As for the rest, most of the cities and villages have a long history. The Dutch urban pattern is reasonably stable. Once in a while something new emerges, but in general the structure seems to be an irreversible fact – even though this is a relative conclusion. Almost all of the river-based cities have lost their economic value. Apart from its fortifications and the church steeple of Bommel that the Dutch sing about, there is little to remind us of its glorious past. The boundaries of Amsterdam have since reached those of Diemen and Duivendrecht.

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