The Randstad Region pursues development as an economically competitive region in Europe that offers a high standard of living. The four Randstad provinces; Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland collaborate intensively with regard to European Affairs.

With a wide range of economic activities and more than 6.7 million inhabitants (about 41% of the Dutch population), the region only makes up 16% of the Dutch territory. The region is home to six internationally renowned universities and two main ports: the harbour of Rotterdam and the airport Schiphol.
In 2009 the Randstad cooperation focuses on five priorities: Climate, sustainable mobility, rural policy in a metropolitan area, regional policy, economy and innovation, and employment. More information can be found on the Randstad website.

Within this context, an economically vigorous rural society is an important precondition. Improvement in the competitive position and the quality of life in the Randstad can be achieved by:

  • increasing the perception, accessibility, potency and qualities of the peri-urban area for the user;
  • improving business climate; 
  • strengthening clusters and sectors with a high level of expertise;
  • stimulating innovation;
  • providing fast and frequent connections between, to and from economic centers in the Randstad to European economic centers;
  • improving flood protection systems;
  • improving the knowledge innovation and support for encouraging the investment climate. 
  • the objectives of the Randstad authorities specifically for the rural area and/or agricultural sector:
  • new and broader range of functions for the rural area;
  • an agricultural sector that forms part of a socially, culturally and ecologically sustainable rural policy;
  • support for agricultural and rural societies affiliated to social objectives;
  • investing in biological agriculture and sustainable food;
  • a diversified agricultural landscape;
  • more competitive and sustainable agricultural use of the rural area;
  • greater affiliation with changing attitudes and wishes from the urban area. This is particularly valid in a peri-urban area such as the Randstad;
  • preservation of the many unique natural and cultural historic qualities of nature and landscape;
  • preservation of the economic function and the role of agriculture in maintenance of nature and landscape.

Why is the CAP important to the Randstad?
Agriculture accounts for a large share of Randstad surface area. Within the Randstad, 60% of the total surface area is agricultural. This share percentage is only just below the percentage for the rest of the Netherlands. The CAP particularly applies to soil-bound agriculture. Soil-bound agriculture accounts for nearly 99% of the total agricultural surface area in the Randstad. The agricultural land share, and with that the impact of the CAP in the Randstad, will continue to be substantial in the future.

In brief:
the landscape in the Randstad offers a multitude of unique qualities in a much diversified landscape. The region West, as the Randstad also is called is 29% of the farmers active in the multifunctional agriculture and green services, that contribute to the above objectives and which must therefore be preserved. The presence of agricultural entrepreneurs continues to be vital to a vigorous rural society and preservation of the lanscape. Hence the Randstad authorities attach a lot of value to a policy in which the agricultural sector forms part of a social, cultural, economical and sustainable rural policy with a wide range of functions.

Biking in the Netherlands.

Vision on peri-urban areas and revision of the CAP
The core vision of Randstad Region on the CAP is that it can only count on social and political support if the CAP is more affiliated to social objectives. Randstad Region defines social objectives as ones including sustainable production, preservation of vulnerable cultural landscapes, public health, food security and economic vigorousness and the quality of life in the rural society. Agriculture can make an important contribution to the realisation of these objectives.
The revision of the CAP in 2013 will enable a shift in the current system of corporate allowances towards a powerful system of investments and awards for social objectives, within which agriculture continues to play a principal role.

General data:


The Netherlands
Total area: 830.900
Population: 7.570.000
Density: 911
Agriculture land use: 62 %
Arable land: 38 %
Main economic activities: Commercial services, Oil Industry, Harbours
Main agricultural products: Vegetables, Flower bulbs, Dairy

Last updated: 16 April, 2020


Land use map - peri-urban Randstad

Michiel Rijsberman, Regional Minister for the Province of Flevoland


PURPLE working group members:
Tirza Molegraaf, Senior Policy Advisor Environment for the Province of Zuid-Holland,