Lifestyle migration to the North

By Marco Eimermann

Recently, an article on Dutch lifestyle migration to rural Sweden was published in Population Space and Place. The abstract is posted here:

Lifestyle migration is part of an ongoing quest for a better way of life. More or less affluent migrants moving to a destination with a perceived better climate are studied in the context of social rather than economic motivations. This paper focuses on Dutch families and their decision to move to the rural municipality of Hällefors in the Bergslagen area, Sweden. Such a Nordic destination, actively attracting migrants, has not previously been investigated in the context of lifestyle migration. The purpose of the paper is to examine what factors contribute to the decision to move. The research questions are the following: what are the socio-demographic characteristics of the migrating families? What meanings do the migrants attach to their work environments and places of residence prior to moving? What motivations and expectations have shaped the decision to move? These questions are addressed through an interview study. Results show that the adult family members were mainly born in the late 1950s or in the 1960s. The children were born in the 1990s and early 21st century. According to most respondents, effects of overpopulation and rapid urbanisation, both felt on the work floor and in the living environment, became a serious trigger to leave the Netherlands. Differences between the families consider the character of occupations (within or outside the creative industries) and the length of the decision process. In contrast to some other lifestyle migrant populations, families in this study considered returning as part of their ongoing quest.

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