1.    The caring villages of Groningen: the village supporter of Onderdendam

In the rural areas of the province of Groningen villagers seek an answer for the changes in the field of health care. They intend to strengthen and create possibilities for the elderly to continue living in their own village and houses. They aim to strengthen the social capital by creating networks of volunteers (young and old) and connect people with each other. 120 villages are gathered in a network called 'Caring villages of Groningen'. They inform each other about their experiences and share new ideas and knowledge about how to organize (health) care in their villages. 

The village supporter of Onderdendam

A new trend is the so-called village supporter: a person who is a familiar face and point of contact for villagers with care questions. The village supporter combines villagers’ questions for support with volunteers or professionals who can offer this support. The village of Onderdendam has its own village supporter. She is active in care questions, but also provides support in other fields. She finds her home base at the community center Zijlvesterhoek, which runs totally on volunteers and is a hub for initiatives and activities.

During this field trip, you will learn more about caring villages during a visit at this community center and you will walk through the lovely village of Onderdendam. In return, the village would like to receive input for answering their question 'how to make the village supporter financially sustainable'?

2.    Bottum up initiatives and responsive governments in North-East Fryslân

During this field trip, you will explore how local and regional governments have to respond in various ways to the different bottom up demands of the active society. 

A) The region of North-East Fryslân (province of Fryslân) has experimented with stimulating bottom up village development by setting up “Village Development Companies” (Dorpsontwikkelingsmaatschappijen, DOMs). They aim at improving the liveability of villages. The first version of the DOMs focused on improving poorly maintained buildings in villages with decreasing population. More recently, the governments follow the ideas and suggestions of the inhabitants. As a result bottom up projects have shifted to other elements of village liveability as well. Entrepreneurial inhabitants of the village form the members of the DOMs. They collaborate closely with local governments.


B) In some cases there is no need for stimulation by the government; inhabitants themselves start integral societal complex area development. The initiative takes control and urges the government to collaborate in their bottom up interests, pace, energy and financial needs.

C) When initiatives have small plans often a relatively modest financial stimulation and peer reviews can have a major impact on liveablitity.

This tour will visit the DOM of the village of Holwerd that started in 2013, one of the DOMs that started in 2017, the integral complex societal area development initiative Holwerd aan Zee and an IMF project. Context of the Frisian responsive regional policy approach and of the most relevant geographical characteristics of the region will be provided as well.

3.    Nature inclusive agriculture

The impressive land intensity of Dutch agriculture has negative aspects for biodiversity and landscape, and is heavily debated currently, both within the agriculture sector and at the regional and national political level. During this field trip in the province of Groningen we will visit the experimental farm Ebelsheerd in Nieuw Beerta, where experiments are done for nature inclusive agriculture, an arable farmer who has already some experience with the practicalities of this way of farming, and we will visit a modern intensive dairy farm where the farm family still has a keen eye for their natural and social surroundings.

4.    Province of Drenthe - to be added