The province of Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands, is traditionally an agricultural area. The land is flat, empty, stretched out. The soil is fertile. A large part of the province consists of clay soil, deposited during the many floods of the Wadden Sea over the centuries.
Once the eastern part of the province was known as the ‘granary’ of Netherlands. In other parts of the province sugar beet and potatoes are grown. But the number of farms has declined rapidly in recent decades. Sons no longer want to take over the farms of their parents. Youth pulls away to the industrial and densely populated western part of Netherlands. The population on the Groningen countryside is ageing.
As a result of these developments, fertile farmland has been changed into water in recent years. New cities were built next to the new landscaped lakes, in order to attract new residents to the sparsely populated area. These projects have not been very successful so far. The new inhabitants don’t come, whilst the province and municipalities involved, lost large amount of money on it.