Heiloo and Uitgeest are the only municipalities in North Holland that will have a decrease in the number of inhabitants in 2022. This is according to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics. The shortage of new homes in particular seems to play a role in this, but there are no major concerns about quality of life.

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    There is an average increase in population in all provinces. North Holland has a growth of 16 per 1000 inhabitants. Only Flevoland grew faster in the past year. Among the major cities, Amsterdam grew the fastest after Almere.

    In the whole of the Netherlands there were only nine municipalities where the population shrank. Uitgeest has a population decrease of 5.3 persons per 1000 inhabitants. In Heiloo, that figure is 4.1. But the question is what the growth in the other municipalities is worth. Most have a positive figure because of the reception of refugees or migrants. Without this shelter, more than half of the municipalities would experience a population decline.

    Housing problem in Heiloo

    There were no large reception centers with many refugees in Heiloo. “But we did meet all the standards for reception”, says party leader Linda Veerbeek of Heiloo-2000, the largest political party in the municipality for many years. “The problem is that we are aging somewhat. That is why we are vigilant, but there is certainly no panic.”

    “Our biggest problem is housing,” explains the party chairman. “The plan for the construction of 1265 homes in the new Zandzoom district has been rejected by the Council of State. This is mainly due to the nitrogen problem in the Netherlands. We hope that the district will be built in the long term and then the figures will probably also change.”

    Street view of the Goodeslaan in Heiloo – Google Streetview

    ‘Enough facilities’

    In many municipalities where there is an aging population, the facilities are also often deteriorating, but Veerbeek does not see that in Heiloo: “We have a very active club life and the swimming pool is also doing well. maybe still want a supermarket, but we don’t have any major problems with the facilities.”

    Kim Terpstra, board member of the local business association, confirms this. “We also have almost no vacancy,” says Terpstra, who owns a flower shop. “Here in the station center all the shops are occupied and we also have a wide variety of shops. We are not very concerned about that.”

    Family homes in a neighborhood in Uitgeest – Google Streetview

    Few youth homes in Uitgeest

    Unlike many municipalities, Uitgeest even has a positive figure when it comes to natural growth (birth rate versus death rate). Refugees will also be accommodated in 2022. The fact that there is still a decrease in the population has to do with the number of relocations. Per 1000 inhabitants, seven more move to other municipalities than are added through relocation. Homes are relatively expensive and young people in particular leave in their early twenties.

    “We don’t have a lot of room for young people,” says council member Arthur de Swart of Progressief Uitgeest. “Some do come back, but often when they have more financial scope and want to start a family. We are also working on creating sixty temporary rental homes for young people. These could be there for 15 to 20 years and something like this can also affect the numbers.

    ‘Looking at long-term growth figures’

    The retail and facilities are also good, according to the council member. In the long term, more homes will be added in several places. De Swart: “I therefore also think that you should look at those growth figures over the longer term. A year does not mean much to me. We have a need for about 350 extra homes in 2030. We are working on that, we may achieve 450 homes. So then there is not much going on. Moreover, we do not want to grow too fast. We would like to keep a village character.”

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