Spatial dynamics of cultural diversity in the Netherlands

Daniel Arribas-Bel*, Jessie Bakens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, we analyse the spatial dimension of changing ethnic diversity at the neighbourhood level. Drawing from recent work on income convergence, we characterise the evolution of population diversity in the Netherlands over space. Our analysis is structured over three dimensions, which allow us to find clear spatial patterns in how cultural diversity changes at the neighbourhood level. Globally, we use directional statistics to visualise techniques of exploratory data analysis, finding a clear trend towards ‘spatially integrated change’: a situation where the trajectory of ethnic change in a neighbourhood is closely related to that in adjacent neighbourhoods. When we zoom into the local level, a visualisation of recent measures of local concordance allows us to document a high degree of spatial heterogeneity in how the overall change is distributed over space. Finally, to further explore the nature and characteristics of neighbourhoods that experience the largest amount of change, we develop a spatial, multilevel model. Our results show that the largest cities, as well as those at the boundaries with Belgium and Germany, with the most diverse neighbourhoods, have large clusters of stable neighbourhood diversity over time, while concentrations of high dynamic areas are nearby these largest cities. The analysis shows that neighbourhood diversity spatially ‘spills over’, gradually expanding outside traditionally diverse areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1142-1156
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • spatial dynamics
  • neighbourhood analysis
  • cultural diversity
  • Spatial dynamics

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