The southern and central regions of The Netherlands are part of the Northwest- European Delta Metropolis. The demands placed by modern, urban society on the agricultural sector are numerous. Not only are the environment, animal welfare, and food hygiene and quality at stake here, but also must these demands be met in a period of a structural decline in economic yields and under the permanent pressure of a shortage of available land. Intensification and increase of scale, which have characterized European agriculture for a long time, are set to continue in the future. As a direct consequence of these developments five perspectives can be described that together have considerable implications for spatial planning in the rural areas. These perspectives are: (1) The development of knowledge for the benefit of the agro-food sector. (2) The development of agro-production parks based on the principles of industrial ecology. (3) Large-scale, intensive, heavily specialized land-based agriculture. (4) `Dreams and folk stories¿ that either relate to traditional production methods or are the product of modern marketing. (5) Specialized management of nature and landscape. The pressure on the agrarian cultural landscape, for centuries a by-product of traditional agriculture, is rapidly increasing as a result of these developments. In this paper it is argued that the problems of the future of the landscape in Northwestern Europe should be tackled outside the traditional framework of the agrarian production.
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