Motives for starting up a side activity in rural areas in the Netherlands

Marianna Markantoni*, Dirk Strijker, Sierdjan Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the side activities of non-farmers in rural areas in the Netherlands and more specifically their start up motives. A side activity is a small-scale home-based activity, which provides a supplementary income to the household. Side activities may have the potential to diversify the economic base of rural areas and to contribute to the quality of life and the social well-being in rural communities. Yet, little is known about their role for the development of rural areas. Furthermore, to date, rural policies have largely neglected non-farmers’ side activities in their rural development strategies partly because of their small size and partly because of the lack of available data in business registers. This study, by exploring the side activity motives, brings to light the specific needs and aspirations of the owners and is based on the results of 260 interviews by side-activity owners. The results highlight that the owners are mainly oriented towards non-economic benefits corresponding to the individuals’ needs, dreams and desires, while financial betterment falls into a secondary place. People are in search of a different type of pay-off than economic rewards, namely the opportunity for a better quality lifestyle. This is relevant for policy makers because of the potential contribution of side activities to providing services, diversifying rural activities and adding to the resilience of rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-739
Number of pages17
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPrint publication - 12 Nov 2014


  • Home-based businesses
  • Side activities
  • Start-up motives
  • The Netherlands


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