Internship: diversification strategies of farmers in peri-urban Amstelland

Amstelland is a traditional meadow landscape, dominated by dairy farming, and framed on three sides by the cities of Amsterdam and Amstelveen. The vicinity of the city offers threats and opportunities for farmers in Amstelland. The area is intensively used for recreation.

Citizen organisation Stichting Beschermers Amstelland (SBA) is concerned with the future of the area. SBA presumes that preservation of the landscape is connected to economic sustainability of the farms. For that reason SBA is interested in the strategies of farmers towards diversification and pluri-activity. A number of farmers already have added multifunctional activities to their conventional farm. Most farmers are member in the environmental cooperative De Amstel and take agri-environmental measures. Some farmers have started a B&B or sell products on farm. The peri-urban situation leads to high land prices, slowing down opportunities for farm enlargement. As a result, more farmers are likely to consider diversification and pluri-activity as an alternative strategy.

SBA has requested the Wageningen Science Shop to study the economic resilience of Amstelland. The internship contributes to this larger project.

The intern is expected to carry out field research among farms in Amstelland. The area had app. 100 farms in 2007, half dairy farms and half other livestock. The intern is required to design a research and sampling approach with questionnaires or interviews, or a combination. The internship needs to result in a report in Dutch.

Research Questions:

  • What diversification and pluri-active strategies do farmers in Amstelland currently employ, and why?
  • What diversification and pluri-active strategies do farmers in Amstelland consider for the future, and why?
  • Which reasons do farmers have not to diversify?


  • Start and duration: February or March 2015 for a period of 3 months.
  • Task: Field research and reporting
  • Required skills/expertise: fluent in Dutch
  • Workspace at Alterra can be discussed

Contact Person: Judith Westerink, Alterra Wageningen UR, 0317-481587

For more information with regard to supervision contact Miriam Vreman ( education coordinator of the Rural Sociology group.

The internship or thesis can be part of the AMS label if you follow the AMS – (Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) track. See