According to numbers from the Frisian Social Planning Bureau, the number of young adults moving to the Frisian islands has dramatically turned around in the past five years. But there are still more job openings than people to fill them.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that the number of people aged 18 to 30 living on the islands has risen by 27 percent since 2013. That figure is particularly note-worthy due to the mass exodus among young adults five years ago: in 2013, 34 percent of people in that age group moved away from the islands.
Wilma de Vries, the researcher behind the new numbers, attributes the high numbers to job opportunities. Tourism remained stable on the islands throughout the recent economic recession, in part because many Dutch people chose to go on a more affordable vacation on one of the Frisian islands instead of going abroad.
Many of the young people are originally from the islands and are now returning thanks to the job opportunities, but the rising population also means that more homes need to be built on the islands. Another reason for the increasing population is improved ferry boat service, which enables island inhabitants to commute to the mainland for work.
The number of jobs in the islands grew by 9 percent between 2013 and 2017, which is far higher than the 1 percent growth in the rest of Friesland. The Leeuwarder Courant also reports that the figures revealed there are still more jobs available than people to fill them.
Lars Dirk Visser, who lives on Ameland, is the web master for a website that posts all job vacancies on the islands, and estimates that 95 percent of all jobs are directly connected to the tourism industry. Visser also stresses that many of the young people only live and work on the islands for a short period or during the tourist seasons.