26 March 2021, 14.00-16.15 hrs.

Shrinking areas in Europe are marked by a decline in population as many, especially young people, move out. This also results in less availability of social services and socioeconomic stagnation. Which new opportunities can shrinking areas offer for migrants and who could bring new chances to shrinking areas? How can shrinking regions and migrants become connected in mutually enriching ways? To celebrate the first anniversary of the Horizon 2020 project Welcoming Spaces in Europe we would like to invite you to discuss successful bottom up-strategies to match international migrants and shrinking areas.

Initiatives, social organisations, businesses, policy makers and researchers from all over Europe are invited to present and discuss various successful approaches they take to facilitate first steps towards long-lasting settlement of newcomers in shrinking areas. Approaches to bring people and places together range from NGO’s supporting migrant families to move from the city to a suitable rural community, screening and matching of refugees and labor market regions through asylum authorities, businesses that attract skilled migrants through online networks, and initiatives to train and facilitate employment for refugees in specific sectors with labor shortage in shrinking areas, for example the care sector and ICT.

We cordially invite all to exchange good practices and first research results across Europe. To register for this event, please use think link:

For questions and more information please contact Rianne Hadders,


14.00 – Opening by Prof. Zoomers (International Development Studies, Utrecht University; Director Welcoming Spaces)

14.05 – Pitches Welcoming Initiatives:

Organisations working on welcoming initiatives share innovative strategies on how they connect people and places.

  • Cepaim Foundation (Spain). Speaker: Carmen Ayllón, project broker Welcoming Spaces. Project: New Paths project works on social and labour inclusion of migrants in rural localities, engaging both migrants and local communities to contribute to the revitalisation and development of the rural areas.
  • Ökoherz e.V. (Germany). Speaker Claudia Schneider, project leader. Project: The project focuses on unattended minors in social farming, agricultural projects that enhance inclusion and participation.
  • Miledù (Italy). Speaker: Giulia Galera, co-founder of Miledù and senior researcher at Euricse. Project: The initiative focuses on newcomers and brings the sustainability/business perspective and the eco-perspective together in rural areas.
  • In de zorg, uit de zorgen (Netherlands/Belgium/Germany). Speaker: Romy van den Akker, project Coördinator In de Zorg uit de Zorgen. Project: With the project In de Zorg – Uit de Zorgen, eight refugee, care and labour market organisations in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium support refugees in finding a job or internship in the care sector.

15.00 Workshop: how to match people & places

The initiatives that have pitched collaborate with small mixed teams of policy makers, practitioners, professionals, local authorities and researchers to answer the question: how can the good practices that the initiative presented be adapted to work in your region?

15:45-16.15 Report back and comment on discussions in workshops

Start 26 March 2021 – 14.00
Eind26 March 2021 – 16.15
RegistratiePlease register before March 20th 2 pm
Meer informatieRianne Hadders (