Denmark is undergoing a process of centralisation and concentration of economic growth, employment and people in and around its larger cities. Other more peripheral areas have been stagnating and loosing both jobs and inhabitants over a long period of time. Important social, cultural and economic changes are taken place in the countryside due to various restructuring processes and more recently some of these changes are related to in-migration. There are few Danish studies on migration into rural and peripheral areas but e.g. Andersen (2008) Ærø et al. (2005) show how those moving to rural areas have very different reasons for moving and have different expectations and needs. Other international studies e.g. Boyle & Halfacree (1998), Chavez (2005), Clooke, Goodwin & Milbourne (1998), Cuba & Hummon (1993), Hidalgo & Hernandez (2001) Mesch & Manor (1998) rather focus on processes of change from the view of the local population, migrants and relations between them.
This paper reports on a study on migrants who have moved long distances to settle in rural and peripheral areas of Denmark. The study focuses on moving motives, background and expectations of migrants in relation to living in rural and peripheral areas. One important theme is the relationship between migrants or newcomers and locals stressing social change, attachment and integration from the view of migrants. Our study is based on an understanding that there are multiple reasons and motivations that influence migration decision-making thereby applying a biographical approach inspired by e.g. Giddens (1984), Boyle and Halfacree (1998) seeking to 'demonstrate the complexity of the seemingly simple act of migration and its embeddedness within the everyday context of daily life for those involved'. Our study further finds inspiration in the concept of 'elective belonging' by Savage et al. (2005) in terms of understanding peoples sense of being at home as related to 'reflexive processes in which they can satisfactory account to themselves how they come to live where they do'. The study draws on empirical cases in the municipalities of Norddjurs and Guldborgsund.