Why has job growth over the past decades been weaker in the Dutch Randstad area than in surrounding regions? In a simultaneous equations analysis, we find that employment has adjusted to the regional supply of labour. Net internal migration was predominantly determined by regional housing supply, and not by employment growth. Growth of the regional housing stock appeared insensitive to changes in the number of people and jobs. This lack of responsiveness to demand conditions is consistent with the presence of strong restrictions on residential development near the main Dutch cities, suggesting that the current regional distribution of economic activity in the Netherlands reflects land use planning decisions. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.