Indicator: Multiflow cluster (weighted intensity)

Through our research procedure, which included determination algorithms, we distinguished six clusters for the weighted intensity index.
Geographically, in the ESPON space there is a clear distinction between clusters 2 and 3 and the rest. Clusters 2 and 3 are geographically compact, large areas and mathematically quite concentrated around their mean. Other clusters are rather small in number, and geographically there are single re-gions with common features.
Cluster 3 is clearly narrowed down to the German language space (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria), the Benelux countries, and most of the regions in Ireland and Great Britain and the southern part of Scandinavia. Apart from the relatively compact area, only single regions were qualified for cluster 3, i.e. Opolskie Voivodeship in Poland, strongly connected by migrations with Germany, three Alpine regions in Italy, Liguria, and two autonomous regions: the German-speaking autonomous region of Trentino-South Tyrol and the French-speaking region of the Aosta Valley. The most distant region from the com-pact area of northern and central Europe is La Rioja in Spain. Explaining its presence in this cluster will require further research. The weighted intensity indices for regions in cluster 3 take on high average value, which means that these regions participate actively in the flow space. The particularly high values of the index are the result of the very high position of the German linguistic area in patent flows. This cluster can be characterized as the core of Europe (in terms of flows), in which highly intense economic (trade, freight) and social relations (migration, tourism) are accompanied by high indicators for such flows as labour mobility (intense in Germany and around its territory) and knowledge (especially pa-tents).
Cluster 2 includes most of the regions from the countries that joined the European Union in 2004 (with some exceptions, mainly capitals). It also includes all regions of France and most regions from the rest of the Mediterranean, as well as Northern Ireland, some regions of Great Britain, and two regions of northern and central Finland. The regions in cluster 2 usually have lower values in the weighted intensity index, are less involved in the flow space, and can be described as peripheral to those which are more cross-linked.
Cluster 1 includes mainly capital city regions. This group of regions includes Madrid and Lisbon, Berlin and Vienna, Stockholm and Helsinki, Dublin, and Brussels, as well as a compact group of capitals of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004, i.e. Vilnius, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, and Ljublja-na. In addition, this group includes the Dutch Utrecht and Groningen and — though it is quite interesting and difficult to explain — Iceland and the Norwegian Trøndelag. Despite these exceptions, clusters can be defined as groups of capital units in countries outside the European core. They are "islands" of highly intense flows and at the same time gateways between peripheral areas and the core.
Cluster 4 includes in particular port-city regions in northwestern Europe and northern Scandinavia. These include Hamburg, Bremen, and Antwerp. Regions in cluster 4 specialize primarily in trade flows, and the weighted intensity indicator is much higher for trade here than in other clusters. The position of these regions in terms of service flows is also relatively high. Liechtenstein, although not a port, has also been assigned to cluster 4.
Cluster 5 is Luxembourg, which appears as an outlier, a cluster of its own! Luxembourg has an ex-tremely high index value for FDI capital and very high values also for participation in H2020, labour mobility, and services.
Cluster 6 is dominated by regions with strong air-passenger and tourism flows. This cluster includes a group of NUTS 2 regions around Greater London, Greater Manchester, North Holland (Schiphol airport) in the Netherlands, and Olso in Norway, as well as a number of island regions in the Mediterranean, plus the Algarve in Portugal and Canarias.

Theme(s): Economy, finance and trade - Population and living conditions - Education - Science and Technology - Science, Technology and Innovation


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ESPON project
  • Navarra de Suelo Y Vivienda (NASUVINSA) (Project leader)
  • Xabier Velasco Echeverría (Navarra de Suelo y Vivienda, S.A. - NASUVINSA) (Point of Contact)
Territorial information
Spatial Extent Nomenclature
name version level
EU27+4EFTA+UK NUTS 2016 2


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Key indicator
Multiflow cluster (weighted intensity)
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Main Theme
Economy, finance and trade - Population and living conditions - Education - Science and Technology - Science, Technology and Innovation
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