Between the last decades of the eighteenth century and the middle of the nineteenth century, a large number of new markets were established in the Flemish countryside. The multiplication of rural markets tends to be seen as part of the process of market integration, with rural producers responding to the opportunities provided by increasing external demand, such as that from the growing towns. However, an analysis of the motivation behind new establishments, based on the files treating the requests for new markets, reveals that markets were more often established for entirely different reasons. In this period, markets were expected to permit households to intensify their activities in order to overcome increasing economic difficulties. Developments within rural society, particularly rising population pressure, the need to produce and sell more, and deteriorating informal exchange networks among countrymen, coupled to a decline in demand for rural industrial products, were the main drives behind the multiplication of markets. This contribution shows it is important to pay attention to how new markets and market integration in general fitted within the goals and strategies of the country dwellers themselves.