In Albinen, a small mountain town in Switzerland less than two hours by train from Bern and just under three from Geneva, the sun is shining often, the scenery is extraordinary and the air is pure. The only thing missing are neighbors who stay. Its town hall, with only 240 neighbors, has lost three families in recent years, and its mayor, Beat Jost, says they have had to close the school for lack of students. Faced with this situation, there are only five children of school age, some neighbors have had the idea of encouraging the arrival of new residents paying up to 25,000 francs (21,390 euros) per adult who will go to live in the town.
The initiative, signed by 94 people (almost half of the electorate), was presented by a group of young people in August. The city Council accepted it and will vote on November 30th. The text also proposes that, in addition to the 25,000 francs per adult, is encouraged with another 10,000 francs (8,500 euros) per child, although the new neighbors have to commit to a number of conditions, such as acquiring or rehabilitating a house of a minimum of 200,000 Francs (170,000 euros) and commit to live ten years.
There are many mountain communes that are already implementing similar measures, as explained by the director of the Swiss Mountain Regions Association Thomas Egger to the Swiss news agency ATS. At Inden, residents receive discounts for their purchases at the village shop and at Safien, public transportation is free for young people.
There are more and more second homes in Albinen and there are only five children in school age. Vasile Cotovanu The town, located in the Rhone valley at 1,300 meters above sea level, has a church surrounded by a courtyard with chalets and typical houses, many of them converted into second homes. The idea is that those who go to Albinen, do not stay alone on vacation.