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. Its town hall, with just 240 residents, 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 locals 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 village.
The initiative, signed by 94 people (almost half of the electorate), was presented by a group of youths this 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.
According to council documents, of which the Sunday Times newspaper is echoed, the city hopes to attract five families, ten adults and eight children, for the year 2022. In the "Best Case", ten new families would be moved, bringing with them at least 16 children. "Let us hope that the municipality's financial commitment will lead to the results [we want]," said the mayor. The municipality has already reserved 100,000 Swiss francs (85,500 euros) per year to the plan. "There will be more inhabitants and more income, but also more work thanks to new construction projects," predicts the alderman.
There are more and more second homes in Albinen and there are only five children in school age. Vasile Cotovanu There are many mountain municipalities 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.
In Albinen, located in the Rhone valley at 1,300 meters above sea level, there is a church surrounded by a courtyard with chalets and typical houses, many of them converted into second residences. The idea is that those who go there, do not stay alone on vacation.