A tiny village in the Swiss Alps has proposed an innovative financial scheme to attract young families to its idyllic location. To revive the commune, the municipality is offering a family of four up to €60,000 to settle there.
In an ambitious effort to boost the declining population of Albinen village, local authorities are offering adults, who are younger than 45, some 25,000 Swiss francs (€21,500) each to move to the steep slopes of the picturesque commune in Valais Canton. For each of their children, under the scheme outlined in the community letter, the family will receive an additional 10,000 francs (€8,500).
“It is very good money investment in the future of the village,” the municipality said in a commercial pitch of their ambitious plan, but which has certain conditions.
While the cash offered to new families will promote relocation to Albinen, the newcomers are required to settle there for the next ten years. They are also requested to invest 200,000 Swiss francs (€170,000) to purchase or build new homes, which the municipality believes will yield a 1.5 million Swiss francs (€1.3 million) return over the next ten years. The administration also hopes the new families will rebuild the local school which closed down due to the lack of pupils, and inject new life into a community which is currently only 240 strong.
The municipality is considering three scenarios for the village. The “worst case” assumes the plan fails and the village morphs into a “retiree hamlet” pretty quickly.
In the second “real case” scenario, the municipality hopes to attract five new families consisting of 10 adults and eight children by 2022. Albinen administrators estimate that even such a minor influx will generate 200,000 Swiss francs (€170,000) in additional tax revenue for the community. Furthermore, the same amount will be paid into the local coffers by revenues received from sales tax.
Under the optimistic “best case” scenario, the village attracts twice as many people, which will bring and generate twice as much wealth as the conservative ‘real case’ estimate.
Albinen, dating back to 1224, is situated in the south of Switzerland in the Swiss Alps at 1,275m (4,183 ft) above sea level. It is surrounded by pasture settlements and offers breathtaking views of the mountains. The community is on a south-facing slope between two creeks that is exposed to plenty of sunshine. While jobs in the village itself aren’t plentiful, Albinen is close to several larger towns. The village has an LLB- Albinen–Leuk bus connection. Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is only 177 km (110 miles) away if taking the short route through the Alps.