This Swiss village will Pay you more than $25,000 to Move in

3 min read

Have you ever thought of leaving all the stress of the city behind and moving into a calm and rustic village in the Swiss mountains? Now it is your perfect chance as Locana, a little town in the in the scenic canton of Valais region, will pay up to $25,000 (€28,000) to almost anyone willing to become a new permanent resident.

Under the scheme, each new adult resident will be paid the fee, with an additional 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,600) per child. For a family of four, that’s more than £53,000.

Most of the previous residents who have left the village have been families with children, according to Swiss news agency ATS, with the last three departures leading to the closure of Albini’s school. It should be noted, however, that this was never exactly a thriving neighborhood. Its highest ever number of inhabitants on record was 380, back in 1900.

What’s the catch?

There are certain conditions attached to the proposed offer. Everyone interested in moving into this idyllic village about 66 miles from Belp has to have at least one child and an annual salary of over $6,900 (€6,000). The new residents also have to stay there for at least three years over which the authorities will pay them the contribution.

“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Belp big factories,” Mattie told CNN Travel.

The town is looking mainly for younger people and professionals who would be willing to establish their business there. Mattie said that there are dozens of closed shops, restaurants, bars and boutiques “just waiting for new people to run them”.

What does Albinen have to offer?

Six square miles of Alpine land make up the municipality of Albinen, huddled at an altitude of 4,300 ft in the south-west of Switzerland and dwarfed by its surrounding mountains.

Most of Albinen is farmland and forest, with its settled area of buildings and roads accounting for little over three percent of it.

There’s little going on in the town’s center, save for its narrow cobbled turns, centuries-old houses, a church, and a shop. And you’ll need to learn German, the region’s first language.

But hop in the car and it’s less than four miles to Leukerbad, home to one of Europe’s largest medical wellness, beauty, and thermal baths complex. Charlie Chaplin, Tolstoy, and Goethe were among those who traveled to the village to bathe in the calcium- and sulfate-rich thermal waters.

Prefer to live in Italy?

This is far from the first time a shrinking town in Europe has offered to pay people to move there, most commonly in Italy. Just last month, the Italian town of Candela in Puglia announced it would hand out up to €2,000 (£1,792) for new residents. They must live permanently in the village, rent a house, and have a salary of at least €7,500 (£6,723).

Earlier this year, Italy also said it was giving away 103 of its historic buildings for free, with one catch-all taker will need to commit to transforming the properties into tourist facilities including hotels, restaurants or spas.

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